NO CONDEMNATION IN CHRIST JESUS by Octavius Winslow

"Spiritual-mindedness"

"For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."- Romans viii. 6.
"The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;" Romans 8:6

It will not be disputed that the true test of excellence is its nearest approach to perfection. To nothing will this rule more strictly apply than to the Christian character. Essentially considered, there can be no difference between one believer and another. Both are equally the objects of God's love, and alike the subjects of his regenerating grace. Both stand on an equal footing of acceptance, and participate the same in the immunities which belong to the children of God. But it cannot be denied, nor must it be concealed, that there is a great and marked difference in the moral influence which one Christian exerts beyond another. In the measure of his grace- in the depth of his Christianity- in the vigor of his faith- in the luster of his holiness- in the glory he brings to God, and in the consequent happiness of which he is conscious. It may be truly said of the Church on earth, as of the Church in heaven, "one star differs from another." And to what is this variation to be traced? Undoubtedly to a difference in the tone of spiritual-mindedness. The one is the man of a low, the other of a high Christian standard. Drawing their life, light, and support from one center, they yet seem to move in widely distant orbits. The one seems nearer to the Sun than the other. And thus, standing in a closer proximity to the Fountain of all grace, he draws from its fulness the more largely, and dispenses the more freely. His humble walk with God, his close adherence to Christ, his following the Lord fully, imparts a charm to his piety, a brilliance to his example, and a potency to his influence, which place him in the highest rank of Christian men.
In the passage before us two characters are presented to our view: the carnal mind, with its awful consequence; the spiritual mind, with its holy and heavenly fruit. "To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."

"To be carnally minded is death." If there is one consideration which more than another gives us a vivid and impressive view of man's deep apostasy from original holiness, it is the fact, that not only the lower sentiments and feelings of his nature are utterly and awfully debased, but that the higher and nobler parts of his being– the rational, the intellectual, the moral- have felt the vibrations of the shock, and share alike in the common ruin. In the strong language of the apostle, he is "carnally-minded." Now, to be carnally minded, in the sense of the passage, implies a condition in which the whole soul is entirely engrossed with things correspondent to its fallen nature. This desperate state is not resolvable simply into a flaw of the understanding, or an occasional starting off of the heart from God, but into a deep and thorough carnalization of that which distinguishes him from the brute creation, and which links him in the closest resemblance to God- the MIND. The carnal mind thus describing and governing the whole man- all his thoughts and feelings, pursuits and pleasures, like the stream from the fountain, correspond with its nature. "Many walk of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping (Paul had his tears of sympathy for poor unconverted sinners: how many have we?) that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things." This is the broad seal affixed to every unregenerate individual- "who mind earthly things." Select the most intellectual, ennobling, and useful objects that ever gave development to genius, and birth to thought, or awoke the energies and enterprise of men, and, compared with his eternal interests, what contemptible puerilities do they appear! Survey the whole life of an unconverted man: how unworthy his rational being, and his deathless existence, is that life! "Are these men?" we are tempted to ask.
"See what low-browed bearing- what groveling pursuits, what contemptible enjoyments! The honors he wears, what baubles! The things he pursues, what shadows! The pleasures he indulges, what bubbles!" Again we ask, Are these men? Are they rational? are they sane? are they soon to die? are they on their way to eternity? do they really believe in a God- in a hereafter- in a judgment- in a hell?
And what is the awful consequence of this condition? It issues in death, present and eternal death. "To be carnally minded is death." The nature of the death here spoken of is defined by the tense. It is a present death. To be carnally minded is death- it is death now. To the life of God- the high spiritual life which every believer lives- the unregenerate are dead. Bring them to the test. Address them upon things congenial with their nature, they are all life and animation. Bring before them some subject with which their habitudes of thought are familiar, or with which their taste assimilates- let it be, for example, the progress of literature, or the discoveries of science, or the state of the funds, or the bearings of politics, a painting, an oratorio, or a book, and you have touched the spring which moves all the sympathies and powers the soul. Converse with the scholar of his Homer, with the philosopher of his Newton, with the poet of his muse, with the astronomer of his stars, with the banker of his bullion, with the merchant of his market, with the farmer of his cattle, with the sensualist of his pleasures, with the husband of his bride, with the mother of her first-born, and you have awakened the devotion and enthusiasm of the heart in favor of its fond and worshiped idol. To all this the carnal mind is alive. But alas! the end of these things is death. Change your theme. Meet him in the busy hum of business, or lonely plying his daily task, or amid the heat and excitement of his speculations and his pleasures, and speak to him of Jesus; breathe that name which fills the church below with its fragrance, and the church above with its music, and there is no echo; no responsive chord vibrates to your touch; it is as though you had told your story to a senseless automaton, or had chanted your music to the ear of a corpse. Death is there.
