« הקודםהמשך »
duct of the Israelites is, Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. This refers to the rebellion of Korah, and the murmuring of the congregation, after the awful death of him and his companions, against Moses and Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord;" when the plague broke out among them, and fourteen thousand seven hundred' of them were destroyed before Aaron could make an atonement for them. Their conduct showed that neither the mercies of God, nor His judgments had any suitable effect; they were continually rebelling against the Lord, unmindful of His goodness, and only for a time affected by His judgments. It is said in the text, Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples ; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Upon which the apostle founds the exhortation, Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall. This is the
Third point to which our attention is to be directed. The Israelites thought themselves to be standing in the favour of God, because of the privileges which they enjoyed; but they were not solicitous to please God, notwithstanding all the benefits that He conferred upon them. They fell into various sins; they lusted after evil things. They fell into idolatry and fornication. They tempted God, and murmured against His dealings with them. They were continually rebelling against Him. Let us beware of imitating their example. We have great privileges as they had. We have the word of God, the revelation of His will, in our hands. We have the ordinances of the house of God, and His holy sacraments administered to us. Let us use the means of grace with thankfulness. Let us not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think, because of our great privileges; but let us seek to enjoy the favour and blessing of God in the use of them; and beware of turning the grace of God into lasciviousness; or of thinking that we may live in sin that grace may abound. To fall from a state of grace is a most fearful thing. To enjoy great privileges, and at the same time to live in disobedience to the word and will of God, is most awful. There is great reason to fear lest such persons should be given over to hardness of heart and impenitence; that they should lose all the benefit of the privileges with which they have been favoured, and should perish everlastingly. No outward privileges are of any avail, when sin is loved and practised. If the desire after evil things fills our hearts, and we follow after these desires, our Christian profession is of no avail ; it will not prove the means of our salvation.
If we are sensible of our own weakness, and dread the power of our spiritual enemies, and fear lest we should be overcome by their tempt
ations to fall into sin, the apostle points out to us, at the close of the Epistle for this day, how we may be preserved from falling. He says to the tried and afflicted people of God, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able ; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye тау
be able to bear it. The trials with which you are visited have been endured by many of the children of God; they are trials common to man as a fallen creature; but these trials will be overruled for good by a faithful covenant-keeping God, who will support His people under them, and in His own time and way will deliver them out of the difficulties with which they may seem to be surrounded. Let them put their trust in Him, and all will be well. He is able to keep them from falling, and to present them faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy; and He will do it for them that seek His
grace port them, and to give them “a happy issue out of all their afflictions.” Importunate prayer at the throne of grace will obtain strength sufficient to enable us effectually to resist the temptations of our spiritual enemies. They who rely upon the faithfulness of God to His promises in Christ Jesus, shall not be ashamed of their hope. While they make Him their refuge, no evil shall happen to them; no enemy shall prevail against them.
to supSERMON XLV.
TENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.
1 Corinthians xii. 11.
BUT ALL THESE WORKETH THAT ONE AND
THE SELF - SAME
The subject of the Epistle for this day is concerning spiritual gifts, their nature, and the source from whence they are derived. This is a subject on which, it is intimated, professors of Christianity ought to be well informed, as it is desirable that they should obtain these gifts; and indeed, they are directed to covet them earnestly for the edification and consolation of their souls, that God in all things may be glorified in them and by them. Spiritual blessings are what we should all seek after. They convey the greatest benefits to the soul, and bring to it the highest degree of happiness. We should not be
satisfied with being in a state of ignorance respecting that which is so highly important for us to be acquainted with. But this is, notwithstanding, the case with too many persons. The blessings which true Christianity brings to the souls of those who heartily embrace it are not sought, and are therefore not obtained by them. Their value is unknown, their benefit is not experienced.
While our attention is directed to the important and interesting subject here brought before us, let it be our prayer that He, from whom all spiritual blessings proceed, would be pleased to seal instruction upon our minds, that the blessings which are the portion of the children of God may be ours in time and in eternity.
The apostle commences with observing, Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. By spiritual gifts are to be understood those endowments which the Spirit of God bestows upon members of the church of Christ, for the benefit of others, of those around them, as well as on their own account individually. This appears from the description given of them in the verses immediately preceding the text. As these gifts were for the benefit of the church in general, the apostle was anxious that they should not be unknown, but that the benefit of receiving them should be experienced. They could be received only by believers in the Lord Jesus Christ; no others were partakers of