« 上一页继续 »
The law says: Thou art doomed to death and hell.
The Gospel replies: There is no condemnation of any kind, or from any quarter, to them which are in Christ Jesus.
THE PICKAXE AND THE SPADE.
But a pickaxe and a spade.
A triumph to proclaim; The pioneers of humbled man, Called out to hide his shame. Come hither, ye that blaze along The promenades of life; Ye crowds, to whom each passing day A struggle is, and strife: Society's extremes meet here;
The sunshine and the shade;
To the pickaxe and the spade.
The final trumpet's sound.
Go, sinner, trust in His great name
TRUTH AND GRACE.
Now that the wonder excited by the great spiritual movement in the North of Ireland has subsided, it may be calmly surveyed on all sides, and minutely examined in all its aspects, by the lights of inspiration. The work may be tested by the Book, and the Book illustrated by the work. If the work be found, in all its parts, and in every view, substantially to correspond with the Book, we require no further proof of its Divine origin, and happy issues. It is undoubtedly of God.
First, then, we have to examine the Book, and in doing so, we meet with statements concerning human nature, every one of which is easy to be understood, and compared with what we feel in our own bosoms, and see in the world around us. According to the Book, man, by nature, is dead in trespasses and in sin. To be thus dead, implies insensibility alike to the evil of sin, and to its consequences; so that the sinner goes on adding iniquity unto iniquity, and heaping up wrath against the final day. God, the law-giver, is not in all his thoughts; and the idea of the law enters not into his mind. He is, in all respects, a creature to whom there is neither God, nor law! Such is the testimony of the Bible as to men in general, and such was the state of multitudes in the North of Ireland prior to the movement, notwithstanding the Gospel light which had been shining around them.
The character which springs from such a nature precisely corresponds with its source; it bears throughout the stamp of wickedness. The people, accordingly, in the North of Ireland, were precisely such as the Book describes; they were "earthly, sensual, devilish;" "hateful, and hating one another." Their character is set forth in the Epistle of Paul to the Romans, where he exhibits a portrait frightful to behold: he declares them to be 'filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection,
implacable, unmerciful." How horrible the picture! yet it is that of the species. No portion of humankind furnishes us an exception.
The condition of our race corresponds with their character. It involves misery of every kind, and in every degree. It is everywhere seen that "the way of transgressors is hard." In all, according to circumstances, sin reigns, more or less, through iniquity. The heart impels only to evil, and that continually! Moral motives have no power, or rather, indeed, no existence. Such men are guided neither by the love, nor the fear of God. They have completely lost the knowledge of their Creator! Whether to impel, or to check, there is no power of a spiritual nature; all is "of the earth, earthy;" nothing but corruption; nothing but passion; the life is one of atheism! They are "without God, and have no hope in the world.”
Such is their condition; and the disaster is unspeakably aggravated by bearing the stamp of an ever-during perpetuity. There is in man no power of self-recovery. The race must remain as it is from age to age, and for ever, unless approached from without by a divine Deliverer. Such, then, is the material that grace has to work on in preparing the elect for glory.
The Book asserts that in every conversion there is, first, a quickening of the soul from a state of spiritual death; and the Irish converts everywhere exemplified the doctrine. They awoke as from the grave, filled with distress frequently amounting to anguish, accompanied by horror, at the condition in which they found themselves. They became, for the first time, the subjects of conscious spiritual, immortal existence. The Book asserts of all such, that forthwith they become convinced of sin, and realise their exposure to the Divine displeasure on that account. The Irish converts were so pricked in heart, that in many cases their distress seemed to threaten their very existence! Their physical nature sank beneath the load of their conscious guilt, the soul fairly lost its command over the body: the power of speech and motion forsook them, and they lay in helpless agony till relieved of God.