But this is not all. All? O no! it is but the preface, the prelude to that which is to come. Men are compelled in their calculations to look forward to death- but the remote consequences of death they ponder not. "After death the judgment." But this judgment they take not into their calculations. A simple fact may afford an impressive illustration of this phase of the unregenerate mind. A young man, whom he had known as a boy, came to an aged Professor of a distinguished continental University, with a face beaming with delight, and informed him that the long and fondly-cherished desire of his heart was at length fulfilled- his parents having given their consent to his studying the profession of the law. As the University presided over by his friend was a distinguished one, he had repaired to its law school, and was resolved to spare no labor or expense in getting through his studies as quickly and ably as possible. In this strain he continued for some time; and when he paused, the old man, who had been listening to him with great patience and kindness, gently said, "Well! and when you have finished your career of study, what do you mean to do then?" "Then I shall take my degree," answered the young man. "And then?" asked his venerable friend. "And then," continued the youth, "I shall have a number of difficult and knotty cases to manage: shall attract notice by my eloquence, and wit, and acuteness, and win a great reputation." "And then?" repeated the holy man. "And then!" replied the youth, "why then there cannot be a question- I shall be promoted to some high office in the state, and I shall become rich." "And then?" "And then," pursued the young lawyer, "then I shall live comfortably and honorably in wealth and respect, and look forward to a quiet and happy old age." "And then?" repeated the old man. "And then," said the youth, "and then- and then- and then I shall die." Here his venerable listener lifted up his voice, and again asked, with solemnity and emphasis– "And then?" Whereupon the aspiring student made no answer, but cast down his head, and in silence and thoughtfulness retired. This last "And then?" had pierced his heart like a sword- had darted like a flash of lightning into his soul, and he could not dislodge the impression. The result was, the entire change of his mind and course of his life. Abandoning the study of the law, he entered upon that of divinity, and expended the remainder of his days in the labors of a minister of Christ. O, it is the 'after consequences' that make death so terrible to the worldling. There exists a strong analogy between the present and future death of the unregenerate. The spiritual death of the sinner holds its gloomy reign in the empire of a soul, all whose intellectual and moral faculties and powers are instinct with life, are girt with strength, and glow with animation. There is a vivid impression made by external objects. There is a keen sense of animal enjoyment. There is a high relish of the sublime delights and lofty exhilarations of a virtuous heart and a cultivated mind. And still it is the empire of death. "Death reigns." Pass in imagination to the "second death," so vividly portrayed amid the splendors of the apocalypse. Neither is that terrible death an entire cessation of consciousness, of feeling, of sensibility. Far from it. Not a faculty of the lost mind is impaired; not a power of the soul is destroyed; not a feeling of the heart is blunted. No, all have acquired a development, and a strength, they never experienced before. Memory will summon back each past event with all the vividness of a present transaction. And passion will struggle intensely with its unsatisfied desire. And a burning sense of shame, of loss, and of suffering, will bear down the spirit to the fathomless depths of misery. Think not, O unregenerate man, that the "second death" is an unconscious slumber, or a mesmeric trance. O no! it is a living, an eternal death. There will be nothing to alleviate but the scathing, overwhelming conviction of the perfect equity of the sentence, the strict righteousness of the doom. God will say- "I created you for my glory. I placed you in that world to live for my praise. Where are the talents with which I created you- the gifts with which I endowed you- the rank with which I distinguished you- the substance with which I intrusted you- the influence with which I clothed you- the years which I lengthened out to you? You wicked and slothful servant! you have buried my gifts in the earth, and have lived to yourself- depart from me!" In view of a doom so tremendous and just, with what force and solemnity do the words fall upon the ear- "To be carnally minded is death!"

