תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

spiritual things with spiritual.” That would be comparing teaching with tendency. Only this week I read a paper in a periodical about the tendency of the doctrines which we hold dear, and the writer, knowing nothing of God, casts them forth as having very vile tendencies, and among those tendencies (agreeing with the common "Hue and Cry” that the doctrine of grace leads to licentiousness), was this novel one, that the doctrine of the atonement spoken of as Christ spoke of it, “I lay down my life for the sheep,” discourages and destroys the hope of an awakened sinner. I could not help exclaiming, “Famous logic this, to be sure." I think I had learned a little before, and I shall be fully prepared to prove it, that the teaching and the tendency would bear comparison when the teaching is in accordance with the Word of God. For we find that the proclamations, such as I have made to you this morning, of the certainties attached to every department of the scheme of grace, meet the sinner in his lowest condition, that they meet him in the consciousness of his own inability; and when he finds out that he is nothing, that he has nothing, and can do nothing, the doctrine I have been stating of the things which are freely given at once meets his case, and he says, ** I need do nothing, for the Saviour has done all for me. I have only to accept, to receive, and appropriate, and those principles which I receive and appropriate will bring forth fruits unto righteousness.” I know that it is said by the advocates of the doctrine of contingencies, and overtures, and universal redemption, that we cannot exhort men to repent and pray. And what is the use of exhorting dead men to perform living works? We will do as the apostle did, preaching repentance unto life and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. But as to exhorting a man who has no faith to put it forward, this seems to be tantalizing his misery, mocking his ruin, and dishonouring God. When we set forth the great doctrine of the atonement as complete and perfect, and read the sacred declaration, “ I lay down my life for the sheep," and follow with the description, “ They hear my voice and know it,” and then the sacred announcement, "I will give them eternal life, and they shall never perish," the poor distressed soul sees his way open immediately, and he says, “I have heard His voice. I am waiting for His word of pardon. Surely I am one of His sheep, and if so I can never perish, for He says He will give me everlasting life.” Does not this show that the teaching and tendency agree? Moreover, when the teaching is according to the apostle's standard as represented to Titus, when he says, “The grace of God that bringeth salvation (not offers it) hath appeared unto all men” “in its public pro clamation;" it teaches us that the salvation of the ruined sinner is God's own gift, and it teaches us who have received it to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present evil world."

What think you, then, of the tendency, when you compare spiritual things with spiritual? I give the challenge to all the divines in Christendom, that, if they can bring me a few isolated cases of disreputable and ungodly professors who hold this doctrine but have the grace of God only in their heads and not in their hearts, I will bring ten instances for one of disreputable and ungodly pro fessors from among men who hold the contrary doctrine ; proving that when they compare spiritual things with spiritual and the tendency of Divine teaching, they will find that the most blessed fruits are brought from the principles of the everlasting gospel, when clearly exhibited and rightly appropriated. May the eternal God fasten these things on your hearts, and give you the holy habit of comparing spiritual things with spiritual, and His name shall have all the glory. Amen.

HYMN REFERRED TO IN THE DISCOURSE,

Being No. 122 of Zion's Hymns.

“HAVE YE RECEIVED THE Holy Ghost ?"-Acts xix. 2.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][graphic][subsumed][graphic][merged small][merged small]

A Discourse, Delivered in Grove Chapel, Camberwell, Sunday Morning, June 18, 1848,

BY THE REV. JOSEPH IRONS.

" Whom having not seen ye love ; in whom, though now you see Him not,

yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.—1

Peter i. 8. It was with the sweet expression which closes the verse I have now read, that my gracious Master awoke me at an early hour the other morning. Another instance of His giving me the third edition of His word. I was scarcely conscious of being awake before it thrilled through my soul with delight, “joy, unspeakable, and full of glory;" What is it? “Joy unspeakable, and full of glory?" There may be sorrows before me during the day. There may be trials before me within the hour. There may be conflicts, cares, burdens, for me to encounter before the evening shade draws on. But what of all this if I am in possession of "joy unspeakable, and full of glory”—if He wake me morning by morning to hear His blessed, precious voice in such accents as these? Contrasting this with what constitutes the great bulk of profession, I cannot conceive of wider extremes; for in the great bulk of profession we witness little else, even where we can hope there is some spiritual life, than sighs and groans, painful forebodings, unbelieving apprehensions, misgivings, unfounded dependance upon creature doings or creature attainments, living in the bondage of self; and consequently the poor—I may say awakened sinner, that is left to such a state of mind is passing on through the wilderness, it may be towards eternal salvation ; but just as our good folks in the parish buildings admit, "tied and bound with the chain of their sins." My soul desires more of that Christianity that will not allow me to wear any chain but the chain of eternal love; and in all its links I witness the close connexion and indissoluble union of all the doctrines of grace,

