« הקודםהמשך »
Poture of a Hüort relapsed into sin Mhich hus quered the holy pou l crucified the Lord ottory apresh.
It were better not to have known the way of rightevusness than after having known the holy commandment to turn from it. It is impossible for those who were once enlightened & have tasted the good word of God & the power of the world to come if they shall fall away, to renew them again."
Sketchet by M*Simon.
Dnwn by ZR.Smith
Engr. by P. Maverick
children of men was this fire prepared,-it was first kindled by the angels who abode not in the truth, but left their first estate; and who afterwards became the seducers of men. Every thing that infinite love could dictate has been done to ransom the children of men from the snare of the devil.
The foreknowledge of God enabled Him to know that comparatively few would submit to the terms of salvation, which is love to God, the love of an undivided heart and mind constraining to obedience: they will neither strive against sin, nor for holiness, in reliance on help from above; they will not cease from even the pious exercise of their own will, they will not give over their will unreservedly to the government of that invisible guide, like the wind felt but not seen.
Any thing that requires self-denial they refuse to acknowledge. Therefore the flock of Christ is a little flock. Few there be that follow Him, walking even as He walked."" You may have read and talked about the power of Christ to heal all manner of diseases, and yet for want of knowing the power of His name, through faith in it, you may, in a moral sense, retain a withered arm or a blind eye, when they might be healed by faith in His Word. If the diligent and industrious maketh rich in temporal things, how strictly analogous is the case in spiritual things. How could David say, “In thy Word I find great spoil,” if he had not also said, on “ Thy Law do I meditate day and night.”
Our Lord compares the Scriptures to a field wherein is hid much treasure, but having found it, they are required to sell all they have to call it their own.
It is a treasure whose value is not understood if it engross not the whole heart, soul, and mind. There is no neutral ground they that are not for, are against,—they that gather not to Christ, scatter abroad from Him.
Your Judge will never investigate the orthodoxy of your creed. He will not tolerate a dead faith, whether under the Popish or Protestant name. He will not inquire under what leader you rank yourself. Not arbitrary favouritism shall determine one class of the nations as the goats at his left, or the sheep at his right hand; their own actions will most righteously rank them to life or to death eternal.
Their love, or the want of it, to Him, expressed to his scattered flock, shall be made the separating cause.
This is the only safe ground from which to consider the election of grace and that reprobation to which the seed of the serpent are appointed most righteously.
From the judgment-seat of Christ look back on the two classes of character to which the same Light and truth were given ; the condemnation is in the rejection of it by one, and in the acceptance of it by another. In the language of the apostle be entreated to make your calling and election sure; “giving all diligence, to add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge temperance, to temperance patience, to patience godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, to brotherly kindness charity; for if such things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be unsound nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind and cannot see the end, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore rather, brethren, give diligence, to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things ye shall never fail ; for thus an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore I would not be negligent to put you always in mind of these things.” The latter clause of the apostolic injunction is. put in the form of a question : “Do you know these things ? Are you established in this truth ?”
THE HUMAN HEART.
This Heart exhibits that state of hopeless apostacy which is characterised in Holy Writ by the imagery of “ Trees twice dead, plucked up by the roots."
They have as it were trodden under foot the means which God had appointed for their salvation ; and they have done despite to His Spirit of grace.
66 There remains therefore no more sacrifice for sin, but a fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” It is impossible to renew them unto repentance again ; seeing they crucify afresh the Lord of Glory, and put Him to open shame. An expressive figure is used to illustrate this; “the earth which drinketh oft the rain that cometh upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for those who cultivate it, receiveth the blessing from God, but that which beareth thorns and briars is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned.”
Our Heavenly Teacher illustrated the hopeless condition of the backslider by a parable. The evil spirit which had been expelled by the momentary admission of the Spirit of Truth, is represented as going about seeking rest, and finding none (for the wicked cannot rest, but are like the sea whose surges cast up mire and dirt); he saith, I will return to the abode from whence I was expelled. The evil spirit well knew that if he should be admitted after the knowledge of Christ, he would have rest, for it would then be impossible to dislodge him.
The evil spirit seized a fit opportunity when the man was off his guard; he gained admittance to the heart which had formerly been his polluted habitation, but which was now empty, swept, and garnished. Not only its native evil passions were gone, but it was free from any trace of them; nay it was even adorned by some spiritual gifts and graces