Watts - Houston-Packer Collection BX5207.W3 S4x 1805 v.1

VELUM. IX.] THE HIDDEN LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN: 157 I proceed now to draw some inferences from the hid- den nature of the spiritual life. I. And my first inference would teach you not to rest satisfied with any externals : for they who put forth no other acts of life, but what the world sees, are no true christians. We eat, we drink, and sleep ; that is the life of nature; we buy and sell, we labour and converse ; that is the civil life ; we trifle, visit, tattle, flutter, and rove among a hundred irnpertinencies, without any formed, or set- tled design what we live for; that is the idle life ; and it is the kindest name that I can bestow upon it. We learn our creed, we go to church, we say our prayers, and read chapters or sermons ; these are the outward forms of the religious life. And is this all? Have we no daily secret exercises of the soul in retirement and converse with God ? No time spent with our own hearts ? Are we never busied, in some hidden corner, about the af- fairs of eternity? Are there no seasons allotted for prayer, for meditation, for reading in secret, and self- enquiries ? Nothing to do with God alone in a whose day together ? Surely this can never be the life of a christian? Remember, Oman, there is nothing of all the labours or services, the acts of zeal or devotion, that thou canst practise in public, but a subtle hypocrite may so nearly imitate the same, that it will be hard to discover the dif- ference. There is nothing of all these outward forms, therefore, that can safely and infallibly distinguish thee from a hypocrite and false professor ; for the same ac- tions may proceed from inward motions and principles widely different. Ifyou would obtain any evidence that youare a christian indeed, you must make it appear to your own conscience by the exercises of the hidden life, and the secret transactions between God and your soul. He was not a Jew of old, who was one outwardly in the letter only nor is he achristian, who has mere outward forms; but a Jew or a christian, in the sight of God, is such a one as bath the religion in his heart, and in spirit, whose praise is not of men, but of God, Rom. ii. 28, 29. II. Inference. The life of a saint is a matter of won- der to the sinful world; for they know not what he lives 1