« הקודםהמשך »
with Christ, crucified with Christ, through the dark and gloomy cavern dead with Christ, risen together with of the tomb has changed it into none Christ, sitting together in heavenly other than the gate of heaven. It places with Christ, his life hid with was to thee the valley of death, but Christ in God, joined unto the Lord and to thy people it is the valley of the therefore one spirit, Christ dwelling in shadow of death only, for thou didst in him and he in Christ, the believer has thy conflict upon Calvary disarm the Christ ever with him. While a sense king of terrors, and by abolishing death and consciousness of his presence may rendered him powerless to injure who be withheld altogether, or but par- by Apostacy was possessed of his power. tially manifested, or occasionally lost, And now he is left with crippled his presence does go with his willing powers, though with undiminished people, and whatever joys they have hate; and only capable of raising a originate here. This then is one hideous phantasm to terrify those ground of confidence to the believer, feeble, doubting, faithless ones, who that the good shepherd is ever with will not realise and appropriate as him, when he passeth through the waters they ought the greatness and perfecof trouble and journeys through the tion of thy triumphs. valley of death. What terrified Adam, Secondly, “thy rod and thy staff, when he heard the voice or word of they comfort me. If these are to be the Lord walking toward him, was, distinguished, they mean, I think, the that God should be with him; and his word and spirit of God; the promises presence is in like manner, and for a of Christ, and the power which aplike cause, hated and avoided by his plies them. If we view them as a unrenewed children now; but it is sweet reduplication, then are they unto the sheep of Christ their delight blessed truths of Jesus; in which case, and joy and rest, to know that the former clause,
Thou art with me,” the fold which encloses them is may be viewed as the general promise watched by a never slumbering eye, assuring us of the perpetual compathat the arms which encircle them, nionship of Jesus by his Spirit, and when burdened and weary, are those the latter a specification of especial of omnipotent love, and that though blessings connected with it, under to try their faith Jesus may apparently the figurative emblems descriptive withdraw himself, it is only like the of their character, as the title of the withdrawings of the sun in a cloudy Good Shepherd suggests. But inday, hid for amoment, but still warming terpret them as we will, the grounds and vivifying all things, and soon to of confidence are still Christ's word burst forth upon the world in all his and Christ's spirit, and he who rests brightness. Thou art with me, saith upon them never can be moved. Whatthe believer, and with such a com- ever use the Shepherd's rod and staff panion, guide, counsellor, protector, are put to, in numbering the sheep, in I care not where I go. 'Tis impossible guiding them to pasturage, in driving for me to traverse any path of sorrow away invading enemies, in urging foruntrodden and unsanctified by thy ward the reluctant, in reclaiming.wansteps. Thou hast slept in the grave; derers, such are the Word and the and thy sleep has robbed it of its vic- Spirit, or rather the Word in the Spitory; thou, by dying, hast extracted rit’s hand, to his believing people. The from death its sting. Thy sorrows Lord give us to hear the Shepherd's have turned our afflictions into causes voice, and yield obedient homage of rejoicing, and thy painful passage to his word-enable us by simple faith
to make the Psalmist's ground of con- the valley of the shadow of death fidence our own: and then shall God to you. Repent and believe the Gosbe with us, our very present help in pel, lest your iniquity prove your ruin. time of trouble; then shall we walk in To inconsistent Christians, David's security along the path, which is language speaks with equal, if not fenced on either side, so as effectually more awful, severity. The formalto prevent the pilgrim's harm; and ist, the Pharisee, built up in his fanwere it not for his own unbelief, the cied security, may say, “I fear no pilgrim's fears—that path of obedience evil,” without emotion, while the poor which Jesus trod and has marked out contrite penitent with trembling acfor us, having left us an example that cents, belying his own words, utters we should follow his steps that path them—but oh, what an overthrow which leadeth unto glory, not without of his pretensions—what a disappointsuffering—that path along which those ment to his hopes will that day bring, washed in atoning blood, and covered when death shall come and scatter to the with ajustifying righteousness, do walk, winds his ill-boded and ill-constructed though sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, fabric. To the timid of Christ's flock, fearing always, yet with the perfect ! what encouragement does our text aflove which casteth out fear, having ford, and to all what wise counsel ! nothing, yet possessing all things, see- Amid the temptations to fear, hear Him ing that God has said, we believe it, and who saith, “ Fear not, little flock, it “Whether it be the world, or life, or is your Father's good pleasure to give death, or things present, or things to you the kingdom :” and amidst all come, all are yours.”
temptations to worldliness and sloth, And now to conclude. To those remember that his presence is only whose consciences accuse them of un- comforting to those who walk humbly belief, impenitence and worldliness, our and closely with God. Be not then subject speaks in the language of fear- faithless, but believing ; yea, be diliful admonition and severe rebuke. To gent and watchful, and the chief you the object contemplated presents Shepherd will never leave you nor fornot imaginary but real terrors, sub- sake you, and when he appears ye stantial horrors beyond conception. shall receive a crown of glory that The valley of death will never prove fadeth not away.
