Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

It is this which completes, and perfects, and exalts, to the resemblance of the divine image, the Christian character: to abound in every good word and work is the obvious, the indispensable duty of the Christian, which the most sacred obligations bind upon him, to which the most powerful motives urge him. "Hereby we know" (this is an inspired standard) "that the love of God abideth in us, if we keep his commandments." Regard for the honour and glory of that God and Saviour to whom he is bound by the strongest ties of love and gratitude for the inestimable blessings of redeeming mercy-a desire to enjoy the approving testimony of conscience-the hope of attaining that heaven where there is fulness of joy, for which holiness is an indispensable qualification-these are the powerful motives which constantly urge the Christian to be "filled with all the fruits of righteousness." He constantly, indeed, bears in mind that they "are by Jesus Christ;" that they are produced only by those invigorating succours of heavenly grace which his Saviour dispenses; and that they are rendered acceptable to the pure and holy Being who scrutinizes them by those divine merits which only can stand in the judg

ment.

When contemplating, therefore, the exalted Christian graces which the apostle sets forth in his animated prayer for the Philippians, perhaps you are ready, brethren, to exclaim-"Who is sufficient for these things?" Well may this be the feeling of timidity and despair, if you look solely to your strength, to the succours of your own reason, the efforts of your own will, the constancy of your own affections. Alas! they will fail, they will bend, VOL. II. 44

they will yield to the seductions of temptation. But you are not thus forsaken: celestial strength awaits you. Your Redeemer is your King, and the Lord of Hosts is his name: and it is a promise which never yet failed in its efficacy-" My grace shall be sufficient for you: my strength shall be made perfect in your weakness."

And yet, Christians, with what imperfection are our best works alloyed! Not, then, on works of righteousness which we have done, must our hopes of acceptance be placed; but on that divine righteousness of the Redeemer, which will shed on our imperfect virtues a celestial lustre that shall render them worthy of immortal glory. Guided by faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and quickened by his grace, you shall be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are "to the glory and praise of God."

"The glory and praise of God," the Fountain of being and perfection, the supreme and righteous Governor of the universe, is set forth in my text as the great object to which all the labours and exertions of your Christian course should be directed. And the glory and praise of God you will advance among men, when they, seeing your good works, the fruits of righteousness, with which you are filled, shall be led to glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Nor will God be unrighteous to forget your work and labour that proceedeth of love. His mercy and grace will reward the imperfect services of time with the glories of eternity. What an animating motive do the glorious rewards which in heaven await the righteous, afford to zeal and perseverance In the favour of God! How loud the call which

they present to those who are occupied with the guilty pursuits and sinful pleasures which expose them to the everlasting wrath of their Almighty Judge, to seek, in the service of their God and Saviour, those joys which are without alloy, and those pleasures which never fade! O that men were wise, that they would reflect how infinitely great the folly which would barter eternal joys for the evanescent pleasures of time, and for years of sinful pleasure incur an eternity of wo! It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. It is a fearful thing to enter on that eternal world, where "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, await every soul of man that doeth evil." "Let then the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and turn unto the Lord;" and let us all implore him to put a new heart and to create a new spirit within us, that we may abound in those fruits of righteousness which shall be to his praise and glory, and, through his mercy in Jesus Christ, to our eternal felicity.

You are now to partake of that holy supper, which, setting forth the death of the Son of God, is calculated to excite the liveliest emotions of that love which, active in its exercise, will bring forth the fruits of righteousness. Surely we are to love him who first loved us, and that even unto death. Contemplate the infinite and almighty Victim which the symbols of the holy table exhibit: see him making his soul an offering for us-purchasing, by his death, our pardon, our peace, our eternal felicity-assuring to us, by the memorials of his cross and passion, these infinite and immortal blessings. And when you draw near spiritually to feast on his

body and blood, let it be your prayer, that you may love this your divine Redeemer with divine Redeemer with supreme affection; that this your love may abound more and more; and that, filled with the fruits of righteousness, you may finally be made meet for his everlasting kingdom.

SERMON XXVI.

THE TEMPTATION OF OUR LORD.

MATTHEW iv. 1.

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

THERE are some who suppose that this history of our Lord's temptation is an imaginary, and not a real history. But it is contrary to all the rules of sound interpretation, and would falsify all the records of past events, to assign an allegorical sense to what is susceptible of a literal one. There is no circumstance in our Lord's temptation which may not have actually taken place. There is no adequate reason, therefore, why we should suppose that the representation is fictitious. The literal interpretation of the history involves no impossibilities; it is contained in an inspired record, and partakes of the credibility which that inspired record demands.

When we view in the light of divine truth the important ends which were answered by our Lord's temptation, with that honest, unbiassed, and humble mind with which it becomes frail creatures to investigate the dispensations of their Almighty Creator, we shall be struck with gratitude and adoration at the condescension and power which the Saviour displayed. The subjection of the Son of God, in

« AnteriorContinua »