« FöregåendeFortsätt »
year of the Lord.” Now, my bre- | infirmities, but a wounded spirit who thren, in this statement, the fallen, can bear, and who can cure? “He sinful, perishing condition of mankind healeth the broken in heart, and bindis necessarily implied. Indeed the ad. eth up all their wounds.” “By his mission of this fact is the direct ground stripes we are healed.” In their cases on which the glory of the gospel is dis- it is supposed that many died of a played to advantage ; and if you deny broken heart; but here persons only this, the gospel has nothing to do with die of a whole one. If the heart is you, and you have nothing to do with broken, oh, it is well. He is nigh the gospel. But happy and blessed unto them who are of a broken heart, are they, however distressing may be and saveth such as may be of a conthe discovery, and mortifying may be trite spirit. He hath anointed me “to. the experience, who have been led to heal the broken hearted." see and feel that they are in the con- ! Or are you enslaved? The body has dition which the gospel supposes, and no bondage like the bondage of coris designed to reveal to them. It will ruption. There is no slave like the be glad tidings of great joy-it will be slave of sin; and he that committeth found to suit all their wants, woes, sin is the servant of sin, and is taken and weaknesses-it will be perfectly captive by the devil at his will. How adequate to relieve all their miseries. degrading is the vassalage and per. Draw near for a moment and mention haps sometimes you feel it to be so; your complaints.
and you have made resolutions, and Are you poor, even in a worldly you have made efforts to be free, but sense ? While you feel your difficul. have been entangled again, and bound ties, you need not envy others. Let faster than before. « Turn to your not your privations, though trying, strong hold, ye prisoners of hope.” Look drive you to despond. If you have unto Jesus, who says to the prisoner, not this world's goods, you have the Go forth, to them that are in darkness, riches of the gospel. The poor have Show yourselves. I am sent, says he, the gospel preached unto them; and "to proclaim the opening of the prison if they receive it, oh, its boundless to them that are bound." treasures will come to their homes ; But are you not only bound but and then their bread and their water blind? This was the case with Samare blessed, and their humble abode is son; he was not only a captive, but turned into a heavenly palace.
blind. This was the case with Heze. Or are you poor in spirit, depressed kiah ; he was not only a captive, but with the conviction that you are driven blind. The eyes of both of them were from paradise—that you have been put out. I have known those who stripped of your original righteous have been deprived of their bodily ness—that you have been deprived of sight by accident and disease, who the image of God—that you have no have clearly seen the things of God; dwelling place that you have no and I have known those who had perhealth, no hope with regard to your fect bodily vision, who have been persouls ? Oh, remember that “ blessed fectly dark in the things of the Spirit. are the poor in spirit”--they who feel “ The natural man understandeth not their need, they who acknowledge that the things of the Spirit of God, for only by the grace of God they are they are foolishness unto him, neither what they are. “Blessed are the poor can he know them, because they are in spirit, for they shall see the king- spiritually discerned.” But Jesus dom of heaven;" they have the un- can open the eyes of the understanding searchable riches of the gospel. How he can make you wise unto salvablessed in prospect-how blessed in tion-he can so teach you that the possession-how blessed in experi- wayfaring men, though fools, shall ence-how blessed in hope. " He not err therein—he can enable you to hath anointed me to preach glad tidings say, “Whereas I was blind, now I to the poor.”
see.” Yes; he is anointed to preach And are you distressed-is your very “the recovering of sight to the blind." heart desolate-is it even broken under Or are you bruised ? Here is no a deep sense of the heniousness of tautology. You may not only be your sins, in addition to your troubles ? bound, but blind; and not only be The spirit of a man may sustain his bound, and blind, and imprisoned,
but you may be beaten, as Paul and joiced in spirit:Z"I thank thee. O Silas were by the scourge, when Father, Lord of heaven and earth, bethey were led into the prison, and cause thou hast hid these things from their feet made fast in the stocks. the wise and prudent, and hast reYou may be tortured; you may be vealed them unto babes." Lo, what injured by your very situation, and by is here? Here we see the best means the fetters, as Joseph was. Joseph's rendered useless. What wonder if feet were hurt, it is said, with the ministers should complain of their fetters; and he lay in prison until the successlessness when he, even he, was word of the Lord came. Well, if this constrained to say, “ I have laboured be your condition, he has come to set in vain, and spent my strength for at liberty them that are bruised. nought.”
