« AnteriorContinua »
both these speeches. When the Lord Jesus made the first, John was in the synagogue, and when he made the last, John was in the isle. By the power of this last speech, in which there is a word that could not be uttered in the first, the disciple whom Jesus loved was re-animated, raised up, and strengthened, for the last and most discouraging part of his ministry,--the writing of the testimony of Jesus concerning the birth, and life, and death of the man of sin, and the sufferings of the Church during the existence and reign of that monster of iniquity. The discovery which the Lord Jesus made of his own death, and life, and reign, to John in Patmos, is a fountain of everlasting consolation and good hope through grace. Like the river of God, which is clear, and broad, and deep, it hati run with life, and strength, and joy, through every perioil of the existence and reign of the man of sin. At this moment, when the monster is hoary and hastening to dissolution, it is full of water; nor is there any reason to fear that, like the waters of Babylon, it will ever dry up. Instead of such a disaster, the City of God hath every reason tu believe, that it shall flow over the grave of the monster, and the ruin of his dominion; and, in the last days, cause the lips of the infidel Jew and the idolatrous Gentile to shout and sing
Unto this river of God, which is full of water, and run. ning life and joy, come, O desponding believer! and, in full assurance of faith, drink abundantly. “The spirit and the "bride say, come; and let him that heareth say, come; and bet him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let “him take the water of life freely.” This water possesses the essence of spiced wine of the juice of the pomegranate, and, taken freely and abundantly, will dispel the gloom hanging over your exercise, raise you above complaining, put a new song in your mouth, and console you under every loss. Some of you, perhaps may be sighing, "What naughty creatures you are! Christ hath been preached: On every side hearers are feeding and rejoicing, while you hear nothing, see nothing, taste nothing good and jively, and continue senseless, and faithless, and joyless, at the end as at the beginning of the sermon.' This is humbling and discouraging indeed! Acknowledge the righteousness of the Lord, in turning a day of light and gladness to others into a night of gloominess and sorrow to
Yet do not despond: The living Father sent his be. loved and only-begotten Son to heal broken hearts, and bind up diseased minds. He liveth by the Father, to say sunto prisoners, Go forth, and to them who are in dark"ness, Shew yourselves.” And whoso eateth and believe eth, “shall feed in the ways, and find pasture in all high "places. They shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall “the heat nor sun sinite them;" neither shall the day be dark over them; neither shall they stuinble in the night, nor lose the way to the kingdom. “For he that hath mer“cy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water soshall he guide them.” Believe and plead his promises, cat in them that which is good, and let thy soul delight itsels in the Promiser, that thy light may break forth as the morning, and thine health may spring forth speedily.
Ilear, ye deaf, and look, ye blind, that ye may see! Hovy Hath the eye which the Lord formed, and the ear that he planterl, been exercised, while we were illustrating words spoken by the Saviour of the world in the synagogue of Capernaum. Some hearers first murmured, then strove. among themselves, and at last left the Speaker. "From "that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no Gomore with him." Alas, for the disciples of Capernaum. Exalted unto heaven by the presence, and doctrine, and works of the Son of the Highest, they fell down to hell, where they lie a tremendous example of the righteousness of his vengeance! Are ye better than they? Ye have not yet left your seats, and turned your back upon the ordinances of Christ. With the eye ye have looked at the speakcr', and with the ear heard the sound of his voice. But up. on the heart the sound hath hitherto made no more impression than the echo of the stone in the wall behind you. Flow long will ye continue among the blind, the deaf, the dumb, and the dead? Do you imagine that ministers, whose counsel ye despise in health, can push you up into heaven with a prayer at the bed-side, when the silver cord is loosing, the eyes failing, the tongue fluttering, and the withering lips scarcely sensible of the motion of a wetted feather? At that moment of extremity, the hearer of prayer, as a judge, may reveal his wrath in your conscience, and, with a voice more dreadful than the loudest thunder, say in your ear, “Ye have set at naught all my counsel, 6sand wouldnone of my reproof. I also will laugh at your
ó calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.” Is it wise-is it safe, to hazard salvation to a day of sickness and disease, which may disable you to exercise either grace or reason?