We now turn to a more pleasing theme. "But to be spiritually minded is life and peace." There will be no difficulty in determining the origin, and in detecting the evidences of this state. It springs from the life of God in the soul. Apart from this, there cannot possibly be any real spiritual- mindedness. True spirituality is the springing up of the living water of Christ in the renewed heart. It is the "bringing forth of fruit upward"- of a root of grace in the soul of the regenerate. There is much that bears the semblance of holiness, and which, with many, passes current as such, but which we are compelled to pronounce spurious and counterfeit. Such, for example, to a vast extent, is the apparent sanctity of the Romish Church. Far be it from us to decide thus positively upon every such case found in the most corrupt anti-Christian communion on earth. This would be to claim a power, and exercise a prerogative, which belong essentially and absolutely to God alone. That within the pale of the apostate church there have lived and died true and sincere men of God, cannot be denied. Such was the heavenly-minded Blaise Pascal, and his Port Royalist companions. Such, too, was Martin Boos, and others of
equal piety in the same communion. Does not the solemn call recognize this fact, "Come out of her, my people, that you do not be partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues?" And are we not told, that when the elect are made up, and shall "stand before the throne and before the Lamb," they shall be "a great multitude, which no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues;" and that this shall be the anthem of all, "You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by your blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation?" Thus from all communions, and from each fold, God will call out his hidden ones, who, amid much darkness, and error, and superstition, have groped their way to the cross; and who, sensible of the serpent's sting, have in simple faith looked alone for salvation to the crucified Savior; and in whose souls, beneath the mantle of superstition and error, there dwelt the dim but inextinguishable spark of a divine and heavenly light. Oh! how unspeakably great the mercy that, in a matter so momentous as our salvation, we deal with a God who searches the heart! Oh! cheering truth, that the Shepherd knows his sheep, in whatever fold they are found; and that the sheep know the Shepherd, however dim their perception of his grace and glory. "The foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows those who are his."
But we repeat the truth, that all real spiritual-mindedness is the offspring of a new and spiritual life in the soul. The state of which we speak is the effect of a cause, the consequent upon a certain condition of mind. Before a man can exercise any degree of true heavenliness, he must be heavenly. Before he can bring forth the fruits of holiness, he must be holy.
Dear reader, is this your condition? Have you the life of God in your soul? Have you passed from death unto life? Is the fruit you bear the result of your engrafting into Christ? You attend upon the service of the sanctuary; you visit the abodes of the wretched: you administer to the necessities of the poor; you are rigid in your duties, and zealous in your charities; but does it all spring from faith in Christ, and from love to God? Is it from life, or for life? Oh! remember, that the spiritual-mindedness which the Bible recognizes, of which God approves, has its root in the life of God in the soul!
But in what does spiritual-mindedness consist? It is the setting of the mind upon spiritual objects. The heart is fixed on God. The bent of the soul- its desires and breathings, are towards him. It is a firm, growing approximation of all the renewed faculties to spiritual and heavenly realities. God in Christ is the attraction of the heart. That the needle of the soul always thus steadily points to him we do not affirm; there are false attractions which lure the affections from God, and deaden the spirituality of the mind. To be carnally minded brings a kind of death even into the renewed soul; but this is not the reigning, predominant state. Let God remove that false attraction- let the Eternal Spirit apply with his own quickening power some precious truth to the heart, and the wayward, tremulous needle returns to its center; and the heart is again fixed on God, its exceeding joy. Oh, how holy and precious are these restorings!
