Imatges de pÓgina
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Are any of you sick? Think how the compassionate Jesus healed diseases with a word, in the days of his flesh. Has he not the same power now as then? Has he not the same love? Has he, in his exalted state, forgot his poor languishing members here below? No, verily; he still retains his sympathy; "he is touched "with a feeling of our infirmities; he knows our frame; "he remembers we are but dust," Ps. ciii. It is because sickness is better for you than health, that he thus visits you. He dealt in the same manner with Lazarus, whom he loved, John xi. Resign yourselves, therefore, to his wisdom, and repose in his love. There is a land where the blessed inhabitant shall no more say, "I am sick," Isa. xxxiii.; and there "all that "love the Lord Jesus" shall shortly be. Are Are any of you tempted? "Blessed is the man that endureth "temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive "the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to "them that love him," James i. Sure you need no other argument to be content, or shall I say, to rejoice, and be exceeding glad? "My son, despise not thou "the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art "rebuked of him." Heb. xii. Be it in poverty or losses, in body or mind, in your own person or another's, it is all appointed by God, and shall issue in your great benefit, if you are of the number of those that love him.

3d, Once more since it is said that all things are freely given us in and together with Christ, let us "give "all diligence to make OUR calling and election sure," 2 Pet. 1.; to know that we have an interest in him and his mediation; and then, (if I may borrow a common expression,) we are made for ever. The Lord Jesus Christ, sent from God on a merciful 2 T

VOL. II.

errand to a lost

world, did not come empty: no, he is fraught with all blessings, suitable to all persons, extending to all times, enduring to all eternity. O make it your great care to know him and to please him; study his word, call upon his name, frequent his ordinances, observe his sayings, seek to know him as the only way to God, John xiv.; the way to pardon, peace, and divine communion here, and to complete happiness hereafter. When once you can say, "My beloved is mine," Sol. Song ii. I account all his interest my own," and I am "his," I have given myself up to him without reserve; you will, you must be happy. You will be interested in all his attributes and communicable perfections. His wisdom will be your high tower, his providence your constant shield, his love your continual solace. "He will give his angels charge over you to keep you "in all your ways," Ps. lxxxi. In times of difficulty he will direct your counsels; in times of danger he will fill you with comfort, and "keep" you "in perfect peace," " Isa. xxvi. when others quake for fear. He will bless your basket and your store, your substance and your families: your days shall happily pass in doing your Father's will, and receiving renewed tokens of his favour; and at night you shall lie down, and your sleep shall be sweet. When afflictions befall you, (for these likewise are the fruits of love,) you shall see your God near at hand, "a very present help in trou"ble," Ps. xlvi.; you creased in proportion to your trial; you shall in due tine be restored, as gold from the furnace, purified sevenfold, to praise your great Deliverer. Every thing you meet in life shall yield you profit; and death, which puts a fatal period to the hope of the wicked; death, at whose name thousands turn pale, shall to you

shall find your strength in

be an entrance into a new and endless life. He who tasted death for you, Heb. ii. and sanctified it to you, shall lead and support you through that dark valley: you shall shut your eyes upon the things of time, to open them the next moment in the blissful presence of your reconciled God. You, that a minute before was surrounded by weeping, helpless friends, shall, in an instant, be transported and inspired to join in that glorious song, "To him who loved us, and washed us "from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and strength, for ever and ever. Worthy is "the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and Thus "blessed shall glory, and blessing," Rev. v.

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"the man be that fears the Lord," Ps. cxxviii. “Thus "shall it be done, (Esth. vi.) to him whom the King delighteth to honour." Amen.

SERMON V.

ON SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES.

JOHN V. 39.

Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

THE

HE phrase in the Greek is ambiguous; and may be either rendered, according to our reading, as a command, search the Scriptures; or else as simply affirming, ye do search the Scriptures. And as the words were spoken to the Scribes and Pharisees, who were exceedingly studious in the letter of the Scriptures, this may perhaps have been their first design. The differ

ence is not material; and either sense will afford us instruction. If we receive it as a command, we should consider is as given us by the Lord himself, whose disciples we profess to be; as bound on us by our own acknowledgment, since in them we think, and say, we have eternal life; and as absolutely necessary to be complied with, since it is these, and these only, testify of Christ, in the knowledge of whom our eternal life consists. If we should understand it in the latter sense, as spoken to the Scribes and Pharisees, it may give us a useful caution not to lay too much stress either on what we think or on what we do. For these persons we find had, in some respects, a right sentiment of the holy Scriptures they believed that in them there was eternal life and, in a sense likewise, they made this an inducement to read, yea, to search them. But though they thus thought and thus acted; and though the Scriptures, from the first page to the last, do testify of Christ; yet they could not understand or receive this testimony, but rejected the Messiah whom they professed to hope for, and took all their pains in searching the Scriptures to no purpose.

In what I am about to lay before you, I propose the following order: 1st, To mention a few requisites, without which it is impossible rightly to understand the Scriptures: 2d, To show how the Scriptures testify of Christ: Sd, To consider what the import of their testimony is 4th, To press the practice of searching the Scripture, from the argument used in the text, which is equally applicable to us as to the Jews of old, "that in "them we think we have eternal life."

I. The first requisite I shall mention is Sincerity; I mean a real desire to be instructed by the Scripture, and to submit both our sentiments and our practices to

be controlled and directed by what we read there. Without this, our reading and searching will only issue in our greater condemnation, and bring us under the heavy doom of the servant that knew his master's will and did it not. A remarkable instance of this we have in the 42d and two following chapters of Jeremiah. After the destruction of Jerusalem, and the death of Gedaliah, the people that were left entreated the prophet to inquire of the Lord for them, concerning their intended removal into Egypt. Their request was fair: "That the Lord thy God may show us the way "wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may "do." Their engagement was very solemn: "The "Lord be a true and faithful witness between us, if "we do not even according to all things for the which "the Lord thy God shall send to us. Whether it be

good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of "the Lord our God, to whom we send thee." But their hypocrisy was most detestable. The Lord, who seeth the inmost purposes of the soul, could not be put off with their fair pretences. He sent them in answer an express prohibition to go into Egypt; assuring them that his curse should follow them, and that there they should certainly perish. Yet they went, and verified what the prophet had told them: "For ye dissembled "in your hearts, when ye sent me to the Lord your

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God, saying, Pray for us unto the Lord our God, "and according to all that the Lord our God shall say, "so declare unto us, and we will do it." Then they spoke out, and, like themselves, when they told him, "As for the word which thou hast spoken unto us in "the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto "thee, but we will certainly do whatever thing goeth "forth out of our own mouth." None of us dare

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