DELIVERED BY THE REV. C. SIMEON, AT ST. MARY'S, ISLINGTON, MARCH 2, 1831, FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE SOCIETY FOR THE
PROMOTION OF CHRISTIANITY AMONG THE JEWS.
Ezekiel, xxxvi. 24—28.—" Por I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you
out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols wiú i cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers ; and ye shall be my people, and I will
be your God.”
When I lately addressed you, I put it again in another very peculiar point to you Christianity in a peculiar point of view. You are apt, as all people of view as a remedy. I will now put | are, to consider Christianity as a
system of duties and restraints ; but I | Secondly, consider it as applicable to will give a true view of it—it is a mine the church of God in all ages. of inexhaustible promises. I do not FIRST OF ALL, AS DELIVERED IMmean to say that it does not also con- MEDIATELY TO THE Jews. Has this tain precepts; for, beyond all possibi- ever been fulfilled? It had some little lity of doubt, it does require us to de- fulfilment at the deliverance of the dicate ourselves wholly and unre- Jews from Babylon ; but its fulfilment servedly to the Lord. But here is the
was then partial indeed. Look at point-there is not any one thing which these promises, and see whether they Christianity requires of us, which it were fulfilled to the Jews. Besides, does not promise at the same time to it is said, “ I will take you from among bestow.
the heathen, and gather you out of all Go no further than the text. It is countries, and will bring you into your addressed to the Jews primarily, as own land”—and then, I will do so and you see both in the first and last verses We must, therefore, look to the of the text. But this has been over- accomplishment of this promise to the looked. Christians have felt the rich- Jews at a future period. The Jews, ness of the promises, and what have beyond all doubt, are destined to be they done? You may hear this pas- restored to their own land. I say, sage quoted; for every minister who beyond all doubt, because I must conis much in earnest in preaching salva- fess that language has no sense at all tion by Christ, does bring forward if this be not true. these words; but perhaps you may go How they are to be restored, wheinto ten thousand different places and ther in a converted state or in an unhear the intermediate words read, and converted state, I will not absolutely never hear in their true connection say ; yet methinks I will say. In the the beginning and end of my text. book of Deuteronomy we are told, that The fact is this, my brethren, you will they shall first of all be awakened, see at the head of my text, “I will and then be restored. It is said in the take you from among the heathen, thirtieth of Deuteronomy, “ And it and will gather you out of all coun- shall come to pass when thou shalt tries, and will bring you into your return to the Lord thy God, and shalt own land.”
You will see at the foot obey his voice according to all that I of my text, “ And ye shall dwell in command thee this day; then the the land that I gave to your fathers;” LORD thy God will turn thy captivity but we have cut off the head and the and have compassion upon thee, and feet, and appropriated to ourselves ex- will return and gather thee from all clusively the whole body. That is the the nations whither the LORD thy way in which we have treated the God hath scattered thee.” Jews.
perceive their conversion is represented But observe whilst I say it belongs as preceding their return. The proto the Jews primarily, no doubt it phet Jeremiah represents it as taking belongs to us all, as I shall have oc- place during the return, when he says, casion to show you. It is, in fact, a “Behold I will bring them from the part of the new covenant; and all north country, and gather them from who embrace the new covenant are the coasts of the earth, and with them entitled to these promises. But, again, the blind and the lame, the woman I must say, they belong to the Jews with child and her that travaileth with primarily; and therefore I will, First child together : a great company shall of all, open the passage as delivered return thither. They shall come with more immediately to the Jews; and weeping, and with supplications will
I lead them: I will cause them to a religion of deep benevolence, it is walk by the rivers of waters in a surprising, that when such promises as straight way wherein they shall not these should be made to God's ancient stumble : for I am a father to Israel, people, we should altogether overlook and Ephriam is my first-born." There that circumstance, taking no interest the words “ weeping and supplica- in their spiritual welfare any more than tions” denote in a considerable de- if there were no such people on the gree the converted state, or at least, a face of the whole earth, and alienating state of deep serious religion. But, in from them the promises, and taking my text you find, their conversion is them exclusively to ourselves. This subsequent. “I will take you from is the more remarkable, because you among the heathen, and gather you will find in the Scriptures that almost out of all countries, and will bring you invariably where their return is meninto your own land. Then will I tioned, their conversion to God is mensprinkle clean water upon you.” Now tioned together with it very specially, in one part it is said to precede, in only I will not stop now to point out the another to accompany, and in another passages where the very words of my to follow the return, but is there any text are applied to them again and difference in this? They are all true, again in this connection. But whether they all refer to the different periods we neglect it or not, God will fulfil it of their conversion, in its commence- -God will fulfil these promises to ment, its progress, and its consumma- them, sanctifying them wholly to himtion. Some may be converted at one self, and making them, as in the days time, some at another; and this is the of old, his own peculiar people. way, I conceive, in which they will be Look into the New Testament and restored.
