« הקודםהמשך »
hour. The question mustever be brought then spoken of the people before the before the visible church of Christ, food, but it is precisely line for line and the Apostle tells us this ; "if ye and feature for feature in us at the then be risen with Christ; if ye be present moment, in every one in a among the blessed number, then seek state of nature. Now, in the sixth of those things which are above." In Genesis, you see what a horrible pit, which I cannot but think that the what a dreadful grave is the iniquity Apostle's argument seems to run in of man's nature. “ And God saw that this way—“Since our Lord has now the wickedness of man was great in the ascended-he did not tarry long earth”-He saw the act of sin—but -he had soon seen enough of earth then he saw, that this stream came from -he is now at the right hand of God a poisoned fountain—"God not only when he finished his work he went saw that the wickedness of man was to his Father ; do ye not, then, set great in the earth, but he saw, that your affections upon a poor dying every imagination of the thoughts of world—it did not satisfy him—the his heart was only evil continually ;” moment he finished the work he want. And yet we are perpetually heared to be away--the moment that he had ing men talk about the goodness done that which the LORD gave him of man's heart. The LORD could to do, he wanted not to sojourn longer; see no goodness.
I think it is one and, if it be so, then do ye set your af- of the most wonderful passages in the affections on things above."
Word. Observe, it is not only the May the Holy Ghost graciously lead thoughts, but it is the imagination of us in the midst of all our ignorance, the thoughts—not only the thing in the midst of all our short-sighted- formed in the mind, but the very imaness, may he lead us to some holy and gination, yea, every imagination-and profitable views of this most import- that not only of his intellect but of his ant portion of his sacred word, “If heart—and that not only evil but, only ye then be risen with Christ, seek evil, evil continually. How easy it is for those things which are above, where a man to take up the Bible and say, I Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. believe it. But do you believe thoughtSet your affections on things above, less, careless sinner who hearest me, not on things on the earth.” The or thou who art trusting in thy self. First point that presents itself is this, righteousness to save thee, dost thou that the believer in Christ is one that believe that every imagination of the has been raised from the dead. Se- thoughts of thine heart is only evil, condly, as such, he is exhorted to seek and that continually? Never dost and set his affections on things above, thou believe it. If thou didst believe and not on things on the earth. it, if that was brought within the Thirdly, the great motive that is laid reach of thy conscience, thou wouldst before him is this Christ is at the at this moment stand before God, and right hand of God and sitting there. say,
“ God be merciful to me a sinner." THE BELIEVER
But not only is that grave to be
looked at—there is another graveonce in the grave—the grave of his there is the grave of our actual enmity. iniquities. He was dead in the ini. Look at that first of Colossians, “And quity of his nature. I cannot but you that were sometimes alienated, refer you to that affecting descrip- and enemies”—enemies to whom : tion of our nature, which is the same enemies to God. My dear hearers, now as it ever was, though it was what a thing is it to be an enemy
ONE THAT IS
RAISED FROM THE DEAD.
to the best of beings; nay, an ene- ruption has done for us. We are placed my to Him who is the only good, by sin lower than the beasts that perfectly good being. For what said perish! May every thoughtless, careour Lord? “Why callest thou me less sinner who hears me, be made to good? There is none good but one, feel that truth in his conscience this that is God.” As if he had said, All day. We lament that we have so the goodness of my human nature I much in common with lost spirits, derive from God I have but a deri- with devils ; and yet be it known to vative goodness as man—I take that you, that preached as the Gospel is from God-why dost thou call me within these walls (I trust so), the good ? there is but one who is infinitely name of Jesus Christ listed up-reand perfectly good, and that is God. mission by his blood-the God that
My dear hearers, God is so good gave his own Son to die for the unthat there is nothing good out of him; godly—and that God proclaimed-the and all the goodness of his creatures man that goeth away and liveth in his is but a little drop out of himself. We sins is guilty of a sin that the devil meet with kindness—we meet with himself committeth not, and he placeth tenderness—we meet with sympa- himself below the very lost spirits themthy-we meet with affection-we selves. Oh, what an awful truth is meet with compassion; we find the this ! Let it be weighed well and saints of God praying when looked into. Yes, beloved, we are in is brought low—when one is tried- our natural state enemies to God. when one is placed in the furnace- But grace brings the dead soul out when one seems ready to be burnt up of its tomb. Think not of finding ma-we find the saints of God sympa- terials in man's fallen nature. It is thizing with one, bearing one upon the mighty fiat of God—his sovereign, their hearts, yet all their kindness is electing love that does and nothing but a little drop out of the inexhaustible short of it. It is the same mighty
Their little spark does but word that said, “ Let Lazarus come come out of the ocean of fire. It is forth,” that has made you, poor sinbut God's goodness that he has com- ners, come and bend before the cross municated to them-it is but his kind of Christ. It was the same God that ness that he has put into their hearts said, “Let there be light, and there was -it is but the overflowings of their light,” that has brought you to repentcompassion that they feel ; and if they ance, and made you to walk in newness
we weep, and if they of life. Look back on the past of your mourn when we mourn, it is but the existence-look back on the days that compassion of God communicated unto
are gone-see if you can trace aught them by his blessed Spirit.
