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OF CHRISTIAN MOTIVES

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the one hand, and the moral law, on the other, were in several points of view only partially unfolded : under the dispensation of the Gospel, both are revealed to us in their fulness. Now, as faith in the religion of the Jews was sufficient to sustain an obedience to the law, as it was prescribed to the Jews; so faith, in the religion of Christians--if it be indeed a living principle working by love—will also be found sufficient to sustain an obedience to the law, as it is enjoined on Christians. If we reflect on all the glorious features of the scheme of redemption-on the compassion of our heavenly Father, as displayed in the coming of his Son-on the condescension and all-availing sacrifice of Emanuel, God with us—and if these great truths make their way, by faith, to our hearts, we are furnished with the most generous and powerful of motives, to the full surrender of our own will to the will of the Sapreme Being. We are impelled, “ by the mercies of God” in Christ Jesus, to present our bodies “ a living sacrifice.” Delivered from the power of darkness, through faith in the blood of the covenant, and “ translated into the kingdom” of the “ dear Son” of God, we find it to be at once our indispensable duty, and our highest privilege, to submit ourselves to his government, to follow his example, and to obey the whole of his law.

Nor ought it to be forgotten, that, by that clear revelation of a future eternity of rewards and punishments, which forms so principal a feature of the religion of Christ, another motive is communicated to the human mind-a motive of infinite weight and importance—by which, if we act on reasonable principles, we may well be induced to deny ourselves—to crucify our affections and lusts—and, with all holy pa

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tience and perseverance, to“

press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus :" Phil. ii, 14.

But, Christianity not only furnishes us with higher motives to a life of obedience and virtue, than were ever presented to mankind through any other medium. It also promises us the more abundant effusion of that pure and powerful influence, by which alone we can ever be enabled rightly to understand, or adequately to practise, the moral law of God. The true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is taught of the Spirit, and the law of his Redeemer is written, with a preeminent degree of clearness and efficacy, on the tablets of his heart. “ After those days, saith the Lord,” (in obvious reference to the times of the Messiah), “ I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people; and they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they shall all know me from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more :” Jer. xxxi, 33, 34; comp. Heb. viii, 8. x, 16, 17. Finally, the “ Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," by which the children of God are thus impressed and instructed, is powerful not only to illuminate, but (as we have already remarked) to cleanse and sanctify. Those who are subjected to its influence, and are made willing to obey its injunctions, have no need to shrink from the contemplation of the extent and purity of Christian morality. Conscious of their inability to do any good thing in their own strength, they will cast themselves, without reserve, on the love and power of a compassionate Saviour ;

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and while, in the midst of all their infirmities, they derive a sure consolation from the intercession of Jesus, they will be enabled, by his grace, to walk as obedient children,“ perfecting holiness in the fear of God :" II Cor. vii, 1.

On surveying the whole of our present argument, we have to recollect,

That, since God is the Creator and supreme as well as righteous Governor of the world, he has an undoubted claim upon us for implicit obedience to his revealed will.

That such an obedience is the only rule of action allowed by the sacred writers-that it constitutes righteousness, and that the contrary to it, is sin.

That the commandments of Jehovah were communicated to our first parents, and that, through their transgression of one of them, sin and death entered into the world,

That, nevertheless, God has universally bestowed on their descendants, a law for the regulation of their conduct, by obedience to which, they may obtain happiness.

That a moral sense of right and wrong was impressed on the hearts of the Gentiles, who had no acquaintance with an outward revelation-that some of them obeyed its dictates, and were, therefore, accepted--and that others, who disobeyed them, were condemned, because they sinned against the known law of God.

That God has, in all ages of the world, bestowed on his visible church, through the inedium of inspiration, a clear external revelation of his will; that the law of righteousness was preached to his people, both before and after the flood, and under the Jewish

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institution, was yet more clearly developed, and was recorded in writing.

That a variety of positive commandments were also issued on different occasions, for the guidance of the Israelites and their patriarchal ancestors, chiefly in connection with that course of special Providence, which was preparatory to the incarnation of the Son of God.

That, whether the commandments communicated to them were moral or positive, the corresponding duty required of the Lord's people was that of ready and universal obedience.

That faith in God is the obvious foundation of obedience to his law; and, that no faith can be justifying in his sight, which does not produce obedience; on which principles, it appears, that the doctrines of the apostles Paul and James, on the subject of justification, are in true harmony.

That the Mosaic law was a schoolmaster to bring the Jews to Christ, in order that, together with the believing Gentiles, they might be justified by faith in him; that the ceremonial part of that law terminated with the sacrifice of the Messiah; but, that the moral part of it is eternal and incapable of abrogation.

That the latter, under the light of Christianity, is confirmed, enlarged, and perfected; and, that an exact obedience to it, is the reasonable duty required of all believers in Jesus Christ, whose example they are taught to follow.

That the weight and extent of the motives to such obedience, arising out of the great truths of the Christian revelation, correspond with the superior elevation of that moral standard, by which, as Christians, we are bound to regulate our conduct.

SYSTEM OF EXPEDIENCY.

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And, lastly, that the operation of these motives on the mind of the true believer in Jesus, is accompanied by the communication of that gift of the Holy Spirit, by which men are internally illuminated with a knowledge of the divine law, and actually enabled to fulfil its requisitions.

In conclusion, I would venture to suggest, to the reader's attention, one or two practical observations.

It is a truth which reason deduces from the attributes of God, and which is amply confirmed by revelation, that virtuous actions and a course of true morality, have an unfailing tendency to promote the happiness of the persons who practise them, and of mankind in general. But, although this tendency is unalterable, and the effect in the end certain, yet it sometimes happens, that some degree of moral evil appears to be expedient, in order to the production of greater present good; and it is a lamentable fact, that under such circumstances, a departure from the nevervarying rule of a righteous principle, is partially allowed by some of our Christian moralists, and is actually, to a very great extent, applied to practice, both by individuals and by nations professing the religion of Jesus. How often, for example, do individuals compromise the divine law of truth, in order to avoid the pain and inconvenience which its unbroken maintenance would appear to entail upon them! and how generally is it considered allowable in Christian governments to institute and pursue political measures imagined to be of advantage to the state ; yet opposed, nevertheless, in various respects to the principles of the law of God!

To such a line of conduct we are often tempted, because in our ignorance we see a very little way

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