« הקודםהמשך »
and plead the honor of the Godhead for this warfare cease till that great day of every blessing we need. Nay, this cove the Lord come, when “all his enemies nant is sealed with the blood of his own shall be made his footstool." But the Son; upon which account it sometimes question, or defiance, may lawfully be congets the name of a Testament ; that is, an sidered as importing the following particuirrevocable deed, made sure and unalter- lars. able by the death of the testator.
Here 1st. That none shall be against us by the firmest foundation is laid for our whose favor is desirable. faith and hope; and that our joy may be That the children of God too frequently full, he hath instituted the holy sacrament fall out among themselves, and squabble of the supper, wherein visible pledges of in the dark, is a melancholy truth; and his love are put into our hands, and by that these contentions are unseemly and bread and wine, the appointed symbols of hurtful things, cannot be denied : But a the broken body and shed blood of our little more daylight would soon put an Redeemer, Christ, and all the benefits of end to the scuffle, make them ashamed of his purchase, are represented, sealed, and their mistakes, and unite them in the applied to believers.
bonds of an everlasting friendship. The These few hints may serve to give you persons I speak of are they who are enesome view both of the meaning and worth mies to believers as such; and of them of this important privilege : God is for I say, that their favor is not worthy to be us: he is our friend; he is on our side; coveted, neither doth the want of it dehe is our God in covenant, and hath given serve to be regretted. What regard is us every kind of security our hearts could due to the judgment of those who are so desire, for whatever is conducive to our blind, that they see no beauty in the inreal interest. In all, and in each of these finitely perfect God himself? especially respects, may the Christian say, that God when their enmity against us is only the is for him. Let us now consider, in the natural effect of this woful stupidity;
Second place, The consequence of this according to that assertion of the apostle privilege, or the joyful conclusion which John, “ Therefore the world knoweth us the apostle draws from it, Who can be not, because it knew him not."
56 If the against us?
world hate you,” saith our Lord, ус It is expressed, you see, in the form of know that it hated me before it hated you. a question or challenge. St. Paul, in the If ye were of the world, the world would name of all true believers, gives a bold love his own; but because ye are not of defiance to earth and hell, and triumphs the world, but I have chosen you out of in the assurance of their safety and happi- the world, therefore the world hateth you." ness. The question doth not imply, that And ought any wise man to be disquieted they who have God on their side, shall on that account? Nay, my brethren, did have no enemies at all; such an immunity we view our enemies in this light, we would be inconsistent with a state of trial, should look upon them as objects of pity, and the Scripture gives us no warrant to rather than of fear or resentment; and expect any thing of this kind; on the con- any little hurt they could do to us, would trary, they assure us, that “through much scarcely be felt, whilst we thought of the tribulation we must enter into the king- infinitely greater mischief they were doing dom of heaven." “Our adversary, the to themselves. devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, 2dly. If God be for us, who can preseeking whom he may devour." “We vail against us? Who shall be able towrestle not only against flesh and blood, tally to subdue us, to deprive us of the but against principalities and powers, glory and happiness we look for? Indeed, against the rulers of the darkness of this if the safety of believers depended on world, and against spiritual wickednesses their own ability to keep hold of God; if in high places.” And as, in the days of they were left, as it were, to hang upon Abraham, "he that was born after the him by the mere strength of their own flesh, persecuted him that was born after arms; a little force or cunning might soon the spirit; even so it is now." Nor shall loosen their grasp, and pull them away
from him. But herein, my brethren, lies ( grace; but instead of that he kindles it their security, an omnipotent God keepeth into a flame, and only blows away the ashes fast hold of them; they are committed that covered it. He plieth the saints with to that good Shepherd "who gathers the his fiery darts; but instead of killing them, lambs with his arms, and carries them in he renders them more expert in the art his bosom, and gently leads those that are of defence, teacheth them the use of “the with young :” They are joined to God by shield of faith," and the other parts of the bond of an "everlasting covenant, order their spiritual armor. In short, God ed in all things and sure; " and they who effectually baffles every attempt of their would attempt to tear them from him, enemies : He “beats their swords into must first of all make void that covenant, plough-shares, and their spears into prunreverse the unchangeable purpose of God, ing-hooks ; " that is, he converts their and oblige the Almighty to resign his hostile weapons into instruments of huspower. Such is the desperate enterprise bandry, for the culture and improvement in which the enemies of God's children of his people, that in greater abundance are engaged; it is not the creature, but they may bring forth “ those fruits of the Creator they have to cope with ; Je- righteousness, which are, through Jesus hovah himself must be overcome, before Christ, to his praise and glory.” the weakest believer can fall into their Thus have I opened the joyful import hands. Justly then might the Apostle of this question, or challenge, If God be say, as in the close of this chapter, “Who for us, who can be against us? And in shall separate us from the love of Christ ? the review of all that hath been said, can shall tribulation, or distress, or persecu- we forbear to cry out with the holy Psalmtion, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or ist, "Happy is the people that is in such sword ? Nay, in all these things we are a case; yea, happy is that people whose more than conquerors through him that God is the Lord !" What I further in
