« AnteriorContinuar »
injuries, and oppressions, which we receive from men, we are to copy out, and exhibit, and reflect, however faintly and imperfectly, the same forgiveness, and patience, and forbearance, and long-sufferance which the Lord our God, in His infinite and unbounded mercy, has extended to us. In the exhibition of such a spirit as this, we can see the face, and hear the voice, and track the steps of a real child of God, as truly and as surely as if an angel had been sent expressly down from heaven to point him out to us. No unregenerate person has such a spirit as this to exhibit. It is only possessed by the true penitent, who has been with the heavy load of all his sins to the cross of Christ, and who knows and feels that he has much forgiven. It is nothing else but the very Spirit of Christ, living and loving, and breatbing and acting, in the elect of God. Would we possess the undoubted evidence that we indeed belong to this blessed company? Let us only obtain such a spirit as this, and the assurance we want will be actually within us. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a quarrel against any : even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”
II. How is such a Christ-like spirit as this to be obtained ? It is impossible for us even to listen to the description of such a frame as this, without perceiving at once both its heavenly origin and its unspeakable value. We are constrained to own that such a mind as this can be nothing else than the kingdom of God within us. We feel perfectly sure that if the world were animated by such a disposition, all the thorns and briars with which it now abounds, would shortly be removed, and we shonld soon behold a very heaven upon earth. But still the difficulty remains. How is it to be obtained ? What must we do either to procure it for ourselves, or to infuse it into others ? St. Paul, we find, made it the subject of his earnest prayer for the Romans, that they might obtain this inestimable benefit. Can we, then, be at a loss what to do, if we wish to be likeminded one to another according to Christ Jesus? We must do what the apostle did. We must pray. Yes, we must lift up our heart, and lift up our voice in humble and earnest prayer to the God of patience and consolation, humbly beseeching him that he would impart to ourselves, and infuse into others, such an excellent spirit.
Here is the true cause of all the dulness and deadness, all the discomfort and all the inconsistencies which we deplore. We have not, because we ask not. We shall never be sent empty away from the throne of grace, if we only go there with the prayer of faith to be filled with all the fulness of God. All the blessings, of every kind we can possibly need or desire, are trea-ured up in Christ. He is the boundless storehouse, and the never-failing treasury from whence all our supplies are received. If we want patience, he is the God of patience. The same applies to consolation, and hope, and grace, and glory, and to fulness of every kind. He is the God of consolation; the God of hope; the God of all grace; the God of glory; the God in whom all fulness dwells. Prayer is the appointed way for bringing a needy soul here below in direct communication with all the boundless stores that are treasured up above. Prayer is the key which opens the door of every storehouse. We have only to ask and have. What is said of wisdom applies equally to all the various graces which constitute the Christian character. “Every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” If therefore a man feels his deficiency in any particular grace, what is he to do? “Let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him."
Every thing is granted, and nothing denied, to the prayer of faith. Wo feel, perhaps, how hard it is to be calm and unruffled amid all the waves and storms that are heaving around us. It is hard, very hard, among all the grievous provocations that we have to bear, and all the vexing and perplexing scenes through which we have to pass, to show nothing, and to feel nothing, but the meekness and gentleness, the forbearance and compassion, of the loving Saviour. But the prayer of faith can obtain for us this great victory. It is a victory—a great victory. “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city." Triumphs of this kind are seldom noticed, and rarely acknowledged by the world. But in the sight of Him who weighs everything in an even balance, they are of great price
If only by constant watchfulness and earnest prayer we are enabled to check the first rising of erery revengeful feeling, and to bridle and restrain every hasty and bitter expression, we need not doubt whether or not this is acceptable to God. The World may tell us, and our own proud and foolish hearts may repeat the delusion, that we do well to be angry. But God teils us, " The discretion of a man deterreth his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression." Let us only determine au wait in humble and earnest prayer upon Him who aire un nier the unrur wils and attenuas of sinful men. The suppo His grace cu bring erery feeling, erery word, prery desir', men intent in caparity to the obedience of Chriss. “They that was on the Lani shsil renew their strength."
elord Jesus Chone mouth gor Christ Jesupire to be
high easy to be entregis first pura, communic
III. Why should we so earnestly aspire to be like-minded one to another, according to Christ Jesus? That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whether we refer to our own personal edification, or the benefit of others, nothing is more conducive to the glory of God than this loving spirit of godly union and concord.
(1) It is only as we are possessed of such a spirit as this that we can know anything of real communion with God. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, and gentle, and easy to be entreated. With such a mind as this, we draw nigh unto God, and according to his gracious promise he draws nigh unto us. His gracious Spirit helps our infirmities; and notwithstanding all our manifold frailties and imperfections, the fire is kindled, and we speak with our tongue. We can say, and we do say, from a sweet sense of what we have actually experienced, “It is good for me to draw near unto God.” But whenever we give way to an opposite spirit, we find immediately the root of bitterness springing up to trouble us. By our sullen looks, our angry tempers, and our hard speeches, we have grieved and provoked, and resisted and quenched the good Spirit of God; and then farewell to all the comfort of love, and the privilege of prayer. There is no lifting up of holy hands without wrath and doubting. Who has not again and again found it to be so? While under the influence of the accusing spirit, we know very well that neither in private, nor in the family, nor in the house of God, could we really pray. We uttered perhaps the words, and assumed the posture of prayer; but for want of a tender, loving, compassionate spirit, all was lifeless and formal, and cold and vain. We could not with one heart and one mouth glorify God.
