« AnteriorContinuar »
of God's countenance ; and es- acter is kept up throughout, not pecially, to guard against the idea only in the description of their of his having any, even the smal conduct, but of its consequences lest degree of spiritual light and final issue. Instead of beor that his exercises are affect- ing justified, they are condemnby any kind of special or super- ed instead of being blessed, natural divine agency--but that they are accursed, and instead of they are his own-congenial with being received to glory, they his corrupt nature--the proper, will be crushed down to hell, and genuine fruits of his own carnal/ made the miserable monuments heart. They kindle a fire, not of God's eternal vengeance. God. They receive no spiritu- « This shall ye receive of mine al light from him. They com- hand, saith the Lord, ye shall lie pass themselves about with sharks. down in sorrow.” « Walk in the light of your fire.” Such is the character, state
This is directly opposite to that of and end of all self-righteous perwalking in the light ofGod's coun- sons, and self-deceived hypotenance. As opposite as dark- crites ; and I have dwelt the ness to light, or the nature of longer upon it, as it is an entire the sinner to the nature of God. contrast to the character in conThe fire which they have kin- templation. Opposites viewed dled, signifies their own fancied in connection, set off each other goodness, and inherent moral to better advantage, and in a virtue, together with the suffi- clearer point of light. This is ciency of their own natural rea- the end proposed. Let us now son and understanding. This attend to the counterpart, and is blown up by their blind ima- draw the opposite picture, by ginations and wicked desires._this rule, that whatever is essenAt this fire they warm them- tially contrary and disagreeing selves, and derive their supplies to the character expressed by of direction and strength. walking in the light of their own Walking in the light of their fire, essentially belongs to that own fire, means their practi-character expressed by walking sing in conformity with their in the light of God's countenance. own polluted consciences, mis- And we are led to see, that all guided reasons, and corrupt in those things which lie hidden, clinations. The sparks with and undiscovered to the impenwhich they compass themselves, itent heart, are brought to view are emitted from the fire they by the light of God's countehave enkindled, and in the lightnance, and the teachings of his of which they walk, and are of Spirit. This is the nature of the same nature. These are light, to discover real objects, their good works which flow and not to conceal them. from hearts of pride, and oppo- things that are reproved, are sition to God. With these they made manifest by the light: for compass themselves on every whatsoever doth make manifest, side. They lay them thick as is light. Wherefore he saith round them, to guard their con- awake thou that sleepest, and sciences from the conviction of arise from the dead, and Christ truth, and the painful sensations shall give the light." (Eph. v. of guilt. The contrast of chár- | 13, 14.) Here the impenitent
sinner is represented as both struction, teaches, and enforces asleep and dead, and he must these things as divine truth. In awake and arise from the dead our former number, it was shewn before he can receive that light that God is a sun, and Christ which Christ gives. It is not the light of the world—that the sleeping nor the dead who Christians from their relation
Destitute of spiritual and moral likeness to him, are life, they are ignorant of their also called the light of the world own hearts, blind to their true that the word of God is light, characters, to the character of and his commandment a lamp; God, and the Saviour, and hence, and his Gospel is, in the most elated with pride, they build eminent sense, light, the most high towering hopes upon the glorious light that ever shone sandy foundation of their own upon our dark and benighted righteousness and strength. But world. And they all join to the true believer hath not so manifest these things and establearned Christ, nor himself.- lish them as divinely true.
The Truth discovers error. The Apostle Paul saith, “I was alive light of God's countenance doth without the law once ;" that is, not conceal men's corruptions he walked in the light of his own and wickedness, but brings their fire, and compassed himself with most secret abominations to view the sparks of his own kindling. as in open day light, and shews “ But when the commandment the sinner to himself as a lost, came sin revived, and I died.” guilty, helpless, and hell deserv- Here was a final end of all his ing creature. Saith the Psalm- legal hopes, and pharisaical ist, « Thou hast set our iniqui- righteousness. He saw himself ties before thee, our secret sins utterly lost, ruined and helpless in the light of thy countenance.” and that nothing short of the righA view of God ever gives us an teousness of Christ, and the arm
humbling sense of ourselves.of God's free sovereign mercy "The soul that is spiritually en- could save him. This is the lightened, will freely own him- glorious end and design of the self wholly in the wrong, and gospel, to exalt God, and humble God altogether right. Fie will man, that no flesh should glory voluntarily acknowledge his na- in his presence. To this truth, ture to be total enmity against all who walk in the light of God that he never rendered God's countenance will cheers any true obedience to his lawfully subscribe. This has been that in him, naturally dwelleth the creed of the Godly in all 'no good thing that he can make ages. And I am bold to say, no atonement for the smallest of that there is not a real Chrishis past sins--can offer no justi- tian on earth, but what in the fying righteousness to Godright understanding of these that he is absolutely dependent doctrines, will freely and joyfulon free sovereign mercy, thro' | ly acknowledge them, the words the merits of Christ, and has no of eternal life. They, whom other foundation to pray for God justifies, do ever condemn mercy, or hope for salvation.