For I am persuaded, that nei- tend is, to give you a few plain and necesther death, nor life, nor angels, nor prin- sary directions about the use you ought cipalities, nor powers, nor things present, to make of this comfortable subject. nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, But before I proceed to these, compasnor any other creature, shall be able to sion to the souls of some who may be separate us from the love of God which is hearing me, obliges me to set before you in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Nay, my text a very different prospect, by inverting the will allow us to advance a step farther, question, and putting it in this form : and to say, in the
If God be against us, who can be for 3d place, If God be for us, who shall us? be able to do us any material hurt in the "The Lord is in his holy temple, the mean time? To be assured of final sal- Lord's throne is in heaven: his eyes bevation, is indeed an unspeakable blessing; hold, his eyelids try, the children of men. to know that our enemies shall not totally The Lord trieth the righteous : but the prevail against us, is a desirable privilege; wicked, and him that loveth violence, his yet a great addition would be made to our soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall comfort, could we also be assured, that rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an their malice and enmity, instead of hurting horrible tempest : this shall be the portion us, shall contribute as means to promote of their cup.”
“Thine hand shall find our true interest. Well, then, the Apostle, out all thine enemies," saith the Psalmist; under the direction of God's unerring "thy right hand shall find out those that Spirit, hath asserted this in the strongest hate thee: thou shalt make them as a and most absolute terms: “We know," fiery oven in the time of thine anger; the saith he at the 28th verse of this chapter; Lord shall swallow them up in his wrath, we do not barely hope, but “we know, and the fire shall devour" them."
How that all things work together for good to awful are these words, uttered by God them that love God, to them who are himself ! “I, even I, am he, and there is the called according to his purpose." Sa- no God with me: I kill, and I make alive; I tan endeavors to blow out the spark of I wound, and I heal; neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. For I gave to the Gentile converts is always in lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live season: “Be not high minded, but fear; forever. If I whet my glittering sword, and again, “ Let him that thinketh he and mine hand take hold on judgment; I standeth, take heed lest he fall.” At the will render vengeance to mine enemies, same time, though you must not despise and will reward them that hate me; I will your enemies, yet neither, in the make mine arrows drunk with blood." 2d place, Ought you to be afraid of And “ Can you stand before his indigna- them. The true Christian temper lies in tion? Can you abide in the fierceness of the just medium, betwixt these opposite his anger, when his fury is poured forth extremes : and therefore we are exhorted, like fire, and the rocks are thrown down not only “to watch," but also“ to quit ourby him ?” Consider this, ye that forget selves like men; ;" « to endure hardness as God, lest he tear you in pieces when there good soldiers of Jesus Christ;" and to be shall be none to deliver. Who can make strong in the Lord, and in the power of you happy if God pronounce you miser- his might.”—“ Fear not,” saith God," for able? Who can give quietness, if he I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I causc trouble? Who can screen you from am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, his justice ? And, Oh ! who can support I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee you under the weight of his vengeance ? with the right hand of my righteousness.' For the Lord's sake, take a serious view After this encouraging manner doth God of your condition ; and then turn your speak to his children. Nay, he chides eyes to that compassionate Redeemer, them when they betray the least timorouswhose arms are yet extended to embrace ness in his service; as in Isaiah (chap. li. you: Flee speedily to him as your only 12, 13.)“ Who art thou, that thou shouldst sanctuary: let the earth be acquainted be afraid of a man that shall die, and of with your bended knees; let the air be the son of man which shall be made as acquainted with your fervent supplications, grass ? and forgettest the Lord thy Maker, till
you have reason to conclude, that you that hath stretched forth the heavens, and are vitally united to the Lord Jesus laid the foundations of the earth ? and Christ, who “of God is made," unto all who hast feared continually every day, because believe in him, “wisdom, and righteous of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ness, and sanctification, and redemption." ready to destroy? And where is the fury
As for you who are Christians indeed, of the oppressor ? 1: Hear how David to whom all the comfort of this text be- triumphs in the assurance of his safety, longs, let me beg your attention to a few upon grounds which are common to all necessary advices, with which I shall con- believers in Christ : “ The Lord is my olude this discourse.
