Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

the rewards it insures. Now this is perfectly , ted by the grace of Jesus Christ-And to just; and it is every way profitable. It serves depend on the mediation of Jesus Christ. to discriminate between the false, the timid, We cannot live godly in Christ Jesus, unthe worldly-minded; and those who are in less we are influenced by “the revelation" earnest; those who know that they must of Jesus Christ. “No man hath seen God at advance or perish, and who will not flinch / any time; the only begotten Son, which is in whatever they may feel. It also prevents the bosom of the Father, he hath declared surprise and confusion when the evil day him:" and he hath declared him in such a comes; and keeps us from being discouraged manner as he was never known before. He because of the way. Yea, it even tends to has displayed him not only as making the confirm and establish our faith and hope, by world, but as “reconciling the world unto showing us in ourselves the truth of God's himself, not imputing their trespasses unto word, and the experience of his people. them.” Hence we are to go to him, not as

Upon this principle is founded the declara- innocent creatures, but as guilty ; feeling our tion of the Apostle, in which, having mention- need of redemption, and exercising faith on ed the sufferings he had himself endured, he him “who suffered, the just for the unjust, adds, “ To suffer is not peculiar to me: let that he might bring us unto God.”—He has my son Timothy, and believers universally displayed him more affectionately; as “the reckon upon the same treatment: the cup is God of all grace,” as “the Father of mercommon to all, though some are called to cies;" as love itself. Hence we are to regard drink a larger draught of it: “Yea, and all him as children, not slaves; “receiving not that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall the spirit of bondage again to fear; but the suffer persecution." In these words let us Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba consider two things.

Father." Shall I say he has revealed him I. THE LIFE THEY DESCRIBE. II. THE after a more spiritual manner; as looking at CONDITION THEY ANNOUNCE.

the heart, and not attaching himself to par1. THE LIFE THEY DESCRIBE. It may be ticular places and forms? He has: and at taken with two distinctions.

the same time taught us the use we are to First. It is not merely a moral life, but a make of it. “The hour cometh, and now is, godly one. The religion of many people when the true worshippers shall worship consists only in certain regards to their fellow the Father in spirit and in truth: for the creatures; and if they “ do justly,” and “love Father seeketh such to worship him. God is mercy," they are not concerned to “ walk a Spirit: and they that worship him must humbly with their God.” We by no means worship him in spirit and in truth." depreciate morality. The Gospel demands We cannot live godly in Christ Jesus, unit; and makes provision for it. A man can- | less we are conformed to the example of not be religious without being moral ; but he Jesus Christ. His godliness was not only may be moral without being religious. It is real, but perfect. His soul was full of God; well to be a good master, a good neighbour, all his actions, words, and purposes referred a good subject—but how are you disposed entirely to him. He trusted in God, and towards God? Are you honest? Are you never desponded under the darkest dispensa. liberal? It is well. But I have another tions: “ Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now question to ask. Are you "renewed in the come, that ye shal} be scattered, every man spirit of your minds?" Are you holy? Are to his own, and shall leave me alone: and you godly?-Nothing but that disposition yet I am not alone, because the Father is towards God, which is implied in godliness, with me.” He loved him supremely: nor can give principle to our actions; induce us was this love cooled by the dreadful sufferto avoid every sin however secret; engage ings he was appointed to endure. Instead us to make conscience of every duty how- of avoiding his tremendous passion, he went ever private; and carry us through every dis-forth to meet it, and said, “That the world couragement that lies in the way everlasting. may know that I love the Father; and as the Virtue without godliness may gain us a fair Father gave me commandment, even so I character among men, and variously subserve do. Arise, let us go hence.” His devotedour temporal advantage; but whatever it may ness to his honour was invariable: “I seek do for us as to this world, it will not be suf | not mine own glory, but the glory of him ficient with regard to another.