themselves, and in the same deEvery thing called spiritual gree as we enjoy the light of light, and affording spiritual in- God's countenance, we shall be
filled with self loathing and ab- | in the light of God's counten horrence. These the nance, see things in their true humbling views of Job, in the light. He sees and acknowledclear manifestations of God's ges the infinite holiness of the glory and gracious presence.- divine character, law and gov« I have heard of thee by the ernment. He is made acquainhearing of the ear, but now mine ted with the pride and pollution eye seeth thee; wherefore I ab- of his own heart, and the vilehor myself, and repent in dust ness and guilt of his own charand ashes." So the Prophet acter, with corresponding exerHabakkuk,“When I heard, my cises of his affections. And by belly trembled; my lips quivered being thus happily prepared to at the voice: rottenness entered receive the salvation of Christ, into my bones, and I trembled he becomes sweetly conformed in myself.” And the Apostle to the methods of divine grace, Paul: « This is a faithful say- as they are revealed in the glori. ing, and worthy of all accepta- ous dispensation of the gospel. tion, that Christ Jesus came in- 2. They who walk in the light to the world to save sinners, of of God's countenance, do enjoy whom I am chief.”
sweet peace, calmness and see An anecdote related by Mr. renity of mind. This is pecula Rutherford, is in point, and in iar to them. They only have the plain stile of that day mani- true peace ; and this necessarily fests the true christian spirit, in arises from right apprehensions a distinguishing point of view. of the truth, and right exerci. David Dixon, was an eminently ses of heart towards God's charpious Scotch divine, who flour- acter, government and grace. ished in the days of the high As to the wicked, who walk, by church persecution in Scotland, the light of their own fire, which and through life was a laborious is the same as total dakness, and and successful minister of Christ. whose hearts are unreconciled The good man lay upon his to God and his ways opposed death bed, and being asked by a
to his character and governreligious friend who was mak ment, his law and his gospel ing him a parting visit, what they have no true peace or comwas the present state of his fort, and it is naturaily, absolutemind, and his feelings and exer- ly, and forever impossible that cises in a view of the eternal they should have. All their atworld—by your faithfulness in tempts to climb up some other the cause of Christ, we trust way to Heaven are vain and you have laid a foundation for fruitless. They are actually opgreat comfort in a dying hour :-posing the only methods, and he replied in these memorable the eternal purposes of God's words—I have gathered up all grace, resisting the arm of ommy works both good and bad, and nipotence, and as briars and thrown them down together in a thorns or stubble fully dry, they heap before the Lord, and have are setting themselves in battle run away from them all to Christ, array against the devouring and in him I find sweet rest and flames. Their sensual pleasures peace.
are low and grovelling ; and Thus doth the soul who walks / embittered with remorse. Their Vol. V, No. 1,
expectations from the creature ful, glorious—all his ways judge are unanswered; their desires un- ment and truth-his Providence satisfied; their hopes are dashed kind and gracious, and all his with vexation, and terminate government infinitely wise and in disappointment. The divine good. His mind is enlarged, determination is an insuperable and he no longer thinks and acts and an eternal bar in the way of upon the small, narrow scale of that happiness and enjoyment, the selfish contracted mind. He they desire, and are anxiously embraces, and contemplates in seeking to obtain. They have, a general view, the eternal plan therefore, no rest, but are like of divine grace, and by faith the troubled sea whose waters considers every creature, and continually cast up mire and dirt. every event, as being in their va
There is no peace, saith my rious ways designed to subserve God to the wicked."
