Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

leading characters, which include and imply the rest ; for the time would fail to speak of him, as he is declared to be their head, husband, root, foundation, sun, shield, shepherd, lawgiver, exemplar, and fore-runner. In brief, there is hardly any comfortable relation or useful office amongst men; hardly any object in the visible creation, which either displays beauty, or produces benefit, but what is applied in the word of God, to illustrate the excellence and sufficiency of the Lord Jesus Christ. The intent of all is, that we may learn to trust him, and delight to serve him; for these must go together. Whoever would be benefitted by his mediation as a priest, must submit to his instructions as a prophet, and yield him universal obedience as a king. Fatal are the mistakes in this matter now in the world. Some talk highly of the death and sufferings of Christ, who are little solicitous to keep his commandments; others labour in the very fire to observe his law; but being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own,' Rom. x. they labour to no purpose. Dependence on the merits of Christ, and obedience to his commands, are inseparably united ; and only the man who aims at both, can attain to either.

I should now lay before you some scripture-testimonies of the power and love of Christ; but I have anticipated this part of my subject in what I have already said. His divine nature proclaims his power, his offices display his love. We have seen that he emptied himself of his eternal glories ; that'he bowed the heavens, and came down in the form of a servant ;' that he submitted to all imaginable sufferings; all that the malice of men, all that the avenging justice of God could inflict : and having by this means opened the kingdom of heaven, and taken possession there, in behalf of all believers, he has caused the glad tidings of salvation to be published through the world, declaring, that whosoever cometh to him, (without one exception,) he will in no wise cast out,' John vi. Are not these proofs of unspeakable, unexampled love? We have seen that he fully performed the work he undertook; 'that he has made an end of sin,' Dan. ix. brought in an everlasting righteousness, spoiled principalities and powers,' Eph. ii. ; 'triumphed over all our enemies, broke down the partition-wall

, and brought life and immortality to light by his Gospel,' 1 Tim. i. We read, that he is exalted highly; that God has given him a name that is above every name,' Phil. ii. that he is ‘far above all principality, and might, and dominion :' and what more can be said of his power ? Read his own declaration,

All power is given to me in heaven and in earth,' Matt. xxviii, Were these two points, the power and the love of Christ, rightly understood, and fully believed, earth would be full of heaven.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

But, alas ! we are fools, and slow of heart, to receive all that Moses and the prophets, Luke xxiv. the evaagelists and apostles, have wrote for our instruction. From hence proceeds our indifference, and that we need so much to be pressed to search the Scriptures, though we readily acknowledge that in them we have the words of eternal life.

IV. It remains, therefore, in the fourth and last place, that I add a few words to recommend and enforce the command in the text, 'search the Scriptures, from the argument there subjoined, ' for in them ye think ye have eternal life;' and we think right; for it is eternal life to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he bath sent,' John xvii. and every article of this knowledge is contained in the Old and New Testament; nor can any part of it be met with any where else. Yet let conscience judge this day, as in the presence of the living God, the searcher of hearts, before whom our private judgments must shortly come under a review : has any book a smaller share of the time, the memory, or the affections of many of us than this book of God? Do not the successive returns of business and amusement so far engross our time and our thoughts, that we have either no leisure or no disposition to attend to the things which pertain to our peace ? Consider, 'in them we think we have eternal life.' We know we are posting to eternity as fast as the wings of time can carry us; we know that the consequences of our behaviour in this span of life will attend us into an invisible, unalterable state; and we confess that the necessary directions for our conduct in these most important and precarious circumstances, are to be found only in the Bible : wbat words, then, can describe our fatal insensibility, if, all this acknowledged, we have no heart to consult or to value this inestimable treasure put into our hands?

