« הקודםהמשך »
humility and benevolence, it leaves no room for irritation, or bitterness. Man, having lost the spiritual knowledge of God, is ever prone to make too much of forms; and the same is true of mere opinions also in various instances. If you understand the gospel more perfectly than others, let this render
you more humble and thankful, and not prove an occasion of self-exaltation. “For who maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive ? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it ?"* And "who hath despised the day of small things?”+ O, remember, and regard with compassion the innumerable weaklings of the flock, whose eyes are just now opening, or who see imperfectly, or who are burdened, or lame, and proceed heavily : these the Good Shepherd would have us bring gently forward, and teach them gradually the things which belong to their peace, as they are able to bear them. Let us then imitate his conduct, who will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax till he send forth judgment unto victory. I
Though you may not be able to remove the barriers to love and unity which others have set up, you may possibly do something to weaken them, and to diminish their blighting effects. You may, and it is your duty to bear your testimony against all illiberal proceedings which violate the unity of the church, and of course impede the progress of the gospel. The church, which is the body of Christ, one and indivisible, has been way-laid by bigots, and left covered with wounds in the high road, like the man, who fell among thieves, while Priest and Levite, attentive only to their own party-interests, and personal ease, have passed by unconcerned. Enter your protest against these, and be not afraid to avow openly your attachment to one Head, the Lord of glory,--to one party, that of his true followers,-and to one interest, the cause of
* 1 Cor. iv.7. – Zech, iv. 10 Mat. xii. 20.
pure and undefiled religion. Carry your party-distinctions with a becoming indifference, like a man, who is compelled to wear a garment he is not fond of, and therefore suffers it to hang loose about him, that he may drop it at the first opportunity. You are aware, that this must shortly be done ; that such distinctions cannot be endured in the immediate presence of God and the Lamb. Trim your lamps therefore, and be ye ready for the amazing change ;—for the glorious mansions of perfect peace, and love, and harmony, to which the souls of the faithful are conveyed on their release from the body. Let liltle things give place, and great things,—especially those things which make for peace and unity, engage your attention more and more.
We are looking also for better times,-for times of unanimity and love, even on earth. It is a subject which hardly ever engages my thoughts without warming my heart. The Redeemer, about to leave his disciples prayed for them, that they might be one, and that they might be made perfect in one : and we trust, that the answer to this prayer will yet again be made manifest; and then the world will know that the Father hath sent him, and hath loved them as he hath loved him. * And it is highly probable from the voices of the prophets, that the sects and parties, which now distract and obscure the church, will then disappear, because the darkness, which is their chief support, will be dispelled. It will indeed be at evening time : yet it will be light.* “Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven-fold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth
* John xvii.
up the breach of his people, and healeth-the stroke of their wound.”+ “The watchmen also shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing ; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.”I They will be both numerous and unanimous, as serving one Master, and having one interest; and will look upon each other with brotherly affection, and not averse, as they do at present. Then the Lord “ will turn to the people a pure language, that'they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent."'S For “the Lord shall be King over all the earth : in that day shall there be one. Lord, and his name one." It will be the time also for the cleansing of the sanctuary,”f or the purifying of the church, from the superstition and corruptions which now, deform her. For “to her it shall be granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white.” She will be adorned with the beauties of holiness, with garments of spiritual excellence,ếwith godly sincerity, zeal, meekness and love, all wrought by the Spirit, according to the pattern of the one unchangeable word; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.** In those days, her children will probably look back on us their forefathers with astonishment: they will pity our weakness, and be
• Zech. xiv. 7 + Isa, xxx. 26. | Isa, lii. 8. $ Zeph, jii. 9. Zech, xiv.9. I Dan. viii, 14. ** Rev. xix. 8.
ashamed of the things in which many now glory. And though we live not to see those happy times, yet as believers, and sensible that we are one with those, who will then serve God upon earth, we look forward to them with peculiar delight. Blessed Lord! Thou hast revealed these things to us by thy Spirit, and the event is sure. “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.* He who testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly; Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”+
In the mean time the gospel is preached, that fallen men may hear, believe, and live. The great conflict between the seed of the woman, and the seed of the serpent goes on with increasing interest and success.
Believers are ever victorious “ by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.”! And though I am obliged to move from one part of the field of action to another, my heart, and my hands are with all, who long only for the triumphs of the cross.
It is love to your souls, which prompts the ardent wish that you may continue to enjoy the inestimable privilege of hearing "all the words of this life." And I am only uttering the feelings of my heart when I add, O that they were preached with scriptural purity in every building erected for the worship of the true God throughout the united kingdom; and that the joyful sound were heard in every
house inhabited by man! And let me ask, whether you are of the same mind? And more particularly, whether you wish for the continuance of the gospel among you more than you wish for any secular advantages whatever? Then seek to the Lord of the harvest whose prerogative it is to send forth labourers into his harvest. Make your supplication to “the Father of lights, from whom cometh down every good gift, and every perfect gift."! And look also to yourselves, that you may not sin away this great privilege.' O repent, lest God should remove your candlestick; or lest satan should be permitted to do what would be equivalent to put, ting on an extinguisher. There is also an admonition of Christ, which is always seasonable : Take heed what you hear. And there is special need for it at the present moment. “ Try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” False teachers were many in the apostles' times; and they have become far more numerous since. The visible church has been full of them, while long and tedious centuries of darkness have rolled over nations called Christian like clouds charged with destructive matter, and portending judgments which no human power can avert. I have myself no doubt whatever that the true church is still in the wilderness,*---safe indeed, and nourished with the Bread from heaven; but despised by men, and driven into comparative obscurity. Through the mercy of God the people here now enjoy much liberty in hearing the word. Yet the privilege is neither understood, nor valued by many. Numbers are fast asleep in error, prejudice, or indifference; whilst others are in doubts where they should statedly attend, so as to obtain the greatest spiritual benefit. The apostle's charge to Timothy—“Take heed to thyself, and to the doctrine"--may be of use to hearers as well as preachers. If a minister do not take heed to him
+ Rev. xxii. 20. Rev. xii. II. $ Actøv, 20.
* Ps, cxix. 89.