صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

ber that "Christ has left us an example that we should follow his steps;" and poor and imperfect as will necessarily be our copy, still, if we would be his disciples indeed, our most strenuous endeavours must be put forth to effect it. Few among us are called to be teachers; but all have opportunities of benefiting the souls of others; and, the less our minds are encumbered with selfishness, the less they are occupied with our own bodily and mental feelings, the more free shall we be to discover and take advantage of those opportunities. Let us rouse ourselves from the perpetual contemplation of self, and we shall find ways of usefulness springing up around us, of which we have had hitherto no conception. We shall begin to perceive the vast influence, for good or for evil, that every human being has over his fellow creatures: we shall discover the irreparable injury a word lightly spoken, or an inconsiderate act, may cause to the soul of another. We shall become increasingly alive to our immense responsibilities, and in consequence more prayerful and watchful in our use of them. Less occupied with self, we shall also have leisure to cultivate that spiritual mind which draws instruction from all surrounding objects: we shall possess that healthful spirit which renders earthly things reminders of heavenly treasures. Then may we in some measure realize the sublime idea of the apostle, that "our conversation", or citizenship, is in heaven". I will conclude with the injunction of the same inspired apostle: "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus;" and then he proceeds to show what that mind was by the example of the Son of God, who, being equal with God, emptied himself of his glory, condescending to become man, and yet, humbling himself still further, became obedient unto death, even the ignominous death of the cross. May we be enabled to lay down our selfishness at the foot of his cross, who not only lived but died for us!


S. H.


THOUGH you cannot see Jesus, you can speak to him: you can pray. God has permitted, and even commanded us to do this. How great a privilege to be allowed to speak to God!" Call upon me in the day of trouble:" "Watch, and pray :" "Pray without ceasing." Prayer requires no fine, well-arranged sentences. The simplest utterance of your heart's desire is prayer. Those desires themselves, unbreathed, are prayer. You need not wait until you can enter a church to pray you may pray everywhere. And Jesus is always waiting for the prayers of poor sinners, so that not one ever escapes his notice. His ear is always open. It is difficult to speak to kings and princes: they can only be seen sometimes, and then only a few persons are permitted to come near them. But all may come with their petitions to Jesus, however poor and despised, and at all times too. Whatever good things you

* From "Come to Jesus." By Newman Hall, B.A. London: Snow.

want for the soul, pray; for pardon, for a new heart, for faith, for holiness, for comfort, pray. You cannot pray in vain. You may be sure of such prayers being answered. There are some things which even God cannot do. He cannot sin, and he cannot refuse to listen to a poor sinner's prayer; for he has promised. "Ask, and it shall be given you," said Jesus; and his word declares "he cannot deny himself." Be then encouraged to pray. However vile and helpless you think you are, you are not too bad to pray. Pray, if you can only utter such a petition as this: "Save, Lord, or I perish." Make a habit of prayer. Find some place where you can be alone. When thou pray est, enter into thy closet, and shut the door." Rise before the work of the day begins, that you may have time to pray. Lay open your heart before God. Tell him how vile and helpless and wretched you are. Confess your sins, and cry for pardon. Read the bible, and ask for that holiness which is commended there. Say, "Lord, I am ignorant: teach me. My heart is hard: soften it. Convert me by thy Holy Spirit. Help me to come to Jesus; to believe, love, and obey him. Save me from sin, and fit me for heaven." And let your heart throughout the day often ascend to God, even while engaged in your necessary labour. "Pray without ceasing." If the answer does not seem to come at once, pray on; and success is certain. A praying soul can never be lost. You cannot perish while you are calling upon Jesus, saying, "Have mercy upon me, a sinner."

It is wonderful that creatures so sinful as we are should be allowed to pray at all. When we consider what we are, and what God is, we may well tremble when we come to him, and fear lest he should reject us. But he has encouraged us to come, even with "boldness, to the throne of grace." This does not mean that we are to come without deep reverence and humility, but that we are to pray with a full persuasion that God will answer us. There are many examples of answers to prayer. Hezekiah prayed; and the army of Sennacherib was smitten with death. Elijah prayed; and fire came down to consume his sacrifice. The apostles prayed; and the Holy Ghost descended on them with miraculous gifts. The church prayed; and Peter was delivered from prison by an angel. We are not to expect that all we ask for respecting this life will be given us; for we often desire what would do us harm. We may be sure, however, that God will give us what is best. But, when we pray for blessings for our souls, for pardon, and holiness, and salvation, we may be quite certain of being answered; for we are told that, if we ask any thing according to God's will, he heareth us; and we are also told that God is willing that all men should be saved." Jesus said, "Ask, and it shall be given;" and, "whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do." He prays for us. Our best prayers are far too unworthy for God to notice; but he listens because Jesus pleads. If you wrote a petition to a king, but none at the palace knew you, and you were dressed in rags, and, after doing your best, the writing was covered with blots. would you not fear that you would never be admitted, or, if you were, that the petition would not be read? But, suppose the king's son were to


