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And I wondered that I now began to have a desire after thee, and no longer took a phantasm for thee. I was not urgent to enjoy thee, my God, for though I was hurried toward thee by thy beauty, I was presently carried downward from thee by my own weight, and I could no longer sin without groaning; the weight was carnal habit. The memory of thee was with me, and I did not doubt of the reality of that divine essence to which I should adhere, but of myself being ever brought into a state of spiritual existence. i saw thy invisible things by the things which were made, but I could not fix my attention to thee; my corruption exerting itself, I returned to my usual habits, but I could not shake off the fragrance of memory, smelling the true good, regretting the loss, and impotent to taste and enjoy. *
I now sought the way of obtaining strength to enjoy thee, and found it not, till I embraced the Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, WHO IS ABOVE ALL, GOD, BLESSED FOR EVER, +_calling and saying, I am the way, the truth, and the life. For the word was made flesh, that thy wisdom might suckle our infancy. But I did not yet in bumility hold the humble Jesus my Lord, nor know the mysterious power of his weakness, that he might humble, nourish, and, at length, exalt heavy laden souls. Far uther thoughts had I conceived of Christ, I had viewed him only as a man of *unequalled wisdom. But, of the mystery of the word made flesh, 1 bad not formed the least suspicion. Only I concluded, from the things written of him, that he must have bad an hu. man soul. Alypius, indeed, had conceived, that the Catho lic faith denied him the spirit of a man, and was a longer time prejudiced against the truth, because he confounded the Church with the Appolinarian heresy. As to myself, I was not, till some time after, taught to distinguish the truth from the opinion of Photinus ;I but there must be heresies, that they who are of the truth may be made manifest,
But when, by reading the Platonic books, I began to conceive of the immaterial infinite Supreme, I talked of these
• In many true converts this was their state exactly, while God was turning them from darkness to light. Such a sense of God, as never before was known, is attained, sufficient to conquer the false and injurious thoughts of bim which had been before imbibed, be they what they may. But the man feels his impotence with respect to good, and he must, with Augustine, struggle and endure for a time, till the strength of Jesus is perfected in his weakness.
+ Here is a clear testimony to the authenticity and genuine interpretation of that remarkable text, Rom. ix. 5, the light of which has been so peculiarly offensive to those whom fashionable beresies in our age have darkened. • Which seems to have been the same with Sabellianism.
things like a person of experience, but was perishing, because void of Christ. I desired to appear wise, was puffed up with knowledge, and wept not. Love, on the foundation of humility, which is Christ Jesus, was to me unknown. The books of Plato knew not this ; still would I remark the provi. dence of my God in leading me to study them, before I searched the Scriptures, that I might remember how I liad been affected by them, and when afterwards my wouuds should be healed by thy hand, through the Scriptures, I might distinguish the difference between presumption and confession, between those who see whether we ought to go, without knowing the means, and those who see the way itself leading to the actual inheritance. Had I been informed at first by thy Scriptures, and thou hadst endeared thyself to me in their familiarity, an after-acquaintance with Plato might either bave shaken my faith, or raised in me an undue estima. tion of the worth of his writings.
With eagerness, therefore, I took up the Volume of Inspiration, * and particularly the Apostle Paul, and those questions, in which be once had seemed inconsistent with bimself, the law, and the Prophets, were now no more. There now appeared one uniform tenor of godliness, and I learnt to rejoice with trembling, and I took up the book, and found wbatever truth I had read there, is said with this recommendation of thy grace, that he who sees should not 80 GLORY AS IF HE HAD NOT RECEIVED, not only that wbich he sees, but the power of seeing itself t For what hath be, which he hath not received ? And he who cannot see afar, should, however, walk in the way, by which he may come, see, and lay hold. For though he be delighted with THE LAW OF GOD IN THE INWARD MAN, YET WHAT SHALL HE DO WITH THE OTHER LAW IN HIS MEMBERS WARRING AGAINST THE LAW OF HIS MIND, AND BRINGING HIM INTO CAPTIVITY TO THE LAW OF SIN, WHICH IS IN HIS MEMBERS ?: For thou, Lord, art just, but we have sinped and dealt wickedly, and thy hand is beavy upon us, and we are justly delivered up to the power of the old sin. ner, wbo has the power of death, because he persuaded us to follow bis will, by which he did not stand in the truth. Who shall deliver us from the body of this death, but thy grace,
. It may be remarked here, how depraved the taste of man is, and how much and how long he will suffer, before be give himself simply to tbe instruction of God's own words.
+ He means the inestimable privilege of spiritual understanding, through his want of which, St. Paul had long appeared to him contradictory, confused, and disgusting. He is well qualified to recommend to others the value of dirine teaching, who, like Augustine, is experiencing it in himself. Nothing teaches humility like such experience.
through Jesus Christ our Lord, in whom the prince of this world could find nothing worthy of death, and who, by bis death, blotted out the band writing that was against us ? The Platonic books had nothing of this, nor the face of piety, the tears of confession, the sacrifice of a troubled spirit, a broken and contrite beart, salvation, the spouse, the holy city, the earnest of the Holy Spirit, the cup of our redemption. None there hears, " Come unto me all that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” It is one thing to see a land of peace at a distance, with no practicability of attaining it, and another to pursue the right road towards it, under the care of the Heavenly Commander, who made the road for your use. I was wonderfully affected with these views, wbile I read The LEAST OF THINE APOSTLES, and I considered thy works, and trembled.
