Page images

one thing that He meant, and He had revealed that one thing to us, we might have neglected to seek, and pray for other things. If He had told us, for instance, that it was internal faith, we might have spent our lives in cultivating our feelings, and neglected the following of holiness. If He had told us that it was the outward reception of Sacraments, we might hare superstitiously relied on them as charms.

In not having told us specifically what this one good thing is, He has, in truth, taught us to seek from Him all good things, all good dispositions, all grace and all graces, all obedience in the way of outward ordinances, all obedience in the way of cherishing and cultivating righteousness of walk and purity of heart. So that we should be always examining ourselves as to what we are deficient in, and pray Him to supply our need. So that we should ask Him to clothe us with this garment, whatsoever it bewhether it be the same to all, or whether it be one thing in the case of one soul, another in the case of another, He knows. Only, whatever it be, that He should Himself, with His Almighty and Holy hands, clothe us with it.

And if we commit our souls to Him; if we desire to rest only on Him; if we ask Him to teach us that He is our all in all, and that we must be in Him, clothed with Him-nay, in Him as a member of our bodies is in our bodies; if we ask Him to teach us that the Sacraments of His grace are what He has said that, they are; if we ask Him to give us true faith in Himself, so that we should, with His great servant, esteem all things but loss in comparison with His knowledge and the possession of Him; if we ask Him to work in us that holiness which shone so conspicuously in all His life, and in all His words, and that we should also have that loving, charitable, unselfish mind, which was in Him, more than in all other men put together—if we ask Him for these things, and do not forget that the sincerity of our asking depends upon our meeting His grace with all our might, and seconding His grace with all our might—then, no matter what this marriage garment be, it will be ours.

The day will surely come, when we shall be sitting down at the tables, and awaiting the coming of the King. And the King will come in to see the guests,” and the eyes that are like a flame of fire will search us through and through. We shall be naked and open before Him; not as we appear to our fellow-creatures, but as we are in ourselves. Oh, do not let us think that we shall escape His glance, because of the multitudes which will be there. If there be, as there will be, millions upon millions there, the Judge will single out the one, if there be but one, who has not on the wedding garment. And it may be that this one in the parable is the representation of multitudes who will experience the dreadful reality; who will be dragged from the tables, bound hand and foot, and consigned to the outer darkness. Terrible thought! Shall we be thus dragged out of the sight of the King, dragged out of the sight of all our good and holy brethren, dragged out of the abodes of bliss, and love, and peace? God forbid! Be it far from us, from you and from me.

But if it is to be well with us at the last, the very last, we must commit our souls to the keeping of the Saviour; we must trust in Him, we must abide in Him as fruitful branches of the Living Vine; we must eat so His flesh and drink His blood, that we may evermore dwell in Him, and He in us.




[ocr errors]

PHIL, i. 6. · Being confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

THE most of men, even of those who bear the Christian name and are baptized into the Christian Church, seem to have no care or anxiety whatsoever about their eternal state. They seem to think that it is next to impossible for them to lose their souls. To look at them you would think that our Saviour's words must have been totally misapprehended— that He must have said, “Strait is the gate and narrow is the


that leadeth to destruction, and few there be that go in thereat," instead of His having said, as He unquestionably did, “Strait is the gate and narrow is the way

that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

When, however, a man begins to have some serious anxiety about his eternal state, and takes some steps to further his salvation in that state, then, immediately, he begins to have much anxiety about a matter that, in all probability, he never thought about before; and that is,

his perseverance. Whilst he was in a state of carnal security, having no care as to how he should please God, he had the fullest trust in himself. Now, when he begins the Christian struggle in good earnest, the first thing that he finds out is his own weakness. He cannot keep one resolution. Nothing is satisfactory to him. His prayers seem miserable. His faith seems sometimes to fail altogether. He wonders whether he believes at all. He begins now to have the most profound distrust of himself; so much so that he is at times tempted to despair, to throw up all—to adopt the words of the profane ones of old, " There is no hope, no; for I have loved strangers, and after them I will go.” The words of the text seem to be written to reassure one harassed with such doubts and misgivings; for they tell him that the work begun in him is not his work but God's, and that, so far as God is concerned, it will assuredly be brought to a prosperous end. “He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it till the day of Jesus Christ.”

Are we warranted then in saying that when once God has made a man religious then God's honour is staked to keep that man religious to the end-80 that there is, in reality, no such thing as any permanent falling from God? It is impossible, with the rest of the word of God open before us—it is impossible, with the fact before us that many men begin well and do

« PreviousContinue »