come, and say, "I will present your petition myself, and ask my father to grant it." Jesus does this. He presents our feeble prayers, and says: “For my sake bless this poor sinner, and grant his request. And we are told that "him the Father heareth always.' "He ever liveth to make intercession." Trembling, mourning sinner, rejoice: you have a friend at court. However unworthy your petitions are, Jesus prays for you; and his prayers always prevail. What more can you need to encourage you? Come, then, with "boldness to the throne of grace, that you may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of


(See 1 Kings xviii. 21-39; 2 Kings xix; Ps. lv. 17, lxv. 2, cii. 17; Matt. vi. 5, 6, vii. 7-11; Luke xviii. 1-14; John xiv. 13, 14, xvii.; Acts i. 13, 14, ii. 1-4, x. 9, xii. 5-17; Phil. iv. 6; 1 Thess. v. 17; Heb. iv. 14-16, vii. 25; 1 John v. 14).



He is the happy man that hath learned to read himself more than all books, and hath so taken out this lesson that he can never forget it; that knows the world, and cares not for it; that, after many traverses of thoughts, is grown to know what he may trust to, and stands now equally armed for all events; that hath got the mastery at home, so that he can cross his will without a mutiny, and so please it that he makes it not a wanton; that in earthly things wishes no more than nature, in spiritual is ever graciously ambitious; that for his condition stands on his own feet, not needing to lean upon the great, and can so frame his thoughts to his estate, that when he hath least he cannot want, because he is as free from desire as superfluity; that hath seasonably broken the headstrong restiness of prosperity, and can now manage it at pleasure; upon whom all smaller crosses light as hailstones upon a roof, and for the greater calamities he can take them as tributes of life and tokens of love, and, if his ship be tossed, yet he is sure his anchor is fast. If all the world were his, he could be no other than he is; no whit gladder of himself, no whit higher in his carriage; because he knows contentment lies not in the things he hath, but in the mind that values them. The powers of his resolution can either multiply or subtract at pleasure: he can make his cottage a manor or a palace when he lists, and his home-close a large dominion, his stained cloth arras, his earth plate, and can see state in the attendance of one servant, as one that hath learned a man's greatness or baseness is in himself; and in this he may ever contest with the proud, that he thinks his own the best. Or, if he must be outwardly great, he can but turn the other end of the glass, and make his stately manor a low and strait cottage. And in all his costly furniture he can see not richness, but use: he can see dross in the best metal, and earth through the best clothes. And, in all his troop, he can see himself his own servant. He lives quietly at home, out of the noise of the world, and loves to enjoy himself always, and sometimes his