Many inquiries, more curious than useful, have been started concerning the divine procedure with the Heathen nations, and those who never heard the Gospel of peace. · The Judge of all the earth will (undoubtedly) do right,' Gen. xviii. and will be justified at the great day, when every man shall receive according to his works. Till then we must wait for the knowlege of what he has not seen fit to reveal. But thus much he has already told us, that, however it may go with those who know not the Gospel, dreadful will be the doom of those who, having it published among them, refuse to obey it. vant who knew not his master's will, shall be beaten with few stripes, Luke xii. But this will not be our case; at least our ignorance will be rather an aggravation than an excuse : a wilful, obstinate, infatuated ignorance. We have the words of

· The ser

eternal life in our hands, line upon line, precept upon precept;' but how do we imitate those (whom perhaps we have been ready to blame) spoken of in the parable, who, when they received a kind and gracious invitation to a royal feast, made light of it, and all with one consent began to make excuse ! Luke xvi. It is easy to apply this to the Jews of old : so David could clearly judge in the case of the rich man who killed his poor neighbour's lamb, 2 Sam. xii. but had not the prophet helped him, he would not have collected that he himself was the person intended. But to bring the general truths of Scripture home to the heart is the work of God; and perhaps while I am speaking at random, he may rouse the consciences of some to say in particular, Thou art the man. Then they will soon see how much it behooves them to search the Scriptures, when they understand the weighty meaning of the words, eternal life.

Some of us, I hope, do already make conscience of frequent reading the Scriptures ; but let us remember the force of the word search. It is not a careless superficial reading, or dispatching such a number of chapters in a day, as a task, that will answer the end. I have already reminded you that it is a business will need your best application ; a serious, impartial, humble, persevering inquiry, accompanied with earnest prayer for the light and assistance of God's Holy Spirit. When we set about it in this method, we shall soon find happy effects; pleasure and instruction will go hand in hand; and our knowledge advance as the growing light. The precepts shall inspire us with true wisdom ; teach us how to order all our affairs respecting both worlds, to fill up our several stations in life with propriety, usefulness, and comfort; and to avoid the numerous evils and distresses which those who live by no rule, or by any other rule than God's word, are perpetually running into. The promises shall be a support in every trouble, a medicine in every sickness, a supply in every need. Above all, the Scriptures will repay our trouble, as they testify of Christ. The more we read of his person, offices, power, love, doctrine, life, and death, the more our hearts will cleave to him : we shall by insensible degrees, be transformed into his Spirit. We shall, with the apostle, say, 'I know in whom I have believed,' 2 Tim. i. Every thing we see shall be at once a memorial to remind us of our Redeemer, and a motive to animate us in his service. And at length we shall be removed to see him as he is, without a cloud, and without a vail ; to be for ever with himn : to behold and share the glories of that heavenly kingdom which (Matt. xxv.) he has prepared (for his followers) from before the foundation of the world.' Amen.

SERMONS, PREACHED IN THE PARISH CHURCH OF OLNEY,

IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE,

ON THE FOLLOWING SUBJECTS.

from many.

1. The small Success of the Gospel || 10. Of coming to Christ. Ministry

11. Of Believers' rest in Christ. 2. The Mysteries of the Gospel hid 12. Of the Yoke of Christ.

13. The Service of Christ easy and 3. Of those from whom the Gospel

pleasant. Doctrines are hid.

14. Believers cautioned against Mis4. The Nature of Spiritual Revela

conduct in their Profession. tion, and who are favoured

15. The Extent and Sanction of the with it.

third Commandment. 5. The Sovereignty of Divine Grace 16. The Christian Life compared to

asserted and illustrated. 6. Of the Person of Christ.

17. No access to God but by the Gos7. Of the authority of Christ.

pel of Christ. 8. The Glory and Grace of God re 18. Of a Living and a Dead Faith. vealed in Jesus Christ.

19. Guilt renoved, and Peace rem 9. Labouring and heavy-laden Sin

stored. ners described.

20. Of the Assurance of Faith.

a Race.

Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound : they shall walk, O Lord,

in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. Psal. Ixxxix. 15, 16.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »