that your hearts are most placed upon, you must very shortly leave. And, Oh, dreadful thought! if you live and die in subjection to the love, the fear, and the temptations of the world, you will be unfit to enjoy the world of everlasting glory. Not having set your affections on the things above-not having chosen the Almighty as an object of supreme regard, you will be unprepared to stand in his presence, and to engage in the employments of heaven. Of course you will not be suffered to enter that celestial state. The door of the eternal kingdom will be for ever shut against you ; and the Almighty voice of the Saviour will bid you depart into everlasting fire.

And can any of you, my brethren, with such gloomy prospects before you, still cleave tothe world and its ensnaring vanities ? Oh, consider, that it is the privilege of your immortal souls to mount to God on high ; to converse with the deity ; and to share the dazzling rays of his glory! Cleave then no longer to earth. Immediately give your hearts to God. Aspire to a participation of celestial joys, and pray much for the influences of the divine spirit. _And thus you also shall be able to say, “ This is the victory that overcometh the world, even

our faith.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

He that believeth on the Son of God, hath the

Witness in himself.

NOTWITHSTANDING the awful prevalence of infidelity, yet the evidences in favour of christianity are most decisive. Heaven and earth unite in bearing testimony to the truth and excellence of our religion. The Messiahship of our Lord Jesus Christ is confirmed by witnesses both human and divine. The sacred and eternal Three in one--the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, bear record of him ; and we know that their record is true. And on earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood agree, as in one testimony, to confirm the same important truth. There is also a testimony of the soul's interest in the Saviour as the true Messiah, which arises from an inward experience produced by the operation of the Holy Ghost, through believing on him.

Thistestimonyisattended with such a powerful persuasion of the blessed reality of religion, is accompanied with such happy effects in the experience and conduct, and is such an exalted privilege to the real christian, that we cannot avoid calling your attention to a description of it. Since it constitutes an important branch of experimental religion, and is the result of a lively faith in Christ

, no apology will be deemed necessary for classing it with the present series of dis

To render this interesting subject as instructive and as impressive as possible, I design, by divine assistance, to consider,


1. The nature of the witness itself;

II. The method by which it is produced;

III. The distinction between the true and the false witness.

The first thing to be considered, is the witness itself, which is an inward testimony experienced by the believer, that Christ is not only the Saviour of mankind in general, but also his Saviour in particular. The testimony which relates to Christ, as the Saviour of mankind in general, is an inward conviction arising from a lively faith in the scriptures, that He is the true Messiah. It is an assurance, that he is the Redeemer whom God hath appointed for the salvation

• He

of our ruined race; and that he is exactly suited to the various necessities of fallen sinners. Hence it leads the soul to adopt the language of inspiration_" Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God.” is able to save to the uttermost, all that come unto God by him.”

The more important witness, which the believer enjoys, is a convincing testimony that Christ is his Saviour. Under the influence of this witness, he feels that his sins are pardoned, that he is received into the divine favour, and consequently that Jesus Christ has loved him and given himself for him. Heaven is then viewed as his eternal home, the Almighty is contemplated as his God, and a sense of an interest in the various promises of the gospel becomes familiar to ĥis mind. We are aware that enthusiastic notions have been attributed by some persons to this experience, and that others, from whom better things might be hoped, are in the habit of treating it with awful indifference. Such persons would do well to recollect, that it has been the general experience of all God's people recorded in the scriptures. A due consideration of this, will surely convince them that it ought neither to be stigmatizedwith opprobrious epithets, nor regarded as a point of trifling importance. Let the bible, my brethren, be perused with


will find that God's people in

care, and

all ages experienced this witness in themselves. Look as far back even as Enoch, who was only the seventh from Adam, and you will observe that "he had this testimony, that he pleased God* ;' consequently that the Lord was his God. Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were evidently favoured with the same experience. Moses had so satisfactory a testimony of his interest in the divine, favour, that he exclaimed—The Lord is my strength, and my song, he is my God, and I will prepare himan habitationt.” Even Job could inform future generations that his « record was on high,” that he knere his redeemer lived," and that “he for himself, should see Godt.” Indeed the time would fail me to tell what David, and Asaph, and Daniel, and all the Prophets, have said with reference to their own experience on this subject. Let it therefore suffice merely to observe, that both old and new testament saints felt “the spirit of God bear witness with their spirits, that they were his children," enjoyed the earnest” or the testimony “of the spirit in their hearts, and were exhorted to io a full assurance of hopes."

This illustration, it is hoped, will not only

* Hebrews, chap. xi. ver. 5. Exodus, chap. xv. ver. 2. | Job, chap. xix, ver. 25, 26, and 27. $ Romans, chap. viii. ver. 16. 2 Corinthians, chap. i.

ver. 29. Hebrews, cbap. vi. ver. II.

« ElőzőTovább »