Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

charge. There are, indeed, persons in the world who bear the Christian name, and who, notwithstanding, never join in tin's solemn ordinance. Although they were baptized into the'faith of Jesus, and have-never publicly renounced Christianity, yet, instead of glorying in the cross, they seem to be ashamed of it, and testify plainly to the world, that they pay no regard to the dying charge of their Lord, and that they would blush to be seen at a communion-table. How feuch persons can reconcile their conduct to any sense of duty, to any idea of Christianity, h beyond my capacity to discover. Sure I am, if they have any conscience, if they have any reflection, If they have any feeling at all, it will interrupt their peace of mind in life, it will shut up the chief avenues to comfort in their last moments, and prevent that tranquillity and fulness of joy which is then the portion of the Christian, to think that they have lived in the wilful neglect and contempt of an express injunction of their Lord, and may have, in some degree, incurred the guilt of those whom the Apostle declares to have trodden under foot the Son of God, and to have counted the blood of the covenant wherewith they might have been sanctified, an unholy thing.

You say you arc unfit to approach the table of the Lord. Let me ask you, are you fit to die? Do you think it more solemn, more awful, to witness a good confession at these tables, than to appear before the judgment-seat of God? Do you think, that they ought to be received to the society of the blessed above, who never joined themselves to the communion of the- saints below? Do you think, that Je>us will admit those to sit down with him on his throne in heaven, ^ho were ashamed to sit down with him at bis table «jii earth? What is, then, I beseech you in the holy sacrament, to banish any decent and good man from these tables? We sit down at the table of the Lord, to give thanks unto God for his inestimable love in the redemption of the world ; to express our n-gard and gratitude to our Redeemer, who loved us

unto the death; to unite ourselves to all the faithful and the good, as being members of the same body, and to bind ourselves by solemn vows to the practice of whatever is amiable, and excellent, and praise-worthy. And if there be any man so void of gratitude and love to God his Creator, and to Jesus Christ his Redeemer, as to be averse to acknowledge the favours he has received; if there be any man so dead to the feelings of the heart, to benevolence and love, as to have no bowels of love for his brethren of mankind, if there be any man so lost to the sense of virtue, and to the beauty of holiness, as to see no charms, to feel no attractions, in those things which are lovely^ and pure, and honest, and of good report; then, indeed, lie is unfit to sit down at the table of the Lord, he has neither portion nor lot in this matter; he is also unfit to join with Christians in any religious duty; nay, he is unfit to perform a decent part as a member of civil society.

I address these things to those who absent themr selves from this ordinance, from a wilful disregard: to those who are restrained by their unhappy fears and scruples, I speak in a different language, and such persons I can assure, that they who, after serious andfdiligent, and mature preparation, still think themselves unworthy, are not the least acceptable guests at the table of the Lord. Do you feel a gratefu.1 sense of. the love of Jesus to mankind, particularly that amazing act of his love, in giving his life as a ransom for the. world.? Have you such a value for the covenant established by your Saviour's blood, that you are .resolved to accept of it with gratitude, and adhere to it with all your soul ? Have you such a regard to holiness and universal goodness, that yon determine to lead decent, and pious, and exemplary lives? If you have these, come to express'that gratitude, to accept that covenant, and to seal those vows at the foot of the cross. Jesus breaks not the bruised reed, nor quenches the smoking flax. The humility of the heart will not banish the Eternal Spirit from taking up his residence with you.

In the fourth and last place, Weave to glory in the cross of Christ, by living to those purposes, and for those ends tor which Jesus died.

We glory in the Reformation from Popery, when we maintain and defend that pure religion which was then established. We glory in the Revolution, when we support the rights and maintain the liberties which were secured to us at that memorable period ; and, in like manner, we glory in the cross of Christ, when we fulfil the intention, and answer the purpose for which Jesus died. Jesus died, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify us unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. In this view, Christians, your whole life is glorying in the cross of Christ. When you suppress the motions of irregular desire, when you conquer the excess of passion, and subdue the vices which war against the soul, you are glorying in the cross of Christ; for he, upon the cross, crucified those your enemies, and died that you might be delivered out of their hands. When you check in yourselves the spirit of animosity, when your heart relents towards him against whom your wrath was kindled, when you forego resentment, forgive an injury, and hold out the ready hand of reconciliation to your offending brother, you are glorying in the cross of Christ; for he, upon the cross, displayed a most amazing instance of forgiveness, in praying for those who brought him to that accursed death. When your heart expands with benevolence to mankind j when you feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and rescue the oppressed; when you feel the distresses of your unhappy brethren, and relieve them, or give a tear to the distresses you cannot relieve, you are glorying in the cross of Christ; for he, upon the cross, exhibited a most illustrious instance of benevolence, in giving his' life for the happiness of the world. When you yield to the sweet impulse of natural affection, when you indulge the tender sensibilities of the heart, when you cultivate the spirit of a generous friendship, and join in the endearing offices of social life, you arc

glorying in the cross of Christ; for he, upon the cross, gave us a most amiable display of these vjrtues: one of his last acts on earth was an act of natural affection arid friendship; from the cross he recommended his mother to the care of the friend whom he loved.

In short, whenever you make advances in the divine life, and add to your faith virtue, and to virtue patience, and temperance, and brotherly kindness, and charity ; whenever you do a good deed, whenever you think a good thought, you are glorying in the cross of Christ; for he, upon the cross, perfected this cha* racter, and finished the pattern of universal goodness, for the world to study, to imitate* and to admire,

[ocr errors]

SERMON. XIX.

John xix. 30. It isjinished.

[Preached at the celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's

Supper.]

SHiinHESE are the last words of Jesus. The words JS. which he uttered when his hour was come ; when, in the presence of a great assembly, he breathed out his soul in agony upon the cross. It was ordered by the providence of God, that as Jesus by his death was the Saviour of the world, he should die publicly, when all Israel from L)an to Beersheba were assembled at Jerusalem.

There is something grand and awful in assembled multitudes of men, especially when convened on any great occasion, such as to pass sentence of life and death. In that silence of the mind, that awful pause of thought, the human genius is agitated strongly ; it labours in expectation, and fills up the dreadful interval with emotions of terror and astonishment. When therefore, at this period, all Judea was present to celebrate the paschal solemnity; when the great council of the nation, the chief priests, the scribes and elders convened in Sanhedrim, added dignity to the multitude; when Pilate the governor of Judea, and Herod the tetrarch of Galilee, with their attending armies, displayed the grandeur of the Roman empire, and sustained the majesty of the masters of the world; when all these were assembled at the time of the death and crucifixion of a Prophet of the Lord, how

« AnteriorContinuar »