There is another image that he de- Perhaps, however, there were a few, rives from the state of the Jews. Every though they were overpowered by the fifty years was a jubilee. This was evil majority, who wondered from bet. proclaimed by the sound of silver trum- ter motives and principles. Perhaps pets all over the country. Then it wonder is the first emotion a convinced was said, Ye slaves, this day are ye sinner ever feels in religion. If a made free from your masters and debt-man had been born under ground, ors, ye are this day discharged from passed all his days subterraneously, your creditors—ye forfeitors of your and then had been raised up, and alinheritance, this day are they restored lowed to look around him, and about to you. What a proclamation ! how | him, on all the productions of nature, it must have been longed for by those I presume the first emotion he would individuals! To this David refers feel would be surprize and astonishwhen he says, "Blessed are the peo-ment. And so it is in religion : when ple who know the joyful sound.” we are called out of darkness it is into And to this Jesus alludes here, when God's marvellous light. The very he says, “ To preach the acceptable doctrine is a novelty to many; but year of the Lord.” A year expresses where it has not been a novelty as a all the time of the Gospel dispensation doctrine, it is so as to experience; and to the end of the world-a year : and though a man may have read of these a few hours, or a day or two, this is things, and heard of these things, he afforded to each of you—not more. now sees them in a new light-has “ Behold, now is the accepted time— other views of sin-other views of honow is," not the year, but, “ the day liness—other views of himself, and of salvation."
other views of a Saviour. Finally, what was THE EFFECT OF What reception does Jesus Christ THE SERMON. They were struck with meet with from us? Are there not admiration; but admiration seems to some who, as soon as they begin have been all that they felt. “And they to hear, are ready to cavil, and urge wondered at the gracious words that objections which it would be vain to proceeded out of his mouth; and they attempt to remove, till the state of the said, Is not this Joseph's son?" They heart be changed? And with regard did not really believe his declaration to others, is not the preaching of the they did not seriously consider his doc- |Gospel now a matter of mere admiratrine-they did not receive it as “ation, as it was to many of these Nafaithful saying, and worthy of all ac- zarenes-a mere matter of amusement, ceptation. If they had convictions, as it was to Ezekiel's hearers, to whom they were ineffectual ones ; and if he was as one who had a lovely voice, their feelings were excited for a time, and could play well on an instrument, they were overpowered by their worldly and who heard his words, and did prejudices, and their worldly passions : them not? But you who love the Saand therefore they began instantly to viour, draw near, and see whether he cavil, not about his doctrine, but about be not worthy of all your regard. the meanness of his extraction. Why, How glorious his person-how divine was not he lately one of us? Are we his condescension-how full of grace to bow to him as our teacher? Wisdom and truth! Is there not enough in the would have rejoiced in it; and our gracious words that proceeded out of Saviour, on a similar occasion, re- his mouth, to dispel all your fears, and to encourage all your hopes, to fill , is there nothing here far more de. you with the most powerful and lively serving of your attention? What motives in all Christian obedience. is it that arrests the attention of an
What shall we say to those who gels? They desire to look into these entirely disregard him—who instead things. The sufferings of Christ, and of depending on him look to them the glory which should follow-is there selves—who glory in their excellencies nothing in these to fix and to fill your and performances, regardless of him- minds? Is it nothing to you, all ye who would be saved without him if they who pass by, and see him dying, to could, but they cannot. Such a hope see him rising-to know that he is is vain ; such a hope, if it were well living now, as our intercessor, and as founded, would be a frustration of the our advocate, and the head, and influgrace of God, and render our Saviour's ence, and source of all grace? Can you death in vain. There is salvation in live thus regardless of him? What none other. “In the Lord alone have can we think of your case? What can we righteousness and strength.” But we think of your gratitude ? Paul was what a change was there in the views the most compassionate man in the of the Apostle with regard to him world, and went about sustaining every who could say, “ What things were kind of suffering, and exerting himself gain to me once, those I count loss for in every way of labour, in order to proChrist. Yea, doubtless, and I count mote the salvation of his fellow creaall things but loss for the excellency tures : but when he reflected on what of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my the Saviour was, what he had done, Lord.” You may be eager to see what he had suffered, he made no wonderful things in nature-you may scruple to acquiesce in the determinabe eager to read whatever is eventful in tion of divine justice, and to say, “ If history—you may wish to contemplate any man love not the Lord Jesus the wonders of nature, and to dive Christ, let him be Anathema Maraninto the mysteries of providence: but atha." Amen.
