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if ye resemble the Prince of Heaven, with him you shall dwell for. ever ; but if you resemble the tyrant of hell, you must forever be his miserable vassals. Therefore push home the inquiry, is Christ formed in my heart, or is he not ?
If he be, then rejoice in it, as a sure earnest of the heavenly inheritance. None ever went to hell that carried the image of Christ upon their hearts; but the heavenly regions are peopled with such. His image is the grand passport into that country, a passport that was never disputed ; and, if you bear it, the celestial gates will be flung wide open for your reception, and your human and angelic brethren, who have the same looks, the same manner, the same spirit, will all hail your arrival, and shout your welcome ; will own you as their kindred, from your visible resemblance to them ; and you will immediately and naturally commence a familiarity with them, from the conformity of your dispositions. The Father of all will also own the dear image of his Son, and the blessed Jesus will acknowledge his own image, and confess the relation. Bless. ed moment! when wilt thou arrive, when all the followers of the Lamb shall appear upon Mount Sion, in his full likeness, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing? When no stranger of another countenance and another spirit shall mingle among them, but be all cast in the same mould, and all be clothed in uniform, with the beauties of holiness, and the robes of salvation! O! my brethren, 'must not your eager hearts spring forward to meet that day!
But amid all the joy which that transporting prospect affords, it must humble you to think, that though Christ be really formed in your hearts, it is but very imperfectly, as an unfinished em: bryo. His image as yet is but very faint ; you still carry the traces of some infernal features about you. Let this consideration constrain you to put yourselves daily under the operation of the blessed Spirit, till he finish the heavenly picture by repeated touches, and diligently attend upon all the means which he is pleased to use as his pencil. Guard against every thing that may deform the divine draught, or delay its perfection. Go on in this way, and the glorious picture will daily catch more and more the likeness of the divine original, and soon come to complete perfection
But I must speak a concluding word to such of you in whom Christ has never yet been formed. Pray turn your eyes upon yourselves, and survey your own deformity. Do not you see the image of the devil upon you ? Have you not forgotten God, and refused to love him, like a devil ? Have you not loved and prac
tised sin like a devil ? or have you not wallowed in sensual pleasures, and confined all your concern to the present life, like a beast, and thus made yourselves the most horrid monsters, half beast, half devil ? And can you love yourselves while this is your character ? Can you flatter yourselves such can be admitted into heaven?
Since it is possible your deformed spirits may yet receive the image of Christ, will you not use all possible means for that purpose, while there is hope? This day begin the attempt, resolve and labour to become new men in this new year.
But alas ! exhortation is but feeble breath, that vanishes into air between my lips and your ears ; something is wanting to give it force and efficacy. We have the gospel, we have preaching, we have all the means of salvation ; but something is wanting to give them life, to make them efficacious, and bear them home upon the hearts of sinners with that almighty energy which they have sometimes had. Something, alas! is wanting for this purpose : and what is it? It is Thou, eternal Spirit ! Thou, the Author of all good in the hearts of the children of men : thou, the only former of Christ within ; thou art absent, and without thee neither be that planteth is any thing, nor be that watereth ; they are all nothing together. Come, thou life of souls ! thou spirit of the gospel! thou quickener of ordinances ! thou assistant of poor ministers ! thou opener of their hearers' hearts ! Come, visit this congregation. Come to-day : 0! come this moment! and Christ shall be fornied in us, the hope and the carnest of glory!
TAE WONDERFUL COMPASSIONS OF CHRIST TO THE GREATEST
MATT. XXIII. 37.- O Jerusalem, Jerusalem ! thou that killest the
prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered ihy children together, even as a hen 'gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not !
THERE is not, perhaps, a chapter in the whole Bible so full of such repeated denunciations of the most tremendous woes as this. Certainly there is none like it, among all the discourses of VOL. II.
Christ, left upon record. Here the gentle Jesus, the inoffensive Lamb of God, treats the unbelieving Scribes and Pharisees with the most pungent severity. Wo, wo, wo, breaks from his lips like repeated claps of thunder. He exposes them with an asperity and indignation not usual in his mild addresses. He repeatedly calls them hypocrites, fools, and blind, blind guides, whited sepulcbres, children of hell, serpents, a generation of vipers, who could not escape the damnation of hell. But in my text he. melts into tenderness, even in this vein of terror, and appears the same compassionate, gentle Saviour we are wont to find him. His most terrible denunciations were friendly warnings, calculated to reform, and not to destroy. And while denouncing the most terrible woes against Jerusalem, in an abrupt flow of Passion he breaks out into the most moving, lamentation over her ; 0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem ! thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gath. ered shy children logether, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not !
