Sidor som bilder

but resigned? Attend, ye who have sustained the reflection of a pious man* after burying bereaving providences, and behold your model. his child :—“And now one of our family is “But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? I gone to take possession of the sepulchre in can I bring him back again? I shall go to all our names. Ere long I shall lie down him, but he shall not return to me.”—The with my child. Perhaps many of the feet unavailableness of grief-the certainty of his that followed it shall attend me thither. It own dissolution-the hope of a union in hea- is a warning of Providence, that these conven-these were the sources from which his cluding days of my life may be more regular, resignation flowed.

more spiritual, more useful, than the former." First. Continued grief was unavailing. Thirdly. He expects to follow his child not “Now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? only into the grave, but into glory; and antican I bring him back again ?" Ah, no! says cipates a renewed union with him in heaven. one; but this is the very accent of my loss. This was unquestionably David's case; but “ There is hope of a tree if it be cut down, this part of our subject must be limited. that it sprout again, and that the tender When we see people in affliction, it seems branch thereof will not cease; but man lieth hard to deny them consolation; but we dare down and riseth not.” I have seen my child not administer every kind of comfort to every asleep, but I could awake him at pleasure; kind of character-it would be only deceive but no call can pierce the ear of death. Iing and destroying their souls. This part of have taken leave of my child for a journey, our subject then must be limited two ways. but the pain of parting was alleviated by the First, as to the dead. We cannot join hope of meeting again; but now I shall see his those in heaven who are not gone there; and face, and hear his voice no more. I am re all do not go there when they die. We are minded of his presence throughout the long not called to pronounce positively upon their day; he meets me no more in my favourite misery; but what hope can we entertain, walk; at table his seat is empty-and the without offering violence to the Scripture, of places that once knew him will know him no the salvation of those who lived without more for ever. But, upon this very princi- prayer, who profaned the Sabbath, who were ple, grief is proved useless; and what cannot slaves to avarice and pride? In many other be prevented or removed, must be endured. cases, if we have a hope concerning the deSuch is the appointment of Heaven; and his ceased, it must be weak, and ought to be condetermination is not only sovereign, but cealed: weak, from the deficiency of evidence; righteous and good. To alter it is therefore and concealed, from the fear of mischief. not only impossible in the execution, but But of others, when they die, we have a rebellious in the attempt.

scriptural and a pleasing persuasion. And Secondly. He contemplates his own death why should we mourn for them? They have as certain: “I shall go to him.” By this he overcome and are crowned. They have done intends the grave; and this part of our sub- with trouble, and have entered the rest that ject is common to all mankind. As sure as remains for the people of God." Now this any of your connexions are gone, you are consolation extends to all children who die in going after, and will soon join them "in the a state of infancy. I know there are some house appointed for all living.” And has not who believe in the damnation of infants. this a tendency to moderate your grief? Does They have no higher a notion of a God of it not remind you of the vanity of life? Does love, the Father of mercies, the God of all it not proclaim that “tiine is short; and there- grace, than to suppose that he will punish fore it remains that they that rejoice be as eternally creatures whom the Scripture itthough they rejoiced not, and they that weep self calls innocent as to personal and actual as though they wept not ?" If we were to transgression, and whose condition depended live here always, or to live here long, we entirely upon himself. Admitting this barshould be justified in feeling a deeper interest barous notion; could such a Being ever be in its events; but we are only like a way- trusted in? or loved ? But the God we worfaring man that turns aside to tarry for a ship is not Moloch; neither is the punishnight, and in the morning goes on his way.- ment we contend for in a future state sepaAnd does it not show me that my chief busi- rate from the effects of conscious guilt, regret, ness is to prepare for my own removal, rather self-accusation-of all which those who die than to lament the departure of others ? Il in infancy are incapable. We listen not to have no time for unprofitable sadness-I am / unfeeling and system-hardened divines, but just going to take a journey of infinite im- | to that Saviour who gathers the lambs with portance

his arms, and carries them in his bosom,"

and who, having invited our own souls to " Awake, my soul, with solemn care

rest, cries, “Suffer little children to come Thy true condition learn; What are thy hopes ? how sure, how fair?

unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is And what thy great concern ?"

the kingdom of heaven."

The second limitation regards the living. How natural, how beautiful, how solemn is

* Dr. Doddridge.

