תמונות בעמוד

this doctrine, they never failed to estab- tion. He issued forth the gracious comlish the inseparable connection between mand, “Deliver them from going down faith and holiness, lest any should turn to the pit, for I have found a ransom." the grace of God unto wantonness, and, And in the fulness of time our Lord Jesus by claiming the privileges of the gospel Christ, “the Lamb slain” in decree while they refused subjection to its laws," from the foundation of the world,” should represent Christ as the minister of appeared in our nature; and with the sin.

infinite price of his own precious blood, 2dly. We are further obliged to live redeemed us from the hand of justice, unto the Lord, as we regard the honor of and purchased for us complete and everour Master, and the credit of that saving lasting salvation. And now, with what religion which he taught. For hereby we face can we decline his service or refuse most effectually stop the mouths of gain- subjection to any of his laws ? It is sayers, and cut off occasion from those purely by his merit that we live at all: that desire occasion to blaspheme that and shall we reckon it grievous to walk worthy name by which we are called ; pre- by his direction ? Surely nothing can senting to their view a convincing proof, appear more just and equitable, than that that Christianity is an effectual means of he who bought us should possess us, and salvation, and that Christ is truly and that the ransomed should be entirely deproperly a Saviour. The death of Christ voted to their Redeemer. appears to have a mighty efficacy indeed, LET these considerations prevail with when it maketh those that believe on him us to live unto him who “died, and rose, to die unto sin. And it is impossible to and revived, that he might be Lord both doubt that he is alive, and hath all power of the dead and living. And while we committed to him in heaven' and in earth, look up to him for that divine aid, which when he visibly lives in his members by he hath not only encouraged us to ask, his all-conquering grace, and causeth them but commanded us to expect, let us go to live unto him: Whereas a contrary be forward in his strength, making mention havior doth the greatest possible injury of his righteousness, even of his only; to the cause of truth, furnishing the world that when we die, we may fall asleep in with a handle to say, that Christianity is that Jesus, unto whom we now live, and nothing more than an airy speculation, commit our bodies to the dust, in the and that the religion of Jesus is of no assured hope of a glorious resurrection : effect towards reforming the hearts and when that promise shall be fulfilled in its lives of its professors.

largest extent, “If any man serve me, 2dly. I shall only add, that we are let him follow me; and where I am, there bound to live in the manner I described shall also my servant be. If any man by the strictest ties of justice and equity. serve me, him will my Father honor." “Ye are not your own," saith our apostle, Amen. (1 Cor. vi. 19, 20.) "for ye are bought with a price." From whence he draws this practical inference, " Therefore glorify God

SERMON XXXIII. in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." As creatures who derived their

THE CHRISTIAN CHRIST'S CARE. being from God, we are bound to love him with all our heart, and to serve him to the 1 PETER V. 7.—" Casting all your care upon HIM, utmost extent of the powers he hath given

for He careth for you." us. But his redeeming grace brings us under a new and still more endearing EXHORTATIONS of this kind, which freobligation to his service. When we had quently occur in the sacred Scriptures, destroyed ourselves, and lay exposed to represent our holy religion in the most all the dreadful effects of his righteous amiable light. It appears, in all respects, displeasure, having no eye to pity, and suited to our present necessities, and no hand that could help us, then did he friendly to our highest, our most imporpity us, and his own arm brought salva- tant interests. How deplorable would

[ocr errors]

