« PreviousContinue »
' And now, what is the fruit of all that has been done? In what state do I actually find your soul, now that I require it at your hands? This is at last the test whicli must decide the point in question. The way in which you have managed your stewardship, will best appear from the simple fact of what your soul now is. Is it pure and holy, dead to sin, and alive unto God, made ready for heaven, for living in the presence of God, and in the company of saints and angels: "a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work?"* This is the state in which I expect to find your soul. This is the state in which, if you have faithfully improved your talents, I shall find it. Do I find it thus? Is such the state of your soul in this great and solemn day of account?
My brethren, I know not what reply you will make to these inquiries in that greatday. God grant! you may be able to shew that you have been faithful to your trust, and so may deliver up your account with joy! But remember, that you can never do this, unless you now give diligence to make " your calling and election sure.”+ Opportunities lost, and talents wasted, must
* 2 Tim. ii. 21.
+ 2 Peter, i, 10.
lead to shame and misery. Time is flying away on a swift wing. Every day which passes over
our heads is swelling the amount of that long reckoning, which we must hereafter give. Let us lay these things to heart, and live with this truth ever in our minds, that or after death cometh the Judgment."
* Heb. ix. 27.
SCRIPTURAL VIEW OF TRUE RELIGION.
GALATIANS, vi. 15. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision
availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision,
but a new creature. TRUE Religion is to us " the one thing needful :' for without it we can have no real peace in this world, nor any happiness in the next. It is then of the highest importance to us, to have right notions of religion ; to know what it is, and in what it is placed. And this is the more necessary, because there are so many mistakes on the subject; because there are so many things which pass for religion, when in fact they are very far from being what they pretend to be. In this view the text is particularly useful: for it gives in few words a description of what we are so greatly, concerned to know
" In CHRIST Jesus," that is, in the Christian religion, which is the only true religion, what alone " availeth any thing ;" what is of any value, or proves that we have any share in the blessings of the gospel, is " not circumcision nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” In this passage we may consider the apostle as pointing out to us two things,
1. What true Religion is not.
1. True religion is not circumcision nor uncircumcision."! Circumcision was a Jewish sacrament. It was the rite appointed by GOD as the door into the Jewish church. It was the sign and seal of his covenant; and under that dispensation the distinguishing outward mark of his people. So long therefore as the Jewish church and dispensation lasted, this ordinance could not be neglected by any, who would be truly religious. Though even then the mere performance of the ceremony did not make men religious ; much less did it form the whole of true religion. But the gospel, when it came, put an end to the ceremonial law. The Christian church came in the place of the Jewish church. And the sacrament of baptism was appointed by Cbrist as the door into the Christian co