friend; and hath as full scope to his thoughts as to his eyes. He walks ever even, in the midway betwixt hopes and fears, resolved to fear nothing but God-to hope for nothing but that which he must have. He hath a wise and virtuous mind in a serviceable body, which that better part affects, as a present servant and future companion; so cherishing his flesh as one that would scorn to be all flesh. He hath no enemies; not for that all love him, but because he knows to make a gain of malice. He is not so engaged to any earthly thing that they two cannot part on even terms: there is neither laughter in their meeting, nor in their shaking of hands tears. He keeps ever the best company-the God of spirits and the spirits of that God, whom he entertains continually in an awful familiarity; not being hindered with too much light or with none at all. His conscience and his hand are friends, and, what devil soever tempt him, will not fall out: that divine part goes ever uprightly and freely; not stooping under the burthen of a willing sin, nor fettered with the gyves of unjust scruples. He would not, if he could, run away from him. self or from God, not caring from whom he lies hid, so he may look these two in the face. Censures and applauses are passengers to him, not guests: his ear is their thoroughfare, not their harbour: he hath learned to fetch both his counsel and his sentence from his own breast. He doth not lay weight upon his shoulders, as one that loves to torment himself with the honour of much employment; but, as he makes work his game, so doth he not list to make himself work. His strife is ever to redeem, and not to spend time. It is his trade to do good, and to think of it his recreation. He hath hands enow for himself and others, which are ever stretched forth for beneficence, not for need. He walks cheerfully in the way that God hath chalked, and never wishes it more wide or more smooth. Those very temptations whereby he is foiled strengthen him: he comes forth crowned and triumphing out of the spiritual battles; and those scars that he hath make him beautiful. His soul is every day dilated to receive that God in whom he is; and hath attained to love himself for God, and God for his own sake. His eyes stick so fast in heaven that no earthly object can remove them; yea, his whole self is there before his time, and sees with Stephen, and hears with Paul, and enjoys with Lazarus the glory that he shall have, and takes possession beforehand of his room amongst the saints. And these heavenly contentments have so taken him up, that now he looks down displeasedly upon the earth, as the region of his sorrow and banishment; yet, joying more in hope than troubled with a sense of evils, he holds it no great matter to live, and his greatest business is to die, and is so well acquainted with his last guest, that he fears no unkindness from him; neither makes he any other of dying than of walking home when he is abroad, or of going to bed when he is weary of the day. He is well provided for both worlds, and is sure of peace here, of glory hereafter, and therefore hath a light heart and a cheerful face. All his fellow-creatures rejoice to serve him: the angels love to observe him: God himself takes pleasure to converse with him, and hath sainted him afore his death, and in his death crowned him.


A Sermon,


Curate of East and West Lexham, Norfolk.
ROM. viii. 7.

"The carnal mind is enmity against God."

WHILE Some of the great truths of the blessed
gospel of Jesus our Saviour are full of gracious
encouragements and the most loving invita-
tions, others are most startling, because of the
meaning which belongs to them. We are
very apt to pass them by without observing
their tremendous force, without being driven
to pause, as we ought and should, if we were
more anxious about our souls. They are like
the thunders of a tempest compared with the
calm gales of the south. They are like the
piercing lightnings of a storm compared with
the gentle beams of the dawning day. And
as it becomes us to reflect seriously when we
hear the voice of the Almighty "shaking
terribly the earth" with the rollings of
his thunder, and see the swift agent of his
destruction in the flash which even seems
to tear the clouds apart, so indeed when we
read or hear his word, and meet with such
awful truths as it sometmes presents to us,
we ought to look upon them with more than
usual attention. May the Lord enable us
thus to act now, while we meditate on the
deeply important truth we have brought to
our notice in the words of our text. Look
at it, my brethren: dwell upon it. Do not
let it escape your minds. Fix it in your
hearts. Behold what an awful fact it states
a fact not to be doubted, not to be disputed;
for it is written with the finger of the Lord:
"The carnal mind is enmity against God."

There are, then, in every place, men and women and children, who are living in enmity against God; not the friends, not the servants, but the enemies of God; fighting daily against the King of kings, defying his authority, disobeying his commands, and therefore working for their own souls the eternal ruin of hell. Is not this true? Yes, it is; for our blessed Saviour tells us that at the judgment-day "the King shall say unto them on the left hand, Depart froin me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels...... and these (he says) shall go into everlasting punishment." Let us apply the text closely to ourselves, and, as we go on, very carefully judge what is our own state. Are we in that condition which is the enmity spoken of, or have we been reconciled to the King? Has the enmity been

done away with, and peace made between us and God by the atoning blood of the Lamb, Christ Jesus? In one or the other of these conditions we must each of us be. Should we not, therefore, with anxious hearts examine whether we are the friends or the enemies of the Lord ?

First, then, let us consider what is meant by "the carnal mind." The word carnal means fleshly, belonging to the flesh; i. e., belonging to that which is natural and outward, as our Lord says: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." If you turn over the pages of the New Testament, you will meet with such expressions as these: "filthiness of the flesh;" "lusts of the flesh;" "works of the flesh," which St. Paul says are, "adultery, fornication, uncleanness, envyings, murder, drunkenness, revellings, and such like." These expressions, then, plainly mean the evil inclinations of the natural, unconverted heart of man. Those whom we see living careless and wicked lives are living after the flesh; according, i. e., to their own natural inclinations, which must be evil, since by nature every man is corrupt. Nor does it require men to live in open violation of the laws, or to be in the habit of much open wickedness, or to manifest great departures from what is right, in order to be still under the influence of the "carnal mind." For we often see the effects of good education and naturally kind disposition shining forth very brilliantly, even from those whose hearts have never been changed, who know little or nothing about the gospel of our Saviour, and who are therefore trusting to their own goodness for their salvation. The carnal mind is the unchanged mind, which belongs to every body that is born into the world, until the Holy Spirit of God works the mighty change, and converts their heart, and leads the guilty soul to the cross of Jesus Christ, there to be cleansed of its natural depravity, there to be washed of its iniquities. Therefore did our blessed Lord so emphatically say, "Except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (or, as said above, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.") And therefore did St. Paul say, when speaking of a man thus changed, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new:" or, again, when speaking of the uselessness of mere outward Christianity for salvation, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." Bear this distinctly in mind, that, if you would be saved, you must