of cause of God's love in yourselves ! All that is good in the creature is of Away with the tinsel-away with that God; and there is but one that is per- which passes current with God's fectly good, and that is God himself; saints, because they cannot look beand yet the heart of man is enmity to neath the surface—but when you and God. What an awful thought! There I come and turn beneath the surfaceis something deeply humiliating in our when we come in and commune with having so much in common with the God in our chambers and are stillbeasts that perish ; but they are above when we look in upon motives and us--no beast hateth God. See what principles and practices, then, I would sin has done for us—see what ini- ask why was it that you and I have not quity has done for ussee what cor- been permitted to remain still in that
grave of iniquity? Because the eter- | hibition in a somewhat wider circle nal God did say,
Lazarus, come than this, and say, set not your affecforth.” “Let there be light, and tions on any thing on the earth. Your there was light.” Oh, let God have dearest comforts, vehicles, as the the glory-let God have the praise LORD may make them, of spiritual due to him—glorify him in your souls ; comfort, they are frail, they are vain, and if any one of you have been led to they are perishable, they are not quarrel with this most holy, precious, Christ. I do believe that there was sanctifying truth, may the axe be laid in the mind of the Apostle when he at the root of that pride, which would told them, “To set their affectious bring down to your reasoning-bar the on things above, not on things on Judge Eternal, and make you a com- earth,” a tender prohibition to settle petent witness concerning his mo- not down on any creature, on any tives. God Almighty grant that we thing short of Christ himself—to set may never cease to feel the eternal not the affections upon any perishable debt of gratitude we owe to him, who materials, even if they be made the calls things that are not as if they were. vehicles of communicating spiritual
There is a resurrection, a spiritual mercies to the soul. Pained have I resurrection; and when it is said, “ If sometimes been to hear the extravaye then be risen with Christ,” I would gancy of some in speaking of the mimerely remind you of what I have be- nisters of Christ. I believe one way fore spoken, that the church, in conse- for continuing our mercies, is to hold quence of the resurrection of our dear them loosely. The Apostle warns us Lord, are made in time partakers of against setting our affections on them, the spiritual resurrection by the mighty and that precept which he has embopouring forth of the Eternal Spirit died in his own words, may God eminto their hearts. Happy they, amongst body in our hearts. those that hear me, that are made to But not only is there a prohibition, feel the movement of inward life draw- there is an exhortation.
The exing them from themselves to Christ, hortation, observe, consists in seeking and from the world unto God.
and in setting our affections upon But now observe, Secondly, the things above. There is an intensePRECEPT. “ If ye then be risen with ness in the passage—there is not only Christ, seek those things which are a force, but there is an intenseness of above. Set your affections on things expression in it.
It reminds me above, not on things on the earth.” of the words of our dear Lord, ask The precept must be looked at in a -seek_knock. A man may ask and double point of view. There is a not seek—a man may seek and not prohibition—there is an exhortation. knock—a man may seek a thing, and
The prohibition is, “Set not your yet not set his affections on the thing. affections on things on the earth.” But the exhortation here is, seek and “Love not the world, neither the set your affections on things above. things that are in the world. For all Happy they who not only seek the that is in the world, the lust of the LORD for good things, but who seek flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the him with such an importunity of depride of life, is not of the Father, but sire, that they can say with Jacob, is of the world. And the world passeth “I will not let thee go, except thou away and the lust thereof; but he that bless me—the time I leave with thee doeth the will of God abideth for thou mayst answer me by contraries ever.” I shall, however, take the pro--the mode I leave with thee, thou
mayst meet me with a rough wind heart to understanding: yea, if thou when I expect the gentle breath of criest after knowledge, and liftest up evening, but that I leave with thee, thy voice for understanding : if thou only Lord I cannot leave thee without seekest her as silver, and searchest for the blessing.”