be the state of men upon earth, were they give us all things ?” But the Scriptures left to struggle in their own strength with do not stop here: they not only relate the trials and sufferings to which they what God hath already done, and thereby are continually exposed ? In prosperity, furnish us with proofs of his mercy and when the mind is vigorous and undisturb- grace; they likewise contain explicit deed, Reason may discover a variety of clarations of what he hath purposed and arguments for bearing affliction with pa- determined to do. They abound with tience and fortitude, and may even sug- great and precious promises, confirmed gest some topics of consolation, which, in by the oath of an unchangeable God, the distant view of adversity, seem to " that by two immutable things, in which promise a seasonable and effectual relief; it is impossible for God to lie, they may but these are rather specious than solid, have a strong consolation, who have fled and when brought to the test, have always for refuge to lay hold on the hope set bebeen complained of as feeble and unavail- fore them." ing. The best of them are those which Of this kind is the argument with which lead our thoughts upwards to the Supreme the apostle presseth the exhortation in my Disposer of all events, the wise and right- text, Casting all your care upon God, eous Governor of the world. But as it is saith he, for he careth for you. Nothing impossible for a creature, conscious of can be more simple; and, at the same guilt, to separate the idea of punishment time, nothing can be more persuasive. from suffering, it is not easy to conceive No acuteness is requisite for discovering how the mere persuasion, that our suffer- the meaning of the argument. And then ings proceed from one who is incapable of its strength is irresistible; “for if God doing wrong, should yield us any comfort, be with us, who can be against us? If unless we are assured, that while he pun- the great Lord of heaven and earth vouchisheth our sins, he is at the same time will safe to become our friend, nay, our guaring to be reconciled to us; nay, that the dian, then surely, with a cheerful and uncorrection itself is the fruit of his love, reserved confidence, we may resign our. and graciously intended for the cure of selves wholly to his disposal and governour souls. But here Reason, unassisted, ment. The objects of his paternal care is unable to move one step upon firm must always be safe; no real evil can beground; and though it could, yet, as the fall them, neither shall any thing that is mind itself is too commonly unhinged and truly good be withheld from them. But broken by adversity, any aid that depend- to whom doth the apostle address his exed upon a process of reasoning would come hortation ? by far too slow to our relief.

This question is of importance, and of a man will sustain his infirmity; but must be answered in the first place. a wounded spirit who can bear ?"

Secondly. I shall lay open the nature In this distressed situation, when every and extent of the duty here enjoined, and other refuge fails, divine revelation comes show what is included in casting all our seasonably to our assistance. So bright care upon God. are the objects it presents to our view, Thirdly. I shall illustrate the propriety that they prevent the labor of a tedious and strength of the motive with which the inquiry: The mind sees them at once ; exhortation is enforced, God careth for you. and though greatly disturbed, can with And then direct you to the practical ease discover both their nature and their improvement of the subject.

The import of a striking fact is Nothing would give me greater pleamuch sooner comprehended than the force sure than to say to every one that hears of an argument. Thus when we are told me, Thou art the person who art invited “ that God spared not his own Son, but to cast thy care upon God: but it is delivered him up to the death for us,” truth, and not inclination, that must dicwe no sooner hear and believe the fact, tate what I say. The great Prophet of than we are sufficiently prepared to draw the church compares the office of a minthe same conclusion from it that Paul did, ister to that of a steward, whose business “How shall he not with him also freely it is to feed those committed to his care,

“The spirit


by giving unto each “his portion of meat I speak not thus to drive any, even the in due season.” A promiscuous distribu- worst of you, away from God, or to distion of the bread of life, is not merely un- courage your application to him when profitable, but in many cases hurtful, to trouble overtakes you. A time of disthe souls of men: And give me leave to tress is a very proper season for seeking add, that in no case is it more likely to acquaintance with God. His rod hath a be hurtful, than when the subject, like voice as well as his word, and both speak the present one, is soothing and agreeable. the same language, "Turn ye, turn ye, And therefore, that this word of truth why will ye die ?" All I affirm is, that may be rightly divided, it will be necessary you cannot cast your care upon God till

1. In the first place, To inquire who your acquaintance with him be begun; the persons are to whom the exhortation and by telling you, that the saints are may properly be addressed.

