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clearing them away. The numerous facts with | tian, who prizes the Word of God and stakes the which the legend abounds, and for which we peace and prospects of his soul on the truth of have given it full credit, are so manifestly mixed its contents, to find that Word not only come up and overlaid with an after-growth of fable, unscathed out of every ordeal to which modern that no one supposes it necessary to reconcile it investigation subjects it, but actually shine with with Scripture. In short, the Pentateuch, being brighter lustre, than its warmest defenders could confessedly historical, and the legend mythical, possibly have imagined. Such a result may well they differ toto coelo, and cannot, in the very lead us to exclaim with the sacred penman, “Thy nature of things, infringe upon each other. It word, O Lord, is written in heaven." cannot, then, but afford gratification to the Chris
THE HIGHER CHRISTIAN LIFE.
and Spirit of God that their life should men stand irrecoverably committed to the enterprise ;
Spirit works within them a divine yearn- Cortes, landing on the shore of Mexico, burned his ing and longing after perfectness. And all the Word ships, and the Spaniards, seeing return to Europe imbehind them calls and exhorts : “Be ye perfect, as God possible, pushed on to victory. is; cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and So, when the believer decides on the Christian life, let spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
him decide irrevocably, let him cut off his retreat, and Happy the man who could, by any word of his, help keep open no communications with the world. When we forward the child of God in this great matter ! embark on the spiritual life, let us cut the cable and com
Is not the chronic state with most of us an approving mit ourselves to the spiritual life definitely and for ever. the things that are more excellent, without conscien- Of the pilgrims of eternity it is written, “ Truly, if they tiously doing them; a life saddened and embarrassed by had been mindful of that country from whence they a body of death; a prayer every morning for grace, which came out, they might have had opportunity to have reseems too often to expend itself in pious breath, instead turned: but now they desire a better country, that is, of embodying itself in pious practice; a struggle for an heavenly.” This implies that though abundant oppority, which never seems any nearer a successful | portunity of return to the world offers itself, all such opstruggle or victory ; a sincere faith in spiritual perfect portunity is rigidly renounced. ness, with a performance that lags miserably behind; a While we still toy and dally with the world and the striving after Christian excellence and eminence, along senses, the higher Christian life is for us impossible. with an earthly-mindedness that disputes every inch of The bride becomes a much better wife because of the the way?
irrevocable nature of marriage. What God hath joined And this till one believer asks, as if in doubt together she never dreams of sundering. Her heart is "Tis a point I long to know,
given up once for all. Thenceforth she loves and lives Oft it causes anxious thought,-
for her husband. Even so we should be the spouse of Do I serve the Lord or no?
Christ—more holy and happy if we took religion for better, Am I his, or am I not?”.
for worse, for richer, for poorer, and were done with all And another, half impatiently,
halfness and all hesitancy. Great God, and shall we ever live
This is one advantage, among others, of the Lord's At this poor dying rate?”
table. It definitely commits the convert, the believer, And yet another yearns sorrowfully,
to the Christian life, and helps him to realise that he
stands pledged to Christ and the spiritual life in him. "O for a closer walk with God!”
How does this help us in the pursuit of holiness ? Now, there are one or two thoughts on this subject which Why, in the first place, it saves us from the weakness we have felt and found helpful, and which may be a that attends all vacillation. Free from that moral stimulus and a strength to others also.
squint that looks two ways for happiness, the single eye One of these may be put thus : A Christian should looks straight on to the kingdom of God. Instead of cut off his retreat.
halting between two, we walk erect and energetic. The When a leader of high emprise would inspire himself heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. We are dead to and his army with determined courage that ensures sin. We have nothing more to do with idols. The success, he burns the bridges behind his march, and so world is crucified to us, and we to it. We have opened cuts off all chance of retreat. All chance of retreat our mouth to the Lord, and we cannot go back. The heart is “united,” or unified, and through this oneness We get not only a justified footing, but a sanctified and singleness grand spiritual power is gained. The force. We are endowed with a robuster spiritual health, Old Testament saint says, “ One thing have I desired ;” which no longer merely fights with the disease of sin, Jesus Christ declares,“One thing is needful;" the New but refuses to catch the infection of evil—throws it off by Testament saint cries, " This one thing I do."