that sent me. My meat is to do the will of Secondly. It is not merely a godly life, him that sent me, and to finish his work.” but a Christian one. We are not only to live His attachment to his worship was so great, godly, but to live godly “ in Christ Jesus." that he could say, “ The zeal of thine house This is a very interesting addition, and it will hath eaten me up." How often do we read be necessary to examine it.-What is it to of his devotion ! He prayed in the wilderlive godly “in Christ Jesus?" It is in all our ness. He prayed in the garden. He rose religious concerns-To be governed by the up a great while before day, and went out, revelation of Jesus Christ-To be conformed and departed into a solitary place, and there to the example of Jesus Christ-To be actua-prayed. He went up into a mountain, and

continued all night in prayer to God. It is humble him as much as his week-days. He impossible for us, while encompassed with even looks off from his holy things, to noda infirmities, to equal him: but we must re- better foundation to rely upon; & Deler semble him. “He that saith he abideth in righteousness to appear in before God.. Am him ought himself also to walk even as he where is this to be found? He has boldness walked.” “If any man have not the Spirit and access with confidence, by the faith of of Christ, he is none of his." He had the Him who was delivered for our offences, and Spirit without measure; but the same mind raised again for our justification, and ever must be in us which was also in Christ Jesus. lives to make intercession for us. He is the

We cannot live godly in Christ Jesus, un- great High Priest over the house of God; be less we are actuated by the grace of Jesus represents and introduces us; and “we are Christ. It is a truth taught us in the Scrip- accepted in the Beloved." ture, and of which we need to be constantly! JJ. Let us attend to THE CONDITION these reminded, that " from him is our fruit found.", words announce, as the consequence of the Though we bear it, he enables us to yield it. life they describe. Yea, and all that will live “We live; yet not we, but Christ liveth in godly in Christ Jesus “shall suffer perseck us: and the life that we live in the flesh we tion." live by the faith of the Son of God.” Does the This doctrine is frequently observable in branch flourish independently of the tree, or the Scripture. Our Lord preached it to his by means of the sap derived by union from it? | immediate disciples when he said, “In the “ As the branch," says the Saviour, “cannot world ye shall have tribulation." It is strong. bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; lly implied in the declaration, “If any man no more can ye except ye abide in me: for will be my disciple, let him deny himself, and without me ye can do nothing." . take up his cross, and follow me." It is re

The engagements to which we are called cognised even in the promise, “There is no in the Scripture, seem fitter for angels than man that hath left house, or brethren, or se for frail and depraved men. How are they to ters, or father, or mother, or wife, or child be accomplished-how are these enemies to ren, or lands, for my sake, and the Gospels, be conquered-how are these trials to be but he shall receive an hundredfold now I borne-how are these duties to be perform- this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, ed? How are we to live “ with our conver- and mothers, and children, and lands, with sation in heaven;" to walk by faith, and not persecutions; and in the world to come etet: by sight;" to " forgive those that trespass nal life.” Paul held the same sentiment; and, against us until seventy times seven ?" Who therefore, as he visited the churches, he nee would not shrink back, and lie down in de-I only exhorted them to continue in the falta, spair, but for the voice that cries, “My grace but reminded them that “they must, through is sufficient for thee: for my strength is much tribulation, enter into the kingdom a made perfect in weakness ?" The charge of God.” Suffering in the Christian life be at enthusiasm has been frequently advanced / ways takes for granted: “If children, the against this doctrine—but would it not be heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs will easy and just to retort the charge? What Christ; if so be that we suffer with enthusiasm is like that which expects such that we may be also glorified together. mighty effects without an adequate cause? Events perfectly answered to these intim Upon our principle, a Christian has a re- tions. In the Acts of the Apostles west source equal to all the claims of his high call- what Christians endured from Jews and be ing; and may without presumption say, “I tiles, priests and people; and history spread know both how to be abased, and I know how before us examples of the same trum to abound: every where and in all things I every successive period. am instructed both to be full and to be hun- ! But how is this! It seems wonderful gry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can not incredible, that persons whose do all things through Christ who strengthen- | harmless, and holy, and passed in endear eth me."

to do good, should experience treat We cannot live godly in Christ Jesus, this. But the wonder ceases if we unless we depend on the mediation of Jesus That ever since the Fall there Christ. There are many who find it an easy an irreconcilable enmity between the thing to hope in God: they confidently pre- the woman and the seed of the serpe sume on the acceptance of their perform- )“ man being alienated from the ances; and seem even to challenge a reward. loves nothing that reminds him oro But it is otherwise with a Christian. He resembles him; that the tempera? sees, he feels the poverty and unworthiness of the righteous necessarily reptu of his duties. He confesses that when he has braid the wicked; that their endea V done all, he is an unprofitable servant; and disturb them in their sins; that the instead of being recompensed for the excel-demns the worldly as well as the lences of his obedience, he wonders that he the formal, as well as the neglige is not rejected for its defects. His sabbaths there is nothing in Christianity that

