« FöregåendeFortsätt »
And DEATH ITSELF SHALL DIE.
This amazing change, this infinite consum-, dread? According to Paul-nothing-for mation, will be accomplished by his agency he has abolished death. Yea—this is only -I “will raise him up at the last day.” He one part of your consolation. This is all “shall change our vile body, that it may be negative comfort. But remember, he has fashrioned like unto his own glorious body, ac- turned the curse into a blessing : he has made cording to the working whereby he is able of the enemy a friend. Instead of robbing even to subdue all things unto himself." you, it relieves; it enriches—it is the making
of you for ever.-TO DIE IS GAIN! " His own soft hand shall wipe the tears, From every weeping eye;
Behold the recommendation of religion ; by And pains, and groans, and griefs, and fears, which I mean the religion of the Gospel; for
there is no other that reaches the case of Let it not be said, but this is a future event; falten man. The people of the world often and the Apostle speaks of the past-he has affect to despise Christians; but there are abolished death. His recompense is as cer-moments in which they really envy them. tain as his suffermys. Purpose and execution When conscience has a wakeful moment, and are the same with him. His promise is ful- they are led to reflect on the believer's final filment. One day with the Lord is as a thou- safety and privileges, they exclaim, with sand years, and a thousand years as one day. Balaam, “Let me die the death of the right“He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I cous, and let my last end be like his." And make all things new. And he said unto me, no wonder; for he alone is the happy man Write: for these words are true and faithful. whose chief interest is provided for; who is And he said unto me, IT IS DONE. I am Alpha safe for the soul and eternity-not he who and Omega, the beginning and the end."- has health, but he who is prepared to lose it
These reflections should relieve us in the -not he who prospers in life, bat he who has loss of pious connexions. And how many hope in death—not he who lays up treasure have bereaving dispensations constrained, in on earth, but he who in heaven has a better speaking of their relations, to look back and and an enduring substance—he who can say, say—I had a child—a parent–a wife~a hus- with Job, “ I know that my Redeemer liveth, band! Who has lived a few years in this and that he shall stand at the latter day upon vale of tears, and not had reason to sigh, the earth: and thought after my skin worms " Lover and friend hast thou put far from destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see me ?" And is sensibility forbidden us? “Our God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine tears become us, and our grief is just.”—Yet eyes shall behold, and not another; though may a departing saint say, with a dying Sa- my reins be consumed within me." Ignoviour, “ Weep not for me, but weep for your rance may conceal from a man his danger: selves and for your children.” Yes, we are wickedness may harden his heart against a objects of pity—not they. We who are still sense of it: vain reasonings may stupify the in the wilderness—not they who have enter- conscience with an opiate—but there is no ed the land of promise. We who are still in true victory over death but that which is the conflict—not they who have gotten the derived from the cross and grace of the Revictory. We who rise in the morning to deemer. Happy ye who are found in him! cares that corrode us, fears that alarm us, in- It is not presumption, but becoming confirmities that press us down—not they who fidence, in you, to dare every thing--and to have obtained joy and gladness, and whose triumph over all. « Nay, in all things we sorrow and sighing are fled away. Did they are more than conquerors through him that die? No death is abolished.
For I am persuaded, that neither “Why do you mourn departing friends,
death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalitis,
nor powers, nor things present, nor things to 'Tis but the voice that Jesus sends,
come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other
creature, shall be able to separate us from the Are they dead? No.-Their spirits are now love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our with God: and their “flesh rests in hope. Lord.” He will not leave their souls in hell, neither To conclude. What then is the duty of a will he suffer his holy ones to see corruption" sinner? It is, to remember that it is appointfor ever. “I would not have you to be igno-ed unto men once to die, and after this the rant, brethren, concerning them which are judgment; that his breath is in his nostrils; asleep, that ye sorrow_not, even as others that if he leaves the world a stranger to the which have no hope. For if we believe that Lord Jesus, temporal death will only be the Jesus died and rose again, even so them also passage to eternal—but that there is hope in which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Israel concerning this thing: that God has him. Wherefore comfort one another with sent his only begotten Son into the world, these words."
that we might live through him; that he came, Again. Should not this subject raise the not only that we might have life, but have it minds of Christians above the fear of dissolu- more abundantly—and that we cannot escape, tion ?-You dread it—but what is it you if we neglect so great salvation.—It is, to
Or shake at death's alarms?
