« הקודםהמשך »
I have committed unto him against that day, 2 Tim. 1. 12... I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that, he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my fesb shall I see God, Job xix. 25, 26. O God! though thou slay me, yet will I trust in thee. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 1 will fear no evil, Psą. xxiii. 4.' : I have 'set the Lord always before mes because be is on my right band, I shall not be moved, Psa. xvi. 8. :
By foretastes of celestial happiness, I mean the de. lights of glorífied saints in heaven, which some find while dwelling on earth: when, far from the multitude, secluded from care, and conversing with the blessed God, they can express themselves in these words, My soul is satisfied with marrow and fatness, when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate upon thee in the night watches, Psa. xliii. 5, 6. Our coma versation is in beaven, Phil. iii. 20.
irin By foretastes of celestial happiness, I mean, the impatience which some of the faithful feel, to terminate a life of calamities and imperfections; and the satisfaction they receive every evening, on reflecting that another day of their pilgrimage is passed; that they are one stép nearer to eternity. In this tabernab çle we groan earnestly, desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven, 2 Cor: v. 2. My desire is to depărt, and to be with Christ, Phil. i. 23. Why is his chariot so long in coming ? Why do his coursers proceed so slow? When shall I come, and appear before God, Psa. xl. 2.
My brethren, in what language have I been speak. ing? How few understand it? To how many does it seem an unknown tongue? But we have to blame ourselves alone if we are not anointed in this way, and sealed by the Holy Ghost; and if we do not participate in these foretastes of eternity, which are the genuine earnests of heaven. But, ah! our taste is spoiled in the world. We have contracted the low habits of seeking happiness solely in the recreations of the age. Most, even of those who conform to the precepts of piety, do it by constraint. We obey God, merely because he is God. We feel not the unutterable sweetness in these appellations of Father, Friend, and Benefactor, under which he is revealed by religion. We do not conceive that his sole object, with regard to man, is to make him happy. But the world....the world....is the object which attracts the heart, and the heart of the best amongst us.
Let us then love the world, seeing it has pleased God to unite us to it by ties so tender. Let us en-deavour to advance our families, to add a little lustre to our name, and some consistency to what is denominated, fortune. But, O! after all, let us regard these things in their true light. Let us recollect that, upon earth, man can only have transient happiness. My fortune is not essential to my felicity; the lustre of my name is not essential to my felicity ; the es. tablishment of my family is not essential to my felicity: and, since none of these things are essential to my happiness, the great God, the Being supremely gracious, has, without the least violation of his good. ness, left them in the uncertainty and vicissitude of all sublunary bliss. But my salvation, my salvation, is far above the vicissitudes of life. The mountains shall depart, and the hills be moved; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, Isa. liv. 10. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath : for the heavens shall vunish away like smoke, and thë earth shall wax old like a garment; but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished, Isa. li. 6. May God indulge our "hope, and crown it with success. Amen.
THE FAMILY OF JESUS CHRIST,
MATTHEW xii. 46....50.
While he yet talked to the people, behold his mother and his bre
thren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, behold, thy mother, and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother 2 and who are my brethren ? And he stretched
forth his hand towards his disciples, and said, Behold my mother, and my brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in
heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother, HE
E said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor know his own children, Deut. xxxiii. 9. So Moses said of the tribe of Levi. Was it to reproach, or applaud ? Following the first impression of this sentence, it contains undoubtedly a sharp rebuke, and a deep reproach. In what more unfavour. able light could we view the Levites ? What became of their natural affection, on disowning the persons to whom they were united by ties so tender or plunging their weapons in the breasts of those who gave them birth?
But, raising the mind superior to flesh and blood, if you consider the words as connected with the occą.
sion to which they refer, you will find an illustrious character of those ministers of the living God; and one of the finest panegyrics which mortals ever received.
Nature and religion, it is admitted, require us to, love our neighbour, especially the members of our families as ourselves; and if we may so speak, as our own substance. But if it be a duty to love our neighbour, it is not less admissible, that we ought to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and wilh all our mind. In fact, we ought to love God alone. Further, our love to him ought to be the centre of every other love : when the latter is at variance with the former, God must have the preference; when we can no longer love father and mother, without ceasing to love God, our duty is determined ; we must cease to love our parents, that our love may return to its cen
These were the dispositions of the Levites. Obedient children, affectionate brethren, they rendered to the persons to whom God had united them, eve. ry duty required by so close a connexion. But, when those persons revolted against God, when they paid supreme devotion to an ox that eateth grass, as the Psalmist says; when the Levites received this commandment from God, their Lawgiver and Supreme , Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate lo gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brothers and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour, Exod. xxxii. 27. Then the Levites knew neither brother, nor friend, nor kinsman i By this illustrious zeal they acquired the encomium, He'said to his father and his mother, I have not seen theins and to his brethren, and his children, I have not known them,
My brethren, if we must break the closest ties with those who dissolve the bonds of union with God, we ought to form the most intimate connexion with those who are joined to him by the sincerest piety. The degree of attachment they have for God, should proportion the degree of attachment we have for them. Of this disposition you have, in the words of my text, a model the most worthy of imitation. One apprized Jesus Christ, that his mother and brethren requested to speak with him. Who is iny mother? And who are my brethren ? replied he; And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples, he said, Behold my mother, and my brethren, for whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
The nobility of this world, those men of whom the Holy Spirit somewhere says, Men of high degree'are u lie, have by this consideration been accustomed to enhance the dignity of their descent. Titles, and dignities, say they, may be purchased with money, obtained by favour, or acquired by distinguished actions ; but real nobility cannot be bought, it is transmitted by an illustrious succession of ancestors, which monarchs are unable to confer. Christian ! obscure mortal! offscouring of the world! dust and ashes of the earth, whose father was an Amorite, and whose mother was an Hittite, the source of true nobility is opened to thee ; it is thy exclusive prerogative, (and may the thought animate with holy ambition every one in this assembly,) it is thy exclusive prerogative to be admitted into the family of the blessed God. Take his moral perfections for thy model; and thou shalt have his glory for thy reward. To thee Jesus Christ will extend his hand; to thee he will say, here is my brother, and mother, and sister.
The Holy Spirit presents a double object in the words of my text.
I. The family of Jesus Christ according to the flesh.
II. The family of Jesus Christ according to the Spirit. One said, thy mother, and thy brethren, de: