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Full text of "Introduction à la psychanalyse de Mallarmé. Suivie de Mallarmé et le Tao et Le livre"

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Tappan Presbuterlan Association 

LaIBRARY 



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(presented by HON. D. BETHUNE DUFFIELD. a 



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From Library of Rev. Geo. Duffield, D.D. ^ 

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A.D.IBB*. 



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THE 

•J c :■ (.; 



SPIRITUAL LIFE; 



BY tHE REV. 



THOMAS GRIFFITH, A.M. 



MIMISTER OF RAM'S EPISCOPAL CHAPEL, UOHERTOIT. 



CFigl^tlb ^llition. 



LONDON: 

THOMAS HATCHARD, 187, PICCADILLY ; 
HAMILTON, ADAMS, & CO., PATERNOSTER ROW. 

1866. 



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LONDON : 

Printed at the Opentlve Jewish OonTertt* Inttitation, Palestine Place 
Bethnal Green. 



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9r 



PREFACE. 



^ It may conduce to the understanding of the 

L^ following work to state that the subject is con- 
\\ templated as forming that grand division of 
Christianity, the Experimental, to which its 
Doctrines are introductory, and of which its 
Duties- are the practical result. The one theme 
of the Christian system is The Kingdom of 
Heaven. The leading idea of Christian Doc- 
trine is the opening of this kingdom to all 
believers. The distinctive spirit of Christian 
Experience is a filial confidence of our election 
to this kingdom. 2 Thess. ii. 13 — 15. And 
the governing principle of Christian Practice is 
a corresponding zeal for the advancement in 
ourselves and others of that holiness by which 
alone this Kingdom can be ultimately reached. 
2 Peter i. 10—12. 



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IV PREFACE. 

It is of the second of these particulars, the 
Distinctive spirit of Christianity, that the pre- 
sent work endeavours to treat. I know indeed 
the peculiar difficulty of the subject. I know 
; how impossible it is to convey by words what 
by experience alone can be fully understood. 
Our inward feelings we can but imperfectly 
express. This expression, again, is still more 
imperfectly apprehended. And this apprehen- 
sion, yet further, requires to be verified by the 
reader, for himself, by the reproduction in his 
own mind of those states of consciousness which 
the writer has but indicated rather than de** 
scribed. And thus a threefold difficulty is in- 
volved in the transmission of our sentiments on 
all those subjects which are neither scientifix) 
nor historical, but lie within the domain of 
taste and feeling, and address themselves to the 
heart rather than the head. Their intelligi- 
bility depends more upon the spirit of the reader 
than on the power of the writer. In a full- 
charged atmosphere, the smallest vibration 
will be heard. In a vacuum the largest bell is 
struck in vain. 

And hence the deep importance of our bring- 
ing to all works of experimental religion a perr 



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PREFACE. V 

sonal^ self-questioning, and meditative interest. 
For what has been said of Virtue is equally true 
of Piety ; no man can teach it to another ; not 
by definition, argument, description, can it be 
communicated ; by sympathy alone can its in- 
dependent life be stirred within the soul, and 
developed into vigour. Men can teach only 
what they know. What they feel, they must 
be satisfied with humbly telling forth in patient 
expectation, till the feeble breath of their ex- 
perience have crept quietly along the chords of 
eongenial minds, and one and another give back 
at its gentle touch a responsive sound. 

Nor is such a personal interest andrespon- 
, siveness less necessary to our profiting by devo- 
tional and practical subjects than to our appre- 
hension of them. With the most accurate 
conceptions of religious truth we shall have but 
little spiritual growth, without that working 
out a subject in our own minds, and realizing 
in them the experiences of which we read, 
which meditation, self-examination, and prayer 
can alone produce. Each successive year will 
behold us only where we were. Our spiritual 
movement (for movement we may have) will be ^ 
not progression, but oscillation. We shall only 



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VI PREFACE. 

swing round with the tide of other men's emo- 
tions, not stretch out in our proper course. 
Our very diligence will be only conservative, 
not constructive. We shall repair from time 
to time the imperfect structure which in the 
first fervour of Repentance we had hastily run 
up, but we shall not strengthen its foundations, 
nor enlarge its plan, nor adorn its front, nor 
build it up towards heaven. 

May God sanctify this book to such an Edifi- 
cation of those who read it ; that they, ^^ build- 
ing up themselves on their most holy Mth, and 
praying in the Holy Ghost, may keep them- 
selves in the love of God, looking for the mercy 
of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life !" 



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CONTENTS. 
PART I. 

THE BSSENCE OF THE SPXBITUAL LIFE. 



Chap. I. — Pibtt in Gembbal. Page 

Piety is not merely knowledge of doctrinal Truths. 9 
NorPractice of moral duties. . . .11 

StiU less is it an ignorant and immoral Sensibility. 15 
But it is the sense of God's presence and authority 
in Nature — ^in Events — in Mind. , .16 

Chap. II. — Christian Piety. 

The Primary element of Piety is Awe of the Divine 
Authority. . . . . .21 

But Christianity develops, in addition, a filial Con- 
fidence in the Divine Love. . . .24 

With this Adam WM cieAted. .26 

This has been lost by Sin. . . .27 

But to this the Christian is restored by the atonement 

of Christ. . . . .28 

And exercises by the Spirit of Christ. 29 

Chap. III. — ^The Manifestations op Christian Piety. 

The Scriptures describe the Spirit of Christian Piety 
as manifesting its presence by producing Devoted- 
ness to God. . . . . .32 

Intercourse with God. , . . .34 

Peace with God. . . . . 37 

Power for God. . . . . .40 



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vm CONTENTS, 

PART II. 

THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE. 

Chap. I. — ^The Source op the Spiritual Lipe. Page 

This Life must take its rise in the depths of the 
human spirit. . . . . .50 

For therein lies our disease. . . .51 

Which is too extensive for partial palliatives. . 52 

And too deep for superficial ones. . . 53 

And which requires, therefore, a remedy as inward as 
itself. . . . . .54 

This Life must spring from a Divine Source. . 66 

For man cannot fully know, or effectually influence 
his own Spirit. . . . .55 

And Piety must be a growth, prepared by a combina- 
tion of influences, exerted through a series of time. 56 

Its production, therefore, we are obliged to refer to 
God. . . . . .58 

To whom it is ascribed in Scripture. . . 59 

And by the Church of England. . . 59 

Hence we see the Difficulties which the subject must 
present to the earthly mind. . , .61 

The Encourctgement which it affords to all who seek 
for Piety. .• . . . .64 

And the Means which they should use for its attain- 
ment; viz. — Intercourse with themselves — with 
their Fellow Christians — with their God. . 66 

Chap. II. — ^Thb Process op the Spiritual Lipb. 

The development of Spiritual Life must be mani- 
fest to the consciousness of the Individual. . 7 1 

For the general phenomena of mind are perceptible. 71 

And equally so must be those of Piety. . . 73 

And these phenomena are described in Scripture. . 74 

And must be equally essential now. . . 76 

The process of this manifestation will be similar in 
all religious minds. . . . .81 

For the natural condition of all men is similar. . 81 

And similar, therefore, must be the course of their 

deliverance firom it. . . . .82 

Of which Deliverance the principal stages are 
From Indifference to Earnestness. . . 84 

From Ignorance to Knowledge. . . 84 



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CONTENTS. IX 

Page 
From ATenion to Love. .85 

From Dread to Peace. • . .86 

From Despondency to Hope. .87 

Chap. III. — Spiritual awakening. 

Men are naturally indifferent to God. .91 

It ia long before they know Him at all. .91 

Longer before they are interested in Him. . . 92 

And even then too little influenced by Him. 93 

They need therefore the Awakening of their Atten- 
tion to Him. . . . . .94 

Without this it is vain to have been consecrated to his 
service— to be members of his church— to under- 
stand his truth -to be zealous for his cause. 94 

For Attention is a personal interest in Truth as suited 
to our own necessities. . . .96 

And a personal awakening to the Sense of God, and 
of our relation to Him. . . .99 

This awakening must be the work of God. . 101 

It is ascribed to Him in Scripture. . .102 

And therefore termed His Calling men to Him. . 103 

Which Call, God vouchsafes in every object of Nature 
and every means of Grace. . . .104 

Chap. IV. — Spiritual Illumination. 

There may be much ignorance of God in the midst 
of outward advantages. . . . 108 

The understanding may possess some knowledge of 

his laws. ..... 109 

The heart may feel some reverence for his authority. 110 

And yet his character may be little understood. . Ill 

The removal of this ignorance is essential to Chris- 
tian Piety. . . . . 112 ^ 

For Christian Piety is the exercise of love towards God 1 IS 
And this love depends on our acquaintance with God's 
love towiurds us. .115 

And this removal is effected by the contemplation 
of God in Jesus Christ . . .117 

In Christ only is displayed God's love to man. 118 

For natural religion gives but an imperfect notion of 

God. . . . .119 

Nay, an erroneous one. .... 120 
Thanks, then, be to God for his revelation of himself 

in Christ! . .121 



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X CONTENTS. 

Page 
Chap. V.~Spiritual Reoenbration. 

Sect. I. — The Nature op Spiritual Regeneration. 
ItistheawakeningofaNewDisposition towards God. 124 
For though Regeneration means, 1. A^TVansfermce 
into a neto Position towards God. 

For the tenn is used of any marked transition Arom 
evil to good, both in oommon parlance, and in 
Scripture. . . . . .126 

And thence of a similar fayourable change in our re- 
ligious condition. .... 128 

Whence it is employed both by Scripture— the Re- 
formers — and the Church of Kngland — to express 
that State of Adoption into which we are trans- 
ferred at Baptism. . . . .132 

For all the privileges of which state we are responsible. 135 

Yet not the less does Regeneration mean, 2. A Trans- 
formation into a new Disposition towards God. . 136 
For it expresses that Sente of Adoption which is re- 
quired by Scripture as indispensable to Salvation. 136 
The marks of which are conscious Sennbility and 
Activity with reference to God. .139 

Sect. II. — The Necessity op Spiritual Regeneration. 
This Necessity is uniyeKsal. .143 

For it results flrom the essential contrast, in all men, 

between fallen nature and a holy God. 144 

Has been insisted on, therefore, and that under the 

very term Regeneration, in all ages of the Church. 143 
And from its own nature— and the Scripture state- 
ments concerning it— ^nust necessarily be a personal 
experience. . . . . .153 

Sect. III. — The Means of Spiritual Regeneration. 
The Scriptures state the means of our Regeneration 
to be the word of God. . . . .168 

By which they mean the Proclamation of his mercy in 

Christ. . . .159 

As the effects attributed to its reception ftirther show. 161 

The whole subject suggests Inquiry concerning our 

experience of this new Disposition towards God 166 
Direction^ concerning its cultivation. ^ . .167 

Encouragement, to hope for its perfection. . .169 

Chap. VI. — Spiritual Peace. 

This results from the New Dispositionbegottenin us. 1 70 
Delight in God's presence. . . .172 

Which the Christian realizes in the objects— the en- 
joyments— and the trials— of life. . . 172 

Dependence on God's care. . . .176 

Such as was enjoyed by our Lord— and by St. Paul— 
and is the privilege of all his people. . .177 



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CONTENTS. XI 

Page 

Hannony with God's will. . . .179 

Happiness U simj^yinwaitHuumony. 179 

And what, then, U the happiness of hannony with 

God! . . . . .180 

Chap. VII. — Spiritual Hope. 

Hope is the only effectual stay amidst the mental— 
— spiritual — and moral imperfection of our pre- 
sent state. ...... 185 

For our present Knowledge of God is limited— it 
shall be complete I . . .187 

Our communion with God is interrupted— it shall be 

permanent! . . .188 

Our service of God is feeble— it shall be full of vigour I 1 89 

Hope, therefore, has ever formed the sustaining 

grace of God's people. . . . 190 

And this Hope is an humble and a sanctifyiiu^ one. 193 
Springing from dependence on the work of Christ. 194 
^d maintained by cherishing the Spirit of Christ. 196 

PART III. 

THE NOtJRISHMENT OF THE 8PIEITTTAL LIFE. 
Chap. I. — Thb Nbcbssitt of Devotional Exebcises. 
Devotion is the Natural Effusion of the Spirit of 
adoption. . . . . .202 

For this spirit is a heavenly Spirit, and therefore tends 
heavenward. .... 203 

It is a filial spirit, and therefore seeks communion 

with its Father. . .204 

This we see in our Lord. . 204 

And in his Disciples. . . .206 

And the indispeiLBable Means of its nourishment. 208 

For so only can Spiritual Ideas be made fleuniliar to us. 208 
Spiritual Dispositions be made habitual. . 209 

And a life of Faith be maintained amidat a world of 

sense. .211 

Devotion therefore must be a solicited, as well as a 

spontaneous exercise. ... . 212 

It was so even with our Lord— both generally — sad on 

particular occasions. . 212 

Much more must it be so with his People. .214 

Crap. II. — Devout Exbscisbs of Minb. 
Sect. I. — ^Devotional Meditation. 
Meditation is the habit of seeing God in all things. 220 
For which, Contemplation furnishes the materifus. 220 
Ranging through all the works and ways of God. . 221 
And recognising Him aHke in all bis revelations of 
Himself. .... 224 



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Xll CONTENTS. 

Page 
And of which, Adoration is the result. . . 227 

Wliich is the enjoyment of all splritnal minds. . 228 

And fonns the highest exercise of Piety. . 230 

Sect. II. — Devotional Reading. 
Reading is the food of thought. . . .233 

The Bible especially supplies this food. . .236 

In perusing which for Spiritual Nourishment, 
consider it as the voice of God himself. . 237 

So shall it bring God present to your mind, even as 

He was to the Scripture Saints. . . 239 

You will study its revelations as addressed directly 

to yourself. . . .242 

And find them an unfailing guide. . . 244 

Sect. III. — Devotional Fellowship. 

Social Fellowship is essential to the nourishment 
of the human mind. . . . ^ 248 

Such Fellowship'is not supplied by the ordinary in- 
tercourse of tiie world. . . . 260 

But it is provided in the Church of Christ. . 262 

Which was formed for this purpose hy our Lord. . 253 
Was consolidated hy his Apostles. . . 255 
And communion with which is urged on every Chris- 
tian as the means of spiritual growth. . . 256 

Cultivate, therefore, Christian Fellowship in the 

Private circle. . . . . 267 

And in the Public Congregation. . 269 

Chap. HI. — Devout Exercises of Hea&t. 

The Christian is privileged to refer up to God all 

his sorrows and joys. .... 266 

Regarding his trials as God's appointment. . 269 

And his comforts as God's gitte. . 270 

And waiting upon God in hoth. . . .271 

To lay before God all his fears and hopes. . . 272 

And to commend himself imiversally into the hands 
of God, with implicit faith. . . .276 

Chap. IV. — Devout Exercises op Will. 

Devotion influences the Will by settling our Judg- 
ment of what is right. . .281 

For it considers things, under God's eye. . . 282 

And discourses about tiiem with God. . 284 

And by strengthening our Determination for what 
is right. . . . .286 

For it afiects the heart with love to holiness. . 286 

And draws down the Spirit of power for holiness. . 287 



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PART I. 



THE ESSENCE 



THE SPIRITUAL LIFE. 



Though Christ be the Head, yet is the Holy Ghost the 

Heart of the Church, from whence the yital spirits of 

grace and holiness are issued out, unto the quickening of 

the body mystical. 

Hbylyn. 



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In the powers and faculties of our souls God requireth 
the uttermost which our unfeigned affection toward him is 
able to yield ; so that if we affect him not far above and 
before all things, our religion hath not that inward perfec- 
tion which it should have, neither do we indeed worship 
him as our God. 

Hooker. 

As divine knowledge begets affectum, so this affection 
will bring forth action, real obedience. For these three are 
inseparably linked, and each dependent on, and the pro- 
duct of, one another. The affection is not blind but flow- 
ing from knowledge; nor actual obedience constrained, 
but flowing from affection; and the affection is not idle, 
seeing it brings forth obedience, nor knowledge dead, 
seeing it begets affection. 

Leiohton on 1 Fbter IV. 2. 



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PART I. 



THE ESSENCE OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE. 



CHAPTER I. 



PIETY IN GENERAL. 



We can never remind ourselves too often of the 
fact that Christianity is a remedy for human need ; 
that its leading Idea is Deliverance from all the ills 
of a groaning world, and its distinctive proclama- 
tion is peace ; — ^peace to them that are near and to 
them that are afar off. This grand characteristic is 
beautifully exhibited in the very title which is given 
to it in the Irish tongue, in which our term " The 
Gospel " is translated " The Story of Peace ;'' and 
it is touchingly expressed by St. Augustine when 
he says, "In Cicero and Plato I meet with many 
things wisely said, and things that have a manifest 
tendency to move the passions, but in none of them 
do I find these words, 'Come unto me all ye that 



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4 FIETY IN GBNEBAL. 

are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you 
rest.'" 

But the ills of man are various, and as various 
therefore are the consolations and the helps which 
the Gospel of Deliverance from those ills pro- 
claims. Are we sermiive heings, and therefore 
wounded in every nerve by the physical evil which 
overspreads the earth? The Gospel teUs us of a 
time when all teana shall be wiped from every eye, 
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Are we 
moral beings, and therefore shocked and humbled 
by the degradation and self-contradiction which we 
witness in ourselves and in mankind at large ? The 
Gospel brings that healing medicine which can both 
soothe the diseased spirit and restore it ulti- 
mately to perfect health. And are we religious 
beings, formed to recognize a relation of ourselves 
and of the world to an unseen Creator and Gover- 
nor, and therefore pained to see how little this 
relation is remembered, nay, how much that re- 
membrance is shrunk from and opposed? The 
Gospel cheers us by unveiling our Heavenly Father 
now to the eye of &ith, and promising that he shall 
hereafter break forth in unshrouded glory over all 
the earth. Only let us learn to know ourselves, 
and estimate aright the actual condition of mankind, 
and the remedy which that condition calls for ; so 
shall we appreciate the worth of the Revelation 



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FIETT IN OENBBAL. 5 

which is the counterpart to that condition, the dis- 
closure of that remedy, the answer to that call. 

And in the same proportion also shall we be led 
to understand the nature of the help which Chris- 
tianity supplies, and shall be convinced that even 
as our disease is personal and morale so must the 
remedy revealed be equally personal and moral. 
The truths of the Gospel become saving, — ^that is, 
effectual to deliver us from the state in which they 
find us,— only as they are brought to bear upon 
ourselves. The seed is given indeed from Heaven, 
but it is only as it takes root in the heart of man 
and springs up in his character, that it can expand 
into everlasting life. 

And hence the infinite importance of personal 
Piety, as that without which all knowledge of 
Christian truth and all attempt at Christian duty 
will be ineffectual. There are indeed three grand 
classes of religious meditation; — ^the meditation, 
namely, on what has been done^br ti<, what must 
be done in us, and what should be done b^ us ; and 
these classes may be verbally distinguished into 
Doctrinal Experimental and Practical ; but they 
are inseparable in fact ; for all true doctrine expe- 
rience and practice are one and indivisible. And 
the connecting link, say rather the assimilating 
life, which effects this unity, resides in the middle 
term — the experience of what must he done in us. 



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6 PIETT IN OENEBAL. 

Only personal piety, (and by the word experience 
we mean personal piety in all its parts,) brings 
down general Doctrine into individual application, 
and quickens notions into principles. And only 
personal piety can supply the life the feeling and 
the energy, by which consistent Practice can be 
either fully purposed or successfully pursued. 

How solemn therefore is the subject to which I 
would direct the attention of my reader in this book, 
and in the prosecution of which I would entreat the 
active co-operation of his own mind ! Suffer me to 
begin and carry it on throughout with direct appeals 
to your personal sympathy. Join with me in fre- 
quent ejaculations for divine help and blessing. The 
topic is, beyond all others, devout and practical. 
Devoutly and practically let us enter on it. It con- 
cerns the soul of him who writes and him who reads. 
It can be realized only in and by our souls. Spiritual 
truth is but the seed of spiritual life. And though 
spiritual truth may be dropped into the mind by 
instruction from without us, spiritual life can be 
awakened only by an energy within us: by our 
meditating on the truths declared ; by our applying 
them to our particular state of heart ; by our brooding 
over them in our inmost soul ; above all by prayerful 
seeking of the Spirit of life — which is the Spirit of 
God — to come and quicken them by warmth from 
heaven. thou Lord and Giver of life, who art the 



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PISTY IK OSNXBAL. 7 

Author ci all godliness, vouobsafe thy presenee and 
thy blessing to onr united mieditations ! Grant that 
he who writes and he who reads may feel the power 
of the truths which we consider in common ! Grant 
that what issues from the heart may fructify the 
heart;, that both he that soweth and he that reapeth 
may rejoice together I 

Our first endeavour must be to attain a full per* 
ception of what we mean by Personal Piety, and 
therefore our First Part will enquire into the es- 
sence OP THE spiBiTUAL LIPS. And then, since 
this life is a subject of inward experience, and re- 
veals itself in the consciousness by gradual mani- 
festations, our Second Part will trace the fbooess 
OP ITS DEVELOPMENT. And further, since like 
all life it requires sustenance and is capable of 
increase and invigoration, our Third Part will indi- 
cate some of the principal means on which 

DEPEND ITS NOITBISHMENT AND GBOWTH. 

And now then, in this First Part we address our- 
selves to the inquiry, What is the essence of the 

SPIBITUAL LIFE ? 

We cannot meditate on the examples of pious 
men without perceiving in them one condition of 
mind which specially characterizes all God's chil- 
dren, and marks them for his own. It forms the 



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8 PIETY ly GENBBAL. 

family likeness by which they are distinguished, 
the common temper which, amidst every variety 
of feature, makes them in kind the same. By 
this, every servant of God in every age is assi- 
milated to the whole body of the faithful ; and 
it is because we sympathize with this, that a Noah, 
an Abraham, a David, an Isaiah, a Daniel, a Paul, 
widely different as they are in other respects, are 
felt to be our brethren ; and their writings touch 
the deepest and most secret springs of our nature, 
and express in words more apt than we ourselves 
can form the most intimate workings of our hearts. 
This common temper is expressed in Scripture 
by various terms. Sometimes it is called '* the 
fear of God " — ^the bowing of the soul before invi- 
sible Authority. Sometimes, '' the walking before 
God " — the having reference to his guidance in all 
our steps. Sometimes it is termed " Godliness " — 
the feeling that in God we live and move and 
have our being; and "Devoutness" — the assidu- 
ous care* to cultivate his favour, and honour Him 

* Ev\d€iia, See Luke ii. 25, A feature well expressed 
in Ps. cxix. 3, 4, New Version : 

'* Such men their tUmost caution use, 

To shun each wicked deed ; 

And in the path which he directs, 

With constant care proceed." 



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PI£TT IN GENERAL. 9 

in all our ways. Sometimes again, it is called '' the 
living to God " — the regulating our spirit and con- 
duct with reference to his will. And still further, 
to express the freeness and spontaneousness of this 
life — ^its welling forth from the hidden fountain 
of the heart as the unbidden outflow of an in- 
ward feeling — it is specially denominated ''the 
love of God." 

In all which Scripture terms we cannot but ob- 
serve one idea invariably recurring amidst the vari- 
ous shades of meaning, and forming therefore the 
common mark of Personal Piety, — the direction, 
namely, of the mind and heart toivards Ood ; the 
turning to Him as the centre of our being, and of 
the sphere in which we live. The spiritual life is 
emphatically a life tVi God — flowing from Him as 
its source, and ever pressing upwards towards Him 
as its natural level. 

Such a life then is evidently distinct from, and 
over and above, the Knowledge merely of doctrinal 
(ruths. For such knowledge, though essential to 
the purifying and the regulation of piety can by no 
means produce that piety, nor does its presence de- 
termine the degree in which that piety may exist. 
Very often is there manifested a deep devoutness 
even in the mere twilight of religious knowledge — a 
devoutness which we should do well to cherish the 
more sedulously as that twilight brightens into 



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10 7IITY ISr OENBSAL. 

broader day. For it will profit us little to enjoy 
the blaze of noon-tide iUnmination, if we have loet 
therein that thrilling awe of the Unseen which in 
the dim religious light of earUer consciousness stole 
oTer us. To preserve the firesh and simple feelings 
of the child in union with the matured experience 
and attainments of the man is the perfection of 
the human character. And to be ever children 
in spirit while in understanding we are men is 
the perfection of religion. But alas, this union is 
not necessarily maintained, nor do these elements 
expand inyariably in proportion to each other. We 
may see on the contrary in many instances — ^we 
may feel in ourselves — a growing insight into 
Christian doctrine, correction of early errors, ac- 
quaintance with new truths or with more of the 
detail and connexion of old ones, and increasing 
clearness and harmony of Theological system ; and 
yet Piety, so fer from growing in proportion to all 
this, not perhaps growing at all ; nay, withering 
under the glare of this intenser light; — ^the old 
simplicity of heart gone; the old earnestness of 
spirit dead ; the fulness of the soul dried up ; the 
liquid dew and bloom of youthful feeling brushed 
away; and the life of our religion checked and 
fixed, if not destroyed. Reader, I entreat you, seek 
knowledge indeed; cultivate a just and rational 
Theology; endeavour to attain increasing insight 



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PIETT IV <»BNEBAI.. 11 

into religious truth; but let all your knowledge 
be accompanied be guarded be iminregnated and 
quickened, by a living and life-giving Piety ! 

But this spiritual life is not less distinct from, 
and over and above, the PraeHce merely of mortd 
duties. For here again, though pious feeling \nth- 
out holy practice is but a delusion of the stimu- 
lated sensibility, a product of the animal and not 
the spiritual Hfe ; yet there may be much of out- 
ward practice, " works " of every kind, the bustle 
of an active and a showy doing, and yet no experi- 
ence — or no proportionate experience— of that in- 
ward spirit which supplies the proper motive of all 
true moral and religious observance. It is true in- 
deed — it is never to be forgotten by us — that by 
our fruits we must be known ; by the practical re- 
sults of knowledge and feeling in the daily con- 
duct must our character be estimated both by our- 
selves and by the world. But then, equally true is 
it, and equally to be remembered, that not our 
separate acts nor any series of acts, considered in 
themselves alone, but the general motives out of 
which all particular doings spring, and the pervad- 
ing spirit which determines and characterizes our 
habits, constitute the true and only moral worth 
of man. And when we see how almost every act 
and course of conduct may be the fruit of contrary 
principles and imbued with contrary feelings, — the 



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12 PIETT IN OENEaAL. 

most dissimilar causes producing often the most 
similar effects, — we must acknowledge how very 
insufficient works are by themselves as proofs of 
piety ; and how distinct from works is that devout- 
ness which will nevertheless impel the heart to 
their performance. O let not the man who finds 
himself (or thinks he finds himself, for we too 
easily satisfy our conscience in these matters) ful- 
filling many of the duties of his station, attending 
to the interests of his &mily, maintaiQing a good 
name in his business and his social circle, " doing 
as he would be done by,*' nay, adding to all this a 
recognition of the claims of religion and an attend- 
ance on its public services, — let not such a man 
imagine that he has therefore, necessarilt/, that in- 
ward piety which constitutes the spiritual life. 
Let him not be satisfied with what he may deno- 
minate effects, though all unconscious of the feel- 
ings which shotdd be their cause. For piety is not 
some secret essence, the imagined base of sensible 
phenomena while itself insensible ; it is itself also a 
phenomenon, with marks and evidences of its own. 
It is ever foimd indeed in intimate connexion with 
external duties, but it must neither be confounded 
with them nor resolved into them. 

And this caution and distinction must be ex- 
tended even to specifically religious works — ^works 
done avowedly for God, and in his cause ; works 



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PIETT^IN OENEBAL. 13 

of Christian charity and zeal; the supporting of 
religious societies, the distribution of religious books, 
the communication of religious instruction, the at- 
tending of religious meetings. All these things 
may be done, and yet they are not the measure of 
our piety ; nay rather they too often defraud and 
starve that deeper life within us. Our inward 
spirituality may be decaying while our outward 
activity becomes th6 admiration of our feUow men, 
—or of ourselves. The breathings of the spirit 
may be few and languid, while the pulsations of 
the animal life may be strong and frequent. We 
may be giving out supplies to men, but not drawing 
in supplies from God. Let us not forget these 
truths in this day of enlarged activity. Let us 
pause frequently amidst the whirl of the machinery 
by which we are surroimded. Let us watch the 
spirit of our minds — their bent and bias, their pri- 
vate aspirations, their deeper and more delicate 
breathings — ^that our exertions may not be super- 
ficial or partial, the product of external stimulants 
alone ; but flowing out of an interior life pervading 
equally and simultaneously all the powers of our 
moral being. 

But let me not be mistaken here. Let me not 
be supposed while indicating the distinction which 
seems to me to exist between Piety and the Know • 
ledge of Doctrine on the one hand, and the Prac- 



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14 PIETT IN GENSSAI.. 

tice of Duty on the other, to coMi^de for a moment 
that these several elements can be totally fepa- 
raiedy or that a genuine piety can exist without 
some Knowledge to inform, and some Practice to 
express its presence. There is indeed a feeling 
but too frequently exhibited, which seems to bear 
some marks of true devoutness, and yet can co- 
exist with both tite grossest superstition and the 
idlest self-indulgence. But this feeling lies no 
deeper than the nenrous system, and is no more 
than a general susceptibility for the mysterious 
and the aw&l, without that intelligent and moral 
recognition of superior auihoriiy as well as might, 
of hoUness as well as love, which alone gives the 
thought of God an influence on the heart and life. 
" Religion, in Italy," says Shelley, " is interwoT^i 
with the whole fabric of life. It is adoration, 
fedth, submission, penitence, blind admiration, — 
not a rule for moral conduct It has no necessary 
connexion with any one virtue. It pervades 
intensely the whole frame of society, and is 
according to the temper of the mind which it 
inhabits, a passion, a persuasion, an excuse, a re- 
fuge, — never a checks And O that such were 
not sometimes too much the character of religion 
in England ! Do we not too often see some ap- 
proximation at least to this awful delusion? Do 
we not meet with sensitive natures susceptible of 



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FIBTT IN GENEBAI.. 15 

deep impresBion from divine things, penetrated 
with the grandeur the beauty and the interest of 
religion, rapt into a reverie of adoration, and will- 
ing to dissolve themselves away in contemplative 
emotion; but when the call for Practice comes, 
the demand for solid sober resolute contmuous 
struggling with difficulty, and schooling of the 
heart, and toiling up the ste^ of moral excel- 
lence, ^immediately they are offended;" — ^they 
stumble at the Obstacles opposed to them. Nay, 
they will not only shrink from Practice, but will 
denounce on principle the efforts it requires. 
They canonise their sensations as the whole of 
piety. They cry down painftd duties as works of 
supererogation and self-righteousness. They fall 
languidly into the arms of an enervating Theology, 
and excuse their indolence under the name of 
spirituality, and their inconsistency by querulous 
bemoanings of indwelling sin. And then come the 
reveries of quietism, a passive yielding to the stream 
of outward circumstances and the humors of the 
ammal sensibility, an alternation of religious ague- 
fits, and in the end a mere voluptuous selfishness. 
Piety then, is neither Knowledge merely of doc- 
trinal truth, nor Practice merely of moral duty ; 
yet still less is it a blind, immoral SenaihUify, This 
latter it excludes as spurious, while the former it 
accompanies as their sauotifier and their friend; 



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16 PIETY IN GENBBAL. 

breathes over them a heayenly fragrance; infuses 
into them spiritual life ; communicates to them a 
geniality an earnestness a glow of holiest feeling ; 
and consecrates them to God. For piety is the 
sense of God-^oi his presence his authority his 
love, — pervading and ennobling the whole soul. 
It is the reference to Him of all we know, and the 
doing for Him of all we do. It is the holding his 
idea in our mind, as the central light in which 
alone all other objects can be truly seen and fitly 
estimated. It is the enshrining his character in 
our heart, as the model of all excellence, the object 
of all admiration and affection and devotedness. 
And it is the enthroning his authority in our will, 
as the Observer the Ruler and the Judge of all our 
purposes. 

And O the blessedness of such a sense of God ! 
the peace that passeth understanding which re- 
sults from referring aU things to God, leaving all 
things with God, enjoying all things in God, com- 
muning with God, leaning upon God, f<^eling un- 
derneath us the everlasting arms of God! It is 
this which makes all Nature History and Mind, 
Ml of life, and instinct with Deity — *' Him first, 
him midst, him last, and without end ; '' — which 
assures us, not only that there is a God, (a cold, 
inoperative thought, a speculation merely,) but 
that this God is present in and with his works, so 



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PIETY IN GENEBAL. 17 

that not one of the phenomena of nature, nor of 
the events of life, nor of the workings of the mind, 
but pre-suppose and point to Him, as the cause of 
all causation, the law-giver of all law, the prime- 
mover of all movement, the life of all life. 

Do we look at the very simplest causes mani- 
fested in the sphere of nature; or make our way 
through all the combinations of a complicated 
system ; or ascend from one step to another through 
a long series of residts till we arrive at geneml or 
apparently ultimate laws? — still, in the centre of 
all this complication and as the law of these laws, 
the devout man ever recognizes God. 

Or do we turn to the manifold perplexed events 
of human life, — the fortunes of individuals, the 
revolutions of society, the rise and fall of king- 
doms, the whole mysterious story of the world ? 
Here equally does piety behold a present Ood. 
Not merely in single strange events, where only 
one immediate step is traceable from the visible 
effect to the invisible cause, but in every cir« 
cumstance and every long and twisted chain of 
circumstances, where the instruments are more 
numerous and evident, and where from being able 
to account for much, men cheat themselves with 
the assumption that they have accounted for all. 
For the pious man knows that to God nothing is 
little because nothing is great, nothing is trivial 



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18 PIETY IK GENERAL. 

because nothing is strange : and he therefore recog- 
nizes His hand as readily and adores it as pro- 
foundly in the most ordinary occurrences of life, as 
do the ignorant and the earthly-minded in the most 
miraculous. 

And not less in the workings of the human mindy 
— ^the conclusions of the understanding, the in- 
tuitions of the reason, the determinations of the 
will, the whole formation of the spirit from earliest 
infancy to any given moment of its being, — ^the 
devout man recognizes Ood. Be his thoughts and 
their connexion traceable or be they not ; can he 
refer to the origin of his conceptions and the ground 
of his decisions or can he not ; this at least he can 
refer to as the source of all that bears the stamp 
of good within him,— God. God, by whose power 
he was made and is sustained, in whose world he 
lives, by whose creatures he is acted on, by whose 
Spirit he is illuminated comforted and strengthened, 
and who '' worketh in him both to will and to do 
of his own good pleasure." the wondrous pre- 
sence of God in all things, and of all things to God ! 
O the mysterious breathing of his Spirit through 
the universe, quickening sustaining informing 
actuating the stupendous whole ! 

" Surrounded by His power, we stand, 
On every side we feel his hand ; 
O skill for human reach too high, 
Too dazzling bright for mortal eye !' 



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FIBTT IN GENEBAL. 19 

O thou Father of our spirits, by whose inspiration 
only we can know and love thee, draw us by these 
meditations to thyself! wake up the diviner particle 
within our souls ; arouse the slumbering chords of 
piety in our hearts; and sweep across them by 
thy powerful yet gentle Spirit till they thrill in 
trembling sympathy, responsive to thy touch and 
vocal in thy praise ! 



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20 



CHAPTER 11. 



CHRISTIAN PIETY. 



Piety, we have seen, is the sense of God : the 
feeling of the absolute dependence of ourselves and 
of the universe on unseen Power and Authority ; 

** A sense o'er all the soul imprest 
That we are weak, but not unblest, 
Since in us, round us, everywhere. 
Eternal strength and wisdom are."* 

But in calling this experience a " sense," and a 
"feeling," it must be remembered that we mean 
thereby a state of mind essentially different from 
the impulses of sensation and the passing humours 
of sensibility ; a state analogous to that which we 
experience in contemplating the true the noble 
the beautiful and the good, wherein the soul is 
elevated above itself, absorbed in the objects which 
attract its gaze, and roused from the cool coUected- 
ness of mere observation into the earnestness of per- 
sonal interest. 

♦ Coleridge. 



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CHBISTIAN PIETY. 21 

Yet this very feeling of personal interest in the 
idea of God, this very sense of a relation of that 
Qod to us and our well-being, which constitutes 
the life of Piety, must bring with it an awe, a 
shrinking of the mind before superior might, in 
proportion as we feel the greatness of the Being 
with whom we have to do. The same works and 
ways which excite in us veneration of a supreme 
Creator and Ordainer, humble us at the same time 
with the painful sense of our own exceeding little- 
ness. As our conception of God expands, our con- 
ception of man contracts. The higher we lift our 
eyes towards heaven the lower we sink in our own 
esteem. And Veneration therefore, by itself alone, 
takes the form of dread. Piety manifests itself as 
superstition. The sense of God lies like a heavy 
weight upon the soul, and crushes it down into 
abjectness. If we regard ourselves as only parts — 
and most insignificant parts — of the vast creation 
which he grasps within the hollow of his hand ; as 
portions of that endless chain of which each link 
is reciprocally cause and effect, effect and cause ; 
as fleeting beings of a day, tossed for a few short 
moments to the surface of a troubled ocean and 
then absorbed again into its bosom, the creatures 
of necessity, the sport of fate ;— then the more we 
recognize the might which compresses us, the impulse 
which sweeps us onward, the irresistible energy 



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22 CHRISTIAN FIETT. 

which seems to dash the several elements of being 
one against another, the more does onr sense of 
dependence become oppressive, and we crouch before 
the Invisible as a captive before his conqueror, a 
slave before his master. Hence the costly expiations 
by which the terrified savage endeavours to pro* 
pitiate the spirit of the storm ; each demon of the 
various ills in which he is involved. Hence the 
trembling awe with which the more enlightened 
Greek contemplated the march of all-subduing Fate 
and whispered to himself, " O never may my will 
be broi^ht into collision with His stern decrees ! " * 
Hence the '^ fear which hath torment " into which 
even the mind of Job began to sink when he mused 
on his calamities and exclaimed, '* He breaketh me 
with a tempest, he multiplieth my wounds without 
cause ; let him take his rod away from me and let 
not his fear terrify me. Is it good to thee that 
thou shouldst oppress, that thou shouldst despise 
i;he work of thine hands } '* And hence, " the spirit 
of bondage '* which made the Israelites ^' remove 
and stand far off from God," and cry to Moses, 
** Speak thou with us and we will hear ; but let 
not God speak with us lest we die." When we 
bring together in our mind the greatness of God 
and the~ littleness of man, we feel that we must be 

* ^sch ; Prometh. 635. 



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CHBISTIAK PIETY. 23 

at an immeasurable distance from him ; that there 
can be no communion no friendship no affinity 
between the strong and the feeble ; the Eyerlast- 
icg and the momentary ; the tremendous Creator 
and the abject creature. ''The consideration of 
nature," says Neander in his History of the Church, 
*' raised indeed in the minds of thinking men the 
dim suspicion of an infinite and Almighty Spirit, 
not to be judged of by the limits of the human 
understanding. But this sense of Deity did not 
strengthen elevate or animate their minds but 
rather abased and prostrated them, for there was 
involved in it the accompanying sense of their 
own littleness and nothingness, and they knew no 
mediating truth by which these two conflicting 
feelings might be reconciled and held together in 
peace. They saw nothing but the gulf which 
stretched between the finite and the Infinite, the 
mortal and the Immortal, the Almighty and the 
impotent ; and they knew no means by which that 
gulf might be filled up. The Qod whom they 
imagined to themselves was only a being elevated 
inficnitely above degraded man, not a being related 
to him, inviting him to his bosom, nay stooping 
condescendingly to his infirmities. Only the Ma- 
jesty, not the sanctity, nor the Love of Gx)d, filled 
their souls.'' 



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24 CHRISTIAN PIETY. 

Some other element therefore, besides the fear 
of God's authority and the recognition of his ever- 
present working, is essential to a healthy piety. 
The sense not only of dependence and subjectioi>, 
but of affinity and friendship ; the spirit not of a 
slave, but of a child ; the recognition not of one who 
looks on merely, on the doings of a stranger, but 
who communes with and enters into the mind and 
purpose of a friend. We must know God not as 
our Creator only and our Governor, but as our 
Father ; not as above us only, but within us ; as 
connected with us, not merely as he is connected 
with unconscious matter or unreasoning life, but 
even as a parent with his offspring, as mind with 
mind and soul with soul. 

And this is just that other element of Piety 
which revelation supplies, and which Christianity 
makes predominant in the heart. The Scripture 
doctrine of the origin the nature and the destiny 
of man, and the Scripture promises of the spirit 
which the Gospel shall infuse into him, exactly 
meet the difficulty, answer the demand, and do 
away the terrors, of natural Piety. They afford the 
supplement it needs; the reconciling truth, the 
animating assurance, the new-creating life, which 
tempers veneration with love, abasement with eleva- 
tion, and sacred awe with filial confidence. Him 
whom we ignorantly worship they declare to us. 



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GHfilSTIAN PIETY. 25 

God that made the world and all things therein, 
they proclaim to be not far from every one of us, 
for we are his offspring. 

For it is carefully to be noted that the Scrip, 
ture doctrine concerning man takes him out of the 
mechanism of material things, and elevates him &r 
above the rank of a mere animal being into that 
of a son of God. All things were made hy God ; 
but man, we are told by revelation, was made, 
moreover, like God. All other living creatures the 
earth brought forth at God's conmiand, but con- 
cerning man He said, '' Let us make man in our 
own image, tffter our likeness ; *' and though his 
body was formed of the dust of the groimd, yet 
his soul was breathed into him by the Spirit of 
God. " The Spirit of God," says Job, "hath made 
me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me 
life." "The dust indeed," says Solomon, "shall 
return to the earth as it was ; but the spirit shall 
return to God who gave it." "He," says St. Paul, 
"is the Father of spirits." And it is the great 
object of that Apostle in his address to the Athe- 
nians, to raise their minds above the grossness 
of idolatry by reminding them that God was to 
be found, not around them and above them only, 
but within them, in their own souls ; "for in him 
we live and move and have our being, and we 
are all his offspring," — of his race, bearing affinity 



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26 CHfilSTIAK PIETY. 

to him so as no material things can do, partakers 
of his spirituality and the image of his eternity. 
Which truth is expressed by St. Luke when be 
calls Adam " the son of God ; " and is constantly 
brought before us by our Lord, by the favourite 
appellation which he uses and encourages his fol- 
lowers to use for God; '*your Father," — "your 
heavenly Father." 

In the consciousneBS then, of this relationship to 
God — ^the assurance that we are not mere insects 
of a moment, and of the race of earth alone, but 
members of that whole fiunily in heaven and earth 
which constitutes the intellectual sphere in which 
the Father of spirits dwells, — in this assurance, and 
in the elevation of mind the expansion of heart 
the enei^ of will which it inspires, consists the 
proper piety of man ; that piety which connects us 
in heart and will with Him whom we adore, and 
has its conversation in heaven as its home, and 
brings us to dwell in God and God in us. With 
this Adam was created, and this he enjoyed when 
God conmiuned with him in the holy garden, and 
the divine wisdom rejoiced in the habitable part of 
the earth and her delights were with the sons of 
men. And this, Jesus the second Adam exhibited 
in all its quiet grandeur, when he walked in unin- 
terrupted communion with his Father, and the 
angels of God ascended and descended upon the Son 



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CHRISTIAN PIfiTT. 27 

of man, and though he had come down from heaven 
he was still '' in heaven/' speaking and acting not 
of himself but by the Father that dwelt in him, 
and being *'not alone, because the Father was with 
him." 

But in Adam from the moment of his fall, and 
in every child of Adam naturally bom of him, 
this blessed consciousness of relationship to God 
has been destroyed. Brought under the dominion 
of sense, the life of the spirit is smothered. 
Entering into connexion with the evil one, the 
connexion with God is broken off. A sense of 
distance alienation strangeness, has taken the place 
of filial confidence ; and that bodily expulsion from 
the garden of God's presence is but a type of the 
estrangement of mind and separation of heart from 
God, in which man now is bom and lives — 
and diea, except there come upon him new life 
from above, a new infusion of the Spirit that he 
has lost. The knowledge of God is no longer 
the love of God ; the recognition of his presence 
is not naturally delight in that presence; the 
sense of our relation to Him as his creatures, is 
not the sense of union and communion with Him 
as his children. Bom of the fiesh, we are ficsh ; 
children of this world, we have no taste for 
a higher; familiar but too soon with sin, and 
weighed down with a consciousness of guilt, we 



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28 CHBISTIAN FIETT. 

shrink from contact with the Holy One and dare 
not draw near to the Just One. 

And therefore now, true filial Piety is not of 
spontaneous growth in man, will not develope 
itself by the natural expansion of the mind. The 
principle of it is effete, and must again be quick- 
ened from above. We must be born of the 
Spirit before we can become spirit. We must 
be invited encouraged drawn by God, before we 
shall regard him as our Father and return to 
his bosom. The necessity for union with him still 
exists. The want of that union is the cause of 
that aching void and restless craving which fdl 
men feel they know not why ; for none but God 
can fill the soul of man. But the full conscious- 
ness of this want, the knowledge of the means by 
which it may be supplied, even the desire itself 
for that supply, these must come from God. And 
to produce these He has revealed himself. He 
has broken the awful silence in which he stands 
wrapped up in nature. He has condescended to 
explain himself in words of truth and love, by the 
patriarchs by Moses by the prophets by his own 
beloved Son. " God, who at sundry times and in 
divers manners spake in times past to our fathers 
by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken to 
us by his Son." The intercourse which sin had 
interrupted has been gradually renewed. Heaven 



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CHRISTIAN PIETY. 29 

has been opened. The Spirit of God has descended . 
The soul of man has been raised towards him from 
whom it sprang. Ideas of heavenly origin have 
been infused into him, and they have borne him 
upwards towards their native sphere ; feelings and 
purposes have been awakened 

•* Whose very sweetness yieldeth proof 

That they were bom for immortality." 