both have your acts of sin forgiven, and be | satisfied with itself; satisfied because able to converted from your natural fleshly mind. live honestly and respectably; satisfied that For this purpose did Christ die in our therefore they shall have a reward in heaven? nature, that he might make a satisfaction for Yes, my brethren; for, if the carnal mind did all sin, and that, by the operation of his not hold in its fetters such people, they would Holy Spirit, men might be converted from be found at the throne of God's grace, con dead works to serve the living God; i. e., fessing their many great sins, seeking from works of sin, which must bring death, fervently for the enlightening influences of because "the wages of sin is death;" from his Holy Spirit. And then you would see those works which spring not from faith in them over their bibles, not reading now and Jesus as our only Saviour, and which we then a small portion just to content their learn in the bible are not acceptable to God. consciences, but sifting it, and learning from It is the carnal mind which makes men it the gospel truth, that with all the praise follow the ways of Satan. You see many in they have earned from their fellow-creatures, the world, who never seem to think of their and all their fancied goodness, they are souls, or to remember that there is another sinners, only deserving God's wrath; and life. They break the commandments of that, unless they are made new by his Holy God just as they are inclined, or have op- Spirit, and washed of their sins by the blood portunity. They lie, they swear, they eat and of his sacrificed Son, they cannot be saved. drink to excess: they profane the sabbath by "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the their work or their play: they are dishonest: leopard his spots?" No. Neither can the they are unclean in their thoughts, words, natural man, the unchanged man, please God. and actions, and, in fact, live in open re- "The natural man," says the apostle St. bellion against God; never giving attention Paul, "receiveth not the things of the Spirit to the power, or the justice, or the mercy of of God; for they are foolishness unto him. God; in short, "there is no fear of God Neither can he know them; because they are before their eyes." Why is this? Because spiritually discerned." Then, my friends, their minds are carnal. Then, again, you look to yourselves. What is your mind? see many others, who go not to such excesses Is it the carnal mind? or the mind which has as these. Their outward lives are moral: been renewed by Almighty God? Do you they are what men call good: they are honest truly mourn for sin? Are you really peniand respectable and truth-telling, except on tent? Are you earnest and sincere in your certain occasions: they are kind and chari- belief in Jesus as your only Saviour? Are table, tender-hearted and benevolent: they you thoroughly convinced of sin? Are you read the bible on Sundays, and make a prac- desirous to be made holy? Are you of fertice of going through forms of prayer, per- vent daily secret prayer? Do you love haps every day once or twice: they live Christ? Do you love God with all your respected by all who know them; and, when heart and soul and strength, and your neighthey die, they are lamented. And yet in bour as yourself? Do you love God's word? these we see not the evidences of true faith: Do you study it day by day? Are you we see not the signs of the new creation: willing to renounce this world? to take up their hearts are cold and dead to the influences your cross, and follow Jesus? to devote yourof real gospel religion: they never mourn self to his service? to set your affection on the for sin, because they never have felt its in- things above, and not on the things below? dwelling. Because Satan is too wise to tempt Is your whole heart fixed, as its first and chief them to great immoralities, they think, like object, upon " the kingdom of God, and his the Pharisees, they are without sin. They see righteousness"? no necessity for a change in them, but only in such as are very wicked. They never make any progress in their Christianity: they are just the same now as they were ten years ago. Their outward deeds are moral; but they have no desire for holiness in their hearts; no wish that they may have the mind which was in Jesus; that they may be changed into his image and likeness; no aspirations to "press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus;" or to go on "from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." Why is this? Is it not because theirs is still the carnal mind-the mind 4X4

Such questions as these put closely to yourselves; and, depend upon it, you cannot give right answers to them if your mind be still carnal. While you can live only to gratify yourselves, either in your business or pleasure; while you can live in the indulgence of known sin; while you can venture wilfully to break any of God's commands; while you can go on from day to day without prayer, or allow trifling things to take your attention from the duties of religion; while you can trust in yourselves, and fancy you are good, thus robbing Christ of his glory; while you are self-satisfied, self

opinionated, self-loving, yours is the carnal mind.

