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they had discovered a way by which they might Oh! let the swearer bear in mind that he is guiltlessly swear in common conversation, and might swear to a falsehood, and yet not perjure themselves, and that was swearing by the heavens, and the earth, and the temple. And that our Lord referred to that pernicious habit that prevailed, and not to oaths righteously and solemnly administered, and taken with awe and reverence, and on suitable and becoming occasions, and for important purposes, appears from what he says in verse 37, 'Let your communication be yea, yea, nay, nay;' for, adds he, whatever goes farther than this is evil; proceeds from the evil one, from a sinful principle, from an evil habit, and ought by all means to be suppressed.
This prohibition of our Lord is doubtless a loud and solemn warning to swearers of every name, and in whatever way their profanity discovers itself. Many there are who trifle with God's attributes in common conversation. God's mercy, God's truth, God's curse, are utterances which frequently issue from their lips-and like the Jews of old, they swear by the heavens, by their souls, and in other forms. All these are detestable, all obnoxious to God, all subjected to the wrath and curse of God. Yes, such despisers plainly show that they are none of Christ's disciples; their shibboleth is not that of the Redeemer's followers; their spot is not the spot of God's children; they have neither lot nor part in the salvation of Christ: for while they violate the third commandment of the law, they disregard the authority of the Lord who bought them: they clearly manifest that neither the thunders of mount Sinai, nor the moving scenes of mount Calvary, influence and affect them. How then shall they escape!
And while this sin of profaneness, however discovered, is of a most degrading and corrupting character personally, it has a most pernicious tendency to corrupt all that are brought within its influence. Profanity is a social sin. It cannot be committed but in company. No man was profane alone. He must have society, in order to indulge his impious propensity, and thus does this sin become peculiarly injurious. He scatters firebrands, arrows, and death, on all around. Persons of all ages and circumstances are exposed to his influence; and unless fortified by grace, will more or less feel its effects. Woe to the young who are brought into contact with the profane; they will be early inured to the language of hell, and lose their reverence for what is sacred; while the more aged, if they are not shocked, and turn away from the despiser, may suffer severely.
eminently a partaker of other men's sins; that while he is a smoke in Jehovah's nostrils, he is the pest of society; let him bear in mind that on the great day of final reckoning, he must not only bear the burden of his own sins, but must appear before God as the guilty instrument of corrupting and leading others away from God, and bringing them to that misery which they, with himself, must endure through eternity. May a reverential awe of that great and glorious name, which makes devils tremble, and fills heaven with joy, ever be cherished by us; and let that name be the strong tower to which we run in our hour of danger!
"If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful,' Deut. xxviii. 58,
FROM these words we learn that a conscientious regard to all the commandments of God is equivalent to the fear of this glorious name, the Lord our God. These are never disunited. As the stream bears the character of the fountain, so he who fears God hates sin. In giving the law from mount Sinai, God prefaced it by a solemn warning of our obligation to listen and obey, saying, 'I am the Lord thy God.' Most glorious and fearful is that name, gloriously does it testify of his character; and fearfully does it bind us to obedience.
'The Lord' who made and preserves all things, whose power, wisdom, and bounty have made us what we are, and given us what we possess. The Lord who ruleth over all, guiding and controlling all, who holds the sceptre of universal sovereignty, and demands the obedience of all creation, giving or taking away, casting down or raising up, to whom none may say, 'What dost thou? The Lord, omnipotent, eternal, unchangeable, all-wise, all-holy, all-merciful, just, and good. The Lord God, who reigns with no delegated power, but in himself is to be feared and worshipped as the great I AM, who was, and is, and is to come; the Lord God who is to summon us into his presence, and judge us at the last day, and whose face is the only brightness of eternity.
'The Lord our God, who has revealed himself to us, and by invitations, and exceeding
great and precious promises, and by the gift of his | To all who would seek to have the polluted temown Son, and by the institutions of his word, and ple of their own hearts purified and renewed; to the pleading of his Spirit, has chosen us as his have the image of God which has been effaced people, and expressed his desire to be our cove- restored, God saith, 'see that ye make all things nant-God. The Lord our God, to whom we according to the pattern shown thee on the were dedicated in baptism; whom in after days mount, observe to do all the words of this law we have chosen as our God, by fleeing to him that are written in this book?' Who then that for comfort in sorrow, by owning him in his truly fears the Lord will venture to relax one sanctuary, and at his table, by laying hold of him | iota, or remit one tittle of its words? Who that as our hope when death seemed approaching, and has experienced the tearful cry of Paul, 'O by still desiring him as our portion beyond the wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me grave, and through an endless eternity. from the body of this death?' is not filled with the deepest anxiety, lest he carry into eternity a fragment of the carnal heart, lest any root of bitterness remain to trouble his every joy, lest any lust left unmortified should shut him out from the New Jerusalem, into which entereth no unclean thing?
