David Black.

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mindis enmity against God, not being sub-
ject to the law of God, nor disposed to yield
obedience to his will ; and therefore, that it
is not in man that walketh to direct his
own steps, and that if ei^er a fallen crea-
ture is restored to the lost image of his Mak-
er, he must be born again, renewed by the
Holy Spirit, and translated from darkness
unto light, and from the power of Satan un-
to God.

Again, in proportion to the humbling ap-
prehensions which the Christian entertains
of himself, are his admiring and exalted
thoughts of the Redeemer. To the igno-
rant unenlightened mind, Christ has no form
nor comeliness, nor is there any beauty in
him that they should desire him. But the
man who hath been with Jesus, has receiv-
ed some satisfyino; discovery of his match-
less excellence and worth. His person, his
character, his offices, and work, appear in-
estimably precious in his esteem. These he
regards witli the profound est veneration and
the highest delight. In them he places hi>


confidence and hope, while, with the aposr
tie, he counts all things but loss for the ex-
cellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesu'^
his I.ord ; that he may win Christ, and be
found in him, not having his own righteous-
ness, which is of the law, but that which is
through the faith of Christ, the righteous-
ness of God by faith.

Once more, the Christian's views of this
and another world, are very different from
those of the generality of mankind. The
Christian considers this world as a danger-
ous wilderness, through which he has to
pass to the Canaan that is above ; and on
its best enjoyments he perceives written in
plain and legible characters, Van It if and
vexation of spiiit. A great part of man-
kind seem to live only for this v/orld. Their
hopes, their desires, their pursuits, are
bounded by things seen and temporal ; and.
to judge by their conduct, you would think
that this is all the portion they ever vvish
to enjoy. But the Christian, whose mind is
enliojhtened from above, takes in a Jaro^er and.
more comprehensive view of things. He judg-

.304 THE CHRISTIAN SEll. l6:

es with the apastle, that the things which
are seen are temporal, hut that the things
which are not see?i arc eternal. He reckonsy
that the snjferings of this present time arc
not worthy to be compared with the glorij
thai is to he revealed, even with that far
more exceedino" and eternal weight of pIo-
ry, which is reser\ed for the people of God
in heaven. Eternity ! O how vast does e-
ternity appear in the Christian's esteem !
How does it annihilate the world, and all
its little trifling concerns ! Wicked and un-
godly men, whatever they may pretendj
have no fixed and steady belief in the great
realities of an invisible world ; for, if they
had, they could not live in the manner they
do. But the man who hath been with Je-
sus, the genuine disciple of Christ, is one
who acts on ihe well grounded and steady
conviction of the great truths revealed in
the word of God, relating to a future and
eternal world. His faith is the substance of
things hoped for^ the evidence of things not
seen. It gives a kind of subsistence (as the
original word J^oracr/,' signifies) to those fu-
ture and distant objects which are conceal-

SEIt. 10. CHARACTER. 305

ed from the eye of sense. It brings them
near, as it were, and represents them to the
view of the mind, not as bare probabihties,
but as absokite certainties, which are' well
entitled to the firmest credit, and most un-
suspicious confidence.

I come now to consider,

II. The influence which a saving know-
ledge of the gospel ought to produce on the

By the temper, I mean the habitual
frame or disposition of the mind, both to-
wards God and our fellow-creatures. In-
deed, however correct our religious views
and sentiments may be, unless they have a
corresponding influence on our temper, we
have too o-ood reason to fear that we are
yet strangers to the grace of God in truth.
I could willingly enlarge on this important
branch of the Christian character, but a-
greeably to the general design of this dis-
course, I must only hint at a few particu-
lars, in which I shall endeavour to keep in



view that great pattern of the Christian
temper, exhibited by our blessed Lord, who
in this, as well as in all other respects, hath
left us an example that we should follow his

The first thing I mention, by w4iich the
Christian temper is marked, and on account
of which, others may take knowledge of
us that we have been with Jesus is liumi-

This is the ground-work of the Christian
character. It is the first lesson that is learn-
ed in the school of Christ, and that temper
of mind, which, above all others, the gospel
enjoms. A proud Christian is a contradic-
tion in terms ; for the very name Christian
implies the renunciation of our own wisdom,
works, and will ; and a chearful submission
to the righteousness, grace, and government
of Christ. And where can we find, my
Friends, such a bright pattern of humility
as in the example of Christ himself? He
was in the form of God, and thouo-ht it not
robbery to be equal with God ; yet he made


himself of no reputation, and took upon
him the form of a servant. For almost
thirty years of his Ufe, he lived in obscu-
rity, nor did he aspire to worldly i^ran-
deur, even after he entered upon his public
ministry. He sought not honour from men,
but patiently submitted to shame and re-
proach, n the prosecution of his great and
generous designs. He condescended to
men of low estate, conversing with the
meanest, as readily as with the most wealthy
or powerful, and refusing no acts of kindness
to persons of any description who applied,
to him for relief. Such was the humble
and lowly spirit of the great Author and
Finisher of our faith : and surely it is meet
that the disciple should be as his Master,
and the servant as his Lord. Has the Chri-
stian been with Jesus ? has he frequently
contemplated his life and character? has he
received likewise of his Spirit ? and must not
the same mind be in him, even that lowly
self-denying temper, which will lead *him to
entertain just, and therefore low apprehen-
sions of his own character and attainments,
^iid to esteem others better than himself?