Love to God is the governing motive of the spiritual mind. All desire of human admiration and applause pales before this high and holy principle of the soul. Its religion, its devotion, its zeal, its toils, its sacrifices, spring from love. Love prompts, love strengthens, love sweetens, love sanctifies all. This it is that expels from the heart the rival and false claimant of its affections, and welcomes and enthrones the true. It may, at times, like the pulse of the natural life, beat languidly, yet, unlike that pulse, it never ceases entirely to beat. The love of God in the soul never expires. Fed from the source from where it emanates, the holy fire, dim and dying as it may appear at times, never goes out. Have you this evidence of the spiritual mind, my reader? Does the love of Christ constrain you? It is the first and the chief grace of the Spirit; do you possess it? "Now abides faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love." It is the main-spring, the motive power, of the spiritual mechanism of the soul- all its wheels revolve, and all its movements are governed by it. Is this the pure motive that actuates you in what you do for God? Or, do there enter into your service and your sacrifice, anything of self-seeking, of thirst for human approbation, of desire to make a fair show in the flesh, of aiming to make religion subserve your temporal interests? Oh, search your hearts, and see; sift your motives, and ascertain! Love to God- pure, unmixed, simple love- is the attribute of the spiritual mind; and, in proportion to the intensity of the power of love, as a motive, will be the elevated tone of your spirituality. Nor need there be any lack of this motive power. "God is love," and he is prepared to supply it to the mind's utmost capacity. We are straitened in ourselves, not in him. The ocean, on whose margin we doubtingly, timidly stand,
is infinite, boundless, fathomless. The Lord is willing to direct our hearts into its depths, but we hesitate and draw back, awed by its infinite vastness, or stumbling at its perfect freeness. But to attain to a high standard of heavenly-mindedness, we must have more of the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which he has given unto us. We must love Christ more.
It enters essentially and deeply into this state of spiritual- mindedness, that the heart be much with Jesus on the throne. "If you then are risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affections (mind) on things above, not on things on the earth." To win heaven, the mind must become heavenly; and to be heavenly, it must habituate itself to heavenly things and heavenly pursuits. It is a law of our mental constitution, that the mind assimilates in its tone and habits of thought with the subject which most engrosses its study. Hence it its that we sometimes become men of one idea. Now the contemplation of divine and spiritual themes has a powerful tendency to spirituality and sanctify the mind. It seems impossible to breathe a heavenly atmosphere, and not be heavenly; to study holy things, and not be holy; to admire the image of Christ, and not resemble Christ; to have frequent communion with Jesus upon the throne, and not catch some stray beam of his glory. And apart from Christ nothing is really pleasant and satisfying to the heavenly mind. Without him, what a dreary, lonesome wilderness were this! But with Christ in the heart, and the heart resting in Christ– he in the center of our souls, and our affections and desires centering in him- the desert loses it solitude and its desolateness. To have the eye resting on Jesus– all our heart-springs in him- the spirit in frequent excursions where he dwells in light and glory- to lean upon him, and converse with him as though he were actually walking by our side, sitting at our board, associated with us in our callings- this, this is heavenly-mindedness. Such is the counter-attraction to the "things on the earth,"- the secularizing pursuits, the low-thoughted cares, the carnal enjoyments- which we so deeply need. And this powerful, counteracting influence which we possess is a realization of our resurrection with Christ, and his enthronement in glory.
Individual and close communion with Jesus, in the matter of confession of sin, and washing in the atoning blood, strongly marks the state of spiritual-mindedness. No Christian duty forms a surer test of the spiritual tone of the believer than this. The essence, the very life of spiritual-mindedness, is holiness; and the deepening of heart-holiness is the measure of our sanctity of life. Now, there can be no progress in holiness apart from a habit of frequent laying open of the heart in the acknowledgment of sin to Christ. The conscience only retains its tenderness and purity by a constant and immediate confession; and the heart can only maintain its felt peace with God as it is perpetually sprinkled with the blood of Jesus. The soul thus kept beneath the cross preserves its high tone of spirituality unimpaired in the midst of all the baneful influences by which it is surrounded. "To maintain a conscience void of offence, I am persuaded I ought to confess sin more. I think I ought to confess sin the moment I see it to be sin; whether in company, or in study, or even preaching, the soul ought to cast a glance of abhorrence at the sin. If I go on with duty, leaving sin unconfessed, I go on with a burdened conscience, and add sin to sin. I think I ought at certain times of the day, to confess solemnly the sins of the previous hours, and seek their complete remission. I feel when I have sinned an immediate reluctance to go to Christ. I am ashamed to go. I feel as if it would not do to go; as if it were making Christ the minister of sin, to go straight from the swine-trough to the best robe; and a thousand other excuses; but I am persuaded they are all lies direct from hell. John argues the opposite way- 'If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father;' and a thousand other Scriptures are against it. I am sure there is neither peace, nor safety from deeper sin, but in going directly to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is God's way of peace and holiness. It is folly to the world and the beclouded heart, but it is the way." Such were the holy sentiments and lofty aspirations of an eminently spiritual mind (McCheyne); and if we follow him as he followed the precepts of Christ, we must transcribe, and make his experience our own. The holy sensitiveness of the soul that shrinks from the touch of sin, the acute susceptibility of the conscience at the slightest shade of guilt, will of necessity draw the spiritual mind frequently to the blood of Jesus. And herein lies the secret of a heavenly walk. Acquaint yourself with it, my reader, as the most precious secret of your life. He who lives in the habit of a prompt and minute acknowledgment of sin, with his eye reposing calmly, believingly, upon the crucified Redeemer, soars in spirit where the eagle's pinion ranges not. He walks in secret places with God. "He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks." "There is a path which no fowl knows, and which the vulture's eye has not seen"- "it is the new and living way," "the royal highway wherein the saints alone walk with God." "No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up therein: it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there." Sprinkled with the blood of the Incarnate God, how holy, how awful the place! Who can walk there, and not be spiritually-minded?