How glorious then, yet how unutterably fearful is this name, when used by God himself as the sanction of his law. I am the Lord thy God,' offered to you, and accepted by you in this character. Fearful to man, even as it is glorious to God. Fearful to those who in wayward folly have outraged his laws. Fearful, peculiarly He that feeleth in this way makes conscience fearful to those who irreverently sport with this of doing all the words of this law, not merely great and dread name-fearful to those who, conscious of guilt, have found no sacrifice for sin. Fearful, in some degree, even to those who though pardoned and striving to obey his commandments, yet feel the deceitfulness of their heart, and the pollution of the whole man.
striving to do that which he knows to be the will of God, but observing, searching with anxious care the words of this book, lest he fail of the grace of God, lest he forget, mistake, or not learn the true mind of God.
It is natural that they who do not fear this glorious name, nor feel their obligations to obey. this law, should discredit the divine threatenings, and persuade themselves of the improbability of God's wrath overtaking them. But if there be any thing implied in the glorious and fearful name that gives to the law its sanction—if there be any guilt in denying the sovereignty of the Lord our God-if there be any criminality in disowning his propriety in us, disregarding his unmerited mercies, and braving his threatened wrath, then it is plain that a holy God whose very nature is abhorrent to sin, must frown on the guilty. To manifest such a spirit of ingratitude, waywardness, and rebellion in the wilful violation of any of the known commandments
There is a fear that hath torment; this, however, is not the fear that God requires, or that we must seek to animate us. The fear which is desirable, and with which God seeks to occupy our hearts, is the fear that love begets, the fear which the glorious name of the Lord our God produces. And such also is the obedience that God claims, and that his children are desirous to give; an obedience that is cheerful, an obedience that is universal, an obedience flowing from love, an obedience that has respect to all the words of God's law.' Receiving the law at the hands of the Lord their God, as a revelation of his will, an exhibition of his nature, they say, like David, the law of the Lord is perfect.' Requiring all that purity of heart which will fit them of God, were justly to deserve the threatened for the divine presence, and the abodes of bliss, and refusing to allow of less, they say, 'the statutes of the Lord are right.' Little fear of God can be before his eyes, who leaves the written law for the duties of a voluntary humility of his own devising, and no less his who would relax the severity of the law of the Eternal; for while the purity of the law, and the extent of the law sufficeth, it is essential.
But how shall man know the character of God? Whence can he learn the nature of that purity which shall enable him to breathe at ease, in the presence of Jehovah? Whence but from 'the words of this law that are written in this book.'
penalty; 'thy plagues shall be wonderful.' But why speculate on the justice of the doom? Is it not sufficient that the Lord our God hath said it? Is it not enough that we behold its fulfilment in God's visitations on the Jews? Have we not evidence of it in those deaths and woes innumerable which render this world a Bochim? What a warning do God's chosen people against whom the denunciation was uttered, 'thy plagues shall be wonderful,' afford of the rectitude, the purity, the faithfulness of the sin-avenging, the glorious and fearful God. Consider this, all ye that forget God.
"God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus should not perish, but have everlasting life.' The Christ,' 1 Pet. i. 3.
THIS is the name by which, above all others, the apostles loved to designate and describe the God whom they worshipped. By it they expressed, and in it they recognised, the attributes of God which most filled their souls with wonder, love, and praise. As the God of nature they blessed him all-wise, all-powerful, and kind. As the God of providence they adored him, the incomprehensible Being who preserves, and governs all his creatures and all their actions. As the Lord their God they bowed to him, confessing the authority and purity of him who commands. As the eternal God, they felt the glories of his name, and fell prostrate before him. But most of all did they bless, and adore, and magnify him as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. And why? Because as such he was, and they knew him to be, the Father of mercies, the God of peace, the Author of salcation—a pardoning, an accepting, a reconciled God. Glorious and fearful then is his name as the Creator, the Preserver, the Ruler of the universe. Glorious, when in the brightness of his holiness he stood at the gate of Eden, a consuming fire. Glorious, when in unapproachable majesty he stood on the mount that might not be touched, proclaiming the law. But blessed, unutterably blessed, when by signs and wonders he declared himself the God and Father of him who came to preach the acceptable year of the Lord; and when, by a voice from heaven, he announced, 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased; hear ye him.' O how blessed to the sin-distracted soul is the name which confirms the errand, the doctrines, the invitations, the promises of the gracious Saviour, the crucified Redeemer, the name that tells us, that in the peace-securing, the peace-offering Jesus we behold the character, the desires, the attitude of the unseen God, against whom we have so deeply sinned, whom we have so grievously offended.