light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? 1st. Beware of despising your enemies; The Lord is the strength of my life; of for that shall betray you into security and whom shall I be afraid? Though an host carelessness. Remember, that however shall encamp against me, my heart shall weak they are in comparison with God, not fear; though war should rise against yet in themselves they are strong and for me, in this will I be confident.” Let the midable; insomuch, that were God to look wicked tremble; they have reason to do on, and leave you to your own defence, you so; but " let the heart of every one re should quickly and easily be overmatched. joice that seeks the Lord.” Victory is In other armies, the strength of the gene- insured to you; the great “Captain of ral consisteth in the number and valor of salvation" hath already conquered all your his troops; but in the Christian army, the enemies, and ere long he shall return, and strength of the whole host, and every soldier bring you with singing into the heavenly in particular, lies in him who is the Lord Zion; then shall you obtain gladness and of Hosts. We ought therefore to main-joy, and sorrow and mourning shall flee tain an habitual jealousy of ourselves: we away. But as the strength by which you are never in greater danger than when we must overcome is not your own, this makes are most confident that we are out of dan- it necessary that I direct and exhort you, ger; so that the caution which the Apostle in the
3d place, To depend upon God, and to receive us unto himself" in that day when walk closely with him. For this end, he maketh up his jewels ;' and then shall “abide in Christ," for there it is alone an everlasting distinction be made “bethat God and sinners can meet as friends. tween the righteous and the wicked; be“God is in Christ,” saith the Apostle tween him that serveth God and him that Paul," reconciling the world unto himself.” serveth him not." Amen. Indeed he is nowhere else in the character of a reconciler; and consequently, if we wish to dwell under his shadow, it is ne. cessary that we be in Christ also.
SERMON XIII. was one of the solemn advices which our Lord gave to his disciples a little before
THE GIRDED, WATCHING SERVANT. his death;
- Abide in me;" branch cannot bear fruit of itself except LUKE XII. 35, 36, 37.--"Let your loins be girded it abide in the vine, no more can ye ex
about, and your lights burning; and ye your
selves like unto men that wait for their Lord, cept ye abide in me;" for " without me,”
when he will return from the wedding; that or separated from me, ye can do now
when he cometh and knocketh, they may thing." In the
open to him immediately. Blessed are those 4th and last place, Seeing God is for us, servants whom the Lord, when he cometh, let us be for him ; let us appear openly
shall find watching: verily I say unto you,
that he shall gird himself, and make them sit on his side, and act with resolution and
down to meat, and will come forth and serve vigor in his service. God can do his work
them.” without us; he stands in no need of our assistance; yet such is his condescension, The obvious design of this passage is, to that he invites us to the honor of being excite us to a serious consideration about
workers together with himself." And the awful solemnities of death and judgwhat can fire our ambition if this do not? ment. We are here directed to consider He is just now calling aloud, both by his ourselves as servants who have a master word and by his providence, “Who will in heaven; of whose return we have the rise up for me against the evil doers ? strongest assurance, but are utterly ignoWho will stand up for me against the rant of the precise time of his coming; workers of iniquity ?" O ! let each of us and therefore it is both our duty and our make haste to reply with the evangelical interest to be always on our guard, and in prophet, “ Here am I, send me.'' At the a fit posture to receive him; the happy same time, let us echo back the call, and consequences of which shall be, that our humbly expostulate with him in the words Lord will not only approve of our pruwhich his own Spirit hath dictated;“Arise, dent and zealous concern to please him, O Lord, and plead thine own cause; re- but he will even delight to honor us ; he member how the foolish man reproacheth will not deal with us as servants, but as thee daily." " It is time for thee to work, friends; and will bestow upon us a reward for they have made void thy law.” Thus infinitely beyond what any services could doth God permit us to remind him of his entitle us to. So that here we have a own interest, while we ourselves are in short, but comprehensive account of the a posture for active service; and such Christian's work and recompense; our pleadings are highly pleasing and accept- duty and encouragement are both set able. Let us then, my brethren, in our before us. respective stations, do what in us lies to Our duty is represented, by the diligent advance the kingdom of Christ in the care of servants to have every thing in world, and to bear down every thing that readiness for the reception of their absent stands in opposition to it. Let the "right- master. As the Jews, and other eastern eous be bold as lions;" and then may we people, commonly wore long and loose garhope that “Iniquity," as ashamed, shall ments, it was necessary, when they had hide her head, and « stop her mouth.” any thing to do which required strength At any rate,“ our record shall be on high," or agility, that they should tuck them up, ,