To call them to his arm."
pray, with Moses, “So teach us to number that the friendship of the world is enmity our days, that we may apply our hearts unto with God? whosoever therefore will be a wisdom." It is, to " seek the Lord while he friend of the world is the enemy of God. If may be found, and to call upon him while he God had told us that we cannot walk on the is near." All else, for creatures circumstan- sea, or flee in the air, we should have beced like you, is folly or trifling. “This is lieved him, without risking life by experithe work of God, that ye believe on him whom ment: but here—in declarations equally exhe hath sent. He that believeth on the Son press, men are not content without trying hath everlasting life: and he that believeth whether his word will come to pass or not.not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath And, were it not for the dreadfulness of the of God abideth on him."
result, we should say—“And let them try! Say then—“I am mortal-yet an heir of But "God will be true, and every man a liar!'” eternity. Every breath I draw brings me Another mode by which he destroys, is to nearer the hour when this world will recede separate what God has joined together; such from my view, and proclaim its vanity and as principle and practice; doctrine and duty; vexation. Then, o solemn thought! these pardoning mercy and renewing grace: the states of changeless existence will open on water and the blood—for he came by wamy view in all their tremendous grandeur ter and blood; not by water only, or blood and importance. Then, dreadful alternative! only, but by water and blood : these were the glories of heaven, or the damnation of not severed in their effusion from the cross, hell, will be my portion.—To which of these and they cannot be divided in their apam 1 hastening ?-What am I? A sinner.- plication to the soul. That man is not yet What then is my doom? The wages of sin truly awakened and enlightened from above, is death.—But is there no escape ? • With who does not see and feel his equal need of the Lord there is mercy, and with him there -the Saviour and the Sanctifier—the Son is plenteous redemption. O cheering hope! of God and the Spirit of God—the work of Buit is it for me? He came into the world the one for him, and of the other in him. to save sinners; he died for the ungodly; and To such a connexion I am going to lead why not for thee?—And can he save me? you. For be it remembered, every Christian He is able to save to the uttermost. And has two Advocates, two Intercessors; and will he save me? • Him that cometh unto they should be viewed relatively to each me I will in no wise cast out. O heavenly other. “Jesus ever liveth to make intercesintelligence! 'Tis a saying worthy of all sion for them. The Spirit itself maketh inacceptation-I am saved by hope_To the tercession for us.” We have therefore three throne of grace will I fee-on the Friend of things in view. And, sinners will I rely—and in the exercise of I. Let us consider THE INTERCESSION OF faith, love, patience, and obedience, “all the Christ. Dr. Owen, long ago, complained, days of my appointed time will I wait-till and there is much truth in the remark, that -it will be nothing more-till my change we do not dwell enough, in our thoughts, comes." Amen.
on the present life of Christ: for he is living, not a life of glory only—though even this
should delight those that love him ; but a life DISCOURSE CII.
of office. It was expedient for us that he
went away. It was for our welfare that he
ascended into heaven, as well as descended THE TWO INTERCESSORS.
into the grave.
“He was delivered for our
offences, and was raised again for our justifiHe ever live!h to make intercession for them.
cation." “ Because he lives, we shall live Heb. vii. 25.
also.” “ If, when we were enemies, we were The Spirit itself_maketh intercession for 118. reconciled to God by the death of his Son; Rom. viii. 27.
