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men have mingled with the waters of the sanctuary would not have been suffered to foul the sacred stream! God has here given a sort of spiritual sanitary commission, so to speak, to his people not to allow the purveyors of error to mingle their deleterious mixtures with the pure stream of precious truth that cheers and satisfies the city of the Most High. The voice of the Spirit in his word saith, “Prove all things,” test them, try them by my unerring word, and "hold fast that which is good.”
Further, the Spirit directs us to "hold fast the profession of our faith.” This supposes that we have got a faith to hold, and have made an honest out-spoken confession and profession of the same. And in this day of creedless professors, it is a mercy and a blessing to be well-grounded in the truth, and not to be of those who are “carried about with every wind of doctrine," and who do not know whether they really and truly believe anything at all. Taught by the Spirit of God to revere and love his holy word, let us with all childlike simplicity and godly sincerity receive the precious, the soulsaving testimony therein given us, and with holy and manly boldness hold fast our profession thereof, and never by the grace of God be ashamed of the blessed gospel of Christ our Lord. Let us hold fast the ordinances of our God as well as the doctrines of his grace. It is no light thing to alter the form or the manner of the arrangements of his house as set forth in the word. To do so generally leads on to something even worse ; for where the institutions of Christ are set aside, there too frequently the fundamental truths of his gospel are ignored or even denied and derided.
Once more, the Spirit with a warning voice against apostacy exhorts us to "held fast our confidence, steadfast to the end." Perseverance to eternal life is the happy lot of every true believer in Christ; but it is not in the sleep of a blind, unreasoning, heedless, Turkish sort of fatalism that he arrives at that desired end of his hope, but by walking in the fear of God and taking heed to his steps according to his word. By the continued exercise of faith in the promises of God, dependence on his grace, and obedience to his commands, the child of God manifests his heavenly birth and spiritual character, and gives evidence that he is of the house of Christ. (See Heb. iii. 6, 14.) In answer to humble, continuous, earnest prayer, and in connection with the constant use of the means of grace, the Lord the Spirit, gives him grace to persevere in the way of life and godliness until he safely reaches the issue of grace in glory above. Exhortations of this kind are numerous in the word of God: "Stand fast in the faith,” “Stand fast in the Lord, "Fight the good fight of faith," and others of kindred character, all inciting to constancy and diligence with holy courage and zeal in the service of our blessed Master and Captain of our salvation. The Lord give us ears to listen with obedient attention to what the Spirit saith unto us in his holy word, and grace to hold fast our confidence in the faithfulness and care, the love and power, of our covenant God. Our heavenly Father delights in his heaven-born family, in their confidence in him, and their cheerful and loving obedience to him; and
" What more can he say than to you he hath said,
You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled," to dispel our fears, rebuke our mistrusting apprehensions, and to excite our
trust and confidence in him ? Blessed Lord, may our love to thee, our confidence in the reality and preciousness of the doctrines of thy grace, and our cheerful and hearty obedience to thy revealed will, be more manifest and abounding during this year than in any previous one of our brief lives, Amen. So prays, dear friends, yours affectionately,
A BROTHER IN CHRIST.
THE CHRISTIAN OBLIGATION.
By O. MASTERSON.
“Follow Me."-John i. 43.
ONE way in which God puts a sinner into possession of the blessings of the gospel, and the treasures of the everlasting covenant is, by opening personal intercourse between himself and the soul, which is in Bible language, calling him by his grace. This calling which is peculiarly the work of the Holy Spirit, reaches not only the ear, but the heart; as in the case of Philip, to whom the Lord addressed the words—" Follow Me. We have in this pregnant command the great business of the believer's life set forth ; following Christ, devoting himself to his service, attending to his will, treading in his steps, living to his glory, and the benefit of his people. Oh, for grace fully to enter into the Apostle's motto, in all its
experimental and practical import, "For to me to live is Christ, and todie is gain.”
In the word of God are found many distinguished examples, which we are exhorted to follow : for instance, Noah and Enoch, for their holiness; Abraham, for his remarkable faith ; Moses, for his meekness, David, for his holy fellowship with God, and devout meditation on his character and works ; Job, for his patience; the apostles, for their indifference to the honours and pleasures of life, and their grand, heroic, burning zeal and courage in preaching the gospel in the face of all the scorn and opposition they met: with. Would to God we had more of their spirit, zeal, fervour, love, and devotion. Let us seek to follow them, so far as they lived in conformity to the divine
will. But above and beyond all, to take Him, who is the embodiment of all perfection, and the fountain of all good, as our example and study.
I. In what respect is he our Pattern ? His object in coming into this world was not only to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, but to teach those how to live for whom He lived and died.