You cannot join those who are gone to hea-| That world is a world of condescension, of ven, if you do not go there yourselves. And kindness, of love. There are pious friends. if you are not " new creatures ;" if you do not There are angels who attended them here. " deny yourselves, and take up your cross and There is your Father and their Father, your follow the Redeemer," you must join another God and their God.” “ Thus saith the Lord; assembly, to whose taste you are now con- a voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, formed, and whose portion you have here and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her chosen. Death separates the precious from children, refused to be comforted for her chilthe vile, and unites only those of similar dis-dren, because they were not. Thus saith positions. But where we entertain a hope the Lord ; Refrain thy voice from weeping, concerning our connexions, and concerning and thine eyes from tears : for thy work shall ourselves, the bitterness of death is passed. be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall

Let us close. What parents are the most come again from the land of the enemy. And afflicted ? Those who have children living there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, but living in sin and walking according to that thy children shall come again to their the course of this world. Where is the fa- own border." ther who would not a thousand times rather follow his son to the grave than see him growing up an enemy to God by wicked

DISCOURSE LVIII. works? There is no hope of meeting such a child again. And yet instances like these are by no means unusual. But surely they

THE BREAD OF LIFE. should become subjects of serious inquiry And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of surely parents should ask themselves whe life: he that cometh to me shall never hunther they have faithfully discharged the trust

ger; and he that believeth on me shall never committed to them. And while we ought to

thirst.-John vi. 35. be tender of those whose hearts are bleeding “ Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but over undutiful and ungodly offspring, we loss for the excellency of the knowledge of should not overlook the word that says, Christ Jesus my Lord.” Such is the excla“ Train up a child in the way that he should mation of Paul. And he does not despise go, and when he is old he will not depart what he could not possess, or undervalue from it."

what he did not understand. He was a man As for those who have buried early hopes; of genius and of learning. He had examined remember that by their removal you have an the claims of human science, and knew how opportunity afforded of exercising the grace little it could do for man in his most importof submission, and are left more free to attend ant interests. He was also no stranger to to other duties. Guard against an excess of the knowledge of his Lord and Saviour. The Sorrow, which will drink up the spirits and Son of God had been revealed in him; and work death. Comfort one another with the from that blessed hour his acquaintance with assurance that their death is their everlasting him had been constantly increasing. He knew gain. Here they were in an enemy's coun- whom he had believed; and such was the try surrounded with snares; and who can tell efficacy of this knowledge, in purifying his how soon they might have fallen the victims passions, in tranquillizing his conscience, in of temptation? They are infinitely happier refreshing and delighting his heart, that he than it is possible for you to conceive, and was led comparatively to depreciate every their blessedness is secured beyond the power thing else; and determined “ to know noof injury.

| thing save Jesus Christ and him crucified.". Remember they are not separated from you. And is not this the determination of every for ever-you are going to them. They are Christian? And is it not justifiable? Is it waiting to receive you into everlasting habi- not wise? Need we wonder that his Satations. On your arrival there, you will viour is every thing with him, since he is every know them, and they will know you ; even thing to him ?-his s'ın and shield-his guide they will know you there, who never knew and guard—his physician and friend-his you here.

| righteousness and strength-his clothing and And may you not indulge the expectation, his food. “ And Jesus said unto them, I am not only that you will know them, but be ser the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall viceable to them-be employed in forining never hunger; and he that believeth on me and in teaching them? Oh! the pleasing shall never thirst." work of a mother, to rear a child in that bet- Observe, I. A REPRESENTATION OF THE ter country, free from sin, perverseness, pain; Saviour. II. THE WAY IN WHICH WE ARE without anxiety, and without fear!