Published in Weekly Numbers, ld., and Monthly Parts, price 3d. D

and all the privileges of the gospel, all the promises in the Word, and all the glories that shall be revealed. That chain I wish to wear about my neck as long as I live, though it is commonly dubbed an Antinomian chain. But I do not mind that; and I shall wear it to all eternity. If you would know its real blessedness, my text tells you that it is “joy unspeakable, and full of glory.” But mark the connexion, for we must pay attention to the whole verse this morning, though this was the first thought that fastened itself on my attention. “ Whom having not seen, ye love." Is this true with regard to each of you? True, you have not seen Him with your bodily eyes. True, the heavens received Him out of our sight before we were born. True is it also, concerning those elect strangers to whom Peter, by the Holy Spirit, was writing, that they had not a view of Him on earth with their bodily eyes; and yet they were congratulated by the apostle that they loved Him. My hearers, bear in mind that love to Jesus is the grand principle of all vital godliness. Self-love may be afraid of going to hell ; self-love may desire something like heaven for the sake of escaping the "s wrath to come

ne;" but it is love to Jesus that is the constitution of the new man-it is love to Jesus that constitutes all that is worth the name of vital godliness. Then, after this assertion of love to Jesus, my text records the life of faith. Though you do not see Him, ye believe. Ye believe in Him, and this belief leads to the lasting joys of which my text speaks.

I.-But let us first glance at the affection here asserted; " ye love Him." You will remember reading in the oracles of God that if 'any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed with a curse, accursed at the coming of the Lord. So there is only this one step between the eternal curse and everlasting blessedness. The soul that loves not our Lord Jesus Christ is under the curse, and will receive its vengeance at His coming; whilst the soul that is taught of, and enabled to love our Lord Jesus Christ, is blessed from on high with his own life and nature, and with his own love “shed abroad in the heart," reflected back upon himself.

Let us examine this matter a little closer, because I shall not dare exhort you to the cherishing of your joy, if it be not founded in love to Jesus; and therefore we shall dwell on this first of all. I presume that a few familiar illustrations may make this plain : as, for instance, if you love any fellow-mortal, any endeared friend, any relative, or minister, it would follow as a matter of course that you would take great pleasure in honouring Him in His very name, and be very indignant if He were treated the reverse by others. Now let us just try your love to Jesus by this criterion. If you really are to be congratulated, in the language of my text, “ye love Him," I beseech you let your consciences bear witness to the extent to which you are honouring Him in His person and His name. Looking through the precious statements of the New Testament, I find this two-fold one presenting itself to my view in brilliant colours. As to His person, Jehovah has given in record that it His will that all men should honour the Soneven as they honour the Father, and he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father, who sent Him. I wish, therefore, to investigate it this morning, or that you should investigate it for yourselves. Are you honouring this precious Christ of God with all the honour that you would give to God the Father? Are you adoring Him as truly and properly God, the self-existent Jehovah ? Are you adoring Him with the same honours that you would bring to the united Deity-Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ?' I cannot admit that you have an atom of love towards Him if you have any idea of the inferiority of His person. If you have any idea that in His glorious personality as the eternal Son there can be any inferiority, you have no love to Him at all. I am ready to admit the passage which some will cite, as if to contradict this, "My Father is greater than I.” True, they are His own words. But what did that mean? Greater whilst He was in His humiliation-greater than His bright and created manhood-greater than one in His state of abasement, engaged in doing the work that was necessary for the salvation of the Church. But as to His eternal self-existence, I hear Him assert, “I and my Father are one." And bear with me when I say that that man has no more Christianity in him than has the Prince of Darkness, who does not honour Christ as the true, proper, selfexistent Son of God-God the Son. I must begin with this, for it lies at the foundation of our Christianity. I would just as soon be a Pagan, a Mahomedan, a Jew, as be called a Christian, if I could not honour Jesus as Jehovah—if I could not honour Him with the highest honours a poor worm is capable of presenting to God the Father; for “he that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father that sent Him."

Allow me to turn your attention for a moment to a notable instance in which His name is honoured. You will find it in the third chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, when, in the very opening of their commission, after the Lord had ascended into glory, Peter and John are sent to the door of the temple to work a miracle, and to heal the poor cripple who had long lain there in misery and debility. “And Peter took him by the right hand, and lifted him up; and immediately his feet and ancle bones received strength. And he, leaping up, stood and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.” Now all this could not but make a great stir, and the people were, as it is said, “ filled with wonder and amazement,” and “ran together unto the porch that is called Solomon's," as if they would give great honour to the apostles; but Peter would not have it; nor will any man, sent of God, receive the honours which properly belong to God only. And therefore Peter begins to bear testimony to this just and this precious Christ of God whom they had killed, and God had raised up, and said, “ It is His name, through faith in His name, hath made this man strong." Now that just shows you how the Father honours His person. “His name." How Peter must have loved Him in the face of those who were the murderers of Christ, and who, for aught Peter knew to the contrary, might be his murderers also the next minute. “ His name, through faith in His name !" See how he harps upon it. “His name, through faith in His name, hath made this man strong.” “Yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all." Here, then, I find Jehovah Himself honouring the Son, because He loved Him, and inclining the hearts of His apostles to honour His dear name, because they loved it. And I draw this inference therefrom, that if you love Áim, you are accustomed to honour His name and His person, and to glorify Him in His own essential right and eternal self-existence in giving Him the name "above every name that is named in heaven and on earth.” Advance a step further, and if

« הקודםהמשך »