(2) Moreover, the benefit of others is most effectually promoted by a humble, loving, and consistent walk and conversation. We recollect the prayer of our Lord for His whole Church militant here on earth : “ That they may all be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” Nothing is so convincing to the men of this world of the truth and reality of vital godliness, as the sight of union and concord among those who profess it. How was it in the early dawn of the gospel day? At that time we know “the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul, neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things common.” And what was the happy consequence of this loving sympathy, and evident union?' - The Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved.” We only want, in these divided and distracted times, more prayer and more love, more union and godly concord; and above all, more of the quickening power of the Holy Spirit from above, to witness the return again of such a delightful season.
We say therefore, in conclusion, to all our readers, Try again and again the effect of a humble, holy, loving and consistent walk and conversation. “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” And whenever we feel tempted to act otherwise, or to betray an opposite spirit, let us listen to the blessed apostle's loving prayer for the primitive Christians: “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one to another according to Christ Jesus, that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Benedicite ; or, the Song of the Three Children. Being Illus
trations of the Power, Beneficence, and Design manifested by the Creator in His works. By G. Chaplin Child, M.D. Second Edition. London : Murray. 1868.
SOUTHEY quotes a passage from an old preacher, who says, “As some mathematicians deal so much in Jacob's staff that they forget Jacob's ladder, so some physicians (God decrease the number !) are so deep naturalists that they are very shallow Christians. With them Grace waits at the heels of Nature, and they dive so deep into the secrets of philosophy that they never look into the mysteries of divinity.” The explanation he offers of this is a plausible, and we think a rational one, as far as it goes,-namely, that in the practice of physic as well as surgery, and also of war, coarse minds must be rendered coarser, and hard hearts still further indurated. He says, moreover, "Add to a depraved mind and an unfeeling disposition either a subtle intellect or a daring one, and you have all the preparations for Atheism that the Enemy could desire." Certain it is, that the charge of irreligion has persistently clung to the members of the medical profession from the days of Chaucer's Physician, whose “studie was but litel on the Bible," so much so that it was at one time a vulgar proverb,“ Ubi tres medici duo athei.” We could wish, out of respect to a noble profession, that such a charge were wholly unfounded; we certainly would not for
one moment endorse it to such a ridiculous and exaggerated extent. There are, however, some who make a noxious parade of infidelity, which serves the purpose of calling public attention to themselves, and, in the estimation of a considerable number of persons, gains them credit for intellectual superiority and freedom from prejudice. It is easy to imagine that Goliath was in high repute amongst the Philistines, and that a certain amount of reverential awe may wait upon him who stands up in the face of the majesty of Heaven and exclaims, “There is no God.” What it may be all worth, is another question. There is, however, a reverse side to the picture, and a far more agreeable one. Few, probably, who have suffered from any of the manifold infirmities to which flesh is heir, and who in their hour of need have sought the aid of the physician, but have come across some who have been skilful healers of their bodily ailments, and have moreover found in them friends sympathizing with their distresses of mind as well as of body, willing and glad to take all suitable opportunities of leading their thoughts to Him who is mighty and able to save. Most interesting biographies have recently been published of medical men as distinguished for Christian excellence as for eminence in the various walks of their own profession, “ men who have gone orderly over all the links of that chain by which natural causes are mutually tied to one another, till they have found God at the top;" and many such, we rejoice in believing, are still to be found amongst us.
In this goodly band of medical men who are not "ashamed of the Gospel of Christ,” Dr. Chaplin Child may fairly claim to be enrolled. His aim, as he describes it in his preface, is to show that, “as a devout handmaiden, Natural Theology waits humbly on Christian Truth, and with loving labour points out, explains, and illustrates the Creator's ways. Content,” he says, “within the circle in which her elevating mission lies, she shrinks from being made to appear as the rival of Christianity.” With him, Nature waits at the heels of Grace. In the admission of the Benedicite into the Morning Service of the Church, Dr. Child delights in finding that our Book of Common Prayer, “while faithfully presenting to us the blessed doctrines of Christianity, .... seeks to honour God through the contemplation of His material works;" and upon this hint he speaks. The result has been a most delightful volume, which shows that the spirit which animated Izaak Walton and Gilbert White is not altogether extinct. We can quite believe that his chief difficulty in the preparation of it has been “the embarrassment of riches" poured out before him, and from which selection had to be made. But we think he has done his part well. The illustrations which he has produced are Vol. 68.-No. 376.