much more, being reconciled, we shall be One of the ways" for we are not igno- saved by his life.” rant of his devices,” one of the ways, in When our Saviour left our world, he aswhich the enemy of souls destroys men, is by cended up far above all heavens; and frailty joining together what God has separated. might have feared, that his concern for us Hence the alliance between the world and would have ceased with his residence among religion; and hence the awful declarations; us. When a friend is going far away, we “ No man can serve two masters: for either sometimes painfully think of the proverb, he will hate the one, and love the other; or * Out of sight out of mind.” Men, as they else he will hold to the one, and despise the rise, too commonly lose much of their recolother. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. lection; and forget even those to whom they Love not the world, neither the things that were under obligation before" Yet did not are in the world. If any man love the world, the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat the love of the Father is not in him. Ye him.” But, says Paul, though Jesus the Son adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not of God be passed into the heavens, “ we have not an high priest who cannot be touched heritance, and the uttermost parts of the with the feeling of our infirmities." The earth for thy possession.” So the Saviour ligature which unites us remains--and is all said himselt.—THEREFORE " doth my Fa. sensibility and life. Had we seen him as he ther love me, because I lay down my life for was going up, we should have prayed, with the sheep.” the dying thief, “ Lord, remember me when Secondly. It extends to all our important thou comest into thy kingdom.” And does interests. We may look upon his prayer for he not? Yes; "he ever liveth to make inter- his disciples, on the night in which he was cession for us." G
betrayed, as a specimen of his continued inVolumes might be written on the subject; tercession before the throne. And for what but we must be brief. It has been questioned does he not there plead? Is it their preservawhether this intercession be vocal. Why tion? “Keep through thine own name those should it not? He is “clothed in a body whom thou hast given me. I pray not that like our own.” Certainly the common rea- thou shouldest take them out of the world, son assigned—that it would be inconsistent but that thou shouldest keep them from the with his present dignity, is not valid. For do evil.” Is it their renovation ? " Sanctify them we not know that dignity is never injured by through thy truth: thy word is truth." Is condescension ?- That true greatness is ten- it their union? “That they all may be one; der and sympathizing ? That his goodness is as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that his glory?—Do we forget the grace of our they also may be one in us: that the world Lord Jesus Christ, who, when he was rich, may believe that thou hast sent me. And the for our sakes became poor, that we through glory which thou gavest me I have given his poverty might be rich ?"-And that he them; that they may be one, even as we are does not give up the kingdom to God, even one." Is it their glorification? “ Father, I the Father, till he has put down all rule, and will that they also whom thou hast given me all authority, and power?
be with me where I am; that they may be But, not to intrude into things which we hold my glory, which thou hast given me: have not seen, it is enough for us to know, for thou lovedst me before the foundation of
First. That his intercession is real. It con- the world.” sists in his personal appearance; in the pre- Thirdly. It is successful. “I know," says sentation of his sacritice, and claiming the he, “ that thou hearest me always.” This benefits arising from it. Æschylus was conclusion is derivable from the grandeur of strongly accused, and likely to be condemned. his character, and his nearness to God. He His brother Amyntas engaged to be his ad- is called God's own Son, his only begotten vocate. Amyntas had done much for the Son, his dear Son, in whom his soul delightcommonwealth, and in a certain action, in eth. It is derivable from the ground of his their service, had lost a hand. He came demand. By his obedience unto death, even into the court. The court was uncommonly the death of the cross, he has rendered the crowded; and all were eager to hear him communication of the blessings we need conplead on so interesting an occasion. But he sistent with the truth, and righteousness, and said nothing—he only held up his dismem-law of God. It is derivable from Divine bered arm!! The audience and the judges fidelity. He who is faithful to his saints, canwere so moved, as immediately to order his not be unfaithful to his Son: the joy that was brother's release. It does not appear that the set before him, as the recompense of his sufferHigh Priest said any thing when he entered ings, he must possess. He « shall see his seed; the holy place: but what he did, spake loud he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of enough. He wore the names of the twelve the Lord shall prosper in his hands. He shall tribes of Israel on his breast-plate ; he took see the travail of his soul and shall be SATISthe blood of the slaughtered victim in a basin, FIED.”—To which we may add, the interest and sprinkled the mercy-seat, and burned in- he feels in his people. What he asks on their cense before the golden altar, and then came behalf, he asks for himself; for they are one forth and blessed the people. Abel's blood and “he is glorified in them." spake to God from the ground; that is, it de- II. Let us examine THE INTERCESSION OF manded vengeance: the blood of Jesus is THE Spirit: for the Spirit - itself maketh equally vocal; but it speaketh better things intercession for us." than that of Abel-it calls for mercy. How In entering on this part of our discourse, did John see him in the vision ? As a lamb it is necessary to observe, that, subjectively that had been slain; that is, with the wound and instrumentally considered, religion is our in the neck, and the blood on the wool. With own work: we run the race set before us; and out a figure-he retains in his glorified body fight the good fight of faith: we believe, and the marks of his sufferings and death. The repent, and pray-But, owing to our natural saints and the angels behold them, and ex- ignorance, and weakness, depravity, and averclaim, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!" sion, it is God that worketh in us to will and God views them, and says, “ Ask of me, and to do of his good pleasure. To his Spirit, I will give thee the heathen for thine in- therefore, all our renovation is ascribed: we
are said to be “born of the Spirit;" to be as free as they are suitable. Particularly we “ led by the Spirit;" “ live in the Spirit;" see Jesus as the Mediator of the new coveto “walk in the Spirit;" and to “worship nant; as once suffering for sin, the just for God in the Spirit.”