the great and important end God But the blessed soul who is hath in view in the creation and humbled and conformed to God, government of the world. In and walks in the light of his this view he considers every countenance, is delivered from thing to be right, and wishes for this thraldom and wretchedness, no alteration, or that any thing this miserable state of vassalage should be in any respect differand slavery to his corruptions, ent from what it is. And what and lusts. In an hearty sub- can disturb the peace and commission to God, there is true fort of the soul possessed of peace-by humbling himself he these views, and in the full exis exalted by giving all up, he ercise of this temper of mind ? enjoys all, and by dying to him. If God reign, he must be hapseif, he lives to God. The light py. 6 Great peace have they of God's countenance not only that love thy law, and nothing shews him to himself, but shews shall offend them." him the glory of God, with a learn from sundry scriptures, transforming energy upon his that it is the light of God's counsoul. It not only discovers to tenance, which thus enlarges, him his spiritual weakness and enlightens, settles and comforts wants, his sickness and wounds, the soul. Such was the bene. his wretchedness and guilt; but diction with which Aaron and his also his fullness and strength, sons were directed to bless the his remedy and cure, his happi- children of Israel (Numbers V. ness and salvation, and sweetly 24.) “ The Lord bless thee and applies these precious benefits keep thee. The Lord make his to his soul, in the pardon of sin, face to shine upon thee, and be peace of conscience, and joy in gracious unto thee. The Lord the Holy Ghost. In Christ he lift up his countenance upon discovers an infinite fulness of thee, and give thee peace. all that he wants. Here is just And in Psalm xxi. 6. « Thou such a Saviour as he needs, and hast made him most blessed forjust such a happiness as he de- ever-thou hast made him exsires. In him he enjoys sweet ceeding glad with thy countepeace. Reconciled to God, he ap- nance." A contrast to this we pears altogether right his char- find in the 30th Psalm, “ thou acter infinitely amiable, beauti- ! didst hide thy face, and I was
troubled." What is meant by the light of nature, it must be the hidings of God's face, and allowed, that they are abur danta the withdrawment of the lightly proved by the scriptures. If, of his countenance, and what then, there is a God, who is posdarkness and distress immedi- sessed of every natural and morá ately fill the mind, the childrenal perfection, it can be clearly of God, and they only truly proveu that he has a right to know.. This the Psalmist ex
govern the world, and that all perienced, and serisibly express- moral beings are accountable to ed in the 42d. Fsalm, and at the
tim. same time reproves himself foi By right, as it is here used, is his dejection and stirs himself to be understood, just claim. It up to exercise hope and trust ir. is said, that a man has a right to God.
Why art thou cast govern his children. If it be down, O my soul, and why art asked, whence is the origin of thou disquieted within me? Hope this right, aside from what is said thcu in God, for I shall yutin revelation upon the subject? praise him for the help of his The reply is, that it is fit and countenarice.”
suitable that he should govern ASAPH. them, and that they should be (To be continucd.)
obedient to him. It is manifesti ly for the good of children, that they should be in subjection to their parents.
It is true, that On accountability to God.
in some extraordinary cases, á
ence of a God, are unwil. obey its parent. If the parent Hi, to believe that he is a moral be deranged in mind, the obli: Cov?:or. It is more consonant gation to obedience on the side to toeir feelings, to suppose, that of the child ceases ; or if the he is a Being supremuiy happy parent, from anger or any other in the contemplation of his own cause, should command any perfections, but totally uncor- thing to be done, which is mor cerned about the aitairs of this ally wrong, the child would not world. From such a God, they be obliged to obey. But the would have nothing to fear. government of a parent over They might safely be as regard. Bis children, does not fully and less of him afid his perfections justly illustrate the divine gov. and attributes, as he is of them. ernment over the world. A pa. But such a God as this, is és
ment is liable to give unjust combeing of their own imagination mands through ignorance ; the and not such an one, as reascr.
Most High is not.
The gover: and revelation declare him to be.
nor of a family may command who created the heavens and the
that to be done, which is moralearth. The same arguments. iy wrong ; the governor of the which prove the existence of a world cannot. God, prove also his natural per
God has a right to the world, fections. If any be disposed to
be disposed to because it is his property. He believe, that his moral perfec- created it out of nothing, and tions are not demonstrable from therefore, it is his own and at