[ocr errors]

eavours

between the seed of

of the serpent;" that from the life of God." inds him o f God, or that

tempers and actions arily reptuve and up

er endeavours to seve, ins; that the Gospel conell as the vicious, and

e negligent; that as Christianity that flatters sin,

so there is nothing that flatters self; and thats and charge them upon the whole body. It every man is naturally as self-righteous as will magnify the common infirmities of huhe is depraved.

man nature into crimes. Let the young man To this we may add another source of the swear and challenge; let him be a companion inevitableness of persecution. It is taken of them that drink, and make merry, and from the Christian himself. Suffering is ne-mock at sin; and he shall be applauded as a cessary for his trial and his triumph. With- young man of spirit: but no sooner is he conout this, how could he prove that he loves vinced that “the end of these things is death, God better than friendship, reputation, wealth, and that the way of transgressors is hard;" or life? How could he overcome evil with and “comes out from among them, and is good ? How could he love his enemies, bless separate;" than he is “had in derision of all them that curse him, and pray for them that around him, and is as one mocked of his despitefully use him and persecute him ?-It neighbour.” How often has genuine religion is warfare that makes a good soldier. A produced the loss of friendship, or chilled the Christian is like the firmament, and it is the warmth of attachment into cold civility. darkness of affliction that makes his starry | Where power is possessed, it is frequently graces to shine out. He is like those herbs exerted as far as safety or a regard to apand plants that best effuse their odours when pearances will allow. This is seen in the bruised.

attempts of husbands, parents, and masters, But you say—though this was true former- to restrain from following their religious ly, is it not far otherwise now? And if the convictions their wives, their children, and truth be applied to us at all, must it not their servants. With regard to relations, a be taken with limitations? And what are Christian will sometimes find a greater trial they?

in their affections than in their frowns. Here Here let us admit with gratitude the dif- is a mother, in all other respects tender and ference between our own times, and the days kind; she takes her daughter aside, and of those "who through faith and patience in- weeps to think she should favour a doctrine herit the promises." We should not talk “every where spoken against,” and draw like martyrs. Owing to the justice and upon herself some opprobrious name:-she mildness of our laws, what perils do we run? beseeches her not to grieve the heart of one We can “sit under our own vine and fig who bore her-and “bring down her gray tree, none daring to make us afraid." The hairs with sorrow to the grave.” Now, to greater part of our sufferings are not dis-withstand all this, and to break loose from tinguishable from the common afflictions of such an embrace-not from a want of filial life; and many of the trials that some foolish regard—this religion increases at the very professors frequently charge on religion, re- time, but from obedience to the voice that ligion would teach them to avoid, if its ad- cries, “ He that loveth father or mother more monitions were regarded. But on the other than me, is not worthy of me."- What a hand it must be allowed,

trial is here! First; that human nature is essentially the Thirdly. If modern Christians frequently same in every age, and that a tiger may be escape persecution, may it not be asked, chained and not changed. Under every form whether, in many instances, it does not arise of government “the heart is deceitful above from their less fully exemplifying the spirit all things, and desperately wicked." And of their religion than the primitive Christians where there is a strong active propensity did ? Many professors, it should be observed, against any thing, (as in this case, there must seem to make it their whole concern to elude be against real godliness) it will show itself the reproach of the Cross; and we may notice as opportunity offers; and such opportunity | two methods employed by them for this purthere must be in a world like this.

pose, both of which will tend to prove the Secondly; that persecution admits of vari- truth of the Apostle's assertion, even with ous degrees. It includes every kind of in- regard to ourselves. jury or vexation, from a fiery stake to a scorn- The one is concealment. This is dastardful sneer; and is not to be estimated always ly and mean. We should never be drawn by the bulk of the suffering only, but by the out of a corner by the praise of man, nor be grace, the temper, and the state of the in-driven into a corner by the fear of man. We dividual that endures it. It commonly ope- should be ashamed of nothing we embrace rates now in a way of reproach ; and fre-upon conviction. We are required to "conquently this is no less trying than bodily fess with the mouth," as well as “to believe pain. We know who said, “ Reproach hath with the heart:" and to appear Christians as broken my heart." This reproach endeavours well as to be such. But if we hide our to turn their faith into folly; their hope into peculiar character, we cannot of course propresumption; their meekness and forgiveness voke notice and opposition in that peculiar of injuries into meanness and cowardice; character. their sanctity into singularity or hypocrisy. The other is accommodation. And it is It will take the blemishes of an individual, awful to think how one doctrine and usage