TO DERIVE ADVANTAGE FROM HIM. III. THE Nor imagine that in the mean time they HAPPINESS HIS FOLLOWERS SHALL ENJOY. are disregarded or overlooked, because of their 1. A REPRESENTATION OF THE SAVIOUR. tender age, or their inferiority of any other “ I am the bread of life.” All life is valuakind. Selfishness and pride only reign here. I ble, and there are several degrees of it rising

above each other. There is vegetable life :/ the meaning is, that life leans on it for sup this is superior to dead matter, as a tree is port. And our Saviour is all that is neces more excellent than a stone. There is ani- sary to the life of God in the soul;" “ I am mal life: this is superior to vegetable, as a come,” says he, “that they might have life, bird is more excellent than a tree. There is and that they might have it the more abunrational life: this is superior to animal, as a dantly. For the bread of God is he which man is more excellent than a beast. His cometh down from heaven, and giveth life form and his powers proclaim his pre-emi- unto the world." nence, and prove him lord of this lower world. Bread corn is bruised. The grain passes But there is a life superior to human, and through a process which seems likely to de which “the natural man understandeth not, stroy it before it becomes our food. And what because it is spiritually discerned." It is means our Saviour when he says, “The called “the life of God.” Of this man bread that I will give you is my flesh, which was originally possessed; from this he has I will give for the life of the world ?" Some fallen by sin; to this he is restored by divine tell us that he refers to his doctrine only. It grace.

is admitted that instruction may be called the And there are some who are proofs of the food of the mind-but why does our Lord repossibility of this restoration. They have fer to his flesh? And what master ever « passed from death unto life." Though alive spake of his disciples eating himself? " My to other things, they were once dead to the flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink things of God. They had no spiritual sensi- indeed. Ile that eateth my flesh and drinketh bility : but they now feel. They had no spi- my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him." ritual appetite; but they now hunger and What can this imply but a truth so fully rethirst after righteousness." They had no vealed in the Scripture-That he becomes spiritual senses, “ to discern both good and our Saviour by being our sacrifice, and that evil;" but they now hear his voice, see his we live by his death! glory, and “ taste that the Lord is gracious." His language leads us to another reflecThey had no spiritual energy or action; but tion, which is not the less important because they now "strive to enter in at the strait it is common. It is this: Bread is nothing gate, walk in the way everlasting,” and “la- to us however prepared, or presented, or posbour, that, whether present or absent, they sessed, unless it be eaten. You may perish may be accepted of him.” These disposi- with bread in your house, and even in your tions may be imperfect, and these exertions hand-it is only by admitting it into the animay be weak; but they could not make the mal system that it can become nourishment. one, nor be conscious of the other-unless “ I am the living bread that came down from they were alive.

| heaven ; if any man eat of this bread he shall The Scripture loves to present religion to live for ever. Except ye eat the flesh of us under the notion of life, and it is a very the Son of God, and drink his blood, ye hare important and distinguishing one. In a pic- no life in you. He that eateth me, even he ture there is likeness, and how striking does shall live by me." Is not this saying that a the resemblance sometimes appear! But Saviour unapplied will profit you nothing what a difference is there between the sha- He may have in himself every thing you dow and the substance; between the image need; he may be nigh you; he may be proand the original. It seems to speak; but it posed to you in the gospel-and all this is is silent. The “breathing canvass" is not true; but he must be received by faith. For life. A figure may be formed equal to the to vary the image, "To as many as received size of a man; and ingenuity may add mo- him, to them gave he power to become the tion to likeness : but it is not self-moved; its sons of God, even to them that believe on movements, few and senseless, result from his name.” foreign force or skill. And mechanism, how- This brings us to remark, ever fine or finished, is not life. How many II. THE WAY IN WHICH WE DERIVE ADthings that look like religion fall short of it. VANTAGE FROM HIM. It is by coming to him; How many have the form of godliness, while by believing on him. “He that cometh to they deny the power thereof. How many, / me shall never hunger; and he that believeik destitute of all inward principle, are actuated on me shall never thirst." And here we are in duty by external motives only; and whose not to suppose that two different characters devotion begins and ends with the operation | are intended, of which the one comes to our of the circumstances producing it! But God Lord, and the other believes on him. The puts his Spirit within us, and causes us to expressions designate the same person; and walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes. are explanatory of each other. So that I

