« AnteriorContinuar »
"lief, in departing from the living God1;" and let us also beware most anxiously, that "while we profess that we know God, we "do not deny him in our works m." Letme hope that you all really do believe in God the Father Almighty. Endeavour then yourselves, and pray to him to assist the endeavour, to preserve upon your minds a constant recollection of him, a constant sense of his presence. Endeavour, like David, to set the Lord always before you. Since "all things are naked and open to "the eyes of him, with whom we have to "do11," and even the secretsof our heart are not hidden from him, be very guarded and watchful in all your thoughts, words, and actions. Since he not only at first created, but still preserves and provides for you, and disposes of you and yours according to his good pleasure, resign yourselves en-" tirely to his will, and in all dispensations, however afflictive, try to say from your heart, Thy will be done. In short, if you really believe in God, that belief will naturally induce you to fear him; and to love
J Heb. iii. 12. m Tit. i. 16. » Heb. iv. 13. him as much as you possibly can, with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; it will lead you to worship him, to give him thanks, to put your whole trust in him, and to call upon him; it will induce you to honour his holy name and his word, and to serve him truly all the days of your life.
That we may thus believe in God the Father Almighty, and that our belief may produce these salutary effects, may God of his mercy grant, through Jesus Christ.
BELIEF IN GOD THE SON.
Col. i. 14.
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
NEXT in importance to belief in God the Father, who made us and all the world, is belief in "God the Son, who hath redeemed "us and all mankind." It is from our profession of this article of faith that we have the name of Christians; and it is of the utmost consequence to us seriously to consider, what we really mean when we make this profession, and to reflect, whether our lives in this instance are answerable to the belief which we pretend to hold. You say then, that you believe "in God the Son, "who redeemed you;" and often in the Church Service, and probably at other times also, speak of Christ, by the appellation of the Redeemer. What do you understand
by the expression? The proper meaning of the word to redeem is to buy back. It is particularly used for setting free a prisoner or captive, by paying a price for his release. Let us consider now in what sense Christ is said to have redeemed us.
The Scriptures both of the Old and New Testament constantly represent the natural state of man as a 9tate of sin and death. It is necessary to dwell a little upon this point. As " they that are whole "need not a physician*," and they that think themselves well, will not have recourse to one, so we, unless we are sensible of our spiritual danger, shall not be induced to seek the means of safety; we shall not have recourse to the Redeemer, unless we feel that we stand in need of being redeemed.
The necessity of redemption wises from our being guilty of sin, and consequently exposed to the punishment of sin. If you ask, what sin is; St. John tells you, "that "sin is the transgression of the lawb," the transgression of the holy and pure law of God. God having given us- our being, has
a just right to prescribe such laws as he sees fit, for the regulation of our actions, words, and thoughts. Such laws he has given us in the holy Scriptures, and the more we study and understand these laws, the more we shall be convinced, that the observance of them is most conducive to our own well-being and happiness. Whenever we transgress any of these laws, either in thought, word, or deed, either by doing what we ought not to do, or by leaving undone what we ought to do, we are guilty of sin. The very inclination or desire to act contrary to the law of God, even when we do not give way to it, has, as the Article of our Church expresses it, "the nature. of "sinc." Theword sin, consequently, means something more than what in common language is termed crime, or vice. These two words relate chiefly to actions or habits, which are hurtful to society, or to ourselves as members of society; but sin includes whatever is contrary to the laws of God. A man may be in common repute free, not only from all crimes, but from all
c Art. ix.