תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

enjoyment of God in glory; even now to know, to love, 10 imitate God, and to believe in Jesus Christ whom he hath sent.

3. He is a wise man, even in God's account; for “he buildetli his house upon a rock;” upon the Rock of ages, the everlasting Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ. Fitly is He so called ; for he changeth not : He is “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” To Him both the Man of God of old, and the Apostle citing his words, bear witness, “ Thou, Lord, in the beginning bast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish ; but thou renajuest : and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture sbalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.” (Heb. i. 10-12.) Wisc, therefore, is the man that buildeth on Him; who layeth Him for his only foundation; who builds only upon his blood and righteousness, upon what He bath done and suffered for us. On this corner-stone he fixes his faith, and rests the whole weight of his soul upon it. He is taught of God to say, “Lord, I have sinned; I deserve the nethermost biell; but I am justified freely by thy grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ; and the life I now live, I live by faith in Him, who loved me and gave bimself for me :-the life I now live; pamely, a divine, heavenly life; a life which is hid with Christ in God. I now live eren in the flesh, a life of love ; of pure love both to God and man; a life of holiness and happiuess ; praising God, and doing all things to his glory.'

4. Yet, let not such an one think that he shall not see war any more ; dat he is now out of the reach of temptation. It still remains for God to prove the grace be bath given: he shall be tried as gold in the fire. He shall be tempted not less than they who know uot God : perhaps abundantly more ; for Satan will not fail to try to the uttermost those whom he is not able to destroy. Accordingly, "ibe rain” will impetuously descend ; only at such times and in such a manner as seenis good, not to the Prince of the power of the air, but to llim “ whose kingsom ruleth orer all.” “The floods,” or torrents, will come ; they will lili ap their waves and rage horribly. But to thein also, the Lord that sitteth above the water-foods, that remajveth a king for ever, will say, “ Hitherto shall vc come, and no farther : here shali prir proud rares be stayed.” “The winds will blow, and beat upon that house," as though they trould lear it up from the foundation : But they cannot preVail: it falleth 10!; for it is founded upon a Rock. He l»uildeth on Christ by faith and love; therefore he shall not be cast down. He “shall not fear though the earth be moved, and though the hills be carried into the midst of the sea." “Though the waters thereof rage and swell, and the mountains shake at the tempest of the same :” still be “ dwelleth yuder the defence of the Most High, and is safe under the shadow of the Almighty."

III. l. How nearly then does it concern cvery child of man, . practically to apply these things to himself ? Diligently to examine, on what' foundation he builds, whether on a Rock or on the Sand ? How deeply are you concerned to inquire, What is the foundation of my hope? Whereon du I build my expectation of entering into the kingdom of heaven ? Is it not built on the sand ? Upon my orthodoxy, or right opinions, wbich by a gross abuse of words I have called faith? Upon niy having a set of motions, suppose more rational or scriptural than many others have ? Alas! what madness is this! Surely this is building on the sand, or rather on the froth of the sea! Say, I am convinced of this : am I not again building my hope on what is equally unable to support it? Perhaps on my belonging to “so excellent a Church; reformed after the true Scripture model; blessed with the purest doctrine, the most primitive liturgy, the most apostolical form of government!” These are, doubtless, so many reasons for praising God, as they may be so many helps to holiness; but they are not holiness itself: and if they are separate from it, they will profit me nothing; nay, they will leave me the more without exeuse, and exposed to the greater damnation. Therefore, if I build my hope upon this foundation, I am still building upon the sand.

2. You cannot, you dare not rest here. Upon what next will you build your hope of salvation ? Upon your innocence? Upon your doing no harm ? Your not wronging or hurting any one ? Well; allow this plea to be true. You are just in all your dealings; you are a downright honest man ; you pay every man his own ; you neither cheat vor extort; you act fairly with all mankind : and you have a conscience towards God; you do not live in any known sin. Thus far is well. But still it is not the thing. You may go thus far, and yet never come to heaven. When all this harmlessness flows from a right principle, it is the least part of the Religion of Christ. But in you it does not flow from a right principle, and thereforo is no part at all of Religion. So that in ground.

at the sinners, angry at the sin. Thus be thou "angry, and sin not!"