Now observe the relation in which the you ask, What is coming to him? you are Lord Jesus stands to this life. “I ain," says told, that it is believing on him. And if you he, “the bread of life.” Bread often stands ask, What is believing on him ? you are told, for all that nourishes and sustains our bodies; it is coming to him. and hence we read of the “staff of bread :" The case is this. Since so much depends on real faith, it is necessary for us to know! Let us notice, what it is: but as we have more to do with III. THE HAPPINESS HIS FOLLOWERS SHALL the uses of things than with their nature; and ENJOY : “He that cometh to me shall never as they are more obviously known by their hunger, and he that believeth on me shall operations and effects, than by their physical never thirst." This assurance admits of seand abstract qualities, the Scripture holds forth veral explanations. faith by its office, and in its actings. It tells. First. The follower of Jesus shall never us what faith does in the man who is the pos-hunger nor thirst again after the world. sessor of it: it “works by love;" it "over- This distinguishes him from all unrenewed comes the world;" it "purifies the heart;" men; for they hunger and thirst after noit brings a man to Christ. He that believeth thing else. And this was once his own case. on him, comes to him. This representation But having tasted the provisions of God's of faith is very instructive.

| house, his language now is, “Lord, evermore First. It reminds us that the Lord Jesus give me this bread.” Having seen the glory is accessible. In the days of his flesh he of the only begotten of the Father, full of was approachable in his bodily presence; and grace and truth, nothing else allures or many went to him and implored relief; and charms: “ Whom,” says he, “ whom have I none ever implored in vain. In this sense in heaven but thee ? and there is none upon we can no longer approach him ; in this earth that I desire beside thee.” Endeavours sense he is “no more in the world." But will be made to draw off the soul from this unless he is accessible under another and a sovereign good. The world will present its higher view, how can he verify the promise; riches, honours, pleasures, and prospects; “ Where two or three are gathered together and often ask, “What is thy Beloved more in my name, there am I in the midst of than another beloved ?" But these syren songs them?” Did he appoint his disciples to meet will be sung in vain. All believers indeed him in Galilee after his resurrection; and are not equally mortified to earthly things; did they go down and find him there? So but as far as grace prevails in the soul, they he has ordained means, in the use of which will, they must lose their influence: as far as if we are found, he will be found. For he is pre-we are is after the Spirit,” we shall “mind sent among the assemblies of his people, and the things of the Spirit.” And no real Chrisin his house, and at his table, and in his word, tian, who walks by faith, and not by sight, and upon his throne; there dispensing mercy can so seek after the world again as to make and grace to help us in every time of need. it his portion, or to place his happiness in it.

Secondly. It teaches us that faith is not a A covetous, ambitious, sensual, pleasure-tanotion, but a principle; and is always at- | king Christian is a character the Scripture tended with an application of the soul to the knows nothing of. Redeemer. Under the influence of it I can- Secondly. He shall not hunger and thirst not rest without him; but from a conviction in vain. The new creature has wants and of my perilous and perishing case, and a per- appetites, but ample provision is made to resuasion of his power, appointment, and rea- lieve and indulge them; and the believer diness to succour and to save me, I go to him knows where to go for those blessings; and is and address him. I throw myself at his feet, not liable to disappointment in seeking for and cry, “Lord, save, I perish.” I see him them. He no longer runs to and fro, asking, as the only refuge, and I seek to enter him. Who will show me any good ? He has I view him as the Lord my righteousness found the source of satisfaction, and derives and strength, and pray to be found in him. supplies from it. It is adequate to the imOn this foundation I begin to build : from this mensities of his desires. More than the "con“fulness I receive, and grace for grace." solation of Israel” he does not long for, though

And let it be remembered, that this appli- | he does long for more of it. But cation which always distinguishes genuine Thirdly. He shall not hunger and thirst faith from false, is not a single address, but a always. The days of imperfect enjoyment renewed, a continued exercise. He that be- will soon be over. Then every power will lieveth on him is not one that came and trans- be filled ; every hope accomplished; every acted an affair with him, and then had no wish realized. Then, says David, “I shall be thing more to do with him-10—but one that satisfied when I awake with thy likeness." cometh. Peter has the same thought, and The subject thus briefly explained, isequally excludes those whose religion is an A standard by which we may estimate action; instead of a course of action, instead Christ. What a life have we been speaking of a habit, instead of a life—“to whom com- of! But the higher and nobler this life is, the ing as unto a living stone." He will be ne- more does it glorify him for he is "the cessary to the last: as long as we contract bread of life.” There is nothing men so value fresh guilt; as long as we are called to bear as life. Even this vain life, which we spend new trials and discharge new duties ; as long as a shadow-even this suffering life, which as we are in the body of this death-so long we find to be a series of cares, losses, pains, must we come to him.