its own exuberance of vitality. Oh! is not this exactly Then, again, this entire consecration to the spiritual | what we all long for, and need more and more ? Power life cuts off the occasions of sin; and sin, deprived of to be good, power to do right-not by constraint, but use and exercise, weakens and withers. The believer willingly- not for wrath but conscience' sake-spontanesays, I am Christ's, I belong to him, how can I take the ously, naturally, pleasantly. members of Christ and lend them to sin ? How shall I, If it be said this state is only for heaven, or at soonest being dead to sin, live any longer therein ? The intense for millennial glory, we reply, This very state seems condirection of the Spirit towards heavenly things leaves the templated by Christ and Christianity as for the present earthly and sensual without nourishment, till they fade life and every day. In the writings of the practical away in their places. For, while the Spirit of God is Paul, as well as of the more speculative John, it is the great worker in sanctification, he ever works in us everywhere supposed that the believer may even here, and according to the constitution of our souls as God formed now, get a life in Christ that is spiritually efficient. One them, and according to that constitution one chief way says, “ Be filled with the Spirit, live in the Spirit, walk of learning to do well, is ceasing to do evil. “Walk in in the Spirit.” The other says, “ He that is born of the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” God doth not sin, cannot sin, because he is born of God." It is by yielding ourselves up to the dominion of God It is not sinless perfection which is thus aimed at—that, that sin loses its dominion over us (Rom. vi. 13, 14). indeed, is reserved for heaven-but a life so entirely
Therefore, in the pursuit of holiness and the higher given over to the Spirit, a heart so naturalized and acChristian life, once the hand is put to the plough, look- climatized to the gospel, that the man lives and moves ing back is fatal.
in an element of faith and atmosphere of love, bringing
forth the fruits of holiness without forcing. Another thought on this subject may be put thus : A recent infidel poet derides Christianity as a religion Christianity must become natural to us.
that merely forbids and restrains. Now, even if we We speak of "putting on Christ.” The word may could only point to its ascetic power of self-control, curbmean such an appropriation of Christianity as that it ing and quenching the grusser appetites, we could point fits us like a living integument, growing with us, and to a very good thing. But the Church ought to show so which we never dream of putting off. A Christianity much spontaneous living, kindly, natural piety and which has become our own—a living part of us—such positive charity as to furnish a triumphant refutation. Christianity becomes a second nature, and Christ in us Christianity should become natural. Sin is unnatural. a second self.
Grace restores the native and normal state once more. As no man is thoroughly Germanized, for example, Christianity, as a second nature, a restored image of until he thinks in German, so, it may be said, no man is God in the beauty of holiness, is the aim of the gospel entirely Christianized until he thinks Christianity. If and the realized spiritual life. we are continually catching ourselves in some well- By these remarks the believer is pointed to two defined sin, and then correcting ourselves by the Word great principles which would help forward the higher of God, we may be Christians in that we are applying to Christian life : the one, the irrevocable committing of life the principles of the gospel. But we have not at- ourselves to the spiritual life with whole-hearted consetained the freedom and power of the higher life in the cration; the other, an habitual living in the Spirit as Spirit. We are in the state described by a recent Chris- the soul's element, so as to gain a natural, living, spontian philosopher* thus—“Christianity is a thing which taneous piety. we indeed have apprehended, but which has not appre- We have not indicated as yet the usual helps, such hended us;" it has not yet possessed us with a new in- as prayer and watchfulness. He who neglects these, stinct so as to become our second nature.
while indulging loftier speculations, will possibly fall In this higher state we are “ dead to sin,” not merely into sin, as the rapt star-gazer puts his foot in the in a legal way, but also in the way of feeling. In the mire. This is written for Christians, and Christians access of the Spirit which he experienced, the late Dr. know they cannot attain to anything good without Duncan, of the Free Church, declared that sin lost for prayer and watching, which are just the right and left him its power to tempt. The body of sin is destroyed. hands of this enterprise. Now learn a parable of the The life is killed out of it by the cross of Jesus. The telegraph wires. The wires draw their subtle force from fetters of sinful habit are broken, and the soul set free the skies-from the fires of heaven ; but they must to serve God. “The law of the spirit of life in Christ lean on earth, and touch the earth at points along their Jesus makes us free from the law of sin and death."
course. Lo, at every point where they touch earth,
they are carefully insulated, to keep the ethereal ele* Harless on Christian Ethics.
ment or power from being drawn off and lost. So believing prayer may obtain for us the spirit and power of there is such a good religious tone? Partly, no doubt, godliness; then at the many points of business and social because the men and women so engaged are among the intercourse where we touch this world, let a holy watch- more spiritually-minded of the place; but also, in great fulness insulate the soul and guard it from harm and loss. part, because, by the kindly law of the kingdom, they
Again: the higher spiritual life is helped by devout who seek to benefit others are benefited themselves. intercourse with living experienced disciples; and of We live nearer to God when we try to bring others this there is quite too little among us. It is not neces- closer to him. We feel more of the dear love of Jesus sary I should have exactly my neighbour's experience; when we see how eagerly the sick and the sorrowing but my neighbour's experience may help me to perceive grasp at his cross. Therefore the young convert and a little better how I stand with regard to the deeper young communicant who wishes to grow in grace and things of God. In all “times of refreshing," when the advance in religion ought at once to engage in some higher life is the rule, “they that fear the Lord speak department of Christian usefulness. often together," and face answers to face, and eye to eye, Finally, whether in the ways here indicated, or laywith the kindling of a holy enthusiasm. And it is found | ing hold on other helps, let the pilgrim of heaven push -in remote stations in India, as well as in places at home vigorously on ; let the believer aim at, and never rest -- little prayer circles, by maintaining spiritual fellowship, satisfied short of, the higher spiritual life. maintain and advance the spiritual life.