O the wondrous condescension of our Father, — 
to come down to us in our low estate, to seek us in 
our banishment, to knit again the links which we 
had rudely burst asimder ; to '' speak unto us, rising 
up early and speaking ;'V to '' send to us all his 
servants the prophets, rising up early and sending 
them, though we hearkened not unto his voice ;" 
and then to manifest himself in all his fulness in 
the person of his own beloved Son, that '* as many 
as received him may have privilege to become the 
sons of God," and '^ whosoever loveth the Son and 
keepeth his words the Father may love him and 
come to him and make his abode with him !" This 
is the consummation which was predicted by the 
prophets, announced by John the Baptist as the 
special benefit of Christianity, promised by Jesus 
as the consequence of his exaltation, and actually 
bestowed by him on his disciples as the seed of 
eternal life and the earnest of the inheritance of 



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30 CHRISTIAN PIETY4 

the saints in light. The Spirit of God creates us 
again after the divine image and makes us partakers 
of the divine nature, and breathes and stirs in us as the 
Spirit of filial piety, — ^the Spirit of adoption whereby 
we cry Abba Father, — ^this Spirit himself bearing 
witness with our Spirit that we are the children of 
God, and if children then heirs, heirs of God and 
joint heirs with Christ ! 

Reader, let me ask you, do you feel your need 
of this re-union with the Father of your spirit? 
Are you led by aU the outward manifestations of 
his power and his kindness to seek the Lord if 
haply you may feel after him and find him, there 
whence he is not far off, within yourselves ? Do you 
feel that the human heart was made for God, and 
cannot be in peace till it has become acquainted 
with him, and yielded up to him its trust its 
love its tenderest devotion? Then you will be 
prepared to trace with me the gracious promises 
which he has given of this inward life, the method 
of its development, the means of its nourishment 
and growth, till you exclaim with David in the 
experience of its actual possession, '* Whom have I 
in heaven but Thee, and there is none upon earth 
that I desire beside Thee ! My flesh and my heart 
feileth, but God is the strength of my heart and my 
portion for ever !" 



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31 



CHAPTER III. 

THE MANIFESTATIONS OF CHRISTIAN PIETY. 

We have seen that the inward life of Piety finds 
its due development only in the form of filial con- 
fidence towards Gk)d, and that this filial confidence 
is the product of that revelation of his character 
and infusion of his Spirit into the heart, which 
Christianity — and Christianity alone — affords. For, 
as the leading Idea of Christianity, as indicated by 
its one specific term " The Gospel," is the procla- 
mation of inheritance in the kingdom of God ; so 
the distinctive Benefit of Christianity, which by 
that proclamation it produces in the heart of its 
recipients, is similarly indicated by one specific 
term " The Spirit ;" the communication of that 
filial disposition towards God, which is at once the 
indispensable qualification for that inheritance and 
the certain pledge of its ultimate possession. This 
is that ^' promise of the Father/' that gift of God, 
which the prophets predicted, and the Baptist 
pointed to, and Jesus actually conferred on his dis- 
ciples, as the seal of their adoption, the earnest of 



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32 THE MANIFESTATIONS OF 

their inheritance, until the redemption of the pur- 
chased possession. And it is important, therefore, 
to consider some of the Scripture declarations con- 
cerning this gift, that we may learn both how uni- 
formly it is marked out as the special privilege of 
Christianity, and what are the chief manifestations 
of its presence in the heart. 

And her€ we must begin with the predictions of 
the Old Testament Prophets. For all the revela- 
tions of God are closely connected with each other, 
and no one of them therefore can be fully under- 
stood without reference to the rest. Judaism can be 
rightly estimated only when viewed as anticipative 
of Christianity, and Christianity has no meaning 
but as the product and consummation of Judaism. 
The Old Testament and the New are but different 
chapters in the one book of God, and in the former 
do we find the seeds of those divine ideas which in 
the latter are developed into full expansion. " I 
am not come," said Jesus, " to destroy the law and 
the prophets but to fulfil them." 

Turning then in the first place to the prophet 
Isaiah, we shall find him, in the 44th chapter of 
his book, preaching as the special blessing which 
God designed to bestow upon his people in the 
times of the Messiah, the outpouring of his Spirit. 
" I will pour water upon him that is thirsty," he 
declares in verses 3 — 5, " and floods upon the dry 



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CHBISTIAN FIETT. 33 

ground ; I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and 
my blessing upon thine offspring; and they shall 
spring up as among the grass, as willows by the 
water-courses. One shall say I am the Lord^s ; 
and another shall call himself by the name of 
Jacob ; and another shall subscribe with his hand 
unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name 
of Israel." Where you observe, first, that the 
particular character under which the Spirit is pro^. 
mised, is that of refreshment and new life. As 
the rain upon the parched ground, which makes 
all things spring up as it were from death, so 
is the Spirit of God to the heart of man ; the 
source of vital energy ; " the Lord and Giver of 
lifey' as the Nicene Creed denominates him. In 
proportion as his influences are restrained all 
things languish; in proportion as they are again 
poured forth all things are revived and germi- 
nate and blossom into beauty. Which ger- 
minating of the heart, you will observe secondly, 
is placed in the development of moral affections 
towards God. '' One shall say, I am the Lord's — 
and another shall subscribe with his hand unto 
the Lord ;" — the first manifestation of spiritual life 
shall be self 'Consecration and devotedness to God, 

And this characteristic of inward life is still 
more fully exhibited in a further prediction of the 
Spirit, which is given by Ezekiel in his 36th chap- 



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j^ 



34 ' THE HANIFESTATTONS OF 

ter, verses 23 — 27. For therein God promises, in 
connexion with his pardoning compassion and re- 
covery of his people, " A new heart also will I 
give you, and a new spirit will I put within you ; 
and I will take away the stony heart out of your 
flesh and I will give you an heart of flesh ; and I 
will put MY SPIBIT within you and cause you to 
walk in my statutes and keep my judgments and 
do them." Where you perceive that the Spirit of 
God is promised as something altogether " new," and 
diflerent from that which hitherto had actuated 
the Jews, impelling them to love and keep those laws 
which they had hitherto so uniformly broken. It is 
the spirit of a child tenderly susceptible of his Father's 
influence and sensitive to his opinion (instead of har- 
dening himself against it), and voluntarily walking 
in the path which he points out. God's law taken 
up into the heart, his will made our own, and ani. 
mating and directing all we think and do. 

But next, the Spirit is promised by the Pro- 
phets as the source of intimate communion and 
intercourse with God. This characteristic is dis- 
tinctly commemorated by the Prophet Joel (ii. 
28, 29) as the special privilege of the times of 
the Messiah. '' It shall come to pass afterward," 
(that is, in the last days, the days of the Christ,) 
''that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, 
Rnd vour sons and your daughters shall prophesy, 



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CHRISTIAN PIETY. 35. 

your old men shall dream dreams, your young men 
shall see visions ; and also upon the servants and 
upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out 
my Spirit.'* Where the essence of the promi£>e 
is the same with those in Isaiah and Ezekiel, but 
the characteristic of inward spiritual life is more 
strongly marked by reference to what had hitherto 
constituted the privilege of a peculiar class of men. 
In those days, says Joel, not the prophetic clasa 
alone, not persons of any one particular rank or 
sex or age, but all shall prophesy — that is, shall 
have the spirit of a Prophet, the spirit of Wisdom 
Piety and Zeal for God. Just as Isaiah had pro- 
claimed of these same times : ^^ All ihy children 
shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall b^ 
the peace of thy children." Aqd Jeremiah more 
diffusely : '* After those days, saith the Lord, I will 
put my law in their inward parts and write it in 
their hearts, and will be their God and tli^y shall 
be my people, and they shall teach no more every 
man his neighbour, saying. Know the Lord, for they 
shall all know me from the least of them unto the 
greatest of them saith the Lord." All that insight 
into God's truth, and acquaintance witfi his will, 
and commimion with his Spirit, which has been 
hitherto vouchsafed, and that by measure only and 
occasionally, to some few &VQ\ired men by dreams 
and visions, shall then be diffused copiously and 



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36 TH£ MANIFESTATIONS OF 

continuoiisly by the teaching and the influences of a 
common Spirit, through all the people of God. The 
inward judgment shall direct, the inward conscience 
shall control, the inward life of conmiunion with 
the Father shall animate and strengthen. They 
shall have fulfilled in them the generous wish of 
Moses, " Would God that all the Lord's people were 
prophets, and that the Lord would put his Spirit 
upon them." They shall possess what St. John 
describes as actually enjoyed by those to whom he 
writes, '* an unction from the Holy One, and know 
all things ; and the anointing which they receiye 
of Him shall abide in them, and they need not 
that any man should teach them, but as the same 
anointing teacheth them of all things, and is truth 
and is no lie, they shall abide in Him.*' This 
is the Spirit which is predicted by the Prophets 
as the glory of the Gospel times, and which the 
Christian therefore is to seek for and to cultivate 
as his special privilege ; — the Spirit of intercourse 
with God. That state of mind which rises above 
the world, not that it may disdainfully spurn that 
world away as unworthy of its care, but that it may 
inhale from the purer atmosphere into which it soars, 
all the wisdom energy and courage which may enable 
it to act the most effectually with and for that 
world. That spirit which is fruitfiil in all holy 
cogitations and majestic purposes ; which views all 



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CHBI8TIAK FIETT. 37 

things round us with serenity and hopefidness 
because it views them in God ; and which works 
on all things round us with patience and efficiency 
because it works by God. That &r-seeing glance 
into futurity, that calm anticipation of success, that 
quiet oonsciousnessof heavenly strength, which makes 
us ever earnest but never anxious; ever diligent 
but never bustling; ever vigorous but never violent; 
ever bold but never rash ; ever strenuous for God but 
never exhausted and convulsed by overstrained en- 
deavour. for this quiet, yet all-powerful life within 
our souls ! for the breath of God diffused through 
every faculty, and his '' saving health " reanimating 
every power, that we may live in the Spirit, be led 
by the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, be strengthened 
with all might by the Spirit in the inner man ! 

But if we go on now to the New Testament, we 
find John the Baptist promising this Spirit, further, 
as the source of Peace and Joy in God, The peni- 
tents who come to him confessing their sins he 
cheers with the assurance of a blessing far superior 
to anything that he can give them. *'I indeed 
baptize you with water, but one mightier than I 
Cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy 
to unloose ; he shall baptize you with the Holy 
Ghost." Where observe the contrast which the 
Baptist intimates between the baptism of Repent- 
ance which he administered, and the baptism of 



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38 THE MANITESTATIONS OF 

the Spirit which it was the prerogative of the 
Christ alone to vouchsafe. Repentance is negative. 
The Holy Ghost is positive. The one is the renun- 
ciation of evil ; the other the attainment of good, 
^he one breaks off friendship and communion with 
the world ; the other realizes friendship and com- 
munion with God. The one is a spirit of sorrow 
and self-reproach ; the other is a spirit of confidence 
and peace. The one struggles up towards God; 
the other walks along with God. The one is as 
the crisis of our spiritual disease, an anxious moment 
of revulsion and of effort ; the other is the restora- 
tion to spiritual health, when the blessed air of 
heaven plays upon the soul, and there is felt a buoy- 
ancy a lightness a balanced harmony of conscious 
blessedness which none can imderstand but those 
who feel it, and none can tell or can convey 
to others even when they feel. Then does the 
spirit begin to breathe. Then do the shackles of 
the sense relax themselves, and the iron band 
which had so long repressed the aspirations of the 
sold towards God is burst asunder, and a stream 
i)f new affections gushes forth, and the light of 
heaven plays upon it, and it sparkles under the 
approving glance of God, and it spreads through 
every thought, and refreshes into joyfulness and 
beauty every region of the soul. " He that drink- 
**♦>! of the water that I shall give him," says our 



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GHBISTIAK PIETY. 39 

Lord, ''shall never thirst; but the water that I 
shall give him shall be in him a well of water 
springing up into everlasting life." ''He that 
believeth on me/* he says again, " from his belly " 
— f. e, from within himself, not from outward sources 
which may be soon dried up, but from the living 
spring which shall be imlocked within his soul 
(as Solomon means when he declares, 'the good 
man shall be satisfied from himself) — "there 
shall flow out rivers of living water.*' " And 
this," says St. John, "spake he of the Spirit 
which they that believe on him should receive." 

Have you this Spirit, Christian Reader? Is 
this the characteristic of your Piety ? Have 
you got beyond the fitful alternations, the pain- 
frd struggles, the remorseful anguish, the " fear 
which hath torment" of an always renewing but 
never perfected Repentance, of a cbnscience too 
enlightened to slumber yet too irresolute to spring 
up for God, into that " righteousness, and peace, 
and joy in the Holy Ghost," which Christ came 
into the world and died and rose again and 
ascended up to heaven to procure and to com- 
municate to miserable man ? Are you still grop- 
ing amidst the chilling mists that brood over the 
valley of humiliation (which truly is the valley 
of the shadow of death) or have you reached the 
open heights of £Edth, and emerged into the light 



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40 TH£ MANIFESTATIONS OF 

and life of the Divine favour as it shines forth in 
the face of Jesus Christ? These are no unim* 
portant questions. They affect not our comfort 
merely. They affect the very essence of our piety ; 
our growth in holiness ; our usefulness among our 
fellow-men ; our power to glorify our Father and 
to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all 
things. Religion without this baptism of the Holy 
Ghost is but the terrific gloom of superstition. It 
is at best but the trembling awe of Judaism. It 
is but the tempest and the whirlwind and the 
blackness and the flame ;— *we need the calm out> 
shining of the sun upon the desolated scene, illumi- 
nating all things with a tranquil radiance. It is 
but the strong wind and the earthquake and the 
fire, which awake and make attent the awe-struck 
spirit ; — we need the still small voice of friendly 
communing with God. O God grant us to derive 
from Christianity all it can convey ! To receive 
from Jesus all he was exalted to bestow ! Grant 
that we may be '* filled with the Spirit, speaking 
to ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual 
songs, singing and making melody in our hearts 
imto the Lord, giving thanks always for all things 
unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ ! " 

For thus shall we expeiience this same Spirit of 
devotedness to God — ^and intercourse with God — 



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CHBI8TIAK PIETY. 41 

and peace with God — ^to be moreover a Spirit of 
power for Ood. For the Spirit of God has for its 
emblem not water only which refreshes, but fire 
which inflames. An emblem which has ever been 
a favourite one in every language to express 
that inward ardour of mind which cannot be re- 
strained, but bursts forth into fervent words and 
deeds. Thus we find it used in one author to de- 
note the energy of genius ; '' He was all spirit, all 
fire," — ^in another, that of poetic impulse ; — ^" Thou 
canst not be idle if thou wouldst ; thy noble quali- 
ties are like a fire burning within, and compel thee 
to pour thyself out in music and in song/' And in 
Scripture it expresses both (generally) any strong 
emotion ; as in Luke xxiv. 32 : " Did not our heart 
hum within us, while he talked with us by the way 
and opened to us the Scriptures?" and in Psahn 
xxxix. 3 : " My heart was hot within me ; while I 
was musing the fire kindled, and at the last I spake 
with my tongue;" — and also (more particiJarly) the 
impulse of the prophetic inspiration ; as in Jeremiah 
XX. 8, 9 ; where the Prophet declares, " The word 
of the Lord was made a reproach unto me and a 
derision daily " (my testimony for God was tm-ned 
into ridicule) " and then I said, I will not make 
mention of him nor speak any more in his name ; " 
(I was tempted to shrink from standing up for God) 
** but his word was in mine heart as a burning fire 



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42 THE MANIFESTATIONS OF 

shut up in my bones, and I was weary with for- 
bearing and I could not stay ; " the Spirit of God 
within me could not be repressed ; it would burst 
forth in word and act. 

And therefore, since the promised Spirit of Chris- 
tianity is (as we have learned from Joel) the Spirit 
of a Prophet, full of the Divine influence ; by this 
same image is expressed its presence and power. 
So it was symbolized to the disciples on the day of 
Pentecost, when there came a rushing mighty wind 
(the symbol of the Spirit's Hfe-giving breath), and 
there appeared to them lambent flames of fire (the 
symbol of his ardent energy), and they were filled 
with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other 
tongues as the Spirit moved them to proclaim the 
wondrous works of God. And so St. Paul would 
have it to exist in the heart of every Christian, 
when he exhorts the Thessalonians, "Quench not 
the Spirit," — do not smother and put out his sacred 
fire : and the Romans, " Be ye fervent in spirit, 
serving the Lord ;" and the timid Timothy, " Stir 
up " — ^rouse into a flame — " the gift of God which 
is in thee by the putting on of my hands ; for God 
hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and 
of love and of a sound " fa healthy, vigorottsj ** mind J' ^ 

This then is that power of the Holy Ghost 
which, as our Homily for Whitsunday declares, 
** openeth the mouth to declare the mighty works 



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CHBI8TIAK PIBTT. 48 

of God, eDgendereth a burning tool towards God's 
word, and giveth aU men a tongue, yea and a fiery- 
tongue, so that they may boldly and cheerfully 
profess the truth in the face of the whole world." 
This is that divine enthusiasm without which no 
man was ever great or good, which alone produces 
noble thoughts and noble deeds. This gave a sa- 
cred dignity to St. Peter on the day of Pentecost 
when he rose up and exclaimed before them all, 
*' These are not drunken as you suppose, but this 
is that which Joel spake of when he said ^ I will 
pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.' " This put force 
and efficacy into his address when he declared, 
'^ Let all the house of Israel know assxiredly that 
God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have 
crucified, both Lord and Christ;" and when they 
heard this they were pricked to the heart, and 
there were added to the church three thousand 
souls. This, again, endued the disciples with a 
calm and modest bravery when they said to the 
assembly of the rulers "Whether it be right in 
the sight of God to hearken unto you more than 
unto God, judge ye, for we cannot but speak the 
things which we have seen and heard." This filled 
their hearts with power firom on high when they 
prayed and said *' Now Lord, behold their threat- 
enings, and grant unto thy servants that with all 
boldness they may speak thy w(»'d ; and when they 



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44 THE MANIFESTATIONS OF 

had prayed the place was shaken where they were 
assembled together, and they were all filled with 
the Holy Ohost and spake the word of God with 
boldness." This stirred itself in Stephen when he 
" being full of the Holy Ghost looked up stedfastly 
into heaven and saw the glory of Gk)d, and Jesus 
standing on the right hand of God.^' This ani- 
mated Paul when he exclaimed to the Ephesians 
*'None of these things move me neither count I 
my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my 
course with joy, and the ministry that I have re- 
ceived of the Lord Jesus to testify the Gospel of 
the grace of God." This invested him with dig- 
nity and grace when he declared before the hea- 
then governor, '* I am not mad, most noble Festus, 
but show forth the words of truth and soberness ; " 
and when he cried to the terrified mariners, *' Sirs, 
I exhort you to be of good cheer, for there stood by 
me this night the angel of God, whose I am and 
whom I serve." And this manifested all its fervour 
in him among the Corinthians, when, though he was 
with them '' in weakness and in fear and in much 
trembling, his speech and his preaching were in 
demonstration of the Spirit and of power." 

Nor was this power of the Holy Ghost less pre- 
sent and effectual in subsequent ages of the church. 
'^ Give me a man," says Lactantius, '* passionate 
headstrong and unruly — by the words of God he 



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CHBISTIAK PIETY. 45 

shall become gentle as a lamb. Give me a greedy 
covetous and churtish man — he shall become a 
generous creature, fiill of rich benevolence. Give 
me a cruel and blood-thirsty man — ^he shall put on 
a mild and gracious spirit. Give me a dishonest 
man, a foolish man, a sensual man — he shall be 
made honest wise and virtuous." " Hear," says 
St. Cyprian, *^ that which is felt before it is learnt, 
that which is not collected together by long study, 
but which is received by the power of grace. While 
I lay in darkness, driven about by the waves of this 
world, a stranger to truth and light, that which the 
Divine mercy promised for my salvation seemed to 
me altogether hard and difficult; namely, that a man 
should be bom again, and laying aside what he had 
once been should become in soid and mind a dif- 
ferent man. How, said I, is so great a change 
possible ? That what so long had taken root should 
be done away .^ And thus entangled in my errors 
I believed there could be no deliverance; and while 
I despaired of amendment I gave myself up to all 
my vices as if they had been a part of myself. But 
when, the water of regeneration having washed away 
the stains of my former life, the light from above 
shed itself into a heart freed from guilt and purified; 
when the Spirit from heaven had been breathed into 
me and formed me by a. second birth into a new 
man; then most wonderfully that became certain to 



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46 MANIFESTATIONS OF CHBISTIAN PIETY. 

me which had been doubtful before ; that was open 
which had been closed ; that became easy which had 
been difficult ; that became practicable which before 
had been impossible ; so that the life which I have 
now entered on is the beginning of a life proceed- 
ing from God, a life produced and quickened by the 
Holy Ghost. From God, I say, from God is all our 
might, and from him do we receive all life and 
power f*^ 

And where then is this mighty Spirit now? 
Where are these thoughts that breathe and words 
that bumf Where is that calm yet vigorous, 
quiet yet effective, meek yet manly energy, which 
was predicted by the Prophets, promised by the 
Baptist, and given by the risen Jesus to his Apostles 
and his Church ? Woe, woe, unto us for we have 
sinned ! We have been careless of the sacred fire, 
— we have suffered the holy flame to quiver and to 
sink upon the altar of our hearts, — and we are cold 
and dull and dead ! O for life and power from on 
high! O to join the church continually in the 
aspirations of her ordination hymn, — 

" Come Holy Ghost our souls inspire, 
And lighten with celestial fire ! 
Thy blessed unction from above, 
Is comfort, lipe, and pire op love ! " 



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PART II. 



THE DEVELOPMENT 



THE SPIRITUAL LIFE. 



They which be endued with so excellent a benefit of 
God be called according to God's purpose by his Spirit 
working in due sealSon; they through grace obey the 
calling ; they be justified freely ; they be made sons of 
God by adoption ; they be made like the image of hia 
only-begotten son Jesus Christ ; they walk religiously in 
good works, and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to 
everlasting felicity. 

Article XVII. 



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Bonus vir sine Deo nemo est. An potest aliqnis supra 
fortunam nisi ab illo adjutus, exsurgere ? Ille dat consilia 
magnifica et erecta. In unoquoque virorum bononun 

habitat Deus. — Animnm excellentem coelestie potentia 

agitat Non potest res tanta sine adminiculo numinis 

stare. Seneca. Ep, xli. 

A good man is the work of God ; for how can any one 
rise above the influence of outward things without his 
help ? He is the source of all magnificent and elevated 
thoughts. He dwells in the heart of every one that is 
good. The virtuous mind is actuated by a heavenly in- 
fluence ; for only by the help of God can such a mind be 
formed. 



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49 



PART II. 

THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SPIRITUAL 
LIFE. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE SOUBCE OF THE SPIBITUAL LIFE. 

Truths will influence the conduct in proportion 
as they become domesticated, as it were, in the 
mind. And they will become thus domesticated in 
proportion to the frequency with which they are 
called up therein, the completeness in which they 
present themselves, and the number of different 
trains of thought with which they are interwoven. 

To know a subject therefore practically, so as to 
be influenced thereby, we must not only turn our 
attention to it repeatedly; but we must investigate 
it thoroughly ; and consider it connectedly^ through- 
out the range of its associations. 

Having then now brought together the several 
particulars which make up the scriptural conception 



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50 THE SOUBCE OF 

of the Inward Life of Christiaiiity, I would next 
turn the attention of my reader to the Process by 
which that life is ordinarily developed in the con- 
sciousness. 

And here, in the first place, I would show that 
this Inward Life must take its rise in the depths of 
the human spirit. 

For Christianity is a remedy for human guilt and 
corruption, and the Spirit therefore which applies 
that remedy to the individual soul, must reach and 
influence the very seat of the disease, if it would 
radically purify the character. Deep as is our de- 
pravity, so deep must commence our sanctification. 

Now the source of the habitual thoughts and con- 
duct — of all that properly constitutes the character 
of a man — ^lies in the prevailing temper which has 
formed itself within him from earliest infancy, and 
which, by virtue of precedence and pre-occupation, 
configures all successive impressions and acts. And 
this prevailing temper, in the present nature of 
'' every man naturally engendered of the oflspring 
of Adam,'' is, alas! sensuous and corrupt. There is 
a generic disposition of our fallen humanity, which 
forms as it were the nucleus round which aU sub- 
sequent conceptions arrange themselves ; the sub- 
stance to which they assimilate; the type according 
to which they crystallize. The instincts and appe- 
tites of the body form its centre ; the passions of the 



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HPHi 



THE SPIBITUAL LIFE. 51 

animal will dispose themselves around it ; and the 
eyer-changing objects of the world supply incessant 
stimulants to develop the evil mass. And accord, 
ing to the influence of this we view the truths pre- 
sented to us ; — ^they are tinged with the jaundice of 
our diseased nature. According to this we are 
determined in our judgments purposes and actions. 
And according to this therefore th^ general cha- 
racter is formed ; a character common in its broader 
features to all men, but modified in its details by 
the proportion of the several appetites desires and 
imaginations to each other in different minds. 

This inward source of character and conduct is 
what is called in Scripture, the heart, the flesh, the 
natural man. In this lies the well-spring of human 
action ; and from this flows that silent but powerful 
current which bears us onward, almost unconsciously, 
in a direction far away from God. O what a dan- 
gerous energy is constantly exerting itself within 
us, — ^the more effectually because beneath the light 
of consciousness ! What a fountain of evil is con- 
stantly throwing forth its bitter waters, and corrupt- 
ing each purer thought that may be thrown into the 
mind ! How shall we counteract its power ? — how 
shall we dam up or turn its ever-swelling current ? 
Is it not clear that nothing partial can stem that 
which is so extensive; nothing temporary can restrain 
that which is so constant ? 



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52 THE SOURCE OF 

And hence it is that all the moral influences which 
man himself can bring to bear upon his character 
are so inadequate. Much is attempted by appeals to 
self-interest and prudential calculation ; much by the 
sense of shame, and love of reputation ; much by the 
dictates of elevated moral sentiment and refined 
taste ; much by pleas for conscience, that is, for the 
peace which follows a conformity to our convictions. 
And these all are good and valuable. These all do 
something. These all are to be plied in every way 
to stem the torrent of corruption. But, I ask ob- 
servation and I ask experience — How far do they 
go ? What is the extent of their influence on the 
inward man ? The one characteristic and the one 
defect of all is, that they are but partial in their 
operation ; they may modify the native principle but 
they do not change it ; they may confine the stream 
in narrower bounds, or they may turn it somewhat 
from its course, or they may produce therein occa- 
sional counter currents, but it is the same stream 
still ; too often flowing but the deeper for the nar- 
rowing of its banks, too often running but the faster 
in one channel, from the partial obstruction that it 
meets with in another. The principle of evil is not 
materially weakened though the development of 
evil is restrained. The arguments of Prudence may 
successfully oppose the sins which manifestly injure 
us. Regard for Reputation may keep down all that 



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THE SPIEITUAL LIFE. 53 

is accounted shameful in good society. Good taste 
may check whatever wounds our delicacy. The de- 
sire of inward Peace may stimulate us to keep our 
conduct up to the level of our principles. But then, 
with all these various influences brought to bear 
upon the manifestations of corruption, what, again I 
ask, is really done with its hidden source ? ITie 
remedies are partial, and partial only therefore can 
be the cure. The symptoms are attacked and modi- 
fled ; the disease remains. 

And equally ineffectual must be every temporary 
obstruction which human power can apply, however 
extensive it may be for the time it lasts. There are 
indeed circumstances which sometimes rouse the 
whole man into opposition to his evil nature. There 
are moments when all his feelings are enlisted on the 
side of duty ; when every motive to it is combined ; 
when the folly danger grossness misery of sin so 
flash upon the mind, that we see it in its true light 
and we hate it and denounce it. Providential occur- 
rences will do this. The preaching of the word of 
God will do this. Sudden reminiscences will do 
this. The menaces of danger and of death will do 
this. And for a time the important work seems 
done ; the stream of evil seems dammed up ; the 
current is thrown back upon itself ; the man seems 
left uninfluenced by it, free to turn himself wherever 
he may please : yet even now the flood is 



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54 THE SOUBCE OJF 

gathering strength, collecting all its energy, sapping 
the temporary barrier, till down it pours in all its 
fury, rushing onward but the more impetuously for 
its momentary repression. O the utter insufficiency 
of merely human motive ! O the absolute necessity 
of something more than this in botii extent and per^ 
fnanency ; nay of a higher kind than any power 
that earth can furnish! Must not all effectual 
reformation begin within, in the principle itself; 
and not merely be opposed from without, to its 
results? Must not the bitter stream itself be 
cleansed by the casting in of a divine remedy ? 
Must not the very spring-head of the evil be made 
the spring-head of the good ? 

I answer in the words of one who knew full well 
the powers of human reason,* and I say, *'The 
spirit of prudential motive, however ennobled by the 
magnitude and awfulness of its objects, and though 
as the termination of a lower it may be the com- 
mencement (and not seldom the occasion) of an 
higher state, is not, even inrespect of mora/tVy itself, 
that abiding and continuous principle of action which 
is either one with the faith spoken of by St. Paul, or 
its immediate of&pring. It cannot be that spirit of 
obedience to the commands of Christ, by which the 
soul dwelleth in him and he in it (1 John iii. 4), 
and which our Saviour himself announces as a being 
• Coleridge. Second Lay Sermon. 



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THE SPIBITTIAL LIFE. 55 

born a^ain. And this indispensable act or influence 
or impregnation, of which as of a divine tradition 
the eldest philosophy is not silent ; which flashed 
through the darkness of the pagan mysteries ; and 
which it was therefore a reproach to a Master in 
Israel that he had not already known (John iii) ; 
this is elsewhere explained as a seed which, though 
of gradual development, did yet potentially contain 
the essential form not merely of a better but of an 
other life ; amidst all the fmlties and transient 
eclipses of mortality making, I repeat, the subjects 
of this regeneration not so properly better as other 
men, whom therefore the world could not but hate 
as aliens. Its own native growth, however improved 
by cultivation (whether through the agency of blind 
sympathies or of an intelligent self- interest, the ut- 
most heights to which the worldly life can ascend) 
the world has always been ready and willing to 
acknowledge and admire. ' They are of the world ; 
therefore speak they out of the heart of the world, 
and the world heareth them.' '' 

Hence then, you perceive, it follows, in the second 
place, that this Inward Life must spring from a 
Divine source. 

For, the depths of the human spirit who can pe- 
nerate and who can influence, but He who is its 
maker and sustainer? What we ourselves per- 
ceive of our own minds in the moment of self-con- 



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56 THE SOURCE OF 

sciousness is not one millionth part of that vast 
store of conceptions and those innumerable trains 
of thought which, far below the ken of inward con- 
templation, are ever living and effective in the soul; 
seething (as it were) in its unfathomed depths, and 
causing, every instant, changes sudden and exten- 
sive in the surface waves which we behold. And 
the laws of those changes who can calculate? 
the forces which are thus in constant operation 
who can reach ? To work effectually therefore upon 
our spirits by our own unassisted skill and force 
is far beyond the power of man. We may catch a 
glimpse of some of the more general laws of thought, 
we may conjecture the existence of manifold con- 
current causes, we may learn by long expeiience 
what we must avoid and what pursue upon the 
whole ; but who can touch the heart ? Who can 
discover the secret spring that sets in motion all its 
complicated and inexplicable workings ? Who can 
supply the regulator which controls and harmonizes 
them ? Who but God who searcheth the heart and 
trieth the reins, and worketh in men both to will 
and to do ? 

Besides, the rise of Piety in the soul takes 
place, not as a mechanical effect but as a living 
growth. Even in cases where it seems to break 
the most suddenly on the consciousness and on the 
world it has been a growth. And to this growth. 



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THE 8PIKITUAL LIFE. 67 

not ourselves alone but all persons and all cir- 
cumstances without intermission have contributed. 
Any one condition of mind at any one moment is 
the product of the circumstances of that moment, 
multiplied into all its preceding conditions. And 
who is the arranger of those circumstances and 
the efficient cause of those conditions but the God 
in whom we live and move ? The blessed principles 
and feelings of true religion do not then first begin 
to be, when our attention is engaged by them ; the 
moment of their birth into the consciousness is not 
the moment of their generation in the soul. The 
seeds thereof have been thrown in from time to time 
by the ever- working providence and grace of God ; 
they have long been buried in the clods of the 
earthly nature ; they have been secretly impregnated 
by the all-pervading Spirit of life ; they have ex- 
panded silently and unsuspected ; they put forth 
timidly their delicate shoots ; often they are met 
and nipped by the chilling blasts of an uncongenial 
world and they shrink again into themselves ; till 
some more favourable moment is vouchsafed them ; 
a gentler air breathes over them ; they burst through 
every remaining obstacle, they press up through all 
the superincumbent weight of earthliness, and 
there they are ! discoverable now by the downward 
glance of meditation, perceptible to the mind that 
ponders on itself, and gladdening with their young 



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58 THE SOUBCE OF 

and tender verdure the admiring soul. All growth, 
in mind as in nature, must be mysterious, and in- 
dependent of ourselves. We can perceive only that 
things have grown : we have not eyes to trace them 
in their growth. 

*• Who ever saw the earliest rose 
First open her sweet breast ?" 

And who can chronicle the growth of friendship 
and the buddings of affection ? Do we not awake 
to the perception of them as if some sudden light 
had only now made clearer to us sentiments which, 
in the very moment of their development, we feel 
to be familiftr with ; and which therefore we do not 
so much discover as recognize within us ? 

And just so is it with the dawn of Piety in the 
mind. We welcome it as congenial though we feel 
it to be not natural to us. It is in us yet it is not 
of fis. It bears upon itself the stamp of heavenly 
origin. We confess with St. Paul that it "has 
pleased God to reveal his Son in us.'' We cry in 
the words of Jesus to St. Peter, " Blessed art thou, 
for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee 
but thy Father which is in heaven." And we ex- 
claim with the Apostle, *' O the depth of the riches 
both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God ! 
For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are 
all things, to whom be glory for ever and ever. 
Amen!" 



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THE 8PIBITUAL LIFE. 59 

This then is the truth which Scripture expresses 
so emphatically when it declares: '^The wind blow- 
eth where it listeth and thou hearest the sound 
thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh nor 
whither it goeth; so is every one that is bom 
of the Spirit." (John iii. 8.) " Of his own will 
begat he us with the word of truth, that we should 
be a kind of first fruits of his creatures." (James 
i. 18.) " We have received, not the spirit of the 
world but the Spirit which is of God, that we might 
know the things that are freely given to us of 
God." (1 Cor. ii. 12.) "As many as received 
him, to them gave he power to become the sons of 
God, which were bom, not of blood nor of the will 
of the flesh nor of the will of man but of God." 
(John i. 12, 13.) 

And so the Bishops and Fathers of our church. 
** Holy we cannot be," says Bishop Andrews, *' by 
any habit, moral or acquisite. There is none such 
in all mora] philosophy. As we have our faith by 
illumination, so have we our holiness by inspira- 
tion ; * receive * both from without. To a habit 
the Philosophers came and so Christians may. 
But that will not serve; they must go further. Our 
habits acquisite will lift us no further than they 
did the heathen men; no further than the place 
where they grow, that is earth and nature. They 
.cannot work beyond their kind (nothing can), nor 



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60 THE SOURCE OF 

rise higher than their spring.. It is not, therefore, 
' si habitum acqutsistis,* but ' si spiritum recepistis,^ 
that we must go by." — "The condition of man after 
the fall of Adam," says our Tenth Article, " is such 
that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own 
natural strength and good works to faith and call- 
ing upon God : wherefore, we have no power to do 
good works pleasant and acceptable to God, with- 
out the grace of God by Christ, preventing us that 
we may have a good will, and working with us 
when we have that good will." "It is the Holy 
Ghost," says our Homily for Whitsunday, " and no 
other thing, that doth quicken the minds of men, 
stirring up good and godly motions in their hearts, 
which are agreeable to the will and commandment 
of God, such as otherwise of their own crooked 
and perverse nature they should never have. That 
which is bom of the Spirit is spirit. As who should 
say, Man of his own nature is fleshly and carnal, 
corrupt and naught, sinful and disobedient to 
God, without any spark of goodness in him, with- 
out any virtuous or godly motion, only given to 
evil thoughts and wicked deeds. As for the works 
of the Spirit, the fruits of faith, charitable and 
godly motions, if he have any at all in him, they 
proceed only of the Holy Ghost, who is the only 
worker of our sanctification, and maketh us new 
men in Christ Jesus." " Lord of all power and 



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THE SPIRITUAL LIFE. 61 

might," we pray in various collects, '* who art the 
author of all godliness — without whom nothing is 
strong, nothing is holy — by whose only inspiration 
we can think those things that be good — from 
whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all 
just works do proceed — graft in our hearts the love 
of thy name, increase in us true religion, nourish 
us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep 
us in the same, through Jesus Christ our Lord ! " 

If then such be the Source of the Spiritual Life, 
we see at once the difficulties which this sub- 
ject must unavoidably present to every superficial 
thinker. To him who is indifferent to his danger 
as a sinner alienated from God, and not awake to 
the absolute necessity of this new life to his salva- 
tion, the mysterious inwardness and divinity of its 
rise in the spirit must ever produce surprise and 
cavil. He knows not himself and the depths of his 
own heart and the inveteracy of his disease, and 
he cannot therefore understand the nature of the 
remedy that he needs. He thinks and lives in the 
world of sense, and everything pertaining to the 
world of spirit must be strange to him. The whole 
region is to him an untrodden, nay an unimagined 
one, and it is but natural therefore that he should • 
doubt, and perhaps deride, the report of others as 
he would a traveller's tale of wonder. Piety is a 



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62 THE SOURCE OF 

spiritual experience; that is, it lies beyond the 
sphere of sense; and cannot therefore be described 
or demonstrated under the forms of sense ; and con- 
sequently we who plead for it, must be prepared to 
meet objections drawn from such a source with dig* 
nified tranquillity. We shall not think to solve them 
while yet the very ear is wanting by which the solu- 
tion can be heard, and the heart by which it can 
be understood ; but shall seek rather to address our- 
selves to the deeper source of all objections, — ^the in- 
difference and self-ignorance and false security from 
which they spring. This was the method Jesus 
took with Nicodemus (John iii. 4 — 8). When the 
latter asked him, *'^How can a man be bom when he 
is old ? " he attempts not to answer this '' How,'' till 
he has pressed upon the conscience of the objector 
the absolute necessity of the experience itself about 
which he objects. " Except a man be bom of 
water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the 
kingdom of God. That which is bom of the flesh is 
flesh, and that which is bom of the Spirit is spirit. 
Marvel not that I said unto thee. Ye must be bom 
again." All difficulties about the tMinner of the 
workings of Religion are but the trifling of an un- 
concerned mind ; but when the necessify of Reli- 
gion is once felt, when a holy earnestness comes 
over us, and we heartily desire and seek the thing 
itself, then are we prepared either to have our 



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THE SPIRITUAL LIFE. 63 

real peq)lexitie8 removed, or to learn with humble 
acquiescence tliat they are not removable to finite 
man. And therefore Jesus having re-asserted to 
Nicodemus the great truth which he began with, 
and shown the absolute necessity of its experience 
in every man, from the simple fact that all are 
bom with an earthly nature and cannot there- 
fore possibly be fit for a heavenly state till into 
that earthly nature has been infused a heavenly 
one (''he only that is bom of the Spirit can 
be spiritual *') ; having thus solemnly re-asserted 
the necessity of the fact^ let the manner be in- 
telligible or not; then first recurs to the question 
of the Jewish Ruler, How can such a change take 
place, not indeed to answer it but to indicate its 
unanswerableness ; not to unfold the mysteries of 
the human spirit and of its transition from death 
to life but to declare that they are fer too deep for 
our perception ; for while results of thought present 
themselves in the conscioiisness and issue out in 
the conduct, the causes of thought, and its occasions 
and its complex associations and its manifold work- 
ings, are hidden from the human eye. It is with 
the spirit that breathes within us even as with the 
wind that breathes aroimd us, — sensible in its effects 
but hidden in its source. '' The wind bloweth where 
it liBteth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but 
canst not tell whence it cometh nor whither it goeth ; 



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64 THE 80UECE OF 

SO,'* similar in what is perceptible and what is 

imperceptible ; similar in the certainty of the facts 

and in the uncertainty of the cause and manner, 

" 50 is every one that is bom of the Spirit." The 
Spiritual Life may be experienced in the con- 
sciousness and will display itself in the conduct ; 
but how it came into the heart, and whence it 
came, — these are matters not of observation but 
of faith. 

But what ENCOURAGEMENT docs this truth of the 
Divine origin of Piety afford, to every one who de- 
sires the experience of it in himself ! If you com- 
prehend enough of the awftil purity of God and of 
the corruption of your own heart, to feel the abso- 
lute necessity of a change in you the sinner, in 
order to your dwelling with Him the Holy One ; of 
a participation of the Divine nature now, in order to 
your entering into the Divine glory hereafter ; then, 
I ask you, where will you go for such a transforma- 
tion ? Whence will you derive it ? How will you 
effect it ? Can flesh develop itself into spirit ? Can 
it give birth spontaneously and by its natural vir- 
tue to anything above its own kind ? Can under- 
standing expand beyond the confines of the sphere 
for which it has been formed, and in which it dwells 
and acts ? Can the heavenly and divine spring 
out from the earthly and human ? Can the Ethio- 
pian change his skin and the leopard his spots ; or 



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THE SFIBITUAIi LIFE. 65 

he who has been accuBtomed to do evil, of hinoself 
do good ? And what hope then can you have of 
being renewed in the spirit of your mind, if that 
renewal does not come from Qod ! But if it does ! 
— ^then is there hope for you, for every man who 
turns to seek the blessing from its proper source ; 
for, you and every man are within the range of the 
all-encircling love of God. He is your Fatheb ; and 
he has a Father's ear for every sigh of supplication 
that is breathed towards him, and a Father's bounti- 
fulness to bestow the blessings that you ask for. 
Were indeed the source of good to be sought within 
yourself what could we say to cheer you, for you 
yourself are empty of all good ; but if it be in God, 
(and in God it %s abundantly) then may we address 
you with the mingled exhortation and reproof and 
promises of Holy Writ, — " Wisdom crieth with- 
out, she uttereth her voice in the streets saying. 
How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity, 
and the scomers delight in their scorning? Turn 
you at my reproof; behold, / tviUpour out my Spirit 
upon you, I will make known my words unto you ! '' 
Do you hesitate because you feel yourself unworthy? 
Do you keep away from God because you have not 
the Spirit of God ? — Remember th^t you cannot find 
this Spirit tiU you come to Him to receive it from 
Him as his gift ; but yet, that on this very account 
your Saviour has prepared a way for your approach 



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66 THE SOXTBCB 09 

to God, has thrown wide open the doors of His pre- 
sence-chamber, that yon may hare access to his 
grace and gam from him the Spirit of adoption 
whereby you may cry Abba Father ! 

And do you ask what are the me aks by which this 
gift must be sought, the channels through which it 
descends into the soul ? The very nature of the 
Gift sufficiently points out the nature of those Means. 
For God must influence the spirit of man m a spi- 
ritual manner, — ^that is, by introducing and awaken- 
ing thoughts and feelings which may work within 
the mind according to the laws of mind, and thus 
bring home the remedy to the very seat, and in 
accordance with the very form and character, of the 
disease. The Spirit of God is Mind ; and therefore 
works by Mind, and is to be found in Mind, and 
communicates himself through Mind. By inter- 
course with our own soul ; by intercourse with the 
souls of other Christians ; by intercourse with God, 
who is the soul of our soul and of theirs ; shall we 
obtain that living Spirit which we need. 

Let us cultivate then Intercourse with owreehee ; 
acquaintance with our own mind and heart and 
character; — reflection, meditation, self-inspection, 
self-knowledge. '^ The true knowledge of ourselves," 
says our Second Homily, " is necessary, to come to 
the right knowledge of God:" ''He who knows 
himself," says an ancient Heathen writer, '' will 



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THS 8PIBIT17AX LIFE. 67 

know Qod; and he who knowa God, will become 
like Qod : aad he who becomes like God, will walk 
worthy of Gk>d, thinking speaking and acting even 
as God would think and speak and aef All de- 
pends on pausing to consider our own ways ; finding 
out the man within ourselves and becoming intimate 
and at home in our own bosom. Not that we need 
laborious thought ; difficult abstraction ; mystic mu- 
sings ; morbid brooding over frames and feelings ; 
anything that cannot be pursued by the most occu- 
pied or the least intellectual : — ^but simply, that ob- 
serving of ourselves as we observe other men, that 
questioning of ourselves, keeping account of our- 
selves, talking with ourselves, which exalts the 
thinking man above the heedless child, and makes 
him live for something higher than to be the slave 
and sport of each successive outward object that may 
present itself to his bodily eyes or ears. The con- 
sidering who we are ; what we are ; whence we are ; 
why we are ; whither we are going : — the ponder- 
ing on our relation to God who is our Father ; to 
the world which is our school of discipline ; to men 
who are our brethren ; and to eternity which is our 
home. So shall we understand our actual state of 
mind ; our spiritual wants ; the suitableness of the 
Gospel truths and promises to their supply; the 
course we are to run ; the steps that we must take ; 
beginning with ourselves to end with God. 