Infinitely adorable is God as thus made known to us, in the person, the character, and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. All his character is there disclosed in a brightness at once effulgent and lovely. His abhorrence of sin, his unbending justice, appear more dreadful far in the groans of Gethsemane, and the agonies of Calvary, than amid the thunders of Sinai and the desolations of the flood. God's love, too, ever witnessed and experienced in all his dealings, here spreads out into an ocean of easureable readth and unfathomable depth.
mind is overwhelmed. Reason staggers in the vain attempt to fathom that mystery of love. Intelligence higher than ours desires to look into this adorable mystery; and through eternity it will form the song of angels and cherubim, as well as redeemed and ransomed sinners. O! how adorable is that name in all that it reveals and makes known of the divine character-adorable in all the blessings it bespeaks and offers to us— for while it plucks us from everlasting burnings, it awakens hopes, and creates joys, which will rise in infinite succession, exhaustless through eternity.
Most encouraging is it to the weary soul to know this name. Who that knows it need stand afar off, or sit down in despair? Be it the case, that under a sense of sin we feel our own just deservings to be wrath for ever. Let it be that stripped of every plea of self-righteousness, that denuded of every hope of earning and meriting pardon, we feel that we are undone and helpless, this name gives encouragement. This is the very state and character of those for whom he came into the world, and for whom he died. 'He came to seck and to save the lost. To such his doctrine provides a balm of healing power. God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.' Christ was 'wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities,' and thus is the righteousness of God declared in the remission of sin-thus are we convinced that God can be a just God, and yet the Saviour of sinners. But while many are so far encouraged as to say, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean;' how many refuse to believe it possible that God will welcome them, how many, who deem it presumptuous in such as they, to expect such favour! But what dishonour is thus put upon God! When God freely sent his Son to die for us, and testified his approval of all that he taught, and did, and suffered, when as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ he invites all, and rejects none, can we doubt that he is willing to save, to save to the uttermost all that come to him through Christ. O what soul is so tempest-tossed as to find no encouragement in this gracious name!
While this name is thus adorable to all; while it is encouraging to those that seek for life and salvation, it is peculiarly endearing to all who can call Christ theirs-who can say, 'our Lord Jesus Christ,' who can worship God as the Father of their Lord.' One with Christ, all
the relationships that he holds with his children are theirs. As on the cross he said to the disciple whom he loved, Behold thy mother; and to his mother, behold thy son;' so when risen from the grave he said, 'Go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' He is not ashamed to call them brethren, he gives them power to become the sons of God. He sends into their hearts the spirit of adoption, he imparts to them the confidence and the love of children, he enables them to cry, 'Abba, Father.' Endearing then is this blessed name, both in the assurance of God's paternal love, and of our filial confidence and delight in him. Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.'
Of the objects of creation, and the events of providence, the psalmist says, 'all shall praise thee, O Lord.' All shall give occasion to thy saints to bless thee, by affording manifestations of the glory of thy kingdom, and thy power. As by their works we know the character of the disciples of Christ, so by the works of Jehovah we attain some knowledge of his character. Day unto day uttereth speech, night unto night showeth knowledge. The invisible things of God are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.