1 Tim. iv. 8.-“ Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that
now is, and of that which is to come."
Whenever we hear any thing very | perficial observer, who is incompetent, strongly recommended on account of after all, to give an opinion concernits value and utility, we are naturally | ing that which he so highly extols ? and immediately led to enquire con- Or, on the admission of his compecerning the character of those by tency, is he a person of questionable whom such recommendation is given. integrity—has he, by possibility, a deThe passage I have just read contains sign to impose upon the credulous, a very high eulogium on Christian and to deceive the unwary? Far otherpiety. It may indeed be asked, if it wise, my friends; you know whose were possible in so small a compass of language this is—the language of the language to express more than the great apostle, St. Paul-the language text contains. “ Godliness is profit of the greatest of all the great men. able unto all things.” But then we Consider his natural talents—consider are led to inquire, By whom is this his acquired attainments—consider his eulogium pronounced by what au- extensive observation; and this is the thority is this maxim enforced is it language of a great and wise and the language of some partial and su- | learned man. This is the language of a truly, and, after his conversion to Godliness always comprehends a Christ, uniformly Christian man. This genuine fear. We mention this in the is the language of a Christian minister, first instance, because we believe that of an apostle and martyr in the Chris- all piety begins here. Of the wicked tian cause. Certainly, then, his tes it is affirmed by the authority of this timony has very high claims on our book, that “there is no fear of God respectful attention and regard.
before their eyes.” What a sad and But the language of the text speaks awful description of character is this. to us with an authority infinitely They live without God in the world : higher. This is not the language of a God is not in all their thoughts ; not man, however wise, however com- | in the thoughts that are properly their petent. This is the language of the thoughts, but in the thoughts they Spirit of God, recorded by the pen | love to indulge. There may, indeed, of an inspired apostle : for the text be occasions when thoughts concernwas written by the authority, and ing God, and eternity, and moral obliunder the direction, of the inspiring gation would suggest themselves; but, Spirit of infallible wisdom, and truth, they are unwelcome visiters; and the and holiness. The maxim of the men while they pursue such conduct intext, therefore is, certainly true. God- dustriously strive-and it is a striving, liness is profitable-Godliness is pro- and a laborious striving, too,—to keep fitable unto all things; and it has the all these thoughts out of the mind. promise, not only of the life that now And thus they live without God in the is, but of that which is to come. As world, practically atheists. This is though the apostle has said, Be not one great reason why men live as they alarmed at the progress of Christianity; do. They would not act as they do if fear not to embrace it: it is not merely they would but think of God, of eteran innocent thing that will do no man nity, of their responsibility to that any harm : it is a most beneficial thing; great and awful Being whose eye is it is universally advantageous: it is always upon them, who will bring profitable, not to a few things, not to every work into judgment, and every many things, but to all things. it is thing they do. Hence we believe all profit, and it is no loss. Indeed it | that the fear of God is one of the first comes to this :-if there be any truth principles of piety implanted in the in this book, if in this book the God | heart of man by the Spirit of God. of eternal truth hath spoken to man Therefore, in this book we read, “ The and in this book there is truth, and in fear of the Lord is the beginning of this book the Lord hath spoken ; for wisdom.” A man does not even begin all Scripture was given by inspiration to be wise for himself, to be wise for of God, and every word of God is true; God, to be wise for eternity, until he -why, then, it follows by conse begins to fear God. quence, that the religion which is here There is, indeed, a branch of piety highly recommended to the attention designated the fear of God which is and acceptance of mankind, must be peculiar to those who are under religievery thing; it must be our life, our ous awakenings and convictions, under understanding, our wisdom, our hap enlightened views of the character of the piness, our all; it must invole the best Divine Being, his majesty, his power, interests of man for time and for eter- his justice, his truth, his holiness, as nity.
