תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

3. Suppose now the fulness of time to be come, and the prophecies to be accomplished. What a prospect is this! All is " peace, quietness, and assurance for ever." Merc is no din of arms, no "confused noise," no "garments rolled in blood." "Destructions are come to a perpetual end:" wars are ceased from the earth. Neither are there any intestincjars remaining; no brother rising up against brother; no country or citydivided against itself, and tearing out its own bowels. Civil discord is at an end for evermore, and none is left either to destroy or hurt his neighbour. Here is no oppression to make even the wise man mad; no extortion to grind the face of the poor; no robbery or wrong ; no rapine or injustice; for all are "content with such things as they possess." Thus "righteousness and peace have kissed each other;" (Psal. lx.xxv. 10;) they have " taken root and filled the land:" " righteousness flourishing out of the earth," and "peace looking down from heaven."

•1. And with righteousness or justice, mercy is also found. The earth is no longer full of cruel habitations. The Lord hath destroyed both the blood-thirsty and malicious, the envious and revenge ful man. Were there any provocation, there is none that now knowethto return evil for evil; but indeed there is none that docth evil, no, not one; for all are harmless as doves. And being tilled with peace and joy in believing, and united in one body, by one spirit, they all love as brethren, they are all of one heart, and of one soul. "Neither saith any of them, that ought of the things which he possesseth is his own." There is none among them that lackcth; for every man loveth his neighbour as himself. And all walk by one rule, "Whatever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do unto them."

5. It follows, that no unkind word can ever be heard among them, no strife of tongues, no contention of any kind, no railing or evil-speaking; but every one "opens his mouth with wisdom, and in his tongue there is the law of kindness." Equally incapable arc they of fraud or guile: their love is without dissimulation: their words arc always the just expression of their thoughts, opening a window into their breast, that whosoever desires may look into their hearts, and sec that only love and tiod arc there.

0. Tims, where the Lord Omnipotent takcth to himself his mighty power and reigneth, doth he " subdue all tilings to Ijiujjelf," cause every heart to overflow with love, and till ^very mouth with praise. "Happy are the people that are in soch a case: yea, blessed are the people who have the Lord for their God." (Psal. cxliv. 15.) "Arise, shine, (saith the Lord,) for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." "Thou hast known that I, the Lord, am thy Saviour, and thy Redeemer, the mighty God of Jacob. I have made thy officers peace, and thy exacters righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in the land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls, Salvation, and thy gates, Praise." "Thy people are all righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever; the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified." "The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory." (Isa. lx. 1, 16—19.)

IV. Having thus briefly considered Christianity, as beginning, as going on, and as covering the earth; it remains only that I should close the whole with a plain, practical Application.

1. And first, I would ask, Where does this Christianity now exist? Where, I pray, do the Christians live? Which is the country, the inhabitants whereof are all thus filled with the Holy Ghost? Are all of one heart and of one soul? Cannot suffer one among them to lack any thing, but continually give to every man as he hath need? Who, one and all, have the love of God filling their hearts, and constraining them to love their neighbour as themselves? Who have all "put on bowels of mercy, humbleness of mind, gentleness, longsuffering?" Who offend not in any kind, cither by word or deed, against justice, mercy, or truth; but in every point do unto all men, as they would these should do unto them. With what propriety can wc term any a Christian Countiy, which does not answer this description? Why then, let us confess we have never yet seen a Christian Country upon earth.