the unjust, that he might bring us unto God; Let us see how this general reflection as the way to the Father—and “have boldbears upon the subject before us. “I will ness and access with confidence by the faith pour,” says God,“ upon the house of David, of him.” Thus these words of the Saviour and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit are fulfilled, " He shall glorify me, for he of grace and of supplication.” " Because ye shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto are sons," says the Apostle,
“God hath sent you." forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, Finally. The Spirit renews our souls, recrying, Abba, Father.” And Jude exhorts moves our alienation from the life of God, and Christians to “pray in the Holy Ghost.” produces in us those principles and disposiAnd how are we to understand this? There tions which cause us to delight in approachis only one way in which the Spirit itself ing him; and even to give thanks at the remaketh intercession for us; and that is, by membrance of his holiness. Thus our duty making intercession in us: it is, by teaching, is converted into a privilege; and we find it and enabling us to make intercession for our- too good to draw near to God ever again to selves: for the Apostle adds," he maketh in- restrain prayer before him. tercession for us, with groanings which can- Here I would observe, That this influence not be uttered." Let us see, then, how this is afforded us all through life, and is not conDivine agency brings the sinner upon his fined to the commencement of a religious knees, and keeps him there.
course: neither is it limited to persons of inFirst. The Spirit leads us to an acquaint- ferior attainments only-What says the Aposance with ourselves. He removes the vail ple? We know not what to pray for as we of ignorance and delusion that concealed our ought; but the Spirit helpeth our infirmities. state, our wants, and our desert: and the The wisest, if left to themselves, would man who once said, I am rich, and increased often ask for scorpions, instead of fish-but with goods, and have need of nothing, now he maketh intercession for the saints, acsees, that he is wretched, and miserable, and cording to the will of God. The most zealous poor, and blind, and naked. He no longer sometimes grow careless and formal--but he denies his guilt; or palliates his offences; or quickens their souls, when they cleave unto goes about to establish his own righteous- the dust. The holiest contract fresh guilt, ness: but, filled with self-abhorrence, con- and when they remember God, are troubled demnation, and despair, cries, “God be mer- —but he revives their confidence by the apciful to me a sinner.” For,
plication of the blood of sprinkling: and brings Secondly. The Spirit fixes upon the mind them into the presence of God again as their a concern to be delivered and relieved, too Father and their Friend. great to be shaken off. Many persons are Therefore, grieve not the Holy Spirit, followed with some general notions of their whereby ye are sealed unto the day of rebeing in an unconverted state; and feel some demption. It would be, not only the vilest superficial apprehensions of the unhappiness ingratitude, considering what he has done for and danger of such a condition: but they you; but the greatest folly. How much, how have no burden too heavy for them to bear; entirely, do you depend upon his agencythey are not weary, and heavy laden; they you cannot even pray without him—and can sleep, and eat, and drink, and trade, and what can you do without prayer? Would trifle, as well as before. But it is not so with you grieve a friend, and induce him to give the man whom God is bringing along to his up his correspondence, and his visits; and footstool. IIe sows in tears. His sin is ever constrain him to withhold his assistance, and before him. Neither business, nor company, to look another way, if he meet you in the nor amusement, can ease the anguish of his road when you every moment need his broken heart; or divert him from the inquiry, smiles and his aid ? “ What must I do to be saved ?"
