« FöregåendeFortsätt »
draw, to perform the worship of God in his “Them that honour me," says God, “I will family; after which he would return again. honour.” Whatever the world may think, It is not every one that could have done this. there is a reality in religion; and it more In many it would have appeared a part over-than indemnifies its followers: “Godliness is acted; it would have appeared sanctimoni- profitable unto all things, having promise of ousness. But where it was a sample, and the life that now is, and of that which is to not an exception; where it was an action of come.” “Verily," says the Saviour, " there a life, the whole of which corresponded with is no man that hath left house, or parents, or it, it is easy to conclude what effect it would brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingproduce. Even those who affected to ridi-dom of God's sake, who shall not receive macule would inwardly venerate; some would nifold more in this present time, and in the be led to reflection; some would be stung world to come life everlasting." with reproach; some would be determined; and some encouraged. Christians! how many opportunities have
DISCOURSE LXX V. you of saying, with Nehemiah, “ so do not I, because of the fear of God.” Are you asked to go to a place of dissipation? What an
THE UNSPEAKABLE GIFT. opportunity is afforded you of bearing a ver
(CHRISTMAS.) bal and practical testimony against a world. He that spared not his own. Son, but delivered ly life! Slander creeps into conversation. I him up for us all, how shall he not with him What a call have you to enter, though in a also freely give us all things?—Rom. viji. proper manner, your testimony against evil speaking !-Avow your principles. Live FEAR naturally follows guilt. When a answerable to your profession. “Be stead- breach has taken place between two parties, fast, unmoveable, always abounding in the the hardest to be won is always the offender. work of the Lord; forasmuch as ye know He has all the consciousness of blame, and that your labour shall not be in vain in the judges of the person offended under the inLord.”
fluence of his own uneasy feelings. I said, he obtained by this example the But if it be hard to believe that he whom I most distinguished honour.
have provoked will forgive me, how much A miracle was wrought in his favour. harder is it to believe that he will indulge “ Then the king arose very early in the me—that instead of being my enemy he will morning, and went in haste unto the den of be my greatest friend and that instead of lions. And when he came to the den, he employing his power against me, all his recried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel : sources shall be held at my disposal! For and the king spake and said to Daniel, o friendship does not necessarily succeed reconDaniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, ciliation, nor the munificence of kindness the whom thou servest continually, able to deliver forgiveness of injuries: as we see in the case thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto of Absalom, who was permitted to return to the king, 0 king, live for ever. My God the capital, but “ lived three whole years in hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' Jerusalem without seeing the king's face." mouths, that they have not hurt me: foras! From these reflections it will follow, that it much as before him innocency was found in is no easy thing for a sinner to place his “faith me; and also before thee, ó king, have I and hope in God." done no hurt. Then was the king exceed But difficult as this confidence in God is, it ing glad for him, and commanded that they is necessary. We fell by losing it; and we should take Daniel up out of the den. So can only be recovered by regaining it. We Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no shall never serve him, never love him, never manner of hurt was found upon him, because go to him, till we can see that “he is good, he believed in his God.”
and ready to forgive, and plenteous in mercy His enemies are punished. He is also ad- to all that call upon him." vanced. He “prospered in the reign of Da-l Difficult as this confidence in God is, it is rius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian." attainable. He has proclaimed his name,
What sublime consolation filled his mind “the Lord God, gracious and merciful, longwhile he saw the divine power securing him suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth." in the very jaws of death! As he is drawn He has caused his goodness to pass before us. out of the den how would every eye be at- He has given us his word ; and “whatsoever tracted towards him! How would the multi-things were written aforetime were written tude follow him to his own dwelling! When- for our learning, that we through patience ever he appeared in public, how would every and comfort of the Scriptures might have tongue be ready to extol him! What weight | hope." would attach to his character! What force. But in the redemption of the world by our would be acknowledged in his advice and his Lord Jesus Christ every objection seems sieproof!
| lenced for ever; and the despairing soul rises
from its dungeon, and reasons itself into light but refused. This was their first-born, and and comfort from the words which I have the beginning of their strength. The second read; "He that spared not his own Son, but was named-but refused. He was the living delivered him up for us all, how shall he not image of the father. The third was named with him also freely give us all things?” but refused. In him the features of the mother The words contain two things.
