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infidels or Papists, Tractarians or worldlings, Socinians or scoffers : we shall wish and seek for them the best blessings, true conversion to God, and ever be ready to render them offices of kindness as God gives us opportunity. While we have unchanging enmity to their errors, we must have unchanging love to their persons. But this love is very different from the fervent love of delight, complacency, and satisfaction, with which the Christian loves God and his brethren in Christ Jesus. The antagonist power in our hearts to this love is selfishness, and the love of Christ is the only means of overthrowing it (2 Cor. v. 15.), and implanting real love in the heart. If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. This love begins in our families, spreads to our flock, comprehends our country, embraces the people of Christ everywhere, and reaches to all men. 1 Thess. iii. 12. The spirit of A SOUND MIND is the last grace
which the Apostle notices as given of God. Warm affections as well as courage need in their turn a wise direction. A blind and passionate love may be hurtful. This grace is closely connected with self-restraint in our own minds from the inward discipline of our own hearts. Hence we have wise discernment of things that differ. Self-knowledge and self-correction, and the growth of our own experience, the conflicts through which we have passed, the mistakes we have made, the sins into which we have fallen, and our recovery from them give us a solid, wise, cautious judgment, making allowances for human infirmity, and yet steadfastly set on doing the whole will of God. The enlarged knowledge of the whole inspired volume, including that large portion, the prophecies, is here of great value. There can be no soundness of mind with a partial view of divine truth. Man's judgment will often therefore be folly with God, and what men account rashness and indiscretion, will in his sight be the really sound mind. True and lively faith in every part of God's word is essential to scriptural soundness of mind,
THE COMBINATION OF THESE GRACES, received from God, is the root of a successful ministry at all times. Power makes love mighty and venerable, love makes power gentle and attractive, a sound mind economises and applies both with the utmost effect to all our exigencies. We need these graces in public and in private ; in the pulpit and by the bed-side of the sick and the dying ; to direct us when to standand wait, and when to go forward ; what to withhold and what to declare, that we may be wise to win souls.
These graces are not natural talents or dispositions or abilities of any kind, that may be self-acquired by a man's own learning and diligence apart from divine grace ; they are GRACES GIVEN FROM ABOVE, in the use of the means of grace, in dependence on God's promises, and through earnest prayer to him. They are the work of God's Spirit in the heart of a fallen
sinner. And any past attainments do not render us independent of Him for the future. Though He has given them to us in times past, we must still continue to look to him for the time to come. (2 Cor. iii. 5,6 ; xii. 9, 10.) It is only the actual communication of the Holy Ghost that can give these graces, and this is full of encouragement to all. Though there are different natural gifts bestowed in different degrees on men, yet all faithful men of ordinary abilities may obtain from God spiritual power, love and a sound mind. Let us then often meditate on their necessity and value, and the readiness of God to give. (James i. 5, 6, 17.) Let us avoid whatever obviously hinders and opposes these graces, all formality, indifference, vain contentions, and evil speaking, and all light trilling and vain studies. Let us be fully occupied in the work of the ministry, (1 Tim. iv. 14—16.) and seek earnestly the gift of the Divine Spirit, whose residence in the heart is thus manifested in the spirit of power, love, and of a sound mind.
Such are the subjects to which it appeared to me to be profitable at this time to call the attention of my
brethren. I would close this part of
work with seeking to impress upon the reader some of the remarkable features of the present day, which give weight to these exhortations. And I will notice those features which have been so long since marked out for the Church by the Divine Spirit, in the predictions of evil days contained in the Epistle to Timothy, the predictions of bright days which shall follow.
Notice 1. THE CHARACTER
We can some of us remember the outbreaking or course of the first French Revolution, and the spirit of infidelity and anarchy which then agitated the whole world. The most able historian of that revolution (Mr. Alison) observes, 'During the 25 years of its progress, the world has gone through more than 500 years of ordinary existence, and the annals of modern Europe will be sought in vain for a parallel to that brief period of anxious effort and chequered achievements.—The minds of men were shaken as by the yawning of the ground during the fury of an EARTHQUAKE ; all that the eye had rested on as most stable; all that the mind had been accustomed to regard as most lasting disappeared before the first breath of innovation.'
The evil effects of the infidelity and lawlessness which then burst forth have been seen in the dreadful convulsions which followed. But there has been no spirit of humiliation and repentance among the Chris
tian nations of the Western Empire ; no national returning to God. Popery is re-established in papal countries, and the remains of the hero of that Revolution have been brought back in triumph to his capital, and entombed afresh amidst the recognised national honour of the whole kingdom : an affecting testimony, after a respite of judgment for so long a period, that they repented not of their evil deeds. Rev. xvi. 11.
Nor have we room for self-congratulation or boasting. Our own country has been so remarkably honoured and so marvellously delivered of our God that a French sta esman asked recently in the Chamber of Deputies, "What would have been the situation of that country with its debt of 800 millions, if on any single day of the last half century it had been abandoned ' as he said by its good fortune ?' but as British Christians delight to acknowledge by the gracious providence of our God. Yet in this country, thus wonderfully favoured, we have nationally shown such little zeal for that pure form of religion which has been God's good gift to us and our glory and defence, that we have admitted its opponents to our councils,* and have expressed
* Though the Roman Catholic Relief Bill has become a part of the laws of the country, it is still very important that we should discern and acknowledge the sinful character of that national act; that we may not glory in it, but be humbled for it; and that it may lead us to search out and use more largely that armoury which God has provided against Babylon (Jer. l. 25.) employing the