« НазадПродовжити »
THE publication of this little volume can hardly require an apology. Most of what is here said may be found in Bp. Wilson's maxims, and the rest in other books : there is not any thing new in substance on any of these pages, but there is something new in the fashion and form of them, which may render them useful, where a better book might have been rejected. The following remarks are submitted to each reader, aş hints to be followed
In the present state of the world, it does not appear to be what is commonly called belief that is so much wanted, as Christian love, and a continual sense of the obligations consequent upon that love. There is a belief which exists almost without hope, and without an adequate sense of the value of immortal souls-a belief that has little to do with Chris
tianity. We are told that devils believe and tremble: but it is our privilege to believe, and with our faith to cherish hope and charity: to which end, Christ crucified is evidently set be
The doctrine, as distinct from the fact, of the Atonement has been well shewn to be full of mercy. The Saviour might have died for us, and we not have known it; and then we could not have felt His constraining love, the thrilling sweetness of His call. Love is the fulfilling of the law ; love to God and man the secret strength of Christianity. The greatest sinners may repent and bring forth fruits meet for repentance, and be
with that free Spirit blessed Which to the contrite can dispense The princely heart of innocence.
If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him
us, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things ? It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, who is ever at the right hand of God, who also
Who shall sepa
maketh intercession for us. rate us from the love of Christ? We are His if we do His will, and by that only, not by any outward profession of any formal creed, can we know ourselves to be His. Our souls must own Him as their element of life, even as our bodies own the air we breathe. If evil befal us not, if no plague come nigh our dwelling, or if the shadows of the valley of death lie damp on our souls, and our God appear as though he would slay us, we must love Him still, and bless His love, though
behind a frowning Providence.
If these prayers be deemed wanting in attempts to express this love, let each individual provide for himself the language calculated for the utterance of his own feelings. Our Common Prayer supplies an admirable proof how the strongest words may be used without departing from respect and sobriety of thought.
There is a strong evidence of the corrupted state of our hearts in the multitude of meanings imposed upon one word, and the vague
ness of all language. Words will not exactly and truly set forth one full and one only meaning in matters of religion without the greatest
And after all this care, they must be taken in a certain sense, and for that purpose, they who speak, and they who are spoken to, must be of a particular character. The want of allowance for this defect of language has led to much idle dissension, and to disputes more resembling that about the black and white shield, than any reasonable argument. It must be kept in mind always, that our conduct is the only evidence of our faith to mortal eyes, which cannot read our hearts; and that any discussions about a faith which cannot be traced in our conduct, are unprofitable.
The general difficulties which harass a Christian's mind to any grievous extent occur to him at the beginning of his Christian life. As he advances in his career, they haunt him less and less ; and instead of being sorely perplexed in mind, he feels embarrassed in the conduct of himself through the passing day. His heart acknowledges the truth of his rea