« PreviousContinue »
to be a doer of the word, the more his soul's enemy labours to impede his progress. If he could be satisfied with doing what custom prescribes, or what the laws of society require; the Devil would permit him so to do without interruption or hindrance. He would then experience no conflict: the strong man armed being in full possession of him, would keep his house in peace; and thus thousands live, saying, peace, peace to themselves, when there is no trúe peace, no peace with God. But the Christian cannot rest contented with this : he aims continually at the standard of God's word. It is too high for him, he cannot attain unto it: hence that inward warfare described by the apostle Paul, “ the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, so that the believer cannot do the things that he would; for the good that he would, that he does not ; but the evil that he would not, that he does."
At one time he gains a victory in this good fight of faith, at another he suffers a defeat, but at all times he wishes to be victorious. His desire to be a doer of the word is complete, but his power of accomplishing that desire is very incomplete. In one respect, however, he differs essentially from every hearer only; he heartily approves of the very strictest requirements of the law of God, and sincerely condemns himself; instead of seeking to justify himself, by pleading the extreme severity of the law. He counts not himself to have attained, neither does he think it possible while in the flesh to attain perfection; yet still he aims at it, and his renewed soul can rest satisfied with no measure of holiness short of complete conformity to the image of Jesus Christ.
This it is, to be a doer of the word. Now, my brethren, fairly and candidly consider these statements: compare them with your own characters, and with the Scriptures : reflect on your constantly increasing measure of responsibility in being so frequently hearers of God's word, and remember that saying of our Lord Jesus Christ with which he concluded his matchless sermon. After saying that “whosoever is angry with
. his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment, and whosoever shall say
to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire:” after saying that “ whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart:" after saying “ love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you :” “ lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where
thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also :” “no man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other; ye cannot serve God and mammon :” “enter ye in at
" the straight gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because straight is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it:” “not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of
Father which is in heaven : many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils ? and in thy name done many wonderful works? and then will I profess unto them I never knew you, depart from me ye that work iniquity:"after these, and many other sayings such as these, he adds with deep solemnity.
" Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them; I will liken him unto a wise man which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and
that house; and it fell not: for it was
founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand ; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell : and great was the fall of it.”
When Jesus ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine, for he taught them as one having authority. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear! but be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your ownselves,
ISRAEL AND ENGLAND COMPARED.
AMOS iv. 12.
Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O! Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O! Israel.”
The Prophet Amos lived about eight hundred years before the coming of Jesus Christ, in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and Jeroboam king of Israel. He was commissioned of God to denounce fearful judgments against those nations who had been the oppressors of Israel, and then more largely to expostulate with the Israelites themselves for their injustice, idolatry and ingratitude.
In the first chapter and part of the second, we find him raising his voice against Syria, Philistia, Tyrus, Edom, Ammon and Moab; and declaring that for the multitude of their transgressions (or as it is expressed, for three transgressions and for four--not for seven only, but seventy times seven-for the indefinite multitude of their transgressions) the anger of