Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

declared, unsought and undesired, "that the seed of the woman should bruise' the serpent's head," Gen. iii. In every succeeding age, he confirmed his purpose by types, promises, prophecies, and oaths. At length, in the fulness of time, Christ, "the desire of all nations," came into the world, fulfilled all that had been foretold, and encouraged every humble penitent sinner to come unto him, that they might have life, pardon, and peace. To doubt, or to deny, his readiness to save, is, so far as in us lies, to "make the word of God of none effect;" it is "to charge God foolishly," as though, like the heedless unskilful builder in the Gospel, he had begun to build that which was not to be finished. If after all that is set before us, it is possible for any soul to miss salvation that sincerely desires it, and seeks it in God's appointed way, it must be because the Lord Jesus Christ either cannot or will not save them. That he cannot, is flatly. false; for "all power is his in heaven and in earth," Matth. xxviii.; and it is particularly said, that " he is "able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him," Heb. vii.: and that he will not, is as false; for he himself hath said, "Whosoever cometh unto me, "I will in nowise cast out," John vi.

(6

We may infer, secondly, that this doctrine is not only faithful, but "worthy of all acceptation." And here, methinks, I could begin anew. A point so much mistaken by some, and neglected by most, rather requires a whole, or many discourses, than to be passed over in few words. The most high and wise God has esteemed the redemption of mankind so precious, "that "he spared not his only Son," Rom. viii.-And are there any amongst us, in a land of Gospel light and liberty, where the words of wisdom are sounding in our ears every day, that dare make light of this message, VOL. II.

2 P

just give it a hearing, and return to their farms, their merchandize, and their diversions, as though this unspeakable grace of God called for no return? Alas! “ How shall we escape, if we neglect this salvation?" Heb. ii. “ He that despised Moses' law died without “mercy.” It was dangerous, it was destructive, to refuse him that spoke upon earth; take heed how you trifle with him “ that speaketh from heaven!" To such as neglect this, " there remains no other sacrifice “ for sin, but a certain fearful looking for of fiery in

dignation, that shall devour the adversaries,” Heb. x. Let none of us think it is well with us, merely because we were born and educated in a Christian country, have means of instruction in our hands, and enjoy frequent opportunities of presenting ourselves before God in public worship. To thousands these, so far from being advantages, will greatly aggravate their condemnation, and point the sting of the never-dying worm. Better were it for us to have been inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon, Luke x. yea of Sodom and Gomorrah, than to appear in judgment with no better plea than this. Neither let us speak peace to ourselves, because we are not so bad as others, but perhaps live decently and comfortably, are useful, in society, and perform many things that are commonly called good works. If these works spring from a true love of God, if they are framed according to the rule of his word, if they are performed by faith in Christ Jesus our Lord, they are undoubtedly good, and shall be rewarded before men and angels; if otherwise, you have already your reward, in the complacence of your own minds, and the approbation of friends and acquaintance. The Christianity of the New Testament imports more than all this. It is, to believe in Jesus Christ; so to believe in him, as to obey him

[ocr errors]

in all his commands, to trust him in all his dispensations, to walk in his steps, copying out the bright example of his love, meekness, patience, self-denial, and active zeal for the glory of God, and the good of mankind. It is, from a consciousness of our utter inability to perform these great things, to depend continually upon the promised aid and direction of his Holy Spirit, to seek this assistance by frequent fervent prayer, to offer up ourselves daily as living sacrifices unto God; --and, finally, when we have done all, to be deeply sensible of our unworthiness of the least of his mercies, to confess ourselves unprofitable servants, and to place all our hopes upon this faithful saying, "That Jesus "Christ came into the world to save sinners."

Thus, from the consideration of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the greatness of our misery by nature, and the wonderful things he has done and suffered for our redemption, we may learn the complete security of that salvation he has provided, the extreme danger of neglecting it, and the folly and presumption of attempting to establish a righteousness of our own, independent of him "who is appointed of God unto us, "wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemp"tion," 1 Cor. 1. In setting these things before you plainly and faithfully, I trust I have delivered my own soul. Time is short, life is precarious, and perhaps, to some, this may be the last opportunity of the kind that may be afforded them; God grant we may be wise in time, that," to-day, while it is called to-day," we may hear his voice. Then we shall understand more of the text than words can teach us; then we shall experience a peace which passeth all understanding." Phil. iv.; "a joy" which "a stranger intermeddleth not

(6

66

with," Prov. xiv.; and a hope "full of glory," which

shall be completed in the endless possession of those "pleasures which are at the right hand of God," Psalm xvi.; where sin, and its inseparable attendant sorrow, shall cease for ever; where "there shall be no "more grief, or pain, or fear," Rev. xxi.; but every tear shall be wiped from every eye.

*

SERMON III.

ON THE CHRISTIAN NAME.

ACTS, XI. 26. latter part.

ST

-And the disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

THE evangelist Luke, having contributed his appoint

ed part to the history of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, proceeds, in the book we style the Acts of the Apostles, to inform us of the state and behaviour of those faithful followers he left behind him on earth, when he ascended, in the name and behalf of his people, to that heaven from whence his love had brought him down. We are informed that the gracious promises he had made while he was yet with them, began soon to take place; for, "when the day of Pentecost was fully come," Acts ii. the Holy Spirit descended powerfully upon them, qualified them for preaching the Gospel to the whole world, and gave them an earnest of success, in making their first essay the happy means of converting about "three "thousand souls."

The first believers, who "were of one heart and one "soul, who continued steadfastly in the apostle's doc"trine, and had all things in common," would probably have been well content to have lived together in Jeru

salem, till death had successively transplanted them to the Jerusalem which is above. But this was not to be their rest and their Lord, who had appointed them to be "the salt of the earth," and "the light of the world," Matth. v. made use of the rage of their enemies to effect that separation which those who are united by the grace of God are often so loath to yield to. Little did Herod and the Jews consider what would be the consequence of the persecution they raised against the church of Christ: but persecutors are always blind, and counteract their own designs. So here; for we are told, that those whom they scattered abroad, "went. every where preaching the word." Thus, the word of the Lord "ran and was glorified;" their bitterest enemies contributing to push it forward, till, in a few years, it was published "from sea to sea, and from "the river to the ends of the earth," Psalm 1xxii.

66

For a while these faithful followers of the Lamb were known only by particular names, according to the different humours of different places; Nazarenes, Galileans, the people of that way, pestilent fellows, and the like: but at length, when they grew more numerous, when their societies were regularly formed, and their enemies universally alarmed, they began to bear a more general and emphatical name. St. Luke has informed us, that this was the case in fact; and has likewise told us where it first obtained; and as I suppose he did not this without some design, I shall endeavour to draw some observations for our use and direction, from this remark in the text, that "the disciples were called "Christians first at Antioch:" which I shall divide into two: thus-That the first general name by which the disciples were distingushed from the world, and united among themselves, was that of Christians; and, se

« AnteriorContinua »