The possession of the Holy Spirit in the fulness of his grace contributes essentially to the constitution of the spiritual mind. The great antagonist of carnality is the Spirit. "If we walk in the Spirit, we shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh." "Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit." As the Spirit of God, he is the Author of all that is spiritual. As the Spirit of holiness, he maintains and carries forward the work of sanctification in the soul. He it is who forms, and he it is who leads forward, the spiritual mind. The large possession of the Spirit! nothing can exceed the blessing. Without the Spirit of God, what is man? He is the mark of every fiery assault, the prey of every prowling foe- a magazine of corruption, around which a thousand sparks- sparks of his own kindling- fall. But possessing the Spirit, even in its most limited measure, what is man? A living soul- a holy being- a temple of God- an heir of glory. But suppose him possessing the Spirit in the plenitude of His grace, not partially, but "filled with the Spirit,"- what must be the invincibility of his might in the resistance of sin! what the potency of his shield in disarming the power of temptation! and what the eminence of his attainments in spiritual mindedness, as a child of God! While others are girding for the conflict, or are adjusting their armor, he is covering himself with glory on the battle-field. While others are training for the race, he has well-near reached the goal. Filled with the Spirit, he is filled with all the fruits of the Spirit. Faith is vigorous, hope is bright, love is fervent. He is mighty in the "Spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." It was this possession of the Spirit in his fulness which gave to the Apostles, who until then were so timid and unbelieving, such irresistible boldness and power on the day of Pentecost. Some in their hearing exclaimed, "These men are full of new wine." But the secret was, "they were all filled with the Holy Spirit." And the hearts of the great mass to whom they preached the crucified Savior, bowed before the power of their preaching, "as the trees of the woods are moved with the wind." O seek to be filled with the Spirit! then will your thirstings for God be deeper- your breathings after holiness intenser- your communion with your Heavenly Father closer, and your faith in Jesus stronger. The indwelling of the Spirit is the root of all holiness; but the communication of the Spirit in the plenitude of His gracious, sanctifying, Christ-transforming influence, is the secret of an elevated tone of heavenly-mindedness. Would you repel some strong assault, or vanquish some powerful corruption, or throw off some clinging infirmity, and wander by the verdant banks and quiet waters of fellowship with the Father and with his Son Christ Jesus? O ask, and you shall receive, the fulness of the Spirit.

