« הקודםהמשך »
to be for ever, with him; and if our daily walk bears witness to the sincerity of this our profession : then we may read these beautiful Epistles, as if they were addressed to ourselves, and take all the promises of forgiveness, reconciliation, strength, and consolation which are contained in them to our personal comfort; and in the fulness of faith, and hope, and charity, rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
The praising Christian is the happy Christian. God wills the happiness of his people, and is Himself the source of their happiness.
The heart of St. Paul was peculiarly susceptible of grateful emotions. Divine grace shone forth with such a loveliness in all his actions, as renders the contemplation of his character and experience most interesting to the Christian mind.
Let us hear some of his sweet accents of praise, as expressed to the churches which he had been instrumental in forming, in the midst of idolatrous abominations.
To the Christians at Rome: “I thank my God, through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world ?”
To the Corinthians : " I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ."
To the Philippians: “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, for your fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now.”
To the Colossians: “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, since we
heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints.”
To the Thessalonians: “We give thanks to God always for you all, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father, knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth."
Having himself tasted the goodness of the Lord, the Apostle was delighted when he saw other
poor sinners led by the Spirit, to the same fountain of
grace What a happy feeling is holy gratitude, when it expands itself toward that Saviour whose bounty is ever affording fresh occasion for its rapturous
Those cold hearted Christians lose much spiritual enjoyment, who would exclude the exercise of the affections from their system of religion.
As some persons, through the corruption of their hearts, “turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, and others, let their passions run mad into the wilds of enthusiasm ; so many, to avoid these evils, as they think, oppose the glorious freeness of Gospel grace, and the lively exercise of sanctified affections. But, unless the affections of the heart be engaged, little progress will be made in the divine life, by the mere knowledge of the head. With the heart man believeth unto righteousness ; Christ dwells in the heart by faith.
True faith is not a cold assent of the understanding; it is a divine grace wrought in the heart by the Holy Ghost, which exercises the highest powers, and the best affections of the soul.
It unites the believer to Christ, works by love, and binds all the members of his mystical body together, by the indissoluble bond of charity.
Are we in possession of this Gospel grace? If not, are we seeking after it, with an earnestness which will ensure the blessing ? Faithful is he who hath promised, who also will do it. Jesus, who bids us ask, will never fail to bestow the gift which bis Spirit stirs us up to seek.
How encouraging are the words of David: “ Lord, thou hast heard the desire of tho poor; thou preparest their heart, and thine ear hearkeneth thereto."
THE PRAYERS OF ST. PAUL FOR THE CHRISTIAN
CONVERTS. HIS LABOUR TO PROMOTE THE STA-
EXERTIONS FOR THE POOR SAINTS IN JUDÆA.
THE heart of St. Paul glowed with holy love, and was ever sending forth its fervent aspirations to a throne of grace, in behalf of the objects of his affection.
He knew the value of prayer. To thanksgivings for the spiritual blessings imparted to the Gentile Christians, he added earnest supplications, that they might grow in grace and hold fast the beginning of their confidence, firm unto the end.
What a beautiful example of ministerial faithfulness is thus afforded by this tender-hearted shepherd, to all succeeding pastors in the Christian Church. How sublime and energetic, how full of life and unction, are the prayers which he poured out in behalf of those newly converted believers, to whom he wrote his Epistles.
He has left us a most invaluable specimen of that fervent prayer which availeth much. May
all who read these holy breathings of the Apostle, experience the fulness of the blessings which he so ardently implored for all the churches.
Being filled with the spirit of grace and supplication, he thus expressed the inward feelings of his heart: “I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him ; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right-hand in the heavenly places.
“For this cause, I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man ; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth and length, and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge, and in all judgment, that ye may approve things that are excel