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THE METHODIST NEW CONNEXION MAGAZINE.
OUR BURDENS; AND WHAT TO DO WITH THEM. How slow we are to learn the most important lessons, even those on which our highest happiness for time and eternity depends. How much has the aptest scholar yet to learn of the gracious character of God, the depth and tenderness of His fatherly kindness, and the fulness of His pity and love ; and how much also of the peace and rest, the joy and strength, and the hope and love, which are the purcbased privilege of His people.
Ever learning, how. few of us truly come to the full knowledge of the truth. Hence it is that so many fail to see that, while God is holy and just, He is also infinitely gracious and merciful ; and that, while He denounces wickedness in the strongest terms, and threatens the impenitent with “ the vengeance of eternal fire,” He is also “ready to forgive," “ He retaineth not His anger for ever, because He delighteth in mercy"; and that while He is “ glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders," He is no less our Father, our Saviour, and our Friend. The consequence of this failure is hard thoughts of God, low and unworthy views of Him, and the want of that trust in Him, and of that love and joy which would be better than silver or gold, or earth's rarest and richest gems.
Yet how strong are the proofs of His pitying tenderness, and of His desire not only to save us from final destruction, but also to make us unspeakably happy here, and then translate us to the glory of Heaven. We have these proofs in overwhelming demonstration in what He has done for us, in the Redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, and also in what He has said to us, in His exceeding great and precious promises. Among the most gracious and touching indications of what He wants to be to us, and of what
He would have us be to Him, are the words of the Psalmist,“ Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and He shall sustain thee.” (Ps. 1v., 22.)
Taking these words in the simplicity of faith, they open to us a precious privilege which words are not adequate to describe, and reveal a depth of Divine condescension and graciousness surpassing even our mental conceptions.
Burdens : alas, how prevalent they are! Who has not bowed low beneath their weight ? We have all had burdens to carry, and we have, perhaps, striven to bear them ourselves to our great discomfort, to our deep sorrow, if not to our thorough distraction. Yet, in the light of these Divine words, we see that we have either been ignorant of the duty and privilege of casting them upon the Lord, or we have borne them in God-dishonouring distrust and disobedience. Possibly it has been the former as much as the latter. But surely this ignorance is culpable, since God has spoken so frequently and 87 earnestly upon this point.
The Psalmist says in another place, “ Commit thy way" (or, as in the margin, Roll thy way)“ unto the Lord; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass." The Prophet says, “ Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is staid on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.” Jesus says, after showing us how fruitless is our anxious care, “ Take therefore no thought for the morrow." And to the burdened and heavy-laden he says, “Come .... and I will give you rest.” Paul says, “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God," adding, “ And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." And Peter says, • Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you." Nothing, therefore, can be more clear than that we may pass the waves of life's rough sea in freedom from all distracting care, and all oppressing burden, by casting all upon the Lord, who promises to sustain us.
Can we fail to mark how comprehensive is the statement ?" Thy burden," whoever the burden-bearer may be, and whatever be the nature of the burden that is borne.
Is your burden the Sin of a Mis-spent Life Has the Spirit of truth convicted you of sin, and brought to your memory all your past transgressions, your guilty opposition to God, your disregard of Christ, and your neglect of His great salvation? Do you see how bateful sin is in the sight of a holy God, and how you stand condemned by His holy law ? Do you so realise your guilt and helplessness as to cry out “Oh, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body this death ?" It is by His light you bave thus come to view sin ; and, though He hates sin with a perfect hatred, yet He pities and loves and waits to save the sinner. He has laid the iniquity of us all on His own beloved Son, for He “bore our sins in His own body on the tree,” and now you are bid to “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” with the assurance that then "you shall be saved.” Say, therefore ,
“Me, with all my sins, I cast
On my redeeming Lord.” Is your burden past Unfaithfulness !--Are you conscious that you have in a signal sense been an unprofitable servant ? Or, as you review life, have to say
“Nothing but leaves! No gathered sheaves
Of life's fair ripening grain;
Nothing but leaves ? Look you back on years of worldliness, on vows all broken, on duties neglected, on conscious sins indulged, on service rendered without delight and joy, on self permeating even your most sacred exercises, and on anger, sloth, desire, pride, and revenge marring and blotting your whole religious life?
Ab, it is no wonder that your sky is dark, and that your heart is cold and sad ; that you are a stranger to Divine peace and joy, and that your burden is heavy. Such a retrospect surely should be a burden to one who has professed to be a follower of Jesus. Yet, granting this, how does the Lord regard you? Does He look on you with the indifference with which you have regarded Him! Or does He regard you with jealous anger ? Would He have you continue in this state another week, another day, another hour ? No; He would even
“This moment end these legal years,
This howling wilderness.” Has He not commanded you to love Him with all your heart? Does He not call you to be “ free from sin," and " dead indeed unto sin,” to “ present yourself a living sacrifice,” and to “glorify Him with your body and spirit which are His”? His will, therefore, is that you should be holy, and He has made ample provision for this by " the precious blood of Christ," which “cleanseth us from all sin," and by the power of the Holy Spirit, which He gives to everyone who asks for the gift.