Three divine words will guide us into the way, and if Another great help is Christian work rightly under-realised by us, will keep us in the way; and these, in taken and carried on. How does it come that in a con- the order of the blessed Trinity,' are—“WALK WITH vention of Sunday-school teachers or district visitors I GOD"_"ABIDE IN Christ"_" LIVE IN THE SPIRIT.”
THE LORD'S-DA Y.
IN TWO PARTS
HIS is one of those practical subjects ceremonies, as well as moral duties—we might
that ill endure confused ideas. For easily have supposed it was a commandment every week of our lives we must act suited only to the childhood of the Church, and
in some way in reference to it. And not binding on us. Instead of that, it is one of it will make the greatest difference as to the the ten. These ten commandments were carefully thoroughness and decision of mind with which distinguished from the rest. “These words the we shall endeavour to hallow this day, whether Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount, We believe the observance of it to be based on out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the express will of God, or simply on human the thick darkness, with a great voice : and he authority, or our own view of what is expedient. added no more” (Deut. v. 22). They were also If the following remarks should help to bring any engraven in stone with the finger of God. What out of the region of doubt and uncertainty into could more denote continuance and unchangeablethe clear light of God's word on the subject, the ness than engraving in stone? And they were writer will be most thankful.
placed in the ark. The ark derived its name The main thing that meets us at the outset is from them, being called “the Ark of the that the command to keep holy one day in seven Covenant.” Now, the ark represents Christ. * is one of the ten commandments. The fourth The ark with the ten commandments in it is commandment, in language which adapts itself to Christ,—who says to his Father, “Thy law whichever day God may choose men to keep, is within my heart” (Ps. xl. 8). If, then, Christ whether Saturday or Sunday, tells us that after six has the fourth commandment in his heart, shall days of our own work the seventh is to be kept we cast it out of ours ? The promise of the new holy for God. If this had been placed among those mixed precepts which Moses taught the
* For those psalms which were evidently written on occasion people-precepts concerning meats and drinks, of the ark being carried up into Mount Zion point through that
to the ascension of Christ. (See Ps. xxiv, and lxviii; and comwashings and sprinklings, feast days and outward
pare Ps. lxviii. 1 with Num. 1. 35.)
covenant is, that those same laws which were a six days with one day of rest, make more iron “ministration of death, written and engraven in than if they were worked incessantly without a
(2 Cor. iii 7), under the old covenant, day of rest ?." should be written in the hearts of the people of
• We have found it so." God (Heb. viii. 10). Do we not wish them to This agrees with that saying of our Lord, “The be written in ours ?
Sabbath was made for man.' The weekly rest is It is acknowledged by every one that all the found also to be good for the cattle which share rest of the ten commandments are "moral," and man's labour. At a Social Science Congress in therefore binding on every one at all times. It Dublin, Mr. Bianconi, the great coach and car is binding always on every one not to profane proprietor, stated that since he had left off runGod's name, not to commit murder, not to steal, ning his cars on Sundays, his horses were able to not to covet. These things are right, not merely travel more miles in six days than they had bebecause they are commanded, but of their own fore done in seven. At the time of the infidel nature; and therefore these laws can never be French Revolution there was an attempt to do changed. Now, the command to do our own away, not only with the Sabbath-day, but with work in six days, and to keep the seventh day the system of weeks altogether, and to divide holy, is placed in the midst of these unchangeable time into portions of ten days. But the system laws. Can any one believe that, if it were not to did not work, and they had to come back to the last as long as the world lasts, it would have been week of seven days, which, from the time of the placed by God among the unchanging laws of the creation, God had appointed for us by the changes ten commandments ? By its being so placed, it of the moon, and then had sanctioned in his is in fact revealed to us that the keeping of one written Word. day in seven as holy to God is a thing right in And as it has been found by experience that its own nature. And experience confirms this. the weekly rest is good for men's bodies, and that For this law is found to be in accordance with worldly business prospers better by being put the constitution of man, and necessary to his well- aside every seventh day, so we may appeal to the being both of body and soul. For every law experience of all Christians whether the keeping which enforces homage to God is also ordained in of that day holy is not also for their spiritual mercy to man. First, then, it is in accordance good. We all know that but for it we should be with our bodily, constitution. It is found that in the greatest danger of being drowned and overmore work can be done in the long-run by resting whelmed by the business of this world, and of one day in seven than by working all seven days having our spiritual life quenched altogether ; alike. Mr. Bagnall, an iron-master, whose firm whereas, when God enables us to use the Lord'semployed from fifteen hundred to two thousand day well, our hearts are refreshed, and we carry a work-people, gave the following evidence in 1841 better spirit with us into all the concerns of the before a committee of the House of Lords. Hav- week. We say, then, that the experience of men ing stated that the stoppage of furnaces on Sun- proves that the holy keeping of one day in seven days had become almost general, and that his is good both for body and soul. And this conown had been so stopped for two years all but a firms us in what we had been already taught by month, he was asked,
finding this commandment in the midst of the ten “What has been the result of your own ex- -namely, that the consecration to God of one day perience ?"