Shall I also say, Beware that you do not Thirdly. The Spirit enables us to appre- abuse this encouraging truth? It is abused, hend and believe the mercy and grace re- when you neglect prayer till, you say, the vealed in the Gospel. Hence arises a hope Spirit moves you. For we are to stir up that maketh not ashamed. This hope enters ourselves to take hold of God. We are to the soul, as the sun does a garden in spring; cry for aid, as the Church does: " Awake, calling forth, by a genial influence, the leaves O'north wind; and come, thou south; blow and the buds, after the dreariness of winter. upon my garden, that the spices thereof may We are sweetly, yet powerfully, excited and flow out. By tacking about, the mariner encouraged to make known our requests unto gets wind—not by lying still. God helps God. We see that our case, however de- us, not in the neglect-but in the use of plorable, is provided for; that all things are means—“ Draw nigh to God, and he will now ready; that the blessings we need are draw nigh to you." The more dull and dead
we feel ourselves the more we need these that the Redeemer thinks upon you for good exercises, which are appointed to help us; and appears in the presence of God for you. and which, for this very reason, are called Well; the proof does not lie far off—it is the means of grace. And Christians well nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy know what a change they have often ex- heart. It is prayer-not fine prayer-not perienced, even in the performance of the well-arranged language; the proof does not duty? They have kneeled down, dark, and require language at all. No—but a broken cold, and contracted; but have risen up heart; a contrite spirit; tears; sighs; groanenlightened, and inflamed, and enlarged; ings-groanings which cannot be uttered. and have exemplified the promise ; “ They Of this therefore rest assured, that if the that wait upon the Lord shall renew their Spirit itself is thus making intercession in strength; they shall mount up with wings you, Jesus is ever living to make intercession as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; for you. and they shall walk, and not faint.”—Having And what can you desire more? It was considered the intercession of Christ, and ex- the privilege of David, that he had a friend at plained the intercession of the Spirit, let us, court—and this was Jonathan the king's son. III. View them IN THEIR RELATION TO It was the privilege of Jacob's sons, that they
had a friend at court—and this was Joseph It is easy to distinguish these Interces- their brother. Christians! both these adransors. The one makes intercession above; tages are united in your portion. You have the other below : one in the court of heaven; a Friend_at court; you have an Advocate the other in the conscience. The one makes with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous intercession for us, the other in us. The and he is the King's Son; he is your Bro sanctifying Intercessor produces the petition; ther. “Who is he that condemneth? It is the atoning Intercessor introduces it: the one Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen is the notary that indites the case; the other again, who is even at the right hand of God, is the counsellor that pleads it before the jury who also maketh intercession for us. Who and the Judge.
shall separate us from the love of Christ! But there is a connexion between them; shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, and it is threefold. First: a connexion of or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword! derivation. The one flows from the other. Nay, in all these things we are more than If the Son of God had not made intercession conquerors through him that loved us." for you as a sinner, the Spirit itself would And while he represents you in heaven, never have made intercession in you, as a may you, Christians, represent him on earth. believer. Christ hath redeemed us from the while he pleads your cause, may you plead curse of the law, being made a curse for us : his; and henceforth live, not to yourselves, " that the blessing of Abraham might come but to Him who died for you and rose again! on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Secondly: a connexion of de
DISCOURSE CIII. pendence. The one needs the other. Is not the work of the Spirit pure and holy? Can that THE GRAND INQUIRY. which he produces be imperfect and polluted ? You must distinguish between the same work
Lovest thou me?-John xxi. 17. as it is his, and as it is ours. What comes from SOME of the greatest works of God seem him is pure and complete; but as far as it is to have been the effects of accidental occurdone by us it is defective and defiled, like water, rences, rather than the results of design. which, however clear from the spring, rolling The reason is, because God is the sovereign over a muddy bottom, or running through an Master of occasions, as well as of their conimpure channel, will be soiled and injured. sequences. He foresees them; he procures Hence all need, as long as they are here, the them; and what is contingency with us, is continued mediation of the Saviour: and he purpose with him. is the great high priest over the house of The same may be said of his Word. Many God, for this very purpose, and offers with parts of it were produced by particular much incense the prayers of all saints. We events; but they were intended for universal need not be afraid to pray, since all our ser- and perpetual use; and therefore, in reading vices pass through his hands, and he presents them, we should be concerned to bring what and perfumes them. Thirdly: a connexion is said of others to bear upon ourselves of evidence. The one proves the other. As Many of the Psalms of David were composed to some of you, how long have you been by the author under the influence of peculiar praying, “Say unto my soul, I am thy sal circumstances; but these peculiar circumvation? Show me a token for good, that I stances were comprehended in the Divin. may rejoice in thee? What happy beings arrangement, and have been rendered subwould you go away at the end of this exer- servient to the welfare of the Church of cise, if you could ascertain one thing: namely, God in all ages of the world. When Joshua