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68 THE SOUJtCE OF 

And let us add to this, Intercourse with our Fel- 
low Christians, For all the experiences of Religion 
depend upon the influences of the Spirit of God ; and 
the Spirit of God resides in the Church of Christ, 
and diffuses itself by means of the members of 
Christ. It is a Family Spirit^ to be caiight by in- 
tercourse with that Family. And therefore the 
grand means appointed by Christ himself for its 
communication has ever been the social intercourse 
of Christians. This he promised his Apostles when 
he said, '' I will pray the Father, and he shall giye 
you another Comforter which shall abide with you 
for eyer ; even the Spirit of truth, whom the world 
cannot receive, because it seeth him not neither 
knoweth him : but ye know him, for he dwelleth 
with you and shall be in you,'* speaking here not to 
any individual separately, (the pronouns are plural,) 
but to the whole coUectively as a united body. 
Wherefore it was that he afterwards commanded 
them not to break up their commimity and sepa- 
rate themselves to different parts, saying that 
'* they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait 
for the promise of the Father which they had heard 
of him ;" and then, '* when they were all with one 
accord in one place,'' that promise was fulfilled and 
they were filled with the Holy Ghost. For this 
moreover, he has given ^'Appstles and Prophets 
and Evangelists and Pastors and Teachers, for the 



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THE SPIRITUAL LIFE. 69 

perfecting of the saints, for the work of ministering 
to their spiritual wants, for the edifying of the body 
of Christ, from whom the whole body fitly joined 
together, and compacted hy that which every Joint 
supplieth, maketh increase of the body unto the edi- 
fying of itself in love. " For this, he has commanded 
us by his Apostle '' not to forsake the assembling 
of ourselves together," because " where two or three 
are gathered together in his name there is he in the 
midst of them.'* For this, he gives the manifesta- 
tion of the Spirit to every Christian man that he 
may profit his brethren therewith. And therefore 
to participate in this, we must be regular and fre- 
quent in public worship, in family and social prayer, 
in friendly Christian intercourse, thereby to nourish 
and renew the Spiritual Life. We must place 
ourselves in the atmosphere of the Spirit if we would 
inhale the Spirit. The principle of Social interest, 
which leads us to join ourselves to other men ; the 
principle of Imitation, which bends the mind uncon- 
sciously in the direction of those to whom we join 
ourselves ; the principle of Sympathy, which makes 
the slightest thought and feeling of our own mind to 
be increased to a fourfold intensity by our conscious- 
ness, first of its participation by those around us, next 
of their being sensible themselves of this participation, 
then of their emotions being heightened by this sym- 
pathy with ours, and finally of their thus responding 



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70 THE SOTTRCE OT THE 8FIBITUAL LIFE. 

not to 118 alone but to all the rest in mutual commu- 
nion with us ; — these several mighty means of in- 
fluence on the human heart, by which the Spirit of 
God communicates as through the links of an electric 
chain the element of spiritual life, must all be grasped 
by us if we would thrill with fire from heaven. 

But then, with both these means we must unite 
Tnttrcaurse with God by secret prayer. For Prayer 
re-acts upon all other influences, and collects them 
into the unity of our own spirit, and di&ses them 
through every power of the man. And Prayer brings 
down into the midst of every thought and train of 
thought the idea of God ; reminds us that ourselves 
are in the presence and under the control of God ; 
our circumstances have been all arranged by God ; 
our opportunities of grace have been ordained by 
God ; our teachers have been commissioned by God ; 
our Christian Mends are actuated and blessed by 
God ; and thus infuses into the most ordinary objects 
persons and occurrences, the character and power of 
a divine communication to the soul. " Now there- 
fore," said Cornelius to St. Peter, " we are all here 
present he/ore God, to hear all things that are com*- 
manded thee of God." And what was the result of 
this devout infusion of the thought of God into all 
the words that Peter then addressed to them?— 
" While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost 
fell on all them which heard the word." 



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71 



CHAPTER II. 

THE PBOGESS OF THE SFIBITUAL LIFE. 

The Spiritual Life must, we have seen, from 
the very nature of our being, take its rise in the 
inscrutable depths of the human soul, and have its 
source in the secret inspiration of the Holy Ghost. 
But the deyelopment of this life must not the less, 
from this same nature of our being, become mani- 
lest to the consciousness of the Individual ; and the 
Process of that Development will, moreover, from 
the general similarity of man to man, be for the 
most part similar in aU religious minds. These 
are the two points which will occupy the present 
chapter. 

And first,-*-The Development of Spiritual Life 
must become manifest to the consciousness of the 
individual in whom it is awakened. For deep and 
hidden as are the mass of our conceptions in the 
rece sse s of the spirit, their workings and results 
become both seen and felt by that peculiar power 
of self-consciousness— of introspection and inward 



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72 THE FBOCEBS OP 

sense — with which we are endowed. The essence 
of Mind we cannot discover, any more than we can 
the essences of the external world ; but the pheno- 
mena of Mind are presented to the inward intui- 
tion, just as the phenomena of matter are to the 
outward observation. We cannot possess vigorous 
thoughts affections and purposes on any subject 
and of any kind, without 'becoming more or less 
conscious of their existence; that is, without a 
feeling and experience of the goings on within us. 
And as generally on any subject that interests 
us, so particularly must there be such feeling and 
experience on the subject of Religum; if indeed 
this last have seized on our attention and be- 
come alive in our heart. " Religious experience '* 
is indeed a phrase often mistaken and sometimes 
misused ; but it expresses a fact or series of &cts 
in the consciousness, without which no man can 
be saved. It denotes all those exercises of the 
mind and heart which indicate that Religion is 
not merely a profession and a creed, but an in- 
fluence and a life. It expresses the finding in 
ourselves the realities, the things signified, of which 
words are but the shadows and the signs. And 
only therefore as we do find in oursehes (that 
is, experience) these realities, can we truly under^ 
stand the words which dimly indicate them. 
For by experience only, either that of external 



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THE SFIBITUAL LIFE. 73 

sensation or of internal consciousness, can we un- 
derstand an J terms which are the signs ot factB 
occurring in that sensation or that consciousness. 
If a man tells me of a bodily sensation — ^a head-ache, 
for example — I understand him only so &r as l^at 
sensation has been present to myself; and I reply 
either *' I cannot enter into your feelings, for I never 
experienced what a head-ache is,"— or " I under- 
stand you, for I have experienced the same." If 
he speaks to me of esteem, gratitude, affection, — 
which are mental sensations sentiments or feelings, 
—I can answer, '' Yes, I know well whitt you mean, 
for I have experienced such sentiments myself.*' 
If he tells me of the glow of admiration which 
came over him at the contemplation of such or 
such a lovely scene; or of the thrill of pleasure 
which was awakened in him by such or such me*- 
lodious sounds ; here again I can believe he is not 
uttering rapturous nonsense, because I have myself 
experienced the same emotions. And just similarly 
in Religion. There are experiences of the conscience 
and the heart, by finding which within ourselves 
we can alone supply a meaning to the glowing 
words and images of Scripture, or can regard the 
men themselves who use those words as other than 
enthusiasts of Oriental warmth of temperament and 
exaggeration of language. Either their expressions 
mean something weighty and essential to Religion, 



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74 THE PSOCE88 OF 

or they do not. And if thej do mean something 
weighty and essential to Religion (which every 
one who reverences the Bihle or its authors will 
at once concede), then, from the nature of the case, 
that meaning cannot be collected merely by critical 
intecpretation, and conveyed by verbal definition, 
but .must be supplied by personal ezperienoe. 
Notions may be conveyed from mind to mind by 
logical definitions, but feelings can be only ifidicated 
by analc^es, the sense of which must be found by 
the hearer for himself and in his own bosom. The 
one is as the imprinting of a stamp upon the under* 
standing ; the other is as the touching of a string 
whose vibrations wake up a corresponding chord in 
the heart Therefore, without the finding in our* 
$ehe9 those states of consciousness which the Scrip- 
ture writers found within themselves, and of which 
their words and images are short-hand signs, there 
can be no posseuian of the mind of the pious men of 
God, and therefore no real piety. In this, as in all 
practical truth, the axiom holds good, " quantum 
9umu$, 9cimui "»-only what we actually are, do we 
really know. 

To answer— as, alas ! it has been answered— -that 
the words of Scripture which indicate such experi- 
ences " mean nothing to us ; nothing (that is) to 
be found or sought for in the present drcumstanoes 
of Ghristiamly," — is to confound the temporary with 



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THE SPIRITUAL LITE. 75 

the pennanent, the ever varying dfcunutanees of 
man with the ever similar nature of man. It is to 
forget the general principle which Scripture itself 
lays down ; *' as in water face answereth to fece^ 
so the heart of man to man." Man, in the essen- 
tials of his nature, is in all ages countries and 
circumstances the same; "with the same organs, 
dimensions, senses, affections, passions ; fed by the 
same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject 
to the same diseases, healed by the same means, 
warmed and cooled by the same winter and sum- 
mer." And, therefore similarly z reUfftous man, 
in the essentials of his character, must be in all 
ages coimtries and circumstances the same ; and 
notwithstanding all the accidental difference of 
form and of degree which may result from differ- 
ence of knowledge temperament and situation, still 
whatever was essential to render a Jew pious, or 
a Roman pious, or an Ephesian or Ck)los8ian pious, 
must be equally essential to render an Englishman 
pious ; nay, whatever workings of such piety were 
experienced in the vast translation from Heathen* 
ism to Christianity, such workings in substance 
must be similarly experienced, in the not less real 
and necessary translation frt>m a nominal Chris- 
tianity to a personal one ; from a participation of 
the outward instructions and ordinances of a 
true church, to the participation of that inward 



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76 THE PBOCESS OP 

life of &ifh and love and hope, to be the occasion 
of which, those instructions and ordinances are 
vouchsafed. Separate the ticcidental marks of their 
experiences as Jews or Heathens, from their 
essential ones as corrupt and guilty men, and 
these latter must apply to us and be necessary 
to us. It was to Israelites^ remember, — that is, 
to the chosen people of the true God, to men 
educated in the law of God and partakers of the 
ordinances of God, — ^that the Prophets Jeremiah 
and Ezekiel cried, " Make you a new heart and 
a new spirit, lest ye die;" and that they promised 
from the Lord, " I will take away from you the 
heart of stone, and give to you a heart of flesh." 
It was to a Jew^ — a ruler of the Jews, a *• most 
respectable " man, — ^that Jesus said, " Ye must be 
bom again." Nay it was to Christianized Ephe- 
sians, baptized Ephesians, members of the body of 
Christ, that St. Paul declares—" Put off the old 
man which is corrupt, and he renewed in the spirit 
of your mind, and put on the new man which after 
God is created in righteousness and true holiness." 
And shall \hen any Ecclesiastical privileges, any 
Baptismal grace, make such exhortations and such 
promises less indispensable to us ? 

Never then let this necessity of personal experience 
of the inward life be overlooked, lest we deceive 
ourselves with unwarrantable hopes of a salvation. 



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THX SFIBITUAL I.IFE. 77 

no earnest of which has ever yet been manifested 
in our heart or conduct. Much is said, I know, 
about a modest and a secret Piety, — about avoid- 
ing ostentation and hypocrisy, and disclaiming pre- 
tensions to enthusiastic movements of the mind, and 
keeping the awful subject of Religion between 
our conscience and our God. But as much must 
be said, upon the other hand, about life being know- 
able only by its actings ; and principles and feelings 
only by their manifestations. However secret the 
causes, yet surely the effects, to be actual (that is, 
to be effects at all), must come out into the con- 
sciousness and conduct. We should give little credit 
to that asserted patience which produced no actual 
calm of mind ; or to that professed affection which 
left the heart unmoved by any ripple of emotion ; or 
to that declared devotion to our interests of which 
no trace betrayed itself by acts of zeal and service. 
We do not indeed wish a friend to boast inces- 
santly of the attachment that he feels for us ; but 
still we should not quite expect the secret of it to 
be so marvellously well preserved, that neither to 
ourselves, nor any one besides, should any glunmer 
of it struggle into view. Nor does the man of taste, 
perhaps, attempt to analyze his feelings very meta- 
physically, or pore over them with morbid sensi- 
bility ; yet, most certainly a man of taste he could 
not be if he had not these feelings ; if all objects 



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78 THE FBOOS8S OF 

and all subjects were to him alike indifferent ; if his 
efe never glistened at some splendid scene of nature, 
and his heart neyer leaped up at some noUe 
act of heroism, and his spirit never quivered like 
a well-strung instrument when the breath of elo- 
quence swept over it, or the strains of music lingered 
on its chords. O why will men think of banish- 
ing emotion from Religion when they fe^ that on 
every other subject of interest and of grandeur and 
of beauty, to be without emotion is to be with- 
out the characteristic of humanity ! Why will they 
give to the flesh and to the world their very soul, 
and reserve for Him who made that soul, the dregs 
alone, the flat residuum which may be left when 
all its life has been drawn off and all its nobler 
workings have subsided ! Let no man &ncy that 
he loves God if he be not conseious that he loves 
God. Let no man flatter himself that he is serving 
GK>d if the seeming good that he easi point to in 
his conduct has not sprung from pums motive, in- 
telligent self-dedication, affectionate communion 
with his heavenly Father. He who is " a godly per- 
son," according to our Seventeenth Article, " must 
/eel in himself the workings of the Spirit of Christ, 
mortifying the works of the flesh and his earthly 
members and drawing up his mind to high and 
heavenly things." And he who has "the very 
sure and lively Christian faith, " according to our 



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THS SPIBITVAL LIFE. 79 

Fourth Homily, '< this Faith doth not lie dead in 
the heart, bat is lively and firuitfiil in bringing forth 
good works." For, **as the light cannot be hid, 
but will show forth itself at one place or another ; 
so a true faith cannot be secret, but when occasion 
is offered it will break oat and show itself by good 
works. And as the living body of a man ever exer- 
ciseth such things as belong to a natural and living 
body for nourishment and preservation of the same, 
as it hath need opportunity and occasion ; even so 
the soul that hath a lively faith in it will be doing 
always some good work which shall declare that it 
is living, and will not be unoccupied/' — " This is 
the true lively and unfeigned Christian faith, and 
is not in the mouth and outward profession only, but 
it Uveth and stirreth inwardly in the heart '^ — " The 
wind," says oiu: blessed Lord, " bloweth where it 
listeth, and no man knoweth whence it cometh 
and whither it goeth, but thou heareet the sound 
thereof," The source of personal Religion may be 
inscrutable, but the fact itself, the thing — the actual 
elevation of the mind, and spiritualizing of the affec- 
tions, and renewing of the purposes, and sanctify- 
ing of the tastes and habits and pursuits, — ^this 
will be, in him who is truly new -bom, as plain 
and palpable as-^ the contrary condition of impeni- 
tence and fleshliness is plain and palpable. By 
their fruits, the two distinctive principles— the old 



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80 THE PBOCESS OF 

man and the new man — must be known. " A good 
tree cannot bring forth corrupt fruit, neither can a 
corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. A good man 
out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth 
good things, even as an evil man out of the evil 
treasure of his heart bringeth forth evil things ; for 
out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.'' 
Header, where are your evidences of personal piety? 
Where are your fruits, — of inward love and outward 
holiness ? We cannot do without these. We must 
not indeed search for them in imessential or decep- 
tive marks. But we must search for them. We 
must not derive them from merely temporary frames 
and feelings, or supposed Ulapses of the Spirit. We 
must not delude ourselves upon the one hand, or 
torment ourselves upon the other, by placing depend- 
ence on casual experiences which may, after all, 
(both the good and the evil) be only bodily sen- 
sations or, at most, excited states of mind. But 
at the same time evidences we must have. And 
those evidences we must seek and find m the gene* 
ral pulse of the soul; — not in its variations which 
may often unnecessarily raise or depress us, but in 
its existence ; not in the degrees of love to God and 
prayerfulness and energy and zeal, but in the/act 
that we have such love and prayerfulness and 
energy and zeal at all. Surely a man may know 
whether he have love for his fkther or his mother. 



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THS SPIBITXTAL LIFE. 81 

his wife or his children, his brother or his Mend ! 
And just by the same general evidence of permanent 
conseioumesa may he know whether he have love to 
God, and be his child in spirit and in truth ; in a 
word, whether he possess the inward life of Chris- 
tianity. ** Hereby we know that God abideth in us 
by the Spirit which he hath given us." 1 John iii. 24 . 

It remains now to consider, in the Second Place, 
that as the Development of the Spiritual Life must 
be more or less manifest to the consciousness of the 
Individual, so the process of this manifestation will 
he, for the most part, similar in all religious minds. 

For the natmal condition of aU men is the same, 
whatever the varieties of form in which it may be 
manifested. The corruption of man's heart is as 
general a iact as the existence of man's nature. In 
" every man naturally engendered of the offspring 
of Adam " siniulness is now a characteristic of hu- 
manity. It is as true now as it was in the days of 
Noah that '' the imagination of man's heart is evil 
from his youth." It is as undeniable now as it was 
in the days of Jeremiah that the heai(> of man is 
''deceitful above all things and desperately wicked." 
It is as certain now as it was in the days of Jesus 
that "out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, 
murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false wit< 
ness, blasphemies." And therefore the assertion^ 

Q 



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82 THE PBOCESS OP 

of Scripture touching our depravity are made of 
man as man, and expressed in a imiyersal form. 
'' That which is bom of the flesh is flesh." John iii. 
6. '* All have sinned and come short of the glory 
of God." Romans iii. 28. " There is not a just 
man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not." 
Eccl. vii. 20. " What is man, that he should be 
clean, and he that is bom of a woman that he 
should be righteous ? *' Job xv. 14. " Who can 
say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from 
my sin ? " Prov. xx. 9. 

And as the natural condition is thus similar in all 
men, so equally must be the necessities which result 
from such a condition ; the sum of which necessities 
is, Deliyerance from a state of sinfolness with all its 
workings and concomitants into a state of Holiness ; 
which Deliverance therefore is the grand benefit 
announced by Bevelation, provided for in Christ, 
and placed within the reach of all to whom the glad 
tidings of Christianity are proclaimed. The remedy 
is commensurate with the disease. 

But if the Disease be universal, and equally so the 
Remedy, th^ certainly the mode of operation of 
that Remedy must, in all essential points, be similar. 
The method (or path of transit) of the Deliverance 
from a state of sinfulness into a state of Holiness* 
must be but one and the same for all. The course 
of Christian experience, however marked by different 



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THE SPIBITUAL LIFE. 83 

accidental circumstances in different individuals, and 
however varying in intensity or in rapidity accord- 
ing to their temperament or opportunities, must 
exhibit certain general features common to each 
particidar case. And hence it is that St. Paid lays 
down the principal steps of this transition in con- 
secutive order, when he tells the Romans, " Whom 
God did predestinate them he also called, and whom 
he called them he also justified, and whom he justi- 
fied them he also glorified ; " and that Christian 
churches and divines have always noted them with 
more or less distinctness in their Confessions and 
their Theological Systems ; the fullest as well as 
the most exquisite example of which is afforded us 
incidentally in the Seventeenth Article of the Church 
of England, where she declares that they who be en- 
dued with the benefit of God's predestination '' be 
called according to God's purpose by his Spirit work- 
ing in due season ; they through Grace obey the 
calling ; they be justified freely ; they be made Sons 
of God by adoption ; they be made like the image 
of his only begotten Son Jesus Christ ; they walk 
religiously in good works, and at length by God's 
mercy they attain to everlasting felicity." 

If then we simply cast our eyes on some of the 
broader facts of the unrenewed soul, and consider 
what is the transformation which the mere existence 
of those facts supposes necessary in order to the 



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84 THE PB0CB8S OF 

realizing of that sense of God as our Father which 
constitutes, as we have before seen, the Essence of 
Christian Piety, we shall perceive I think that the 
development of the Spiritual life wherever it has 
been awakened, must manifest itself in something 
like the following progression of Experience. 

First. — ^All men are by nature indifferent to God. 
They do not willingly think of Him, do not desire 
the knowledge of his ways, are fully occupied with 
the cares the interests and the pleasures of their 
earthly nature ; and thus live practically " without 
God in the world." The first step therefore which 
they need towards Piety is to have their attention 
awakened to the cares the interests and the plea- 
sures of their spiritual nature ; to have their minds 
roused from the torpor of indifference to divine 
things ; and to find the thought of God, and of their 
relation to Him, and of all the solemn consequences 
of that relation, made alive within them. And this 
the Scriptures denominate their Calling, — their 
being awakened out of sleep, — their being raised up 
from the dead. 

Secondly. — Men are ignorant of God, They know 
him not ; they understand Him not ; and even when 
an interest in the thought of Him has been awakened, 
that thought is vague imperfect feeble ; it is for the 
most part an "unknown God" whom they are 
*' feeling after if haply they may find him, thougl^ 



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THE SFIBITUAL LIFE. ^ 85 

he is not far from every one of them." Here then 
they need farther to have their understanding opened 
to his character, his will, his demands upon their 
conscience, his doings in their behalf, his invita- 
tions and directions to them. And this is called in 
Scripture their Illumination — ^Christ giving to them 
light — their being taught of God in the Gospel of 
His Son. 

Thirdly. — The hearts of men are averse to God. 
The thought of Him is not welcome ; it is irksome ; 
they would rather be without it. And this, not 
only on account of its strangeness as contrasted with 
the nature of their earthly imaginations and pursuits 
— the Spiritual not sorting well with the Sensual ; 
and not only on account of its dimness, its being 
so unfamiliar and perplexing — as no man likes 
the contemplation of Ideas whose obscurity up- 
braids his ignorance; but still more, because of 
its contrariety; because of the natural opposition 
that exists between Sinfulness and Holiness, the 
resistance of the evil nature to the demands of 
Goodness, and the consequent dislike which rises 
against Him who is the Ideal of that Holiness, 
the Author and Enforcer of those demands, and 
whose very purity, the more it is perceived and 
understood, becomes the more reproachM to us,—- 
our image darkening by the contrast, as the image 
of the Holy One emerges into greater biightness. 



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86 THE FBOCSSS OF 

We need therefore the removal, or at least the 
repression, of this sense of contrariety; we need 
the softening of this opposing will ; the winning 
over of this Cain-like snllenness ; the casting down 
imaginations and every high thing that exalteth 
itself against the knowledge of God, and the bring- 
ing every thought into subjection to the obedience 
of Christ: so that the alien may be naturalized, 
the rebel be transformed into a loyal subject, the 
heart made friends with God and ready to obey 
his will. And this the Scriptures call Repentance^ 
or a change of mind towards God; Convereian^ 
or the turning back to God ; Regeneration^ or the 
new birth of a wiU in filial accordance with the 
will of God. 

Fourthly. — ^Where there is indifference, and i^o- 
rance, and aversion, there also is Dread of God, A 
sense of contrariety brings with it a sense of guilt. 
For there is something in our nature which tells us 
unequivocally (speculate as we may) that we are 
responsible for our neglect, and deserve pimish- 
ment for our dislike, of God. We feel that we owe 
to him a very different return for all his goodness 
to us, and that the debt mmt be reckoned to our 
account. And this dread of God is not removed even 
by the submission of our heart to him. Nay, it is 
deepened, in proportion to that growing conscious- 
ness of sin and guilt which accompanies the workings 



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THE SPIRITUAL LIFE. 87 

«f a true Repentance. For no sorrow for our breach 
of Grod's Law can do away the claims of that Law ; 
no resolutions for the future can obliterate the past. 
And the more therefore the heart is softened, the 
greater becomes its despondency. The stronger its 
desire to turn to God, the more it needs to be as- 
sured that it mat/ turn to Him as to a Friend — ^a 
pacified foigiving satisfied Friend. A sense of per- 
sonal acceptance, a trust in God as entering into 
a new relation with us, an animating consciousness 
of our heavenly Father's presence care and appro- 
bation — ^this is essential to our running the new race 
of holiness to which repentance pledges us, with that 
quiet vigour which alone ensures success. And this 
state of mind is called in Scripture the '^having 
Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" — 
the enjoying '* fellowship with the Father and with 
his Son Jesus Christ," — ^the ''''joying in God throi^h 
our Ijprd Jesus Christ, by whom we have received 
the Atonement." 

Once more.— The unconverted man has no definite 
and lively Hope in God, The future is to him a 
blank, or at best the sphere of mere conjecture and 
assumption. Each imagined contingency of the 
present life excites, according to his temperament, 
unfounded expectation or anxious fear. He has no 
one on whom to cast the burden of the coming 
day. And with respect to the life to come, even if ^ 



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88 THE PBOCESS OF 

he escapes the forebodings of an uneasy though 
slumbering conscience, he attains but to the yapid 
self-security of one who having gained the necessary 
passports to a foreign land thinks no more of his 
departure till the time of separation from his Mends 
can be no longer delayed. His best anticipations 
are unthinking confidence. His worst are blank 
despair. Nor is the Christian convert without his 
perplexities . and apprehensions. He feels almost 
alone in a world of trial and temptation. He 
cannot depend upon himself. He knows that few will 
understand him, sympathize with him, assist him in 
the race that he is running. He needs therefore 
a child-like confidence in God as his unfailing 
Counsellor and Preserver ; dependence on his guid- 
ance and support through each successive difficulty of 
tliis world ; and that '* blessed Hope of everlasting 
life" which looks forward to the world to come as to 
our dwelling-place and home. And this the Scrip- 
tures call the spirit of Assurance — ^the " walking by 
Faith and not by s^ht," — ^the ^'holding fast the 
confidence and the rejoicing of our hope firm unto the 
end '* — the " rejoicing in Hope of the glory of God." 
Such then are some of the principal manifestations 
of that Spiritual Life which, welling out from the 
secret fountains of the soul, purifies all the better 
feelings of our nature, and rises into that commingled 
'Love and Joy and Hope, which constitute the 



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!rH£ SPIBITXTAL LIFe'. 89 

essential spirit of Christian Piety here, and the fore- 
taste of eternal blessedness hereafter. O may God 
pour such a stream of Godliness and Gladness into 
our hearts ! 



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90 



CHAPTER III. 



SFIBITUAIi AWAKENING. 



As we cannot appreciate the worth of Christi- 
anity in general unless we consider the actual con- 
dition and wants of human nature, to meet 
which Christianity was vouchsafed ; so neither shall 
we be prepared to acquiesce in the Scripture state- 
ments concerning the process by which the life of 
Christianity usually manifests itself in the individual 
soul, imless we have fixed our attention on some of 
the broader features of our natural state of mind, 
and have thus convinced ourselves of the extent of 
the transformation that we need, in order to become 
new creatures in Christ Jesus. We must duly esti- 
mate the natural Indifference, Ignorance, Aliena- 
tion, Dread, and Despondency of the human mind 
in relation to God, before we can duly estimate 
either the necessity or the worth of that spiritual 
Awakening, Illumination, Regeneration, Peace, and 
Hope, which the influences of the Holy Ghost 
produce. 



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SPIBITUAIi AWAKBNIM6. 91 

Let US therefore now devote ourselves to the eon- 
sideration of these particulars in detail. And First 
let us speak of Spiritual awakening. 

Men are naturally indifferent to God; this is the 
first hroad fact of our fedlen condition which the 
slightest observation may convince us of. They need 
therefore as the first step to Salvation to have their 
attention awakened to Him ; this is the conclusion 
of Reason from the observation of that &ct. And 
this Awakening of attention is the work of God; 
this is the Assertion of Scripture with respect to 
the supply of that need. 

All our observation and experience testify to us 
the first broad Fact of our condition, that man is 
naturally indifferent to God, It is only by degrees 
that we gain any conception of Qod and of his rela- 
tion to us, and of the infinite importance of that 
relation to our wel&re ; and without some know- 
ledge of these truths there can of course be no 
interest in them. We are to God — all of us in 
childhood, many of us through youth and manhood, 
and many, alas ! yet longer still, yea even through- 
out their lives — ^we are to God as the infant to 
its parent; deriving fix>m Him our being; fed 
and warmed and nourished by His care; watched 
over by His never-sleeping eye ; and guarded and 
sustained by his ever-extended arm ; but yet 
unconscious of Him; occupied only with the gifts, 



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92 8FIBITUAL AWAKENING. 

unknowing or heedless of the Giver ; and even when 
we do awake to the fact of His Existence, yet pos- 
sessing no distinct impression of our dependence on 
Him ; still less of our responsibility to Him ; still 
less of the awful certainty that all our happiness, of 
body and of soul, for time and for eternity, hangs 
only on His fisivour. 

And who knows not how this early indifference, 
arising from our natural unacquaintance with God, 
is strengthened and made habitual by our sub- 
sequent indociUty and dulness with respect to 
spiritual things ! The term '' God " may indeed 
soon become familiar to us (oflken too &miliar!); 
his attributes and character we may perhaps 
be able to state out in words :— but the Idei^— 
the reality — ^where is it felt! What are its in- 
fluences? How flEu: does it live within us? 'th» 
world and the things of the world first lay hold 
of the attention and preoccupy the heart ; and we 
know from Scripture testimony (we know it equaUy 
from experience and faxst) that where the love of 
the world is, there is not the love of God ; '' for 
all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and 
the lust of the eye and the pride of life, is not 
of the Father but is of the world." The very 
objects circumstances and occupations which, as 
means and steps of consideration, are capable of 
leading up the thoughts to God and bringing Him 



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SPIBITT7AL A.WAKENING. 93 

before the mind, come crowding so importunately 
round us, that they exhaust our attention on them- 
selves as ende^ and interpose a veil to hide, instead 
of a transparent medium to reveal, the Deity. We 
are immersed in so thick an atmosphere steaming 
up from earth, that we cannot see the very sun 
from which that earth derives its life and light, and 
round which it revolves. 

Nay, even suppose that some few rays of light 
gleam in upon us and excite some momentary 
warmth, and that when we think of God we feel 
some interest in Him, still I must ask, how much, 
how often, how deeply, do men really think of God 
and feel this interest in Him ? Do they not " hear 
and talk of Religion,'' (to use the words of Jeremy 
Taylor,) " but as of a dream, and does not Religion 
make such impression as is the conversation of a 
Dreamer, whence they awake to the business of the 
world ?" Have our rel^ous thoughts the life the 
force the interest which is possessed by the slightest 
circumstances that affect our personal, our social, 
our political well-being ? What, I would ask of 
many of my readers, has been the amount of In- 
fluence upon you exercised by the Idea of God in 
any given day or week ; through all the hours and 
minutes of which you have been held in life by God, 
fed by God, blessed by God, have lived and moved 
and had your being in God ? How much have you 



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94 SPIRITtJAL AWAKENING. 

cared about his approbation ? How much have you 
implored his mercy, entreated his help, laboured in 
his service, and been zealous for his honour } 
What in short has been your interest for God, as 
compared uoith that which you have experienced for 
the community of which you are members, for the 
friends whom you esteem, for the wife and children 
whom you love, or for your Self, which is yet dearer 
to you than them all ? I address the general class 
of decent, reputable, well-disposed, professedly 
Christian persons, and I pray them to examine — as 
before the heart-searching God who knoweth all 
things — ^whether they be not habitually, whatever 
their occasional thoughts and feelings of Religion, 
indifferent to God ? — whether therefore they do not 
need a new impulse in their heart, a new life in 
their soul, an awaking as from sleep, a resurrection 
as from the dead, a new birth into a new world, 
with new perceptions, anxieties, desires, efforts, and 
pursuits ? Oh the awful danger of dreaming list- 
lessly through life without religion— or about re- 
ligion ! Only start into the consciousness that you 
are indeed dreaming (he is very near to waking 
who is conscious that he dreams), only turn not 
drowsily away from the friendly call of God, and 
you shall "awake and arise from the dead and 
Christ shall give you light." 
This is the point to which all men must be brought 



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SPIBITVAL AWAKENING. 95 

if they would be saved: — ^they must have their 
attention awakened to God; they must have their 
eyes unclosed to look upon Him, their ears unstopped 
to listen to Him, their heart opened to attend to the 
things that are spoken of Him. This is the first 
step towards Piety. Till God has gained our atten- 
tion He has gained nothing, — ^nor have we gained 
anything. Without this opening of the heart it is 
vain to have been consecrated l;o Gk>d's service by 
the Sacrament of Baptism, and thus to be inscribed 
and recognized among the number of His *' called " 
ones. The Jews were thus consecrated, but still 
God cast them from Him as an unclean thing. 
They were thus His called ones, but they were not 
ultimately chosen by Him ; and in them therefore 
do we see the appalling truth of that general pro- 
position which aj^lies equally to us^— *' Many are 
called, but few are chosen." 

Without this opening of the heart, it is vain to 
trust in the fiict that we are members of a Christian 
church, however apostolical; and subscribers to a 
Christian creed, however pure; and entitled to 
Christian ordinances, however scriptural. The 
Jews too " rested in the law " (reposed themselves 
in satisfied assurance on the favours God had 
shovm them), *' and made their boast of God." 
But that very law condemned them, and those very 
privileges, — ^because trusted in presumptuously as 



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96 SPIBITUAL AWAKENING. 

ends, instead of being used conscientiously as means, 
— ^brought shame and ruin on them. 

Without this opening of the heart, it is vain to 
have applied our understanding to the truths which 
have been taught us as baptized disciples of the Lord. 
For the Jews too "4mew God's will, and approved 
the things that were excellent being instructed out 
of the law, and were confident that they exclusively 
were guides of the Uind, a light of them which are 
in darkness, instructors of the foolish, teachers of 
babes, having the form of knowledge and of the 
truth in the law ;" — ^and yet the God of this world 
blinded their eyes, and the Gospel was hid from 
them and they were lost ! 

Nay, without this opening of the heart, it were 
vain to have a zeal for Christianity, an interest for its 
defence or its establishment and propagation. For 
the Jews too had this interest for Judaism. They 
had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge ; 
and therefore " being ignorant of God's righteous- 
ness and going about to establish their own right- 
eousness, they did not submit themselves to the 
righteousness of God." 

Attention therefore to God is something more 
than this. Nay, not merely more (for it is not by 
accumulation merely that we grow in piety as we 
may in worldly wealth) but something different 
and of another kind. It is different from assent to 



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SPIRITUAL AWAKENING. 97 

truth, from understanding of truth, from zeal for 
truth. It is the personal embracing of truth, — ^the 
pressing it to our bosom and taking it into our 
heart, the inhaling it as the breath of a new and 
higher life which in/ it begins to play within the 
soul. It is a waking up of mind which can never 
be described in words, but can only be illustrated 
by reference to analogous experiences. Who knows 
not the difference between seeing objects and pay- 
ing attention to them ? Nay, between attending to 
objects and being personally interested in them? 
Nay, between being interested in them as means^ 
and absorbed in them as ends ? It has even become 
proverbial to speak of seeing and yet not seeing ; 
hearing and yet not hearing; because there may 
be perception without remarking and taking notice 
of; that is, without a consciousness of the percep- 
tive act, accompanying the perception and associat- 
ing it with other thoughts, and thereby giving to 
it relation and place in our memory. Now, such a 
noticing of religious truths is the first act of a real 
attention. And the second is, a personal interest 
in them ; t^iat is, not merely a noticing and thereby 
knowing them ; but a noticing them with reference to 
ourselves^-^ur state of mind, our previously existing 
wants and wishes, to which we find them applica- 
ble and to which therefore we apply them. You 
go into a repository of various goods ; you cast 

H 



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98 SFIBITUAL AWAKENINO. 

a vacant glance around upon the articles that it 
contain^ ; but your attention is arrested by something 
which '' strikes you" as the phrase is, — that is, 
which fiedls in with some existing train of thought 
or feeling or desire in your mind, — ^which therefore 
you say, suits you, will do fqr you, " answers'' to 
the secret demand within you. And so it is with 
Religion. We attend to truths as w« find them 
suitable to some existing waut of our soul: w^ wel- 
come them because they answer to the cravings of 
the inner man. O that we knew more of those 
wants ! O that we felt more strongly those cravings ! 
So would every thought and word of Scripture be 
a-glow with interest to us — " more to be desired 
than gold, yea than much fine gold ; sweeter also 
t^an hoAey and the honey-comb." It has happened 
to myself," says a Clergyman, " that a parishioner 
who suddenly became ill without hope of recovery, 
confes^d * I know no more of these thiz^ thi^ a 
child.' I answered, *Why, yau have regularly 
come to church, and I have spoken plainly enough 
tp you and you seemed to listen.' — ' Yes, Sir ; and 
if you were to speak the same words now I should 
t^derstand them ; but it is one thing to listen, and 
another to heed : I wish to understand you now." — 
Qod gn^t to us this unsh ! 

But this is not ^ which is included ia ouv 
attending to the things of God. For attention ia 



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SPIBITUAL AWAKENING. 99 

then first complete when it is absorbed by the oh- 
jecta themselves to which it may be turned ; when we 
do not merely catch at them in our progress towards 
some farther end, as means that may conduce to its 
attainment ; but when we pause upon them^or their 
own sakey as an end gained, a truth discovered, a 
treasure found, which fixes every thought and satis- 
fies every desire. Whence it results, that where 
there is the most intense Attention there is often 
the least BecoUection ; because Recollection depends 
upon our linking-on the new conceptions which 
present themselves, to others by which they are 
surrounded or preceded or followed ; while Atten- 
tion, in its fcdness, sees only one object — ^is occu- 
pied exclusively with one single mass of tho^ht, 
into which the spirit passes and becomes absorbed. 
This is that rapt Attention which the Psalmist speaks 
of when he says, *' I opened my mouth and drew 
in my breath, for my delight was in thy command* 
ments." 

And this then is the Attention which Religion 
deserves and demands. Not mere assent to cer- 
tain truths, but the moving of the spirit towards 
those truths as bearing on our everlasting wel&re. 
Not an outward perception only but an inward 
Awakening ; not an approval only but a love ; not 
a contemplative judgment merely but a stirring 
energizing work within the soul, which rouses the 



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100 SPIRITUAL AWAKENING. 

conceptions into new activity, throws them into new 
associations, fuses them into new masses. Indiffer- 
ence passing onward into Earnestness. Cold pre- 
sumption melting down into fervent anxiety. Un- 
founded expectation becoming dashed with reason- 
able fears. The general ideas of God, and Christ, 
and sinfulness, and danger, and pardon, and obedi- 
ence, and heaven, and hell, brought into particular 
relation to our Self — our own individual being — 
and assuming thus a ms^nitude a reality and a 
solemnity they never had before. God, in a word, 
confronted with our soul ; and therefore our relation 
to Him, dependence on Him obligations n^ligences 
and rebellions towards Him — our whole dissimilarity 
from his tremendous Majesty and Holiness — ^flashing 
on us in a l^ht, bright as the Sun at noon-day ; and 
revealing to us at the same time the imperative 
necessity of eome personal transctction between us 
and Him in order to our safety and our peace. And 
herewith therefore the springing up of thoughts 
we nerer knew before ; the opening of a prospect 
into which we never hitherto had looked ; the sink- 
ing of the present and the palpable before the mighty 
forms of spiritual objects looming in the awful dis- 
tance ; the throwing forth the spirit out of one world 
into another ; the passing onward into a new hemi- 
sphere lighted by new stars, and bright with fruits 
and flowers before unknown. 



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SFIBITITAL AWAKENING. 101 

And how then shall such attention be awakened ? 
Whence shall we deriye this new impulse towards 
religious truth ? The Scripture answer is — This is 
the work of God, For the human heart is a great 
mystery. It is undergoing constantly innumerable 
changes which we cannot feithom, still less can of 
ourselves alone produce or control. We feel, in 
meditating on it, as we should in looking out upon 
the vast expanse and never-ceasing flow of ocean ; 
whose winds and tides and currents, we know to 
be not entirely fortuitous but subjected to law; 
and yet to which our influence extends not, and of 
which we can avail ourselves only by a watchful 
skill. Much may be done by seizing on and im- 
proving occasions, but nothing to produce them. 
And just similarly, — ^who has absolute power over 
the human mind? Who can discover the secret 
causes of its ever-changing tides of feeling ? Who 
can trace the various currents of its thoughts.^ 
Who can '' gather in his fists*' the winds that sweep 
across its bosom? Who can say to its troubled 
billows '^ Thus far shalt thou go but no further ; 
and here shall thy proud waves be stayed ?" Alas ! 
it is deceitful above all things, — ^who can know it 
but the all- wise God ? It is fluctuating and un- 
manageable, — ^who can rule it but the All-powerful 
God? " The way of man is not in himself; it is 
not in man that walketh to direct his steps." *' The 



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102 SFIBITVAL AWAKSNIXG. 

preparations of the heart in man and the answer of 
the tongue are from the Lobd." 

And therefore all Awakening of the attention to 
Religion, — all ''opening of the heart/' to use the 
language of the Bible, — all " effectual Calling," to 
employ the phrase of technical Theology, — is in 
Scripture constantly ascribed to God. It was '' the 
Lord^* who " opened the heart of Lydia that she 
attended to the things that were spoken by Paul." 
Acts xvi. 14. It was because " the hand of the 
Lord was with the men of Cyprus and Cyrene" 
that " a great number believed and turned unto the 
Lord." Acts xi. 21. ''No man cometh unto me," 
says Jesus, "except the Father which hath sent 
me draw him; for it is written in the prophets. 
They shall be all taught of God ; every man there- 
fore that haih heard and learned of the Jkther 
cometh unto me." John vi. 44, 46. ^^Who then 
is Paul," asks the Apostle, "4md who is Apollos, 
but ministers " (agents and instruments) " by whom 
ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man ? 
I have planted, ApoUos watered, but Ood gave 
the increase." 1 Cor. iii. 6, 6. " Grod," he says 
again, " hath called you unto the fellowship of his 
son Jesus Christ our Lord." 1 Cor. i. 9. " For 
ye see your calling. Brethren, how that not many 
wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many 
noble, have called you, but Ood hath chosen the 



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SFIBITVAL AWAKENING. 103 

foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and 
God hath chosen the weak things of the world to 
confound the things which are mighty — ^that no flesh 
should glory in his presence ; for of Him are ye in 
Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom 
and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 
that, according as it is written, He that glorieth let 
him glory in the Lord,'' 1 Cor. i. 26—31. 

And this divine origination of all Attention to 
Religion, is strongly intimated in the very phrase 
which is so firequently used for it in Scripture, and 
which occurs in the latter passages just quoted 
where this influence on the hitherto indifferent heart 
is termed a ** Calling ;" and God is said to '* c<ilV 
men to himself. For '* to call " a person, in Scrip- 
ture language, is not only (in the first place) To 
address ourselves to him ; to call forth his notice of 
us ; as when God complains by Jeremiah, '^ I spoke 
unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard 
not ; and I called you, but ye answered not." Nor 
is it only (in the second place) To call into our pre- 
sence and society — ^to summon and invite to us ; as 
the king '* called " his servants to him and delivered 
unto them his goods ; and the guests were " called " 
to the marriage supper. But it expresses (in the 
third place) To call out, call forth, select, bring near 
to us by authoritative influence; as when God says 
of Israel, " I have taken thee from the ends of the 



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104 SFIBITUAL AWAKENING. 

earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, 
and said unto thee, Thou art my servant, I have 
chosen thee.'' 

In all which senses God calls every reader of these 
pages to give himself to Him. Do you look upon 
the solid earth on which you tread, and feel it to 
be the representative and work of Unseen Might ? 
Do you trace from link to link the ever-lengthening 
train of causes and effects which nature presents to 
you, and irresistibly conclude that still there must be 
One Cause more beyond them all ? Do you consi- 
der the heavens the work of God*6 fingers, the moon 
and the stars which He has ordained, till their very 
silence becomes vocal to you, and you hear them 
'^ singing as they shine, The hand that made us is 
divine ?" — In all these works of God there is a call 
for your attention to his being, to his wisdom, to his 
eternal power and Godhead. 

And are you enjoying manifold privileges of in- 
struction, worship, and church-fellowship, — the 
knowledge of God's word, the invitations of his 
Gospel, the open access to his throne of grace ? 
These are calls of God to his gracious presence ; 
these bring you into the atmosphere of his Spirit. 
And it is by the use of these privileges and the in- 
haling, through them, of this Spirit, that you may 
be rendered sensitive to that inward Call which 
shall arrest your very soul, and draw forth all its 



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SP1BITT7AI. AWAKENIXG. 105 

best affections towards your heavenly Father. O if 
we should neghct these gentle assiduities of our God ! 

if after all that he has spoken to us by his Works, 
his Providences, his Word, his Church, his own be- 
loved Son, we should still be " dull of hearing !*' — 
we should doze and dream on in the torpor of In- 
difference till " the great cry " shall be made, " The 
Bridegroom cometh ;'* and we start up from sleep — 
too late ! Awake now^ thou sleeper, and call upon 
thy God I He calls to you. Call you to Him ! 
His voice now sounds to you the tender note of In- 
vitation. O may yours respond in that of reverent 
attention, " Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth ! " 
Let no man obstinately say, "It is Go^s work, 
this awakening, and therefore I must leave it to 
him." Say rather, " It is God's work, and therefore 

1 will seek it from him ! " All our encouragement 
and hope lies in this assurance that " He giveth 
to all men liberally and upbraideth not." God^s 
work it is most truly, but not the less is it maiCs 
work too. For this (like all his operations, in na- 
ture providence and grace) is effected by Him 
not without but with^ the subject on which he 
works; not without but with, the various hmnan 
means that influence the mind ; — those means frir- 
nished by Himself, adapted by Himself to the in- 
tended end, and constituted by Himself to be suf- 
ficient for that end. And such means are at this 



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106 SPIRITUAL AWAKENING. 

moment before yoa and around you and withm you. 
It is God who has presented these thoughts to your 
mmd this day ; it is God who is by them moving 
various feelings in your heart ; it is God whose 
Spirit is this moment wrestling with your reluctance, 
and urging you to awake and arise and pray ; and 
whispering to you, so earnestly though gently, "Turn 
you to your Gk)d ! " — O God, may each Reader of 
these pages turn to thee ! Do Thou open his heart 
to attend to the things that have been spoken in 
them ! Do Thou so caU to him, that he may answer 
with a newly-awakened earnestness, " Lord, what 
wilt Thou have me to do !" 