breathed. The last was named—but refused. I. A WONDERFUL FACT. II. AN UNDENIABLE He was their youngest, the child of their old INFERENCE.
age. And so they consented to starve toI. God "spared not his own Son, but de- gether rather than sacrifice one. What was livered him up for us all.” This is THE FACT the severest trial of Abraham's regard for
--to which we have well prefixed the term God?“ Now I know that thou fearest me, WONDERFUL. “For ask now of the days that seeing thou hast not withheld—thy gone are past, which were before thee, since the thine-only son from me." How dignified day that God created man upon the earth, and was God's Son! “For to which of the an. ask from the one side of heaven unto the gels said he at any time, Thou art my son, other, whether there hath been any such thing this day have I begotten thee? And again, as this great thing is, or hath been heard like I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to
me a son? And again, when he bringeth in Various wonders distinguish the works of the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, God. There are marvellous displays of his And let all the angels of God worship him." power, of his wisdom, of his truth, of his holi- How dear was God's Son! The Son of his ness; but the miracle we are now led to con- love; who always did the things that pleased template is a miracle of love. Every other him; in him his soul delighted! Yet he perfection is indeed apparent in the dispensa- withholds him not !-He "spared not his tion ; but hear how the Scripture speaks of own Son." it: “God so loved the worla, that he gave his! Secondly. Observe the state into which only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth he surrendered him. He "delivered him in him should not perish, but have everlasting up.”—To what? “Be astonished, O Healife. In this was manifested the love of God vens; and wonder, O Earth!"-To a world towards us, because that God sent his only that disowned him. “He was in the world, begotten Son into the world, that we might and the world was made by him, and the live through him. Herein is love, not that world knew him not." To a people that ab we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent horred him, though prepared by miracles, and his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." ordinances, and prophecies, to receive him. To magnify this goodness, observe,
" He came to his own, and his own received First: the boon he did not withhold. He him not.” To obscurity and indigence. He “ spared not his own Son." How many was born in a stable, and laid in a manger; things could you resign before you spared and as he passed through life " he had not a child! Nothing is so strong as paternal where to lay his head.” 'To infamy and affection. A man's wife is himself divided; scorn. He was reviled as a glutton and a a man's child is himself multiplied. How wine-bibber; as a friend of publicans and sinunwilling was Jacob to spare Benjamin, ners; as a madman, as a demoniac, and a though he had many children, and it was rebel: “Reproach," said he, " hath broken only for a season, and to save him alive! my heart." To pain and anguish. “He How unwilling was David to give up even a was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with rebellious Absalom!“Deal gently with the grief." To be betrayed by Judas; to be deyoung man for my sake," said he in his or- nied by Peter; to be forsaken of all his disders to Joab; and when he heard of his well. ciples. To Caiaphas- who insulted him; to deserved death, the father vanquished the Herod—who set him at nought; to Pilateman, and the king, if not the saint. “He who condemned him; to the Romans-who went up to the chamber over the gate, and crucified him.—To an agony, that before the wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my hand of man had touched him, made him son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! “sweat as it were great drops of blood fall: would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, ing to the ground;" and exclaim, " My soul my son, my son!” In the famine of Sama- is exceeding sorrowful, even unto deathria, the woman, by promising to make a simi- it be possible, let this cup pass from me!" lar sacrifice, persuaded her neighbour “to " Behold, and see if ever there was sorrow boil her son :" but when her own turn came, I like unto his sorrow. Yet it pleased the " lo, she hid her son!” History mentions a Lord to bruise him. He hath put him to poor family in Germany, who were ready to grief. The Lord hath laid upon him the perish in the time of famine. The husband iniquity of us all.” Surely here is love for proposed to the wife to sell one of their chil- which we want a name! Especially when dren for bread. At length she consents. we remark, But-here-here is the difficulty-which of Thirdly, the persons for whose advantage them shall it be? The eldest was named he was given." He delivered him up" for