in a week is a part of the moral law, being a He replied, “We have made rather more iron thing unchangeably right of its own nature, and since we stopped on Sundays than we did not merely right because it is commanded. before.”
A still further confirmation of this is given by "To what do you attribute the large make ?” the fact of a weekly rest having been ordained
“To the men's having a day's rest. We have from the beginning of the world. For this is made more iron since."
certainly the impression which an unsophisticated “ You mean that your workmen, labouring for person would receive from reading the following words in the second chapter of Genesis :-“Thus "fulfilled” it; which means, at least for one thing, the heavens and the earth were finished, and all that he completed it,- he brought it up to the full the host of them. And on the seventh day God perfection of what it was intended to be, and apended his work which he had made : and he plied it, not only to men's actions, but even to rested on the seventh day from all his work which their words, and looks, and thoughts. Apply the he had made. And God blessed the seventh day spirit of this teaching to the fourth commandand sanctified it: because that in it he had rested ment. Shall we conclude from it that Christ from all his work which God created and made.” came to destroy that commandment; or rather, The writer had been giving an orderly account of that he would carry it far beyond the mere outwhat God had done on each successive day, and ward letter, and would have us, not merely to having arrived at the seventh day, he said : “And rest in body, but also in thought and in spirit, he rested on the seventh day from all his work from the occupations of the six days? which he bad made. And God blessed the But then, it is said by some that our Lord's own seventh day and sanctified it.” Out of the joy of example is so much against the strict keeping of his own rest, he blessed the day on which he the Sabbath-day, as at least to prepare men's rested, and gave to man to partake of his joy. It minds for its being laid aside altogether. Our is unreasonable to treat as an objection to this Lord was certainly accused by his enemies of that Moses had to instruct the Israelites about breaking the Sabbath-day. But as, when the the Sabbath at the time the manna was given in Pharisees called him a gluttonous man and a the wilderness. The Israelites had been a people friend of sinners (meaning that he encouraged of slaves, and no doubt their taskmasters gave them in their sins), they were dreadfully wrong, them no Sabbaths, and they had become brutal- so it would be no wonder if they were wrong in ized by their bondage. But when God had set calling him a Sabbath-breaker. No doubt, our them free, he gave them his Sabbaths again. Lord rebuked that frivolous mode of observing This institution of the Sabbath from the begin- God's laws (straining out a gnat but swallowing ning of the world agrees perfectly with the fact a camel) which destroys the vitality and power that the Sabbath is suited to the nature of man. of what it professes to observe ; but this was in If it is good, not only for Israel but for mankind the interest of the Sabbath, and not against it. at large, it is only natural that, as it was ordained Thus our Lord defended his disciples against confrom the beginning, so it should continue to the demnation as though they had been thrashing and end.
winnowing corn, when, having nothing better to But there are persons who tell us that this eat, they had simply rubbed out the ears of corn in command is done away by Christ. It would their hands, that they might eat the grains-an indeed be a wonderful thing if Christ, the Son of excellent example, if any were wanted, against any God, had struck out one of the ten command- one forbidding the use of a knife and fork on ments. Therefore let us see.
Sundays! Again, our Lord healed the sick on First of all, our Lord Jesus Christ said: “Think the Sabbath-day. Now, if any one were to object not that I am come to destroy the law and the pro- to carry a sick man to the hospital on the Sabphets : I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil" | bath-day, or on that day to send out the life-boat (Matt. v. 17). And after saying this, he gave a to a shipwrecked crew, it would be quite to the few examples of what he meant. Thus, he said point to say that our Saviour never omitted to do that the commandnient to do no murder would a work of mercy because it was the Sabbath-day. be broken even by a passionate word ; and that But our Lord, in justifying himself to the Jews the commandment not to commit adultery would for healing the sick on the Sabbath-day, never be broken by an impure look; and, moreover, said or hinted that the Sabbath was about to be that it would be broken even by what had been done away, but that the Sabbath was not really allowed by Moses--namely, putting away their broken by what he did. He reminded them that wives by giving them a writing of divorcement. they did not omit to circumcise a child when the Thus our Lord, instead of destroying the law, eighth day from the birth fell on a Sabbath-day;