To each of His redeemed and called he says now, "Follow Me.” May we do so in the pathway of humility. Paul in writing to the church at Philippi, being desirous that deep humility might characterize their lives, directed them in a touching manner to the humiliation of the Son of God.” Let this mind be in you which was also in in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death." Stupendous thought ! he who created all things, and who was worshipped in the highest heavens, descended to a state of servitude, of poverty, of pain, and humbled himself to die the ignominious death of the Cross. This act of unparalleled humility on the part of the Son of God filled heaven with astonishment and hell with consternation. Behold our blessed Redeemer girding himself with a towel to wash the disciples' feet, and listen with feelings of adoring gratitude to the words that fell from Éis gracious lips : “ If I then, your Lord, and Master have washed your feet ye also ought to wash one another's feet; for I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you.
No traveller ever reached that blest abode,
- He gavo
Whatever our position may be in life, whether of a private or public character, let us endeavour to imitate the Saviour in the matter of humility. “In honour preferring one another.”
May we follow Him as an example of patience. This was exemplified in a truly marvellous manner in his great poverty. It is questionable whether any were ever reduced to a lower state of penury than He who possessed unsearchable riches. Born in a stable, cradled in a manger, and as He advanced in life was sometimes penniless and homeless ; “The foxes,” He said, “ have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to where to lay his head; yet not a murmur escaped His lips, nor a solitary feeling of impatience entered His heart. It was similar in all the persecutions; and sufferings He endured nothing was too base for his enemies to allego against Him-no pain too acute to inflict upon Him. His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair." He was even led as a lamb to the slaughter, yet opened not His mouth. And when He was reviled, He reviled not again.” Mark with what patience and dignified composure He bore all His sufferings, which were before leaving the world of an extraordinary nature. Bear in mind that He suffered from what He endured, from what He knew, from what He saw. Before Him was the cup of penal wrath, the contents of which He fully knew yet hear Him say in the patient determination of His soul, “The cup which My Father giveth Me shall I not drink it ? Not My will, but Thine be done." Christian brother, are you in poverty? Are you persecuted ? Are you afflicted ? Does some hidden sorrow press you down. Wonder not at this. It is a part of the Saviour's legacy, “In the world ye shall have tribulation." have not only the promise of divine help, but the presence of Him who is your example to stimulate and encourage you. Take heart, for
Enough that the way is marked by unerring wisdom: all the supplies are sure, and glory crowns the end. Then let us cheerfully follow on after Him, whose patience was not only exemplary, but whose hatred to sin was perfect. Sin is a dreadful enemy in its nature, influence, and consequences. What a fair and beautiful world this was as it came from the plastic hand of its great Creator! How happy, because how holy our first parents were ! but alas ! sin blighted all, and brought the curse upon all. Our dear Redeemer knowing the direful nature of sin, evinced His deep abhorrence of it by all he said and did. Behold His tears over Jerusalem; witness His steadfastness in the season of temptation, listen to His faithful preaching against it, His touching, and solemn admonitions to His disciples, and to His prayers on their behalf.
6 Father (said He) I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldestkeep them from the evil.” Soon after this He poured out His soul in death with a prayer for His cruel murderers, that their sin might not be charged on them. May the same mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus in our hatred to sin. To this end let us watch and pray.