her as hid treasures”-digging into It is one thing, beloved, to seek the the mine after it—toiling-labouring. Lord, and another thing to set our Oh, for a laborious, prayerful reader affections upon the thing that we seek. of God's word! you do not find it The Lord is not displeased with our every where. Oh, for a man to dig, importunity. I believe He is often dis- as, if it were, to find silver, praying pleased with our heartless seeking and looking upward-looking into There is too great a proneness in us to God's word for the heart of God, and rest in the seeking. May the Lord there led to open his heart to God, stir us up to seek the things that then, do we find the word a blessing, are above, and seek that we may find, and not till then. “If thou seekest to knock that it may be opened unto her as silver, and searchest for her as
for hid treasures : then shalt thou unLet me call your attention to three derstand the fear of the LORD; and find or four portions of Scripture on this the knowledge of God." My dear most interesting point; for I suppose hearers, turn to the Song of Solo. most of us, ala3! know the way to the man. * By night on my bed I sought bed of the sluggard. Let me remind him whom my soul loveth ; I sought you of the forty-second psalm. Happy him, but I found him not. I will rise they amongst those who hear me, that now, and go about the city in the are enabled to find an echo in their streets, and in the broad ways I will hearts to the words of the Psalmist. seek him whom my soul loveth: I “As the hart panteth after the water- sought him, but I found him not." brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, She did not say, “Then the Lord has O God. My soul thirsteth for God, decreed I should not find him”- but for the living God: when shall I come she said to the watchmen who go and appear before God.” “One thing about the city, “Saw ye him whom have I desired,” said the Psalmist, my soul loveth? It was but a little “and that will I seek after." I will that I passed from them, but I found not merely desire it, but I will seek him whom my soul loveth.” And after it. Look into the second of Pro- again, the very same truth in the verbs and see how great a stress is laid fifth chapter—"I sleep but my heart by the Eternal Spirit on this very waketh : it is the voice of my beloved point. My son, if thou wilt receive that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my my words, and hide my command sister, my love, my dove, my undefil. ments with thee ; so that thou incline ed, for my head is filled with dew, and thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thy my locks with the drops of the night."
(To be continued.)
London: Published for the Proprietors, by T. GRIFFITHS, Wellington Street, Strand;
and Sold by all Booksellers in Town and Country. Printed by Lowndes and White, Crane Court, Fleet Street.
SERMON BY THE REV. J. H. EVANS.
THURSDAY, APRIL 21, 1831.
(The Rev. J. H. Evans's Sermon concluded.) She answers, “I have put off my | resting in ordinances, never resting in coat, how shall I put it on ? I have means—I cannot rest till I find theewashed my feet, how shall I defile thyself can alone satisfy. It is not them? My beloved put in his hand mere prayer will do for me, I want by the hole of the door, and my bowels God in prayer—it is not praises that were moved for him. I rose up to will satisfy me, I want God in praises open to my beloved, and my hands-it is not this book that will satisfy dropped with myrrh, and my fingers me, I want God in this book. Happy, with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the happy they who are led to experience handles of the lock. I opened to my this in ever so small a degree! I beloved, but my beloved had with- should say thy lot is mercy.
The drawn himself and was gone: my soul dealings of thy God have been the failed me when he spake : I sought tenderest dealings to thy soul, and thou him, but I could not find him ; I called hast cause to bless him for it, with a him, but he gave me no answer. I joy that is unspeakable and full of charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, glory. if you find my beloved, that ye tell Let me refer to one passage more. him, that I am sick of love." Then Phil. ii. 7–11. If I could point out observe in the next chapter, “ Whi- one instance more strong than another ther is thy beloved gone, oh thou of a man's toiling diligently, painfully, fairest among women? Whither is laboriously, up the steep ascent of the thy beloved turned aside ? that we divine journey, I should point to this may seek him with thee. My be- chapter. Oh that blessed setting his loved is gone down into his garden,” affections on things above-counting that is, as I conceive, gone into his all things but loss for the excellency blessed promises—and then she says, of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, his
I am my beloved's, and my beloved Lord! This was the starting pointis mine."
the Lord Jesus had revealed himselfOh, happy souls, who are thus he had disclosed his work-he had amongst those that hear me, I should disclosed himself-he had put his say happy if the Lord laid his heaviest hands through the hole of the lockhand upon them, for his heaviest hand his fingers had dropped with myrrh. is but love! Let him speak where he Paul had seen his beauty—he had will-when he will—by what means been brought to taste his love, but he will, if the heart is but led to that that made him so far from being satisposture I will seek my beloved ; and fied with short wretched attainments if I find him not, I will seek still, never (and compared with his, what are