« AnteriorContinua »
cient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world."
It is the foundation also of his Regal Office. How could he relieve us in every possible case, if he were not the Almighty, All-sufficient God? How could he be in the midst of every two or three met together in his name, if he were not the Omnipresent God? A distressed father here comes to him: he spake, and it was done. "Go thy way: thy son liveth.” He does not say, “ Thy son shall live:” he does not say, “He shall recover:” but “Go home: you will find him well.” And which is more-he not only removed sickness from the child, but doubt from the father: for he is not only the author but the finisher of faith. The father hears, believes, and departs satisfied; depending on the truth of the speaker; comforting his heart; and feeling that there were here two miracles performed in one.
Oh, that you and I could learn from this history, that the Eternal God, who is the life of the creature, is here pointing out to dying creatures, like ourselves, that there is no rest, no hope for us in the world, but in God manifest in the flesh! So that, when he says to us, “Come unto me,” he adds, and I will give you rest:' rest for your bodies; rest for your souls ; rest under your troubles; rest in temptation; rest in death; and rest in judgment. "Come unto me, and I will give you rest.'
Once more. When it pleases the Spirit of God to set his seal to the word of Christ, then it is that we begin to enter into that "rest which remains for the people of God.' Then we proceed, leaning on him, trusting and depending on his word. We do not see the Eternal Life, but it is enough for us to know that Christ has given us the promise. And thus, though, like Hannah, we go to the house of God in deep trouble, yet if we are able to embrace the word, we go away, as she did, no more sad.
IV. Remark the PROGRESS OF CHRIST'S TEACHING.
The nobleman went his way: and, as he was now going down, the fever left his son. · He not only .began to amend, but the fever left him.' When the father knew from his servants that the cure took place
at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth,' doubtless he would feel, “ This is another miracle! He has not only said, “Thy son liveth,' and enabled me to believe his word; but, at the
very moment he spake the word, the work was done! Who is this ? Nothing like this can be thought of any man or angel. This is he, who was promised to our forefathers! This is God in human nature ! At the moment he spake, the work was done !" • And himself believed, and his whole house.?
Remark here the progress of Christ's teaching. A man in distress comes to Christ, and obtains help and faith to believe it: he returns home, and finds it done; and, in such a way, as shows the omniscient power of the doer: he relates this to his family, and asks, “Is not this the Messiah? Is not this he, who should come
?' Can the Messiah more fully authenticate his mission ?"
The servants mark the fact: they believe: the house is awakened, and becomes a house of believers. Here is the progress of Christ's teaching: for truth gains by fair examination. There are wonders and signs which impostors use, that will not bear examination: but, such is the truth and consistency of the religion of Jesus, that we invite men to examine for themselves. We lament that they will not do so. We lament that they will listen, for instance, to such a trifling fool as Voltaire, or to such an incendiary as Hume; that they will go to any jesting scorner. Why will they do this? Because they fear to come to an inquiry.
But affliction makes us scrious; and most of us, if we have ever been taught of God, have reason to
thank him for the afflictions whereby he rendered us serious and thoughtful. He taught us by them the first step to wisdom. He leads us by them to himself, who is our only helper. A serious mind is a blessing. A serious, thinking, attentive, honest heart is an inestimable blessing. Such a man will soon perceive that there is more in Christianity, more in the worship and service and favour of God, than the jester ever thought of.
It is a serious thing to die: it is a serious thing to stand before God in judgment: it is a serious thing to have something then to rest on: and, when the awakened man comes to compare one part of the divine dealings with another, he sees that the same God who wrote the Book of Nature also wrote the Book of Revelation.
Thus it is that God advances his kingdom by truth. Satan has a thousand arts and falsities wherewith to advance his kingdom; but Christ carries on his by truth.
I call the men who are prosperous in this world, to examine and compare their temporal advantages with their spiritual, and to inquire whether they keep pace with each other. When you consider how swiftly time flies and death approaches, surely your first prayer, when you open your eyes in the morning, should be, “Oh! put me not off with these trifles ! Let me not wrap up my heart in these wretched objects of sense and time!" Brethren! are you afflicted ? It is a blessed school of wisdom. Endeavour to enter into God's design herein: then if you are brought under the heaviest affliction that ever man endured, you will praise him to eternity, that he laid it upon you. Pray to him to enable you to bear your burden, and to glorify him thereby; and then you will go away no more sad. Parents ! you and I have a great charge committed
And we have been wounded, again and again, by seeing how little we can impress the minds of our
children, with those things with which we are impressed ourselves. Like the father before us we have sick children: every one of them wounded and stung by the Old Serpent: his venom is working in them: you can bring them by faith in prayer, to Christ; and they never will be healed, till they come to him. Be you their examples: be you their teachers. Show them the madness of sin; the dreadful end of those paths in which others are walking; the shortness of life; the certainty of death; and the blessedness of dying in the Lord. Recount to them your own mercies and comforts : afford them all the assistance in your power. Listen not to the suggestions of despair. While life remains, there is hope. Many of us are witnesses, that, however far we may have been suffered to proceed, God has raised us up as monuments of
Children! I see that there are many
hereconsider, that, if you would be truly great and noble and eminent, you must be poor and wretched and miserable in your own eyes.
Your deceitful hearts will tell you that you can do for yourselves what God alone can do for you: if you trust them, you are rebellious against God. This poor, gay, gaudy world, which God says is vanity, will try to ensnare you: if you are caught by it, remember that you are rebellious against God. Your parents, instead of making you wretched by bringing you to a house of prayer, wish to make you happy: they would not have you put off with vanity instead of happiness. May God enable you to beg your parents to lead you in that way which is everlasting! Wait on him, in prayer, till you give evidence that you belong to him! Say, with Jabez, 'Oh, that thou wouldst bless me indeed! that thy hand might be with me! that thou wouldst keep me from erit, that it might not grieve me.' Pray, "Oh, that thou wouldst train me up, like young Samuel, like Timothy; that I may be visited with the favour which thou bearest to thy people.""
THE POWER OF FAITH.
JoHN, XI, 39, 40. Jesus said, take ye away the Stone. Martha, the sister of him that
was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh; for he hath been dcad four days. Jesus saith unto her, said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldst believe, thou shouldst see the Glory
of God? In this history we have an instance of the power of our God and Saviour, as exhibited toward a distressed family, with which he was connected in the tender bonds of friendship. They had lost a valuable brother: they sent to Jesus, in the time of his sickness; but he went not. After the death of Lazarus, he took his disciples with him to the grave, that God might be glorified by the extraordinary miracle of calling forth to life his dead friend. Martha met him, and said unto him, 'Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died—When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled :' He groaned to see the ravages of sin; and to see man, whom God had formed upright and perfect, laid as a mass of putrefaction in the tomb: and he wept, to show that he had sympathy with us in our sorrows.
• Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, listening to the reports of sense, starts her objections : ‘Lord, by this time he stinketh ;
; for he hath been dead four days :' he is in a state not fit for the eye to look on. Jesus silenced her objections : "Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldst be