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hold his glory with exceeding joy. His coming shall be to them the dawning of an everlasting day. They know that he brings salvation with him, the full barvest of that light and gladness which were sown for them in time. He comes to wipe away all tears from their eyes, to complete their victory over death and bell, and to put their whole persons, souls and bodies, in full possession of that heavenly inheritance, “ which is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.”
If it is comfortable at present to hear of him, to think of his love, to commemorate his death, and to behold bis beauty in the ordinances of bis grace; what must it be to see him in all the glory of his exalted state ? When a dear relation, wbo hath been long absent in a far country, returns to bis kindred and friends, how do all concerned hasten to meet him, and to express their joy at his arrival? And will not the saints then rejoice at the coming of their Saviour? With what transports of glad. ness will they cry out, Behold, yonder he comes! He whose blood hath redeemed, and whose Spirit hath sanctified us. Yonder he comes in whom we trusted, and for whom we have long waited; and now we see that he hath not deceived us, and that be hath not made us wait in vain. “Even so come, Lord Jesus."-And this leads me to the
Fourth and last particular in the text, which is the character of those to whom this second appearance of our Lord shall be comfortable. They are such as “look for him." This short but significant description may be considered as including,
1st, A firm belief of this event. One who looks for it in the sense of the Apostle's words, is as thoroughly persuaded of its certainty, as he is that the sun, which sets to-night, shall rise again to-morrow. His faith is
built on the surest foundation, the word and promise of his Saviour himself; and, therefore, his heart is impressed with Christ's second appearance as much, at least as really, as if he already saw him coming in the clouds of hearen. But,
adly, The expression denotes the love and desire of this event. The saints take pleasure in the prospect of it, and accordingly are described by the apostle Paul, (2 Tim. iv. 8.) by this very circumstance. They are such as “ love his appearing.” If the saints under the old dispensation longed for the manifestation of our Lord in the flesh, how much more ought we to long for that more glorious appearance which he shall make in the end of the world. The Atheist rejects this doctrine altogether; the profane scoffer says, “Where is the promise of his coming?" Carnal sinners are afraid of it, when alarmed with the rebukes of conscience; as when Paul preached of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled. But to the godly it is not matter of terror, but of delight. Nay, they would even hasten its approach, if it were in their power. A believ. er, when his heart is right, will say, like the mother of Sisera, when she cried through the lattice, “Why is his chariot so long in coming? Wby tarry the wheels of his chariot?" At the same time,
3dly, This expression imports a patient waiting for his appearance, in spite of all discouragements. Love makes the believer to long; but faith enables patiently to wait for his Lord's coming. What though he dwells in an unkind world, wounded with sharp afflictions, harassed with temptations, and oppressed with a body of sin and death? Yet all this notwithstanding, he still looks and waits with patience and resignation. He knows that the second coming of his Lord will abun
dantly compensate all his present delays and discouragements; and “that this trial of their faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, shall then be found unto praise, and honour, and glory." But the most essential part of the character of those to whom the second appearance of our Lord shall be comfortable, is, in the
4th and lust place, An habitual preparation for this event. They will endeavour 6 to have their loins girded about, and their lights burning, and themselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately." The best evidence which we can give that we truly look for him with faith and love, is our being diligent, that we may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. As the proper improvement, therefore, of all that bath been said, let me address to you this conclud. ing exhortation. “Give all diligence to make your call. ing and election sure.”—“Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares."-"Let your whole conversation be such as becometh the gospel of Christ.” Never think “that you have already attained, either are already perfect; but forgetting the things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, press towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”_"Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth, that when he wbo is your life shall appear, ye may also appear with him in glory." Amen.
Preached at the Author's admission at South Leith.
1 Corin. iv. 1, 2.
Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of
Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.
THE just conception and faithful discharge of the reciprocal duties in society, are the foundation both of private and public happiness. In this respect, the church of Christ is not different from other communities among men. Although Christians acknowledge but one supreme Master, yet they are taught to acknowledge among themselves subordinate degrees of authority on the one hand, and of submission and respect on the other. The God whom we serve is a God of order, not a God of confusion; and he hath pointed out, both in his word and in his providence, the necessity of doing all things decently and in good order. The text, and the occasion likewise, lead me to speak of the mutual regards and duties which ought to subsist between a minister of Christ, and the people committed to his charge; in doing which I shall, through divine assistance,
First, Explain the account given us in the text, of the nature of our office as ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. And,
Secondly, Point out the corresponding obligations incumbent on Christians, with regard to those entrusted with this ministry.
The illustration of these particulars will tend to produce a just conception, and I trust, through the blessing of God, the faithful discharge of those important duties which you and I will henceforth owe to each other.
I am first, to explain the account given in my text, of the nature of our office as ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
And in order to have clear apprebensions of this subject, it will be necessary to look back to the origin of the office, and see wherein it differed, at its first appointment, from the circumstances in which it exists at present. I set out with observing, that the ministry of the word is in all essential points the same, ever since it was ordained as an employment. At the same time it is plain, that several circumstances attending it are considerably varied. The ordinary call to the office, which now takes place, is very different from the miraculous mission by which men were consecrated to it in former times. Their vocation was more immediate, more striking, attended with more ample powers, as well as more splendid ef. fects. From their immediate inspiration, an authority was derived to their words, to which none of us can justly pretend. They promised, and the blessings of time and eternity were conveyed with their words; they threatened, and vengeance from heaven followed without delay. Besides, the first teachers of the gospel enjoyed from their divine Master the communication of his own powers over nature. “ Having called the twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, and to heal all manner of sickness and disease.” According. ly, the whole bistory of their lives is one train of mira. cles, verifying the reality of these powers, and display