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107 



CHAPTER IV. 

8PIBIXUAL II^LXJMINATION. 

The first step in Religion is the Awakening of 
liie Attention to the things of God. But this atten- 
tion, by whatever circfomstances roused, cannot be 
sustained but in proportion as we go on to the Under- 
standing of those things. Feeling is a legitimate and 
essential means of determining the thoughts towards 
God ; but genuine Feeling can maintain its life and 
energy only as it is nourished by increasing thoughts. 
The Illumination of the Mind must both deepen and 
direct the Awakening of the Heart. 

Illumination therefore is the next step in the 
Process of Development of the Spiritual Life which 
claims our attention. And this is so essential a 
preparative and part of Piety, that St. Paul in his 
Epistle to the Hebrews uses the term to express the 
whole work of Conversion — " after ye were illumin- 
ated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions ; " and 
the Scriptures generally, express both the substance 
of Christianity and the experience of it, by the term 



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108 BPIBITrAL ILLUMINATION. 

"light." "Show forth," says St. Peter, "the praises 
of him who hath called you out of darkness into his 
marvellous light." " Ye were sometimes," says St. 
Paul, " darkness, but now are ye light, in the Lord ; 
walk as children of light." These passages (and 
many others) clearly showing that true Religion 
depends on new and constantly enlarging views 
of God and of his truth, and supplies a remedy 
for the Ignorance as well as the Indifference, of 
our fallen nature. 

To be convinced of which let us consider first, 
that There may he much ignorance of God even in 
the midst of outward advantages. 

Of this we have an instance in the case of the 
Apostle Paul before his conversion. He had en- 
joyed all the advantages which a Jew could possess 
towards knowing God, and with his characteristic 
energy he had improved those advantages to the 
utmost. " Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock 
of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of 
the Hebrews; as touching the law a Pharisee;" 
—one of those therefore who " knew God's will, 
and approved the things that are more excellent, 
being instructed out of the law, having the form of 
knowledge and of the truth in the law;" — ^nay, 
"profiting in the Jew's religion above many his 
equals in his own nation, being more exceedingly 
zealous of the traditions of his fathers." And yet, 



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SPIKITUAL ILLUMIKATION. 109 

to this man we find Ananias sent by God, saying, 
'' The God of our Fathers hath chosen thee that 
thou shouldest know his unU and see that Just One 
and shouldest heard the voice of his mouth." And 
we find St. Paul himself, though he declared before 
his countrymen *' I am verily a man which am a Jew, 
brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel and 
taught according to the perfect manner of the law of 
the fathere^ and was zealous towards God as ye all 
are this day ;** yet, intimating in another place, to 
Timothy, that the only possible excuse for his re- 
sistance to the will of God as manifested by his 
Son was, that he did it '* ignorantlg in unbelief." 

We see then in this instance how great may be 
the darkness of the soul concerning God, even whilst 
the understanding has been carefully instructed in 
religion. We may know about God without know- 
ing God. We may hear of him by the hearing of 
the ear, and yet our eye may not see him. There is 
a traditional knowledge of God as '< the God of our 
fathers," which is not much more efficacious than 
that which even the Heathen enjoyed, who ^' when 
they knew Ood glorified him not as God neither 
were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations 
and their fooHsh heart was darkened.^' It is like the 
knowledge that we may possess of our ancestors, 
—their names and relation to us and some dim 
tradition of their doings— as compared with that 



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110 SPIBITITAI. ILLITMINATION. 

which we enjoy of our immediate parents, whose 
sentiments and character are every day displayed 
to us. The Jews of old, with all their manifold 
advantages, were thus ignorant of God. ^' Ye ioy^ 
indeed,'' says Jesus to them, " that He is your God ; 
yet ye hmye not known him :— he that sent me is 
true, whom ye know not J* Too many» even oi the 
early Christians also, blessed as they were with the 
fuller light which streamed from Christ, were thus 
ignorant of God. '* They profess that they know 
God," says St. Paul, " but in works they deny him." 
And St. John solemnly warns all such self •deceivers, 
'^ He that saith I know God and keepeth not his 
commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in 
him." O it is an awM thing to hove the intellect 
enlightened while the heart remains dark and cold. 
To be fiuniliar with the sound of truth, but never fo 
have unclosed our eyes to look upon the very iau^ 
of truth I To be ** groping at noon-day as the blind 
gropeth in darkness ! " *' This," says our Lord, *' is 
the condemnation, that light is eome into the world 
and men loved darkness rather than light because 
their deeds were evil !" 

But more than this. There may be even some 
praetieal as well as theoretieal knowledge of God, 
and yet this may extend only to some parts of kis 
character, and still leave much darkness on the mind 
cencerEong its most essential features. St. Paul, be- 



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SFIBITUAL ILLUMINATION. Ill 

fore his oonversion, was not Uke those worldly and 
ungodly Jews who shut out the truth by their un- 
r^bteottsness. He oould declare before them all, 
" I have lived in all good conscience before Qod 
tmto this day," and assures Timothy that he '* served 
God from his forefathers with a pure conscience/' 
And yet this very Paul, as regarded the most essen- 
tial attribute of God and the most important con- 
ceptions of His will, was dark and blind ; so much 
so, that the knowledge which broke in upon him ^at 
his oonversion he speaks of as a new revelation. Gal. 
i. 1 6. Never then let men be satisfied with dim con- 
ceptions of the character and will of God ; with half- 
truths only in Religion. Happy indeed is the man 
who is practicalfy affected by any thoughts of God, 
however obscure ; &r happier than he who with his 
understanding open has his heart still closed. An 
ignorant Piety is better than no Piety at all. A 
mistaken endeavour to please God is fiir superior to 
odd indifibrence to Him. But th^n, we must say 
this camparaiwefy only, and with anxious fear tor 
all who suffix themselves, with the true light shin* 
ing round them, to dose their eyes to better views of 
Qod. Paul does not the less bbnM himself for his 
former conduct, because of the ignorance which pro* 
duoed it. He does not the less exdaiia» with all the 
self-abhorrence of true penitenee and its deep sense 
of guilt ^* I waaa blasphemer and a pesseeutor and ia«* 



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112 SPIRITUAL ILLrMINATION. 

jurious, yea the chief of sinners !" And alas ! there- 
fore for any man who contents himself with frag- 
mentary notions of Qod, as the God of Nature and 
of Providence and of Justice and of Law ; as the 
benevolent Benefactor and the righteous Governor 
and the protecting Patron of his others, and his 
fathers* church — ^and sees him not as the God of 
Grace ; understands not his specific truth and will 
as manifested in his Son, and therefore '^ being 
ignorant of God*s righteousness and going about to 
establish his own righteousness, does not submit 
himself to the righteousness of God." O how much 
of reverence may there be for God, while yet it may 
be said of us as Jesusdid of the Samaritans, '' Ye wor- 
ship ye know not what ; " and Paul of the Athenians, 
*' As I passed by and beheld your devotions I found 
an altar with this inscription, To the unknown God : 
whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare 
I unto you." 

Such then being the natural ignorance, both theo- 
retical and practical, of Gk)d, which may exist not- 
withstanding manifold advantages ; let us consider 
in the second place, that Hie removal of this Ignorance 
is essential to true (Christian Piety, Not indeed that 
the existence of Piety depends on the degree of dis- 
tinctness with which we perceive the character 
of God. Very obscure conceptions may give birth 
to genuine devotion. But ike purity and the moral 



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SPIBITTTAL ILLUHINATIOK. 113 

tnfiuence of Piety do depend upon the general light 
which may be thrown around that character, and the 
aspect which it presents to us. To loye and serve 
Qod as we ought, we must know him as ho is. 
" This,'* says our Lord, ** is life eternal, to know thee 
the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast 
sent.** All hope of eternal life and all fitness for its 
enjoyment, depend on our becoming acquainted with 
the Father as he is revealed to us by Christ ; for only 
such a revelation — the revelation of grace and truth 
-^csoi win the affections and elevate the character. 

For genuine Piety is not merely Reverence of 
certain unseen powers by which the world is actu- 
ated; nor assent to certain historical facts which 
are reported to us ; nor obedience to certain rules 
of conduct which are imposed upon us by 
authority, or which commend themselves to us 
as profitable or rational or becoming; but it is 
the Exercise of the affections towards a personal 
Being^ and the elevation of the character by the 
influence of those affections into similarity with 
His. It is not mere belief of God, but belief in 
God ; that is, not merely belief of his Existence 
but reliance on his character. And when we keep 
this distinction in mind, how vain are all the objec- 
tions urged about the impossibility of assenting to 
propositions which we do not fully comprehend ! It 
is not in assent to propositions, vrhSii^BT many or few 

I 



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114 SFIBITTTAL llLhVUlUfAXlOV. 

simple or abstnue, that saving Faith consists ; it is 
in yielding up our confidence to Him who makes 
those propositions; the confidence being gromided 
upon ./boto (not speculations) which exhibit to us his 
eharacter. Surely I might have — and ought to 
have — ^the fullest confidence in the dicta and direc- 
tions of Newton upon any point of Practical Astro- 
nomy, though I might not understand, and therefore 
•ould not intelligent^ assent to, any one book of his 
Principia. We may know Qod so as to confide in 
him and love him without being able to understand 
God. And eo we must know God. For '^ with the 
heart man believeth unto righteousness." And the 
heart can repose its confidence in another only as it 
inowe that other ; it can love only as it becpmes 
acquainted with what is loveable. A child who has 
been' sent for education to a distant country, may 
have some natural reverence for the Father whom 
he knows to be at home, and some desire that the 
reports his Parent hears about him should be satis- 
factory ; but he can love that Father (that is, per- 
sonal affections can spring up towards him) only as 
he comes to know that Father ; only as his Parent's 
letters and eommunications unfold to him something 
of his character, and of his feeling towards him- 
self; or when at last, returning to the paternal home 
he is pressed to the paternal bosom, and foels for 
the fifst time m its fulneos what it is to have a 



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SPIRITUAL ILLrMIlTATION. 115 

Father, and to be a Son. And the reason why, 
with all that fear of the unseen and that reve- 
rence for the mysterious which must be allowed 
to be almost imiversal in mankind throughout all 
stages of their civilization, there is still so little 
practical influence of these feelings on the heart and 
life, is just because men know not Him before whom 
they tremble; they behold him not shining fortih 
Ml-orbed in all the splendour of his perfect cha- 
racter as the Father of their spirits, the God whose 
very being is Love. 

For who can love God while ignorant or mis- 
trustful of God's love to him? Who can possess 
that spirit of filial confidence and joy and hope and 
buoyant energy, which is the proper spirit of Chris- 
tian Piety, while his conscience is unpacified and 
his sense of alienation unremoved ? We must in 
such a temper either boldly throw off our allegiance 
to God, or we must serve him by constraint and 
with a heavy heart. Is this last the case with any 
one who is now reading these Hnes ? Are you well 
disposed towards religion, and yet find it wake no 
note of joy within your bosom ? Are you a con- 
scientious person, and yet sensible of a restraint, 
which keeps you at a distance firom God ! Are 
your very best feelings towards him more those of 
a Servant to his Master than of a Friend to his Be- 
nefactor, or a Son to his Father ? Then do you not 



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116 SPIEITTJAL ILI^TTMINATION. 

need Illumination ? Is there not something in the 
Idea of Ood to which you have not hitherto given 
heed ? Is not the very key to his whole character 
still undiscovered hy you? Can you say that you 
know God truly if yon know him not as your God, 
your Friend and Father, to whom you can exclaim 
with David, " Whom have I in heaven but Thee, 
and there is none upon earth whom I desire beside 
Thee ?*' Do you not need, in short, that the God 
of your fathers should be imveiled to you as he was 
to the Apostle Paul, " that you might know his tmll ? ' ' 
(Acts xxii. 14.) That you might know his will : 
this is what we need in order to a genuine Christian 
piety : not his works only ; not his greatness and 
his power and his sovereign authority alone ; not 
his general character of wisdom and benevolence 
merely ; but " his Will," in that particular sense 
in which the term is used by Ananias to St. Paul, 
and by the Apostle himself in his epistles — ^His 
gracious Witt, his purposes of condescending and 
forgiving love, his Will to save sinners and justify 
the ungodly and bless the imdeserving and receive 
back to his arms the most desponding penitent who 
feels he is no longer worthy to be called his son, 
and comes to him crying '' Father, I have sinned 
against heaven and before Thee." That will which 
St. Paul extols to the Ephesians when he tells them 
^* God has predestinated us unto the adoption of 



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SPIRITtTAL ILLUMINATION. 117 

children to himself according to the ^ood pleasure of 
His WiUy to the praise of the glory of his grace; " 
and to the Galatians when he says that Jesus *' gave 
himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from 
this present evil world, according to the Will of God 
and our Father.*' Such was the Illumination which 
St. Paul had need of, notwithstanding all his pre- 
vious knowledge and conscientiousness and zeal, to 
render him a child of God indeed ; such did he re- 
ceive when **it pleased God who separated him 
from his mother's womb, and called him by his 
grace, to reveal his Son in him ; " and such do we 
need also, such we must by similar means receive, 
if we would rise into the &ith the love the dignity 
and the devotedness of Christian men. O indeed we 
need it ! Far more, all of us, than we have yet 
attained to ! With fJEtf more comprehension of the 
breadth and length and depth and height of that 
love of Christ which passeth knowledge, if we 
would be filled with all the fulness of God ! 

And how then, let us thirdly ask, is this removal 
of our natural ignorance of God, this Illumination 
of the mind so essential to the first upspringing of 
filial Piety in the heart, to be effected? In propor- 
tion, I reply, as we contemplate that full man^s- 
tation of God which has been vouchsafed to us in 
his own beloved Son, Jesus Christ, '^ The God of 
our ^sithers hath chosen thee^*' said Ananias to Saul, 



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118 SFIBIIUAL ILIiUMIKATIOir. 

that "thou Bhouldest know his will and see thai Jt^ei 
Oney and shouldst hear the voice of his mouA" He 
is the souvee of all true lUumination. From his 
cQuatomnce stream fcarth those rays of the Father's 
kfire^ which fire the heart and melt the will of maa. 
** As no man knoweth the Son but the Father, so 
no man knoweth the Father but the Son^ and he 
to whomsoever the Son shall reveal him.*' Matt zi. 
27. '* God who commanded the light to shine out 
of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give the 
light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the 
&ce of Jesus Christ:' 2 Cor. iv. 6. '' No man hath 
seen God at any time ; the only-begotten Son which 
is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared 
him." John i. 18. ''The Word was made flesh, 
and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only- 
begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth "--• 
that is, radiant with just that peculiar q;>lendour 
which constitutes the very being of God, the fullest 
truest most &ithful greiee^ or love. John L 14« 
I might refer you simply to the history of man to 
show you how, before the coming of Christ, this fea- 
ture of the Father's character was dim and doubtful 
—how, among the benighted Heathen, fear made 
gods and cruelty invested them with attributes of 
fierceness and implacability — ^how, even among the 
Jews, though for the spiritual penitent there was 
many a ray of mildest pity gleaming through the 



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SflBITXrAL ILLUHINATIOK. 119 

darkness and the tempest of Mount Sinai, yet the 
general aspect of the law-giving and law-avenging 
Jehovah, wa» austere and stem ; so that St. John 
declares '* The law was given by Moses, but grace 
and truth came by Jesus Christ." But I would go 
&rther thain historical deduction, and assert broadly 
and beforehand, that it is not in Nature, in Events, 
or in Reason, to unveil to us with a certainty suffi- 
cient for our Peace and Hope, the Love of God to- 
wards man ; and that in the personal communica- 
tions only which the Father has vouchsafed us hy his 
Son can we truly know him as he is. What is called 
Natural Religion is indeed the ground-work of 
Christianity, but it can never 1>e the substitute for 
it. It is the awaking of those feelings which pre- 
pare for, anticipate, nay demand, a Revelation from 
Heaven ; but so &r from rendering such a Revela- 
tion unnecessary, so fiir from having the power of 
self-expansion so as of itself to grow up and unfold 
into Christianity, the very fact of its existence is just 
that which renders a Revelation indispensable as the 
supplement to its incipient but insufficient workings. 
The chaos of emotion which it stirs within the mind 
is just that which requires the influence of the 
informing Word of truth. Because darkness covers 
the face of the earth, and yet over that darkness 
the Spirit of life sits brooding, there/ore God hath 
said " Let there be light !" The glimpses of the 



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120 SFISIIUAI. ILLTJICINATIOK. 

Divine character afforded to mankind by NatUr^ 
and Providence teach them indeed those preliminary 
lessons to which the fuller manifestations of Revela- 
tion are supplementary. But all the intimations of 
Nature and of Providence are dark, imperfect, per« 
plexing, without the key which Christianity pre- 
sents. They Aimish the component letters of the 
Alphabet, but flung abroad without arrangement ; 
and even when we laboriously collect these elements 
together and piece out with them some few words 
and sentences, we find that we have only just b^un 
the lai^uage and got fragments only of the truths 
of God, and we instinctively cry out for mare — ^more 
definite, more extensive, more systematic, revelations 
of his will. All we reach is mere conjecture ; and 
only by the interpretation of the Author of these 
fragments, only by the plainer history of the books 
of God, can we make Ml sense of, even if we can 
at all decipher, the puzzling hieroglyphics on the 
vast and awful Pyramid of Nature, and the vague 
mysterious legends of Tradition. 

Nay, yet more than this. Not only do the de< 
ductions of the understanding from the things and 
events around us, not teU us clearly of the fatherly 
character of God ; but they tell us of the reverse. 
We learn from them not so much the truth of 
pardoning mercy, as of avenging justice. The world 
is full of punishment — prolonged and often inexorable 



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8FIBITUAL II.LUMINATIOK. 121 

punishment. Almost every transgression and diso- 
bedience manifestly receives its just recompense of 
reward. Not only wilful but even involuntary and 
heedless infractions of the laws of Nature and 
society, are by the natural course of things con- 
tinually bringing with them trouble, pain, disease^ 
and death. The voice of God concerning transgres- 
sion, if spoken forth at all in Nature, is a voice of 
severity and condemnation. As the thunders and 
lightnings of Mount Sinai were but one particular 
instance of those general tempests which so often 
rage in the natural world, so the denunciations of 
Mount Sinai were but a particular expression of the 
general truth which Nature is continually uttering, 
" God is a consuming fire.'' Even the seeming ex- 
ceptions prove this. Even the temporary delays of 
punishment confirm this. Even the letting sinners 
have their own way for a season, only beings upon 
them more extensively the misery which is annexed 
to Sin. Punishment may let the Sinner get for a 
time the start, but with unwearied pertinacity does 
it track his steps, and springs upon him inevitably 
at last. '' The Lord is known hy the judgment 
that he executeth : the wicked is snared in the work 
of his own hands." 

And* O then blessed be God that ''having in 
times past spoken to the fathers by the Prophets, he 
hath at last spoken unto us by his Son!" Blessed 



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122 flPISITOAI. ILLUMIKATIOjr. 

be God that "the Son of God is come and hath 
given us an undentending that we may know him 
that is true, yea may be in him that is true" — 
enter into union a&d communion with the tmseen 
Father— "through his Scm Jesus Christ!" No 
longer need we now cry " Show us the Father," for 
" he that hath seen Jesus hath seen the Father." 
No longer need we doubt about the Father's com- 
passion to every returning penitent, for this com- 
passion Christ has manifested by accumulated proo&, 
in every possible way ; by his teaching, by his cha- 
racter, by his words and deeds of never- wearied 
pity, and above all by his sacrificial and vicarious 
death. " In thts was manifested the love of God 
towards us, because that God sent his only-hegotten 
JS&n into the world that we might live through him. 
Herein is love, not that we loved God but that he 
loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for 
our Sins." " For scarcely for a righteous man will 
one die; yet peradventure for a good man some 
would even dare to die ; but God commendeth his 
love to us, in that while we were yet sinners 
Christ died for us r' 



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12a 



CHAPTER V. 

BPIBlTTTAIi SBGSVEJLLTION. 

The object of reTelation is to meet the Men con- 
'dition of suiBkiiid in all its extent, and to bring 
back the soul in all its exercises to God. It applies 
itself therefore to the Heart, to remove its natural 
indifference to God ; and to the Understanding, to 
dispel its natural Ignorance concerning God ; but it 
stops not here, for this alone would leave untouched 
the main-spring of our nature, the deep and influ- 
ential Will, This, alasi is naturally ^merae to God. 
It grows up in us as a will of *' the flesh," and 
therefore cannot but be contrary to Him who is 
Spirit, for ^'the flesh lusteth always against the 
Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh." And con- 
sequently all Attention to God*8 truth and Ac- 
quaintjmce with his character will but deepen our 
Aversion to Him, because it heightens our percep- 
tion of the natural contrariety which exists between 
us, imless there come the influences of his Spirit to 
subdue that natural opposition, and by the seed of 



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124 THE NATXTBE OF 

the Divine Word to beget in us a love of God as our 
Father, and a will devoted to Him as our Friend. 
" That which is bom of the flesh," says Jesus, " is 
flesh ; and that only which is bom of the Spirit is 
spirit; and therefore marvel not that I say unto 
you. Ye must be bom again,^'' 

New birth then, or Eegeneration, — ^that revolu- 
tion in the will of man which makes him thenceforth 
breathe and act as a Son of God — ^this is the topic 
which now demands our meditation. May God 
enable us to derive from it personal improvement! 

It will be my endeavour to show First, the Nature 
of this Regeneration; Secondly, the Necessity of 
our personal experience of it in order to Christian 
Piety ; and Thirdly, the Means by which it is pro- 
duced in the soul. 

SECTION L 

THE NATUBE OF SFIBITUAIi BEOENEBAXION. 

Reoekebation, in the sense which we are now 
considering, is The awakening in the soul of a new 
Disposition towards God — ^the Disposition of love, as 
opposed to our natural dread of Him ; of confidence, 
as opposed to our natural mistrust of Him ; of de- 
votedness, as opposed to our natural resistance to 
His will ; the Disposition, in short, of the return- 



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SPIRITUAL BE0E^EBATION. 125 

ing Prodigal towards his foi^ving Father, consctotts 
of the mercy which has been extended to him, the 
reconciliation effected, the thorough restoration to all 
that he had lost — and more than he had lost — so 
freely vouchsafed to him. 

And it is this rcTolution in the consciousness in 
relation to God, this birth of a new Disposition to- 
wards him, taking place in the grown-up Christian, 
of which we have more immediately to treat. 

There are indeed two senses of the term Rege- 
neration which the Scriptures present to us, and 
which therefore are recognized by the ancient 
Fathers, by the Lutheran Reformers, and by the 
Church of England, both of which I think we must 
most carefully maintain, if we would not deny on 
the one hand what has been done /or us before our 
consciousness, and on the other what must be ex- 
perienced by us with our consciousness, touching our 
relation to God. As baptized Christians we have 
been brought into a new Position towards God, 
which constitutes our incipient Regeneration : but 
not the less for this (yea just so much the more, 
since to this very consummation has our Baptism 
pledged us) must we experience that new Disposi- 
tion towards God, which constitutes our complete 
Regeneration. Into ^ state of Adoption we have 
been introduced by the application of Christ's aton- 
ing blood. Into the sense of this Adoption we must 



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126 THE NATURE OE 

be awakened by the inspiration of Christ's trans- 
forming Spirit. 

Now, that the inures of Birth, and New-birth or 
Regeneration, are fitly used to express our transfer- 
ence into a state of Adoption we hare abundant 
testimony. 

Even in eommon pariance we find many instances 
in which the term Regeneration is used to express 
ant/ nutrked trantiiion from a state of evil to one of 
good — as firom slavery to liberty, and fitmi misery 
to prosperity. Thus Josephus calls the restiitutioii 
of the Jewish Commonwealth, when the Jews were 
brought back firom Babylon, " the Regeneration of 
their fatherland." * And Cicero denominates his 
recall from banishment into his former dignity a 
" Regeneration.*' f So the Latins call those " twice 
begotten " and *'new-bom " { who pass from a moum- 
frd to a prosperous, from a worse into a better, state 
of things. And the same use of the phrase we find 
occurring in the East to this day. ** We left Bok- 
hara" (says Dr. Wolff, ii. 113), «' amidst thousands 
of congratulating inhabitants, who called my libera- 
tion * a new birth.*** Whence that universal Restor- 
ation of all things to their primitive blessedness, 
that re-oonstruotion, and as it were new birth, of 
the world into its normal state, to which the Greek 

♦ Antiq, Jud. xi. 8—9. f Ad Attic, vi. 6. 

tBisgeniti; recensnati. 



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SPIKITtTAI^ SEGSNERATION. 127 

philosophy looked forward, was similarly denomi- 
nated its " Regeneration." 

But equally in Scripture language is this image of 
New-birth employed to designate a faToiuraUe ehange 
of state. Thus, God*s deliverance of his people from 
the bondage of Egypt, and his forming them into a 
nation consecrated to himself, is called his begetting 
them, and his creating them. *' Of the rock that 
begiU thee,'* says Moses to the Israelites, " thou art 
unmindful, and hast forgotten God that farmed 
thee." Deut. xxxii. 18. And by the jHrc^het Isaiah, 
God thus addresses his people :^-" Thus saith the 
Lord that created thee O Jacob> and he i^t farmed 
thee O Israel : Peav not, for 1 have redeemed thee^ 
I have called thee by thy name^ thou art mine." 
Isaiah xliii. 1. And again, — ^^ "Sxmg my swm fronk 
&r and my daughters from the ends of the earth ;. 
even erery one that is ealled by my name ; for X 
have created him for my glory, I ha^e farmed him,, 
yea I have made him." Isaiah xliii. 6, 7. And the 
final deliverance of the whole world ivom the bond* 
age of the Evil (me» the taking off the curse which 
sin has brought upon it, its putting, on a new face 
and assuming a new character, is, from the same 
analogy, expressed in the same terms. " Behold," 
says the Lord by Isaiah, ^^ I create new heavens and 
a new earthy and the former shall not be remem- 
bered nor come into mind;, but be ye glad and 



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128 THE KATTTBE OF 

rejoice for ever in that which I create, for behold I 
create Jerusalem a rejoicing and her people a joy." 
Isaiah Ixv. 17, 18. " /» the Regeneration,^* says our 
liord to his disciples, referring to the same period, 
" when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of his 
glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging 
the twelve tribes of Israel." Matt. xix. 28. 

And hence the farther application of these terms 
to denote a similar favourable change in our re- 
ligious condition ; especially the passing over from 
idolatry to the service of the true God, and the 
becoming thereby numbered among his people as 
partakers of his favour and protection. Of this we 
have an instance in the Eighty-seventh Psalm, in 
which the Psalmist, looking forward to the glorious 
things which had been promised concerning the city 
of God, exults in the expected influx of Proselytes 
from the neighbouring nations to swell the list of 
her citizens, and cries — ^I will enumerate the Egyp- 
tian and the Babylonian among the worshippers of 
Jehovah ; I will speak of the Philistine and the 
Tyrian and the Ethiopian as " bom " in the Holy 
City; for " of Zion it shall be said. This and that 
man was horn in her ; and the Highest himself shall 
establish her. The Lord shall count when he 
writeth up the people, ♦ that this man was bom 

* Compare Ezekiel ziii. 9, where excommunication from the 
commonwealth of Israel is thus threatened— *< Mine hand 



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SFIBIXUAL SSaESfSKATION. 129 

there ;" t.e. when he makes up the list of his citizens 
he shall reckon among them as having all the pri- 
vileges of birthright, many a Proselyte from heathen 
lands. Whence the Jewish Divines say that Abra- 
ham when he was called by God and cast off idol- 
atry to serve him, became *' a new creature ; '* and 
speak of Proselytes as " bom anew ; " " brought into 
the world a second time, and by another mother," 
and changed from '' children of Satan into children 
of Abraham," entering thereby into new fiunily 
relations, and new ties and duties towards a new 
community. 

We need not wonder therefore at the similar use 
of these terms by our Lord and his Apostles to ex- 
press the similar transition of the Hebrew convert 
from the Old law to a New one, and of the Gentile 
Proselyte from Heathenism to Christianity; from 
their connexion with what St. Paul denominates 
'' this present evil world ** whether Jewish or Pagan, 

shall be upon the prophets that see vanity and that divine 
lies : they shall not be in the assembly of my pecple, neither 
shall they be written in the writing of the house of Isrctel, 
neither shall they enter into the land of Israel." And 
Isaiah xliv. 6, where reception into this commonwealth is 
thus promised — '* One shall say, I am the Lord's ; and 
another shall call himself by the name of Jacob ; and 
another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord" — he 
shall enter his name in the roll of my people, — " and shall 
surname himself by the name of Israel." 

K 



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130 tUM VASUAB OF 

into a new coimejnoa with the ooQuiumity of Chria-' 
turn worthippen, Thi« transition was avowod and 
witneised before botii the world and the church 
in the pablie aoleninity of Baptiem, which waa the 
symbol of the convert's renunciation of the old fa- 
mily of his birth, and entrance as a new-born babe 
into the new fieunily of his adoption ; of the blotting 
out his past esistenee and the conunencing of a new 
one ; and which therefore is called by onr Lord the 
<* being bom again of water," and by St* Paul ^' the 
washing ci jR9gineratum ;" and is referred to by St. 
Peter as transferring its recipient from an old world 
into a new one, as complel«ly as the waters of the 
flood transported Noah and his family from the 
wrickedness and ruin of the ante-diluvian, to the 
renewed purity and the regenerated hopes of the 
post-dilunan, state of things* " Except a man be 
bom again of water," said Jesus to Nieodemus (John 
iu. 5) ;--«-except he pass, not mentally only by pri- 
vate conviction of my being sent from God, but 
manifestly also by puUic avowal of his sentiments, 
into the number of my open followers, ** he cannot 
enter into the kingdom of God." " God," says St. 
Paul to Titus (iii. 5), "according to his mercj 
hath saved us,"-— has transferred us out of the com* 
munity of the "foolish, disobedient, deceived," 
&c. (verse 3), into the community of his saved ones ; 
has " justified" us (as it is in verse 7), and received ua 



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SPIBITtJAX BX(IBN]:BA.TI0N. 131 

into his feronr and piotoetion,-^'* by the vashii^ 
of RegmeraHm:^ *' In the days oi Noah," says St. 
Petinr (1 Peter iii. 20, 21), '* &«r, that is dlght souls 
VMresaTied by water ;"--**were rescued on the bosom 
of the flood from the ruin of the old warid into the 
security of the new i-^"* Tlie Hke figure whereunio, 
CTen baptism, doth also now sare us,"-^by water in 
like manner is our transition now eftoted from the 
world on which the eurse ef Qod is eome, and whieh 
is ready to be burned (2 Peter iiL 10), into that 
little &mily of his d^vered ones who hate the pro^ 
mise and the hope of '' new heavens and a new 
earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." (2 Peter iii. 
18.) What the writing of his name to the Mosaie 
covenant was to the Proselyte from Heathenism; 
what the washing from the defilements of his birth 
was to the new*bom infont ; what the water of the 
flood was to the rescued fiunily of Neah; that is 
Baptism to the Christian convert; the method of 
trantkion into a new eommunity^-^4i new sphere of 
being'^— a new woild. 

Scripturally therefore, as well as by a just ana* 
logy, does Ihe ChristiMi church employ this term 
Begeneration to express the new 8tat§ of Adoption^ 
or admission into the ihvour and the &mily of God, 
to which we are introduced 1^ Baptism ; our trans- 
ference from being '* chiUiren of wrath " to '^ children 
of grace." Thus Justin lltiartyr, speaking of the 



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182 THE NATURE OF 

mode of dmiling with oonverts in his time, says; 
*' They are then led bj us to a place where there is 
water, aAd are regenerated after the same maimer that 
we ourselres have been regenerated. For they are 
bathed and cleansed %n the water in the name of God 
the Father and Lord of all, and of our Saviour Jesus 
Christ, and of the Holy Ghost." Whence the Lu- 
theran Reformers remark, ** Sometimes the word Ee- 
generation is used for Juetification ; and then it 
means simply remission of sins, and adoption into 
the number of the Children of God. In which sense 
it is frequently employed in the Apology for our Con- 
feBsion,asfor example where it is asserted that Justifi- 
cation is Regeneration. In like manner as fhe word 
to make aKve** (compare Eph. ii. 1, 5) '*is used to 
signify the remission of sins."* To the same purport 
our English Reformer WycHffe says, ** In Baptism 
God christeneth the souls of men ; that is to say, 
washeth their souls from the undeanness of all sin." 
And again, '* Bodily baptiadng is a figure showing 
how man's soul should be baptized from sin. Bodily 
washing of a child is not the end of baptizing ; but 
baptizing is a token of washing of the soul from 
«m, both original and actual, by virtue taken of 
(Prist's deathJ' And this therefore is a prominent, 
though not the exclusive, sense which pervades the 
Articles and Liturgy of the Church of England. 
* Formula Concoidite, p. 686* 



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8FISIIUAL JUBGSNESATIOir. 133 

**The idea which our Reformers entertained," says 
Mr. Simeon, *' was, That the remUtion of our atnst 
as well as the regeneration of our souls, is an 
attendant on the Baptismal rite.*'* We see this 
in the Twenty-seventh Article, where we read 
that ^^ Baptism is a sign of Regeneration or 
New birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that 
receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the church : 
the promises of forgiveness of Sin^ and of our adop- 
tion to he the Sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are 
visibly signed and sealed." So also in the Baptismal 
sendee we pray '' that this Infant coming to thy holy 
Baptism may receive remission of his sins by spiri- 
tual Regeneration ;" and again, ** Sanctify this water 
to the mystical washing away of sin;^* and then 
we afterwards give thanks to God '' that this child 
is regenerate and grafted into the hody of Christ's 
ChurchJ*^ Whence, again, in the collect for Christ- 
mas Day we pray that *' being regenerate and made 
God's children by adoption and grace, we may daily 
be renewed by his Holy Spirit." 

Such then is the first sense of the term Regene- 
ration; denoting our transference into a state of 
adoption — our being nefb-bom from a condition of 
guilt and condemnation, to one of pardon accept- 
ance and the hope of everlasting life ; from being 
'' without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth o£ 
* Simeon's Works^ ii. 258. 



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134 THE KATt7KE OP 

Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, 
having no hope and irithout Qod in the world," to 
being *^ made nigh bj the blood of Cbsist and reoon^ 
cikd to God by his cross.** " With great clearness 
fSit. Paul intimates," says Archbishop Smnner, "that 
Ae Christians headdresses were regenerate, as having 
• put off the old man with his deeds,* and having 
become the •temple of the Holy Ghost,' and 'the 
members of Christ ; * as having the * spiritual cir- 
emnctsion,' and being * buried with Christ in bap- 
tism ;* Rom. vi. S ; Col. ii. 12 ; as having * received 
the spirit of adoption^* Rom. viii. 15 ; and as ' being 
washed^ sanetijied, and justified, in the name of the 
Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.' To the 
Galatians, ' bewitched,* as he says they were, * that 
they should not obey the truth,* he still writes, * Ye 
are aU the children of God by fkith in Christ Jesus. 
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christy 
have put on Christ,* Gal. iii. 26. These addresses 
and exhortations are founded on the principle that 
the Disciples, b^ their dedication to Ood in Baptism, 
had been brought into a state of reconcilement with 
Him, had been admitted to privileges which the 
Apostle calls upon them to improve. On the autho- 
rity of this example, and of the undeniable practice 
of the first ages of Christianity, our Church considers 
Baptism as conveying^ Regeneration, instructing us to 
pray, before Baptism, that the infant * may be bom 



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SPIBItUAX. BBOSKSmAtlON. 185 

a^am, and made an heir d eterlastuig saivatimi ; 
and to return thanks after baptism *that it haih 
pleased God to regenerate the infant with his Holy 
Spirit, and receive him for his own child by 
adoption." ♦ 

And recollect then Christian Reader, that this 
new Position towards God« with M it$ attendant 
responeihtHty^ is yours. You have passed through 
this change of state. You have been transferred 
from the Ck)urt of the Gentiles into the Sanctuary of 
God. You have been dedicated in his temple and 
made holy to the Lord. The blood of the oovenant 
has been sprinkled oyer you. The c^oss of Christ is 
on your brow. And the Sacramental oath of your 
allegiance to his name is registered on high. Yon 
are no longer your own. You are pledged and de- 
voted as a follower of Jesus, ** not to be ashamed to 
confess the fiuth of Christ crucified, but manfully to 
fight under his banner against sin the world and 
the devil ; and to continue (Prist's faithful soldier 
and servant unto your life's end/' O what must be 
yonr condemnation if you become a deserter from his 
camp, a renegade to the faith you have been dedi- 
cated to, false to the oath that has been pronounced 
upon you ! " How shall you escape If you neglect 
so great salvation ! ** "Of how much sorer punish^ 
ment, suppose you, shall you be thought worthy if 
• Sumner's " Apostolical Preaching." 



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186 THB KATURS OV 

you tread under foot the Son of God, and account 
the blood of the Covenant wherewith you are sanctified 
an unh6lj thing, and do despite unto the Spirit of 
grace ! " O ^ what you profess ! Realiase what you 
are devoted to. Enter coneciowly into your sacred 
relation to Almighty God. Become personalfy — in 
disposition affections and hope— a memher of Christ 
a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of 



Por thucr only will you realize the Second Sense 
in which Begeneration, or New Birth, is spoken of 
and demanded, both by Scripture and our Church. 
Namely, as that New Disposiiion towards God, that 
Sense of Adoption, which shews itself in all the 
exercises of filial Loye to Him as reconciled to us 
in Christ. 

For it is to the actual consciousness of such a new 
Disposition towards God that the Scripture writers 
would have us look, at each successive moment of 
our Spiritual life, as the only valid evidence of our 
continuance in God's favour, and of His seed remain- 
ing in us. No supposable past change is counted as 
of any avail to assure us of our present safety, except 
as we are finding in ourselves and are displaying to 
the world, the practical evidence of our being mem- 
bers of Christ and children of God. '^ If any man 
have not the Spirit of Christ,' ' says St. Paul to the 



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BPIBITT7AL BB6SNERATI0K. 137 

Romans (viii. 9) *'be is none of bis." And this he 
says, remember, to persons akeady baptized, abready 
spoken of by himself as '' beloyed of God, called to 
be saints " (i. 7) ; as " buried with Christ by bap- 
tism, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead 
they also should walk in newness of life." vi. 4- 
So again it is to baptized Corinthians, men of whom 
he had said, *' Ye are washed ye are sanctified ye 
are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by 
the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. vi. 11), that he 
writes so solemnly, ** Examine yourselves whether ye 
be in the &ith ; prove your oton selves. Know ye 
not your own selves how that Jesus Christ is in you, 
except ye he reprobates f^^ 2 Cor. xiii. 5. And just 
similarly he warns the Ephesian Christians, whom 
he had spoken of as " created in Christ Jesus imto 
good works," and '* fellow citizens with the saints 
and of the household of God" (ii. 10, 19), that 
they *' put off concerning the former conversation 
the old man, and he renewed in the Spirit of their 
mind, and put on the new man which after God is 
created in righteousness and true holiness." iv. 22. 
Just as he says, again, to the Eoman Christians, 
after having enlarged on the mercy they had ob- 
tained as " the remnant according to the election of 
grace," and as " grafted in among God's people " 
(xi. 5, 17, 30), ** I beseech you, therefore, by these 
mercies of God" (so rapturoxisly commemorated). 



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ISd ¥B£ KATtrBB OF 

" that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, 
acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable ser- 
vice. And be not conformed to this world, but be 
transformed hy the renewing of your mind, that ye 
may prove what is that good and acceptable and 
perfect will of God." xli, 1, 3. While every one 
knows the strong expressions of St. John concerning 
the necessity of our realizing in present experience 
the position into which we have been admitted by 
God's free grace, if we would " know that we are 
of the truth, and would assure our hearts before 
Him." The very same persons of whom he had 
said, '* I write unto you, little children, because your 
sins are forgiven you for his name's sake;" and 
again, " Behold, what manner of love the Father 
hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called 
the Sons of God; *^ and again, "Beloved, now are 
we the Sons of God*' (1 John ii. 12; iii. 1, 2); he 
scruples not to warn, further on, " Whosoever doeth 
not righteousness is not of God,'* and " whosoever 
is bom of God doth not commit sin," and " hereby 
we know that He ahideth in us, hy the Spirit which 
he hath given us." 

All therefore, you see, is made to turn on the 
present abiding Experience of the Spirit of Adoption, 
the filial Disposition towards God, which consti- 
tutes the realizing of the privileges, the actualizing 
of the idea, conferred upon us in our Baptism. 



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We must haye A thorough p&fsonal B&gefunUi<m. 
We must ^ve ^* the Spirit of Adoption, crying in us, 
Abba, Father, and bo bearing mineas icith out apirU 
that we are the childr^ of' God. " Rom. viii. 15, 16. 

And what then are the markB and actings of this 
Spirit ? What the main eridences of that new Dis- 
posiiion towards Qod, that life of God in the soul, 
without which none can be saved } 

This question may be best answered by another. 
What are the marks of Life in any of its workings ? 
physical Life^-mental Life^-neaoral life f Axe they 
not gpeeialQ' these twiy^-^Sensibtiiiy and Actitify? 
And if so, must not the specifio marks of this 
new Life of God in the soul which constitutes our 
Spiritnal R^eneration be similarly a felt and ma- 
nifested Sennibility- and Activity, with refermoe to 
God? 

And since this whole iopia is one of conicioumesa^ 
snffer me, instead of stating didactically these marks, 
to ask you to enquire of yourself experimentally, 
concerning your possession of them. 

And first — ^what evidence have you of spiritual 
SenaibUity with reference to God ? that is, of a quick 
tender delicate susceptibility for the thought of God 
— the love of God — ^the enjoyment of God ? 

Is the thought of God pleasing to you ? Does 
your heart leap up to welcome it ? When you look 
at His works in nature; when you read of His 



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140 XHB NATUBS OF 

doings in providence ; when you gaze on the totalitj 
of His character in the face of His dear Son ; have 
you a sensibility for such manifestations ? Do you 
delight to dwell upon them? to recall them? to 
multiply them ? Can you say with the Psalmist, 
" My meditation of Him is sweet ? " 

Then as to the love of God. Have you a sensi- 
bility to this ? You know what it is to be suscep- 
tible towards your Mends ; you feel the charities 
of father son and brother; you are quick to ad- 
mire to esteem to love whatever is attractive 
grand and tender in human character. How fares 
it with the similar qualities in the character of 
God ? Wonder, adoration, gratitude, affection, de- 
votedness — do you know an3rthing of these emotions 
towards your heavenly Father ? " We love him," says 
St. John, " because he first loved us.'* 

And have you, further, enjoyment in God— delight 
in Him as an object of complacency as well as of 
reverence ? Do you feel in His presence, and there- 
fore in all the means which assist to make vivid 
to your mind that presence, in his word, his day, 
his house, his people, his worship, and his ministers, 
any thing of that enjoyment which in the book 
of Job is spoken of when it is said, " Receive the 
law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine 
heart, and then thou shalt have delight in the 
Almighty and lift up tjiy face unto God : " and 



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SPIBITTTAL BBGEKEBATIOir. 141 

which the Psalmist breathes when he exclaims, 
«* Q God, thou art my God^ early will I seek Thee ; 
my flesh longeth for Thee, to see thy power and 
thy glory so as I have seen Thee in the Sanctuary ; 
because thy hving kindness is better than life itself* 
my lips shall praise Thee ! " 

But this new Life of God within the soul will 
show itself, not merely in spiritual Sensibility, but 
in spiritual Activity with reference to God. The one 
would be a poor thing without the other. It would 
be but the sickly^ sentimaitality of nervous sensi- 
tiveness. It might indicate some vitality, but not 
vigorous Life, 

For true Life will display itself in Activity for 
pleasiny God. How shall I use the powers which 
He has given me, so as best to satisfy the giver? 
In what way shall I most enjoy his moral approba- 
tion, his complacency? He has made me his 
child in Christ Jesus, he has forgiven me all my 
sins, he has supplied all my wants, he responds to 
all my anticipations ; what shall I render to the Lord 
for all the benefits that he hath done imto me ? how 
shall I walk so as to please my God ? 

And what can this lead to but a corresponding 
Activity to imitate God? For it is by becoming 
like him that we shall most effectually please him. 
The life that he has infused into us is the same 
life that displayed itself in his own beloved Son. 