Is it your inquiry-How can I be lifted up from my present state and reach that higher ground of Christian holiness in which the constant sense of failure and the burden of unfaithfulness will give place to God's own perfect peace and rest and the consciousness of being wholly sanctified ? We reply, not certainly by continuing to dwell upon the burdening past, nor by continuing to cry “My leanness, Oh, my leanness"! Nor by setting yourself, in your own strength, however steadfastly, to greater watchfulness, and prayer, and self-denying effort, as if this were the price at wbich the blessedness was to be obtained. Hundreds of sincere souls have so sought, and have not obtained what they sought, while hundreds more have been deterred from even hoping for such an experience in this life because conscious of not having so sought it. If God only gives this richer blessing of grace on such conditions is it not sanctification by works rather than by faith! And if so, is it possible for us to proclaim such a salvation to be a present blessing within the reach of every child of God now? While watchfulness, prayer, fasting, and earnest effort have their own proper office, and are essential to all who “ would live godly in Christ Jesus,” they must never be trusted in as affording any ground of merit, either in the outset or the progress of the Christian life, nor prevent us from saying
“In my hand no price I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling.”
God's method of lifting us up into a higher and holier life, as His method of justifying the ungodly, is by our simple faith. Just as it is the first duty of an awakened sinner to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for justification, so it is the first duty of a believer, who bas by the light of the Holy Spirit been brought to feel his need of a fuller deliverance from sin, to believe with all his heart in Jesus as a present Saviour from all sin, to believe with a faith which yields up all to God, expects all from Him, and receives all in Him, now, even
Now therefore “cast thy burden upon the Lord.”—Trust in Him with all your heart and with all your soul, in the precious blood of Jesus to cleanse you from all sin, and in the power and grace of the Holy Spirit to keep you henceforth, and all your doubts and fears,
"I have continually testified in private and public, That we are sanctified as well as justified by faith. And indeed the one of these great truths does exceedingly illustrate the other. Exactly as we are justified by faith, so are we sanctified by faith. Frith is the condition, and the only condition, of sancti. fication, exactly as it is of justification. It is the condition ; none is sanctified but he that believes; without faith no man is sanctified. And it is the only condition : this alone is sufficient for sanctification. Everyone that believes is sanctified, whatever else he has not. In other words, no man is sanctified till he believes ; every man when he believes is sanctified."-Wesley's Sermon on the Seripture Way of Salvation, III., 3.
all your coldness and deadness, and all your controversy with and opposition to the will of God shall vanish as clouds before the morning sun, while, entering on a new phase of Christian experience, with a heart all consecrated and filled with love, and a will all blended with the holy will of God, your risen soul shall sing
“ Anger and sloth, desire and pride,
This moment are subdued,
Of my Redeemer's blood.”
Is your burden Business Care? — The care which arises from numerous and pressing engagements, from changing markets, from close competition, from serious losses, or from necessary dealings with unreasonable and wicked men ? There are few men of business who have not such care, while many, who seek no help from God, are worried out of reason and out of life by the burden of it. This care, it may be, has been to you a constant burden during your waking hours, clouding your brow, driving all joy from your heart, and all light from your eye; and an incubus during your hours of slumber, preventing even balmy sleep from exerting its restoring influences. Is it, however, necessary for you to carry this burden, even granting that your business is large and important ? Is it wise to carry such a burden ? Is it right for one professing to be a follower of Christ? To these questions we say emphatically-No! It is not necessary; for many followers of Jesus pass daily through greater business pressure than yours without oppressing burdens. It is not wise ; for such a burden reduces life to a kind of slavery unspeakably below what a good and beneficent God designs it to be, and, moreover, unfits you for the right discharge of business duty. It is not right; for it is utterly impossible to glorify God in your daily life with such a burden. It will inevitably sour your spirit, make you fretful and morose, and often provoke you to speak unadvisably with your lips, making you rather like a dark lantern than a shining light.
We are to be “ diligent in business," and to "provide things honest in the sight of all men.” But this may be done in every lawful business, not only without oppressive ani burdensome care, but also with the “ peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keeping your heart and mind in the knowledge and love of God.” The way to realise this is to cast "all your care upon Him, for He careth for you ;” to “cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you." Do you stagger at this? Do you still ask :-Is it possible or me to go through all my daily affairs in freedom from the burden of anxious care ?. Ah! the very question shows probably that you