whom? For us. And who are we? Not | liberality. He will freely give us “all angels; but men. Not men only; but sin-things." It intends whatever is needful to ners. Not sinners humbled under a sense our salvation and welfare: pardon, to remove of our misery, and applying for mercy; but our guilt; strength, to aid us in the persinners regardless of their deliverance, and formance of duty; consolation in distress; abusing the Divine goodness : “herein God guidance in perplexity; "a land flowing hath commended his love towards us, in that with milk and honey” beyond Jordan, and while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. supplies for the wilderness on this side of it. For when we were yet without strength, in It provides for soul and body. For time and due time Christ died for the ungodly.” To eternity. “The Lord God is a sun and shield: love our parents and our children is natural. the Lord will give grace and glory: no good To love our friends is just and grateful. To thing will he withhold from them that walk do good to strangers is humane. To relieve uprightly. The young lions do lack and the poor and needy is kind and generous. suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord But to love our enemies, to do good to them shall not want any good thing." The grant that hate us and injure us, is divine. It is has only one limitation—the goodness of the not only commanded by God, but exemplified things conferred: of this, God only is the in the highest degree-in all its perfection. judge; and therefore with him the deter
And not for a few of these rebels, but for mination must be left. many; not for Jews only, but for Gentiles Thirdly. The reasonableness of our most also; not for persons of one condition and enlarged expectation. “He that spared not character, but of every condition and charac- his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, ter; not for some who seek him, but for all: hou shall he not with him also freely give us under whatever discouragements they may all things?" The conclusion is not only unlabour. Such was the indefinite and unli- deniable, but so simple and obvious, that it mited message of the angel to the shepherds: seems needless to enlarge; otherwise we “ Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good might observe, that the force of the reasontidings of great joy, which shall be to all ing lies in this: That he was designed to people." And such is the extension of the prepare the way for all the blessings we Apostle: “He' spared not his own Son, but need; that he is superior to them all; and delivered him up for us all.”
that they are all really in him. II. Let us examine THE INFERENCE to be He was designed to prepare the way for drawn from the fact we have explained the communication of all the blessings we Shall " he not with him also freely give us need. Sin had stopped the effusion of the all things ?" Here it may be necessary to divine goodness, and forbidden God to hold remark,
communion with man. But he “devised First: The way in which he communi means that his banished should not be expellcates his favours. He gives them freely.ed from him.” He furnished the sacrifice And were it not for this, we could have no he required. “He sent his own Son into the hope: for we are not worthy of the least of world, not to condemn the world, but that the all his mercies. But if we are not worthy, world through him might be saved." He we are welcome. If we find ourselves with came to remove every obstruction, and to out money, we are called to buy without render the exercise of divine favour consistprice. If the blessings are great, they are ent with the honour of divine government. equally gracious: and we are invited to come And is not this a powerful consideration, that and “take of the water of life freely." now, if we go to God, there is nothing to
Adam could not have merited in Paradise. hinder his mercy; nothing even in his truth, Angels do not merit in heaven-their obe- nothing even in his righteousness, nothing dience is due; and duty can never be meri- even in his law, to restrain him from relievtorious. How well, therefore, does it become ing and blessing the guilty ? Yea, that he sinful creatures like us, to acknowledge, can relieve and bless us in a way even glowhen we have done all, “that we are unpro- rious to all his perfections; that he can be fitable servants;" and have done no more even “ faithful and just to forgive us our sins, than was our duty to do! And how have we and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness ?" done this? By a power not our own; and He is superior to every other blessing. with numberless imperfections that deserve You are sometimes dismayed at the thought condemnation rather than reward. With of your demerit: but if your demerit restrainwhat indignation did Peter speak to Simon ed the Divine goodness, the Saviour would Magus, who supposed the gift of the Holy never have appeared. You are sometimes Ghost was to be purchased with money! Are dismayed at the greatness of the blessing you any of you endeavouring to buy what you ask: but if the greatness of the blessing reought to beg? “Repent of this thy wicked- strained the Divine goodness, he would have ness, and pray to God, if haply the thought of denied giving his own Son. If a man had thine heart may be forgiven thee.”
