Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

science,-he returned to it with the l others." Is this a fault into which ve burden lifted clear away. Now, he are in no danger of falling? Nas, is could lift his eyes to heaven. Now, he it not a fault into which we fall, every noed beat upon his breast no more. one of us, every day? When we think Now, for him, there was no condem that the truth lies wholly with us, and nation. For the Pharisee there re when we decry or contemn those who mained--what there had been before differ from us,--that is Pharisnjama a fearful looking for of wrath and of When we shut ourselves up in our little fiery indignation !"

cliques, and look round contemptuously I cannot pursue the history of these upon the Church or the world, fancy men further. The parable has served ing that the Lord has revealed Himsel its purpose, and our Lord tells us no to us only,--that “ we are the people more. I may, however, suggest an and that wisdom will die with us, issue, in the words of one of our recent | --that is Pharisaism. When we look religious poets:

coldly or sternly upon an erring bro “ The Pharisee informed the Lord

ther or sister, -unloving, unforgiving How good a life he led;

--that is Pharisaism. When we have ng The publican shrunk back in shame, sympathy for the weaknesses of out And emote his breast instead:

fellow-creatures, forgetting ourselves But when the Lord, in tender love,

lest we also be tempted, -that is Phael The penitent cominended, The hypocrite, with heart unchanged,

risaism. When we are willing to be Straightway his prayer amended. lieve the worst of those who are around “ Says be, ‘The man who says he's worst,

us,-readily receiving, gladly retailing, : Is by the Lord thought best;'

any stories that we may hear to their So next wben be to worsbip went,

disparagement, -- that is Pharisien. As publican he dressed;

When we put on a long face and a sour
And smote upon his hollow heart,
And bowed hinn down and groanei,

countenance, simulating a sanctitythat And, proud of his humility,

we do not possess,that is Pharisaien. His unfelt sins he owned.

When we pray at prayer-meetings, of: “ The publican-an altered man- .

even in the closet, asking with appaCane too, with lified head,

rent earnestness for things for which And joyfully gave thanks to God

we care nothing,--that is Pharisaisi. For the new life be led :

When we plead that God's kingdom
The Lord again His offering took.
Still spurpoil the Pharisee's;

may come, and that His will may be For sometimes tears and sometimes thanks,

done, and when yet we fold our hands, But only truth can pleaso."'*

and do nothing to hasten the coming

of His kingdom,---that is Pharia9. And now, I have to ask you to con When we are very religious on Sunsider with me, in a word or two, the | days, and very irreligious, or very lessons that are to be learnt from this moderately religious, on Mondays.parable. The first lesson is contained I that is Pharisaisi. When we are prin the words of our Lord, Beware of foundly pious in the church or in pubthe leaven of the Pharisees, which is lic, and go home to be cross with our hypocrisy." It would be a sad mistake | wives, and ill-natured with our chilto suppose that Pharisaism had passed dren, and harsh and overbearing to away with the timeof ourLord. Perhaps our servants and dependants,--that is there never was a time when Pharisa Pharisaism. When we give strangers ism was more rifo than it is now. For, reason to say what good people we consider again, just for a moment, are, and when those who know us wbat Pharisaism is. It is described most intimately have reason to shrug by our Lord, as “trusting in ourselves | their shoulders, and to doubt whether that wo are righteous, and despising we have any goodness in us at all.

[ocr errors]

that is Pharisa ism. Vow, my readers, ; -vou may be “ justified” this very do you doubt whether Pharisaism ex- 1 day ! Oh, let your language be :ists in the present day? It is here ; it " Just as I am- without one plea, is in this place; it is in my heart; it is: But that thy blood was shed for me, in your hearts! “Beware of the leaven

And that thou bidd'st me come to thee, of the Pharisees, which is hypo

O Lamb of God, I come ! crist!"

“ Just as I am-though tossed about, To those who feel themselves to

With many a contlict, many a doubt, be sinners, how much comfort should

Fightings within, and fears without,

O Lamb of God, I come ! this parable bring! This man went boon to his house justified.And so may !

" Just as I am-thou wilt receive, Fou! If you confess your sins as

Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,

Because thy promise I believe, he did, -if you are contrite as he was,

O Lamb of God, I como !

“IS IT PEACE ?"

BY THE LATE REV. JAMES CUBITT.

Pzace is confessedly a great blessing, and one whose prevalence anywhere supplies an occasion for unfeigned thankfulness and joy.