1 and troubles-how we cleave to it! how con

cerned we are to secure and continue it; | under the same dispensation-yea, under su how readily we pay the physician that reco-perior advantages, we are no better than vers it; how highly we prize the food that sus they. tains it; and pressed with want, what exer- When Hosea exercised his ministry, the tions and sacrifices are we not willing to volume of Scripture was not complete. The make to obtain relief! Surely we are not additions of several of the prophets, and of all sensible of our spiritual necessities; surely the New Testament writings, were wanting we have no desires after the life of our souls, whereas we have these additions; the sys eternal life, or we should above all esteem/ tem of revelation is now perfect; and the Him by whom alone it is to be attained; and man that adds to the words of this book is acnot urge his compassionate heart to complain, cursed, as well as the man that takes away “ Ye will not come unto me that ye might from it. Thus our privilege is much enhave life."

larged, and, alas! our guilt is increased along The subject is a standard by which we with it ; and what God said of Ephraim ap may estimate fuith. Why does the apostle plies to us with equal truth, and with greater call faith precious ? Because “he that be- aggravation; “I have written to him the lieveth on the Son hath everlasting life: and great things of my law, but they were counted he that believeth not the Son shall not see as a strange thing." These words lead us life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” to consider three things with regard to the It is indispensable to our salvation. It is the Scriptures. I. Tiroir AUTHOR. II. THEIR medium of all our intercourse with the Re- SUBJECT. III. THEIR RECEPTION. deemer of sinners. If faith be nothing with I. Observe THEIR AUTHOR." I," says out Christ, Christ is nothing without faith. God, “ I have written to him the great things

The subject is a standard by which to es- of my law." This fact it would be well for timate the Christian. The world knoweth us to remember whenever we read or hear him not : it knew not his lord and master- it; for the manner in which the Scripture and why should the servant wish to be above affects us will always depend upon our perhis master, or the disciple above his lord? suasion of this truth. If we consider it as a He may be poor and afHicted; but a man is cunningly devised fable, we shall treat it as a not to be judged of by outward things, but by delusion. If we believe it to be the word of the state of luis mind, and by his future state. man, we shall receive it as a human produc A Christian without pride, may pity philosotion. But if we are convinced that it is in"phers and kings. He is safe. He is happy. I deed the word of God, we shall feel it to be His happiness is not only insured but com- divine, and it will work powerfully in tis, as menced. He hears nothing but complaints it does in those who believe. in the world; and no wonder, since they are. Now in favour of these writings we adseeking the living among the dead ;-but he vance a Divine claim. “All Scripture,". has found rest; he feels satisfaction. He has says the apostle, “is given by inspiration of much in hand, and more in hope. The Sa- God." So that whoever was the penman, he viour is now with him; and soon he will be was the author. I hope I need not labour to for ever with the Lord.

prove this. I hope you have not found it “ Blessed are the people that are in such a necessary to deny it, by indulging in a vicious case."

course of life. “For this is the condemna“Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto tion, that light is come into the world, but me, as thou usest to do unto those that love men love darkness rather than light, because thy name.” Amen.

their deeds are evil." They are infidel because they are wicked, and pretend to quarrel

with the doctrines of revelation because they DISCOURSE LIX.

hate the practice. The charaeter of its ene

mies has always been a strong recommenda. THE SCRIPTURE DESPISED.

tion of the Scripture.

We pass by the proofs derived from propheI have written to him the great things of my cies and miracles; from the number and

law, but they were counted as a strange competency of the original witnesses of the thing:---Hosea viii, 12.

Gospel; from its success in the world; from The history of the Jews is not only won the convictions of the wise, and the sufferderful but instructive. It shows us what God ings of the good and remark only at preis, and what man is. In every page we see sent, the internal evidence there is to prove the goodness of the one, and the wickedness that this book was written by God. When of the other.

we survey the works of nature, we discern For it is in vain to imagine that the de- impressions of perfection and effects of cosipravity of this people was peculiar to them- trivance, so as to urge the examiner to ex. selves. They were fair specimens of human claim, “This is the finger of God." Now nature; and we have no reason to believe opening these leaves, we find a resemblance that we should have been better than they, Ithat reminds us of the same agent. W

« FöregåendeFortsätt »