« FöregåendeFortsätt »
comprehensive views of Christian love | by the pressure of his bodily malady; which can hold within its ample em- all that he could do, grace enabling, brace all the genuine disciples of the was to "hold fast the faith," and that same Lord, irrespective of dissimilarity he did to the last moment. of opinion on controverted subjects not Expressing his unwavering confidence affecting the fundamentals of Chris- in the truth of the gospel he had so long tianity. Your affection for one another and so faithfully preached, he fell asleep was never diminished, nor had you in the sure and certain hope of a resuroccasion to blame your pastor for cow- rection to life eternal; and, oh, how ardly concealment of his sentiments on welcome the rest on glory's shore after the one hand, nor for obtrusive and so boisterous a passage thither, fiery zeal in their inculcation on the Our deceased brother was among the other.
last of a class of ministers such as I It were superfluous to say, after this, fear we are not likely soon to see again. that Mr. Aikenhead lived among you Dr. Russel, Mr. Knowles, and Mr. Aikenembodying the religion he taught. No, head, who were at one time closely knit I might appeal to the whole locality together, have followed each other in whether he either made an enemy or rapid succession to their reward, but left one behind him. It was his mercy alas how few of their standing and and of God's free grace, that he was character remain ! The race of teachenabled to adorn the doctrine of God ers now being raised up we honour as our Saviour as a private Christian as persons, it may be, of profounder acwell as a public teacher.
quirements in general literature, but His last days, as you know, have been the men whose retirement from the days of bitterness. Nearly three years stage we deplore cannot be surpassed in has the servant of the Lord been the bible lore. Like Apollos, they were subject of protracted suffering. I know "mighty in the scriptures." With less not if in all that time he has had one of elegance in their compositions and night of perfect ease. The nature of a polish in their periods, they yet brought man's affliction often determines the up great masses of ore from the mine character of his religious experience. which they wrought out, not into wire In some kinds of disease the animal work or gold leaf, but "durable riches," spirits remain entire; nay, even light which enriched those who waited on and buoyant; in others they are so their ministry. Their word was with depressed by physical and organic power, for it was the echo of the word changes, that the holiest mind is unable of God himself, and through his Spirit to rise through the superincumbent was mighty in pulling down strongload oftrouble to taste the cup of pleasure; holds. consequently dulness and apparent The Lord God send us hosts of such apathy ofttimes seizes the sufferer. men, whose“ quiver is filled with those, Much of this fell to the lot of our we shall not be ashamed, but speak with brother. Biliary derangement, com the enemies in the gate.” bined with acute rheumatism and | But it is time to turn to you who paralytic affections, so preyed on his have long sat under the deceased minisnaturally lively mind, as in the end ter's instructions, and to ask, what fairly to wrench what we call spirit out have you made of all your rare advanof him. The scintillations of native tages? Are there none among you who wit, which were wont to sparkle through have been hardened into sermon proof, his conversation, were all extinguished under the oft-repeated action of the hammer? None of you who have steeled Your teacher has gone before to judgyour guilty hearts against the warnings, ment, and you are coming up with the overtures, and beseechments with incredible rapidity. Oh, if you would which for years you have been plied ? not have the man of God stand forth If there are, say, how shall you appear against you, do hear him yet again from in judgment ? and how can you endure his tomb, for,“ being dead, he yet speakto be confronted with your faithful eth;" do, do let the voice of the pulpit, pastor? Must he stand forth to say, the death-bed, and the grace of such a when your true character is disclosed, messenger, once more peal in your “Lord, and this is the man into whose guilty ear, interpreted by lips which ear were poured the notes of the goodly the silence of the grave will, in turn, song, and whom I sought, by the terrors speedily seal up also: "Behold, nor is of the Lord, and by every kind and the accepted time, behold now is the winning method as well, to withdraw day of salvation.” “Turn ye, turn ye; and to alienate from his carnal society, why will ye die, O house of Israel !" his vices, and his crimes, to Thee, to “It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all happiness, and to heaven, but without acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into success; he would not be moved by the world to save the chief of sinners." ever so little from his refuges of lies; “Look unto me, and be saved.” “Beand now I stand here to witness this is lieve, and live ye !" the very man, and this the manner he Oh, let not the sainted minister meet trifled with thy message, or turned you in the haggard and wobegone form away from the mercy I had to offer in of a lost soul, but as a trophy of victhy name?” We say, is there any poor | torious grace won to the Saviour through soul whose conscience here upbraids the sanctified reminiscences of his earnhim on this score? If so, his case is est ministry in this place. May many deplorable indeed-all but hopeless. I of you be his joy and crown in that day!
GOD HAS NO PLEASURE IN THE DEATH OF THE WICKED.
BY THE REV. G. W. FISHBOURNE.