possessed of privileges which at present It is certain, that as there are privileges do not belong to you, my sole aim is, “to peculiar to sanctified believers, so there provoke you to jealousy,” as Paul exare many duties enjoined in Scripture, presseth it, and to make you ambitious to which the impenitent and unbelieving are cast in your lot with these excellent incapable of performing; and, I appre- ones in the earth," that ye also may parhend, there is no duty whatsoever that take of their joy. “This is the command lies farther beyond their reach, than the of God," and the first in order under the exercise of trust and hope in God; for gospel-dispensation, that we believe on every part of his word denounces wrath the name of his Son Jesus Christ:" and it against them so long as they persist in is only in consequence of our obedience to their rebellion and enmity. is God is this command, that we obtain an interest angry with the wicked every day. He in the blessings he hath purchased. Christ hath bent his bow, and made it ready; is that unspeakable, comprehensive gift, in he hath also prepared for him the instru- which all other gifts are virtually in ments of death." And therefore, to per- cluded. It is our thankful acceptance of sons of this character, a previous exhor- the Mediator of the covenant, that both tation is necessary. I must address you manifests our claim to the promises of the in the words of Eliphaz to Job,“ Acquaint covenant, and qualifies us to perform the now thyself with God, and be at peace, duties it requires. From this account of and hereby good shall come unto you. " the persons who are invited to cast their At present my text doth not speak to you care upon God, we shall with greater ease at all. If you look back to the foregoing and certainty discover, part of this epistle, you will see the per- II. The nature and extent of the duty sons described whom the apostle had in itself; which is the second thing I proposed his eye. He doth not write to all pro- to illustrate. miscuously, but “ to the elect, according It differs entirely in its nature from to the foreknowledge of God the Father, that carelessness and insensibility which through sanctification of the Spirit unto the bulk of mankind too generally inobedience, and sprinkling of the blood of dulge. Many indeed enjoy a fatal tranChrist.” He writes to those " who are quillity, having no concern at all about born again, not of corruptible seed, but of their eternal interests. Their inquiries incorruptible, by the word of God, which are abundantly anxious with regard to the liveth and abideth for ever." He ad things of a present life; saying, “What dresseth his exhortation to believers in shall we eat, and what shall we drink, and Christ Jesus, “who loved him though wherewithal shall we be clothed ? But unseen,” having tasted of his grace ; whom they were never brought in good earnest he distinguished by the honorable appel- to ask the infinitely more interesting lations of “a chosen generation, a royal question, "What shall we do to be priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar peo- saved ?" Or if at any time a serious ple.” These are the objects of God's pa- thought, tending to this inquiry, force itternal care; and they only are qualified self upon their minds, they immediately to cast their care upon him.

encounter it with the presumptuous hope

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

66 But

of the divine mercy, and endeavor to inimitable strength. He is represented persuade themselves, by some fallacious in a musing posture, thinking within himreasonings, that it may be well with them self, and saying, “What shall I do?" at last, though they go on in their tres- The question betrays the greatest unpasses. Now the faith of such persons is easiness and perplexity. A poor starving not only dead in itself, but likewise poi- beggar, who had not a inorsel of bread, sonous and killing to their souls. They nor knew where to find it, could have said are perishing, and will not believe it, till nothing more expressive of distrust and the unquenchable fire awaken them from anxiety. And what do you really think their security, and put it out of their ailed this man? Did he want bread ? power to deceive themselves any longer. Quite the contrary; he had got too much : We must not cast our work upon God, his barns were not large enough to conand presume that he will save us in the tain the product of his ground: “I have way of sloth and carnal indulgence; on no room, said he, “where to bestow my the contrary, we are commanded to work fruits." And it was this that made him out our own salvation with fear and trem-cry out,

" What shall I do?" If you bling.” It is only "in well-doing" that desire any further information concerning we can regularly “commit the keeping of him, you will find it at verse 20. our souls to God," as the apostle hath God said unto him, Thou fool, this night taught us in the close of the preceding thy soul shall be required of thee; then chapter. We are exhorted to cast our whose shall those things be which thou care upon him, not that we may enjoy the hast provided ? ” It would appear, that base rest of the sluggard, “who desireth his situation with respect to an heir was and hath nothing, because his hands refuse similar to what Solomon describes, (Ecto labor; ” but that, having got our clesiastes iv. 8.) “ There is one alone, and hearts enlarged, and freed from a load there is not a second; yea, he hath neithat pressed them down, we may quicken ther child nor brother; yet there is no our pace, and run with greater alacrity in end of all his labor," &c. But whatthe way of God's commandments. ever became of his fruits, we know that

The character of the persons to whom his folly proved a lasting estate, for it this exhortation is addressed, doth likewise continues to be the inheritance of many serve to limit the extent of the duty. It is at this day. I believe there are numbers not every sort of care that we are invited among ourselves, whose minds are conor permitted to cast upon God, but only tinually on the rack, so that they cannot the care of those things which the Chris- sleep with laying schemes about the tian dare avow in the presence of his merest trifles in the world. In this age Father, and humbly ask of him by prayer of gayety and frivolous ostentation, I and supplication. We read, (Matth. xviii. make no doubt, that the superfluities of at the beginning) that the disciples of our dress, furniture, equipage, and the like, Lord came to him in a body, inquiring employ the thoughts of the rich (or of which of them should be "greatest in the people of fashion, whether they be rich kingdom of heaven.” This was a vain, or not) as anxiously, as the clothing that self-interested anxiety, to which our Lord is necessary to cover their nakedness emgave a sharp and sudden check, by telling ploys the thoughts of the poor and destithem in plain terms, that till they should tute.

