THE CHRISTIA 'S REST.
BY ADAM HAWORTH
" Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest^ (Matt xi. 28). IT is well said by an Apostle that " we must through much tribulation, enter into the kingdom of God " (Acts xiv. 22). The Christian has to be tempted and tried, and the way to Zion is long and toilsome ; but if he bear his cross in faith and patience, following his Saviour through good report and through evil report, he will at length overconle, and inherit the promises. He will come into the rest which remains for the people of God (Heb. iv. 9). We will, in this Tract-Sermon, treat on that rest which the Saviour gives to the suffering ones who come unto Him. This rest is not inactivity: it is spiritual rest, or rest of the soul. There is not, even in nature, any such state as absolute inaction. Every created thing is in motion. The earth on which we dwell is never at test, '^V^^ [TRACT- SMRMOMS,—hO. 1 1. J ^V
THE CHRISTIA 'S REST. seeming motionless, it revolves in diurnal rotation, and moves annually around the sun. The acorn which falls to the ground, and seems to rest there, moves with the moving
earth, and is active too in other ways. Yielding to the forces of gravitation, it cleaves closely and more closely to its parent earth, to find a place in her bosom. Stray leaves, grass, and a light mould then cover it ; and it gathers moisture, nutriment and caloric from the atmosphere and the earth. Developing its innate powers, it concentrates these on its germ, which, as other parts decay, gains life and increases, and at length comes forth as another tree. A drop of water does not rest where it falls, but evaporates and is borne away. The leaf which falls and withers, and is said to die, lives on through endless metamorphoses. The human body is not inactive when it reposes, but is engaged in recruiting its forces from within. During sleep the circulation and r.espiration continue, and what was wasted in labour is supplied; yea, there is in sleep a great internal activity. WlcveiY the spirit leaves. 82 . _.
THE CHRISTIA 'S REST. the body, this clay tenement does not become really inactive, for then decomposition succeeds to the composition which went on before, and the solid matter is converted into new substances. In this way rest is never really an inactive state : it is one kind of activity giving place to another kind. The action which wastes and weakens, is followed by that which supplies what is wasted, and gives new strength. Rest
is thus refreshment : it is a change of action. And so with any country which rests from war and its troubles. Warfare paralyzes the arm of industry, and dries up the springs of social happiness ; but peace, in giving repose from war, sets free again men's best powers, and engages them in a new and fruitful activity. The traveller, on reaching his house and home, after much toilsome journeying, engages with joy in new duties. And the tired mariner only enters on a new state of activity when, after his toils at sea, he rests as he reaches the port of his destination. Let us now go from matter to mind, from natural to moral and spiritual life.
THE CHRISTIA 'S REST. To be active in thought and feeling is not necessarily to labour and be heavily laden. Man is thus laden, when his mental powers are unduly taxed, but not when they are active in doing what he freely wills and is equal to. The quality or amount of the action imposed, determines whether it is, or how far it is, a labour to him. His thoughts, when conflicting with doubts or difficulties, are in a state of wearying labour; but let these troubles vanish, and rest is brought to the mind. All such rest is but a change of mental activity. There are false and there are true states of mental rest The satisfied desires of the natural mind, arising from the attainment of
any selfish or worldly objects, are not true states of rest, for they are unreal or insecure, because they are liable to be disturbed by worldly trouble or adversity. Hence we read, "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked" (Isaiah Ivii. 21). While man is unregenerate, he cannot, in a proper sense, have rest. either is there true rest in any merely external religion; or any system of doctrine which ieavejs the heart uuchsitvged, or keeps 84
THE CHRISTIA 'S REST. man short of that practical godliness, which consists in loving the Lord above all things, and his neighbour as himself. All these may say Peace, peace, to their souls, while there is no peace. What has now been said on rest in general, will help us to see the nature of true rest, or that rest which belongs to the soul. If there is no such state as inaction in external things, and these are produced by spiritual causes, it follows that the internal life of the soul must be an active life. It must be
an activity producing happiness in the soul, because happiness is our " being's end and aim." And if true happiness is only attained by the practice of doctrines teaching spiritual love and charity, or righteousness and true holiness, it follows that only in this way can spiritual rest be found. To come, therefore, into this rest is to come from what is unrighteous and unholy to what is righteous and holy. To be given up in heart and mind to what is evil and sinful, or to the evils of selfish and worldly love, is to be in spiritual toil and trouble ; it is to have the mind ''like the ltowbk.d ^^-a^
THE CHRISTIA 'S REST. which cannot rest/* This is man's fallen state into which he originally came by disobedience. He had been made in the Divine image, and when so made his soul was in a sabbath state, or state of rest. It was the creation of his mind into states of holiness, or of love to God and man. It was God who thus created him, and when so created, God rested, and man rested in God. From this state he fell by disobedience, and so introduced self-will and self-love, from which all evils are derived. A
state began which was opposed to the Divine will — opposed to order, love, truth, purity, peace, and happiness. Self-love begat hatred to others, with a wish to rule over them, and appropriate their goods ; hence trouble, strife, contention, warfare, and death. What can give rest to fallen man in such a case ? He must find it by going back to the state in which his spirit originally rested. He must attend to that voice which saith, " Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." He must come feeling and acknowledging the burden of his sins, and his own inability to remove it. He must 36
THE CHRISTIA 'S RE^T. come to the Saviour for salvation, imploring mercy and forgiveness : he must come in repentance, renouncing self and its evil loves, and shunning all evils as being sins against God. His burden of sin can then be removed. He will thus open the door of his mind to Him who has long been standing and knocking
there, who then will enter, in the influences of His Spirit, giving new states of love and perceptions of truth. Peace will then come to the mind, — peace from Him who is the Prince of peace, and who saith, " My peace I give unto you/* He will speak peace to the soul; He will say to the troubled waters, Peace, be still ; and there will be a great calm. The mind thus gains relief : it comes progressively into peace and rest; it comes to love and to will what the. truth teaches; love is made one with, or is united with truth. Man is thus conjoined with the Lord, or made one with Christ, who then works in him to will and to do. There is harmony in the faculties and powers of his mind : they move unitedly ; they are tuned to the hatmot^ve.^ qC ^1
THE CHRISTIA 'S REST. heaven. He has heaven in his soul, and his soul is at rest. Heaven, after death, is the consummation of the Christian's hopes ; and in heaven he rests. The redeemed ones there rest from their labours, and their works do follow them. They come into the rest which remains for the people of God. o more labour, no more trouble; no more sorrow or sighing, for the former things are passed away. They have followed the good Shepherd, and now they lie down in green pastures and beside the " waters
of rest." They find indeed that the work of righteousness is peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. Blessed state ! Precious gift of spiritual rest ! Happy the man who seeks it, and comes to Him who saith, " Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest"
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