The language of the law is, “Do this displeasure, and be for ever cast out and thou shalt live : cursed is every from his presence. But it may, neverone that continueth not in all things theless, be true that God has no pleawritten in the book of the law to do sure in the death of the sinner, but rather them.” This law is holy, just, and that he should turn from his way and good; its author is good and gracious live. also. Judgment is his strange work, The object of the writer of this and mercy is his delight. But his law, I paper is to bring forward reasons for to be of force with men, has and must believing this, which may, under the have penalties attached to it, and these divine blessing, induce the reader to repenalties must be such as are calculated pent and seek mercy through Jesus to influence men, and must be enforced Christ. when the law is broken. Many, there! The first thing I would observe is, fore, may perish. Multitudes not heed- l that God when speaking to the effect ing the divine law may incur the Lord's above stated has confirmed his word by an oath. “As I live, saith the Lord, I him. The earth, the air, the sea, with have no pleasure in the death of the the myriads of beings that inhabit them, wicked.” Now his word of itself is a all testify to his power and Godhead. sufficient warrant for believing what he Our own existence, being fearfully and says. He is a God of truth. All his wonderfully made, with the conscience words and all his ways are true. There that is within us, accusing or else is no unrighteousness, no falsehood, no excusing us, testify that God is; but it changeableness in him. And as he is is not more true that God exists, than the Supreme Being there is no conceiv- it is true that he has no pleasure in the able motive for his not speaking the truth. Men often speak that which is Another illustration of the truth of false. Even when put on their oath they this statement is drawn from the provioften utter falsehood either to concili-sion which God has made for man's ate the favour or avert the frowns of everlasting welfare. When our first men; either to shield themselves from parents fell from the estate in which evil or to gain some actual good. But they were created, he gave them a God can be influenced by no such mo- gracious promise, that the seed of the tives. He is the eternal, the self-existent woman should bruise the serpent's head; Jehovah; he is dependent on none; he and in the fulness of time God sent his is exalted above all blessing and praise. own Son into the world, made of a None can injure him, or take from his woman, made under the law. “God so happiness or glory. None can profit loved the world, that he gave his only him, or add to his essential happiness or begotten Son, that whosoever believdignity. No motive, therefore, such as eth in him should not perish but have man is influenced by, can actuate the everlasting life.” The scheme which divine being to lead him either to sup- God has devised and carried into effect press the truth, or to speak that which has for its object the deliverance of man is not true. But to render this declara from the condemnation into which his tion more forcible or, at least, that we sins have brought him. Its purpose, might be induced so to regard it, he also, is to make him a possessor of condescends solemnly to swear to the happiness to which he has no right or truth of his word. Men are accustomed title. By it his sins are forgiven ; to regard an oath in a more solemn and peace is spoken to his conscience ; joy binding light than a mere declaration, dwells within his heart ; hope animates and an oath for confirmation is to them his spirit, and the mansions in our an end of strife. Stooping, therefore, Father's house at last become his home. to our weakness, God says, “As I live, This provision fully meets the necessity saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in of the case for which it was devised. the death of the wicked, but that he The law was broken ; Christ magnified turn from his way and live.” He could it and made it honourable. Justice swear by no greater, he therefore swears called aloud for vengeance; in Christ a by himself. As I live, saith the Lord ransom was found, and man was deGod. The proofs of God's existence livered from going down to the pit. surround us in great numbers and The atonement of Christ has laid the in overwhelming power. “The heavens basis for man's acceptance with God so declare his glory, and the firmament strong and so broad, that whosoever showeth his handy work. Day unto cometh unto God by him shall in no day uttereth speech, and night unto wise be cast out. The iniquity of man's night showeth knowledge" concerning / sin demanded punishment for ever, and VOL. XII.--FOURTH SERIES.
Christ hath by one offering perfected for church, that it may be preached throughever them who are sanctified. Man is out the whole earth. It is the word of altogether sinful; he is altogether vile life, the word of salvation; and it makes and corrupt; “his heart is deceitful and known life from the dead, and salvation desperately wicked;" but the blood of to the lost and perishing. His people Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses from have with varying zeal and energy been all sin. Man can lay no foundation of making known his word since the time his own for salvation; but Christ lays when the command was first given; and in Zion a chief and precious corner- it is only for the church fully to realize stone, and whosoever believes in him its obligations, and fully to discharge its shall not be ashamed or confounded. duties in the spirit of fervent love to Christ is able to save to the uttermost Christ and immortal souls, and in the all who come unto God by him, seeing spirit of earnest prayer, and humble and he ever liveth to make intercession for hearty trust in the promise of the Rethem. He commands us to repent and deemer, for the world to hear the glad believe the gospel, and has told us that tidings of salvation, and for all men to “if we confess our sins, he is faithful know that God has no pleasure in their and just to forgive us our sins, and to death. Many different nations have cleanse us from all unrighteousness," heard it, and have been blessed in receirand that “if we believe we shall never ing it; and although many of the naperish but have everlasting life.” This tions that first heard it have it not now, rich provision, then, for our eternal yet it has gone into other lands, and well-being may teach us that “ God has there, also, has gained its victories. It no pleasure in the death of the wicked, has travelled east, west, north, and but that he should turn from his way south, and has never been without its and live."