1. The endless diversity of objects and forms in creation, the skilful mechanism of each, and the harmonious adaptation of the whole—the beneficial purposes which every tribe and every A name thus descriptive of the highest, and holi- object serves-the varied means by which these est, and most gracious attributes of God—a name purposes are fulfilled, yet the evident unity of so solemn, and sacred, and endearing a name on | design that animates, and actuates, and controls which are based all our hopes for eternity, should the whole, declare in language most expressive, not pass from our lips, even in the hour of prayer, and that cannot be misunderstood by any thinkbut with reverence and awe. Let us never hearing intelligent mind, the wisdom, and power, and it without deep emotion of soul, let us never beneficence of the one great and glorious Being utter it without the deepest solemnity of mind whose works they all are. Without rising from let it never be found among the idle words for his throne, he said and it was done. His voice which we shall be judged at the last. And while was heard in all its power by the remotest star, in word we profess to bless him, let us not in heart his hand at once moulded the countless worlds, dishonour him as if he were not such as Christ occupying the immensity of space, fashioned the has revealed him, pure and righteous, merciful insect's microscopic form, and decked the lily and true. And O let us seek to get a personal with its evanescent hues. At its birth creation interest in him as our Lord, and our God, our awakened the praises of seraphim, 'They sang reconciled Father in Christ Jesus. together;' and God himself resting from his work, pronounced it all very good,' worthy of the hand that made it. Though in blinded ignorance we pass by the glorious works of God without notice and observe them without admiration, or it may be, impiously rail at them as the causes of know most fully the works of God, are ready to woe; yet they who study most profoundly, and confess that were but the jarring discord of sinful thoughts to cease, while all nature raised its voice to tell of the wondrous perfections of its God, the rational offspring of the great Supreme would commingle their melodious strains in celebrating the praises of him who dwells on high. David was filled with awe at the contemplation of God's mighty works, and so is every rightly constituted mind; therefore it is that the psalmist says,
'All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and
THE context leads us to understand that by the
lion against his authority. All things were made 2. As in nature so in providence, God's doings
by an unseen agency, proclaim that the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. The ever-watchful care of providence tells us that every thing is under his eye, and that the Lord knoweth them that are his. The revealed aim of providence displays him in the character of the good Shepherd, seeking the lost, or sitting like the refiner of silver, and purging away the dross. In short, the dealings of providence in the present day, like scripture history, unfold and practically illustrate the character of God as revealed in the life and doctrine of Christ. All, says David, ‘all shall praise thee.' In the most trivial event there is a purpose, let us not despise it-in the darkest dispensation there is a purpose, let us not murmur or repine; the purpose is love, the end is gracious. Men by reason of blinded ignorance may not see the design of heaven in different occurrences, and they who walk by sight,' may rashly and impiously rail at Jehovah's doings, yet all God's works shall one day praise him. Every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.' But even here below thy saints shall bless thee.' Remembering all the way by which the Lord has led them—amidst the darkest dispensations and severest trials, strong in faith, a faith resting on promise and experience, they boldly say, 'the day will declare it.' We will still speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power. He that spared not his own Son, will he not with him freely give us all things? Shall he not make all things work together for good? In the light of eternity we yet shall see the power and the loving-kindness of God.
A spirit that breathes not thus-a spirit that grumbles at its lot, or carps at any of the ways or doings of the Eternal, what does it but deny the wisdom, the power, the goodness of him who avows these works to be his? What does it? It profanes, it dishonours, it casts reproach on the government of the all-mighty, all-wise, all-merciful God. As we have therefore the volumes of creation and providence spread out before us, and as we read the lessons they are fitted and intended to convey, let us not merely be satisfied with the absence of discontent, and disapproval, or even with the feeling of resignation; let us go farther; let us strive and pray to be enabled to bless the Lord who made and who rules it so. Speaking of the glory of his kingdom, and talking of his power.' O! let us see that it is out of the abundance and fulness of the heart that our lips give utterance
'Because they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up,' Psal. xxviii. 5. THE objects of creation, and the events of providence, God claims and sets forth as 'the operation of his hands.' Let us inquire what is meant by not regarding them.
In general it is the absence or the opposite of that feeling which blesses God in them—the failing to acknowledge the manifestation of his character in them, as worthy of adoration and praisethe not descrying his attributes of wisdom, power, and goodness, as made known in the works which he hath made, or the things he bringeth to pass. This spirit of disregard manifests itself in various ways; for instance:
By not regarding the outward blessings of nature or providence, as of his operation and bestowment, and so giving to others the praise which is due to God alone.
By understating and despising his gifts as if they were of trivial value, and so failing to give thanks to him who claims our gratitude.
By repining at outward hardships in our lot, murmuring because God has ruled and directed it so, and thus insinuating or affirming that God willingly afflicts the children of men.
By forgetting that they are the works of God, and so abusing them; using God's creatures for the gratification of sinful desires, or turning providences into opportunities of sin, as if we were the lords of creation, and not the mere stewards of God's manifold mercies.
By disregarding the obvious lessons they are meant to teach, such as the vanity of time, the value of eternity, the existence of sin in the earth, God's abhorrence of it, yet his willingness and desire to deliver from its guilt and pollution; or,
By not remembering that however delightful they may be, after all they are but the works of God's hand, the stream that flows from the fountain-head; and so loving the creature more than the Creator, seeking enjoyment in them apart from him, cleaving to them in preference to him, and mourning over the loss of them, as if God who bestows them could not, from his own fullness, supply infinitely more than all creation can yield.
Those who cherish such a spirit, David says, God will not build up, but destroy.'
Little do they know of God's character who see in this revealed purpose of heaven a frivolous decree, or one of needless cruelty. God has laid no more on man than what is right. His love,