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Chapter XII.

Showing That Christ Is The Only Way And End Of True Godliness; And That Man Goes Astray, When God Does Not Guide And Direct Him.

Teach me thy way, O Lord: I will walk in thy truth; unite my heart to fear thy name.Ps. 86:11.

This way is Christ. He says, “I am the way.” John 14:6. But thou wilt here ask, How am I to come to him? The answer is: By faith. For faith unites us with Christ; love binds us fast; and hope upholds and sustains us while we walk in this way; that is, in the life of Christ. Yet at the same time, faith, hope, and love, all proceed from Christ himself, and 208 are his work in us. All these graces flow from him, and return to him. This way goes out from him, and leads back to him again.

2. Faith apprehends the Person of Christ, and his office; Love follows Christ in his life and conversation; Hope seizes on the glory that is hereafter to be revealed in Christ. Faith must have no other Christ, no other Redeemer, no other Saviour, no other Mediator and Way to life, but Jesus Christ only. Love sets before itself the one only life of Christ, as the most perfect and shining pattern to which to conform itself. Hope looks up steadfastly to Christ, as the glorious Captain of our salvation, keeping its eye fixed upon his everlasting kingdom above. This, this is the right way; this is the unerring truth, wherein we are to walk; and this is what is meant by having the heart united, to fear the Lord's name.

3. These three chief virtues are allied again to three other virtues. The alliance of faith, is with humility; of love, with patience; and of hope, with prayer. For he that believeth, humbleth himself; he that loveth, is patient; and he that hopeth, learns to pray, and boldly to approach the throne of grace. O how goodly and beautiful is this way! This is the way of God, the way of salvation, the path to glory, even our great Master's way! And may He himself teach us this way of truth, and inspire us with courage to walk in it! Where this frame of mind is, there the soul is firmly united to the fear of the Lord; and this is that one thing which David desired. Ps. 27:4. Such a one is resolved heartily to follow Christ in his humility and love, meekness and patience, expelling, through the lowliness of Christ, the venom of pride that lurks within. Consider how Christ thy Lord was made for thee a despicable worm (Ps. 22:6), and trampled upon by the basest of men! and by looking to him, learn to restrain thy haughty temper. In a word, let his humility slay thy pride; and do thou suppress the assaults of covetousness, by meditating on the poverty of Christ. Behold, he had not so much as even where to lay his head (Matt. 8:20), and how eager art thou to grasp in possession whatever thy unbounded desires fix themselves upon! Let the spirit of envy die, by the consideration of the overflowing love of Christ. He hath given thee life itself, and thou grudgest thy neighbor even a morsel of bread. Let the thirst for revenge be overcome in thy breast by the meekness of Christ. Behold! he prayed for his enemies (Luke 23:34); and thou dost not even pray for thy friends. His face being buffeted and spit upon by sinners, he quietly endured it; and thou canst hardly endure a severe look, or an unkind word from thy neighbor! Let the enticements to lust and voluptuousness be beaten down, by the agony and pains which thy Lord suffered in his holy body. Behold, and see, whether the sorrows of any man were ever like unto his sorrows! Lam. 1:12. This consideration will prove a check to the wanton lusts of thy flesh, and a curb to thy thirst after worldly pleasure. He wore a crown of thorns; and wouldest thou wear one of gold? He wept for the sins of others; and refusest thou to weep for thine own? He was a man of sorrows; and shouldest thou wish to be a man of pleasure?

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