How essential to the security of states— to the prosperity of churchesto the comfort of families—is this blessing of peace ! In those countries which are unhappily at this moment the scene of intestine strife, what multitudes, we may presume, do earnestly desire the restoration of peace ! In Christian societies, a sound, scriptural, healthy peace cannot be too highly valued, nor its loss too greatly deprecated: “Where envying and strite is, there is confusion and every evil work." The loss of peace in the Church seldom comes alone , usually manifold evils follow in its train ; the Spirit is grieved, the brethren are wounded, prosperity is at an end. And, as for the family circle, the blessedness of domestic peace, and the wretchedness of domestic turmoil, are too obvious to require comment. In states, in churches, in families, then, peace cannot be too devoutly desired, too sacredly cherished. Hence the frequency of the exhortation in Scripture, to “pray for peace,” to " strive for peace,” to “cultivate peace."

But interesting and important as is social peace, there is a peace which to mie, as an individual, is yet more important; and that is, my owln peace. It is then as a personal question, that we wish, in this place, particularly to urge the inquiry, “Is it peace ?"- peace within, peace with conscienec, peace with God. The Bible says a great deal about this personal peace; it is, in fact, the grand theme of divine revelation, “ Peace on earth, and good will towards men.” It cannot, then, but be desirable, that I should entertain the question with seriousness and in earnest, “ Is it peace ?And that which invests this question with amazing importance is the fact, that the inquiry evidently implies an alternative; an alternative which is not only barely possible, but exceedingly probable; an alternative which actually exists in a multitude of cases, and may therefore exist in mine. All have not peace with God; all have not peace of conscience. There are some who do not like to retain the thought of God; whose every feeling is enmity against Him; yea, whose whole life is one continued course of hostility and resistance; and who, in consequence, are the subjects of disquietude, apprehension, and alarm. Is it thus with me?

And with a view of making out this inquiry, let me ask-Is it peace with me, in regard to the character of God ? In reflecting on his perfections, thinking on Him as a Spirit pervading the universe with his essence, to whom all things are naked and open, whose eyes are upon the ways of a man, yea, who scrutinises into the secrets of the hcart; who is pure, and cannot bear that which is evil ; just, and will render unto every man according to his works ; mighty, and will perform all his pleasure; truc, and cannot deceive; faithful, and will not revoke his word, nor alter the thing which is gone out of his mouth-do I experience satisfaction and pleasure, or hatred and disgust?

Is it peace in reference to his law ? Considering the law of God under which I am placed, and which I am bound to obey in its “exceeding breadth," as taking notice not only of actions but of thoughts and principles of actions, and as denouncing wrath on every transgressor, do I approve of it notwithstanding, delight in it after the inward man, consent to it that it is good? or am I dissatisfied with it; do I complain of its strictness and severity, and long to be free from the restraints which it imposes on me?

Is it peace in relation to the gospel of God? The gospel reveals God's method of saving sinners; but this method is opposed to the pride and selfsufficiency of the human heart. It requires me to become a fool that I may be wise ; to renounce myself, my works, my worthiness, every ground of boasting, that I may win the Saviour. It sets before me Christ crucified, and points to His perfect righteousness as the only way by which God wil be just and yet the justifier of the guilty, as the only medium through which pardon flows, and reconciliation is secured. It expects me to receive salvation as a free gift-an undeserved favour; and it positively denies to me its blessings on any other terms. Do I cordially accept them on these terms! or am I offended in being thus ranked, in the affair of my salvation, with the vilest and the worst of men ?

And with regard to the Divine Government, is it peace? The arrangements and proceedings of God's government are in many respects perplexing and inscrutable: they are far above, out of sight, and not unfrequently such as to involve suffering where we should have expected enjoyment, or to grant apparent immunity where we should have looked for immediate punishment. If we attempt to judge of them by the principles which regulate ourselves, we are entirely at a loss to account for them ; they bewilder and confound us ; and like Asaph, we shall be exceedingly apt to exclaim, “Verily, I hare cleansed my heart in vain ; I have washed my hands in innocency;" or with the impious in the days of Job, “ What is the Almighty that we should serve him, or what profit should we have if we pray unto him?” The un godly do in fact thus feel and speak; they are at enmity against God; and among the ways in which that eninity displays itself, disaffection, distrust, resistance in regard to His government, are some of them. Does such a state of mind and conduct characterise me ? or can I cordially approve of, and

cheerfully submit to, that government, having an unwavering confidence in je wisdom, rectitude, and love which preside in it; and an assured hope töat, with all its mysteries, it wears towards me, through the Mediator, a benignant aspect, and that its acts will all be rendered subservient to my bippiness?