2. I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, if ye do account me a madman or a fool, yet, as a fool bear with me. It is utterly needful that some one should use great plainness of speech towards you. It is more especially needful at this time; for who knoweth but it is the last? Who knoweth how soon the righteous Judge may say, " I will no more be intreated for this people." "Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in this land, they should but deliver their own souls." And who will use this plainness, if I do not? Therefore I, even I, will speak. And I adjure you, by the living God, that ye steel not

[ocr errors]

the tender minds of youth, to dispel thence the shades of ignorance and error, and troiu them up to be wise unto salvation, arc you "filled with the Holy Ghost?" With all those " fruits of the Spirit," which your important office so indispensably requires? Is your heart whole with God? Full of love and zeal to set up his kingdom on earth? Do you continually remind those under your care, that the one rational end of all our studies, is to know, love, and serve "the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent?" Do you inculcate upon them day by day, that love alone never faileth; (whereas, whether there be tongues, they shall fail, or philosophical knowledge, it shall vanish away ;) and that without love, all learning is but splendid ignorance, pompous folly, vexation of spirit? Has all you teach an actual tendency to the love of God, and of all mankind for his sake? Have you an eye to this end in whatever you prescribe, touching the kind, the manner, and the measure of their studiesj desiring and labouring that, wherever the lot of these young soldisrs of Christ is cast, they may be so many burning and shining lights, adorning the Gospel of Christ in all things? And permit me to ask, Do you pat forth all your strcugth in the vast work you have undertaken? Do you labour herein with all your might? Exerting every faculty of your soul? Using every talent which God hath lent you, and that to the uttermost of your power?

7. Let it not be said, that I speak here, as if all under your care were intended to be Clergymen. Not so: I only speak as if they were all intended to be Christians. But what example is set them by us who enjoy the beneficence of our forefathers? by Fellows, Students, Scholars; more especially those who arc of some rank and eminence? Do ye, brethren, abound iu the fruits of the Spirit, in lowliness of mind, in self-denial and mortification, in seriousness and composure of spirit, in patience, meekness, sobriety, temperance; and in unwearied, restless endeavours to do good in every kind unto all men, to relieve their outward wants, and to bring their souls to the true knowledge and love of God? Is this the general character of Fellows of Colleges? I fear it is not. Rather, have not pride and haughtiness of spirit, impatience and peevishness, sloth and indolence, gluttony and sensuality, and even proverbial oselessncss, been objected to us, perhaps not always by our enemies, nor wholly without ground? O that God would roll away this reproach from us, that the very memory of it might perish for ever!

8. Many of us arc more immediately consecrated to God, called to minister in holy things. Are we then patterns to the rest, "in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity?" (2 Cor. iv. 2.) Is there written on our forehead and on our heart, "Holiness to the Lord?" From what motives did wc enter upon this ollice '■! Was it indeed with a single eye "to serve God, trusting that we were inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost, to take upon him this ministration, for the promoting of his glory, and the edifying of his people?" And have we "clearly determined, by God's grace, to give ourselves wholly to this office?" Do wc forsake and set aside, as much as in us lies, all worldly cares and studies? Do we apply ourselves wholly to this one thing, and draw all our cares and studies this way? Arc we apt to teach? Are we taught of God, that wc may be able to teach others also? Do we know God? Do we know Jesus Christ? Hath "God revealed his Son in us?" And hath he "made us able .Ministers of the New Covenant?" Where then are the "seals of our Apostleship?" Who, that were dead in trespasses and sins, have been quickened by our word? Have wc a burning zeal to save souls from death, so that for their sake we often forget even to eat our bread? Do we speak plain, "by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of Cod?" (2 Cor. iv. 2.) Are we dead to the world and the things of the world, "laying up all our treasure in heaven?" Do we lord over God's heritage? Or are we the least, the servants of all? When we bear the reproach of Christ, does it sit heavy upon us? Or do wc rejoice therein '.' When we are smitten on the one check, do we resent it? Are wc impatient of affronts? Or do wc turn the other also; not resisting the evil, but overcoming evil with good? Have we a bitter zeal, inciting us to strive sharply and passionately with them that arc out of the way? Or is our zeal the flame of love, so as to direct all our words with sweetness, lowliness, and meekness of wisdom?

!). Once more, What shall we say concerning the youth of this place? Have you either the form or the power of christian godliness? Arc yon humble, teachable, advisable; or stubborn, self-willed, heady, and high-minded? Are von obedient

« הקודםהמשך »