you shall see on the day of Pentecost But whatever is determined with the Holy Spirit was poured out on respect to this their future restoration, them, but it was expressly declared which in one way or other I consider “That the Holy Spirit should be given absolutely certain, yet I have nothing to them and their children, and unto to do with that; it is the conversion of all that were afar off, even as many as their souls that I propose to commend the LORD our God should call.” So to you at this time? it is that about that their children to the very end of which I would earnestly interest you, time are to be interested in this profor that beyond all possibility of doubt mise, and God is ready to pour out is declared in the text. Let persons his Holy Spirit upon them the very think what they may about the resto moment he sees in one of them a deration to their own land, which I say sire to receive it. There is in my text, again I lay no stress upon, I merely in fact, a reference to the consecration give you my opinion respecting it; but of their priests and Levites in the days their turning unto God is absolutely of old ; and exactly as they were concertain. And now it is surprising how secrated to Jehovah in the service of the Christian world have overlooked the sanctuary, so it is here promised this passage as applied to them. As that his ancient people shall be brought I have told you before, you may hear back again, and all of them conseit quoted in sermons hundreds of times, crated to God in the same way. In the and never hear it in its true and proper book of Numbers it is thus stated, connection-as connected with the “ Take the Levites from among the first and last verses of the text. Now children of Israel, and cleanse them. I cannot but say that this is very sur-And thus shalt thou do unto them prising, considering that Christianity is to cleanse them : sprinkle water of
purifying upon them, and let them that this is expressly declared. “This shave all their flesh, and let them wash is the covenant that I will make with their clothes, and so make themselves the house of Israel after those days, clean. Then let them take a young saith the Lord : I will put my laws bullock with his meat-offering, even into their minds and write them in their fine flour mingled with oil, and another hearts : and I will be to them a God, young bullock shalt thou take for a sin and they shall be to me a people.” offering.” And again, “The Levites There you see the very promise in my shall lay their hands upon the heads text constitutes a part of that new coof the bullocks : and thou shalt offer venant, which they and all the believone for a sin offering, and the other ing seed of Abraham shall enjoy, if for a burnt offering unto the Lord to they embrace it. Then I make an atonement for the Levites.” hesitation that this promise belongs to Now just in reference to that it is said, us, and God at this very moment pro“I will sprinkle clean water upon you, mises to us his Holy Spirit, to cleanse and ye shall be clean : from all your us from our guilt, to renew our hearts, filthiness, and from all your idols will and to sanctify our lives. I cleanse you.” And in the prophet First of all, to cleanse us from our Isaiah he says, “I will take them for guilt. “I will sprinkle clean water priests and for Levites."
upon you, and ye shall be clean : You perceive then, that this is de- from all your filthiness, and from all termined by Jehovah to bring them your idols will I cleanse you.” It is back to himself through the influence true that, primarily, it is the office of the of his Holy Spirit. He has now called Lord Jesus to cleanse us from the guilt them by the name of Ox_xs be- of sin in the fountain of his own precause they are cast off from God, but cious blood, but it is also the office of the will be recognized under the the Holy Spirit ; because it is the name of x 12 for they shall be Spirit which reveals Christ to us—it again the Lord's future people. Now is the Spirit that enables us to emit is true that the Jews themselves brace him—it is the Spirit which gives overlook all these things. They are us faith in the Lord Jesus, and it is occupied solely with the idea of the said that he sanctifies our heart by temporal kingdom which the Lord will faith : and the truth is, that when we establish, and which I doubt not he preach the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy will establish, they are occupied with Spirit does then descend upon the that and look only at the temporal ag- people, to apply to them all the blessgrandizement of their nation, instead ings of salvation. In the Acts of the of looking for the spiritual privileges Apostles you will see this more parthey are to enjoy. But we are not to ticularly set forth. It is said, “To overlook these promises. We should him gave all the Prophets witness, that see the true import of them, and should through his name whosoever believeth anticipate with holy delight the resto- in him shall receive remission of sins." ration of that people to a state of piety, Now observe, “While Peter yet spake such as animated their fathers of old. these words, the Holy Ghost fell on Let this suffice for the application of it all of them which heard the word.” to the Jews.
So that the Holy Spirit applies this Now let me open it to you as truth to our souls; and, therefore, it APPLICABLE TO THE CHURCH OF GOD is said of our Lord, that "he cleanses
I told you that this his church with the washing of water refers to the new covenant; and you by the word, that he may present it will find in the epistle to the Hebrews to himself a glorious church not hav.
IN ALL AGES.