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HS VATXrBB OF SPIBITITAI, BBaEKXBATIOK. 

The Spirit of Chmt u the Spirit of our Eegenera* 
tion. And therefore it will show itself specially in 
this — in bringing us into cooformitf with the cha- 
racter of Christ; that as He was while on earth 
the image and glory of Qod» so we too should 
become the image and glory of Him. ''He that 
saith he abideth in Him/' declares Si John, '* ought 
himself also 90 to walk even ae He walked.** And 
again^ *^ Herein isourloTe made perfect,"'^h«!ein 
does it display itself as oome to maturity in us,-^ 
'' because as He woe eo are we in thU world.** 

And therefore finally, the life of Gk>d in us will 
assuredly manifest itself by an Activity to glorify 
God. For we cannot be the sons of Cbd without a 
burning seal for the honour of Ood. That which 
glowed in the heart of Jesus, the Son of God, will 
work in our heart too. We cannot rest without 
desiring and therefore labouring, that all should 
know Him who has been revealed to us; admire 
Him whom we admire ; love Him whom we love ; 
eome into union with Him to whom we are united, 
'' O taste and see," cries the Psalmist, '' that th^ 
Lord is good ; blessed is the man that trustetili in 
HimT' ''That which we have seen and heard,'' 
says the Apostle, '' declare we unto you that ye alao 
may have fellowship with us ; and truly our fellow* 
ship is with the Fathw and with his Scm Jesua 
Christ!" 



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143 



SECTION II. 

THE KECESSXTY OF SPIBITUAL BX6ENSBATI0N.. 

SiKOE Kegenemtion is tba awakening in the soul 
of a filial Disposition towiurds Ood ; it follows neces* 
aarily, that some pertanai cottfcmtfnesa of ntch a 
change tnuat he es^penenced by every mind which 
emerges from its natural indiflbrenoe to Ood into 
the life of Love towards Him. Consciousness, I 
mean, not of the deeper movements whether sudden 
or gradual that have preceded it; still'less of ima* 
gined throes of the New birth in its regry act ; but 
of those uUered and aUering sentim^ts and disposi* 
timis* which are the mamfeeMimut of inward revolu* 
tion, to ourselves and to the world ;*-that eonscious- 
neas which onx Seventeenth .Article calls ** ^efedmg 
m ouruhes Ae vforkmff of the Spirit of CSirist, 
mortifying the works of the flesh and our earthly 
members, and drawing up our minds to high and 
heavenly things ; " and without which our Regenera* 
tionin any other aeaaae does but deepen our respon* 
sibUity, and must increase our condemnation. 



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144 THE NEOESSITY OF 

This conscious Regeneration, then, we must assert 
to be absolutely necessary to our present Piety and 
our ultimate Salvation. For Piety is Friendship 
with God ; but the natural relation of man is that 
of contrariety to God ; and therefore till this con- 
trariety be remoyed there can be no Piety. And 
Salvation is the perfecting of Friendship with God 
into complete Ee-union with him. It is the un- 
limited enjoyment of God's presence ; and there can 
be no enjoyment of God's presence but by partici- 
pation of God's character. And hence our Lord 
declares to Nicodemus, '* Except a man be bom 
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Not, 
yoja observe, "he shall not; but "he cannot;*^ — ^in 
the nature of things it is impossible; there is a 
moral necessity for his expulsion. None of the de- 
crees of God are arbitrary. They are aU decisions 
of the purest Beason, whose necessity commends 
itself to our own judgment, and wins from us when- 
ever we consider the grounds of it our own assent. 
And therefore they are unchangeable; therefore 
we cannot conceive them to be capable of giving way. 
Caprice may possibly yield to entreaty. Reason is 
eternally the same. 

Consider then, I pray you, the essential contrast 
between the character of God and the native cha- 
racter of man, and you will yoturself pronounce the 
absolute necessity of a personal change upon the 



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8FIBITUAL BEGENEBATION. 145 

part of man. God is spirit ; man is flesh. God is 
heavenly ; man is earthly. God is pure and holy ; 
man is corrupt and sinful. God is all majesty and 
glory ; man is all meanness and shame. Two beings 
not diflerent only but contrary; not merely with 
qualities disproportionate but those qualities exclud- 
ing each the other. And what, then, if these two 
beings are to be brought into friendship ? What, if 
man would enter into fellowship with God now, in 
order to enter into the kingdom of God hereafter ? 
This cannot be while that contrariety remains. 
<< For what fellowship hath righteousness with un- 
righteousness ? and what communion hath light with 
darkness ?'" And what therefore must take place ? 
There must be alteration on the one part or the other. 
One of the opposites must change. One party must 
gire way. But can God change ? Can He who is 
The Rock give way ? Can the Etebnal deny him« 
self? Can He put off that nature without which he 
would not be God ? Or can He lower himself be- 
neath his nature ? Can He accommodate his per- 
fections to our sinfulness ? Can He abate one atom 
of his spirituality — his purity — his consistency ? 
The very thought were blasphemy ! And what then 
must be done ? Where must the change take place } 
In whom must the approximation be begun? I 
put it to your common sense ; I put it to your 
moral judgment ; What is the demand — the necesr 

L 



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146 THE NECESSITY OP 

sary unavoidable demand — which the slightest 
consideration of the awful contrast between God and 
man forces home upon the mind ? Is it not that 
of Jesus to Nicodemus ? " Verily, verily, I say unto 
you, Ye hitst he horn again :'^ a higher spirit must 
possess you — ^a new life must descend into you — 
you must die from sin and rise again unto righteous- 
ness, continually mortifying all your evil and cor- 
rupt affections and daily proceeding in all virtue 
and godliness of living. 

Such a personal Regeneration, then, we must have 
— ^all of us — either by the gradual dawn of light 
upon the soid, stealing over its native darkness and 
disclosing new forms of truth and beauty to the won- 
dering mind almost before we are conscious of its 
source; — or by the conscious spring of the awakened 
spirit out of a world of vain appearances into one of 
reality ; from the delusive images and confused pur- 
poses and hurried efforts of an earthly dream, into 
the distinct ideas, the well-weighed resolutions^ the 
vigorous movements of a new existence ; wherein 
God himself shines out upon us, and all other ob- 
jects, in hia light being beheld assume their proper 
colour form and character. " The doctrine of Con- 
version," says Dr. Paley, " we must preach plainly 
and directly to all those who, with the name indeed 
of Christians, have hitherto passed their lives without 
any internal religion whatever ; who have not at all 



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SFIBITUAI. SEOENESATION. 147 

thought upon the subject ; who, a few easy and cus- 
tomary forms excepted (and which with them are 
mere forms), cannot truly say of themselves that 
they have done one action which they would not 
have done equally if there had been no such thing 
as a Qod in the world; or that they hare ever sacri- 
ficed any passion any present enjoyment or even 
any inclination of their minds to the restraints and 
prohibitions of religion; with whom, indeed, re* 
ligious motives have not weighed a feather in the 
scale against interest or pleasure. To these it is 
utterly necessary that we preach conversion. At 
this day we have not Jews and Gentiles to preach 
to ; but these persons are really in as unconverted 
a state as any Jew or Gentile could be in our 
Saviour's time. They are no more Christians as to 
any actual benefit of Christianity to their souls, 
than the most hardened Jew or the most profligate 
Gentile was in the age of the Gospel. As to any 
difference at all in the two cases, the difference is all 
against them. These mtist be converted before they 
can be saved. The course of their thoughts must 
be changed^ the very principles upon which they 
act must be changed. Considerations which never 
or which hardly ever entered into their minds, must 
deeply and perpetually engage them. Views and 
motives, which did not influence them at all, either 
as checks from doing evil or as inducements to do 



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148 THE NECESSITY OF 

good, must become the views and motives whicll 
they regularly consult, and by which they are 
guided : that is to say, there must be a revolution 
of principle : the visible conduct will follow the 
ihange ; but there must be a revolution tvithin.'' 

And this ** revolution within" has, therefore, been 
urged in all ages of the Church, and that too some- 
times in the very terms *' Regeneration " and " New 
Birth," as absolutely necessary to the personal 
fruition of our Adoption in Christ. St. Clement, for 
instance, employs the word "Regeneration" as equi- 
valent to Repentance or conscious change of heart 
towards God. For having said in Chap. VII. of his 
first Epistle to the Corinthians, '^Noah preached 
repentance," he repeats the declaration in Chap. IX. 
in these terms ; " Noah did, by his ministry preach 
regeneration to the world." And St. Augustine says 
very distinctly, on the First Epistle of St. John, 
"Behold, a man when baptized has received the 
sacrament of his nativity. He hath a sacrament, 
and a great sacrament; divine, holy, ineffistble. 
Consider what it is; that it should even make a new 
man, by the remission of sins. Let him, however, 
attend to his heart : whether that be there perfected 
which has been done in his body. Let him gee 
whether he has Love, and then let him say I have 
been bom of God, If he hath it not, he hath indeed 
a character impressed upon him ; but he only wan- 



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SPIKITXTAL BEGENEBATION. 149 

ders about as a deserter. Let him haye Love, other- 
wise let him not say that he has been bom of God.*' 

Again : " It is the Holy Ghost," says our Homily 
for Whitsimday, "and no other thing, that doth 
quicken the minds of men, stirring up good and godlff 
moHons in their hearts which are agreeable to the 
will and commandment of God, such as otherwise of 
their own crooked and perverse nature they should 
never have. That which is bom of the Spirit is 
spirit. As who should say, man of his own nature 
is fleshly and carnal, cormpt and naught, sinful and 
disobedient to God, without any spark of goodness 
in him, without any virtuouuB or godly motion, only 
given to evil thoughts and wicked deeds. As for the 
works of the Spirit, the fruits of faith, charitable and 
godly motions, if he have any at all in him they 
proceed only of the Holy Ghost, who is the only 
worker of our sanctiflcation and maketh us new men 
in Christ Jesus." ** Such is the power of the Holy 
Ghost to regenerate men, and, as it were, to bring 
them forth anew, so that they shall be nothing like 
the men they were before." " If Nicodemus had 
known the great power of the Holy Ghost in this 
behalf, that it is he which inwardly worketh the re- 
generation and new birth of mankind, he would never 
have marvelled at Christ's words, but would rather 
take occasion thereby to praise and glorify God." 

" Regeneration," says Dr. Barrow, " is a spiritual 



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150 tTHE NECESSITY OF 

change, effected by the influence of the Holy Spirit 
on the mind the will and the affections of an adtdt 
sinner,*' And these operations '' do constitute and 
accomplish that work which is styled the Regenera- 
tion, renovation^ vivification^ new creation, resurrection^ 
of man ; the faculties of our souls being so improved 
that ^e become, as it were, other men thereby; able 
and apt to do that for which before we were alto- 
gether indisposed and unjfft." Again, ''That reno- 
Tation of our nature and qualifying our minds, as the 
Qospel prescribeth and requireth, is called Regenera- 
tion, a new creation, a new birth, the begetting a 
new man within us. ' If a man be not bom from 
above he cannot see the kingdom of God/ In such 
terms is the effect of the Christian dispensation on 
our hearts and lives described ; and that with the 
greatest reason; for no act of God towards us can be 
more fatherly than working in us by his grace the 
principles of Christian life and the practices springing 
from it.'' 

'•When a man," says Bishop Beveridge, "believes 
in Christ the second Adam, and so is made a mem- 
ber of his body, he is quickened and animated by his 
Spirit, which being the principle of a new life in him, 
he thereby becomes a new creature, another kind of 
creature from what he was before, and therefore is 
properly said to be bom again. His whole nature is 
changed. He hath a new set of thoughts and affec- 



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SPIBITUAL BEOENEBATION. 151 

tioos, a new sight and sense of God, a new bias upon 
his mind, so that he is now as much inclined to Vir- 
tue as he was before to vice, and of a foolish proud 
sinful and carnal creature is become wise and hum- 
ble and holy and spiritual." 

'^ As," says Bishop Taylor, '' in the superinducing 
our evil nature we were thrust forward by the world 
and the devil, by all objects from without and weak- 
ness from within ; so in the curing it we are to be 
helped by God and his Holy Spirit. We must have 
a new nature put into us, which must be the prin- 
ciple of new counsels and better purposes, of holy 
actions and great devotion ; and this nature is derived 
from God, and is a grace and a &vour of heaven. 
The same Spirit that caused the Holy Jesus to be 
bom after a new and strange manner, must also de- 
scend upon us and cause us to be bom again, and to 
begin a new life upon the stock of a new nature. 
'From him,' said Origen, 'it first began that a 
divine and human nature were weaved together, that 
the human nature by communication with the celes- 
tial may also become divine ; not only in Jesus, but 
in all that first believe in him and then obey him, 
living such a life as Jesus taught.' And this is the 
sum total of the whole design ; as we have lived to 
the flesh, so we must hereafter live to the Spirit : 
as our nature hath been flesh, not only in its original 
but in habits and affection, so our nature must be 



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152 THE NEGESSITIT OF 

spirit in habit and choice, in design and ^ectual 
prosecutions: for nothing can cure our old death but 
this new birth; and this is the recovery of our natiure 
and the restitution of our hopes, and therefore the 
greatest joy of mankind. It is a fine thing to see the 
light of the sun, and it is pleasant to see the 
storm allayed and turned into a smooth sea; our 
eyes are pleased to see the earth begin to live, 
and to produce her little issues with parti-coloured 
coats ; and nothing is so beauteous as to see a new 
birth in a childless family ; — ^but all tiiis is nothing 
to the excellences of a new birth ; — ^to see the old 
man carried forth to funeral with the solemn tears 
of repentance, and buried in the grave of Jesus, and 
in his place a new creation to arise, a new heart, and 
a new understanding, and new affections, and excel- 
lent appetites :^/or nothing less than this can cure 
aU the old distempers*' 

And how touchingly is this change described 
from actual experience in the words of one converted 
through the instrumentality of one of the Agents of 
the Church of England Scripture Readers' Association . 
(See their Journal for May 1854.) '' It is impos- 
sible for me to tell you all I feel in the way of gra- 
titude and comfort now that I can say with sincerity, 
' I was blind but now I see ! ' And thanks be to 
God for his holy word, and to you for your kind 
instructions. In my leisure moments I often reflect 



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SPIEITTTAL BEOENEBATIOK. 163 

upon the change which has taken place in me. My 
temper, though worldly once, is now heavenly. 
When you first knew me I was the unhappy and 
wiUing dupe of passion and all that was bad, but 
thanks be to Qod I am now ujader the guidance of a 
better reason. The force of unholy passions swayed 
me then, the Bible is now my tutor. My appetites 
were then above me, I am now superior to them. 
My conscience has oftentimes been torn with re- 
morse at the thought of a misspent life. Blessed 
be God it is now pacified by the peace-speaking 
blood of Jesus, and now I can repose by faith on his 
merits, his sacrifice, and his atonement. I once 
sought my happiness below, in the alehouse, the 
tavern, the company of wicked scoffers ; but now I 
find it in a Uving Saviour ; the foolishness of this 
world corrupted my manners, and its spirit tinctured 
all my conversation ; but I have done with all its 
sinful gratifications ! '' 

This then must become the personal experience of 
each of us who are considering the momentous sub- 
ject of this chapter. The evU of our characters is 
personal. The process of their transformation into 
good must be equally personal. Our Indifference to 
God is personal ; therefore, so must be our awaken- 
ing to attend to him. Our Ignorance of God is 
personal ; therefore, so must be our Illumination 
to know him. And our natural Alienation from 



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154 THE NECESSITY 07 

God, yea Aversion to the thoi^ht of Him, is, alas ! 
most personal; and, therefore, so must be our 
drawing towards Him, our seeking Him, our finding 
Him, our falling down before Him, our reconciliation 
to Him ; our trust in Him — that is, our Regenera- 
tion. We must enter into an entirely new relation 
of (mr consciousness towards God, so that He whom 
we have dreaded because of his tremendousness, 
and shrunk from because of his purity, aye, and 
disliked the very mention of his name because of 
a conscious contrariety to his will— even He — ^the 
same — ^the Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts 
that changeth not — shall be fled to by us as a Sa- 
viotir, trusted in as a Friend, loved and clung to as 
a Father, — our Father reconciled to us in Christ. 
As the feelings of the prodigal towards his parent 
when he gathered all his goods together and took 
his journey into a far coimtry to avoid his presence ; 
to the feelings of the same prodigal towards the 
same parent, when he came to himself and said, I 
will arise and go unto my Father, and when he felt 
that Father's arms around his neck, and received 
that Father's kiss of perfect reconciliation, and heard 
that Father say. Make merry and be glad for this 
my Son was dead and is aUve again, was lost and is 
foimd : such is the natural disposition towards God 
to that of our Regeneration : such is the transition 
from death to life, from the old man to the new. 



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SFIBXTUAL BEOEKESATION. 155 

wUch is denominated by the Sciptmes, being '*bom 
again." 

And would you see how thoroughly personal and 
conscious such a transition must be, observe what St. 
Peter says of it in his First Epistle (i. 14-25), when 
he is referring his readers to their own experience of 
this New Birth. Hearing, thinking, judging, en- 
bracing truth, are surely personal acts, — acts of 
mind which no man can do for us, and which can- 
not take place within us independent of our con- 
sciousness. And of these acts of mind St. Peter 
speaks when he reminds Ihe converts that they had 
been " bom again by the word of God, which word 
by the Gospel had been preached to them," and that 
they had ^' obeyed the truths'' — submitted their judg- 
ment and convictions to its influence. Feeling (again) 
is surely k personal act, an act of the hearty which, 
from its very nature, we cannot but be conscious of, 
which we possess only so &r as we are conscious 
of it. And of such acts of heart St. Peter speaks 
when he declares that they *' by Christ had believed 
in God,*' had reposed their trust and confidence in 
him as their Father : and had '* put their faith and 
hope in God : " and had *' tasted that the Lord is 
gracious," had found the .truth of God's forgiving 
love as grateful to their spiritual sensibility as the 
sweetest milk is to the bodily palate of the new-born 
babe. Desire, (once more,) resolve, endeavour, are 



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156 THE NECESSITY OF 

sarelj personcd acts — acts of tviU; the very experi- 
ences which constitute us persons at all in contra- 
distinction to things, moving from an impulse within 
ourselves instead of being moved like the wind- 
tossed leaf or the floating weed by impulses without 
us. And of these acts of unll St. Peter speaks when 
he exhorts them, '' Therefore laying <uide all malice, 
and all guile, and hypocrisies and envies and all 
evil-speakings, desire the sincere milk of the word 
that ye may grow thereby." So evident indeed is 
all this, and so impossible is it to conceive a human 
being going through these changes of the character 
without reflection and emotion and determina- 
tion, — by any other way than that oi personal con- 
sciousness and interest and effort, — ^thatthe drawing 
out the proof of this might well seem superfluous if 
not absurd, were it not that no words can ever be 
too many, no efforts too assiduous, no reasoning too 
minute, when we are endeavouring to banish and 
drive away that fatal delusion, that worst form of 
Enthusiasm (though it claims the merit of horror at 
Enthusiasm), which dotes upon the fancy that men 
may be sanctified without knowing it, and saved with- 
out the trouble of it, and be literally carried, like 
passive infants, by the angels into Abraham's bosom; 
— that, dozing listlessly for all their life in one state 
and that a state of irreligion, — they may neverthe- 
less wake at last with glad surprise in another state 



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SPIRITUAL BEOENEBA.TI0N. 157 

and that the state of glory — swept from destruction 
in a dream, and smuggled into heaven ! May God 
deliver us from such Antinomian slumber, and startle 
us into new Spiritual life ! 



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158 



SECTION in. 

THE MEANS OF 8FIBITUAL BEGENEBATION. 

SPIRITUAL Regeneration as a conscious expe- 
rience, is the sense of love towards God. And the 
grand means of this experience is therefore that Ex- 
hibition of God's hve towards us which is Vouchsafed 
in the Grospel of Christ. For it is love that begets love. 
Love cannot exist alone. It must be reciprocal. And 
therefore our affection towards God must vary as our 
consciousness of the affection of God towards us. 
And this affection of Grod towards us is just the one 
great truth which is proclaimed in Christ. It is by 
manifesting this, that Christianity obtains a power 
over the hearts of men which no philosophy, no reli- 
gion even, Jd its lower truths, can gain. And it is 
by commending this to the individual mind that the 
Spirit of Christ — which is emphatically " the Spirit 
of the Truths'' of this particular fundamental truth of 
God*s saving love, — ^becomes the Spirit of life, and 
new-creates the soul. And this therefore is what 
St. Peter refers to, as the means and instrument of 



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SPIBITUAL BEOENEBATIOK. 159 

Regeneration, in his First Epistle (i. 23), when he 
reminds his readers that they had been bom again 
"not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, by 
the word of God which liveth and abideth for 
ever." And St. James also, in a very similar passage 
(i. 18-27), in which, having first laid down the 
general proposition that nothing but good can come 
from God, he adds as the most convincing proof of 
his goodness, " of his own will hegat he us with 
the word of truths that we should be a kind of first 
fruits of his creatures." 

For by referring to the context of the passage in 
St. Peter, we see at once what was in the mind of the 
Apostle when he used the phrase, " the word of 
God." In the twenty-fifth verse he expressly ex- 
plains his meaning: '* This is the word" — this is 
what I am specially referring to by that term — 
" which hy the Gospel is preached unto you." And 
when, in verse twenty-two, he says, " ye have puri- 
fied your souls in obeying the truth,'^ you will find 
from the preceding context that " the truth " which 
he has in view is that of Christ's " redemption of 
them by his precious blood " — of his " manifestation 
in these last times for them" — of his death and re- 
surrection and glory, accomplished for them " that 
ih&ir faith and hope might he in God,^' Which truth 
he again distinguishes in chapter ii. 3, by saying, 
" ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious,'' — that 



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160 THE MEANS OF 

is, have believed and felt that God is forgiving and 
affectionate towards you, so that coming unto him 
whom he has chosen and made precious you are 
made *' a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacri- 
fices acceptable to God hy Jems Christ ; " and " though 
in time past not a people yet are now the people of 
Gk>d ; though ye had not obtained mercy yet now 
have obtained mercy, ''^ 

And this specific use of the terms '* the word of 
God," '* the word," « the truth of the Gospel," to 
express the fundamental doctrine of this Gospel, 
that *' God was in Christ reconciling the world unto 
himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them," 
is the prevailing one in Scripture. It speaks not, 
in those terms, of any particular words or writings 
— as we are too much accustomed to intend when 
we employ the phrase, as if the Spiritual life 
might be evoked by the letter of Scripture as by 
some cabalistic charm — but of the truths which 
formed the substance of the Apostolic writii^s and 
addresses, the message of which they were the am- 
bassadors, the disclosures concerning God and his 
character and his feeling towards us and his doings 
for us, which were made by his beloved Son. It 
is not in words, but in '* the word,** not in the 
terms but in the ideas of Christianity, that its mighty 
power resides. When St. Paul reminds the Colos- 
sians (i. 5, 6) of '* the hope laid up for them in 



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SPIKITtTAL REGENEEATION. 161 

heaven, whereof they had heard before in the word 
of the truth of the Gospel,'' he immediately exchanges 
the latter phrase for an equivalent one which shows 
its definite meaning, " since the day ye heard it 
and knew the grace of God in truth ; " that is, were 
made acquainted with that unadulterated message 
from on high, that God is gracious and compassion- 
ate through Christ. And when he desires that " the 
peace of God should rule in their hearts and they 
should be thankful " — that they should maintain a 
grateful confidence in him as their Father, — ^he ex- 
horts them in order to this, as the proper nourish- 
ment of this, " to let t?te word of Christ dwell in 
them richly in all wisdom '* (Col. iii. 15), to get 
deeply imbued with that grand truth in all its rich- 
ness, which Christ has taught us, and which tells of 
Christ as our Reconciler with God. This truth is 
what St. Peter calls in another place, *' the word of 
God " (Acts XV. 7) ; and St. Paul, " the word of 
God's grace" (Acts xx. 32) ; and " the word of Sal- 
vation *' (Acts xiii. 26) ; and " the word of faith " 
(Romans x. 8) ; and '* the word of reconciliation'* 
(2 Cor. V. 19); and "the good word of God" 
(Hebrews vi. 5.) 

Which sense of the expression is evident, yet 
further, from the effects declared to result from the 
reception of this " word." " Ye have purified your 
souls,'' says the Apostle. *' in obeying the truth,"— 

M 



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162 THE MXANS OF 

that is, have cleansed them from the defilement of 
an evil conscience^ afraid of God, Which is the same 
result that is elsewhere ascribed to the reception of 
the fundamental truth of Christianity, reconciliation 
with God by the blood of Christ. ** If the blood of 
bulls and of goats sanctifieth to the purifying of the 
flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ 
purffe your conscience from dead works to serve the 
living God ? " (Heb. ix. 13, 14.) " Let us draw near 
with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having 
our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, (Heb. 
X. 22.) That which is the effect of sin is recipro- 
cally the cause of sin, — ^namely, the consciousness 
of disagreement and of distance between us and 
God. And nothing therefore will effectually do 
away with sin but that which does away with this 
cause of sin, and brings into its place the opposite 
consciousness of reconciliation and of nearness to 
God. Against this assurance no one can hold ouL 
By the very proclamation of it the sinner is made 
to pause, and think, and relent. A man may doubt 
indeed the love of God to him — he may even hastily 
put from him an idea which aggravates his self, 
reproach — ^he may rudely rage against an influence 
which he feels to be xmnerving his determination 
for evil ; — but he cannot look this winning truth di^ 
rectly in the face; he cannot give it time to look him 
in the face in all the fulness of its radiance ; and yet 



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SPIBITTTAL BBQENrEBATION. 163 

hold on in obstinacy and rebellion. He begins to be 
affected bySts secret fascination ; he feels the power 
of its spell]; he hesitates ; he turns ; his stubbornness 
is melting fiast away ; and even as the Roman gene* 
ral before his mother's eye, " like a dull actor, he 
forgets his part '' of proud impenitence '^ and he is 
out ;" — ^he yields ; he stoops ; he throws down the 
arms of his rebellion; he "casts away his transgres- 
sions wherewith he has transgressed, and makes 
him a new heart and a new spirit;" he flings £rom 
him his jealousies and cavils and murmurs and 
fears ; and he bows himself before the throne of the 
Redeemer in entire surrender to the mighty gentle- 
ness of God. " The love of Christ constraineth him / 
and he judges that if one died for all, then they 
which live should not henceforth live unto them- 
selves, but imto him that died for them and rose 
again." And therefore he becomes in Christ a new 
creature ; old things pass away, all things become 
new. God has reconciled him to himself by Jesus 
Christ. 

Thus then does *' the word of God "—the glad 
tidings of reconciliation with Him by Jesus Christ 
-^become the seed of our Regeneration. We are 
*' bom again," not by the corrupiihle seed of selfish 
calculations of expediency, of bodily impulses and 
fervours, of artificially excited feelings, of philoso- 
phical argumentation, and of dexterous persuasion. 



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164 THE MEANS OF 

— ^all which motives are but temporary and perish- 
able, touch only the understanding and pftssions, stir 
only the upper surface of the mind, reach not down 
to the deep under-current of the will, and therefore 
can produce but superficial transient incomplete 
results — " not by corruptible seed, but by incor- 
ruptible ^^^ by that which has a never-dying vigour, 
and never becomes effete, even ** the word of God 
which liveth and abideth for ever. ^ ^ " Christ saith, ' ' 
writes Bishop Latimer, " * Except a man be bom 
again from above, he cannot see the kingdom of 
God.' He must have Regeneration. And what is 
this regeneration? It is not to be christened in 
water, and nothing else. How is it to be expounded 
then ? St. Peter showeth that one place of Scrip- 
ture declareth another. For, saith St. Peter, ' We 
be bom again : ' — How ? Not by a mortal seed but 
by an immortal. What is this immortal seed ? * By 
the word of the living God,' — by the word of God 
preached and opened. Thxis cometh in our New 
birth." Just as St. Augustine says concerning the 
declaration of St. John, that every one who is bom 
of God sinneth not because his seed remaineth in 
him, *' He means the seed of God ; that is, the word 
of God, Whence the Apostle says, 1 have begotten 
you through the GospeV 

Such then are the Nature, the Necessity, and the 



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SPIRITUAL REOENEBATIOir. 165 

Means of Spiritual Regeneration. I cannot quit the 
subject without pressing on my readers a few 
words of Inquiry, of Direction, and of Encourage- 
ment. 

Is not Inquiry, I would ask — ^personal inquiry 
of ourselves — pre-eminently necessary, after the 
consideration of a topic like this ? It is not one of 
doubtful theory or curious inyestigation ; it is one 
which concerns the very being of our piety and 
holiness. And can we then fail to turn round from 
it on ourselves, and ask with simple earnestness, 
Have / this indispensable new birth ? I do not 
bid you point to any given moment of Spiritual 
birth. I do not ask for the chronology of Coliver- 
sion. I do not even demand that the awakening 
of a filial disposition towards God should have been, 
in every case, marked enough to form an epoch in 
the life — though Dr. Paley hesitates not to say 
concerning those " who with the name of Chris- 
tians have hitherto passed their lives without any 
internal religion," that " no one can be saved with- 
out undergoing a conversion which he must neces^ 
sarily both be sensible of at the time, and remember 
all his life afterward. It is too momentous an event 
ever to be forgot. A man might as easily forget his 
escape from a shipwreck." But this I do ask — this 
I earnestly beseech you honestly to ask yourselves, 
— Have you now, at this moment, — ^whether its 



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166 THE MBANS OF 

deyelopment within jou have been quick or slow, 
marked or un marked — have you now that spirit of 
adopticm which ezuibles jou to cry Abba, Father ? 
Are you now at one with God ? Is the thought of 
him delightfiil to you ? Is his presence welcome ; 
his will i^reeable and such as you heartily accord 
with; his honour dear to you; his interest made 
your own ; his Spirit dwelling in you ? If not — 
Where are you f What are you ? What is your 
condition ? your character ? your hope ? Where is 
the benefit of your Christian priyileges and education ? 
What have you gained from your baptismal conse- 
cration ? Wherein have you realized the access to 
God laid open to you, nourished the Spirit of God 
vouchsafed to you, fulfilled the tows to God which 
are upon you ? Oh there is nothing in all this of 
doubtful speculation, to entitle you to hold back 
from its consideraticm ; nothing of mere conflict of 
opinion, to permit you to return yourself a party 
answer ; the question touches your character, your 
soul, your salvation. It sets before you life or death, 
blessing or cursing, heaven or hell ! Sweep from 
you, for the moment, every shadow of a difference 
of doctrine and of school and of expression, still the 
practical inquiry cannot be shaken off; it cleaves 
inseparably to your very self ; it asks with pertina- 
cious earnestness. What still am / — myself^ia life 
and character, and heart — before the eye of Ood P 



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SPIEITUAIi BEaEKSSATION. 167 

Not, What are my opinions or the opinions of other 
men concerning me ? Not, What is my standing in 
the church, my name my profession my reputation ? 
But what am / — myself— before that heart-searching 
God with whom there is no respect of persons ; and 
before whom not the hearers of the law are just, but 
the doers of the law — those who have the work of 
the law written in their hearts — shall be justified, 
in that day when God shall judge the secrets of men 
by Jesus Christ ? This is my Inquiry. I pause- 
that up to God who seeth in secret, may be breathed 
in secret, by every one who reads it, the answer that 
his conscience dictates to its Judge ! 

But then, I pass on to a Direction, to such as can 
with trembling hope breathe this answer in the 
affirmative, and I remind them that just in the way 
in which their childlike state of mind towards God 
was first begotten in them it must be nourished from 
day to day. It is by ^ the word of God," by what 
you have heard and meditated on and pressed home 
to your own necesdties, concerning His forgiving 
love in Christ, that you have been awakened to 
any measure of love to Him in return ; and there- 
fore if you desire this love to grow — ^nay to main- 
tain its life — within you, it must be nourished by 
daily feeding upon that same word; by the conti- 
nual remembrance and re-application of that same 
truth. The life of Regeneration must pass on into 



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168 THE MEANS Or 

that of daily Renovation. As you have begun you 
must go on. As you have been born you must 
grow. And this growth will form the only perma- 
nent and satisfactory evidence of that birth. As 
there cannot be growth in Holiness till the seed of 
Holiness has been quickened into life; so neither 
can this seed have been quickened if there be not 
growth. And therefore St. Peter writes ; " Seeing 
that ye have purified your souls by obeying the 
truth, — having been bom again, not of corruptible 
seed but of incorruptible, by the word of God which 
liveth and abideth for ever " — What then ? What 
is the Apostle's conclusion from these premises ? Is 
it — ^Therefore sit down satisfied that the work of 
Piety is done? Therefore point to the record of 
a past Experience as the earnest of salvation? 
Therefore cry, " Once a saint always a saint ?" 
Therefore answer aU the accusations of our con- 
science with those memorable words, 'Now I am 
safe, for I am sure that I was once in a state of 
grace ?' O no ! nothing of all this is the conclusion 
of St. Peter ; but just the very reverse — " There- 
fore laying aside all malice and all guile, and hypo- 
crisies and envies and all evil-speakings, as new- 
born babes desire the sincere milk of the word 
that ye may grow thereby ^ What if indeed we are 
born again; we are but babes still; and we need 
continual nourishment by that same word which was 



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SPIRITUAL REGENERATION. 169 

the means of our regeneration, that we may grow up 
into men. We have received but the seed of the 
divine life, and it requires unlimited development. 
We have but tasted of the graciousness of God, and 
we need to have it circulate through every vein and 
strengthen and consolidate every power of our being. 
Therefore " ffrow in grace and in the knowledge of 
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." 

And would you have Encouragement for this? 
You find it in the very epithet applied by Peter to 
the seed of your regeneration. It is " incorruptible. ' * 
It does not spring up for a moment and then wither 
away. It has in it the principle of life and endless 
germination. It is capable of infinite development. 
It may expand, from being the least of all seeds, to 
grow into a tree '' whose height shall reach to 
heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of the 
earth, the leaves thereof fair, and the fruit thereof 
very much." " This is the comfort of the saints," 
says Archbishop Leighton, **that though the life 
which God by His word hath breathed into their 
souls have many and strong enemies, such as they 
themselves could never hold out against, yet for his 
own glory and his promise sake, He will maintain 
that life and bring it unto perfection." 



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170 



CHAPTER VI. 



SPIRITUAL PEACE. 



Chbtstian ity is no system of mere restraint. It 
is no new scheme of police regulations. It comes 
not merely to denounce evil, and to reduce its fol- 
lowers to a negative orderliness. Its object is far 
higher than this; its benefit far more excellent. 
This had been abready provided for by the Law of 
God; that Law which springs up from the very 
relations of things ; is enforced by the significant 
though silent discipline of natural consequences; 
and was proclaimed in imequivocal stsCtutes in the 
Mosaic covenant. And Christianity is no mere re- 
publication of this Law. It is the writing of it on the 
heart. It brings something in addition to it which 
changes its character and augments its influence ; 
a Love by which it is cordially embraced; a 
Peace which renders its observance perfect free- 
dom. 

For though the Gospel is primarily the glad 
tidings of everlasting life, its message relates not 
only to the future. It bestows blessings in hand ; 



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SPIBITUAL PEACE. 171 

a foretaste and a pledge of those that are to come. 
It speaks of present pardon peace and favour. 
And therefore the spirit that it awakens is not a 
mere impatient expectation of a ^ture inheritance, 
but is the quiet confidence of present right and title 
to that inheritance. 

This is intimated by St. Paul in his Epistle to the 
Romans (chapter v.) when he declares that '* being 
justified by faith/* having entered into that new 
relation to God as our reconciled Father which the 
regenerate mind begins to recognize, "we h&Ye peace 
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ ;" and by 
Him» moreover, enjoy a permanent state of "grace," 
or consciousness of the divine favour; and thus 
" not only rejoice in hope of the glory of God," but 
also "joy in God himself'* as our present Friend and 
Father, " through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom 
we have received the atonement." Which present 
benefit of the Gospel, St. John also speaks of when 
he says ^^Qxa fellowship is with the Father and with 
his son Jesus Christ; and these things write we unto 
you that your Jot/ may be full." 

It is the privilege then of the converted man, 
who has been bom again to the love of God, to 
derive from this new state of his consciousness to- 
wards his heavenly Father all the happiness which 
can result from the experience of communion, sym- 
pathy, and co-operation with a bosom Friend. De- 



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172 SPIRITUAL PEACE. 

light in God's presence — Dependence on his care 
— Harmony with his will — these are the legitimate 
elements of Spiritual Peace. 

Spiritual Peace results from Delight in God's 
presence. God is everywhere. He orders all things 
after the counsel of his own will. He worketh all 
in all. But the Christian convert, whose mind has 
been opened to the sight of spiritual things even as 
the eyes of Elijah's servant were opened to behold 
around him horses and chariots of fire, becomes con- 
tinually mindful of this universal presence of his 
Father ; recognizes his hand in all the circumstances 
and events of life ; and refers up all effects to Him 
as their all-wise and all-gracious Cause. In the 
beauty and pomp of Nature, when it stretches out 
before his wondering gaze in boundless prospect or 
towers up above his head to inaccessible heights ; 
when it spreads over the unfathomable waters or 
looks down from the equally unfathomable sky; 
when it blazes in the sunbeam or glows with mUder 
splendour in the starry host ; in all this dread mag- 
nificence of Earth and Heaven, the believer can re- 
joice in God. To his eye " the heavens declare the 
glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy 
work." To his mind " the earth is the Lord's, 
and the fulness thereof; the world and all they 
that dwell therein." And he exclaims with adora- 
tion ever fresh and new — fresh and new with every 



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SPIRITUAL PEACE. 173 

recurrence of the objects that excite it — *' The day 
is thine, the night also is thine, thou hast prepared 
the light and the sun ; thou hast set all the borders 
of the earth; thou hast made summer and winter,' ' — 
" O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in 
all the earth !" 

And if in all things around him the Christian 
thus delights to recognize God, how much more in 
those which personally concern him I God is not 
only with all things, but he blesses all things. He 
openeth his hand and fiUeth all things living with 
plenteousness. From him cometh down every good 
and perfect gift. This then the Christian recol- 
lects, — and delights in the recollection. All the 
comforts he enjoys convey to him a double gladness 
and with an emphasis of bliss are his, for with the 
gift he enjoys the Giver also. Things which in 
themselves are good, become to him inexpressibly 
more so as representatives of The Good One, and as 
pledges of his love. And thus, to such a state of 
mind, the earthly becomes the memorial of the 
heavenly; the evanescent, of the permament; the 
incomplete, of the perfect ; the limited, of the abso- 
lute ; the manifold rills, of the one unfailing foun- 
tain; the reflected rays, of the originating Sun. 
*'Thou shalt remember the Lord thy Qod^ says 
Moses, " for it is he that giveth thee power to get 
wealth, that he may establish his covenant which 



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174 SFIBITUAL PEACK. 

he sware unto thy fathers." " Thine O Lord," says 
David, ''is the greatness and the power and the 
glory and the victory and the majesty : for all that 
is in the heaven and in the earth is thine ; thine is 
the kingdom, O Lord, and thou are exalted as head 
above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and 
thou reignest over all, and in thine hand is power 
and might, and in thine hand it is to make great 
and to give strength unto all. Now therefore O our 
God, we thank Thee and praise Thy glorious name, 
for all things come of Thee, and of Thirw own have 
we given thee." This is the spirit which enables us 
truly to enjoy our various blessings — ^life, health, 
competence, recreations, friends ; tliankful for the 
greatest without being dependent on them; and 
deriving from the least a pleasure far above their 
own. See in them God's smile; hear in them God's 
voice ; prize them as the tokens (the current tokens 
and no more, lest you assign to them intrinsic value) 
of God's sterling love ! 

For then you will be able to carry on your joy in 
God from the blessings even to the seeming evils^ 
which he brings upon you. For if the character of 
everything depends, not on the gift itself but on 
the Giver and his intentions towards us, then may 
the Christian rejoice not only in the open but in 
the disguised gifts of God. A parent's love may 
be exercised (and often much more exercised) in 



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SFIBITXTAL PEACE. 175 

a reproving frown than in an encouraging smile ; 
in the discipline that pains and subdues than in 
the indulgence that gratifies and puffs up. And 
the gift of medicine the most nauseous may be a 
far more solid evidence of kindness to a diseased 
iriend than that of aU the sweets his morbid 
appetite may crave. " Open rebuke is better than 
secret '' (that is, indolent and timid) *'love: for 
&ithful are the wounds of a friend." And what 
child of God may not rejoice in the wounds which 
he has received from his heavenly Friend ? may not 
r^ard them as the very choicest tokens of his love? 
may not exclaim with David *' It is good for me 
to have been afflicted ;" may not ** glory even in 
tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh pa- 
tience, and patience experience, and experience hope, 
and hope maketh not ashamed because the love 
of God is shed abroad in his heart " (he is made 
conscious in the midst of all that God is gracious 
to him) "by the Holy Ghost which is given to 
him ! " Only let us cultivate the habit of recog^ 
nizing God in all things, (and this is Piety ;) and 
then shall we assuredly joy tn- Crod in all things, 
(and this is Happiness.) Bright things will become 
more bright, and dark things will be made transpa- 
r^it. Even as the bursting of the sun upon a land- 
scape, so is the lifting up the light of God*s coun- 
tenance upon the soul«-every object is invested with 



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176 8PIBITUAL PEACE. 

new form and colour and shines with hues from 
heaven. 

But Spiritual Peace results further from Depend- 
ence on God^s care. We are weak and ignorant and 
helpless ; and therefore to a Friend we look, not for 
communion only, and the sweet intercourse of 
thoughts and . words and gifts, but for advice, 
support, assistance. And herein consists the Chris- 
tian's Peace, that he may look to God for this from 
day to day. That very inequality between himself 
and his heavenly Father which must render full 
communion impossible; that awful distance between 
the creature and the Creator which makes us reve- 
rently hesitate to call the Almighty One our Friend; 
this only increases the confidence with which we 
may depend upon Him as our Guardian. And in 
this exercise of absolute Dependence on his care lies 
our truest peace ; a peace such as all the dreams of 
Independence which the fumes of Sin have ever 
generated in the fency of poor fallen man could 
never, in their fullest realization, produce. For it is 
not dependence that is irksome ; it is the feeling our 
need of dependence while we see not whom we can 
implicitly confide in. It is not want which is pain- 
ful ; it is the not knowing whence to get our wants 
supplied. It is not weakness that is miserable, 
either in doing or in sufiering ; it is the being com- 
pelled when weak to do and to suffer unpitied, un- 



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SPIBITUAL PEACE. 177 

assisted and alone. What so delightful as the exer- 
cise of childlike confidence ? What so blessed as 
the consciousness of knowing one in whom that 
confidence may be exercised tmreservedly, in every 
circumstance and through every moment of our 
Kves ? Yet this is the privilege of the Christian — 
if he would but enter into it. This is that Peace 
which passeth understanding which the sense of 
God's un&iling help can give. Jesus himself en^ 
joyed it when he said to his Father " I know that 
thou hearest me always." And he exhorts his fol- 
lowers to enjoy it when he says " Take no thought 
saying, What shall we eat, or What shall we drink? 
or Wherewithal shall we be clothed? For your 
heavenly Father knoweth thai ye have need of all 
these things.*' Paul felt it when he wrote '* I have 
learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be 
content. I know both how to be abased and I 
know how to abound : everywhere and in all things 
I am instructed, both to be full and to be hungry, 
both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all 
things through Christ which strengtheneth me." 
And when he could throw out those paradoxical 
assurances, — " We are troubled *on every side yet 
not distressed ; we are perplexed but not in despair; 
persecuted but not forsaken; cast down but not 
destroyed.*' And when he could exclaim, ** He 
said unto me My grace is sufficient for thee ; for 

N 



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178 SPIEITUAL PXACS. 

my strength is perfected in weakness. Most gladly 
therefore will I rather ghry in my infirmifieB^ that 
the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore 
/ take pUaaure in infirmities, in reproaches in ne- 
cessities in persecutions in distresses for Christ's 
sake ; fbr when I am weak then am I strong.'* 
And Paul exhorts all Christians to enter into this 
confiding peace, when he writes to the Philippians 
^* Be careiVil for nothing ; but in everything by 
prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your 
requests be made known unto God. And the peace 
of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep 
your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Why, 
it is our need of help from God which affords us the 
occasion of rejoicing in his care ! Had not our con- 
science awoke to the misery and guilt of Sin, how 
could we joy in the Atonement which He has pro- 
vided for sin ? Had we not girded ourselves to the 
tremendous conflict with our inbred corruptions, 
how could we joy in that grace by whose effectual 
help they may be put to death ? Did we not fe^ 
that we are strangers and pilgrims upon earth, how- 
could we glory in the prospect of that better coun- 
try and that city which hath foundations, which 
God has prepared for us ? In this our present 
follen state, our deepest sense of evil is the mother 
of our highest good ; on the tears of our affliction 
is painted the rainbow of our hope ; and tilxroagll 



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SFIBITTTAL FSAGE. 179 

the gloom that gathers over the shows of earth we 
best can see the stars of heaven. Anything that 
bends us down into dependence is a blessing, for 
in Dependence lies our Peace. 