triumphs. Sinners have been turned The truth of this statement may ap- from the error of their ways, and in the pear again, if we remember that Christ flocking of multitudes to the cross, the has commanded his disciples to make Redeemer has seen of the travail of his known the news of mercy to all the soul. In the numbers it has rescued world. His language to them was, “Go from death, in the tears it has wiped ye into all the world, and preach the from their eyes, in the grace it has gospel to every creature; whosoever be imparted to keep them from falling, in lieveth and is baptized shall be saved, the peaceful and happy deaths it has and whosoever believeth not shall be secured, as, also, in the glorious hope of, damned.” This preaching of the gospel and entrance into eternal life it has is a testimony against man's sin and conferred, there has been written in many iniquity; and while it makes known the lands, as with a beam of light, this graanger of God, deserved by and justly cious word, " As I live, saith the Lord, falling on all transgressors, it also pro- I have no pleasure in the death of the claims peace on earth, good will from wicked." And, my reader, the gospel God towards men. To many nations has been sent to you. God has cast this word has been preached, and its your lot in a land where gospel privigood news and glad tidings made known. leges are largely increased, where God has been constantly raising up la- bibles are multiplied in number and bourers, and sending them into his har-cheapness beyond all former precedent, vest, and multitudes of souls have heard and where the proclamation of good news and known the joyful sound. God has and glad tidings is heard on every put this word into the hands of his hand. You have heard this word, it has been often preached in your hearing of salvation. It should ever be rememBy it, therefore, you have been warned bered that God has full power to punish; to flee from the wrath to come; by it he hath power to kill the body, and after you have been taught that Christ is able that to cast the soul into hell fire. He to save to the uttermost all that come can at once assign its portion in the unto God by him; by it you have been bottomless pit, where there is wailing invited to come and partake freely of the and gnashing of teeth. He hath made waters of life; by it you have heard the all things, and by him all things contrue and faithful promise, “Him that sist. Is there anything too hard for cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." the Lord ? There is sufficient reason, The purpose for which this word has too, why God should punish. Your been thus sent to you is one of mercy transgressions are many; they have and kindness, even this, that you may been continued through a long series of be alarmed at your danger, and flee to years; they may be multiplied not only the only refuge, Christ Jesus; that your by the years, or months, or weeks of heart may be filled with yearning after your existence, but by its days, and good, and that you may find it in Christ minutes, and seconds. Your transgresthe good Shepherd, who is ready to lead sions have been wilful; the result of you into green pastures and beside the your own choice. The good has been still waters. You have, then, evidence placed before you, and also the evil, and before you, addressed most closely and you have chosen the evil. The way of personally to you (oh, that you may feel life has been set before you, and also the and yield to its power !), that God has way of death, and the way of death you no pleasure in your death.
have chosen. You may have been inThe forbearance of God towards fluenced by persuasion or by example, the wicked furnishes another illustra- but still sin has been, after all, your tion. A remarkable instance of this own choice. Your transgressions have was manifested towards the old world, been aggravated. Conscience, the word which was destroyed by water. God of God, the bitterness of the ways of saw that the wickedness of man was sin, have often warned you, but still you great on the earth, and that every ima- have sinned. Many things that you gination of the thoughts of his heart have done you have known to be wrong, was only evil continually; he, therefore, but still you have done them; God has determined to destroy man whom he had said, and you have felt it, "Be sure your created, from the face of the earth. Yet sin will find you out," but you have during the space of one hundred years added sin to sin notwithstanding. It is or more, while the ark was being pre- even to be feared that the forbearance pared, and while Noah was a preacher of God itself has been abused by you of righteousness to them, did God exer | into an occasion of sin; for when judgcise towards them his long-suffering and ment against an evil work is not exeforbearance. This resolve to destroy cuted speedily, it is often the case that them was only taken in consequence of the hearts of the children of men are their great wickedness in God's sight, fully set in them to do evil. So it may and he forbore to punish, that his long- have been with you. You have thought suffering and goodness might lead them God has not observed you, or that he to repentance. So, also, towards our has forgotten to punish you, or that he world and its inhabitants at the present is altogether such a one as yourself, time is long-suffering exercised, that it and has pleasure in iniquity. If for may be accounted and made the means your ways, evil and depraved as they