« AnteriorContinua »
Whoever walks with God, must be first ac
quainted with the way of peace. It is the constant usage of Scripture to represent spiritual things by material, and to speak of the faculties and actions of the soul by terms borrowed from those of the body. Walking is a bodily action, and consists in moving and going from one place to another: hence it is applied to the spiritual walk. The soul reconciled to God, and at peace with him, has an appointed way in which it is to walk, in order to enjoy the grace promised to them who are in Christ Jesus. This is enjoyed by faith; and therefore the scripture calls the
believer's going on in his walk with God from strength to strength, The walk of faith. “ We walk by faith,” says the apostle, “not by sight.”
When man fell from God, he lost his way, and had neither will nor power to return. The Old Testament church makes this confession, “ All we, like sheep, have gone astray, we have turned EVERY ONE to his own way.” Isa, liji. 6.
The apostle Peter reminds believers of this—" Ye were as sheep going astray, but are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." i Pet. ü. 25. To which'agree the words of his brother Paul" There is none righteous, no not one; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God; they are all gone out of the way." Rom. iii. 10, 11, 12. The whole human race, say the oracles of truth, is gone astray, ALL of them are gone out of the way; they have left the way of God, and turned every one to his own way; they are unable, like a poor lost sheep, the most unable of all creatures, to return; yea, they
are unwilling also; for they walk not after the spirit, but after the flesh-carnally-minded, and in their carnal mind enmity itself against God and his ways.
It pleased God, in the exceeding riches of his grace, to reveal to those wanderers the way of salvation. He made it known to them upon the fall; and believers, from that time forward, saw it plainly, and went on iņ it comfortably. Enoch, Noah, Abraham, &c. are said to have walked with God, in the very same way afterwards marked out by the written word; which was a directory to the Jews, showing them how they should walk in the steps of the faith of their father Abraham. Age after age, God raised up the prophets to bring his people into the King's highway, and to put them upon praying, that they might be kept in it. By the mouth of his servant David, he
: mise-". Good and upright is the Lord, therefore will he teach sinners in the way: the meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way.” Encouraged by this warrant from the word of God, sin
them this pro
ners, feeling their wants, were led to pray“ Show me thy ways, O Lord ! teach me thy paths, lead me in thy truth, and teach me.” Psalm xxv. 4. It is written in the prophets-- “ They shall all be taught of God They shall all be taught of me, from the least of them, unto the greatest of them,” saith the Lord. If any of his children lack wisdom, and ask it of God, he giveth to all his liberally, and upbraideth not. He brings them by his word, and by his Holy Spirit, to the knowledge of themselves, and to the knowledge of the true God.
Divine teaching is necessary to make men acquainted with themselves. They know not their state, nor fear their danger, until the Holy Spirit, according to his office, proceed from the Father and the Son : then he convinces them of sin, of the exceeding sinfulness of it, of the guilt thereby incurred, and of the wrath deserved. He enlightens the understanding with a clear sight of those truths, and he fastens the conviction of them upon the conscience. Then they find that they had been blind and ignorant; rebels in
their wills, and apostates in their hearts from God. He makes them feel the corruption of their nature, and the error of their ways, in which, if they had gone on, they must in, evitably have perished : for they were without will, and without power, to return to God. When they were made to see it right, that they ought to return, and to repent, yet it was not their choice to come to hin in the way of believing. They found they could not believe, unless it was given them from above. Faith is the gift of God; and cannot be received, but by the mighty operation of God. He inust put forth his divine power, or else the convinced sinner will remain utterly helpless and hopeless, shụt up in unbelief,
Thus the Lord teaches all his children. He inakes them acquainted with their fallen state, and sensible of their guilt and of their misery. He brings them to the right ķnowledge of the corruption of every faculty of soul and body, which are always inclined to evil, and incapable of doing any thing truly good. A corrupt tree can bring forth no