« הקודםהמשך »
"garden of Gethsemane, and on Calvary. Lord! I
consent that thou shouldest shoot at me all the
thunderbolts and arrows which were shot against “ him. I agree, that thou shouldest unite against me
all the calamities, which were united against him. And, as it implies a contradiction, that so weak a mortal as 1, should sustain so tremendous a punishment, I agree, that the duration of my punish, ment should compensate for the defects of its de
gree; that I should suffer eternally in the abyss of hell, the punishments I could not have borne in the " limited duration of time.”
Do not take this proposition for an hyperbole, or a rhetorical figure. To enter into covenant with God, is to accept the gospel precisely as it was deli, vered by Jesus Christ, and to submit to all its stipulations. This gospel expressly declares, that fornicators, that liars, that drunkards, and the covetous; shall not inherit the kingdom of God. On accepting the gospel, we accept this clause. Therefore, on accepting the gospel, we submit to be excluded the kingdom of God, if we are either drunkards, or liars, or covetous, or fornicators; and if after the commission of any of these crimes, we do not reco, ver by repentance. And what is submission to this clause, if it is not to enter into the execration of oath, whichi God requires of us, on the ratification of his covenant ? 1. Ah! my brethren, woe unto us; should we pronounce against ourselves so dreadful an oath, without taking the precautions suggested by the gospel to avert these awful consequences. Ah! my brethren, if we are not sincerely resolved to be faithful to God, let us make a solemn vow before we leave this temple, never to communicate, never to approach the Lord's table.
What! never approach his table ! never communicate ! Disdain not to enter into the covenant which God does not disdain to make with sinners! What a decision'! Great God, whât-an awful decision! And should this be the effect of my discourse! Alas! my brethren, without this covenant, without this table, without this oath, we are utterly lost! It is true, we shall not be punished as violaters of vows we never made :' but we shall be punished as madmen; who, being actually in the abyss' of perdition, -reject the Redeemer, whose hand is extended to draw us thence. Let'us seek that hand, let us enter into this covenant with God,
The engagements, without which the covenant cannot be confirmed, have, I grant, something awfully solemn. The oath, the oath of execration which God tenders, is, I further allow, very intimidating. But what constitutes the fear, constitutes also the delight and consolation. For what end does God-require these engagements ? For what end does he require this oath? Because it is his pleasure, that we-should unite ourselves to him in the same close, constant, and indissoluble manner, as he unites him. self to us.
Let us be sincere, and he will give us power to be faithful. Let us ask his aid, and he will not withhold the grace destined to lead us to this noble end. Let us say to him, “ Lord, I do enter into this oath of “ execration ; but I do it with trembling. Establish “my wavering soul; confirm my, feeble knees;
give me the victory; make me more than con" queror in all the conflicts, by which the enemy of “ my salvation comes to 'separate me from thee. « Pardon all the faults into which I'may be drawn " by human frailty. Grant, if they should suspend " the sentiments of fidelity I vow to thee, that they *** may never be able to eradicate them." These are the prayers which God loves, these are the prayers which he hears. May he grant us to experience them! Amen.
THE SEAL OF THE COVENANT.
For the Day of Pentecost,
2 Cor. i, 21, 22.
He which establisheth us with you in Christ, and
hath anointed us, is God: who hath also, sealed us,
and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. How distinguished soever, this sabbath may be. it affords, a humiliating consideration to us. How glorious soever the event might be to the church, whose anniversary we now celebrate, it cannot be recollected, without deploring the difference between what God once achieved for his saints, and what he is doing at the present period. In the first Pentecost, the heavens visibly opened to the brethren, but our weak eyes are unable to pierce the vaults of this church. The Holy Spirit then miraculously. descended with inspiration on those holy men, who were designated to carry the light of the gospel throughout the world, but now, it is solely by the efforts of meditation and study, that your preachers communicate knowledge and exhortation. Thc earth shook ; the most abstruse mysteries were explained ; languages the least intelligible became inştantaneously famljar; the dead were raised to life ; Ananias and Sapphira expired at the apostle's feet ; and such a multitude of prodigies were then achiev. ed, in order to give weight to the ministry of the first preachers of the gospel, that no one among us can be unacquainted with those extraordinary events. But good wishes, prayers, entreaties, are all we can now exert to insinuate into your hearts, and conciliate your attention.
What then ! is the Holy Spirit, who once descended with so much lustre on the primitive christians, refused to us? What then ! shall we have no participation in the glory of that day; shall we talk of the prodigies seen by the infant church, solely to excite regret at the darkness of the dispensation, in which it has pleased God to give us birth? Away with the thought! The change is only in the exterior aspect, not in the basis and substance of Christianity : what: ever essential endowments the Holy Spirit once communicated to the primitive christians, he now communicates to us. Hear the words we have read, He which stablisheth you with us, in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. On these operations of the Holy Spirit in the heart, we now purpose to treat, and on which we shall make three kinds of observations.
I. It is designed to develope the manner in which this operation is expressed in the words of my text.
II. To explain its nature, and prove its reality.
III. To trace the disposition of the man who retards, and the man who furthers the operations of the Holy Spirit.
This comprises the outlines of our discourse.
We shall easily compréhend the manner in
which St. Paul expresses the operation of the Holy Spirit, if we follow the subsequent rules.
1. Let us reduce the metaphor to its genuine import. St. Paul wished to prove the truth and certainty of the promises, God had given the church by his ministry: All the promises of God in him are yea, and in him amen, 2 Cor. i. 20. These are Hebrew modes of speech. The Jews say, in order to express the deceit of words, that there are men with whom yes is no, and no is yes; on the contrary, the yea of a good man is yea, and nay is nay. Hence the maxim of a celebrated Rabbin, “ Let the disciples of the wise give and receive in fidelity and trut, saying, yea, yea; nay, nay.” And it was in allusion to this mode of speech, that our Saviour said to his disciples, Let your yea be yea, and nay be nuys whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil, Matt. v. 37.
St. Paul, to prove that the promises God has given us in his word, are yea and amen; that is, sure and certain, says, he has established them in a threefold manner; by the anointing, the seal, and the earnest. These several terms express the same idea, and mark the diversified operations of the Holy Spirit, for the confirmation of the evangelical promises. However, if another will assert, that we are to understand different operations by these three terms, I will not controvert his opinion. By the unction, may be understood, the miraculous endowment afforded to the apostles, and to a vast number of the primitive christians, and the inferences wise men would consequently draw in favour of Christianity. It is a mer taphor taken from the oil poured by the special command of God, on the head of persons selected for grand achievements, and particularly on the head of kings and priests. It implied that God had designated those men for distinguished offices, and communicated to them the necessary endowments for the adequate discharge to their duty. Under this idea,