"To be spiritually-minded is life and peace." Such are the fruits of a plant so divine and heavenly. Spiritual-mindedness is "life." We fearlessly challenge every believer- What has been the effect in your soul of a low state of grace? What has been the effect of carnal indulgence- of allowed sin- of needless communion with the world- of conformity to its policy and its pleasures- of unruly temper- of a volatile disposition, yes, of any species of carnality whatever; has it not been "death?" When a process of spiritual relapse has been allowed to proceed stealthily and unchecked; when the world, and sin, and self have gained an ascendency, what has been the consequence?- "death!" The habit of prayer may not have been totally neglected, but there has been no communion with God- and so there has been death upon prayer. The Bible has not been entirely unread, but no light has beamed upon the sacred page- and so there has been death upon the Bible. The means of grace have not been utterly forsaken, but no grace has distilled from these channels- and so there has been death upon the means of grace. Thus a spiritual deathliness has crept over the soul, the effect and fruit of indulged and growing carnality. But "life" is the blessed effect of heavenly-mindedness. It is life springing from life, or rather the inner life in its outer actings. What spiritual mightiness, almost omnipotent, does he possess whose mind, and heart, and faculties are deeply immersed in the Spirit of Christ– closely allied to the divine and heavenly! As sin is weakness, so holiness is strength. As carnality impairs, so spirituality invigorates. The one deadens, the other vivifies. Close dealing with Essential Life increases the life of spirituality. Much communion with Jesus draws forth "life more abundantly." It is impossible to live a life of faith in the Son of God, constantly taking to his blood every sin, to his heart every care, to his sympathy every sorrow, to his grace every corruption, to his arm every burden, without being conscious of new life, of augmented power, of increased heavenliness. Inquire of the man of prayer, what is the effect in his soul of close, filial communion with God? Ask the reflective mind what is the effect upon his spirit of holy meditation? Ask the conscience much beneath the cross, what is the result of the constant sprinkling of the atoning blood? And, as with one voice, and with one utterance, each believer will answer- "LIFE!" O, there is an energizing influence in spirituality, a quickening of the spiritual life in heavenly-mindedness, which he only can understand, whose converse is much with things heavenly, much with God. There is life in prayer, life in the word, life in ordinances, life in the enjoyment of vital religion, which transmits the thrill of its deep pulsations through the whole soul. Nor life alone in these. But when the storm of adversity blows- when sore affliction comes- when the "noise of the water-spout" is heard, and the tossing waves and the foaming billows roll over the soul- when the shadow of death is settling upon all creature-good; then, even then, the spiritual mind panting after life exclaims, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me." "This is my comfort in my affliction: for Your word has quickened me." And what is all this but the pledge and the prelude of the glorious consummation and crown of all- the life that is to come, even life everlasting?
But not life alone; "peace" also is a fruit of spiritual-mindedness. What peace of conscience does that individual possess whose mind is stayed upon spiritual things! It is as much the reward as it is the effect of his cultivated heavenliness. The existence of this precious blessing, however, supposes the exposure of the spiritual mind to much that has a tendency to rule and disturb its equanimity and repose. The Christian is far from being entirely exempt from those chafings and disquietudes which seem inseparable from human life. To the brooding anxieties arising from external things- life's vicissitudes, mutations, and disappointments- there are added, what are peculiar to the child of God, the internal things that distract- the cloudings of guilt, the agitations of doubt, the corrodings of fear, the mourning of penitence, the discipline of love. But through all this there flows a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God. Coursing its way along the windings of a soul- often presenting to the eye the moral scenery of precipice and valley, undulating and wild, and all enshrouded in gloom, this peace of God diffuses a calmness, serenity, and sunlight over the spirit, creating in the heart an emotion and a melody more like the repose of the upper sanctuary, and the chimings of the heavenly Sabbath, than the feelings and music of earth. It is the peace of the heavenly mind, the peace which Jesus procured, which God imparts, and which the Holy Spirit seals. A heavenly mind soars above a poor dying world, living not upon a creature's love, or smile- casting its daily need upon the heart of a kind Providence- anxious for nothing, but with supplication and thanksgiving making known its requests unto God- indifferent to the turmoil, and vexations, and chequered scenes of worldly life, and living in simple faith and holy pleasing on Christ- thus detached from earth, and moving heavenwards by the attractions of its placid coast, it realizes a peace which passes all understanding. And if this be the present of the heavenly mind, what will be the future of the mind in heaven? Heaven is the abode of perfect peace. There are no cloudings of guilt, no tossings of grief, no agitations of fear, no corrodings of anxiety there. "There the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest." It is the peace of perfect purity- it is the repose of complete satisfaction. It is not so much the entire absence of all sorrow, as it is the actual presence of all holiness, that constitutes the charm and the bliss of future glory. The season of sorrow is frequently converted into that of secret joy- Christ making our very griefs to sung. But the occasion of sin is always that of bitter grief; our backslidings often, like scorpions, entwined around our hearts. Were there even- as most assuredly there will not be- sadness in heaven, there might still be the accompaniment of happiness; but were there sin in heaven- the shadow of a shade of guilt- it would becloud and embitter all. Thus, then, as heaven is the abode of perfect peace, he who on earth has his conversation most in heaven, approximates in his feelings the nearest to the heavenly state. His "peace shall be as a river, and his righteousness as the waves of the sea." O that our hearts were more yielding to the sweet, and holy, and powerful attractions of the heavenly world! Then would our conversation be more in heaven.
