« FöregåendeFortsätt »
pen to like me : but who am I, that I should make love of me a test of excellence ? Am I perfect, and always in every moment an object of esteem? People will not enter into these just and mild sentiments, and therefore they see nothing to love in their enemies; but, if they once dislike, go on, like the Philistines and Edomites towards Israel, till hatred is transmitted from father to son, and becomes, as a prophet expresseth it, an "old and perpetual hatred.” Apply this to the case in hand, If it be possible to find a little truth in a great mass of error; that little truth deserves esteem, and we should consider it as the Lord considered Lot, whom “ he sent out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which he dwelt."
Having said so much against turning the church into a Babel by confounding the pure language of God in Scripture with the jargon of the world, it should seem but fair to say one word before we part, in favour of those, whose “axes and tools are heard in the house :"> for false rumours about Christ are not only abroad in the world, but are actually in the church, and many a cleansed “ leper is making a noise,” about what he doth but half understand.
You are “ Apollos, an eloquent man," and "mighty in the Scriptures.” You are instructed in the way of the Lord, and being fervent in spirit," you speak and teach diligently the things of the Lord.” I respect you, and admire in you your talent for speaking in public, your great love of the Scriptures, and the zeal that animates your conduct : but you 6 know only the baptism of John." Do not disgrace your fine abilities with pride. Submit to be informed of “ the way of God more perfectly.” There are tent-makers who have had the honour of a long acquaintance with the writings of Paul, and, having profited by his instructions, they can teach you in private to understand what you may hereafter teach publicly better than they.
The world blame you for making a noise about religion, and your brethren blame you for pretending to teach what you do but imperfectly understand. Tell the world, you have at all adventures the adyantage of them: there is something in religion substantial, and the little you know is worth contending for; but they, who make far more noise than you, make it about nothing. Observe the prophet Jeremiah, how he describes the glory of Egypt. 66 Who is this that cometh up as a flood ?" It is “ Egypt, who saith, I will go up and will cover the earth. Come up, ye horses, and rage, ye chariots, and let the mighty men come forth, the Ethiopians that handle the shield, and the Lydians that bend the bow.” What saith the prophet to all this ? O mortifying truth! the king of Babylon shall
sweep away” all this fine army, and Pharaoh's own soldiers shall say, “ Pharaoh, king of Egypt, is but a noise." What but a noise about nothing, is honour, splendour, grandeur, majesty, when under all these great sounds you find nothing but a discontented, dying man!
Do the world reproach you with making a noise about religion ? Tell the world, that though you do not understand the whole of Christianity, yet you know enough of it to convince you, that many contentions of bad men, which make a great sound in the world, are for the obtaining of some wicked end; and that you have no such ends to obtain. The prophets, who gave us many pictures of real life, will furnish you with many. Who are they, who drink, and make a noise through wine ?" A company of sots gone raving mad in their
Who are they, that make the noise of a cry from the fishgate, a howling” from the dock, " and a great crashing from the hills ?” They are “ merchant people," who bear - silver, leap on the threshold, fill their masters' houses with violence and deceit, saying in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil.” Who are they, that make a city ring with the noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of wheels, of prancing horses, and jumping chariots justling one against another, with flaming torches running like lightnings in the streets ?” They are 5 mighty men in scarlet, full of lies and robbery, lions tearing in pieces enough for their whelps, strangling for their lionesses, filling their holes with prey, and their dens with rapine.” Who are
they, that “lay waste cities, and make a full land desolate by the noise of their roaring ?" They are the slaves of a tyrant, "taxing land," and "exacting the silver and the gold of the people of the land, of every one according to his taxation, to give it unto Pharaoh.” Who are they, whose every battle “is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood :” who are they, that “ make a noise like a dog, and go” snarling 6 round about the city ?” They are men wandering up and down for meat, and grudging if they be not satisfied.” Is it for such men, who disturb society, and set the world in a flame for the sake of obtaining a little money to spend upon their unruly passions, is it for them to reproach you? “ Lift up your voice like a trumpet. Smite your hands together. Stamp with your foot. Shake off the dust of your feet: verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable in the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah,” than for such as reject even your faithful warnings, though they were all taken from the doctrine and spirit of John the baptist. Imitate your master; say to the publicans, Exact no more than that which is appointed you." Bid the “ soldiers do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely, and be content with their wages.”
Tell the compeople who have two coats, to impart to them that have none." Tell them all, “ The axe is laid unto the root of the trees, and every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down, and cast into the fire." Do more than all this : send your disciples to Christ, to say unto him, “ Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another ?! Teach them to think and judge for themselves, and so do honour to your own understanding, and justice to the rights of mankind.
Let us all lament the wounds given to our Saviour 66 in the house of his friends." His is a great character: it should never be treated of with malice, levity, or carelessness. Let each of us undo, if it be possible, whatever we have done to defame his bright reputation. Let us live up to the light we have, and humbly look forward to that day, when even true prophecies,
and apostolical “ tongues shall fail, and love, universal love, shall abide the duty, the felicity, and the glory of every upright soul; where the “ feeble shall be as David, and David as an angel of God.” May God crown our homely endeavours with success.
THE SPIRIT OF GOD GUIDES ALL GOOD MEN.
ROMANS viii. 14.
As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the
Sons of God. CHRISTIANS,
You knew my text and my subject a month ago, and I dare say you have been reading, and reasoning, and conversing about it. For my part, I have observed a powerful motive in the text to engage us all to do so: they are 6 the sons of God," who are led by his Spirit. This is the highest of all titles, and opens a prospect to the highest of all happiness. Hear our apostle : “ If children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ;' first to 6 suffer," then to be “ glorified with him, with a glory to be revealed in us," with which the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared.” He elsewhere calls it “ a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory :'' and this for men, in whose 6 flesh there dwelleth no good thing.” If such noble objects be sufficient to fire and inflame our hopes, certainly the path that leads to the enjoyment of them is sufficient to inspire us with caution and fear.
No man, it seems, walks in this path to glory but he who is “ led by the spirit of God;" he only is a son of