Now, these are interesting inquiries, and such surely as ought not to be tastily and summarily dismissed. And why should they be thus dismissed ? "rather, why should they not be entertained, and that in a manner becomin their acknowledged importance, and the magnitude of the interests in

ved in the issue? For is it not for my life ? Are not my present ciort, my eternal well-being, bound up in this one inquiry—“ Is it Tutte ?"

Sow, supposing the question to be met, and satisfactorily answered, soa s that to the inquiry, “Is it peace ?” I am able, after careful, prayerful, aiberate investigation, to reply, It is peace; through grace, God and I are one. Though He was angry, his anger is turned away. Confidence is restored. Reconciliation has been effected on honourable terms, and with an intelligent, Comprehensive view of the character, the law, the government of God. "His Reitors do not make me afraid." I feel at home with Him. I can reflect on His perfections without alarm, on His law without apprehension, on His puternment without distrust. And as for conscience, sprinkled with the blood of atonement, it has eise; it is unburdened ; it is at rest. It no longer

indemns me, but gives a consentaneous testimony with that of the Spirit 1 God that I am born of God. While all the faculties of my soul, imposing in God as their proper centre, find perpetual tranquillity, "perfect

Ataca."

I say, supposing this to be the issue of the inquiry, carefully conducted, that can be conceived of as more delightful - delightful under all circumtances, and at every season? I shall be able to reflect, that come what may ime without-whatever convulsions in society- whatever embarrassments in

mmerce—whatever divisions in the church-wliatever trials in my family -*thatever losses in my business—whatever protracted or severe affliction in Lup body, there is at least peace within, peace with Gud. That here, in the sanctuary of my own soul, I shall experience quietness. That if trials come, 28 come they unquestionably will, they will not be aggravated and embittered

the thought that they are endured under the frown of God; that in this Tery furnace I am alone, not cheered by the presence of the Son of Man, ror solaced with His smile. Nor in the midst of some almost insupportable Tief, occasioned, it may be, by doinestic trial or unlooked-for reverses, shall I be lashed well-nigh to madness by the melancholy thought, This is but an astalment of grief, of grief in reserve, of grief inconceivably more bitter auch yet awaits me, if not in this world, at least in another, as the fruit of by sin; for there is no friendship between me and God. Hence I have terything to fear from One who is mighty to punish as to save, and under whose hand I have not huubled myself that I might be exalted in due time. lor if death should come and summon me unexpectedly to my last account, Til he be regarded as an unwelcome messenger-for “death is also mine ;'

and knowing whom I have believed, I shall realise a holy confidence in regard to its issue.

But suppose the contrary to be true that this inquiry respecting my in dividual peace should terminate unfavourably-that I find myself at variance with God, my heart at enmity, my life in rebellion, and, as the consequence, my whole mind in anxiety and disquietude—so that whatever else in my situation and circumstances is agreeable or joyous, there is at least this serious «Iraw back to the pleasure I might derive from these sources—that there is ti me no solid, satisfactory, lasting peace—that that which I have been to ready at times to take for it is but the lull of hostility—that the Divine Being does not view me with complacency, but with disapprobation and dis pleasure that He is angry with me every day, and that sooner or later, an. in all probability at the very period when I am least anticipating it, th: anger will display itselt by an outbreak of the most terrible and unappeasah. vengeance. Admitting, I say, this to be my actual condition, can it be known, realised, confessed too soon? Better, surely, better by far, to know the worst, let it cost what it may of present anxiety or alarm, while it admi: of a remedy, than to persist in self-flattery and delusion, until “fear sha! come as a desolation, and destruction as a whirlwind.” And come they unquestionably will, unless judgment be arrested by a speedy appeal to mercy; for while the presumptuous and self-confident are saying, “ Peace, peace," sudden destruction shall come upon them, and they shall not escape

In the meanwhile let me bless God that, sad and fearful as it is for a creature to be found in rebellion against his Maker, the case even of such an one is not yet hopeless. Reconciliation is offered through the gospel to the chief of sinners. Yea, God himself condescends as yet to beseech such to be reconciled, declaring “that he hath made him to be sin for us whu knew D. sin, that we might be inade the righteousness of God in him.”

And shall there, on my part, be no grateful response to such language no cordial acceptance of such overtures ? or rather, amidst the “ thoughts of many things " which are always ready enough to crowd upon my attentice shall I not seize the present moment to entertain this at least as a personal an all-important, a practical question, “Is IT PEACE 1 "

« AnteriorContinuar »