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Defence of “ A Student”....
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Sunday-School Jubilee Offering Reviewed.
Synod of the Secession Chureb, Annual Meeting...e
Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, ditto. ........... 943
Theological Studies, A Word concerning.
REVIEW OF THE SUBJECT. As the traveller, when he has gained some mountain top, pauses to look bach upon the ascent, to survey the varied prospect, or prepare for the journey that still lies before him-so, having conducted our readers up the “steep ascent," and along the “ narrow way" of Personal Religion, we pause, at the end of twelve months, to examine what has been done, to enjoy what has been bestowed, or to
gird up our loins” for the work that yet remains.
Our object, in the discussion of personal religion, has been to guard our readers against two extremes—the one which rests contented with mere orthodoxy of profession, without acknowledging the power of godliness--the other wbich rests in a narrow circle of outward moralities, with. out acknowledging the necessity of godliness-and to both errors we have opposed that unvarying word of truth, that in the work of salvation, there is nothing that availeth but “a new creature.”—Gal. vi. 15.
We fear there are many who rest in the first extreme. They receive, and profess, orthodox opinions on the great subjects of the Deity of Christ, the entrance of sin and death, of justification by faith, the sovereignty and effi. cacy of grace; and yet these subjects never sink into their hearts. They acknowledge the truth in theory, wbile to the humble, loving, meek, pious, prayerful spirit of the Gospel, they are total strangers. And some, we fear, there are, 10, while they profess religion before God, yet in their transactions with men, are so destitute of a regard to truth, sobriety, honour, and integrity, that they bring reproach on the gospel of the Saviour. Well may we say, “tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon." Yet so it is : and sound it we must in the ears
of such false professors, that they may know, that while their hands are stained with the pollution of practical ungodliness, they have "neither part por lot in the matter of religion. Ye barren fig trees, in vain are ye planted in the garden of gospel ordinances-in vain do ministers dig about you--in vain do you enjoy the fertilizing influence of orthodox truth-you are only withering, unfruitful branches, fitted for everlasting burning. The
very mercies you enjoy more than others, will rise against you to con. demn you at the last day. Awake! arise from this sleep of death, and call on God, if so he will hear, that ye perish not.
The other extreme is a restįng satisfied with mere morality, with indifference on the subject of religious opinions. There are many, very many under this description. They set it down as a first principle, that it signifies little what a man believes respecting the Trinity, the atonement, or regeneration, if he owes no man any thing, and provides things honest in the sight of all men. Now, that industry and honesty are lovely features in men's characters, is visible to all. Yet has not the King of Heaven a right to claim that we should have right thoughts concerning him, and suitable affections towards bim? And is it not a robbery of him to entertain no thoughts, or unworthy thoughts, of him? What, indeed, is morality without the right know, ledge of God and the true love of God? The very morality in which man, vain man, prides himself, when scrutinized by the Searcher of hearts, is but the cleansing of the outside of the cap and platter, when the inside is full of all manner of filthiness. The man that boasts of it is but whited sepulchre; and, in fact, till he think rightly of Christ and his righteousness, and till he become renewed by the Spirit of God, he is all as an unclean thing, and his righteousnesses are but as filthy rags-weighed in the balance, the man is found wanting, and an outcast he must one day be from God, if he possess not the knowledge of Christ Jesus, our Lord, and conformity to him in heart and life. Awake then, ye Pharisaical formalists. Dare not, any longer, lightly to esteem those truths which Apostles preached, and for which Martyrs bled.' To know Jesus Christ is essentially life eternal. -- John xvii. 3. Not to love him renders man accursed.-- 1 Cor. xvi. 22. First make the tree good, and then the fruit will be good also.
But, wbile guarding our readers from resting in either
of these extremes, we have pointed them to that godly sorrow, which arises from a conviction of our sin and misery, and which worketh repentance to salvation. This is heart exercise of a most sensitive and salatary kind. It places guilty man in that humble, contrite, and anxious frame, which well becomes him, and which provides for a wel. come reception of Jesus Christ, and him crucified. The hypocrite, the formalist, the superficial professor, might find, in this point, the vanity of their claims to true religion. Their hearts have never travailed in the new birth. They have never looked on him whom they have pierced ; nor have mourned for him as one mourns for an only son; nor have been in bitterness as one that is in bitterness for a first born. And having never been emptied of self and pride, they have had no room in their hearts for the Son of Man.
Ask yourselves, dear friends, how it is with you in this matter; and ever let that faithful warning sound in your ears, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
We have, during the past twelve months, directed you above all, to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. In him ye have been taught to look for wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.--I Cor. i. 30. Your attention has been directed to him, not with the idle gaze of one viewing an extraordinary object as a mere matter of curiosity, but
as a wounded, dying Israelite was directed to the brazen serpent, where health, and happiness, and life were dependent upon the view. Believing has thus been displayed to you, not only as the exercise of the understanding admitting the truth, but as the exercise of the heart, receiving and resting on him alone for a present salvation from guilt and condemnation; and for an eternal salvation from all the consequences of sin. Have you thus, Brethren, received Christ Jesus, the Lord ? Is he now precious to you as your healer ? Has virtue gone out of him, Bo that you know and feel that you have passed from death unto life? This, Brethren, is ihe experimental knowledge of Christ, for the excellency of which Paul counted all things but loss. This is the application of the balm that alone can heal the wounded soul. If you thus enjoy Christ in your hearts, he will appear to you chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely. Your thoughts will go out after him in admiration and love, and your souls will follow him in holy and universal obedience.
The office of the Holy Spirit, in the work of redemption, has also been made prominent in our addresses. We fear there are many, even of those who preach Christ in the Divinity of his Person, and in the efficacy of his sacrifice, who seldom exhibit to their hearers the necessity of the Holy Spirit to begin, continue, and perfect the work of grace; and that there are many who, while they do not deny the influence of this Spirit to be necessary, do not expect to experience any thing like a new creation, and a total regeneration by his immediate presence. Yet bow plainly does the Scripture show, that if any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his; that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; and, that except a man thus be born of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God!
Let every man then examine whether he has experienced this blessed change of heart. For surely, to say the least, it is by no means probable, that it should have happened to you
imperceptibly. A change from darkness to light, from the love of sin to the love of a Saviour, from heing earthly, sensual, and devilish, to be spiritual, holy, and heavenly minded.-Old things passed away-a new heart, and all things new is such a transition as could not pass without a lively, heartfelt consciousness of it. If you know not such a change to have taken place, you have reason to fear that ye are strangers to it; and that having not the Spirit of Christ ye are none of his.
The peculiar consolations, and the peculiar walk and conversation of the people of God, have also been brought before you. As God is their reconciled Father, he feeds them with children's bread; as heaven is their home, they live as sojourners in this world, abstaining from fleshly lusts that war against the soul. They cannot sin, nor trifle, nor neglect eternal realities, as most men do, but they watch and pray, and give diligence to make their calling and election sure. They strive, they wrestle, they fight the good fight of faith, they lay hold on eternal life; and the crown of glory is won on the battle field, where Jesus leads them under the banner of the cross, conquer. ing and to conquer,
Finally, the condemnation of the wicked in hell we have exhibited before you; and then, directed your eyes to that heavenly happiness to which we earnestly desire and fervently pray that ye all may come.
And now if we have succeeded in the conviction and conversion of any sinner, or in ministering to the conso.