that God who hateth all manner of Be it our endeavour, then, this even iniquity. And then, when they reflect ing, first, to inquire into the nature, on their conduct and character in resecondly, to mark some of the advan- ference to this Divine Being-how they tages of Christian piety.
insult his Divine majesty, how they THE NATURE OF CHRISTIAN PIETY. trample on his authority, how they It is designated godliness; that is to cast his fear behind their backs—they say, the religion that has a supreme begin to stand in awe before him ; and regard to God—the religion that comes under the influence of this fear, they from God-the religion that conducts begin to depart from iniquity. Ai. man to glory and to God—the religion though it is true that this kind of fear of which God is the author, the object, is somewhat servile and painful in its and the end.
nature; yet is it most salutary in its tendency, as it leads those who areunder which is peculiar to penitents : they its influence to turn to the Saviour, to know that there is a God; they fear flee to God in Christ as their only re- before him; but the great point is, to fuge from despair, perhaps to cry in know him as their God, to know him the very language of the Publican, as God in Jesus Christ, to know they “ God be merciful to me a sinner.” are accepted of him in the beloved, to
There is another branch of piety de- know him as the God of pardoning signated fear—a holy fear-an affec- mercy, as the God of forgiving love, as tionate, duteous fear of God-a filial the God of salvation. Now, how is fear, which accompanies the Christian this ? Let an inspired apostle reply. in every step of his religious progress,“ He that believeth knoweth God and through all the stages of his experience. loveth God.” He that believeth in In this respect “blessed is the man Jesus with his whole heart unto who feareth always." With all our righteousness, as the only Saviour attainments in piety, we are to “have | of lost men, as the Saviour who grace"-or, as the word means, “to loved him and gave himself for him hold fast grace, whereby we may serve -he that thus believeth, knoweth God acceptably with reverence and God. What does he know of God. godly fear."
He knows that God for Christ's sake Genuine piety comprehends the has blotted out his iniquity; and can saving knowledge of God. How ap- say with confidence and joy, “ God is propriate and significant was the my salvation ; I will trust, and not advice which David gave to his son, I be afraid.” Oh, how does this saving, under circumstances of great solem- experimental knowledge of Christ as nity. He called his son to his our God, fill the heart with gratitude, dying bed : and what said he to him? and humble the soul in the very dust Just what every pious father would of abasement at his footstool. say to his son, under similar circum- Godliness and piety always comprestances, as his last address :-"Thou, hend supreme love. God is love ; inSolomon my son, know thou the God finitely amiable in his perfections and of thy father, and serve him with a character; therefore, he ought to be perfect heart, and with a willing loved. It is true, God has laid men mind." To know the God of our under everlasting obligations to love fathers implies more knowledge and him in the dispensations of his Provipersuasion than that there is a dence, in calling us into life, in placing God. A man may have a persuasion us so high in the scale of being, in the that there is a God, and yet have no bounty of his hands from day to day, proper, religious, saving knowledge of giving us all things richly to enjoy, in God. The true, saving knowledge of supplying our wants, in preserving God is far more than that merely spe- our lives ; but above all things, in the culative notion which, for instance, a bestowment of his Son Jesus Christ to philosopher has acquired concerning suffer death upon the cross for the the Divine Being, in the exercise of redemption of men. But still, though his natural faculties, in the contem God is infinitely lovely, and deserves plation of the various works of God, to be loved, and though in the dispenwhen he sees the wisdom, and con- sations of his providence and grace he trivance, and design of the Great Cre- has laid men under everlasting obligaator, in the harmony, the magnitude, tions to love him, to my mind it is most the diversity, the beauty, the utility of clear that no fallen child of Adam will his works. I wonder not that a great ever love God with a pure, divine afphilosopher is said, from the contem- fection, till he first knows and feels plation of the works of the Creator, that God loves him. to have uncovered his head in an act
(To be continued). of devotion to that great Being, the Creator and sustainer of the universe.
London : Published for the Proprietors, Yet we read not that this had any sav. by T. GRIFFITHS, Wellington Street, ing, salutary, lasting influence on his Strand; and Sold by all Booksellers in mind and heart. The saving know. Town and Country. ledge of God of which we speak is
Printed by Lowndes and White, Crane Conrt, something more than that knowledge