Deceive yourselves no longer. Beware lest the deceitfulness of sin, and the hardness of your heart, bring you down with Capernaum to hell. Whether you will hear, or whether you will forbear, the mission and life of the Son of God by the Father, and the faith and life of believers by the Son of God, are serious and interesting considerations to the world. We testify unto every hearer, that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world, and that there is salvation in no other name. Unto him you are commanded, invited, encouraged to come for it; and him that cometh, he will in no wise cast out. The day of life is the time of coming. If you come not before you die, he will neither call nor receive you after. Othe happiness of being in him, and of being in youth in him, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption! May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, plant you together in the likeness of the death of his Son, and in the likeness of his resurrection, that like as he was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, so ye also may live unto God by him, and walk in newness of life! Amen.
THE CONDUCT OF PAUL EXHIBITED AS A PAT
TERN FOR MINISTERS,
AN ORDINATION SERMON
1 Thess. ii. 10.
Yc are witnesses, and God also, how holily, and justly,
and unblameably, we behaved ourselves among you that believe,
THE Gospel of the grace of God is allowed by all who understand it to be a doctrine according to godliness. So far is it from weakening the obligation of divine laws, or sapping the foundations of morality, that it is the only powerful and effectual means of establishing them. The leading principle of virtue, a deep and grateful sense of the kindness and love of God our Saviour, makes a glorious figure in that sacred system, and is dicoverable no where else. “For the love of Christ constraineth us, be"cause we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all
dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should “not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him that
died for them and rose again.” The efficacy of this principle, or of the truth as it is in Jesus, for producing true holiness in believers, and building them up therein through faith unto salvation, is rot within the compass of the present discourse. Our inquiry rather is, how the credit and dignity of the gospel may be best maintained, and the noise and clamour of its adversaries most honorably silenced; an inquiry not unworthy of the gravest attention. I am persuaded you agree with me in saying, a conversaljon such as becometh the gospel is the best and most satisfactory answer to it.
This occasion, and the text I have chosen, require that the argument of the discourse should be chiefly addressed to the ministry. It is allowed on all sides, that the preachers of the gospel are under distinguished obligations to live according to it. Unto them the text exbibits a plan of conduct which, I hope, we shall not barely applaud, but zealously imitate, and, by the grace of God, constantly endeavour to make our own. “Ye are witnesses, and «God also, how holily, and justly, and unblameably, we “behaved ourselves among you that believe.” In the prosecution of this subject, it is proposed, first, to run over the plan of conduct which is represented in the text; secondly, to shew its peculiar importance to the ministers of Christ; thirdly, to make some reflections upon the whole for the benefit both of minister and people.
It is proposed, in the FIRST place, To run over the plan of conduct which the text exhibits to us. It may be said, in general, to comprehend two different sorts of duties; those which belong to our private station as christians, and those that belong to the public station wherein providence hath placed us. Both are essentially necessary to form a character of true worth and excellence. They stand so closely connected, that we have no ideas of worthy beba. viour but in the union and conjunction of them. A deficiency in the one throws a shade on the seeming lustre of the other, while this lustre aggravates the guilt of the deficiency, and renders it deeper and darker than it would otherwise be. Supposing a judge should be blameless in the whole tenor of his private character, yet if he is either indolent or partial in dispensing publick justice; if he is found to neglect opportunities of promoting, by his influence and authority the welfare of society, he would be highly blameable, perhaps more highly blameable, than if he had failed in any of the virtues of a private life. In like manner, though a minister's behaviour in private life should be sober and harmless, yet if he shows no zeal for answering the important end of his office; if he wastes his time iv indolence and pleasure, doing no more work than is barely sufficient to screen him from censure; if he lays out his abilities on foreign and inferior cares; if insensible of, or unconcerned for the eternal interests of his charge, he abandons himself to dissipation and amusement, his