9. Now do thou hunger and thirst, not for “the ineat that perisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life.” Trample underfoot the world, and the things of the world; all these richies, £10nours, pleasures. What is the world w thee? Let the dead borracir dead; but follow thou after the image of Gori. Aud beware of quenching that blessed thirst, if it is already excited in thy soul, by what is vulgariy called Religion; a poor, dull farce, a religion of form, of outside show, which leaves the heart still cleaving to the dust, as carthly and sensual as ever. Let nothing satisfy thee but the power of godliness, but a Religion that is spirit and life ; the dwelling in God and God in thee; the being an inhabitant of eternity; the entering in by tlie blood of sprinkling “within the veil,” and “ sitting in bearenly places with Christ Jesus!"

10. Now, seeing thou canst do all things through Christ strengthening thee, be merciful as thy Father in heaven is merciful! Lorc thy neighbour as thyself! Love friends and cnemies as thy own soul! And let thy lore be longsuffering and patient to all men. Let it be kind, soft, benign; inspiring thee with the most amable sweetness, and the most fervent and tender allection. Let it rejoice in the truth, wheresoever it is found; the truth that is after godliness. Lujoy whatsoever brings glory to God, and promotes peace and goodwill among men. In love, cover all things,—of the dead and the absent speaking nothing but good; believe all things, which may any way tend to clear your neighbour's character; hope all things, in his favour; and endure all things, triumphing over all opposition: For true love never faileth, in time or in eternity.

11. Now be thon pure in heart ; purified throngh faith from every unholy aflection ; “cleansing thyself from all filthiness of tlesh and spirit, and perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Being, through the power of Ilis grace, purified from pride, by deep poverty of spirit; from anger, from cvery mokind or turbulent passion, by meekness and mercifulness; from cvery desire but to please and cnjoy God, by hunger aud thirst after righteousness; now love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy strength!

12. In a word: Let thy religion be the Religion of the Heart. Let it lie deep in thy inmost soul. Be thou little

and base, and mean, and vile (beyond what words can express) in thy own eyes; amazed and humbled to the dust, by the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Be serious. Let the whole stream of thy thoughts, words, and actions, flow from the deepest conviction that thou standest on the edge of the great gulf, thou and all the children of men, just ready to drop in, either into everlasting glory or everlasting burnings ! Let thy soul be filled with mildness, gentleness, patience, longsuffering towards all men ;-at the same time that all which is in thee is athirst for God, the living God; longing to awake up after bis likeness, and to be satisfied with it! Be thou a lover of God, and of all mankind! In this spirit, do and suffer all things! Thus show thy faith by thy works; thus “do the will of thy Father which is in heaven!” And, as sure as thou now walkest with God on earth, thou shalt also reign with him in glory!

SERMON XXXIV.

THE ORIGINAL, NATURE, PROPERTIES,

AND USE OF THE LAW.

Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and

just, and gooil.Rom. vii. 12.

1. PERHAPS there are few subjects within the whole compass of Religion, so little understood as this. The rcader of this Epistle is usually told, by the Law St. Paul means the Jewish Law; and so apprehending himself to have no concern therewith, passes on without farther thought about it. Indeed some are not satisfied with this account; but observing the Epistle is directed to the Romans, thence infer, that the Apostle in the beginning of this chapter alludes to the old Roman Law. But as they have no more concern with this, than with the ceremonial law of Moses, so they spend mot much thought on what they suppose is occasionally mentioned, barely to illustrate another thing.'

2. But a careful observer of the Apostle's discourse, will not be content with these slight explications of it. And the more he weighs the words, the more convinced he will be, that St. Paul by the Law mentioned in this chapter, does not mean cither the ancient law of Rome, or the ceremonial law of Moses. This will clearly appear to all who attentively consider the tenor of his discourse. He begins the chapter, “Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) [to them who have been instructed therein from their youth,] that the law hatlı dominion over a man as long as he liveth?” ('hat the law of Rome only, or the ceremonial law ? No surely; but the Moral Law.) “ For,” to give a plain instance, “the woman which hath an husband is bound by the [moral] law to her husband so long as he liveth; But if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then it, while her husband liveth, she be

« הקודםהמשך »