sacrificed for you his own and his only son, Secondly. Observe the extent of his you could hardly think he would withhold
from you a common instance of his bounty ; [dantly pardon.” Were you to ask, “What for the one, you say, has no proportion to the sign showest thou, that we may believe ?" other. What God has already given is in- Behold, says he, the garden, and the cross finitely more precious than any thing we can see my own Son dying that you may live. in future implore.
| I sacrifice him, and save you. Yea, he is in reality every other blessing : Secondly. The subject should impose upon and we have all with him. “He that hath you submission. Is any thing denied you the Son hath life.” “He is made of God that seems desirable? He distinguishes be unto us, wisdom and righteousness, sanctifica- tween your welfare and your wishes; between tion and redemption. He is all and in all." the present and the future; between appearHe, and his influences and blessings, cannot ances and reality. The blessing is not with be divided. When we receive him all things held from a want of power; nor can it be are ours.
withheld from a want of love. If it were Are we not constrained to admire the proper and profitable for you, he could bring Supreme Being? Can we survey the dispen-(down the kings of the earth to lick the dus sation we have reviewed, and not acknow- of your feet; he could possess you with an ledge that he well deserves the name of "the abundance of this world's goods; he could Father of mercies, the God of all grace?" free you from bodily pain, and retain you Can we think of it, and not exclaim, ** Is this dear connexions around you: and if it were the manner of man, O Lord God!" No. We proper and profitable for you, he would do it have heard of benefactors; but they all shrink Cannot you trust him? «He that spared not into nothing from a comparison with him. his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, “God is love."
| how shall he not with him also freely give us Where do you study the Divine character? all things ?" There are many who view God in the beau- Thirdly. The subject should inflame you ties of Nature, and the bounties of Provi- with gratitude. You can never discharge dence; they are thankful that he does not your obligation to such an infinite friend; but " leave himself without witness in doing ought you not to be sensible of it? And ought them good, and giving them rain from heaven, you not to convince all around you that you and fruitful seasons, filling their hearts with are alive to his glory? Should you not of joy and gladness.” But this is hardly rising stantly ask, “What shall I render to the above heathenism. Christianity seems to Lord for all his benefits towards me?" He afford them no advantages. They never spared not his own Son for you: and will you regard God in his highest, noblest work of spare nothing for him? Will you not spare redemption! Yet this is the dispensation by a little of your time? One day in every which he intends to make himself known, ac week? Some part of every day? Will you cording to the words of the Apostle: “ That not spare a little of your substance-to spread in the ages to come he might show the ex- his word, and to relieve his poor? ceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness You ought to saytowards us by Christ Jesus." Here the primi
* Were the whole realm of nature mine, tive Christians beheld him. “He hath shined,
That were a present far too small: said they, in our hearts, to give the light of
Love so amazing, so divine, the knowledge of the glory of God, in the
Deinands my soul, my life, my all." face of Jesus Christ." Paul did not overlook any of God's favours: but this—this drew forth all the ardour of his soul. “Thanks be
DISCOURSE LXXVI. unto God for his unspeakable gift. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”
DIVINE CORRECTION. But a barren consideration of a subject so Furthermore we have had fathers of our fiest important and interesting is as unworthy as which corrected us, and we gave them a indifference. The subject should always pro rence : shall we not much rather be in Fulda duce three effects.
jection unto the Father of spirits, and hire: First. It should inspire you with en- | For they verily for a few days chastened w couragement. Never entertain any harsh after their own pleasure; but he form and gloomy notions of God when you go to profit, that we might be partakers oj" him: but remember, that you are going to holine88.--Heb. xii. 9, 10. address a Being whose heart is set upon your SUPPOSE a person should prescribe a cour welfare; a Being who, after all that you have by following which he would promise done, waits to be gracious; a Being who says, escape from death. The scheme coul “ Let the wicked forsake his way, and the excite a momentary wonder; and you. unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him not waste your time even to exams return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy Scripture, history, and observation, wou upon him, and to our God, for he will abun-convince you, that w in this war there
and you would to examine it
discharge;" and, lifting up your eyes to hea-, wilt." Yea, so far is this very subjection ven, you would sigh, and say, "I know that from excluding sensibility, that it necessarily thou wilt bring me to death; and to the requires it. There is no virtue in the sensehouse appointed for all living." But it would lessness of a stone. There is no patience, no be otherwise if he should recommend a pre- resignation in bearing what we do not feel. paration for it. This would be wise ; this is If you do not prize what you give up at the necessary.
