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not. O Thou Blessed Spirit, have mercy upon me, a miserable sinner. Enlighten my dark mind: dethrone all idols in my heart: do Thou dwell within me, and renew me more and more in righteousness and true holiness. Have mercy upon me, and begin in me the good work of saving piety: and by the ever-continued and richer communications of thy powerful influences, may I always grow in grace, and acquire greater meetness for heaven. I bless Thee, O God, for having given me these thoughts, feelings, and desires; for enabling me thus to humble myself before Thee, and to call upon Thee. O that I may never lose these views and convictions. Henceforth may I renounce myself, the world, and vanity, and both live in the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit, alway remembering that my duty, while I am upon earth, is, by Thy grace, to perfect holiness in Thy fear. Grant this, I humbly beseech Thee, for the sake of Jesus Christ our only Lord and Saviour. Amen.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF CHRIST.
"Wouldst thou the life of souls discern?
The spring of the regenerate heart,
"He (Jesus Christ) alone is the true God to us men, that is, to miserable and sinful creatures. He is the centre of all, and the object of all: and whoever knows not Him, knows nothing either in nature or in himself. For as we know God only by Jesus Christ, so it is by Him alone that we know ourselves."
If I were asked, What is true Christian piety? I might answer-It is the true acknowledgment of Christ. He who makes such an acknowledgment is a real Christian: he who does not make it, is not yet that character. Let me, then, here consider, what the difference is between the common and inefficient, and the peculiar and efficient acknowledgment of the Son of God.
All persons who admit the Bible to be a revela
tion from God, profess to believe that Christ is our Saviour; and they have some vague notions of Him as such, and are ready to avow that we have no Saviour but Him. But this avowal is in fact an accidental circumstance—the result of a national profession of Christianity, of mere locality, of hereditary privileges. It implies very slight thought, no sound Scriptural knowledge, no spiritual feeling or affection. It involves no lofty views of Christ's person and work; no grateful movements of the heart towards Him. It is productive of no vital and practical effects. A man owns that Christ is the Saviour, and yet he cleaves to the world, which cannot be held with Christ; and he walks in his own way, not in the way that Christ has marked out to his followers; and he imitates the surrounding multitude, from whom Christ delivers his people; and he cares but little about sin, though the people of Christ are saved from it. He riots in his pleasures and amusements: and in what may be called his intellectual moments, he boasts of his reason, will, conscience, wisdom, liberty, and ability, which things are treated by him, whatever be his profession to the contrary, as substitutes for a Saviour, or as excluding any urgent need of a Saviour. To what purpose, in these circumstances, is his avowal that Christ is the Saviour? We cannot discover that it has any influence upon him. He is a stranger to the holiness, justice, and awfulness of God; to the depra
vity, sins, and guilt of man; and to the holy and gracious nature of religion. When he says that Christ is a Saviour, he utters words which he does not understand.
The greater number of Christians, it is to be feared, are living in this state. Some of them oppose the gospel; some of them are indifferent respecting it; and some of them approve it, especially its morals. Some of them regularly attend on the public ordinances of religion; and some of them occasionally receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Living amidst the light of the gospel, having the stated services of religion, and possessing books on religious subjects, some dim and vague ideas of Christ are necessarily entertained. But it is melancholy to observe the ignorance in which thousands around us are living, not only of the poor and uneducated but of the rich and learned, as to the peculiar nature of the gospel. Hence notions, principles, and feelings are maintained which are directly opposed to it, and a line of conduct is pursued which is at complete variance with its holy legislation. Of the common avowal that Christ is the Saviour, it can only be said—that it is, at the very most, little more than a dim and dead notion in the mind.
Is this, my young readers, the true acknowledgment of the Son of God? You reply, It cannot be. Then let us proceed to consider what the true acknowledgment of Him really is. In a word,
it is that which is personal, spiritual, heartfelt, and influential. It results from a divine agency; and it implies knowledge, inquiry, spiritual apprehension. It implies repentance, or the abandonment of all sin; and faith, or the receiving of salvation. It is the soul's calm and bright day, after a cloudy and stormy morning. It is godly sorrow succeeded by the discovery of Him who is the Consolation of Israel. It implies that the person who makes it has learned, by divine power, the alienated and lost state of man, and that Christ is He who saves his people from their sins. Pride, error, darkness, and death are removed from the soul, and humility, truth, light, and spiritual life are its happy portion. Lofty thoughts are entertained of Christ; holy feelings are exercised towards him. The favoured individual delights in the gospel, feels its spirit, and obeys its laws. To him the
Lord Jesus Christ is the Sun in the spiritual system-the centre from which light and life and health and joy emanate in abundant and neverfailing streams. In the case of the mere nominal Christian, Christ is comparatively nothing; he looks more to himself than to the Saviour: but in the case of the real or spiritual Christian, Christ is all; the author and giver of pardon, righteousness, wisdom, grace, and peace.
The difference, then, between the common and the true acknowledgment of Christ is obvious. The former is notional, superficial, and ineffectual;