our reward with our God." He will) and gird them close about them; now,
; we must
says our Saviour, in allusion to this, letrun, and wrestle, and fight; and therefore your loins be girded about; that is, lay have need of all our strength and activity. aside every thing that may entangle you Long garments are for ornament, but not in your work : let your lights be continu- for use; these must be gathered up or ally burning, and ye yourselves, in every laid aside when a man addresses himself other respect, lıke servants who are anxious to any laborious business. Now such is to please their Lord, and to be found dili- the nature of our Christian work : “ The gent in their proper business, at whatever kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and hour he shall come; that, when he knock- the violence take it by force." We must eth, you may be ready to give him present do more than seek admittance admittance, and not to be surprised in any "strive to enter in at the strait gate; for disorder.
many shall seek to enter in, and shall not The reward of the diligent and faithful be able.' Think of this, my brethren; servant is described in the same allegori- ponder the difficulties in your warfare; cal manner; verily, says he, when their view the greatness of your work; consider master returns, and finds them thus em- the number and strength of your enemies ; ployed, he will bestow on them some ex. look through that large system of duties traordinary marks of honor and regard. you have to perform; and then you must He will not consider them as mere ser- be convinced, that the most vigorous exvants “ who have done no more than was ertion of every active power is more than their duty,” but will advance them to the needful in such circumstances as rank of friends; he will entertain them in We must, therefore, I say, labor to get rid the most liberal and gracious manner at of every incumbrance, and to be always in his own table; yea, so condescending is he, a posture for active service. I need not that, in some respects, he will lay aside his tell you what these incumbrances are. In superiority, as if he should gird himself general, whatever unfits us for our duty, like a servant, and come forth and wait that must be laid aside. More particu
larly, an earthly mind, pride of heart, and I shall at present confine myself to the the love of sensual pleasures, are three first of these subjects; namely, the duty great enemies to holy diligence in the work we owe to our absent Lord. It is this of the Lord. Whilst our affections lie which more nearly concerns us in the mean thus low, it is impossible we can do any time : the glorious reward mentioned in thing to purpose; nay, if this be their the latter part of my text belongs chiefly prevailing bent, we shall act in direct opto our encouragement; and in that view I position to the laws of our Master. In short, shall have occasion to speak of it before I our first care shall be, to correct that disconclude.
order which is within us; to get our hearts Now, by this figurative description of purified by the Spirit of God, and raised the duty we owe to our absent Lord, we above the profits and pleasures, and honors are plainly taught, in the
of this vain world; for 66 out of the heart 1st place, That we should lay aside are the issues of life;" and such as our every thing that may incumber us in the affections are, such will the course of our service of our Master; let your loins be actions be. But it is not enough to have girded about. To the same purpose the our loins thus girded about, we must also, Apostle Peter exhorts us (1 Peter i. 13.) in the " Wherefore gird up the loins of your 2d place, Have our lights burning. mind, be sober, and hope to the end, for This may import the care we should bethe grace that is to be brought unto you at stow to have our minds furnished with the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The New the knowledge of our duty; for as serTestament abounds with many exhorta- vants cannot work to any purpose in the tions of the same kind ; which will appear dark, so neither can we be good and fruitto have a peculiar propriety, if we consider ful Christians, without a competent knowlthose figurative representations of our edge of that divine law which is the only work to which they are applied. It is infallible rule of our conduct. called a race, a strife, a warfare; we must shall take this to be the meaning of the