This is one of those tender cases which requires a familiar and moving, rather than a grand illustration ; and that which Jesus has here chosen is one of the most tender, familiar and moving that could be devised. How ofien would I have gathered thee, O Jerusalem, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings.-As much as to say, “ As the parent-bird, when she sees some bird of prey hovering over her helpless young, gives them the signal, which nature teaches them to understand, and spreads her wings to protect them, resolved to become a prey herself rather than her tender brood ; or, as she shelters them from the rain and cold, and cherishes them under her friendly feathers, so, says the compassionate Redeemer ; so, O Jerusalem! I see thy children, like heedless chickens, in the most imminent danger ; I see the judgments of God hovering over them ; I see the Roman eagle ready to seize them as its prey ; I see storms of
vengeance ready to fall upon them ; and how often have I invited them to fly to me for shelter, and give them the signal of their danger ! how often have I spread the wings of my protection to cover them, and keep them warm and safe as in my bosom! But, o lamentable ! 0! astonishing ! ye would not ! I was willing, but ye would not ! The silly chickens, taught by nature, understand the signal of approaching danger, and immediately fly for shelter ; but ye, more silly and presumptuous, would not regard my
warnings ; would not believe your danger, nor fly to me for protection, though often, O how often, warned and invited !"
His compassion will appear the more surprising, if we consider the object of it. “ Jerusalem ! Jerusalem ! thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent to thee, though upon the kind design of reforming and saving thee, and who wilt, in a few days, crucify that Saviour who now laments th y doom, how often would he have gathered even thy ungrateful children and receive ed them under his protection, with an affection and tenderness, like the instinctive fondness and solicitude of the mother-hen for her brood ! Here is divine compassion indeed, that extends itself even to his enemies, to his murderers! Strange! that such generous benevolence should meet with an ungrateful repulse! that the provoked Sovereign should be willing to receive his rebellious subjects into protection, but that they should be unwilling to fly to him for it !"
The important truths which my text suggests are such as these : -That sinners while from under the protection of Jesus Christ, are in a very dangerous situation that they may obtain safety by putting themselves under his protection that he is willing to receive the greatest sinners under his protection—that he has often used means to prevail upon them to fly to him, that they may be safe-that notwithstanding all this, multitudes are unwilling to fly to him, and put themselves under his protection that this unwillingness of theirs is the real cause of their destruction—that this unwillingness is an instance of the most irrational and brutal stupidity-and, that it is very affecting and lamentable.
1. The text implies, that sinners, while from under the protection of Jesus Christ, are in a very dangerous situation. As the hen does not give the signal of danger, nor spread her wings to shelter her young, except when she sees danger approaching, so the Lord Jesus would not call sinners to fly to him for protection, were they not in real danger. Sinners, you are in danger from the curse of the divine law, which is in full force against you, while you have no interest in the righteousness of Christ, which alone can answer its demands : You are in danger from the dread arrest of divine justice, which guards the sacred rights of the divine government, and will avenge itself upon you for all the insults you have offered it : You are in danger from the various judgments of God, who is angry with you every day, and whose judgments are hovering over you, and ready to seize you, like hungry birds of prey : You are in danger from your own vile cor. ruptions, which may hurry you into such courses as may be incon. venient, or, perhaps, ruinous to you in this world, may harden you in impenitence, and at length destroy you forever : You are in danger from your own conscience, which would be your best friend ; but it is now ready to rise up in arms against you, and, like an insatiable vulture, prey upon your hearts forever : You are in danger from the arrest of death, which is ready every moment to stretch out its mortal hand, and seize you : You are in danger from the malice and power of devils, who, like hungry K. ons, are ready to snatch away your souls, as their helpless prey. In short, you are surrounded with dangers on every hand, and dangers rise still more thick and dreadful before you. You are not sure of an hour's enjoyment of one comfort : nay, you are not sure there is so much as one moment betwixt you and all the miseries of the damned. This minute you are upon earth, thought. less, secure and gay ; but the next may be-I tremble to tell you where in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, tormented in flames. Yes, sinners, one Aying moment may strip you entirely naked of all the enjoyments of carih, cut you off from all hope of heaven, and ingolf you in remediless despair. Some of you, whose very case this is, will not, probably, believe me, nor take the alarm. But here, alas ! lies your principal danger. If you would take warning in time, you might escape ; but you will not believe there is danger until it becomes inevitable Had Lot's sons-in-law taken warning from him, they might have escaped ; but they saw no sensible appearances of the impending judgment, and, therefore, they continued blindly secure, regarded the good old man as a mocker, and therefore, perished in Sodom. Had Jerusalem been apprehensive of its danger in time, it might have flourished to this day ; but it would not be warned, and, therefore, became a ruinous heap : and this will be your doom, sinners, un. less you be apprehensive of it before it breaks upon you like a whirlwind. Indeed it may make one sad to think how common this danger is, and how little it is apprehended, to see crowds thoughtless and merry on the brink of ruin ; secure and careless while banging over the infernal pit by the frail thread of life. This is sad ; but, alas ! it is a common case in the world, and I am afraid, it is too common among you, my hearers. And whither shall you fly for safely? Is the danger inevitable? If so, where is the friendly arm that can guard you ? where the wing that can