call of God, there can be no value in your The same may be said with regard to af- obedience. fiction. “Although affliction cometh not But it is the repression of every thing reforth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring bellious—in our carriage-in our speechout of the ground; yet man is born unto and in the temper of our minds. trouble, as the sparks fly upwards." No ex. Every thing rebellious in carriage. It is pedient has yet been discovered as a preserva- said of Ahaz, that, in his affliction, “he sintive from calamity. Power, wealthi, honour, ned yet more against God.” Jeremiah comlearning, prudence, morality, have all been plains of the Jews; “ Thou hast stricken unable to find a pathway through life free them, but they have not grieved; thou hast from sorrow. And religion, even the religion consumed them, but they have refused to of the Bible, does not promise us security; receive correction: they have made their yea, it asserts that " many are the afflictions faces harder than a rock; they have refused of the righteous.”
to' return." There are some who repair to But if there is no exemption from trouble, worldly company and dissipation to banish there is a preparation for it. And since it is all sense of sorrow; like those in Isaiah, impossible for us to escape suffering, it is of who said, “Let us eat and drink, for to-morhigh importance to know how we may en- row we die.” Many, under the grasp of Produre it-so as never to be injured by it-and vidence, do not ask for release, but strugalways to derive advantage from it. Our gle to get free; and have recourse to any case is truly alarming, when even medicine unhallowed means to deliver themselves. is administered in vain. It is bad, says Bishop This is wrong. Trouble is in Scripture Hopkins, to lose the lives of our friends, but compared to a prison: and you are not to atit is worse to lose their deaths. It is a se-tempt to burn down the house, or to force rious thing, says Henry, to lose a calamity. open the door, or to escape by the windowAnd we ought, says Owen, as much to pray but if you see him passing by who placed for a blessing upon our daily rou, as upon our you there, you may address him as one did daily bread.
before you : “ Bring my soul out of prison, How ought we then to suffer? The Apos- that I may praise thy name; the righteous tle tells us For, speaking unto us as unto shall compass me about: for thou shalt deal children, he says, “Furthermore we have bountifully with me.” had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, Every thing rebellious in speech. Aaron, and we gave them reverence: shall we not under the loss of his sons, “ held his peace." much rather be in subjection unto the Father So did David under sickness of body; "I was of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few dumb, I opened not my mouth, because thou days chastened us after their own pleasure; didst it." Job was so fearful of offending, but he for our profit, that we might be par- that he determined to be silent: “Behold, I takers of his holiness.” Let us consider two am vile: what shall I answer thee? I will things.
I lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I. THE DUTY OF AFFLICTION.-II. THE I spoken: but I will not answer: yea, twice; REASONS BY WHICH IT IS ENFORCED. but I will proceed no further.” An example
1. THE DUTY is subjeclion. “ Shall we which Solomon recommends to our imitation, not be in subjection ?" This is not opposed when he says, “If thou hast thought evil, to insensibility. To be insensible under af- lay thy hand upon thy mouth ;" endeavour to fliction is not only unnatural, but immoral; check it: for though it be bad to feel it, it is and subyerts the very purpose of the dis- worse to express it; it dishonours God more, pensation. Health and happiness, pleasure and scandalizes others more. “In a multitude and pain, the life or death of our connexions, of words there wanteth not sin;" and there are not to be absolutely indifferent to us, we is such peculiar danger when we suffer, that are allowed a preference with submission. it is necessary to pray continually, “Set a We see this exemplified in the Son of God watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the himself. “Now is my soul troubled; and door of my lips." what shall I say? Father, save me from this . Every thing rebellious in the temper of hour I would, if it were allowable- But for the mind. For the Lord looketh to the heart, this cause came I unto this hour." With and if this be full of impatience and resentstrong cryings and tears he prayed : and you ment, though we may do nothing and say may say as he did, “Father, if it be possible, nothing amiss, we are refractory; and though let this cup pass from me,” if you add as he men may applaud us, God will condemn us. did, “ Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou But we should always distinguish between a