THE MARKS OF THE BELIEVER.
6. From henceforth let no man trouble me ; for I bear in my body the marks of the
Lord Jesus.” Gal. vi. 17.
To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, is the duty of every one wishing to escape from the wrath to come. If we thus believe, then assuredly we shall be saved; but if we believe not, then shall we be damned; for without faith it is impossible to please God. We should examine ourselves, and inquire, whether we are in this believing state or not. But how are we to know? Why, let us seek out, in the Word of God, what those marks are which distinguish the believer from the world, and the child of God from the followers of Satan. Then, when we have done so, let us see if those marks are to be found in us; and if not, we must not remain in that condition, if we wish to have an eternal abode with the Father, and with his Son whom he bath seut. But if they are, then let us patiently wait until the Sun of righteousness shall burst forth upon our souls, and cause the germs of an expecting hope to shoot forth and increase abundantly, bearing the fruit of comfort in expectation of better days beyond the flood.
In the verse above, we find the Apostle saying, that he bare about him tbe marks of the Lord Jesus. We shall here leave out of consideration the external marks of resemblance, such as circumcision, &c., which some are pleased to say are those referred to in the verse, and shall endeavour to find out some of the internal marks, which distinguished our Lord, and distinguish also the believer,
It is said of our Lord, that the Spirit was poured out upon
him without measure. And again, that the Spirit rested upon him. The Spirit is given also to believers, as is evident from such portions of Scripture as Gal. iv. 6; 1 John iv. 13. Now the fruits of the Spirit are given to them that believe; and they must be manifest in them, for “ they that are after the Spirit mind the things of the Spirit.” But St. Paul says, that “ the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him ;' therefore the fruits of the Spirit must be the marks of the believer, since the believer alone receiveth them. We find these fruits of the Spirit enumerated in Gal. v. 22, 23, and I shall take them up in order.
The first mentioned is,Love. This forms such a necessary part of a believer's character, that it is impossible to imagine how he could exist, as such, without it. No man can obey the commands of God, unless he first have love to him, and if any man obey not the commands of God, he cannot have that love which God requires ; for he says, “ if any man love me he will keep my commandments." "This love which is necessary seems to me to be threefold, consisting of, love to God,-love to God's people,-love to our enemies.
Love to God is that boundless esteem and affection for him, wrought by the Holy Ghost in the hearts of his people, when once they have discovered his glory and his excellency. It is this that causes all our delights to be centered upon God, and all our desires to be placed in him. If we have this love, we will be ready to say, “ whom bave we in bea. ven but thee, and there is none upon earth we desire besides thee,” O Lord! If we have this love to God, our souls will pant after liim, " as the bart panteth after water brooks; our souls will thirst for God, even for the living God, and we will long to come unto him.” If we love God, the great mark of our love will be our obedience to him : for it is said, “this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” 1 Joba v. 2. If we love God, we will fear him and tremble to of. fend him: we will depend upon him for a supply for all our wants : he will be in all our thoughts ; for where our treasure is there will our hearts be also. Tbis love to God must be founded upon right principles. We must love him, not only for what he hath done for his people in general, but also for what he hath done for us in particular. “I love the Lord,'' says David, “ because he hath beard my voice and my supplication.". But we must not only love him for what he hath done for his people, and for us, but also for what he is in
himself. We must love him, on account of his intrinsic beauty, his matchless worth and perfection, and his superlative excellencies. This is the foundation of, and this that love to God, wbich is to he found only in the heart of a believer. A second ingredient in it is,
Love to God's people. If a man have love to God, I cannot see how he could be devoid of love to God's people. The Apostle John, when speaking of this subject, says, that " if any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for be that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen ?" That we should have love one for another, is a doctrine taught us to a great extent in the Word of God. Our Lord wished much to inculcate this doctrine on the minds of his disciples, and twice he commands them, in the same chapter, to “love one another.” He shewed them, also, that it was by their love to one another that they were to be distinguished from the world; for he says, " By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” The Apostle John sheweth us, that we should have love one to another, and that every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He saith again, that “he who dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in bim."
We find now that we should have love to God's people : But how are we to know when our love to them is true and sincere, and not counterfeit? We may know that our love to God's people is sincere, if we love them on spiritual grounds: if we love them on account of the relation which they bear to God as his children. Or if we keep the commandments of God, then we may know that our love for his children is sin
Peter tells us, that if our souls be purified, then will our love to the brethren be with a pure heart fervently, being unfeigned ; 1 Pet. i. 22. If we love them without distinction of rauk, so that the poorest beggar is as much delighted in by us, if he be a child of God, as he who is ornaniented with the most precious stones of Ceylon. If we love them more than the rest of the world, even more than an ungodly relative. If we love them constantly, no matter in what condition of life they may be, whether prosperous or adverse. If, as the Apostle says, we love them not in word or in tongue merely, but in deed and in truth. If we prefer their company, and like David have all our delights in them. If we sympathize with them in their sorrows, and rejoice with them in their joys. . If we can bear with, and forgive them, and if we