The Book asserts that, so circumstanced, souls are brought by a sense of their danger to cry for mercy, and to call on Christ the Lord to deliver them. This was one of the chief peculiarities of the Irish movement. Everywhere the people cried on the Lord Jesus for the pardon of their sins. This seemed as if instinctive;
no tuition on this vital point was required. All seemed in a moment to understand the economy of redemption. They looked on His name as the only name given under heaven amongst men whereby they could be saved, and acted accordingly. The doctrines of His Divine nature, vicarious sufferings, and justifying righteousness, were instantly and everywhere understood, confessed, and relied on. Even the Popish converts at once, and without prompting, uniformly and immediately renounced all the peculiarities of the Roman creed, and embraced the simple Gospel of the sacred Scriptures.
The Book asserts, that penitents find peace only and always through believing the Divine testimony concerning Christ, and reposing on the Divine mercy through His blood. The Irish converts most strikingly exemplified the declaration. They were filled with peace and joy through believing. Their very countenances, like mirrors, reflected the gladness of their hearts. They emphatically rejoiced in the hope of the glory of God. The contrast between their two states excited the wonder of every beholder.
The Book asserts, that "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, and all things have become new." The Irish converts proved and illustrated the truth of the statement; everything about them but existence was not merely changed, but renovated. They were filled and fired with love to God and man. Nothing could exceed the glow of their spiritual affections. They loved, with a pure heart, fervently, their God whom they had not seen, and their brethren whom they saw. It was not the love of sect, but the love of Christ in His people, by which they were animated.
The Book asserts of all that believe, that they receive the Spirit of adoption, and become temples of the Holy Ghost. In the Irish movement, the presence of the Spirit was everywhere demonstrated by the visible effects of His Divine power. It was displayed in knowledge, in affection, and in devotional exercises. His in dwelling presence could alone explain the attainments of the converts in these matters. Nothing like it had been seen by the oldest man living, or even heard of, in the province, since the era of the Reformation.
The work, then, viewed as a whole, illustrates the Book, and the Book demonstrates the heavenly origin and character of the work; and thus they mutually support each other. So far as
the mighty movement has gone, it has been, notwithstanding any imperfections which may have mingled with it, essentially, and eminently, the fruit of Divine power. "Glory to God in the highest! Peace on earth! Good-will to men!" Amen.
COME TO JESUS.
BURDENED soul, come to Him who invites thee. Whatever be thy need, and however great it may be -whatever stings may be in thy conscience, and however sharp they may be however weighty thy guilt, and keen thy remorse, and sore thy chafed and troubled heart, there is healing, and deliverance, and peace for thee. Bring thy burdens, thy stains, thy deeply-polluted soul, thy fears, thy very doubts of God's mercy, bring them all, and come to Jesus."
Come, as you are. Linger not, to put on the Pharisee's cloak, or the moralist's robe. Come in your rags. Come with your sins. If you do not bring them to Jesus, and lay them upon Him, you will never get near Him at all. He must bear them all, or you cannot be forgiven of the Father. Come with them all, and you will find that He can save from all sin.
Come, with a simple plea for mercy. What can you ask for but mercy? You have forfeited everything-life, happiness, and hope. You are guilty, wretched, and lost. You are condemned already, and walk ever under the shadow of an impending doom. The cross of Christ is your last and only hope. Come to it, but let no plea be heard other than the plea which came from the burdened
heart of a sinner of old-" God be merciful to me a sinner."
Come, as one invited. You have been bidden to come by the Saviour himself. All the voices of mercy with which He has filled the world, repeat the call. The Spirit says, The bride, the church, says come. And they say, "Let him that heareth, say come," and therefore we say unto thee, come. Truly, the word is nigh thee. Thou mayest go unto Jesus, and say unto Him, "Thou hast bidden me come." Surely, that plea must avail with that tender and faithful Saviour.
Come humbly, but hopefully. A sinner can have nothing whereof to boast, and much of which he must be ashamed, but this must not keep him from Jesus. Bow low in the dust, but let it be at the foot of the cross. Condemn yourself, and confess your vileness, but remember, Jesus has removed the condemnation, and will wash you clean in His own most precious blood. Presume not, but despair not.
Come, now. It is both folly and sin to delay one moment. Now is the accepted time-now is the day of salvation. "To-day, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts." Hasten, while the ark is open-while the storm and fiery tempest are restrained-while Jesus