But Spiritual Peace depends, still more, on our 
being m harmony with God's wiU. This is indis^ 
pensable to solid Christian joy. It is only as we 
regard Qod as our Friend that we can delight in the 
recollection of His presence, and exercise dependence 
on His care ; and we can never regard God as en- 
tirely our Friend, so long as our conscience tells us 
that we are not Mends, desire not to be friends, with 
Him. All true and lasting peace, all sober certainty 
of waking bliss, depends on the condition of our 
own minds, the moral harmony that reigns within 
ourselves. It is because this harmony has been dis* 
turbed that man is miserable. And it is only in 
proportion as it is restored that he can be happy. 
And it is because this harmony is restored in the 
converted man, because he has received into his 
soul that Spirit of holiness which brings his will 
into accordance with the will of God, that he can 
rejoice in God as now his Father indeed ; not in 
name and relation only, not by creation sustentation 
and daily benevolence merely, but as the Producer 
of a state of mind accordant with His own ; as hav- 
ing begotten us again of His own Spirit, and created 
us anew in Christ Jesus unto good works, which He 



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180 SPIRITUAL PEACE. 

had before ordained that we should walk in them. 
It is this fellowship of inward will that St. John 
especially refers to as the source of Christian joy. 
For he tells us, " if we say that we have fellowship 
with God and walk in darkness, we lie and do not 
the truth ; but if we walk in the light, as He is in 
the light, we have fellowship one with another." 
And again, '' he that keepeth God's commandments 
dwelleth in him, and He in him. And hereby we 
know that He abideth in us bt/ the spirit which He 
hath given us.** And this therefore Jesus presses on 
his followers as the source of all true inward joy. 
" If ye keep my commandments ye shall abide in 
my love ; even as I have kept my Father's com- 
mandments and abide in his love. And these things 
have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain 
in you, and that your joy might he full** And so 
felt St. Paul ; " Our rejoicing is this, the testimony 
of our conscience that in simplicity and godly sin- 
cerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of 
God, we have had our conversation in the world." 
O it is indeed a peace that passeth imderstanding to 
feel, with all the wondering gratitude of conscious 
integrity, that we have taken God's will for our own, 
and that amidst our frequent infirmities and neglects 
and treacheries we do desire and endeavour to bring 
into captivity every thought to the obedience of 
Christ ; we do approve of God's law as holy just 



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SFIBITUAX. FEAGE. 181 

and good; admiring and loving it; co-operating with 
it; rejoicing in its partial fulfilment in ourselves 
and others now ; and looking forward with a hope- 
ful zeal to that predicted time when it shall be en- 
tirely fulfilled by all ; when God^s will shall be done 
in earth even as it is in heaven ! What so exhila- 
rates the heart as the assurance that we are truly at 
one with a bosom Mend ; that his confidence in us 
is not misplaced, that his affection towards us is re- 
turned, that there exist no private views and pur- 
poses in either mind, that we are together pursuing 
the same end, pleased with the same enjoyments, 
imbued with the same tastes, working out together 
the same results ? And what then is it to be con- 
scious that in some degree this fellowship exists 
with the Most High God ; with the sentiments of 
the Most Holy ; the purposes of the Most Wise ; 
the workings of the Most Mighty ; the honour and 
ultimate tiiumph of the Most Glorious ; the King of 
kings and Lord of lords ! The greatest blessedness 
that can be attained by mortal man is told in Scrip- 
ture by one word ; the greatest reward that can be 
given to the most devoted fidelity is assigned in a 
single syllable; and that is just the word and syllable 
which expresses all the peace we have been speaking 
of — *' Abraham believed in God, and it was counted 
unto him for righteousness and he was called the 
Fbiekd of God,'* " Ye are my Friends^ if ye do 
whatsoever I command you." 



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182 SFIBITTJAL PEACE. 

Would you then, dear Reader, enjoy this Mend- 
ship with God and all the peace which it produces, 
suffer me to remind you how this privilege was 
gained for you, and how it must be realized within 
you. 

How it was gained for you. For it is written, 
*' Being justified by faith we have peace with God, 
through our Lord Jems Christ ; " and i^;ain, ** We 
joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christy by whom 
we have received the atonement^ This privilege 
then is not ours by birthright. It comes not of 
itself to u& It cannot be solicited for us by our 
fellow men. We cannot purchase it ourselves. 
Nor does it grow up in us by spontaneous develop- 
ment. No human heart is naturally friendly with 
the High and Holy One. As well might the out- 
cast beggar aspire to friendship with the crowned 
monarch ; or the condemned felon feel familiar with 
the robed man of justice ; or the conscience-stricken 
murderer delight in the thought of him whose name 
he had put out from the earth. Nature, history, 
philosophy, Scripture, conscience, all declare that 
enmity, variance, suspicion, dread, are and must 
be the natural emotions of a guilty spirit toward 
its offended Maker Governor and Judge. And 
therefore to be friends with God we must become 
reconciled to Him, We must be made at one, before 
we can feel and love as one. The past must be 



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SPIBIIXJAL FSAGE. 183 

settled before the future oan be eojoyed. We must 
be brought into agreement before we can walk to- 
gether. And just in order to this teconciliation, 
this at-one-ment, this making up, this bringing to 
agreement, God sent hid only Son into the world 
to be the Mediator, the Restorer, the At-one-Maker, 
(as Tyndal calls him) the mutual interceding Friend.* 
"God was in Christ," says St. Paul, '* reconciling 
the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses 
unto them ; and hath committed unto us the word 
of Reconciliation. Now then as ambassadors for 
Christ, as though God did beseech you by us we 
pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God'^ 
God has done everything on his part towards a 
reconciliation. Now do you do yours. God has 
made the fbrst offers \ has thrown down the existing 
barriers ; has provided the necessary pledges ; has 
condescended to the most encouri^ing assurances ; 
has not spared his own Son but has given him up 
for us all ; has opened wide his fatherly arms for 

* Whence To atone or make at one, is to reconcile two 
parties : 

** My prayers, my tears, my spirit-stirring grones 
Durst not presume to take their flight to Thee ; 
But that thy Sonne, who thee and man attones 
Inyites all burdened souls to come to Thee." 

AncieyU Devotional Poetry, published by the Religious 
Tract Society, No, LIV, 



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184 SFIBITUAL PEACE. 

every returning sinner ; and cries to all " Return to 
me for I have redeemed thee ! " Now then, do you 
return, '*• Take with you words and turn unto the 
Lord and say imto him, Take away all iniquity and 
receive us graciously." Lay your hand on Ihe 
atonement which has been sacrified for you. Trans- 
fer upon his head your guilt. Sprinkle on your 
conscience his blood. And draw near to God with 
a true heart, in ^11 assurance of faith ; that being 
justified by faith you may have peace with God 
through Jesus Christ your Lord ! 

And thus shall you realize in your mind the pri- 
vilege which has been vouchsafed you through his 
blood. You will receive the atonement which has 
been wrought for you. You will enjoy personally 
what has been done for you vicariously. You will 
be yourself at one with God, and will joy in Him 
who is not now first by some tedious process of labo- 
rious penance to be made your Friend^ but who is 
already so, and has skoum himself U) be so through 
his Son ; and by that showing has subdued and won 
your heart; and with your heart will have yomr 
diligent obedience — will he not ? — ^£rom this time 
forward even to eternity ! 



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185 



CHAPTER VII. 



SFIBIZUAL HOPE. 



The grand promise of the Gospel is that of the 
perfectionment of all things in the kingdom of God. 
And the whole work of the Gospel on the individual 
soul is the bringing it out of the degradation of sin 
into a capacity for this glorious consummation. The 
Son of God has opened the kingdom of heaven to all 
believers. And the Spirit of God disposes trains 
and fits them for its ultimate enjoyment. The Doc- 
trines of Christianity make known this kingdom and 
the way in which it must be sought. The Experi- 
ence of Christianity anticipates this kingdom, and 
brings the mind to live by £uth in some commimion 
with it. And the Precepts of Christianity prepare 
for this kingdom, and reduce the character into con- 
formity with its governing principle, the wiU of God. 

All genuine Christian Experience therefore springs 
from the promise, and depends upon the hope, of 
everlasting life. The whole work of deliverance 
from evil is begun continued and ended in hope. 



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186 SFIBITXrAZ. HOPE. 

" We are saved" says St. Paul " by Hope," That 
is, Hope forms the living principle of the Christian 
mind, begetting and sustaining its spiritual exercises. 
It was the hope of pardon through the blood of 
Christ, which first delivered us from this present 
evil world. It is the hope of victory through the 
Spirit of Christ, which animates us to struggle for 
deliverance from the still remaining power of sin. 
And it is the hope of final triumph at the second 
coming of Christ, which enables us patiently to wait 
for the deliverance of all things from the bondage 
of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children 
of God. Hope then, is the crowning element of the 
Spiritual Life — ^that which breathes over every other 
element a freshness and a fragrance ever new. O 
may the God of hope fill us with aU joy and peace in 
believing, that we may abound in Hope through the 
power of the Holy Ghost ! 

For Hope is the only stable support of the Chris- 
tian in this present state of things. Great and 
manifold, it is true, are the blessings which God 
vouchsafes even now to them that love him. In the 
remembrance of past compassion and in the enjoy- 
ment of present communion, there springs up fre- 
quently in the bosom of the Christian a joy which 
no man intermeddleth with ; according to the pro- 
mise of our Saviour, He that believeth on me, from 
his own heart shall well forth constantly refreshing 



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SPISITXTAL HOPS. 187 

streams of gladness. But then all these blessings, 
in the present state of things, are necessarily incom- 
plete imstable and disturbed. The pure river of 
water of life may proceed out of the throne of God 
in the heart, clear as crystal, but it flows into a 
mind stiU turbid, and therefore it unavoidably be- 
comes defiled. 

Our knowledge of Ood^ for example, how limited 
is this ! He has proclaimed his character to us, but 
we are dull of hearing. He has made himself visible 
in Christ, but our eyes are heavy. When indeed 
we can fix our gaze on his perfections, when we can 
look forth full upon our God, his will his works 
his ways, with quiet contemplation, then ,do we 
understand somewhat of our Lord*s assurance that 
this is life eternal, to know the only true God through 
Jesus Christ whom he has sent; and we are ready to 
exclaim with the disciples when they saw the glory 
of their Master, *' It is good for us to be here ! " 
But alas, how soon does a cloud overshadow us, and 
we awake and find ourselves alone ! That pure in- 
tuition of Deity which the sages of antiquity aspired 
to as the summit of perfection ; which Moses the 
s€usred sage was favoured with when '^ God spake 
to him mouth to mouth, even apparently, and the 
similitude of the Lord did he behold ; " and the 
ftdl reality of which is the exclusive portion of the 
only-begotten Son, to whom the Father *' showeth 



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188 SFIBIIVAI. HOPE. 

all things that himself doeth '' and who therefore 
" knoweth the Father even as the Father knoweth 
the Son : " — this is not for ordinary flesh and blood 
in this world of sense and sensible conceptions ; and 
by Hope alone can we look out for any approxima* 
tion to it. But Hope does tell us that " the pure in 
heart shall see God ;'' that we shall behold his face 
in righteousness ; " that '^ we shall see him as he is ;" 
that '' now indeed we see through a glass darkly, 
but then fece to face ; now we know in part, but 
then shaU we know even cts we are known ! " 

And have we now some communion with God f 
Do we realize at any time his presence, and there- 
by enter somewhat into the primitive bliss of 
Paradise when the Lord God walked in the garden, 
and the Divine Wisdom rejoiced in the habitable 
part of the earth, and her delights were with the 
sons of men ? Then truly do we enter into present 
peace; a peace entirely independent of — ^unmind- 
ful of — the world to come. The present moment is 
bliss, and we are satisfied. But then, how few and 
far between are visitations such as these ; how many 
voices of the world break in upon the holy silence 
of the soul ; how many earthly shapes intrude them- 
selves into the sacred circle and break the charm. 
And where then is our consolation but in the Hope 
of that predicted fiill communion, when '^ the taber- 
nacle of God shall be with men, and He will dwell 



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SFISITUAL HOPE. 189 

with them, and they shall be his people, and God 
himself shall be with them and be their God ? '' 

And what, still further, is our present service of 
God, but mingled effort and disappointment ? True 
it is that in that service the Christian finds his 
greatest happiness; that it is perfect freedom; 
that God's law is his delight ; and that in keeping 
of his commandments there is great reward. The 
exhilaration that accompanies activity, the glow 
of successful effort, the quiet sense of inward har- 
mony ; the delight of testi^ng our gratitude to 
God ; and the thrilling consciousness of his com- 
placency towards us ; all combine to shed an inex- 
pressible blessedness through the heart, and to make 
us cry with David, " Great peace have they which 
love thy law, and nothing shall offend them ! " But 
then, what Christian is there who has not to mourn 
the hourly interruption of this holy service ? Who 
does not confess that in many things we all offend ? 
Who does not bitterly bewail that the things that 
he would he does not, and the things that he would 
not those he does, and there is no health in him ? 
O if our happiness were to depend exclusively on 
what we have actually ticquired of holiness, if only 
according to the precise measure of our righteous- 
ness could be the measure of our peace, no peace 
could there he for fallen man; neither in this world, 
for he has not attained to righteousness ; nor in the 



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190 SFIBITXriLl. HOPX. 

next, for never can he hope on this condition to 
attain it. All hope would be smothered under the 
harden of despondency; all power for holiness 
crushed under the oppressive sense of impotency. 
To the future therefore we must look for the full 
happiness of holiness, that by the vigour which that 
future rouses in us we may achieve the holiness 
which is happiness. By Hope alone can we begin to 
work. The command of the compassionate Saviour 
must itself conyey the life by which we may stretch 
forth the withered atm. By Hope alone can we 
continue to work, amidst temptation without and 
treachery within. And blessed be God ! such Hope 
is ours, through the knowledge of Him that hath 
called us to glory and virtue. By him are given 
unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that 
hy these we may become partakers of the divine 
nature. And from such promises we may derive a 
daily joy, at once consolatory under disappointment 
and productive of success. '* Blessed are they which 
do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for th^ 
shall be fUed,^^ " We, according to his promise, 
look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein 
dwelleth righteousness." "And the work of right- 
eousness shall be peace : and the effect of righteous- 
ness, quietness and assurance for ever." 

H(^e then is our only certain stay amidst the 
mental spiritual and moral imperfection of our 



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SPIBIIXTAL HOPE. 191 

present state. It is the under-current of the renewed 
soul which alone runs steadily, while the surface is 
continually broken into eddies and swept by the 
Ticissitudes of cloud and sunshine. And hence it 
has ever formed the preserving grace of God's peo- 
ple through every age. In the long catalogae of 
fiiithful men set before us in the eleventh chapter of 
the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Faith which is 
extolled as having been their animating and sus- 
taining principle is for the most part prosp$cthe; 
is the assurance of blessings whose attainment was 
yet to come ; is ** the substance of things hoped 
f6r ;" in short, is Hope : only not that hope which 
rests on nothing m^nre substantial than the airy 
visions of a sanguine imagination, but that which is 
based and settled on the soHd word of God who 
cannot lie. It was by this Faith which is Hope, 
that Abraham *^ sojourned in the land of promise 
as in a strange country ; for he hoked for a city 
which hath foundations whose builder and maker is 
God.'* It was by this Faith which is Hope, that the 
patriarchs " not having received the promises, mw 
them afar off and embraced them, and confessed 
that they were strangers and pilgrims upon earth." 
It was by this Faith which is Hope, that Abraham 
when he was tried c^red up Isaac, accomitiQg 
that Gk)d was able to raise him up even from the 
dead : " or, as St. Paul says in another epistle. 



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192 SPISITTTAL HOPE. 

^' against Hope belieTing in Hope^ and being fully 
persuaded that what God had promised he was able 
also to perform." And all those other men of God 
who obtained a good report through faith, did so 
" not having received the promisey^ because God had 
" provided some better thing for us, that they with- 
out us should not be made perfect." By Hope 
therefore were they saved, and by Hope must we, 
" Christ's house we are, if we hold fast the confidence 
and the rejoicing of the Hope firm unto the end." 
'' If we hope for that we see not, then do we with 
patience wait for it." " And we desire that every 
one of you do show the same diligence unto ^ 
full assurance of Hope unto the end ; that ye be 
not slothful but followers of them who through 
faith and patience iriheniihe promises." ''By two 
immutable things in which it was impossible for 
God to lie, we may have strong consolation who 
have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the Hope 
set before us in the Gospel ; which Hope we have 
as an anchor of the soul sure and steadfast, and 
which entereth into that within the veil, whither the 
Fore-runner Jesus is for us entered." '* Wherefore, 
seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud 
of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the 
sin" (that i8,of want of hope) *' which doth so easily 
beset us, and let us run with patience the race set 
before us, looking unto Jesus the Author and finisher 



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SFIBITTTAi:« HOPS. 198 

of our £uth ; who, for the joy that taas set be/ore him, 
endured tl^e cross, despising the shame, and is set 
down at the right hand of the throne of Ood. For 
consider him who endured such contradiction of 
sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint 
in your minds ! " 

And this Hope, remember, is no vain-glorious 
self-confidence ; f6r the essence of it is dependence 
on the promises and the help of another than our- 
selves. It is no idle and unholy presumption ; for 
it is limited and eonditioned by the principles that 
we are holding &st, the dispositions we are cherish- 
ing, the path oi conscientious obedience in which 
we are walking. It is a meek and quiet confidence 
in the faithfulness of God to those who love him, 
and an unpretending reliance on those assurances 
of Christ, ^^ My sheep hear my voice, and I know 
them, and they follow me, and I give unto them 
eternal li£3, and they shall never perish neither 
shaU any pluck them (mt of my hand; yea, my 
Father which gave them unto me is greater than 
aU, and no man is able to pluck them out of 
my Father's hand." Where the very form of the 
encouragement secures it from misapplication, and 
the very words that animate must at the same 
time sanctify. The Christian's Hope is the hope of 
" Christ's sheep ; " — ^not of the self-wiUed the proud 
and the presumptuous. It is the hope of those who 



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194 SPIBIIUAL HOP£. 

"hear his voice;" — ^not who listen to the syren 
song of Sin. It is the hope of those who " follow 
him ; " — ^not who follow the devices and desires of 
their own hearts. It is the hope^ that " when he 
shall appear we shaU be like him^ for we shaU see 
him as he is ;" and therefore ** every one that hath 
this Hope in lnvaipurifieth himself^ et^en as he is pure.** 

But to enjoy this Hope in its Ml assm'ance, and 
to derive from it all the life and power which it can 
convey, we must recollect whence it springs, and 
how it is to be preserved from day to day. 

It springs from dependence on the work that Christ 
has torouffhtfor us on the cross. For it is only as we 
believe in Qod, that we can hope in God ; only as 
we trust to his assurances of forgiveness for the 
past, that we can embrace his promises of safety 
for ^ the future. ^^ Being Justified hy his gra^^ we 
are made heirs through Hope of eternal life." We 
must enter into relation with God as dear children 
before we can look forward with any feeling that 
deserves the name of Hope, to the inheritance of 
children. The careless, worldly-minded, uncon- 
verted man is without Hope, because he is virtually 
without God ; and a stranger from the covenants of 
promise, because in spirit an alien from the com- 
monwealth of Israel. We have only to look round 
upon the general feeling of mankind in the thought 
of death and of another world ; the shrinking dread 



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SFIRTTXTAL HOPE. 195 

which betrays the utter emptiness of their notions 
of eternity ; the clinging to this life, which shows 
that here only do they feel they have a solid footing 
and can grasp reality and substance ; we have only 
to remark the almost universal substitution of the 
cold term ** Resignation/' — a term of which Scrip- 
ture actually knows nothing, — ^for the animated 
Christian term, and the joy^l Christian idea, of 
Hope, "/iWyHope," "i^M^rfHope,** "Hope that 
maketh not ashamed; '' in order to convince our- 
selves that only from the spiritual Experience of the 
Gospel can spring the spiritual Hope of the Qospel. 
If we would have " everlasting consolation and good 
hope^ it is " through grace " that we must have it 
— ^through the animating confidence that " our Lord 
Jesus Christ himself and God even our Father 
hath loved us and chosen us unto salvation, through 
sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.'' 
And therefore St. Paul represents the hope of future 
glory as springing from the faith in past forgiveness, 
and sustained through every trial by the conscious- 
ness of present Mendship. " Being justified by 
faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus 
Christ," — ^there is forgiveness for the past! "by 
whom also we have access by faith into this grace 
wherein we stand," — ^there is Mendship in the 
present ! " and rejoice in hope of the glory of God,** 
— there is assurance as to the future ! Which hope. 



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196 SFISITUAIi HOPE. 

the Apostle dedaras yet fiirther, is not shaken by 
tribulation, does not make us hold down our heads 
with shame and disappointment, '' because the love 
of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy 
Ghost which is given unto us,'' — ^because the de« 
clarations of God's pardoning mercy pervade the 
honest-hearted Christian, and produce that buoyant 
consciousness of safety which eiEckims in each suc- 
cessive trial, ** If God be £or us who can be against 
us ? He tiiat spared not his own Son but delivered 
him up for us all, how shall he not with l^i'm also 
freely give us all things ? " " Who shall separate 
us from the love of Christ ? Shall tribulation, or 
distress, or perseeutiDn, or fiunine, or nakedness, or 
peril, or sword i Nay, in all these things we are 
more than eonquerora through him that loved us. 
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor 
angds nor principalities nor powers, nor things pre- 
sent nor things to come, nor height nor depth nor 
any other creature, diall be able to separate us from 
the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord ! " 
But remember equally, how this Hope must be 
preserved Jrom day to day. It must be preserved 
by preservation of the heart from sin, and of the 
conscience from defilement. Its Jife depends upon 
the death of its antagonist principle. And this im- 
tagcmist principle is inv^wated by every successive 
&11 from meral excellence ; nay flourishes of itself. 



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SPIRITTJAI. HOPE. 197 

when there is merely negligence coid want of growth 
in moral exedlenoe. The Hope we speak of is the 
hope of holiness, and liierefore it cannot be other- 
wise than a holy Hope, and with Holiness only can 
it dwell. ^* The hope of the righteous shall be glad- 
ness, but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.*' 
'* Can the msh grow up without mire ? Can the 
flag grow without water ? Whilst it is yet in its 
greenness and not cut down, it withereth before any 
other herb. So are the paths of all that forget Gbd, 
and the hypocrite's hope shall perish ; whose hope 
shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's 
web.'* O forget not that it is the Holy Ghost whose 
power makes the Christian's hope abound, and that 
the Holy Ghost can never dwell in an unholy heart. 
It is '' through the Spirit that we wait for the hope 
of righteousness by fjEuth," and this Spirit lusteth 
against the flesh and produceth all the fruits of 
righteousness. It is '* the Holy Spirit of God 
whereby we are sealed unto the day of redemption," 
and this Spirit is soon grieyed by " bitterness and 
wrath and clamour and evil speaking ;" by every 
evU thought and temper and desire. O then for 
careful jealous cherishing of his gentle inspirations ! 
for daily nourishment of all those dispositions, in 
the midst of which as in the temple of his holiness 
he loves to dwell ! The assurance of our hope must 
vary as the experience of our sanctification. And it 



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198 SFIBITTJAL HOPE. 

is only as we can say with the conscious integrity of 
St. Paul **I have fought a good fight, I have finished 
my course, I have kept the faith," that we can also 
say with they^^ assurance of St. Paul " Henceforth 
there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness 
which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me 
at that day ! " 



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PART III. 



THE NOURISHMENT 

OP 

THE SPIRITUAL LIFE. 



The counsels of Religion are not to be applied to the dis- 
tempers of the soul as men used to take hellebore, but 
they must dwell together with the spirit of a man, and be 
twisted about his understanding for ever ; they must be 
used like nourishment — that is, by a daily care and medi- 
tation—not like a single medicine and in the actual 
pressure of a present necessity. 

Bishop J. Taylor. 

What then remains ? — ^To seek 
Those helps, for his occasions ever near. 
Who lacks not will to use them ; vows, renewed 
On the first motion of a holy thought ; 
Vigils of contemplation ; praise ; and prayer, 
A stream, which, firom the fountain of the heart, 
Issuing, however feebly, nowhere flows 
Without access of imexpected strength. 

Wordsworth. 



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Qu'est-ce done qu'un homme qui, reconnoissant I'Etre 
Supreme, ne le prie pas } C'est un infortim6 qui n'a point 
de Dieu ; qui vit tout seul dans runivers ; qui ne tient a 
aucun Stre hors de lui ; qtii, retombant sur son propre 
coeur, n'y trouve que lui-m§me, c'est k dire, ses peines 
ses d%o^ts, ses inquietudes, ses terreurs, avec quoi il puisse 
s'entretenir. C'est un infortun^ qui vit dans Tunivers 
comme un homme que Thasard atoit jet4 tout seul dans 
une ile recul^e et inaccessible, od il seroit sans maitre, 
sans souverain, sans soin, sans discipline, sans attendre 
de ressource, sans se pt^mettre une meUleure desiin^, 
sans porter ses tgbux et ses souhaitii au-del& du raste 
ablme qui TenTiornnerait, et sans chercher d' autre adou- 
cissement k Tinfortune de sa condition qu'une moUe 
indolence. 

Massillon. 



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PART III. 

THE NOURISHMENT OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE. 
CHAPTER I. 

TH£ NEOflSSITY OF DBYOTIOKAL IfilLEBCISES. 

We have seen that the Essence of the Spiritual 
life of Christianit J lies in the filial disposition of the 
heart towards God, and that although the Source 
of this life is necessarily hidden in the inscrutable 
depths of the soul, its Deirelopmekit will take place 
according to the usual laws and workings of the 
human mind* This development may be neglected, 
may be hindered, may be limited; or it may be 
sought, assisted, fostered into 1^1 expansion. It 
may be ^uick or slow. It may be vigorous or feeble. 
But without some experience of it we have &iled to 
gain that personal benefit from the truths of Christ- 
ianity which they are intended to convey, and to 
make its blessings and its hopes our oum. 



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202 THE NECESSITY OF 

But this benefit, even when gained, must be 
diligently cherished if we would retain possession of 
it, still more if we would reach the full enjoyment 
of its sweetness and power. The stream of holy 
thought must be continually fed from its original 
fountains and by tributary rills, or it will dry up 
and perish. The presence and influence of the Spirit 
of God are vouchsafed after a moral manner, — that 
is, not arbitrarily, but according to the laws of mind 
and heart and will; and therefore they must be 
maintained and increased by moral means, — that 
is, by all those exercises of the mind and heart 
and will, which are comprehended under the term 
Devotion, in its widest sense. Whatever tends to 
deepen and make vivid the Sense of God; to 
strengthen and extend holy thoughts affections and 
determinations; forms the proper and the indis- 
pensable nourishment of the Spiritual Life. O what 
a wide and fruitful field of meditation is here opened 
to us ! God grant that we may expatiate therein with 
solemn step ! God enable us to treat of Prayer in the 
spirit of prayer ! to meditate devoutly on devotion ! 

Our first endeavour will be to show the Necessify 
of Devotional exercises ; as the natural E&sion of 
the spirit of adoption, and as the indispensable 
Means of its nourishment and growth. 

As the natural Effusion of the spirit of Adop- 



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DETOTIONAL EXBBCISES. 203 

tion, the Christian cannot do without Prayer. For 
this spirit is an effluence from the Spirit of God. 
It comes down from him ; and to him therefore it 
cannot but again ascend. Bather, — It is never sepa- 
rated from Him; and in Him therefore it must 
dwell. The breath of natural life, though issuing 
from the hidden fountain of Being and diffiised 
throughout the world, is not and cannot be diyorced 
therefrom ; and therefore the Apostle says of every 
creature, that *' in Qod we live and move and have 
jur being.'' Life is no possession of our own, 
made over to us, but it depends from hour to hour 
on the unceasing inspiration of the breath of Qod. 
"In his hand is the soul of every living thing 
and the breath of all mankind." ^'Thou sendest 
forth thy spirit and they are created ; thou takest 
away their breath and they die." And just so is 
it with the Spiritual even as with the natural life. 
Not only from God does it proceed, but in God it must 
live. It is a union of the soul to God, and there- 
with a communion with God. Intercourse is es- 
sential to its nature. The individual breatli com- 
mingles with the universal. And therefore does St. 
John declare *' we have fellowship with the Father 
and with his Son Jesus Christ." And he who has 
the Spirit of God is said to dwell in God, and God 
in him. There is affinity with God begotten in the 
soul; and where there is affinity there must be 



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204 THE KSC£8SITT OF 

attraction and blending into one. *< Prayer/' says 
Bishop Taylor, '* what is it but an ascent of the 
mind towards God ? " 

Besides, this sf»rit of adoption is the spirit of 
a Son, a ohild, a loving child towards his affec- 
tionate parent ; and we know what are the ei^- 
sions of such a child towards him he loves. How 
his heart goes forth towards him. How he delights 
to seize, nay make, occasions of coming into his pre* 
sence, of watching his eye, of catching his smile, 
of communicating to him his thoughts, and of listen- 
ing to his words. How he turns to him in every need, 
depending upon his encouragement and help. How 
he refers to him his plans and wishes, that he may 
obtain his approbation of them or get them modified 
by his suggestions. And all these exercises of the 
filial, mind are just the chief component parts of 
Prayer. For Prayer is the effiision of Delight in 
God's presence, Dependence on God's help, and 
Deference to God's will. 

And therefore do we see this spirit breathing 
forth so naturally ^m our blessed Lord, who was 
emphatically The Son of God and was therefore 
filled with the spirit of a Son. In how many in- 
stances do we find him, not formally addressing 
himself to Prayer, but his thoughts taking in their 
very birth the Jorm of Prayer, rising up as such 
within the mind by their natural tendency towards 



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DEYOTIOVAL EXERCISES. 205 

God. SuppUi^itioii, thanksgiviiig^ general conuaend- 
ation of himself into hi« Father's hand, escape 
from him, as it were, by their native buoyancy 
and expansiveness. Supplication, for example, when 
about to heal the deaf and dumb man ; '' He took 
him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers 
in his ears and touched his tongue, and looking up 
to heaven he eighed^ and saith unto him Ephphatba, 
that is, ' Be opened.' " Thanksgiving, again, when 
he had come to the grave of Lazarus to raise his 
friend ; He sees by faith the work already accom- 
plished; his adoration cannot wait; it breathes 
itself out before the isuot ; '' Jesus lifted up his 
eyes and said. Father, I thank thee that thou hast 
heard me." And this natural Thanksgiving he 
exhibits in the slightest and the most habitual oc- 
curences of life, so that, as St. Luke informs us, Hie 
disciples going to Emmaus recognized their Master, 
after his resurrection, by his devoutness. *' It came 
to pass as he sat at meat with them he took bread 
and blessed it " (that is, blessed God for it), *' and 
brake and gave to them, and their eyes were opened 
and they knew himJ^ It was customary indeed for 
the master of a family to begin each meal with an 
ascr^tion of praise to God as the Provider of it ; 
but that this stranger should thus act for them as 
the head of their little party, and breathe forth the 
very thanksgiving which they had been accustomed 



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206 THE NKCE88ITY OF 

to from their Lord — it must be He himself/ Even 
as gait and manner and yarions little habits betray 
a man, so was Jesus recognized by his Devoutness. 
And then observe his general Dependence upon 
God, and commendation of himself into his hands. 
When the soldiers came with swords and staves to 
take him, the Disciples think immediately of depend- 
ence on an arm of flesh, and seize the sword to 
defend their master. But Jesus thinks only of Ood, 
'' Put up thy sword into its place. Hiinkest thou 
that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall 
presently give me more than twelve legions of an- 
gels } " And when the awful moment of dissolution 
came and he must dismiss his spirit, that spirit he 
breathed forth in prayer to God — *' Father into thy 
hands I commend my spirit ! " 

Nor were the followers of Jesus destitute ot 
these effusions of Devoutness. You recollect how 
after the Apostles had reported to their friends all 
that the chief priests and elders had said to them, 
^^ when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to 
God with one accord and said. Lord, thou art God, 
which hast made heaven and earth and the sea 
and all that in them is ! '' And how in the prison 
at Philippi, '* at midnight Paul and Silas prayed 
and sang praises unto God^ And how the con- 
verts on the day of Pentecost, '' continued daily 
with one accord in the temple, eating their meat 



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DEVOTIONAL EXEBGISES. 207 

with gladness and singleness of heart and praising 
Ood,^* Here are instances of those spontaneous 
aspirations which are the natural breathings of the 
renewed mind. We speak not now of acts of prayer, 
times of prayer, places of prayer, but of the spirit 
of prayer as the necessary effusion of the spirit of 
adoption; of that bent and bias of the Spiritual 
nature which displays itself at every opportunity 
affi>rded it, and in which lies the evidence of our 
possession of that nature. For true piety is a spon- 
taneous principle. Even amidst all our remaining 
evUy dulness hinderances and imperfection, trtie piety 
is a spontaneous principle^ the weUing forth of an in- 
terior life. The spring may be but imperfectly 
opened up ; the stream may flow but languidly ; its 
course may be obstructed by innimierable obstacles ; 
and it may often seem to lose itself amidst the 
sands of earth ; but still a spring there must be, and 
that spring of living water, ** Beligion," says the 
pious Scougal,* ''is an inward free self-moving 
principle ; and the love which a pious man bears to 
Gk)d and goodness is not so much by virtue of a 
command enjoining him so to do as by a new nature 
instructing and prompting him to it ; nor doth he 
pay his devotions as an unavoidable tribute, only to 

•In his "life of God in the Soul of Man;'* one of the 
most Taluable tracts on the list of the Christian Know- 
ledfce Society. 



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208 THE NECESSITY OF 

appease the divine justice or quiet bis clamorous 
conscience; but tboe^ religious exercises are the 
proper emanatuma of the divine Ufe^ tbe natural em- 
ployments of the new-born soul." 

But the Necessity of devotional exercises wiU b^ 
still more apparent if we oousider them further, a# 
the indispensable Means by which the spirit of ad(^- 
tion must be nourished and invigorated. For this 
spirit, being ^ot of native growth within us,-*^nay 
being every moment opposed and checked by that 
which is of native growth (Gal. v. 17, Article IX.), 
— ^-cannot be sustained, ^od still less developed into 
full expansion, but by continuous inspirations from 
its heavenly Source. " Grant to us," we pray in 
our collect for the fifth Sunday after Easter, ** that 
by thy holy inspiration we may think those things 
that be good."' And again in our Communion ser- 
vice, *' Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the 
inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly 
love thee and worthily m^^ify thy holy name." 
But these inspirations are communicated, not by 
sudden illapse or sensible impulse, but by the pro- 
duction of spiritual thoughts. By the idms of God 
and his relation to us in Christ was this spirit first 
awakened in us, and by the revival of these ideas 
it must be fed. But to the revival of any idea, — 
still more to the making it &miliar to us, so that 
connecting itself with various trains of thought, and. 



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DEVOTIONAL EXBBGISES. 209 

rising up with them into the consciousness, it shall 
modify their character by its presence, — there is re- 
quired a frequent revival of the associations which 
tend to bring it before us. It is the actual presence 
of sensible objects, constantly repeated, that makes 
them so familiar to us. It is the frequent presence 
of a friend which obtains for his idea such a place 
in our hearts, and an influence on our thoughts. 
And with objects not sensible, with friends at a 
distance, the only substitute for this presisnce is 
the re-production of the associations, in the midst 
of which their ideas dwell. And hence then the 
need of prayer to make present to us Qod ; of that 
meditative recollection of his character which with- 
draws the attention from all other objects, either of 
sense or of imagination, and fixes it upon the portrait 
of our Father as he is exhibited in Christ, till we 
seem to know him for our own, to see him smile upon 
us, to expect him to speak to us in words of fatherly 
affection ! Christian ! if you would have something 
more than dim and shadowy conceptions of God ; if 
you would do more than hear of him by the hearing 
of the ear ; if your eyes would see him ; you must 
be diligent in all the means of grace. 

But the spirit of adoption is something more than 
vivid conceptions of God. It is a new disposition to- 
wards him. And to the formation of a disposition 
of mind there is required the frequent revival of the 



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210 THE NECESSITY OF 

feeHngs of which it is composed, and their hahitnal 
exercise. It is the constant exercise from earliest 
childhood of the filial feelings, which renders them am) 
strong so prompt so seemingly instinctiye ; and the 
most affectionate child will lose something of the 
freshness and the force of those feelings if he be 
long separated from the presence or from the me- 
morials of his parent. And just similarly ia it with 
the filial feelings of the CSiristian towards his 
heavenly Father. It was long perhaps before tl^ 
were awakened; their repetition is but fitfrd and 
irregnlar; their settling into habit and disposi- 
tion is checked by many things without us and more 
within ; and nothing therefore but exercise, steady 
and deliberate exercise, can preserve them, mudbi 
less strengthen and consolidate them. And this ex- 
ercise is to be sought in Devoti<ML ; in specific acts, 
at stated times, and with sustained attention. For 
it is only by repeated acts that any general habits 
(of mind as well as of body) can be either formed or 
maintained. If our affections towards God are weak 
and duU, it is by prayer that we must quicken and 
invigorate them; prayer which brings before our 
mind memorials of God's love to us, — all that is 
winning, and touchix^ and soul-subduing in his cha- 
racter and in his dealings with us, — and, as by a 
live coal from the altar, kindles our affections into 
fiame. Its influence is like the turning up some 



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DEVOTIONAL EXEBCISES. 211 

forgotten token of a departed friend. It atirs the 
heart as the single look of Jesus did the heart of 
Peter, and unlocks the smothered spring of life- 
restoring tears. 

Again. The life of the spirit is a life of faith ; 
opposed to the life of sense, and staruggling with it. 
It is oppressed and enfeebled every moment by the 
rush of milfions of unfriendly though unavoidable 
thoughts of earth. Twelve, fourteen, sixteen hours 
of each suocessiye day it suffers violence from the 
mighty current of external things invading every 
sense, and hurrying with it every thought and feel- 
ing. How shall it rear its head against this, bow 
be saved from being swept into oblivion, but by de- 
liberate habitual persevering exercises of Devotion ? 
An that is low and evil in our nature is nourished 
incessantly, even against our will ; we are immersed 
in its very atmosphere, and every breatii we ch*aw 
is tainted with it. But all that is high and holy 
must be nourished hy our wtll, and by laborious 
flight into a better atmosphere, if ever we would 
have it breathe within us freely and with vigour. 
From the high places of devotion we must inhale 
new elasticity. On the wings of prayer we must fly 
up into the presence of the Holy One and bathe our 
feinting spirit in that pure Light of heaven, which 
is at the same time Life. 

Devotion therefore is indispensable to the nou- 



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212 THE NECESSITY OF 

rishment of the Spiritual Life. Not as an indulgence 
merely, when the mind ascends with freedom towards 
its God ; but as a business and a means of gprace. 
We must not only yield to prayerfiilness but we must 
give ourselves to prayer, and set every sail to catch 
the passing breath of spirituality ; not only vent the 
spontaneous feelings of our hearts but awaken cherish 
and detain those feelings; not only therefore 
follow out a casual impulse, but by rules of regular 
devotion, by setting apart of times and places, and 
by the use of every rational help, pursue the toork 
of Spiritual Nourishment. The sacred flame of 
piety is low and flickering ; we must inclose and 
shelter it from the blasts of earth. It too often 
sinks and slumbers; we must sedulously stir the 
dying embers. It is at best but £Eiint and feeble ; 
we must fan it into vigour. ^'I put thee in remem- 
brance," says St. Paul to Timothy, " that thou stir 
up the gift of God which is in thee." " For like as 
fire has need of fuel," adds Theophylact, " so does 
the grace of the Holy Spirit require our personal 
earnestness and care and watchfulness, if we would 
have its genial warmth abiding in us." 

We see this in the case even of our blessed Lord. 
Thoi^h filled with the Spirit he nevertheless made 
practice of devotion for the nourishment of that 
Spirit. He did not merely breathe it forth spon- 
taneously as occasion ofiered, but he used of pur- 



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DEYOTIONAI. EXESCISES. 213 

pose means for cherishing it ; breaking off from his 
employments and his friends, yea and his charitable 
offices, that he might refresh his weary mind by 
intercourse with God. "When he had sent the 
multitudes away, he went up into a mountain to 
pray,"— with the purpose and design of spending 
time in prayer to God. And St. Mark informs us 
that '4n the morning, rising up a great while before 
day," — ^breaking off his sleep with the deliberate 
intent of engaging in devotion, — " he went out and 
departed into a solitary place and there prayed." 
Nay, St. Luke records that Jesus **• went up into a 
mountain to pray and continued aU night in prayer 
to God,'' Here are instances of our Divine Master 
setting himself to prayer as a general means of nou- 
rishing Spiritual Life. 

But we see him, frirther, on particular occasions 
seeking special strength by prayer. It was when 
he was about to consecrate his twelve disciples to 
the sacred office of Apostle, that he gave the whole 
previous night to prayer. When he was about to 
reveal to ihem his divine glory by his Transfiguration, 
'^ he took Peter and James and John, and went up 
into a mountain to prag.'* And when he saw the 
hour of his £^ony at hand, he sought for power for 
the dreadful struggle, and drank in the Spirit by 
which he might sustain it, in earnest pleading prayer, 
'* Then cometh Jesus with his disciples to a place 



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214 T^E NECESSITY OF 

called Gethsemane, and saith unto them. Sit ye 
here while I go and pray yonder ; and being in an 
agony he prayed the more earnestly^ and his sweat 
was as it were great drops of blood falling down to 
the ground." 

And if then Prayer was thus necessary for the 
Holy Jesus, how much more is it necessary for his 
people, who are hourly beset by Sin ! No Christian 
ever Hved without devotion. No man can be a 
Christian without making a determined business 
of devotion. Thus it was that the Apostles and the 
Saints of old maintained their Spiritual life. '' They 
all continued with one accord in prayer and suppli^ 
cation." ^' Peter and John went up to the temple 
at the hour of prayer." " We will give ourselves 
continually to the wcnrd of God and prayer." '^ On 
the Sabbath day we went out of the city by a river 
side where prayer was wont to be made." And hence 
we have so many exhortations in the Bible to Prayer. 
'* Commime with your own heart, upon your bed, 
and be still." '^ Men ought always to pray, and not 
to faint." " Pray without ceasing ; in everything 
give thanks ; quench not the Spirit." " Praying 
always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, 
and watching thereunto with all perseverance." 
'' Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with 
thanksgiving." And hence too we observe in all the 
lives of holy men in every age, that a habit of devo- 



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DEYOSIOiTAX EXEBCISES. 215 

Hon, and the eareful regularity without which mwh 
a hahit cannot exist, are prominent charaetemtics. 
And is there any Christian who has followed these 
examples and obeyed those exhortations, who eannot 
testify from his own experience how essential a part 
of his existence is devotion, and how blessed are its 
influences on the Spiritual life ? Have you not often 
gone to seek the face of God, oppressed in spirit and 
cold in heart, and when, mthout the purpose qfckvo- 
Hon and the determined executioa of that purpose 
you would not have experienced one spontaneous 
aspiration of the mind towards Him, but would have 
sunk from bad to worse, from lukewarmness to sin, 
— have you not in such a frame been obliged to press 
upon yourself as a sacred duty what is in fact your 
highest pxivilege**and yet» nevertheless, through 
God's most gracious blessing on the effort, have 
you not returned from his invigoratingpresence buoy- 
ant with recovered energy, your very frame breathing 
a diviner life, and your countenance, like the counte- 
nance of Moses when he came down from the mount, 
all radiant with the glory of your God ? '^Blessed is 
the man whom thou choosest, O God, and causest to 
approach unto thee ! He shall be aaiiffied with the 
goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple ! " 



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216 



CHAPTER II. 

1>EV0XJT SXEBCISBS OF MIND. 

When we endeavoured to trace the Development 
of the Spiritual Life, we found that it approximates 
to its fullest form in proportion as we realize the 
idea of God in all the exercises of our moral nature 
—of mind and heart and will; in proportion as 
His presence is recognised by us, His help b con- 
fided in, and His will is made to r^ulate our own. 
Devotion therefore, as the nourishment of this Life, 
must consist in the habitual use of all those means 
by which this exercise of our highest faculties may 
be made most ready and Bgoniliar, ultimately most 
natural, to the soul. 

And of these means of nourishing the Spiritual 
Life, the first and most important, as preparatory to 
all the rest, is the training of the Mind to constant 
recognition and enfogment of the presence of God. 
Where by si>eaking of the enjoymerU of that presence, 
it will be perceived that I mean something more by 
exercises of the Mind than merely intellectual cogita- 
tions, and speculative inquiry into divine things, 
I mean all those states of the soul which have not 



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DEVOUT BXEBCISES OF MIND. 21 7 

in them any of the fluctuations of hope and fear, 
nor of the gradations of desire and determination, but 
which, nevertheless, are full of interest, though a 
qidet one ; of feeling, though a contemplative one. 
Those conditions of the mind which are termed by 
some the Sentiments; by others the Tastes; by 
others the iBsthetic perceptions ; by others the im- 
mediate emotions ; * and whose distinctive mark is 
that they are occupied with the present (the either 
visibly or ideally Ptesent) without reference to Past, 
or Future ; and with this Present, as an object not 
of desire and pursuit, but simply of admiration and 
complacency and love. There is a movement in 
the mind, but it is not an onward movement. It is 
dilation without progression. It is as the expand- 

* As by Dr. Bro-wn, who adds, " They differ from the 
intellectual states of mind, by that peculiar yiyidness of 
feeling which every one understands but which it is impos- 
sible to express by any verbal definition, as truly impossible 
as to define sweetness or bitterness by any other way than 
by a statement of the circumstances in which they arise. 
There is no reason to fear, however, from this impossibility 
of verbal definition, that any one who has tasted what is 
sweet or bitter, or enjoyed the pleasures of melody and 
fragrance, vnll be at all in danger of confoimding these 
terms ; and as little reason is there to fear that our emotions 
will be confounded with our intellectual states of mind, by 
those who have simply remembered and compared, and 
have also loved or hated." 



