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awhile, yet He bridleth them, insomuch that they cannot touch a hair of one's head, except He permit them; and how in their end their destruction is moft miserable. We may here have present remedies against all temptations, and troubles of mind and conscience; so that, being well practised therein, we may be assured against all dangers in this life, live in the true fear and love of God, and at length attain to that incorruptible crown of glory which is laid up for all them that love the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Is it your wish, then, dear brethren, to know and enjoy that which constitutes true blessedness? Do you crave after a state of mind which you do not at present possess, and after future bliss, which, as far as prefent appearances indicate, you may have but small prospect of enjoying? Then, learn from our text the infallible rule for attaining both
It seems to consist, in part at least, in ceasing to do evil and learning to do well; in eschewing that which is evil and following after that which is good ; in laying aside every weight, and running with patience the race set before us; in relinquishing, as distasteful and injurious, the pursuits of carnal enjoyment, and in setting the affections on things above; in renouncing the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh ; and in steadfastly believing all the articles of the Christian faith. You thus observe, that the blessedness of which the Psalmist speaks consists of negative and positive duties,—shunning the ways of the godless, and walking in the way that leads to everlasting life. Blessed is the man that walketh not—that standeth not--that sitteth
These doings are laid aside, and, on the other hand,“ his delight is in the law
of the Lord ; and in His law doth he meditate day and night."
The difference, then, between the servants of God and the ungodly is not only nominal, or one of state, it is an actual difference of character. “Old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.” If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; not only transposed from the wilderness world into the enclosure of the Church, but more than this, his nature, his tastes, his objects and motives, are renewed by the Holy Spirit. From having lived to himself, he has learned to live for God. The truant dictates of his perverted will are under the control and constraint of a high celestial principle; his thoughts are brought into captivity to the law of Christ. In short, it is the difference between death unto sin and a new life unto righteousness : it is a crucifixion of the flesh with its affec
tions and lusts, in place of pampering and indulging the natural tendencies of man, which incline him to evil. The existence of this new life may be tested by the criterion of the text before us. The unconverted man does walk in the counsel of the ungodly, does stand in the way of sinners, does fit in the seat of the scornful. The converted man does delight in the law of the Lord, does make it the constant subject of his meditation; and the result is obvious in his life, conduct, and conversation. It is no ineffective principle, but an operative, energetic power, which is as manifest as the fruit on a healthy tree. For the Pfalmift goes on to say, ver. 3, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season ; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
Let us now notice the terms in which
the character of finners is expressed. They are spoken of as at first ungodly — devoid of God-fearing hearts — indifferent — not absolutely revelling in active depravity, but ungodly. God is not in their thoughts without God in the world - deficient in sanctity, but not yet wallowing in fin. Then they become sinners, i.e. positively wicked in conduct_infringing God's lawguilty of sin against Him— sinners — and the next phrase is “scornful:” more than ungodly — more than finners — actually scornful — revelling in wickedness, and scornful of God and holiness : fools making a mock of fin.
Oh, how painfully frequent are characters who illustrate this gradual departure from God! Sin is first placed before them as pleasing ; as Satan did to Evethe tree was pleasant and good for food—to be desired. Imagine the case of any sinner