Again, nearly allied to the grace of hu-
mility is meekness^ another eminent branch
of the Christian temper.

Of this disposition, also, we have an ad-
mirable pattern in the life and conduct of
our blessed Lord. As he was of a humble,
so he was likewise of a meek and quiet spi.-
rit. Though he met with much unprovoked
ill usage from his cruel and implacable ene-
mies, he was never heard to employ passion-
ate or irritating language in return. 11 hen
he was reviled,, he reviled not again ; when
he suffered, he threatened not, hut commit-
ted himself' to him that judgeth righteous-
ly. On one occasion, when the Jews, with-
out any just cause, took up stones to stone
him, we find him, instead of shewing any
resentment, endeavouring to calm their pas-
sions by this mild and gentle reply, Many
good works have I shewed you from my
Father, for which of those works do ye
stone me ? At another time, he rebuked his
disciples for their intemperate zeal, in Avish-
ing him to call down fire from heaven to
e hori'ibly afraid,
O earth ! a man, who bears the name of
Christian, who professes love to Jesus, and


entertains the hope of being saved by him
at last, mingles without fear in the society
of the scorner and profane ; and listens,
without expressing his disapprobation, to
things which ought not to be once named
amongst Christians. To such, the alarm-
ing words of our Saviour may be justly ap-
plied, Whosoever "hall he ashamed of me
ajid of my words, of him shall the Son of
Man be ashamed, when he shall come ^i his
own glory, and in his Fatliers, and of the
holy angels.

It now only remains, that, in the

Fourth place, we consider the influence
of an experimental knowledge of the gospel
of Jesus on a Christian's actions, or outward

This is the finishing part of the Christian
character, the most unequivocal proof of
the sincerity of our Christian profession,
and that which gives a beauty, a lustre,
and consistency to the whole.


What, then, are tlie actions, uhat the
outward behaviour, that miay naturally be
expected to accompany the sentiments, the
temper, and language which I have alrea-
dy illustrated ?

1. Are the Christian's leading- sentiments
and views such as have b^en represented ?
Does he think honourably of God ? Does he
conceive humbly of himself? Is the Saviour
precious to him ? and does the world appear
in his esteem what it really is, 'Vanity and
ve.vation of spirit ? To such sentiments and
view$ as these, his outward behaviour will
correspond. As he fears and loves God in
his heart, so you will observe him paying a
sacred regard to all the positive institu-
tions of religion. Yau will see him ii>
his family worshipping the God of his
fathers, and like pious Abraham, com-
manding his children and his household af-
ter him to keep the way of the Lord. You
will observe his strong attachment to the
word and ordinances of God, in opposition
to those who either altogether slight the in-
stitutions of religion, or who give but a for°


•ced and occasional attendance upon them.
In obedience to the express command of
God, he is particularly careful to remember
the Sabbath-day to keep it holy, so that no
part of it may be spent in amusement, or un-
necessary worldly business. An ungodly man,
though accustomed to appear in the house of
God, accounts the worship of God a burden,
and is glad of an excuse for not attending ;
but the Christian can truly say, in the devout
language of the Psalmist, How amiable are
thy tabernacles ! a day spent in thy courts
is better than a thousand : I had rather
be a door-keeper in the house of my God,
than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
In a particular manner, he feels the warm-
est affection to that ordinance which is ap-
pointed for the express purpose of commc-
moratino; the Saviour's dvinp; love : and so
deeply impressed is he with a sense of his
obligations to this love, that with the ut-
most readiness he embraces every opportu-
nity of testifying before the world in this
solemn and public manner, that he hath
been vath Jesus.



Farther, the Christian looks upon this
world as vanity, and the next as all-impor-
tant. In conformity therefore to this sen-
timent, he discovers a noble superiority
to the world. He will not be over-solicit-
ous to obtain its honours, or riches, or plea-
sures, nor be greatly cast down with its
disappointments and losses ; for, having
his heart and his treaeure in heaven, he
looks out for a city which hath founda-
tions, whose builder and maker is God.
Yea, though every outward circumstance
should seem to be against him, yet will he
possess his soul in patience, in hope of that
far more exceeding and eternal weight of
glory that awaits him beyond the grave.

But again, is the Christian distinguished
from the men of the world by having the
same mind in him -which was also in Jesus ;
a humble, meek, loving, and submissive tem-
per ? This also will shew itself in his out-
ward behaviour. His humility, if he move
in a superior station of life, will appear to
the world, in the unaffected simplicity and
condescension of his manners ; or, if in an

SEll. 10. CHARACTER. 325

inferior station, in a modest and unassuming
behaviour, in submission to the lawful com-
mands of his superiors, and in a chearful
discharge of the duties belonging to his
place in society.

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