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218 USTOUT BXEBGISES OF MINI>. 

ing wavelets of the peaceM lake which is complete 
within itself, not as the rushing current of the river 
that hastens towards the distant ocean. 

And hence the perplexity, and periiaps the scorn, 
which this subject of devotional exerdses must pro- 
duce in every mind in which those higher sentiments 
and totally unselfish feelings have been checked, or 
have been wounded and destroyed, by intercourse 
with an unfeeling world. The noblest states of the 
Pious mind are those, not of intellect nor of passion 
but of quiet love ; and what wonder therefore if the 
dry abstract reasoner who lives in the region oi 
mere words, or the selfish worldling who knows of 
no emotions but those of hope and fear, advantage 
and disadvantage, should look upon the feelings of 
devotion as the e&sions only of diseased imagin- 
ation, and the fantasies of enthusiasm? By the 
spiritual sense alone can the things of the spirit be 
appreciated. The sweetest harmony does but jar 
upon the ear of him who has no music in his soul. 
The loveliest works of nature or of art have no 
attraction but to the eye of Taste. The grandest 
bursts of poetry or eloquence possess no charm but 
for the mind of genius. The purest affections of 
friendship and love are unknown, nay inconceivable, 
to the sensual and sordid heart. But just in the 
sphere of all these higher states of mind does Piety 
lie, and Devotion exercise itself. For Piety is not 



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DEVOUT £X£RCZQ£S OF MIND. 219 

indeed mere Taste, nor Admiration, nor Affection, — 
but it is the experience of these feelings in relation 
to God; it is the co-presence of His idea amidst 
them all, as the Being in whom alone they find their 
full enjoyment. And only therefore by reference 
to these feelings in their lower exercise, can we 
illustrate what we mean by Piety, and by Devotion 
which is the breath of Piety, towards God. *' Would 
you know what the affections are," it has been 
beautifully said, '* ask your heart when, sad or glad, 
it is touched by thoughts of father mother brother 
sister Mend, and in its sadness or gladness still 
feels a serenity as if belonging to the untroubled 
regions of the skies. Fancy comes and goes like the 
rainbow, passion like the storm, transiently beauti- 
fying or subliming the clouds of life. But affection 
is a permanent light, without distinction of night 
and day, which once risen never sets, and always, in 
mild meridian, 

« Seeming immortal in its depth of rest." 

And to this "depth of rest" the Christian mind 
attains by all those exercises of devotion which bring 
God present to the consciousness and inweave his 
Idea with all we see, and all we read of, and all we 
share in with our fellow-men ; by Meditation on 
God's works and ways — ^by Study of his Truth — 
by Communion with his people. 



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220 



SECTION I. 

DEVOTIONAL MEDITATION. 

Meditation, not merely as a stated exercise but 
as a devout hahit of connecting the Idea of God with 
all we see around us, is a most important means of 
nourishing the Spiritual life. Isaac practised it when 
he '' went out to meditate in the field at even-tide." 
David, when he '' considered the heavens, the work 
of God*s fingers, the moon and the stars which he 
had ordained ;" and again when he exclaimed, '' I 
remember the days of old, I meditate on all thy 
works ; I muse on the works of thy hands." John 
when he was "in the Spirit on the Lord's day." 
And Paul, when in holy musing he was carried out 
of himself and '* caught up to the third heaven." 

Which meditative habit will find its food and 
stimulant in Contemplation of the works and ways of 
God. For in those works and ways he manifests 
himself, and by them is he understood. Observation 
and reflection must fiimish the occa«u>n« of Devotion, 
Thought must precede feeling, though feeling is 
much more than thought. For genuine mental feel- 
ing is nothing but a certain state of the thoughts. 



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DETOTIONAL MEDITATION. - 221 

And hence its pennanence when the fire of animal 
life is gone. Hereby it becomes part of the soul 
itself, and partaker of its immortality. States of 
sensation become more feeble at every repetition, 
because they result from the excitement of animal 
powers which are perishable. But states of mental 
feeling — taste', affection, sentiment — are strength- 
ened and matured by exercise, because they result 
from thoughts, which are enduring. Not the most 
novel but the most familiar scenery, not the most 
recent but the best known melodies, not the newest 
but the oldest Mends, not the most startHng but the 
most intimate and inborn truths, are those which 
most delight the mind. 

And therefore by frequent contemplation of those 
works and ways of God, whigh reflect upon us from 
every side his great Idea, must we make the feelmg 
of his presence intimate and familiar. In all places 
of his dominion He is present. Heaven and earth 
are full of his glory. And therefore, in all places of his 
dominion will the meditative spirit recognize his 
presence and adore his glory. The foundation of all 
true Religion is the grand truth of the Unity of God — 
of the universal agency of one and the same great 
Being in all events and things. And this unity is 
not practically realized but in proportion as we see 
God in all things, and all things in God. ''He 
only," says Bishop Taylor, " to whom all things are 



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222 DEVOTIONAL MEDITATION. 

One, who draweth all things to One, and seeth asH 
things in One, may enjoy true peace and rest of 
Spirit." * Wherever we contemplate powers at work 
in Nature, or Providence, or Grace, which we neglect 
to refer up to the One undivided source of life, we 
are resting in something below God and breaking 
into fragments his Unity. Nay, when we contem- 
plate God too distinctly under different aspects, as 
sometimes the God of Nature and sometimes of Pro- 
vidence and sometimes of Grace, we are going &r 
to make this same most dangerous separation, and 
to disunite the various attributes and workings of 
the single One.f Who does not feel that men have 
spoken and written as if the Jehovah of the Jews 
had abandoned all the rest of the world to meaner 
hands ; and as if the ^miserable heathen were not 
only "without God** through the blindness of their 
own heart, but without his sovereign rule and fa- 
therly care, his " doing good and giving rain from 
heaven and fruitful seasons;" nay and as if the 

* Which seatenoe is banowed from Thomas a KempiB : 
— ** Cui omnia nnum sunt, et omnia ad imum trahit, et 
omnia in uno videt ; potest stabilis corde esse, et in Deo 
pacificus manere." 

De Imit Christi. I. iii. 

t It is a dull and obtuse mind that must divide in order 
to distinguish. And in such we may contemplate the source 
of superstition and idolatry. Coleridob. 



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BETOTIONAL MEDITATION. 223 

God of the awakened penitent had not been also the 
God of the preyions prodigal, nor were the God of 
those around him in '' the world," who amidst all 
their ignorance and sinfulness are nevertheless 
'' made of one blood with him," and have the com- 
mon Father '* not £Efcr from every one of them." It 
is the God of Nature who is also the God of Reve- 
lation ; and the God of Providence who is the God 
of Grace. God has not revealed himself by one 
method exclusively but by many; and God does 
not work in one domain ezdusively but in all. And 
therefore we must have an eye for all his revelations 
of himself, and our total impression of his character 
must be collected and compounded from them all. 
Each is imperfect taken by itself, but each contri- 
butes something to the grand and perfect whole. 
Let the man of observation, and the man of experi- 
ment, and the man of science, and the man of his- 
tory, and the man of the Bible, admire, each one in 
his sphere, the marvellous revelations of divine 
power and wisdom and goodness ; but let the man 
of large Devoutness, standing in the centre of a 
sphere which comprehends them all, trace up (by 
fidth wherever sight may £ul him) all these 
several rays of glory into that stupendous BEING 
who M power and wisdom and goodness, all in one ; 
and whom he nevertheless (amazing thought !) may 
call hh Father and his Friend. 



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224 DETOTXONA.L MEDITATION. 

See how St. Paul, in the first and second chapters 
of his Epistle to the Romans, commemorates four 
different modes by which God manifests himself to 
man. By the works of Nature; which reveal his 
Majesty and Might. '' For the invisible things of 
God — namely, his eternal power and Godhead — 
are clearly seen, being understood by the things that 
are made.*' By the laws of natural consequence ; 
which reveal his righteous Displeasure against Sin, 
by annexing to it, nay drawing out from it even as 
the fruit is developed from the seed (compare James 
i. 15), its own appropriate punishment. " For the 
wrath of God,'' says Paul, '' is revealed against all 
unrighteousness and ungodliness of men ;" and if we 
inquire How ? we discover from the whole context of 
the passage, especially from verses 24, 26, and 28, 
that the Apostle viewed this revelation as being made 
by God giving up the heathen to the brutalizing 
ignorance and the vile affections which Idolatry 
fosters. By the voice of conscience ; which reveals the 
Holy Will of Grod. For the very Heathen who do 
evil " know the judgment of God, that they which 
commit such things are worthy of death." And 
lAsUy, by the voice of Christ, and the proclamations 
of his Gospel ; which reveal the pardoning Compas- 
sion of God. '' For therein is the righteousness of 
God by faith revealed to faith," — ^his willingness to 
pardon and approve and bless every returning sinner. 



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DEVOTIONAL MEDITATION. 225 

upon the simple ground of feith in his Compas- 
sion. 

All things therefore are manifestations of God, 
and from all things will the meditative Christian 
pass on to God. He looks aroimd upon the earth 
or upward to the heavens, and amidst the might 
and loveliness of Nature he thinks of him who 
made sustains and blesses all. Nature is to him 
but the symbol of the Creator ; and the contempla- 
tion of it but the steps by which his feeble powers 
are helped to climb the heights of Meditation, and 
at last to reach the Lofty One who sits supreme 
above his works. 

Nor less devoutly does the Christian recognize 
his heavenly Father in the long concatenation of 
Events, and in all the ordinary as weU as extra- 
ordinary turns of Providence. History becomes to 
him alive with indications of his God. And like 
the sacred Historians, who never separate earth 
from heaven, nor events which are but products 
from their root in the First Cause, nor men in all 
their various purposes and works from the Divine 
will which controls them all ; so also does the medi- 
tative Christian recognize in all occurrences an all- 
directing God. "The fortune of Alexander," says 
Bishop Newton, " is but another name for the provi- 
dence of God.'* And still more generally may we say. 
The fortune of the world, in its innumerable parts 

Q 



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226 DEVOTIONAL MEDITATION. 

and its immeasurable whole, is but the ordination of 
God. This is the clew which guides the devout 
man safely through the labyrinth of events tangled 
with mazes and perplexed with errors ; and by this 
he walks in peace. He may not see, stiU less make 
out, the objects round him. He may not be able to 
tell the way he came nor that which he is going 
nor what will be the next turn in his path. But 
then he has the clew! he grasps the clew! and 
this therefore, implicitly and confidently, — igno- 
rantly, if you will, but with an intelligent ignorance 
— blindly, if you please, but not without inward 
light — this he follows with a quiet adoration. 

But still more does he feel the unity of God's 
unceasing agency in that history which is, beyond 
all others. Ml of interest and instruction to him — 
the history of Himself, Viewed in the light of 
Faith and Love, how wondrous to him is the story 
of his life ! Not a circumstance therein, but he 
can Mther see in it the hand of God or can believe 
that it was there. Not a single tint of dark or 
bright in all that many-coloured picture, but is sub- 
dued into one harmonious whole by the placid light 
of God's uplifted countenance shed over all. 

And then especially, in what are called the in- 
fluences of his Ghrace (though all is Grace^ througb. 
nature history and providence from first to last) ; 
in the truths and promises of his holy Word, the 



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DBYOTIONAL MEDTIATION. 227 

work and invitations of his Son, the consolations of 
his Spirit, and the thoughts that from these several 
sources stream into the mind and fill it with a peace 
a hope a vigour which no other revelations can 
afford — O here it is, above all, that the devout 
believer loves to recognize his God ! Here, to look 
out with an elevating awe upon the wide-spread 
ocean of his goodness till contemplation breaks off 
and loses itself in Wonder ; till all objects and all 
thoughts find their confluence and their outburst in 
one deep broad stream of Adoration, — '* O the depth 
of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of 
God ! how unsearchable are his judgments and his 
ways past findii^ out ! For who hath known the 
mind of the Lord ? or who hath been his counsellor ? 
or who hath first given unto him that it should 
be recompensed to him again ? For of him and 
through him and to him are all things ; to whom 
be glory for ever ! Amen ! '* 

Thus then Adoration is the offspiing of Contem- 
plative Devotion. We glide along the ever-deepen- 
ing tide of thought into a new world. Outward 
objects vanish from the consciousness. Inward 
thoughts subside into one vast wave of undistin- 
guishable feeling which lifts us above ourselves. 
The ideas of power, wisdom, love, unite and blend 
themselves in One great Being whose presence fills 
the soul, and with whom we commune as it were 



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228 DEVOTIONAL MEDITATION. 

instinctively in unutterable prayer ; the prayer, not 
of understanding but of Faith ; the inward gather- 
ing of the spirit into itself to offer itself up to God ; 
the gazing on his glory till new life flows from it 
into the heart, and this life is felt to be the life 
of God. Self is no longer thought of, nor the wants 
of self. We lie passive in our Father's hands and 
know no will but his. We are given up to his in- 
fluences. We inhale his quickening Spirit. We 
join with Angels and Archangels and with all the 
company of heaven to laud and magnify his glorious 
name ; evermore praising him and saying, Holy, 
Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth 
are full of thy glory ; Glory be to thee, O Lord 
most High ! 

Speak we here of things unknown, and feelings 
set too high for man ? Nay but we speak the lan- 
guage and express the feelings of our Common 
prayer-book, in its holiest office. And we give ut- 
terance to thoughts which every pious heart authen- 
ticates. And we touch a string in unison with 
which such hearts are strung, and therefore do they 
vibrate with it, and swell the trembling prelude into 
a sustained and full- voiced chant of Adoration which 
rises, like a fragrant cloud of incense, up to God. 
Thus felt and chanted one, who now has joined the 
choir of heaven, when he exlaimed before the 
Majesty of Nature — 



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DEVOTIONAL MEDITATION. 229 

*^ O dread and silent Moiint ! I gazed upon thee, 
Till thou, still present to the bodily sense, 
Didst yanish from my thought : entranced in prayer, 
I worshipped the Invisible alone." • 

\ 

Thus felt another kindred spirit, when he sang of 

one who, having gazed upon the loveliness of earth, 

and sea and sky, — 

" His spirit drank 
The spectacle : sensation, soul, and form. 
All melted into him ; they swallowed up 
His animal being ; in them did he live 
And by them did he live ; they were his life. 
In such access of mind, in such high hour 
Of visitation from the living God, 
Thought was not ; in enjoyment it expired. 
No thanks he breathed, he proffered no request ; 
Rapt into still communion that transcends 
The imperfect offices of prayer and praise, 
His mind was a thanksgiving to the power 
That made him ; it was blessedness and love." f 

And need I add, that thus mused and kindled 
and adored, a greater than all uninspired men, *' the 
man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the 
God of Jacob, and the sweet Psalmist of Israel," 
when *'the Spirit of the Lord spake by him and 
His word was in his tongue." Take a single in- 
stance in that glorious Hymn, the 104th Psalm. He 

* Coleridge. — "Hymn before Mont Blanc." 
t Wordsworth. — ** The Excursion." 



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230 DEYOTIONAL MEDITATION. 

had begun, therein, with Contemplation of the " ho- 
nour and majesty " of God ; he had gazed upon the 
light with which he clothed himself as with a gar- 
ment and the heavens t^t he stretched out as a cur- 
tain ; he had looked abroad upon the steadfast earth 
the restless deep and the refreshing streams ; he had 
meditated on the various provision which the Lord 
had made for the sustenance of man and beasts and 
universal life ; but long before his survey is com- 
pleted, out of Contemplation springs forth devout 
Emotion ; his soul begins to expand and to ascend 
and press beyond herself; the Spirit within him 
breathes forth towards the Spirit of the Universe, 
and he exclaims in short reiterated broken bursts of 
Adoration — " O Lord, how manifold are thy works ! 
in wisdom hast thou made them all : the earth is full 
of thy riches ! " " The glory of the Lord shall endure 
for ever : the Lord shall rejoice in his works." " I 
will sing unto the Lord as loi)g as I live ; I will sing 
praise to my God while I have my being. My medi- 
tation of Him shall he sweet; I will be glad in the 
Lord ! " " Bless thou the Lord, O my soul. Praise 
ye the Lord!" 

Christian Reader, do we cultivate this spirit of holy 
Meditation enough ? Do we not too often think more 
of ourselves when we draw near to God in prayer*, 
than of Him in whose bright presence we stand? 
And do we not thus defeat one great purpose of 



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PEYOXIONAL MEDITATION. 231 

Devotion wluoh is to raise iis out of self and its 
anxieties, and above the world and its vexatious 
occupations, and away &om sense and its importu- 
nate images, into the pure untroubled region of the 
fair and good ? If we make Devotion merely the 
enumeration of our wants our fears and our hopes ; 
of our weaknesses our sorrows and our sins ; we still 
are lingering amidst those wants and fears and sor- 
rows and sins ; we are looking only on a reflected 
image of ourselves and of our circumstances ; we seem 
to be leaving the world beneath us, yet, like a trou- 
bled ghost' which cleaves still to the flesh, we are 
only hovering round the spot where its remains are 
laid. But if we look forth upon God in self-forget-s 
ting Meditation, we are won away unconsciously 
from all our lower wants and fears ; and when we 
rise up £rom the vision of his excellence and descend 
again to meet them, we are astonished to perceive 
how insignificant they were, we behold them in a 
light shed down from heaven, and we can bear our 
griefs and set about our duties with a new and 
tranquil mind. Even as when the distempered man 
has tossed all night upon a sea of tumultuous dreams 
and his soul is shattered by them — ^he breaks away 
from the bewildering trance with morning's dawn ; 
looks out upon the fresh and sparkling prospect; 
drinks in the air of heaven ; and is astonished at 
the very possibility of being shaken as he has been 



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232 DEVOTIONAL MEDITATION. 

by UDreal phantoms of the brain. O be sure of this, 
the more we think of God and realize his presence, 
the more shall we become like God. We shall catch 
some faint resemblance of the features that we gaze 
upon, and while we behold his glory we shall be 
changed into the same image from glory to glory by 
the Spirit of the Lord. 



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233 



SECTION n. 



DEVOTIONAL BEADING. 



The Spiritual life is a mental life ; and by the exer- 
cise of Mind therefore must it be nourished. But 
Mind is exercised not only by Observation and Re- 
flection, but by appropriation of the observation and 
reflection of other men. And this appropriation is 
accomplished most effectually by Beading. Beading 
therefore is an important means of nourishing the 
Spiritual life ; the devout perusal and self-applica- 
tion of such writings as elevate the principles, refine 
the moral sense, and rouse the slumbering energies. 
It is not easy to originate our own states of mind. 
We need not only occasions for thought, but the sug- 
gestion of thought. We need not merely truths and 
feelings stored up in ourselves, but the daily appli- 
cation of some impulse from without to wake up and 
bring out those truths and feelings. And for this 
God has vouchsafed, besides the voice of our imme- 
diate Mends in temporary intercourse, the words of 
oui* fellow Christians of every age and clime in per- 
manent writings. Blessed be our all-providing Father 



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284 DEVOTIONAL BEADINO. 

for such helps ! The Christian will prize them and 
will diligently use them, not for the gratification of 
curiosity, not for the whiling away an idle hour, not 
for the substitution of a mechanical operation in the 
place of a spiritual exercise, not to make Attention 
stand proxy for Reflection ; but that hy Attention, 
Reflection may be put in motion ; by the borrowed 
spark the light of our own spirit may be kindled. 
How often will the reading of some pointed question 
open up a new view of our spiritual state, and set 
us searching into ourselves for days. How often 
will a single si^gested idea illuminate whole regions 
of the mind, and make a thousand subjects hitherto 
confused and dark, at once and in a moment clear to 
us. And how gently elevating is the quiet inftision 
of some quickening feeling, which finds and mixes 
with a thousand kindred emotions, and stirs them 
all into full life ! It steals beneath our heavy, 
stranded mind, and before we are conscious of its in- 
fluence floats it nearer to the haven where we would 
be. It breathes softly on our slumberii^ spirit like 
gentlest music, and insinuates itself amidst our 
earthly dreams, till we find ourselves, we know not 
how or why, awake and alive to God. Let the 
Christian therefore never be discouraged when his 
mind is dull and indevout, but turn to some awaken- 
ing volume, some favourite passage, some suitable 
prayer, some spiritual hymn, above all, some inspir- 



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DEVOTIONAL BEADING. 236 

ing psalm or chapter of the word of God, and wait 
in humble £uth — out of which faith will steal a half > 
formed supplication — for the revival of his spirit. 
It is the essence of wisdom, if we cannot gain 
directly our object to take a circuitous course for its 
attainment, to address ourselves to some one inter- 
mediate means (however distant from our ultimate 
end) by which it may at last be reached. And it 
is the Christian's wisdom to do this, as, generally, 
' for the regulation of his mind and the formation 
of his character, so also for the sustenance of the 
Spiritual Life. That life is alas ! a weak and sickly 
thing, and it must be fostered with the most assi- 
duous and much-contriving care ; it is a delicate 
emanation, a breath, and it must be &nned with 
gentlest solicitude. We can do nothing, and can be 
nothing, of ourselves ; but what can we not do 
(through God's gracious blessing on those suscepti- 
bilities which he himself has rendered capable of 
such manifold influences) by the wise and per- 
severing use of various, minute, and in themselves 
most insignificant, means ! 

But then these helps must be ever carefully used 
as means. They must never be perverted to super- 
sede the very end they are intended to promote. 
The perusal of the page, the reading of the chapter, 
the utterance of the form of prayer, the singing of 
the hymn, must never be rested in as of themselves 



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236 DEVOTIONAL BEADING. 

devotion but only as the food and nourishment of 
devotion. No man can rightly think and pray and 
feel for us ; he can only give us helps whereby we 
may think and pray and feel for ourselves. No- 
thing is ours but what we mentally appropriate. 
Nothing can benefit us but what we actually our- 
selves do. To our own substance must all foreign 
aliment be assimilated if we would grow thereby. 
Through our own veins must it propel accelerated 
life. We must not only read mark and leam but 
we must inwardly digest^ whatever God in his good 
providence has furnished for our spiritual food. 

And how then shall we most effectually employ 
Devotional Reading, for our Spiritual Nourishment ? 
Let us suppose the word of God to be the means 
that we would use towards this end, what method 
shall we take? 

That method must be determined by the par- 
ticular object that we have in view. There are 
various objects for which we may read the word 
of God. For general information concerning the 
methods of God in his education of the human race. 
For particular insight into the scheme of Sal- 
vation which he has revealed and carried out by 
his dear Son. For getting our minds imbued with 
the leading ideas of Christian doctrine, and the go- 
verning principles of Christian practice. In short, 
for all things necessary to a godly life, for doctrine 



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DEVOTIONAL BEADING. 237 

for reproof for correction for instruction in righte- 
ousness. And according to our object so must be 
our method of perusal. For all true method must 
be suited to, nay take its rise from, the specific na- 
ture of the subject we are treating. Whether our 
perusal shall be cursory and continuous or critical 
and fragmentary ; whether it shall collect and com- 
bine various particulars or trace steadily the de- 
velopment of some one truth; whether we shall 
passively yield up our attention to the sacred text 
or only take therefrom materials for active personal 
reflection ; all this will be regulated by the specific 
end for which we open the holy book at each par- 
ticular time. This only must be constant, that we 
have some end ; some deliberate purpose present to 
our consciousness when we consult the oracles of 
God ; and that we do not take them up, glance over 
them, and put them down again, with an unmean- 
ing listlessness. 

When then our object is the nourishment of the 
Spiritual Life, this devotional end determines the 
corresponding devotional method to be pursued. We 
must bring to the Bible such a spirit and adopt 
in reading it such a course, as may best conduce to 
the strengthening of our sense of God's immediate 
presence to our minds. 

For this purpose we should meditate upon the 
Bible as conveying to us. the Voice of God himself. 



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238 DEVOTIONAI. BEADING. 

The Scriptures were written, it is true, by many 
and various men, in many and various ages. They 
were written by these men for the immediate use of 
their contemporaries, and with reference to the cir- 
cumstances which surrounded them. But then those 
who thus wrote were partakers of the Spirit of God, 
What they said and wrote as the Ambassadors of 
God they said and wrote, not from the conclusions 
merely of their own limited understanding but from 
the secret inspirations of divine wisdom. And it is 
the special mark of tvisdom (which mark therefore the 
divine wisdom possesses in perfection) that it so 
treats particulars as to bring them under general 
principles ; and in the forma of the local and the tem- 
porary conveys the essence of what is universal and 
eternal. And consequently the Scriptures do not 
convey to us the voice of men merely (however 
shrewd and experienced and devout they may have 
been), solving the particular questions and direct- 
ing the particular duties of their fellow men around 
them ; but they convey to us in and with Htnafomt 
of the revelation (accompanying each particular 
utterance even as a fundamental melody pervades 
and limits aU the variations of which it is susceptible, 
and may be traced throughout them all) the voice of 
God himself addressed to all men in all ages, and 
solving the general questions and directing the gene- 
ral duties which belong to man as man. 



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DEVOTIONAL BEADING. ' 239 

It is the wisdom therefoie of the devout reader 
of Scripture to discern the voice of God; to adore 
the Sovereign King in the person of his Ambassa- 
dors ; to recognize the Spirit actuating the living 
creatures which announce his presence, yea breath- 
ing even in the wheels which are the conductors 
of his influence ; and thus to make the Unseen God 
as effectually present to us by the forms of lan- 
guage and of thought which the Bible has preserved, 
as He was made present to Adam and to the Patri- 
archs and to the Prophets by the forms (for even to 
them by forms only could he show himself) of 
bodily appearance and of audible sound. It is in 
the mind that God's presence must be realized, and 
it is only by the mind — ^by what this brings to the con- 
templation of his manifestations, and retains within 
itself of his communications — ^that we can truly see 
Him. There can be no other perception of God, to a 
created being, but the perception of his Idea in the 
consciousness ; and the fulness, and the correspond- 
ing benefit, of that perception will depend upon the 
frequency with which that Idea is revived; the 
steadiness with which it is sustained; and the 
intimacy and comprehensiveness of its connection 
with all our other trains of thought. And therefore 
we are not to think ourselves less privileged than 
the saints of old, because we have not extraordinary 
manifestations of God. We, equally with them, 



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240 DEVOTIONAL BEADING. 

have every opportunity of recognizing Him in the 
things around us ; and, for the special revelation 
which came rarely and transiently to the astonished 
ear of each particular man of God, we have, instead, 
the lasting record of all his revelations to all his pro- 
phets, placed permanently in our hands and made 
accessible to our daily meditation. In many an age 
" the word of the Lord was precious," that is, 
scarce ; " there was no open vision." And even 
the Priests and Prophets of God were obliged to 
*' enquire at the word of the Lord " from time to 
time as they needed council ; to consult the Urim 
and Thummim; to present themselves before the 
oracle. Whereas we have now this word ever open 
to our view, nay stored up in our memories ; and at 
all times and in all places we may enter into the 
Sanctuary and commune with our Father ; even as 
it is written, " I will dwell in them and walk in them, 
and I will put my laws into their mind and write 
them in their heart, and they shall not teach every 
man his neighbour saying. Know the Lord, for all 
shall know me from the least of them unto the greatest 
of them saith the Lord." The only difference is, 
that God's voice to us is not that of particular direc- 
tion in particular cases, but of general principles 
included in those special instances which are re- 
corded for our admonition ; and applicable by the 
heaven-directed judgment of the devoutly pondering 



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DEVOTION A.L BEA.DING. 241 

Christian to all cases as they arise. Wherein the 
difference is our advantage. We gain thereby a 
general guide through all the paths of life ; and we 
are raised, moreover, from the mere blind obedience 
to specific laws which may be yielded by a servant 
or a child, to that intelligent following out of gene- 
ral principles which is the reasonable service of a 
freely acting man. ** We are delivered from the 
law, being dead to that wherein we were held, that 
we should serve in newness of spirit and not in the 
oldness of the letter/' It is the law of Spiritual 
wisdom, no longer pealing trumpet-tongued amidst 
the terrors of Sinai but breathing forth its still 
small voice into the hushed and meditative con- 
science, which now directs our course. It is in the 
sanctified judgment of the Church of Christ that we 
ftiay now realize the prophetic promise, " Ye shall 
hear a word behind you saying, This is the way, 
walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand and 
when ye turn to the left." "My son, keep thy 
Other's commandments and forsake not the law of 
thy mother ; bind them continually upon thy heart 
and tie them about thy neck ; when thou goest it 
shall lead thee, when thou sleepest it shall keep thee, 
when thou awakest tV shail talk with thee P* 

Did (for instance) the Lord God talk with Adam 
and Eve in the garden, and they " heard his voice?" 
Even so will he talk with you if you devoutly listen 

R 



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242 DEVOTIONAL BEADING. 

to the echo of that voice conveyed — ^yea and ten 
thousand times re-echoed — in his sacred Scriptures. 
Did the word of the Lord come to Abraham in a 
vision saying. Fear not, Abraham, I am thy shield 
and thy exceeding great reward ? In the Bible does 
that same word come to you if you are walking in 
the steps of Abraham's faith ; and you too therefore 
may trust in it as your own. Did God call to 
Samuel on his bed, and this again and again while 
yet the inexperienced youth was ignorant of the 
heavenly origin of the voice ? Just so does he call to 
you, (and O how patiently and perseveringly !) wait- 
ing for the moment when your spirit shall be disen- 
gaged from earthly sounds, and hushed intoattention, 
and instructed in the meaning of the sacred sum- 
mons. And therefore to that voice you may reply, 
— as directly as did Samuel when thus taught t6 
" know the Lord,'' with as intense a feeling of the 
dirine presence, — '^ Speak, Lord, for thy servant 
heareth ! " Did God reveal himself directly to 
Moses and the Israelites, to Elijah and the prophets, 
to Paul and the Apostles? The same God now 
reveals himself hy their recorded words to me and 
you, and we may cry with them " Behold, the Lord 
our God hath showed us his glory and his 
greatness ! " 

Take then the revelations of the Bible as madey 
in all their permanent essence, to yourself. Feel 



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DEVOTIONAL BEADING. 243 

tbfit you have part and lot in all that God has 
given to cheer and guide his ignorant and sinful 
creatures ; remember that even the historical occur- 
rences recorded " happened unto them for ensamples, 
and are written for our admonition upon whom 
tike ends of the world are come ; " and throw your- 
self back into the scenes and circumstances of the 
olden time, not as a spectator merely but a deeply 
interested sharer of the revelation made. Help 
your sluggish conception by every accessory thought 
that may give reality and vividness to the facts 
recorded by the sacred writers. Place youself in 
imagination under the frowning precipice of Sinai. 
Stand with Elijah in the entrance of that awfiil 
cave, wh^i there swept by it the mysterious '' still 
small voice." Follow Jesus, with the multitude who 
'' pressed upon him for to hear him." Sit with them 
at his feet around the beautiful mount of the beati- 
tudes near Capernaum. Enter with the disciples 
into the upper chamber where they supped with 
their affectionate Master and received his parting 
exhortations. Lie prostrate by the side of Saul when 
he heard the voice from heaven, and trembling and 
astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to 
do ? Make thus the Bibl^ as familiaT and inward 
to your mind as the scenes of your boyhood, and 
the dreams of your youth ; lose yourself in its reali- 
ties ; identify yourself with its occurrences ; " pour 



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244 DEVOTIONA.L BEADING. 

out** (as has been beautifully written) " your whole 
undivided heart before the oracles of God ; give 
your enlarged spirit to the commtinion of his word ; 
when it blames be you blamed, when it exhorts be 
you exhorted ; when it condescends to argument, by 
its arguments be you convinced ; be free to take all 
its moods and to catch all its inspirations; *** and 
you will see it all transparent with the radiance of 
present Deity ; you will find it resonant to you of 
the voice of the Most High ; and you will receive 
its several commimications, "not as the word of 
men but, as it is in truth, the word of Ood which 
effectually worketh in them that believe." 

And thus consulting the word of God, you will 
find it your guide your counsellor and your own fa- 
miliar friend. You may bring to it your perplexities, 
and find it answering for you many a harassing 
enquiry. You may bring to it your heart, and 
find it speaking home thereto direction, warning, 
peace. Even as Abraham was permitted to com- 
mune with the Lord about the doom of Sodom, and 
though but dust and ashes to inquire, " Shall not 
the Judge of all the earth do right .^** even as 
Habakkuk the Prophet stood upon his watch and 
set himself upon the tower to watch and see what 
God would say unto him and what he should an- 
swer when he was reproved; so may the devout 
• Irving*s Orations. 



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DEVOTIONAL BSABIl^G. 245 

man carry up all bis difficulties to the word of God, 
and derive from it the satisfactory decision^ if not 
the full soiutiofiy of the questions which the facts of 
nature, the march of events, the history of man, the 
complicated riddle of the world, may raise within 
his mind. Not indeed that he will expect to under- 
stand the ways of God (for what child can under- 
stand his Father ? what uninitiated man can pene- 
trate the mystery of even the conmionest art ?) but 
that he will learn the principles on which they are 
arranged. Still less that he will turn the sacred 
page into a horoscope for forecasting private or po- 
litical fortunes ; or dip into the holy volume to dis- 
cover what special answers may turn up to special 
questions about doctrine or practice; or bring to 
it his selfish yearnings in the hope of getting 
their indulgence authorized by some oracular 
reply ; or endeavour to transplant the recorded sen- 
timents and actions proper to some men on some 
occasions, root and branch into his own bosom and 
his own conduct — all this would be only playing 
over again the heathen game of Superstition in a 
new field — ^but that in the Wisdom of God he will 
discover the seeds of things, the principles of the 
divine character, the examples of the divine pro- 
cedure, the declarations of the divine will, guided 
by which he may adore and acquiesce in, even when 
he cannot comprehend, the government of Gbd. 



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246 DEVOTIONAL BEABINO. 

These are to him far more than heathen oiaoles, 
far better than philosophical speculation, far surer 
than political cunning. '' When they shall say unto 
you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits and 
unto wizards that peep and mutter, should not a 
people seek unto their God ? To the law and to the 
testimony ; if they speak not according to this word 
it is because there is no light in them." ''Thou 
through thy commandments hast made me wiser 
than mine enemies, for they are ever with me. I 
have more understanding than all my teachers, for 
thy testimonies are my meditation. I imderstand 
more than the ancients, because I keep thy pre- 
cepts. Through thy precepts I get understanding ; 
therefore I hate every false way." 



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247 



SECTION in. 

DEVOTIONAL FELLOWSHIP. 

Thebe is nothing more false, and more mijust to 
true religion, than to imagine that it stunts the 
growth of the human mind and withdraws it from 
the genial atmosphere of social life, in which alone 
it can blossom and bear fruit, into the withering pri- 
vacy of selfish pride or moody fancy. The fact is, 
on the contrary, that pious sentiments, like all others 
that are great and good, require social intercourse 
for their fiill development, press naturally out to 
seek a kindred feeling in our fellow-men, and find 
their full expression and enjoyment only when re- 
echoed and intensified by sympathy. And therefore 
some of the most important exercises of the pious 
mind are those which are supplied by mutual inter- 
change of thought, and blending of emotion, in the 
friendly family and public worship of Almighty God. 
Fellowship with others the mind must have in order 
to its due development ; this fellowship the world 
cannot supply ; but in the family of Christ it may 
be found. 



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248 DEVOTIONAL FELLOWSHIP. 

It is important to consider this point, far if there 
is one thing which specially characterizes Christi- 
anity in its relation to mankind above all other 
forms of piety, it is its spirit of brotherly affection, 
and its means and ordinances for mutual edification. 
It is specially the religion of '' the ir/wrtV," the mind 
and reason ; and it supplies by its social organization 
the only atmosphere in which the highest products 
of the mind and reason can be unfolded. 

Kemember then, that the very first condition of 
human improvement and human happiness is fel- 
lowship with our kind. Without Society we should 
not be men. With all our senses faculties and 
susceptibilities, and with every opportunity in ex- 
ternal nature for their exercise, that exercise would 
not take place to any extent without the relations 
of social life. It is on the mother's bosom and in 
the father's arms that the infant begins to Jeel^ 
before it is acquainted with, the best experiences of 
its nature. It is in the fiunily circle, the friendly 
neighbourhood, the ever widening sphere of social 
sympathies, that we learn to know ourselves, our 
powers, our wants, our joys, our hopes. And there- 
fore no happy condition of mankind has ever been 
imagined in which the idea of society and sociable- 
ness was not a prominent one. The depth of all 
conceivable misery is pictured by banishment to a 
solitary rock, unknown unpitied unsympathized 



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DEVOTIONAL FELLOWSHIP. 249 

with, where the craving heart eats inward and de- 
vours itself. And the height of all conceivable 
happiness is imagined in the finding our own mind 
reflected from the mind of multitudes around us, 
our own thoughts reciprocated, our own sentiments 
re-echoed, in some vast commimity actuated by one 
will and beating as with one pulse. Till Society 
was provided, Paradise itself was insufficient for 
human happiness. *' The Lord God said. It is not 
good that the man should be alone ; I will make 
him an help meet for him." And in the full per- 
iection of Society consists the blessedness of the 
predicted kingdom of Christ. It is when the mysti- 
cal body of the second Adam is completed, and the 
Fulness of the Deity — the sphere of the holy ones 
in light in which he dwells and through which he 
diffuses his especial presence — ^is perfected by the 
re-union of the whole family in heaven and earth; 
it is when thus " in the dispensation of the fulness 
of times he shall have gathered together in one all 
-things in Christ, both which are in heaven and 
which are on earth ;" that '' the tabernacle of God 
shall be with men, and he will dwell with them and 
they shall be his people and God himself shall be 
with them and be their God.'' Out of many to 
make one ; out of infinitely various parts to form a 
full harmonious whole ; this is the grand design 
of God, this is the happiness to which he destines 



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250 DEVOTIONAL FELLOWSHIP. 

man. Everything that is separate and separately 
exercised shall pass away, but the communion of 
love shall be eternal. Prophecies shall &il, tongues 
shall cease, knowledge shall vanish away, but Chariiy 
never faiUeth, 

But forget not that such union and communion 
can never be supplied by the common intercourse 
of an irreligious world. I know that it is in the 
world that this development of mind and heart is 
specially sought. I know that it is because of this 
and of the gratification which accompanies it, that 
the world is, especially by the young and ardent, 
so diligently worshipped. And I grant, moreover, 
that such intercourse does bring out the buds of 
feeling ; that its influence on the mind is such as 
for a time to seem sufficient for its growth and hap- 
piness. An almost universal welcome greets the 
new guest in the halls of social pleasure, and win- 
ning sympathy comes forth to meet his tinud 
thoughts and to solicit them into complete develop- 
ment. Every countenance smiles upon him. Bvery 
hand is extended to him. It is the spring-tinxe — 
the warm fresh early spring-time — of his being, and 
truly does he find 

" The genial season hath such power, 
His very heart seems blosBOining, 
Each thought a fragrant flower.'' 

But who has ever found this spring eternal ? 



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DSYOXIOKAL FBI.IiOW8HIP. 251 

Whose heart has not shrank and withered under 
the chilling hlasts which soon begin to sweep across 
it? Who has given his youthful confidence to a 
much -promising world, and has not been fooled 
and disappointed, yea betrayed, yea mocked per- 
haps for his simplicity ? Society is a necessity of 
our nature. Not a mere gathering together of mul- 
titudes, an aggregation of persons, but an inter, 
change of thought, an assimilation of minds. Such 
society this world boasts to be possessed of, and pro- 
fesses to throw open to the inexperienced youth. But 
such society it does not give. There is union 
without unity ; association without assortment ; 
connexion without conjunction; a seeming whole 
composed of incoi^ruous parts ; straw in amber ; 
iron and clay ; and they *' cannot deaye one to 
another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. " The 
attractive power of the social principle is more 
than balanced by the repulsive power of the selfish 
principle. Each man, while he seems to lose 
himself in others is at the same time carefully pur- 
suing his own particular end ; and he unites with 
those around him not to adopt their ends and fur- 
ther them, (which is the idea of true benevolence,) 
but to use them for his own end and subordinate 
them to himself. 

And O the blight which settles on the opening 
mind and dries it up into a harsh misanthropy, 



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252 BEVOTK^AL FELLOWSHIP. 

when this true character of worldly intercourse be- 
comes unveiled ! Life becomes a blank. Expecta- 
tion dies away. The heart gets seared. Dis- 
appointment produces indignation. And indignation 
(like all intense emotion) argues from the particular 
to the universal, and pronounces all creation barren, 
all hope a mockery, all the best affections an unreal 
show. Men find their hearts befooled by a deceitful 
world, and they go on to shut and bar them against 
God himself. They have no susceptibility for his 
tenderness, no ear for his invitations of compassion by 
Jesus Christ; the whole head is sick and the 
whole heart is faint. And the solitariness which 
they find amidst a crowded world is increased a 
thousand-fold by the solitariness of their own hearts. 
They have no home within to which to fly from the 
neglects of outward life. They have no Mend in the 
bosom into whose ear to pour their plaints. Despoiled 
of confidence in man and ignorant of confidence 
in God, empty, desolate, alone — O what shall the 
poor baffled spirit do to reach its proper desti- 
nation ? How shall it be saved from moral death 
and everlasting barrenness ? Where shall it find 
its proper nourishment and expand into its proper 
magnitude ? 

Where but in the bosom of the Church of Christ ? 
How but by the infusion of the new creating Spirit 
of Life r By what appliances but by immersion in 



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DEVOTIONAL FELLOWSHIP. 265 

that atmosphere of the Spirit which is formed around 
the sacred circles of friendly and family and pub- 
lic prayer ? From intercourse with Christian men 
will he catch the spirit of that intercourse. Some 
one thought will be awakened ; some one feeling, 
melted by the warm breath of a generous sympathy, 
will begin again to flow. Imaginations long dead, 
desires long smothered, hopes long scorned, will once 
more lift their head. He will listen like an exile to 
the long-forgotteu sounds of his mother tongue. He 
wiU feel that he is still a man, and that in humanity 
there lies enveloped something more that human, 
which may still be cherished into life. The ave- 
nues to his interior soul will once again be opened, 
and '* when the fiill tide of devotion has entered the 
channel thus prepared for it, he will hail its coming 
with joy, and bathe his whole spirit in those purify- 
ing and strengthening waters."* 

In the church of Christ then — ^the holy £uni1y of 
Qod — ^is there full provision made for the develop- 
ment of the social principle in human nature, and 
thereby for the raising it to all the excellence and 
happiness for which it was destined. The social 
exercises of religion are the effectual means of 
awakening nourishing and diffusing abroad the 
Spiritual life. And to promote these exercises 

• H. J. Rose. 



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254 DEVOTIONAL FELI*0W8HIP. 

Christiana have been formed by their divine Master 
into a religious community, associated for a common 
purpose, animated in its pursuit by a common feel- 
ing, and contributing to its attainment a commcm 
help. Jesus knew the pressing necesi^ties of the 
human mind when he called men, not from brother- 
hood to loneliness, not from fubess into vanity, but 
from the community of darkness and disappoint- 
ment to another community which dwells in light 
and breathes through its members love and joy. 
Of Ihis conmiimity he formed the rudiments when 
he selected from the multitude twelve men who 
should be with him constantly and imbibe his Spirit, 
and become by it assimilated , to him and to each 
other. And the unity of this society he solenmly 
enjoined them to preserve when he said, '' By this 
shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye 
have love one to another.'' This unity he provided 
for when he said to the Father, ''the glory that 
thou gavest me I have given them, that they may 
be one even as we are one ; I in them and thou in 
me, that they may be made perfect in one." For 
the maintenance of this unity, even in the fullest 
enlargement of the church and the comprehension 
therein of all sorts and conditions of men, he inter- 
ceded when he said, ''Neither pray 1 for these 
alone, but for them also that shall believe on me 
through their word, that they all may be one, as 



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DBYOTIONAL FELLOWSHIP. 255 

thou, Father^ art in me and I in thee, that they 
also may be one in us." 

And accordingly we find that the personal re- 
moral of their Head did not dissolve the Society 
which he had formed. The disciples were all " as- 
sembled together^' on the first day of the week, when 
Jesus appeared among them and said, Peace be unto 
you. After his ascension moreover they " con- 
tinued all ivtth one accord in prayer and supplica- 
tion with the women and with the brethren.'' And 
when subsequently there were added to the church 
three thousand souls, we find this enlai^ed commu- 
nity *^ continuing steadfastly in the Apostles' doc- 
trine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and 
in prayers ; and all that believed were together and 
had all things common, and they continuing daily 
with one accord in the temple and breaking bread 
from house to house, did eat their meat with glad- 
ness and singleness of heart, praising God and hav- 
ing favour with all the people." 