In conclusion. How great and exalted the heavenly calling of the Christian! Aim to walk worthy of it. Debase it not by allying it with a carnal mind. Impair not your spiritual life by enchaining it to spiritual death. Let the friendships which you cultivate, and the relationships of life which you form, be heavenly in their nature, and eternal in their duration. Seek to please God in all things. Rest not where you are, even though you may have attained beyond your fellows. Let your standard of heavenly-mindedness be not that of the saints, but of Christ. Study not a copy, but the Original. High aims will secure high attainments. He is the most heavenly, and the happiest, who the most closely resembles his Divine Master. Be much in your closet. There is no progress in spiritual-mindedness apart from much prayer; prayer is its nourishment, and its element. But leave not your religion there; let it accompany you into the world. While careful not to carry your business into your religion- thus secularizing and degrading it- be careful to carry your religion into your business– high integrity, holy principle, godly fear- thus imparting an elevation and sanctity to all its concerns. Be the man of God wherever you are. Let these solemn words be held in vivid remembrance- "I have created you for my glory. I have formed you for my praise. You are my witnesses, says the Lord." Heavenly-mindedness can only be maintained by the strictest vigilance. It is a delicate and fragile flower, susceptible of every variation of the spiritual atmosphere. Guard against that which checks its growth. Many are not aware how much frivolity of spirit, light conversation, foolish jesting, witticisms at the expense of Scripture-sanctity, novel reading, carnal music, unfit the heart for communion with God, and lessen the tone of its spirituality. Close communion with mere nominal religious professors is particularly to be avoided. Much more injury to spiritual-mindedness accrues from intimate friendship with such, than from those who assert no pretensions to a religious character. With the one we are apt to be less on our guard than the other. Avoid the world's amusements: they will eat as a canker into the very core of your spirituality. "Do not be conformed to this world," is a prohibition. "Our conversation is in heaven," is an exhortation which should never be absent from the eye of a traveler to the heavenly city. And why should not our conversation be in heaven? Are not its attractions many
and powerful? It is a holy place, and it is the place of the holy. There are the city of the living God, and the heavenly Jerusalem, and an innumerable company of angels, and the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and God the Judge of all, and the spirits of just men made perfect, and Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant. How rich is heaven! And there we, too, will shortly be. Why, then, should not our conversation be there? It will be recollected that when the high priest entered within the veil, bearing in his hands the blood of atonement and the smoking censer, the eyes of the congregation, who stood outside, followed him to the entrance as the curtain parted, and then veiled him from their gaze. And many a thrilling heart and trembling hope followed him within that holy place, its fervent sympathies clustering around him while he presented the offerings, and made intercession for the people. And many a longing eye intently and fondly watched for his return, when, with uplifted hands, he would bless the waiting congregation. Our great High Priest has passed within the veil. As our Advocate he fills heaven's high chancery. He loves us- remembers us- sympathizes with us- intercedes for us, and wears our names on his breast-plate and his ephod. And soon he will return in person to bless, with the first resurrection-glory, all those who "love his appearing." Oh! shall not our hearts be more where our most precious treasure is, and where our holiest and fondest hopes center, and where we ourselves shall shortly be? "What manner of people ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness," who are "looking for and hastening unto the Lord's coming?" "The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus." The Lord grant that you may increasingly experience, that "to be spiritually-minded is life and peace;" and that in order to attain to this blessed state, we must live upon the Lord Jesus- be filled with the Spirit- be often at God's confessional- and, taking up our cross daily, be pressing onward and upward, denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."