Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

and console, and nourish our souls and bodies to everlasting life. They, therefore, who live in the habitual neglect of this sacred ordinance, reject the instituted means and pledges of conveying and assuring to them pardon, and grace, and everlasting life-the blessings purchased for them by the merits and death of that divine Redeemer, whose infinite love for them they refuse to commemorate in the ordinance which he hath appointed to show forth his death till he come. How great is their ingratitude to the Lord who bought them, and what hazard to their salvation, when they neglect to receive the symbols of that body and blood which only giveth life unto the world!

4. Lastly. Our communion with the church must be maintained by publicly joining in its prayers and praises.

For it is in the worship of the sanctuary that we render unto God, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, the homage which is due to him; and confessing our guilt and weakness, supplicate his forgiveness and blessing." Where two or three," says the Saviour, "are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." The Redeemer dispenses to the faithful worshippers in his sanctuary, the consoling and sanctifying communications of his mercy and grace; and they are prepared, by the holy services of the church on earth, for uniting in that exalted jubilee of adoration and praise which will be for ever celebrated in the church triumphant.

Brethren, by thus continuing steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers, you will maintain your communion with the church, and thus your union

with him who is the Head of the church, the Saviour of the body.

But constantly bear in mind, that the purpose for which Christ gave himself for his church, and called you into its holy fellowship, was that he might purify you unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works-that he might, restore you from the bondage of sin and Satan, into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. And unless the gracious purpose of your Redeemer's death and passion, the purpose for which, in the ordinances of his mystical body, he dispenses his grace, be accomplished in you-unless the body of sin be destroyed, and the new man, with his heavenly graces and virtues, be raised up in you-unless you seek to be holy, as that divine Redeemer who hath called you is holy, and, following his example, walk worthy of your holy vocation-your admission into his church, and your title to the glorious privileges of the Christian covenant, will only increase your guilt and your condemnation. Made members of Christ's mystical body by baptism, it is our duty publicly to assume our baptismal engagements in that ordinance which is ranked by an apostle among the principles of the doctrine of Christ. If we fail to do this, and if we habitually and wilfully violate the holy vows which were then made, we shall be guilty of contemning the glorious privileges of our Christian calling; of trampling under foot the Son of God; of counting the blood of the covenant, wherewith we were sanctified, an unholy thing; of doing despite to God's holy Spirit; of casting from us our heavenly birth-right-how great will be our guilt! and how tremendous will be our condemnation!

VOL. II.

41

Now, then, let us give all diligence to make our calling and election sure; to apply and improve the grace vouchsafed to us as the mystical body of the Redeemer; so that we may continually mortify our corrupt affections, and daily proceed in all virtue and godliness of living. And then we may rejoice in the blessed hope, that when our divine Head and Saviour comes as the Judge of the world, he will translate us, the faithful members of his church on earth, to a kingdom that shall never be moved, and to seats of glory that are eternal in the heavens.

But what shall we say to those who have neither part nor lot in this matter-who, having never been admitted by baptism into the church of Christ, are aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenant of promise? Surely, if their separation from that body, of which Christ is the Head and Saviour, be the consequence of voluntary error, of wilful neglect, (and of this, brethren, not we, but their divine Master is to judge,) it will be their condemnation, that they were called into the fold of their Redeemer, to be nourished to everlasting life by the means and pledges of salvation, and that they refused to enter in, and be saved.

SERMON XXIV.

THANKSGIVING.

PSALM 1. 14.

Offer unto God thanksgiving.

THE duty of offering thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, results from the acknowledgment of his being, his attributes, and his providence. To believe in his existence, and not to adore him who is the glorious fountain of being; to acknowledge that he is infinite in power, in wisdom, in justice, in holiness, in goodness, and in mercy, and yet not to render him homage for his great and glorious attributes; to behold him ruling over all, opening his hand and filling all things with good, and yet to be silent and insensible when his mercies are dispensed to us, would be contrary to the dictates of reason and the feelings of nature.

The Almighty Being who governs in righteousness the universe, which is the work of his hands, who is God over all, blessed for evermore, claims our homage, from the excellence of his character and the supremacy of his of his power. The powers of our minds discern and acknowledge the charms of moral perfection; our hearts are warmed by the displays of exalted goodness; an ingenuous sentiment of nature always impels us to thank the benefactor who loads us with favours; surely, then,

the offering of homage to him who is the glorious source of all perfection, the centre of all goodness, and the all-gracious Benefactor of the universe, will be a dictate of reason and an impulse of the heart. "It is good to sing praises unto our God; it is pleasant; and praise is comely."

Why were we made capable of knowing the infinite and eternal source from which all our blessings flow? Why does revelation assure us, and reason confirm the truth, that we are indebted to a superior power for all the enjoyments of life, even to that Almighty Being who is the Author of every good and perfect gift? There is no sentiment of the human heart which is not designed by our allwise Creator for some useful and beneficent end; and for what purpose could the sentiment of dependence, so deeply seated in our nature, be designed, but to prompt us not only to supplicate the bounty, but to praise the goodness of that Almighty Benefactor who dispenses to us all our blessings? In those moments of difficulty and danger, when bowed down by affliction and depressed by sickness, when assailed by the malice of our enemies, and deserted by our faithless friends, to whom does an irresistible sentiment of nature urge us to flee, but to that infinitely gracious Being who is the guardian of the oppressed, and the refuge of the miserable? And shall we implore his succour, and yet be insensible to his goodness? Shall we experience his mercy, and yet refuse to render him the tribute of praise? Selfish and degraded indeed is man's nature, if, while it prompts him to flee to the throne of the Almighty in the hour of danger, it does not also excite him, in the season of deliverance, to bless that gracious Being who redeemeth

« AnteriorContinua »