Nor need I add how frequently St. Paul refers to 
this grand principle of social unity, and presses it 
on those to whom he writes. Even when the 
church was enlarged to the very boundaries of the 
then civilized world, even when it comprised per- 
sons of every country and of every rank in life, 
and was composed of such discordant elements as 
Jews and Gentiles, Greeks and Barbarians, slaves 



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256 DEVOTIONAL FELLOWSHIP. 

and freemen, still this is the law of its being and 
the condition of its growth, that it shall '' keep the 
unity of the spirit in the bond of peace,*' and come 
thereby *' in the unity of the &ith and of the 
knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, 
unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of 
Christ." The very sacraments of the church sym- 
bolize this spiritual union. The very ordinances by 
which men are received into the body and from 
time to time proclaim their connexion with it, de- 
clare as fully conjunction with the members of this 
community as with its sacred Head, ^' As many 
of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put 
on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there 
is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor 
female ; for ye are all one in Jestts Christ,'* " For 
by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, 
whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be 
bond or free ; and have been all made to drink into 
one spirit.** O the full provision for the noblest 
exercises of the mind, which is afforded by the 
Church of Christ ! O the blessed interchai^e of 
thought and feeling and enjoyment, by which the 
Spiritual life expands and grows ! ^There is suchr 
a thing as Christian fellowship and love ; as merging 
the particular will in the general will ; as looking 
not at our own interests but at the interests of 
others ; as rejoicing with them that rejoice and 



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DBVOTIOKXL FELLOWSHIP, 257 

treepiog with them that weep ; and there is more 
essential fellowship in the most imperfect inter- 
ecnirse of spiritual Christians, than in all the closest 
oath-bonnd ccunbinations of the world. 

Let the Christian thetefore diligently cultivate 
this important means of grace in «11 its parts ; in 
the priyate sphere of his Family and Friends, and 
in the public sphere of the Congregation. 

For with his Family and among his Friends, is 
the CSiristian bound to share, and by sharing to in. 
crease, his devout afSsotions. The whole amount 
of Bpivitual life existing in the church of Christ 
is given and held for difiEusion and reciprocation. 
Even as the Apostle tells the Corinthians touching 
their t^iaporal treasures, that he wishes an equality, 
that their abundance may sup{dy the want of others 
and the abundance of others may be reciprocally a 
8up[dy for theta ; as it is written, He that gathered 
much had nothing over and he that gathered little 
had no lack : so, much more, should it be with those 
^iritual treasures which we receive from our com* 
mon Head. There are innumerable degrees of life 
^ong.the members of the Lord. There are all the 
stages from simple consecration to him, to the frdlest 
union. And to be helpers of each other's &ith 
throughout these several stages, to become by 
mutual communication joint partakers of one com- 
mon Spirit, is one of the most effectual means of 



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258 DEYOTIOKAL FELLOWSHIP. 

Spiritoal growth. He that watereth id wtttared 

himself. He that diligently instructs his cfaildreii 

and servants in the word of God, and with them 

approaches day by day to the throne of God in 

prayer ; he that determines with the courageovis 

Joshua ** as for me and my house we will serve ihe 

Lord ;" he that, like the devout OomeHus, **• calls 

together his kinsmen and near friends,*' reminding 

them that they are '* present before Qod to hear 

all things that are commanded them of God ;" 

— ^his spirit becomes twice blessed, his prinoiples 

are strengthened by reflection from the mind of 

other men, his conscience made more bold and 

powerful by the echoing of its dictates, his heart 

warmed and animated by sympathy with its emotions, 

and his ties and obligations to consist^icy and 

watchfulness increased a thousand-fold. A rnntnal 

encouragement is unconsciously afforded, a mutual 

check is unconsciously established, and we get the 

habit of considering in every temptation to weakness 

or indulgence, How wiU this harmonize with the 

publicly expressed devotion of the morning fiunily 

prayer ? or how will the remembrance of it increase 

the shame and the compunction of the evening ocm- 

fession ? how should we speak and act in all the 

business of life towards those with whom we have 

taken sweet counsel together in its devout refresh-* 

ments ? how shall we take care that the character 



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BSTOTIONAL FELLOWSHIP. 259 

wlik^ we haye together contemplated as worthy of a 
CbristiaB man, shall be fomid not altogether forgot- 
toi, yea steadily exhibited, in our daily spirit and 
conduct ? Qod knoweth, we need every sort of help, 
we want manifold and complicated motives, for grow- 
ing in grace and adorning the doctrine of Qod our 
Saviour in all things ! 

And how then shall we praise God enough for 
those further helps which he has afforded to our 
growth in spirituality, in the public sphere of the 
Congregation ! Who can recall however Mntly to 
his recollection, all that his mind owes to the ordi- 
nances of the Sanctuary, and not adore that gra- 
cious Master who has provided such means of grace, 
and love that church which has administered them 
to him ? It almost startles us when we attempt to 
trace the process of formation of our present mind, 
to see how gradually how secretly and by what 
various helps it has been fiEtshioned up to what 
it now is ; and of this process how very much we 
may refer to the public prayers the public instruc- 
HofOB and the public sympathies of the Church in 
which we have been brought up. Some religious 
sentiments indeed we get from parents friends 
and pubUc opinion ; some are sown in us by books ; 
some spring up of themselves from reflection, and 
are matured by the events of life. But still, were 
it possible to analyse minutely sq complicated a 



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260 DEVOTIONAX FEI.LOWSHIP. 

production as the human mind, how large a part of 
its best principles and feelings would have to be in- 
ferred to the public ministrations which have been 
afforded to us in the house of Qod. Even with 
respect to the Bible itself — that great source of all 
religious truth — ^where was our interest for it ex- 
cited ? where were our inquiries into it ass^ted ? 
our perplexities concerning it relieved ? where, above 
all, was the personal application of it to our heart 
and soul effected, but in the house of God ? There 
have its truths and principles, well known perhaps 
before, become transformed from a dead lett» into 
lively oracles, and been set home with demonstra- 
tion of the Spirit and of power. There have we 
found God himself speaking to us by the voice of 
his Ambassadors, and their words have fallen Uke 
living sparks upon our mind and kindled in it 
faith and love and adoration. And there too, what 
clearness and vigour have been communicated to 
our thoughts which were obscure, and our feelings 
which were weak and inefficient ! What new force 
infused into our oldest conceptions ; what new tracks 
opened out for the after course of our private me- 
ditations; what energy conveyed into the inner 
man ! We have seen as with a new understand- 
ing, we have felt as witii a new heart, we have 
purposed and attempted as with a new will. Our 
own soul has become partaker of the life that 



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DEVOTIONAI. FELLOWSHIP. 261 

breathed forth from the souls of others. We have 
been abscnrbed into the swelling stream of kindred 
minds, and we have felt that there is but ''one 
body and one spirit, even as we are called in one 
hope of our calling ; one Lord one foith one bap- 
tism one God and Father of aU, who is above all 
and through all and in us all." 

In public worship therefore must we cherish wha^ 
in public worship has been awakened. By regular 
conscientious attendance on its prayers its sermons 
and its Holy Communion, shall we best exercise 
and strengthen the Spiritual Hfe. Nay, this life 
cannot but seek the opportunities of public devo- 
tion ; it finds its fall enjoyment chiefly there. 
That awful sense of the Divine Majesty and that 
filial confidence in the Divine Mercy which form the 
primary elements of Piety, where are they experi- 
enced so richly as in the congregation of the Saints } 
For each child of God possesses these emotions as 
the characteristics of his renewed mind. And each 
child of God therefore brings with him these emo- 
tions to the house of God, longing to find therein 
companions in their blessedness, and to increase their 
force and their enjoyment by mutual communication. 
Public devotion is the out-burst and diffusion of pri- 
vate devoutness. It is one heart summoning another 
to its aid. It results from feeling the impossibility 
of expressing as we wish our feelings, and therefore 



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262 DEVOTIOHiLL FELLOWSHIP, 

calling upon others to help us out in that expres- 
sion. It is the bringing the &int qmyering fitftd 
spark of piety which lies smouldering in our own 
hearts, that it may catch new vigour from the simi- 
lar spark in others, and together burst into ihe 
steady flame of grateful sacrifice ascending straight 
and strong to heaven. That spirit Uierefore which 
forms the essence of the parts will form the es- 
sence of the whole. That which breathes however 
faintly in the bosom of the individual Christian, 
will breathe in all its vigour through the body of 
the &ithful. 

Is it not so specially in the service of the Church 
of England ? Do not that mingled Reverence and 
Confidence which form the essence of Piety, 
breathe through all her forms of Prayer? We 
approach God as his people, consecrated to him in 
Christ, baptized into his holy family, and there- 
fore privileged to pour out our hearts before bim as 
our Father. Yet we come as men who have alas ! 
abused those privileges, forgotten this relation, dis- 
honoured this family, and breathing therefore the 
most touching feelings of humiliation that any hu- 
man composition can give utterance to. Witness 
the " general Confession to be said of the whole 
Congregation all kneeling ;" and still more that to 
which we are called before the table of the Lord, 
** meekly kneeling on our knees.'* Nothing in them 



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DEYOTIOKAL F£I<XOWSHIP. 263 

is forced, nothing affected, nothing grovelling and 
mean, nothing violating the decencies due to hu- 
man nature even in its degradation; and yet, O 
how full how deep how well adapted to indicate at 
least if it cannot express^ Hie most intense com- 
punction of the penitent heart ! 

Thus then does our service begin; with giving 
utterance to and thus increasing the penitential 
Awe with which the sinful child should come before 
his Holy Father. But then a change comes gra- 
dually on. The strain of sorrow is relieved by 
occasional notes of hope ; and there are sounds of 
pardon and absolving grace commingled with it; 
and from these steal forth the cheering suppli- 
cation " Our Father which art in heaven ;" and 
then comes the prayer of hopeful dependence 
" O Lord, open 7%oti our lips ;" till at last the very 
soul of Confidence is wakened up and bursts aloud 
into the chant of unchecked adoration, '* Glory 
be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy 
Ghost ! " " Praise ye the Lord ! The Lord's name 
be praised!/' And then the sister feelings, each 
now set free to run its course, go on together in 
linked harmony intertwining all their notes — ^now 
one prevailing now another, — ^now soft, now loud, 
now quick, now slow, — ^but the theme, the blessed 
theme! of Christian Devoutness still preserved 
throughout, and every string within the heart awak- 



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264 DBYOTIOKAL FELLOWSHIP. 

ened and every feeling touched through all its 
chords, till there is felt 

'* One life within us and around us, 
Rhythm in all thought, and joyance everywhere." 



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265 



CHAPTER III. 

DEVOUT £X£BCIS£S OF HEABT. 

By the heart, in this connexion, I mean the seat 
of those emotions which are stirred within us by 
the sense of personal interest and well-being ; — the 
pleasure of possessing, and the pain of being with- 
out, a seeming good ; the hopes and fears of future 
advantage or disadvantage, and all the joys and 
sorrows which accompany their excitement. These 
emotions in the irreligious man are vivid and un- 
ruly in proportion to the natural temperament, and 
they exhaust the energies on the unsatisfactory and 
ever-changing objects of a transitory world. But 
it is the privilege of the Christian to reduce all 
their fluctuations under the moderating influence 
of faith in God. It is one great element of Piety 
to exercise Dependence on our Father's care, and 
by reo(^ition of his all-pervading and controlling 
hand to possess our souls in patience. And this 
essential element of the Spiritual life must be 
nourished by that 'Sprayer and supplication with 
thanksgiving" which stills the beatings of the foolish 



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266 DEYOUT EXBBCISSS OF HEABT. 

heart by ''making known onr requests to God," 
and leaving them with him to be decided on ac- 
cording to his wisdom ; which consists therefore not 
merely in a meditatiye recognition and enjoyment of 
His presence, but in a habit of referring aU things 
up to his disposal and of waiting on him daily with 
a child-like trust. 

Now of all the pure fresh feelings of early youth 
which make us love to look upon it, and which sus- 
tain our reverence and affection for human nature 
notwithstanding its corruption, the most eng^^in^ 
is that simplicity of Trust, that ready unreAeeling 
Dependence, which we see a child repose upon a 
Parent's love and a Parent's care. To feel a sorrow 
and to conmiunicate that sorrow to its Father's 
ear, to experience a want and to bring that want 
to be relieved by its Father's hand, are to the 
simple child simultaneous movements of the heart. 
It knows itself only in connexion with its Father ; 
it has no exf&nence of pain or pleasure that does 
not centre itself in him ; it looks up to him fiar 
explanation of every difficulty, flies to him in every 
danger, rests on him with quiet confidence in his 
power to protect, and folded in his arms can 
look round with a steady eye upon a threatening 
world. 

But as a little child towards its Father, so is the 
Christian privileged to feel towards God. " Piety," 



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BSYOVT BXSBCISB8 OF HEABT. 267 

observes the Swiss Reformer, Zwingle, *' is a word 
applied as well between parents and their children 
as between Qod and man. And that adherence of 
ike heart by which a man relies without wavering 
on Qod as the only good who alone can soothe his 
sorrows, alone avert from him all evils or turn them 
to his good, and thus regards him as a Father, this 
is piety ; this is religion." And Prayer therefore 
as the exercise and thereby the nourishment, of 
Piety, consists, in the first place, in referring up to 
Ood all our sorrows and our joys. 

For the essence of Devoutness consists in recog- 
nizing Qod as working all in all. Not only as pre- 
sent with all tlungs and the groimd of their being ; 
nor as actuating all things by his universal life ; 
but as the Ordainer and Controller the sovereign 
disposer of every event. No event we are sure can 
happen, no more than any being can exist, but by 
his permission and appointment; not a sparrow 
Iklleth to the ground without our Father. And con- 
sequently whatever be the various appearances of 
things to the human eye, they are aU essentially 
wise and good ; the rays of light may take a thou- 
sand colours and shades of colour from the surfaces 
they fell upon ; but they are all alike pure colour- 
less emanations from the bounteous Sun. True this 
is a mysterious &ct. But the child of Qod has 
learned to live by faith and not by sight, and 



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268 BBYOXTT BXEECISES OF HSABT. 

therefore he is satisfied with knowing that so 
it is. 

And it is practically necessary to him that he 
should believe this. He cannot do without it. The 
doctrine of a God is nothing to his peace without 
this. He must refer every event to God*s appoint- 
ment, or he cannot escape despondency in trouble 
and presumption in prosperity.* If from any other 
source than from my Father comes the calamity 
which pains me, I must crouch down under it in 
despair. If from any other source than from my Father 
comes the prosperity which exhilarates me, I shall 
give back to liiat source the homage of my praise. 
If there is more than one ultimate cause of all events 
then is there more than one independent being ; and 
to more than one the hopes and fears of a dependent 
creature must direct themselves. But the Christian 
has turned from idols to serve the living and true 
God; he has ceased to stop at secondary causes 
because he has had revealed to him the Great First 
Cause ; to him there is but One God the Father, of 
whom are all things and we in him ; and therefore 
he receives his sorrow and his joy as sent by Him, 
and Him alone. 

* It has been my rule to make every person and thing 
-which has acted on my natural feeling a subject of daily 
prayer ; and you cannot think what tenderness, what peace 
and comfort have ensued.-— Bev. H. Witht. 



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DBYOXTT EXBBCISB8 OF HEABT. 269 

Ibid hence his warrant for prayer and praise. 
All snpplicatory prayer has no basis but the &et 
of the particular immediate all-directing and con- 
trolling Providence of God. Only as we recognize 
the hand of God shall we lay hold of it. Only 
as we see him everywhere shall we depend upon 
him everywhere, and rejoice in him everywhere. 
The mode of his presence and control is indeed, and 
ever must be, &r beyond our ken, but the /act of it 
we must believe, or prayer is a dehision and thanks- 
giving but an empty fbrm. 

Does then seeming evil press upon the Christian ? 
He recognizes it as coming from hw Father, and 
therefore he believes it to be real good. He learns 
from Jeremiah that '*out of the mouth of the 
Most High proeeedeth both evil and good ;*' and 
from Isaiah that '' He forms the light and creates 
darkness, He makes peace and creates evil ; He, the 
Lord, doeth all these things." He asks with Job 
** Shall we receive good at the hand of Qod, and 
shall we not receive evil ?" And ther^ore he ex- 
claims like him ^'The Lord gave and the Lord 
hath taken away— blessed be the name of the Lord !'* 
Even as the tempest and the earthquake and the 
thunderbolt are witnesses of God, as much as are 
the fruitful seasons and the rain from heaven which 
fill our hearts with food and gladness ; even as the 
cloudy pillar as well as the light of fire was a symbol 



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270 DEVOUT EXEBGISES OF HEABT. 

of his presence ; so through the darkest equally as the 
brightest atmosphere it is the Christian's privilege to 
behold his guiding and guardio^ God. And tlius 
Prayer becomes the utterance of implicit acqtdes- 
cence ; and its language is that of the Divine Suf- 
ferer — " The cup which my Father hath givon me, 
shall I not drink it ? " 

On the other hand, does Prosperity dilate the 
heart with joy ? That heart expands towards God — 
that joy breathes forth the incense of its adoration 
before the mercy seat. The Christian rises from ad- 
miration of the gift to gratitude towards the Giver. 
He passes through all secondary causes till his Ml 
heart reaches Him who has disposed and actuated all, 
and he exclaims ^' The Lord hath done great things 
for us, whereof we are glad !" *' Second causes," 
says Zwingle, " are rather means and imtrumenU^ 
than properly speaking oaueee. It is not really the 
earth that brings forth or the water that nourishes, 
the air that fertilizes or the fire that warms or the 
sun that animates ; but it is HE that is the source 
the life and the support of all things, who uses these 
various instruments and by them works their several 
effects. He feeds the varied fruits of the earth by 
the element of water ; refreshes fills and makes them 
grow by the air ; ripens and gives them beauty mel- 
lows and perfects them by the sun. When therefore 
we see the parent earth putting forth her com, the * 



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DEYOUT EXEBCISES OF HEABT. 271 

tree bearing \m fruit, the sun shedding Ught and 
warmth around, let us as much realize the hand of 
God ministering all these things to us, as we do 
that of a kind Father when we see him give a cluster 
of grapes to his beloved child." 

But not only so. Not only does the prayerful 
heart acquiesce in all its trials as God's appointment, 
and rejoice in all its blessings as God's gifts ; but 
along with and in each passing feeling of sorrow or 
of joy it maintains a sober waiting upon God, as un- 
chai^;eably the same amidst the various vicissitudes 
of life. The particular emotion, be it pleasurable 
or painftil, is almost merged — ^at least it is much mo- 
dified — ^inthe sense of general dependence on the 
never-fidling providence of God. Our feelings may 
vary but our convictions are constant. The lower 
heavens may be clear or may be cloudy, and we 
must necessarily feel the difference ; but the upper 
are eternally serene. The light of the sun may be 
withdrawn and then a gloom comes over us ; or it 
may shine forth brilliantly and then we are full of 
joy ; but still, the life of the Sun, the vital warmth 
which streams from him unseen, remains enough for 
our existence in the darkest midnight even as in the 
brightest noon-day glory. Christian, forget not this. 
Think not that God is gone from you because he is 
shrouded from your sight. Rejoice indeed in his 
appearance, as an added blessing ; but despond not 



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272 DEVOITT EXEBCISSe OF HEART. 

at his seeming absence, for in Him you still do live 
and move. All events are transient and cbangeaUe 
as the hues of heaven,— one instant there is bright- 
ness, and another gloom ; and therefore be act 
greatly lifted up in the moment of prosperity^ nor 
oast down in the hour of adversity ; but in both 
alike remember whence result the shadows as well 
as the lights which are so variously flung on every 
object, and wait on Him who is 'Hhe Father of 
lights, with whom is no variableness neither shadow 
of turning, " 

But dependent prayer consists secondly, in laying 
he/ore God our fears and hopes. For it reieTB to 
God the future as well as the present. Our antici- 
pated pains and pleasures as well as our experi^iced 
ones, it moderates and sanctifies by the thought of 
God. We cannot but look onward to the future 
with various emotions. It is the prerogative of 
mind to look before as well as aflfcer, to crowd the 
present with conceptions of the i^ture as well as 
of the past, to try and sum the series of coming 
events. But those events can never be correctly 
calculated. We know not the law of their progres- 
sion. We can only conjecture &om existing causes 
probable results. We can but hope or fear. And 
O how miserable is that mind which has to bear 
and balance these conflicting and continually fluc- 
tuating feelings, by itself alone ! which is ever wan- 



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DEVOUT EXERCISES OF HEART. 273 

dering in the uncertain region of the probable, and 
aceording to its present tinge looks out, with san- 
guine expectation or with gloomy dread upon the 
dim expanse of things to come ! We may seem to 
see the future stretching out before us ; but who 
can trust in his ability to direct his course therein 
aright ? We are hurryii^ onward down the current 
of events and launching out into an unknown sea, 
without a pilot and without a chart. And what 
then can men do without a spirit of dependence upon 
God ? How can they brave, with nothing but their 
own short-sighted plans and puny power, the dan- 
gers of that imtried ocean ! I do confess I cannot 
understand how peace can be maintained a moment 
without that waiting upon God, that simple leaving 
matters in his hands, which is exercised and nourished 
in dependent Prayer. Prayer takes the several anti- 
cipations which disturb us, and teUs them out to God. 
Prayer goes up to his presence as Hezekiah went 
into the temple with the threatenings of Senna- 
cherib, and spreads them before the Lord. And 
thus prayer devolves our burden upon God, in the 
certain confidence that he will sustain it. ** Take 
no thought for the morrow," says our Divine Master, 
" for the morrow shall take thought for the things of 
itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." 
For our duties indeed, prospective as well as imme- 
diate, we should be continually taking thought ( for 



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274 DKVOTTT EXERCISES OF HEABT. 

virtue is deliberation, and is made up of circuni- 
spection and foresiglit), but not for all the 
possible events which our teeming imagination 
may suggest to us. Duties are ours, and there- 
fore we must consider and provide for them. 
But events are God's, and therefore we may thank- 
fully leave them in his hands. 

And Prayer enables us to do this. It makes man 
and things recede, and it brings forward God. It 
changes the alarmed inquiry, What shall I do here- 
after ? into the submissive question. What wilt Thou 
have me to do now? It turns our thoughts from 
wearyipg conjecture to hopeful action. It draws 
the curtain over the undistinguishable prospect and 
brings us to sit down and wait for its dearing up ; 
wait peacefully, because it is not chance which is at 
work but God ; wait patiently, because his work he 
will accomplish in his time. He will make all things 
work together for good to them that love him. He 
will bring the blind by a way they have not known. 
He will make darkness light before them and 
crooked things stra^ht. Christian reader, be not 
curious about the future, but commit your way mito 
the Lord and he shall bring it to pass. Trust him 
for whatever interests you — ^your health, your com- 
fort, your support, your family, your friends, your 
reputation, and your life. Be not dismayed by the 
shadows of coming evil. Even what seems to you 



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DEVOUT EXEBCISES OF HEABT. 275 

unavoidable is but a small part (O how iaconceivably 
small !) of God^s whole purpose towards you. You 
look out only on the immediate future ; and you 
forget the infinite futures which stretch on behind 
that future. You see before you perhaps necessary 
effects of now existing causes; but you consider 
not that those effects will in their turn become 
■ causes of still subsequent effects, which may be alto- 
gether of a different character. Events must never 
be estimated in themselves alone but in their re- 
lations, their innumerable ramifications, their inter- 
minable sequences. But those relations are every 
moment changing. God is every instant modify- 
ing them. And therefore an occurrence which to-day 
lowers upon us as an evil, we may see to-morrow 
brightening up into a good. Out of the bitter 
root will spring the medicinal leaf or fragrant 
blossom. From the gloomy doud may fall the 
fructifying shower, and this i^n give place to 
the enHvening Sun. Besides — suppose certain se- 
quences of things to be indeed inevitable ; suppose 
that pious wisdom rightly calculates concemuig 
them and that they will come. They will not, and 
they cannot, come exactly ets they now present them- 
selves to our imagination. We are looking only on 
one class of objects, all modified and coloured by 
our present humour; but they will be surrounded 
when they come and thereby be modified, by un- 



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276 DEVOUT EXERCISES OP HEABT. 

imaginable other objects. We calculate on meetmg 
them with the feeling which oppresses us at present ; 
but we forget that we ourselves are changeabie, 
and that our state of mind in actual contact wilii 
the future may be altogether different from that 
with which we are now anticipating it. Above all 
we are looking at them as distinct from God ; let 
loose to work their fury on us at their will ; ci^reer- 
ing in the imtamed wildness of tumultuous chance : 
but what does faith assure to us ? what wiU prayer 
enable us to feel ? what will the spirit of a trustful 
and a hopeM child be satisfied of? That when 
they do come, (xcd also will come with them ; grasp 
them in his mighty hand; adjust them by his 
wisdom ; turn them at his gracious will ; ride on the 
whirlwind and direct the storm ! 

And therefore thirdly, a yet higher spirit of de- 
pendent prayer will be the general commendation of 
ourselves into the hands of God. All reference to 
him of our occasional joys or sorrows, all taking up 
to him particular hopes or fears, will form in us an 
habitual sense of being not alone for our Father is 
with us ; an habitual conviction (and O how mar- 
vellous a one it is !) 

** that we and our affairs 

Are part of a Jehovah's cares/* 

For there are many moods of mind in which both 
pleasure and pain and fear and hope exert but Httl6 



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DEVOUT EXEBGISES OF HEABT. 277 

iaflueuce on us ; in which the spirit inclines but little 
towards the past or future but seems balanced in 
itself; in which we feel with David " Whom have I 
in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that 
I desire in comparison with thee !" — " The Lord is 
my portion, saith my soul !" This feeling, in pro- 
portion as it becomes habitual to us, affords not only 
a remedy but a preventive of anxiety. It does not 
merely restore, it preserves the balance of the mind. 
Just as we are conscious of reliance on a friend 
even when not obliged to ask his help ; just as we 
turn instinctively to him at the first glimpse of neces- 
sity, and thus the earliest movements of alarm are 
quelled ; so the thought of God our Father affords 
to the habitually dependent mind the gravitating 
influence, which retains the struggling imaginations 
in their proper orbit and prevents their rushing 
onwards through infinity. I'his is to " pray without 
ceasing." This is what St. Paul refers to as the 
Christian's grand support, in that perplexed condition 
of mind in which desire and supplication hope and 
fear are silenced by the very impossibility of con- 
jecturing what may be the will of God, when he 
teUs the Romans, " The Spirit also helpeth our infir- 
mities, for we know not what to pray for as we 
ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for 
us with groanings which cannot be uttered ; " that is, 
with secret undeveloped aspirations, with thoughts 



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278 DEVdUT EXEBCISES OF HEAST. 

too deep for words. When conception fails us, and 
mental life cannot express itself in verbal forms ; 
when the spirit retires from the images of sense and 
the creations of fisincy and all the workings of the 
understanding, deep into itself ; has nothing specific 
to ask because it feels its utter inability to form a 
definite wish ; lies passive in those everlasting arms 
which it is sensible are underneath it ; and breathes 
out simply " Into thy hands I commend myself, for 
thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, thou God of 
truth ;" O this is the sabbath of the soul ! this is 
" waiting on the God of our salvation all the day !*' 
This is Faith — Faith in its highest power and 
noblest exercise ; which asks not a disclosure of the 
future but is satisfied with having no one object 
visible but God ; which desires no clearer vision of 
the distant shore but looks forth on the vast un- 
varied ocean of futurity, calm and hopeful though 
not a speck may be distinguished on it, nay though 
clouds and darkness rest upon it, assured that over 
the abyss the Spirit of love and life sits brooding. 
O for this sacred calm of soul! this holy hush of 
the collected mind ! this losing of our petty self in 
the immensity of being, and reclining on the bosom 
of the Infinite with this one single feeling, " I wait 
upon the Lord, — my soul doth wait ! " 



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279 



CHAPTER IV. 

DEVOUT EXERCISES OF WILL 

We have seen already that there can be no true 
Piety which does not affect the Will, nay have its 
seat and throne in the Will, renewing it into har- 
mony with the will of God. We cannot conceive a 
child of God having a will at variance with his 
Father's will, or even indifferent thereto. There 
can be no true delight in God*s presence, nor de- 
pendence on his help, where there is not also devo- 
tion to his service. He that has received the spirit 
of adoption at all, must have received it, however 
feeble in degree yet complete in kind. He must 
possess therefore with whatever fluctuations, a gene- 
ral desire and purpose to honour God's name, to 
walk worthy of Him who has called him to his 
kingdom and glory, and to become perfect as his 
Father which is in heaven is perfect. In a word, 
to use the expression of our Lord concerning his 
Apostles, (Matt. xxvi. 41,) *' his spirit must be will- 
ing '' — ^his purposes must cordially harmonize with 
those of God and he must be ready to do his will. 
It was so with those Disciples even amidst their 
heedlessness their rashness their ignorance of 



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280 DEVOUT EXEKCI8E8 OP WILL. 

themselves and their dulness towards the warn- 
ings of their master. They had no treacMery of 
heart towards him (as, alas ! the absent Judas bad), 
but meant all that they said when they exdbimed, 
'' Though we should die with thee yet will we not 
deny thee.'' And so will it be with all who aze 
'' transformed by the renewing of their mind, that 
they may prove what is the good and aoeeptable 
and perfect will of God.'* 

But then with this ** spirit which is willing," 
there is still about the Christian '* the flesh whioh 
is weak;" — the prejudices preferences appetites 
and passions of his old and lower nature ; and tiiese 
are continually opposing his new and higher pur- 
pose, seeking to mislead it to enfeeble it or at least 
to clog its efforts. We see this in those same 
Disciples. The very men who were at one moment 
full of generous zeal for their Divine Master are soon 
found ** sleeping, for their eyes were heavy !" The 
very Apostle who now is ready to go with his Lord 
to prison and to death is within the hour forsaking 
him and flying ; nay shrinking from the mention of 
his name ; nay protesting with an oath, '' I do not 
know the man !'' llie best intentions are for- 
gotten ; the most dilated zeal collapses to a point ; 
the most resolute determinations have slunk away ; 
the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. And 
who does not confess that so it is with every 
Christian ? Who is not compelled to cry continually 



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DBVOUT EXEBCI8ES OP WILL. 281 

with bitter self-reproach, '^ The things that I Would 
I do not, and the things that I would not those 
I dor 

Here therefore we perceive the strong necessity 
of Prayer, as a means of exercising and thereby 
strengthening the Will. It was to this] that Jesus 
directed his Disciples as their great preservatiTe in 
the coming trial — '* Watch and pray, that ye 'Renter 
not into temptation." He knew their willing spirit 
ai^ he loved them. But he knew too their weaker 
flesh and he was fearful for them. He endeavours 
therefore to arouse them to a sense of their spiritual 
danger, and to the earnest seeking of that divine 
strength without which they must fall. And here* 
in does he teach us that in Prayer lies all moral 
power. By constant bringing of our will under 
the eye and influence of Gk>d must we reduce it into 
harmony with His. 

And this, Prayer enables us to do by settling our 
judgment of what is the wiU of God in each parti- 
cular case. However honest our desire to please 
our heavenly Father, we are continually in danger 
of mistake concerning what will please him. The 
general principles of God*s will are it is true set 
forth by him in his Holy Word, and enforced by 
the responsive voice of his Spirit in the heart. 
But when we come to act out the details of duty, 
we are in danger either oi forgetting those prin- 
ciples, through the prevalence of a crowd of selfish 



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282 DEVOUT £X£BCIS£S OF WILI.. 

worldly maxims of the Understanding wliich judges 
not according to the grand ideas of Faith but accord- 
ing to the mean suggestions of Sense, not according 
to the Distant and Unseen but according to the 
Visible and Immediate ; or oimUapplymg tliose prin- 
ciples, through the perplexity and ignorance of thia 
same understanding which can only judge according 
to the evidence, obscure and meagre nay conflicting 
though it be, which may be brought before it ; and 
which therefore leads us into many an evil path and 
involves us in a thousand errors, before we are aware. 
It is therefore one thing to have a will for God, and 
quite another to have this will sufficiently predotm- 
nant above all other wills, and sufficiently enliffktened 
when predominant to direct our steps ar^t. 

Now here our remedy is Prayer. Prayer, which 
does not merely seek for strength to execute our 
judgment (for that judgment may be wrong) ; but 
lays it open before God, that in his presence and 
with reference to his promised guidance we may 
form and settle that judgment. We are in danger 
of being hurried along by the conclusions— the 
rash perhaps and passionate conclusions— of the 
Understanding. Prayer brings us to a pause^ that 
we may recollect What saith the Lord f We are 
tossed perhaps upon a sea of troubles ; our prospect 
overcast, our land-marks gone, our reckoning at 
fault. Prayer runs to the compass and the chart 
which God has given us, to find in what direction 



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DEY017T EXBBCISES OF WILI.. 283 

we must steer. We are wavering between divw- 
gent trains of thought, each beckoning us in turn 
along its course. Prayer discloses some new object 
which at once decides their relative correctness. 
Prayer saves us from the judgment of our solitary 
self by reminding us of another than ourself, and 
of the Judgment of that other, to modify our own. 
** Prayer," says Bishop Wilberforoe,* ^* brings us near 
to Him ; and of his infinite condescension brings 
Him near to us. In Prayer, in real hearty earnest 
prayer, all things around us are set in their proper 
places. The earth and its interests shrink into their 
real insignificance. Time, and all its train of plea- 
sures pains shame poverty honour and riches, what 
are these to one whose eye is on the great white 
tiirone, before whom lies the awful book of judg- 
ment, who sees heaven opened and Jesus standing on 
the right hand of God ?*' Who has not experienced 
the advantage of considering, in cases of perplexity. 
What would such or such a revered Friend think 
of this matter ? How would his mind, untroubled 
by the personal considerations which disturb my 
own, decide ? And what then is the privilege 
of thus referring to the mind of God f of waiting, 
with a growing sense of his immediate .presence, 
for that calm serenity in which the slightest whis- 
per of the conscience may be heard ! In the very 

* Ordination Sermon at Oxford, Dec. i846. 



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284 DEVOUT EXEBCISES OF WILI.. 

act of such re-arguing the case before, th/e quiet 
view of his piercing eye, our mind is gradually 
purifying ; all that is earthly sinks away ; all that 
is heavenly streams into the consciousness ; our 
subtle lusts slink off like unclean spirits at the oom- 
ing dawn ; our holier principles start up firom their 
sleep ; we find ourselves impelled against ourselves 
into another judgment ; and yet are conscious and 
are confident that this other is a better, and the 
right one. We have passed from the twilight of 
the Understanding into the noon of Reason, and 
Reason we feel is none other than the light of CM. 

*• Whene'er the mfist that stands *twixt God and thee 
Defecates to a pure transparency, 
That intercepts no Ught, and adds no stain — 
There Reason is, and then begins her reign ! " 

Nay, more than this. Prayer is not onlj medi- 
tation on our purposes under Qod's all-purifying 
eye ; it is the communicating to him our inmost 
mind, spreading before him all our circumstances, 
recapitulating our reasonings, discoursing with him 
on our plans. And who knows not the value of dis- 
course to modify what was crude and arbitrary, to 
clear up what was confused, to bring out otir con- 
clusions , clean and sharp ? •' Whosoever," says 
Lord Bacon, *'hath his mind fraught with many 
thoughts, his wits and understanding do clarify 
and break up in the communicating and discours- 
ing with another. He tosseth his thoughts more 



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DEVOUT EXEKCISES OP WILL. 285 

easily, he marshalleth them more orderly, he seeth 
how they look when they are turned into words, 
and he waxeth wiser than himself, often more by 
an hour's discourse than by a day's meditation/' 
Dear Christian Reader, would you ** wax wiser than 
yourself" from day to day? Discourse with God 
in prayer ! Submit to him your decisions. Talk 
with him of your purposes. Pray that by the 
influences of his Spirit you may have " a right 
judgment in all things. " Beseech him so to '^ cleanse 
the thoughts of your heart by the inspiration of 
His Holy Spirit that you may perfectly love him 
and worthily magnify his holy name." Entreat that 
you may be *' fiUed with the knowledge of his will 
in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that you 
may walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, 
being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in 
the knowle<%e of God. " 

But Prayer influences the Will, further, by 
strenffihming our Determination to do the will of God 
when known. The willing spirit may exist but 
it may be dtdl and languid. It may clearly see 
its path but it may not be alert to enter vigorously 
upon that path. It requires to be roused and 
animated and propelled — ^to pass from being well 
inolined to being steadily determined to the service 
of God. 

And this determination it obtains in Prayer. For 
Prayer not only brings the will of God distinct and 



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286 DETOtrX EXKBCIflBS OF WII.I.. 

full before the mind, but it stimulates the heart to 
embrace that will and deTote itself to it» aecom- 
plishment. For who can look on sin without ab* 
horrence, when he views it in the light of God's 
own countenance ? Who can lodiL on holiness 
without a yearning for its full possession and a 
deep resolye for its pursuit, when he gazes steadily 
on its surpassing beauty ? We cannot purpose 
evily we cannot but resolve for good, when we be- 
hold them as they are, in prayer. And hence the 
saying of the old divines that Prayer will make men 
give over sinning, or sinning will make them give 
over prayer. The two states of mind — as prolcmged 
and settled states — are inc(»npatible. We cannot 
'* think upon " the things that are true and venerable 
and just and pure and lovely and of good report, 
without being won and carried away by them. The 
glow of admiration kindles into love, and love bursts 
forth into determination, and we go away fixnn the 
presence of the Lord instinct with vigour in His 
cause, hock only at the contrast between those 
poor disciples, who with all their willingnesja of 
spirit neglected the admonition of their Lord and 
did not give themselves to Prayer, and the Holy 
Jesus who sought therein the life and power of 
God. As the last great trial drew nearer to him, 
he drew nearer to his Father. Once and twice 
and thrice he brought the fluctuating emotions of 
humanity under the assuaging influence of the Idea 



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BEY017T EXBBCISES OF WILL. 287 

which formed the Hying principle of his existence* 
and renewed and re-invigorated that Idea by imme- 
diate communing with God, till Qod's will alone pos- 
sessed his soul ; Qod's will breathed and burned in 
the very centre of his consciousness ; subordinated 
every other thought into entire harmony of action 
with itself; and brought him back in calm untrou- 
bled majesty — in himself collected — saying to his 
astonished disciples, ''Rise, let us be going ; behold, 
he is at hand that doth betray me." 

And thi»— something at least like this--»is the 
effect of Prayer upon the will of those who bring it 
in its weakness to be inspired with power from hea- 
ven. What we have not in ourselves the Spirit of 
God supplies ; and we gain more strength from 
prostrate supplication than from all the arguments 
and efforts that human ingenuity can devise. By 
the thot^hts awakened in the mind and the feel- 
ings stirred within the heart amidst the awfulness 
of Prayer, the Holy Ghost descends into the will» 
and turns it withersoever it should go and nerves 
it to high purposes and noble deeds. " In prayer" 
(I quote again the living and life-breathing testimony 
of the Bishop of Oxford), '* our minds are armed for 
the coming temptations of the day ; they are cooled, 
refreshed, and calmed after its vexations fetigues 
and anxiety. In it we can, even whilst compassed 
with infirmities, bring our own crooked or withered 
will into His presence who is the healer ; and whose 



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288 DETOTTT EXEKCI8E8 OF WILL. 

word of power shall restore the shrunken saaews to 
their vigour and make him straight whom long in- 
firmity had bowed down." And thus do we become 
strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. 
We are strengthened with might by his Spirit 
in the inner man. We find him doing exoeediiig 
abundantly above all that we ask or think, by His 
power working in us. We labour, striving according 
to his working which worketh in ns mightily. We 
can do all things through Christ which strengdi- 
eneth us. It is in Spirit that all power resides, 
throughout the Universe. Matter is weak, inert, 
passive, instrumental only. Spirit alone originates 
all change, is active, mighty, causative. And what 
then is the power of The Spibit ! What the 
strength to be derived into our will from His holy 
inspiration! Is it not as a cordial circulating 
throt^h the frame ? Brings it not secret refresh- 
ings which repair the strength, and fainting spirits 
uphold? Do we not awake by it as one out of 
sleep, and like a giant refreshed with wine ? With 
our purpose clear before us and our hearts set firmly 
on that purpose, what can we not achieve for Him 
who loveth us and whom we love ? 

We see what such a spirit can achieve when 
it enabled Abraham to ofibr up his only son ; and 
Moses to brave the wrath of Pharaoh ; and Elijah 
to present himself before the cruel Ahab; and 
Shadrach Meshach and Abednego to refrusie to 



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DEVOUT EXBRGIS£8 OF WIIiI.. * 289 

wQvM^ the golden image ; and Daniel to continue 
kneeling on his knees, giving thanks to God and 
pnuf ing as aforetime. We see what it could do for 
Peter and John when they declared, *' We cannot 
bui «peak the tilings which we have seen and 
heard;" and for Paul when he eziaimed to the 
bvethxen, " I am ready, not to be bound only but 
to di& for the name of the Lord Jesus ;" and when 
at his first answer before Caesar ^' no man stood 
with him but all men forsook him ; notwithstanding 
the Lord stood with him and strengthened himJ^ 
We see it in the glorious company of the Apostles 
and the goodly fellowship of the Prophets and the 
nolde army of Martyrs ; in '' Gideon and Barak and 
Samson and Jephtha, in David also and Samuel, 
who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought 
nghteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths 
of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped 
the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made 
strong, waxed valiant in fight, put to flight the 
armies of the aliens.'' God's strength perfected 
in human weakness — this has been the wondrous 
£Mit exhibited in every age, in all who have sought 
the Grace of God in prayer. If we drink in 
thereby the Spirit of God we cannot but do the 
things of God ; for that Spirit is quick and active 
and must work; that Spirit is holy and must 
work holily ; that Spirit is mighty and mudt work 
mightily. " He that is devout," says Bishop Tay- 



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200 BEYOtTT EXEBCI8S8 OF WII.I<. 

lor, '* besides that he prays frequently, he ^i^lils 
in it as it is a conversation with God ; he rqjcnees 
in God, and esteems him the light of has. i^^es 
and the support of his confidence, the oljeQt <^ bis 
love and the desire of his heart ; the msm i# ^d»- 
easy but when he does God service ; and his so«l is 
at peace and rest when he does what may be ae- 
cepted. And therefore, if you can but on^ lAtam 
delight in prayer, and to long for the time of cchd- 
munion, and to be pleased with holy me$^»tioA, 
and to desire God's grace with great paasion; if 
you can delight in God's love, and consid^ ccnu- 
coming his providence, and busy yourselves in the 
pursuit of the a£[kirs of his kingdom, then you have 
the grace of devotion and t/our evil nature nhsM he 
cured.** 

Thus then we have seen the benefit of Prayer, 
in the widest meaning oi^ the term, as the means 
of exercising all the powers of the soul and there- 
by nourishing the Spiritual Life ; as enaUing the 
Mind to realize and enjoy the presence of God, 
the Heart to depend on him in every change, ipid 
the Will to coincide and co-operate wil^ his. 
Prayer imbues our own thoughts with the thought 
of God. It delivers us from all anxiety about the 
absence of a seeming good or the presence of a 
seeming evil. It gives us courage to bear the want 
of what our Father withholds from us and the pres- 
sure of what our Father puts upon 'tis. It raises 



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DSVOUT EXERCISES OF WILI». 291 

US above the flactuataons of human fear and human 
hope. It subdues our will into conformity with 
God's will. It developes in us powers that are di- 
vine. It strengthens us to act on every occasion as 
becometh those on whom the eye of God is fixed, 
and to whom the honour of the highest is entrusted. 
To think of God as the Creator amidst all our awe 
of the universe, to confide in him as the Sovereign 
Ruler amidst all the changes of the world, to follow 
him &s the only Guide amidst all the allurements 
of earth ; in prosperity to praise Him, in adversity 
to trust in Him ; amidst our diligence to glorify him 
for his help, and in our weakness to believe that he 
can work in us ell the pleasure of his goodness ; this 
is to live in Prayer, to grow by Prayer, to be- 
come transformed by Prayer into our Father's 
image, till at last we shall be fully like him and 
shall see him as he is. O Thou Author of all godli- 
ness, without whom nothing is strong nothing is 
holy, work ITmu this transformation in our hearts ! 
Use ITiou this book for the purposes of thy grace ! 
Quicken, awaken, nourish by it in many a soul the 
life divine — ^and thus stablish our hearts unblame- 
able in holiness before Thee our Father at the 
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints ! 

THE END. 



Printed at the Operative Jewish Converts' Institution, Palestine Place, 
Bethnal Green, London. 



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^ y ^ r 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR. 



LIVE WHILE YOU LIVE. Scripture Views of Human 
life. For YouBg Persons. Sixth Edition. 2«. M, doth. 

THE LOKD'S PRAYER, contemplated as the Expression 
of the Primary Elements of Devoutness. A Help to 
Devotion. Second Edition. Fcap. 8vo. olotii. 3<. 6t2. 

SERMONS preached in St. James's Chapel, Ryde. 
Second Edition. Fcap. 8vo. 8«. doth. 

CONFIRMATION AND THE B-^TISMAL VOW: 

for Catechumens, Communicants, Parents, and Sponsors. 
Fourth Edition. Fcap, Svo. 3«. M, cloth. 

CONFIRMATION : its Nature, Importance, and Benefits. 
Fifth Edition, ^d, or 3«. 6e?. a dozen. 

THE LORD'S SUPPER: its Nature, Requirements, 
Benefits. Third Edition. Fcap. Svo. 2«. 6rf. in cloth. 

PRACTICAL HELPS FOR COMMUNICANTS. M, 

CHRISTIAN LOYALTY. An Accession Sermon. Svo. 1». 

A PRESENT FOR THE AFFLICTED. Third Edition. 
M, cloth ; 1«. half-bound. 

OUR BAPTISMAL STANDING; its Privileges and 
Responsibilities practically considered. A present for 
those who have been confirmed. Svo. 1«. M, . 



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