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2. We may be perfectly assured of God's acceptance of them .
[There is an excellency in our sacrifices which there was not in those which were offered by the Jewish priests: theirs were of no value at all, but as “ shadows of good things to come:" in themselves they were “ carnal ordinances,” deserving of no better name than “weak and beggarly elementsd:" and, if not offered with a suitable frame of mind, they were altogether hateful to God, even as hateful as the cutting off of a dog's neck, or the offering of swine's bloode --- But where does God ever speak in such degrading terms of our sacrifices? “Whoso offereth me praise," says he, “ glorifieth me?," and, “ a cup of cold water offered to a disciple for his sake, shall in no wise lose its rewarde.” The two are by God himself brought into a comparison thus: “ Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most Highh :" "to obey is better than sacrifice; and to hearken, than the fat of rams'."
Besides, the altar on which we present our offerings sanctifieth every thing that is put upon it. Leaven was expressly forbidden to be offered on the Jewish altark: yet in a sacrifice of thanksgiving, or of the first-fruits, it might be offered'. So shall “ the fruit of our lips,” and “ the first-fruits of our substance” be acceptedm, notwithstanding any imperfection with which they are offered, if only they be presented through Christ with an humble and contrite spirit: for Christ, our great High-priest, who is our altar, is also “our Advocate with the Father;" and "the incense of his prayers ascendeth with every sacrifice which we offer, and ensures the acceptance of it before God."
Who with such an assurance as this would not wish to present his sacrifices unto God daily, and without ceasing ?]
3. We all have liberty to eat of our own sacrifices
[This liberty, in reference to some sacrifices, was conceded to the offerers under the Jewish lawo: but to us it is conceded in every offering which we can present. Do we offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving? “our mouth shall be filled as with marrow and fatness, whilst we praise our God
d Gal. iv. 9. and Heb. vii. 9.'
W89 f Ps. 1. 23.
& Matt. X. 42. h Ps. 1. 13, 14. i 1 Sam. xv. 22. k Lev. ii. 11. Lev. vii. 11-13. and xxiii. 17.
m Prov. iii. 9, 10. n Rev. vii. 3, 4. Deut. xii. 5-7.
with joyful lips P." Do we offer our mite for the relief of his indigent and distressed people? hear how he speaks of it: “ If thou deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the poor that are cast out to thy house; if, when thou seest the naked, thou cover him, and hide not thyself from thine own flesh; then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; and the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward." And again; “ If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon-day: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones : and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail nota." I appeal with confidence to all: When did you ever present any offering, whether of gratitude to God or love to man, upon this altar, and not feed richly on it yourselves? When did not fire descend from heaven into your soul, to testify of God's acceptance of your offering? or when did you not, after such an offering, depart, “filled and satisfied with the fatness of his house"?” At no period did he ever dismiss you, without “ satiating your weary soul, and replenishing your sorrowful souls." Abound then in these sacrifices, and it shall be well with you; for you shall eat of them richly both in time and eternity] ADDRESS 1. To the poor votaries of this world
[What a wretched and worthless altar have you! and what costly offerings are you daily presenting upon it! Your time, your talents, your very souls, are you sacrificing upon that altar! You would weep over the devotees who cast themselves under the wheels of the car of Juggernaut: why do ye not weep over yourselves, when, with all your light and knowledge, you are acting a part not less infatuated than they ? Compare your state with that of the true Christian. He lives only to serve, and honour, and exalt his God: but you live only to please the world, and to gratify yourselves. He accounts nothing too great to sacrifice unto Jehovah: you will not sacrifice one lust, or interest, for him. To the world, and to self, do you devote your every hour, your every thought. And whilst you have eaten of your altar, which of course you have done, what have you done but “ fed upon ashes, whilst a deceived heart hath turned you aside, so that you could not
deliver your soul, or say, Is there not a lie in my right handu?" And do you suppose, that, whilst you are partaking thus of the world's altar, you can partake of the Lord's also ? Assuredly not: “ Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils *;" " ye cannot serve God and Mammony." I call you then to consider what will be the issue of a worldly life: for “ if ye love the world, whatever you may imagine, the love of the Father is not in you?." Let me entreat you then to go to your God, and to present to him that prayer of David, “ Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with them that work iniquity; and let me not eat of their daintiesa.” For be assured, that, if ye devote not yourselves to God through Christ in this world, ye can never dwell with him in the world to come.]