It is the care of some to overtop lay aside that ambitious care, they were their neighbors; it is the care of others not fit to possess the lowest place in his to overreach at gaming; and indeed the kingdom. He called a little child unto mind of a gamester must be in perpetual him, and set him in the midst of them, suspense and agitation. Surely I need and said, Verily I say unto you, that ex- not tell you, that it would be impious to cept ye be converted, and become as little cast such cares upon God. We are not children, ye shall not enter into the king- at liberty to choose at random whatsoever dom of heaven.” We have an account of is agreeable to fancy or appetite; and, another very careful man, (Luke xii. when our passions are inflamed, and our 16-20.) where his picture is drawn with hearts overcharged with disquieting cares, attempt to roll these over upon God. We shall infallibly work together for his must first examine the object of our de spiritual improvement in this state of dissire, whether it be good in itself, and fitcipline, and issue in his complete and everfor us; whether it be consistent with and lasting felicity. subservient to our spiritual interest : and 2dly. To cast our care upon God, is to if, upon inquiry, it shall appear that these make his will the guide and measure of qualifications are wanting, we must nei- ours. We may desire, we may ask, what ther cast the care of it upon God, nor appears to us good in its own nature, and keep it to ourselves, but throw it away conducive either to our comfort or usefulaltogether; praying that our folly may be ness in a present world; we may lawfully forgiven, our diseased affections healed, wish to be delivered from trouble, to enjoy and led forth to other objects more health of body, composure and cheerfulworthy of our pursuit. This being laid ness of mind, the pleasures of virtuous down, then, as a fundamental principle, friendship, and a competent portion of the that the object of our desire must be law- good things of this life : but still we ful and good, the practice of the duty must desire and ask these blessings with which my text recommends may be con- due submission to the will of God, leavsidered as including the following par. ing it entirely to his unerring wisdom to ticulars.

give or to withhold them, as seemeth good 1st. A steadfast persuasion, that all unto himself. We have a lovely example events are ordered and directed by God; of this temper in the behavior of David that we and all our interests are contin upon a very trying occasion. When the ually in his hand; and that nothing can unsuspected rebellion of his unnatural befall us without his appointment or person Absalom, which threatened him with mission. This was the foundation of the immediate loss, not of his crown only, David's confidence, when he said, “Into but also of his life, obliged him to leave thine hands I commit my spirit : thou Jerusalem in haste; we are told, that hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. among the few that accompanied him in I have heard the slander of many; fear was his flight toward the wilderness, was on every side; while they took counsel to- Zadock the priest, and with him all the together against me, they devised to take Levites, bearing the ark of the covenant away my life. But I trusted in thee, 0 of God. In this time of great distress, Lord : I said, Thou art my God, my times when his situation was so affecting, that, are in thy hand.” Herein lies the difference as we read (2 Sam. xv. 23.)

w all the betwixt the judgment of sanctified be-country wept with a loud voice” while lievers and that of worldly men : the last, they beheld him passing over the brook confining their views to the objects of Kidron, the sacred historian informs us, sense, place their whole dependence upon (ver. 25, 26.) that the king addressed weak and mutable creatures like them. Zadock in the following words : “ Carry selves. They court the smiles, and trem- back the ark of God into the city; if I ble at the frowns, of those who are raised shall find favor in the eyes of the Lord, a little above them; and have no higher he will bring me again, and show me both aim than to recommend themselves to the it and his habitation. But if he thus say, favor and protection of such persons as I have no delight in thee, behold, here are most likely to gratify their ambition am I, let him do to me as seemeth or covetousness; whereas the believer, good unto him."—What shall be the knowing that God is supreme, and that issue of this formidable conspiracy I the highest creatures are only instruments know not; but I cast my care, my all, which he employs at his pleasure, keeps upon my God: in the mean time, let the his eye continually fixed upon him, and ark of the covenant be carried back to its hath no other concern than to be found place. The presence of the God of Israel walking in those ways which he hath ap- is not confined to this symbol of his pointed; being fully assured, that all grace; and that I trust shall encompass events, of whatever kind, are ordered by me whithersoever I go, to support and his reconciled Father in Christ Jesus, and I cheer me in this melancholy flight. Whe.

« הקודםהמשך »