244 A CHRISTIAN IS NOT A FAVOURITE WITH THE WORLD. after another has been given up! Chris- share in the sufferings of religion, while he tianity, says one, will never be received by is a stranger to its supports, and unentitled Jews and Mahometans, while you “honour to its privileges. But so it is; the hypocrite the Son as you honour the Father.” It will loses heaven for the sake of earth, and earth never be acceptable, says another, to men of for the sake of heaven; and is of all creatures taste and learning, till you abandon the bar- the most miserable.- It applies also to those barous notion of the atonement, and of origi- whose conduct is exceptionable. If you will nal sin. Now, upon this plan, what would speculate; live beyond your income ; involve be left after all the objectors were satisfied ? yourselves in difficulties, and defraud others; How much would the residue resemble the and as you go along hear the reflection, Gospel as it now stands? And admitting “ There goes a religious cheat;" bear it as that this pruned system was unexceptionable, well as you can: the world speaks truth: by and even admired by the generality of man- your profession you are religious, and by your kind, would this be a proof of its truth? If practice you are unrighteous. “What glory So, why was the preaching of “Christ cruci- is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, fied to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do Greeks foolishness;" and only to them that well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, were “called, Christ the wisdom of God, and this is acceptable with God." Your sufferthe power of God ?" Was Paul mistaken ings are not Christian sufferings, unless they when he said, “The natural man receiveth are unmerited by immoral, and even imprunot the things of the Spirit of God, for they dent conduct. “If ye be reproached for the are foolishness unto him; neither can he name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit know them, because they are spiritually dis- of glory and of God resteth upon you: 00 cerned ?"

their part he is evil spoken of, but on your In practice as well as principle, professors part he is glorified. But let none of you have conceded one thing after another, in suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an order to take off prejudice, and to make them- evil-doer, or as a busy-body in other men's selves the more rational, and liberal, and matters." agreeable to the men of this generation. One Secondly. With what caution and prayer thing is obvious from all this trimming and should we assume a profession of religion! changing their way; and it is this--that God forbid we should discourage any; even either Christianity or the world must be any of you, my young friends, who are disaltered, before they can be rendered agree-posed to join yourselves to the Lord's people able to each other. But Christianity allows in a perpetual covenant, that shall not be forof no alteration. It needs none. The change gotten: we would rather invite you to cast in required therefore is, where it ought to be, your lot among them, and assure you, that in in the world. Hence, says the Apostle, “Be religion you will find a portion infinitely betnot conformed to this world: but be ye trans- ter than all the pleasures of sin, and the vaniformed by the renewing of your mind, that ties of the world-But at the same time we ye may prove what is that good, and accept- would not deceive you. We would follow able, and perfect will of God.”

the example of our Lord in addressing those Think of this, ye God-and-Mammon men; who spoke of following him. You are going, ye would-be-friends of the world, and of God said he, to build: “Sit down first and count too. If your aim be to elude opposition and the cost." Your religion will be an expenreproach, as far as ye are “ of the world, the sive thing. Can you bear its charges? You world will love its own :" but as far as you are going to declare war. “ Sit down first dissent from them, they will dissent from you; and count the dangers." Have you equal as far as you oppose them, they will oppose forces ? Good alliances? A rich treasury! you. Our Saviour may say to many Chris- “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that tians as he did to the Jews; "the world can- forsa keth not all that he hath, he cannot be not hate you: but me it hateth, because I my disciple." testify that the deeds thereof are evil.”

“ And who after this can think of following This subject is fruitful in reflections. him?" Why all who are truly wise. Such

First. There are some who suffer persecu- a course, notwithstanding every sacrifice, is tion—that do not live godly in Christ Jesus. wisdom; “and wisdom is justified of all her For it is not the cross, but the cause that children." If God would open your eyes as he makes the martyr: men may go weeping to did Balaam's, you would look upon this poor hell, as well as to heaven. But to whom | despised people, and say, “How goodly are does our observation apply? It applies to thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles. O pretenders; who have “a name that they Israel! Let me die the death of the righteous, live, but are dead." The people of the world and let my last end be like his.” If Moses cannot easily distinguish between “the form the son of Pharaoh's daughter, was here, and of godliness and the power," and therefore a palace was offered him, he would " choose the pretending and the sincere frequently rather to suffer affliction with the people of fare alike. It is a sad thing for a man to God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for

season; and esteem the reproach of Christ, “We went through fire and through water, greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy having respect unto the recompense of the place.” Thus runs the Divine promise: reward."