For a moment we may glance at the Saviour as our pattern in His unwearied diligence in doing good. The good which He did related to this life as well as to that which is to come. “He went about doing good.” If we rightly understand the matter, the great end of a Christian's life is usefulness, All
“ The path of sorrow, and that path alone, Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown;
the recipients of Divine grace can be useful in some way, in a greater or less degree. It does not occur to our mind, that almighty God has created anything merely for its own sake and benefit. If we take a survey of the vast and varied fields of creation, by a careful investigation we shall discover that all his marvellous and mighty works have an important end to
Rivers flow to fertilize the earth; the sun shines to afford light and heat; the various planets which bespangle the heavens, have their different orbits in which to roll; and to ascend in our contemplations to the glory world, among that vast host we should not find one inactive, unemployed being. All are messengers from that world to this, taking a lively and unabating interest in our welfare. “For are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be the heirs of salvation ?" Oh, shall we then be indolent, indifferent in the best of all causes ? Shall we sit at ease who are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, and blessed with the hope of heaven, when all is activity around us and above
No, no; this cannot be. As children of the light, as partakers of the Divine nature, we must imitate Him who went about doing good. Dear fellow believer, are there no sick you can visit? Is there no enquirer after truth you can encourage ? No brother in a backsliding state you can admonish ? No friend you can take with you to the house of God? Is there no Sabbath-school in which might give instruction ? No religious tract you can distribute? No missionary society you can help ? No prayer you can offer for the spread of the gospel ? Every one has a talent; and let each believer consider in what it lies, and in what way he can best use it to advantage. Let not a sense of insufficiency or unfitness deter us from engaging in the work for which we are adapted; but rather remember that our sufficiency is of God, and that in the accomplishment of His eternal purposes, He hath been pleased to make choice of the foolish things of
the world to confound the wise, the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen ; yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are, that no flesh should glory in His
Again, what an exhibition of meekness we have in the person of the Redeemer ! The spirit of genuine meekness is diametrically opposed to austerity, harshness, roughness, and violence; and includes gentleness of spirit, amiableness of disposition, and tenderness of manner. 7. Come unto me,” said the Saviour; “for I am meek and lowly of heart." Because of the absence of this precious grace, much mischief has befallen the church of Christ, the family circle, and the various relations of life. What disinterested love ran through His whole life ! and this is the principle on which all His people should act. There are times and occasions when the spirit of love is most needful, when differences of opinion exist, when one brother offends another, when trouble and affliction come upon us; then the spirit of loving sympathy is both a stay and solace. The Emperor Julian reminded those who were under his dominion, that the Christians contributed not a little to the spread of Christianity by their singular love to each other, and by their mutual offices of exemplary kindness; and at the same time declared that unless the the heathens followed this example, their religion would not succeed. If, then, the mutual love of primitive Christians was recognized by those who were heathen, how important is it that this should be the peculiar feature of believers in the present day whose privileges are even greater than theirs, especially since the Saviour has enjoined it upon us, and enforced it by His own lovely example. Briefly, II. The obligations under which
are placed to follow Him. An examination of the following imperative passages will furnish us with several cogent reasons why we should follow Ohrist. He
“If any man
onward by the argument of His loving
That were a present far too small;
Demands my life, my soul, my all.”
serve Me, let him follow Me.” “Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me." There is, we conceive, force and beauty as well as comprehensiveness in each of these Divine precepts, and they should be observed in connection with His absolute authority. He is the possessor of all things, and the Lawgiver of His church; consequently a disregard of His commands is a contemning of his authority, and a manifestation that we are under the power of an unbelieving heart.
The debt of love we owe to Him is a further reason why we should follow the Lord. “He loved me, and gave Himself up for me.” Yes, the believer in the exercise of faith says:
He died, He rose again, He ascended on high, He intercedes for me. Remembering this, is there any sacrifice too great for me to make for Him whose love is unparalleled ? It is like a vast ocean, having a depth without a bottom, a breadth without a limit, and a length without an end.
May this precious love constrain us to follow him sincerely, faithfully, perseveringly and constantly. It is reported in the Bohemian history, that St. Wenceslaus their king one winter night, going to his devotions in a remote church barefooted in the snow and sharpness of unequal and pointed ice, his servant, Redevivius, who waited upon
his master's piety and endeavoured to imitate his affections, began to faint through the violence of the snow and cold, till the king commanded him to follow him, and set his feet in the same footsteps which his feet should mark for him. The servant did so, and either fancied a cure or found one; for he followed his prince, helped forward with shame and zeal to his imitation, and by the forming footsteps in the snow. In the same manner does our blessed Lord; for since our way is troublesome, obscure, full of objection and danger, apt to be mistaken, and to affright our industry, he commands us to mark His footsteps, to tread where His feet have stood, and not only invites us forward and
LOCAL HOLINESS. Outlines of a sermon, preached by Mr.
John Hazelton, on the morning of. Nov. 26th, at the re-opening of Ebenezer Chapel, Waltham Abbey. “ Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the
place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”—Ex, iii. 5.
MR. HAZELTON said that a very important fact was stated in the words of the text-"The place whereon thou standest is holy ground;" and a direction was given
“ Put off thy shoes from off thy feet.” Now, he would first offer a few observations on the fact asserted by God Himself for he took it that it was God who was in the fire which Moses saw; for subsequently it was said, “I am the God of thy fathers; the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” The fact asserted involved a very great and important doctrine, namely that of holiness. He did not know how it was that he did not himself more frequently preach on holiness; if his brethren in the ministry would forgive him for adverting to their sermons and services, he did not know how it was that they so seldom called the attention of their friends to this important theme. He was not sure what holiness was; he had seen a great many definitions of it, and he had tried to define it himself.
Sometimes, we spoke of holiness negatively, as that state of things from which there was an absence of all sin, uncleanness, and wickedness. Now, let them look at the doctrine of holiness in three connections; in the first place, as Divine holiness; in the second, in