Brethren, we know what an humbling doctrine this is, and how offensive it is to many, as it formerly was to the proud Pharisees. But it is the truth of the gospel of Christ, and must not be hid. Jesus came not to call the righteous, but sinners; and we must preach to you that, till you are humbled into the dust, the gospel is not for you; because, till you really feel yourselves to be sinners, you will reject it. We are bound to tell you what the carnal mind is: we are bound to tell you that, unless your heart is converted by the Spirit of God, yours is the carnal mind, and that, while you are in this state, you are at enmity with God. O how many a soul has been lost because it has proudly resisted this truth! How many a one has denied himself the saving efficacy, and the glorious blessings, and the "unsearchable richies of Christ," because he would not bear to be told that his was the carnal mind! and therefore did he live and die the enemy of God.

Bear with me, then, my brethren, while I go on to notice, in the second place, the awful fact that the carnal mind, the mind of so many in the world, is enmity against God. And would you ask why this is the case? Consider that God is holy, and man by nature unholy. Our first parents disobeyed God; and the consequence of this has been that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God:" all are born in sin. Sin and holiness cannot agree: the one must be at enmity with the other. If then God is holy, and man unholy, man must be at enmity with God until his nature is changed. Our own experience proves this to be true; for we see with our own eyes, and we can decide it with our own hearts, that men who are in the carnal unchanged condition manifest their enmity against God by disobeying his commandments; some by living in open sin, and carelessness of the future; others, by seeking their salvation in themselves; others, by easy indifference; others, by that inconsistency of conduct which shows that they know nothing, and care less, about the gospel of Jesus Christ, which alone points the way to heaven. Who is the greatest enemy of God? Is it not Satan, who was banished from the holy realms of bliss because he dared to dispute God's authority? Well, then, do not the careless and wicked of this world, the men of carnal minds, serve Satan, and yield to the temptations of Satan; and, therefore, do they not join that wicked one in his enmity against God? Do they not rebel against the King of kings? Do they not love sin, which God

hates? Do they not, all classes of them, reject the gospel of his Son, and virtually say, "We will not have this one to reign over us"? Do they not, in fact, tread beneath their feet the blood of the covenant, and wantonly refuse the mercies and eternal salvation which God offers? O true indeed it is, that "the carnal mind is enmity against God.” God is holy; and men are unholy: they prefer their own lusts and passions, that they may "enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season and, though God loudly calls them from the path of destruction, they will not hear; for he is not their king: they serve the "prince of this world." Are they not therefore enemies?-enemies indeed who can mock and despise the Maker and Giver of all things; who can turn their backs upon such a Saviour as Jesus, and so "crucify the Son of God afresh." God is not the enemy of man; but man is the enemy of God. True, God hates sin; but he loves the sinner-so loved him that he sent his only Son to die for him, that his carnal mind might be changed, and peace made. If, then, man refuses to accept these terms of peace, which are so freely offered, must he not be the enemy, the ungrateful enemy, of God?

My brethren, most earnestly do I press these things upon your consideration. What are you? Are you at enmity with God, or at peace with him? You are at enmity, if your mind is yet carnal-if you yet serve Satan, and are not disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then tremble for your souls. O suppose that God this night were to say, "Thy soul is required of thee" (and who can say he will not?), what would become of you? Bitter indeed would be your repentance; but it would be too late. How would you curse your folly, to have lived the enemy of that King, who, because you refused his offer of mercy and pardon, would then show you his power and his justice by condemning you to eternal punishment! Then live no longer at enmity against God: the "grace of God, which bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men." He still offers to you pardon: the blood of Jesus is still powerful to wipe away all your sins: the Spirit of Jesus is still mighty to change that hard carnal heart, which now is leading you to perdition; and, if you are lost, you will be the destroyer of your own soul.

And why should you not hear and obey? What inducement have you to remain the servants of Satan, and therefore the enemies of God? Are you so fettered by the business of this world? why, the business of this world will very soon be over. Are you held in the chains of pleasure? why, they will be

« السابقةمتابعة »