· When thou passest through the waters, I Thirdly. If any man suffer as a Christian, will be with thee; and through the rivers, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify they shall not overflow thee: when thou God on this behalf. It gives you an oppor- walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be tunity to prove your thankfulness for his good burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon ness, and your adherence to his Gospel. Your thee.” And the Apostle Peter exhorts Chriscause Ls noble: it is the cause of truth and tians not to "think it strange concerning the holiness; it is glory to God in the highest, fiery trial.” and on earth peace; good-will towards men. Stripped of metaphor, the passage before Your companions are glorious; the same af- us supposes a state of suffering. flictions happened to your brethren who were in this state we may be found as men: for before you in the world, patriarchs, prophets, I“ although affliction cometh not forth of the apostles, and Jesus liimself, your elder bro- dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ther. Your crown is invaluable; and you ground, yet man is born to trouble as the may say with Paul, “I reckon that the suf- sparks fly upward.” ferings of this present time are not worthy to In this state we may be found as Chrisbe compared with the glory that shall be re- tians: for “ many are the afflictions of the vealed in us."

righteous." This fact may seem strange to But what shall we say to persecutors? If the natural man, who concludes that the fayou feel enmity against the godly, and would vourite of Heaven is entitled to every indulin jure them were it in your power, it is “ a gence upon earth: and it has often proved a token of perdition.” You may now be placed source of temptation to the people of God above them in circumstances; and may love themselves, who have been led, from their to misrepresent and to vilify them. But sufferings, to suspect their safety. «s their Redeemer is mighty." He is “ near But why such an inference?' Their Lord that justifieth them.” He “ will plead their and Saviour was made perfect through suffercause." He that “ toucheth them, touchething; he was a man of sorrows and acquainted the apple of his eye." They shall “have with grief; and they are fore-ordained to wear dominion over you in the morning of the re- his image. There must be a conformity besurrection; and condemn you at the last day." tween the head and the members: “it is “Know ye not that the saints shall judge the enough for the servant to be as his master, world?"

and the disciple as his Lord.”

Why such an inference? “Whom the DISCOURSE LXVIII. Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth

every son whom he receiveth.” “As many,"

says our heavenly Father, “ as I love, I reHOW WE ARE TO HONOUR GOD IN

buke and chasten." The history of the Church TROUBLE.

furnishes no exceptions to this truth. And Glorify ye the Lord in the fires.

can you see good men, and men of the most Isaiah xxiv, 15.

eminent goodness, invariably suffering-and * WHETHER ye eat, or drink, or whatso refuse to drink of the cup they drank of, and ever ye do, do all to the glory of God." What to be baptized with the baptism they were an extensive admonition is this! It demands baptized with? of us nothing less than an universal regard In what condition could we view them, to God;a reference to his honour in all our should we now find many of those who are actions, not only religious, but civil and na- infinitely dear to God! —Depressed with tural.

| weakness, fear, and much trembling; pining And yet even this does not include the with disease; “made to possess months of whole of God's claim upon us. We are re- vanity and wearisome nights ;" disappointed quired to honour him, not only in all we do, in their worldly schemes and exertions; perbut in all we suffer. Witness the words plexed and straitened in their circumstances; which I have read: “Glorify ye the Lord in bereaved of their dearest connexions; “ lover the fires." Let us consider,

and friend put far from them, and their acI. THE STATE HERE SUPPOSED. II. OUR quaintance into darkness;" opposed and perDUTY WHEN IN IT. III. THE REASONS BY secuted by their neighbours and relations; WHICH IT IS ENFORCED.

and finding by bitter experience that “a man's I. THE STATE HERE SUPPOSED—" In the foes are those of his own household.” fires." The language is figurative. It is And what, under all this, should we find common for the sacred writers to hold forth them doing ?-Hardening themselves by infitrouble and affliction by fire, and frequently del reasonings, by stoical apathy? Endeain connexion with its opposite, water. Thus vouring to banish all sense of their sorrows, the Church triumphant looks back and exults; by repairing to the dissipations of the world?

« FöregåendeFortsätt »