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any religious service, neglect the Church, the Book, the House, the Day of God, and are careless about the consequences of their mad indifference.
Further, he who finds pleasure in the commission of sin, who hankers after forbidden sweets, who would like to go where he could escape detection, where he could do that which he knows is wrong and be exposed to no reproach; he who is not afraid of his own condemnation in doing that which is contrary to God's will, who never thinks of the absolute wrong of certain courses, but only groans under the fetters which forbid him to indulge in them with impunity, is without question living in sin. Sin is living in him; is preying on his life, will inevitably force on him its wages.
To sum up the whole matter in the words of Holy Scripture," All ungodliness is sin." To live an ungodly life, to be without God, without His love, His presence, to act irrespectively of His authority, to labour on without His approbation, to find pleasure in what is opposed to His will, to yield the heart up to His enemy, to escape as far as possible from His control, is to live in sin, and bring the consequences of such a life down upon the soul.
However orthodox your creed, however loud your profession, or conspicuous your semblance of virtue, whatever is your excuse or palliation in the ears of your friend or enemy, you know that so long as you are not justified at the bar of conscience and the tribunal of God, your life is a life of sin; it is not a
divine life. All profession of a divine life on your part is an hypocrisy and a sin. You may be Catholic or Protestant, Evangelical or Unitarian, Calvinist or Arminian, but you know that you are living in sin, and there is nothing divine in your life, except those strivings which you have resisted, that light which you have quenched, that Saviour, that divine Lord and Redeemer who stands unadmitted at the door of your heart's life.
II. Let us now proceed to the investigation of the contrast drawn by the Apostle between “living in sin” and being "alive unto God.”
It is not so much the contrast between the life of sin and the life of God in a human soul, as the mode in which the soul of man may busy itself and characterize itself in this world of ours. The point of view from which we shall here continue to treat the subject, is not that of a second life within our life, whether it be that of the devil or God, but that of the activity, characteristics, and occupation of the soul itself. We all understand what is meant by being alive to’ anything. By the phrase is meant a vivid conception of its reality, a joy in its presence, a devotion to its interests. Thus one man is alive to business, another to his reputation, another to truth. One man is alive to beauty in nature or art, he is therefore quick to discern its presence, keen to critia cize its counterfeits, filled with joy when surrounded with its exponents. Another man is alive to literature or science, his ear is sensitive to every message
from the great world of letters and invention, and the world exists, so far as he is concerned, to sustain and furnish material for his favourite pursuit. One man is alive to the well-being of his own country, and another to the wider interests of man. By means of these illustrations we may form a good explanation of the phrase “ alive to God.” With the help of them we may assume that a man is alive unto God :
(1) When he fully recognizes the signs of the presence of God.
Habitual transgression or neglect of the laws of God is incompatible with the condition of a man who sees God everywhere-above, around, behind, before, and within him. A practical desire to escape from the laws and retribution of the Most High is impossible to one who sees in the sunbeam which explores the distant mountain or opens the silent flower, and in all the light that shines out of darkness, the eye of the Father of Heaven; impossible to one who feels that the persistence of all the properties of nature, of matter and motion, the continuance of all life, the maintenance of all the conditions of existence, and the invariability of the laws which govern all creationinstead of shutting out God from thought--do bring Him into every thought, and make Him the infinite witness of every action, the support and stay of all being. That man is “ alive to God” who habitually realizes the divine presence, to whom God is not a theory by which he can conveniently account for the universe, or a name for certain human conceptions of nature and its working, or a principle which deserves investigation when life's hard work is over, or an invention of priestcraft to terrify and scare the soul, or a philosophic concept the presence or absence of which has little to do with life or happiness, but the great and only reality, the prime and principal element of all his thoughts. No one fully recognizes the presence of God unless he has advanced beyond the teaching of nature, and received from Holy Scripture, from the experiences of holy men when moved by the Holy Ghost, from the life of the Church, from the inward operations of the Spirit in his own heart, more than philosophical speculations can give him. He has learned from nobler sources than the pure reason, or the trembling conscience, or the widespread activities of power, his estimate of the character of God. He has been to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and there comprehended the righteousness and the love of God, and he has gone back into the great region of conscience, of reason, and of nature, with the lesson he has learned there, and can compel the cold impassive laws to murmur to him of pity, and teach conscience to be at peace with a higher revelation than that of law: and while his reason exults in God, who is ONE and not two, he spreads out the ineffable love over the universal wisdom; he feels that the justice and the mercy of God are two manifestations of the same God; he adores the compassion and exults in the grace of God, while he bows before His unsullied and eternal Majesty. The attributes of God are not a Pantheon of discordant deities, but in the cross of Christ they are proved to be rays from the one central undivided glory. He who is alive unto God is fully sensible of the presence of all these moral perfections in every manifestation of Himself. If we realize the presence of God we draw near at once to all His nature; and the manifestation of one attribute brings with it to the heaven-taught soul all the rest. Conscious of one glorious perfection, we discern therein the presence of Him to whom all perfections belong. If alive unto God, every revelation of His infinite essence suggests to our quickened spirit the presence of our Father and our Friend.
(2) If a man is alive unto God, the sense of the divine presence awakens all the energies and engages all the faculties of his nature.
If duly conscious of the divine presence, we shall render to Him into whose presence we are perpetually brought the appropriate homage of our entire being. Then every place is a temple, every act is a sacrifice, every sin the pollution of a sacred place, the defilement of a holy day. No praise that we can render can ever equal the demand of conscience, nor will our actual obedience ever realize the ideal we have formed of consecration to Him. It is morally impossible for one who is alive unto God to imagine that he is doing too much to express his sense of reverence, gratitude, or obligation. He can hold back no faculty, no affection, no treasure, saying