2. To the friends and worshippers of the Lord Jesus Christ
[What a blessed employment is yours! A life of praise to God; and a life of love to man! What can you wish for more? What can add to your happiness, except it be an increase of grace to live more than ever unto God? Look at the angels around the throne: methinks, you have already invaded their office, and entered upon their bliss. Are they ever praising God? That is your employment day and night. Are they “ ministering spirits, sent forth to minister unto them that shall be heirs of salvation b?” That also is your daily work, who are “ doing good unto all men, and especially unto them that are of the household of faith.” Go ye on then in this blest career: and abound daily more and more. And know that, as by the neglect of your duties “ you may suffer loss in heaven," so by abounding in all the fruits of righteousness, ye may augment your blessedness in heaven, and obtain through Christ - an abundant entrance” into the realms of | blisse.]
u Isai. xliv. 20.
x 1 Cor. x. 21.
THE DUTY OF PEOPLE, AND THE RESPONSIBILITY OF
MINISTERS. Heb. xiii. 17. Obey them that have the rule over you, and
submit yourselves : for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief : for that is unprofitable for you.
MAN, as a social being, has duties to the society of which he is a member: and of these duties he must be reminded, no less than of those which are purely personal. The Church of Christ is one great family a, in which, as in every other family, order must be observed, by the exercise of power in those who preside, and a submission to it amongst those who are placed under their direction. The government that shall be exercised in it is appointed by God himself; who has invested his ministers with power to rule, and has required of their people a submission to their authority. But as, on the one hand, there has been amongst some who have presided an unscriptural usurpation of authority, very different from that which God ever committed to them; so, on the other hand, there is amongst others a very unscriptural disregard of that authority which is legitimate, and which every minister of God is bound to exercise in that society over which he presides. For the due administration of order and good government in the Church, the Apostle, having finished his directions respecting personal duties, proceeds to give one, which more immediately relates to our social intercourse, but which is of the greatest consequence to the welfare of that family of which we are members.
In calling your attention to this apostolic precept, I shall have occasion to set before you, I. The duty of people towards their minister
A shepherd naturally presides over his flock: and so musta pastor of God's Church exercise rule over
* Eph. iii. 15.
that flock which he feeds, over which the Holy Ghost himself has constituted him an overseerb.” Not that civil power was ever delegated by God to his ministers; that exclusively belongs to the civil magistrates. If the Lord Jesus Christ, when appealed to as an arbitrator in relation to civil rights, said, “ Who made me a ruler and a divider over you?” much less can any claim of temporal authority belong to those who are called by him to the administration of affairs which are purely spiritual. Yet is there power given to ministers, 1. As ambassadors from God
[August as this title is, we claim it as of right belonging to us: for though we would by no means exalt ourselves, it becomes us, and is our bounden duty, to“ magnify our office e." . We come from God to you, and proclaim to you in his name the terms on which he will forgive your past rebellion, and receive you to his favour. It is in the very place of Christ that we stand, when we entreat you for his sake to be reconciled to God The word which we preach to you is God's: and by you " it must be received, not as the word of man, but, as it is in truth, the word of God." If our testimony be rejected, it is not man, but God himself, that ye reject h. Doubtless, you must judge how far the voice of the minister accords with the word of God : for it is to that extent only that you are bound to pay any attention to it: and so far are you to be from receiving the word of man implicitly and without examination, that you are required of God himself “ not to believe every spirit, but to try the spirits whether they be of Godi;" and to " prove all things, and hold fast that only which is good k.” But when “ the word which is delivered to you is that only which your minister has himself received from the Lord!," then must you obey it as much as if it was delivered to you by God himself in an audible voice from heaven.
Now then we hesitate not to declare, that all which we preach unto you respecting your fallen state, and the necessity of your believing in Christ as the appointed Saviour of the world, and of your giving up yourselves to him "in body, soul, and spirit, to be sanctified wholly” to his service, is the very truth of God revealed in his Gospel : and whilst we
Acts xx. 28. c Rom. xiii. 1–6. d Luke xii. 13, 14. e Rom. xi. 13. 2 Cor. v. 20. 8 1 Thess. ii. 13.
Matt. x. 40, 41. 1 Thess. iv. 8. See also 1 Sam. viii. 7. i i John iv. 1. k 1 Thess. v. 21. 11 Cor. xv. 3.' VOL. XIX.