« AnteriorContinuar »
SERM. peace with God, of security from the dominion of sin, and of
immortality to all true believers; that is, to all whose conversation is such as becometh the Gospel of Christ.
But as those Israelites, who, after they were delivered from the bondage of Egypt, rebelled against God and His vicegerent, and were destroyed by sundry kinds of death; as that deliverance was no blessing to them, through their own fault purely, no more will this which we now commemorate
be to us, if we set not our affections on things above; if we 2 Cor. 5. 15. refuse to follow our Redeemer, “who died for all, that they
which live should not live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.”
And now you see, that if our children, or such as are strangers to our religion, ask us, what we mean by this service ?—by keeping this feast with so much outward joy at least, and solemnity,—we can tell them with reason, (and oh! that we could tell them from an holy experience !)
That mankind being born of a sinful race, and conversing with others as corrupt as themselves, they became extremely wicked, and an offence to God that made them; to whom they could make no manner of satisfaction for the transgression of His righteous laws;
That though they were convinced both of the evil of their doings, and the dangers they were subject to, yet they could not avoid those very sins which they foresaw would be their ruin ; for being subject to a powerful evil spirit, and taken captive by him at his will, they became liable to every wickedness man could be guilty of;
That in the midst of these miseries, the world could afford them neither help nor comfort; but on the contrary, meeting with crosses, afflictions, disappointments, at every turn, they were well assured, that this was no place of true happiness ; but then they know not how to mend themselves ;
And to make their misery complete, in the midst of this very life, which they were apt to be fond of, they were in death; that is, they saw themselves every day nearer death; and though it might put an end to the miseries of other creatures, yet they feared, and not without reason, that to them it might be the beginning of a much worse life than this they complain of.
We should then proceed to tell our children the manner of our deliverance; that we, and all mankind, being in these sad circumstances and bondage, Jesus Christ, out of His infinite goodness, undertook to redeem us; and having laid down His life a ransom for us, to assure us that God was pleased with that price of our redemption, He rose again, as on this day, from the dead, giving us this sure pledge of our own resurrection, and (if it be not our own fault) to everlasting happiness.
For having obtained the forgiveness of sins, for all them that believe in Him, He has taken out the very sting of death, which is no longer terrible to them that die in the Lord.
Having overcome the powers of darkness, they can no longer have dominion over us, unless we forsake the Captain of our salvation, and go over to His enemies; having made known to us the way of life, and how we may live so as to please God, we need be no longer fearful of His displeasure.
Lastly; having fully made known to us a much better life and state than this, he has endeavoured to take off our affections from this world, and to place them there where true, solid, lasting joys await those that shall be worthy of them.
So that, by possessing our souls with a true sense of these things, we shall be able to propagate our joys, and the reason of them, to all generations to come.
And now, how unpardonable shall we be if we neglect so great means of salvation? How shall many of those condemn us, who lived before these things were accomplished ? Whose faith was approved of, because, though they had not received the promises as we have done, " yet seeing them afar off, they Heb. 11. 13. were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”
What a blessed effect of faith was this! And is it possible to describe the unthoughtfulness of people, to whom God has given a more perfect knowledge of the world to come, and which He has confirmed to us after so convincing a manner by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, if we continue to live like infidels, who know not what shall become of them when they die ? Who therefore want those many motives to virtue and holiness, which (blessed be God!) we plentifully enjoy. For
(1 Cor. 15. we certainly know, “that our labour shall not be in vain in 58.]
1 Pet. 1.
SER M. the Lord;" that “God, who raised up the Lord Jesus, will
also raise up us by His own power;” that "if our earthly (1 Cor. 6. 14.]
house of this tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building 2 Cor. 5. 1. of God” (provided for us), “an house not made with hands,
eternal in the heavens ;" “that we have a lively hope, by the 3, 4.
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away;" that,
therefore, if our dearest friends are taken away from us by 1 Thess. 4. death, we ought not to sorrow as those that have no hope;" 13.
that if, by the providence of God, we lose our goods, we Heb. 10. 34. should not be over-much concerned, “since we know we
have in heaven a better and a more enduring substance;"
that if we suffer afflictions, our Lord did so before us; and Rom. 6. 5. that “if we be planted together in the likeness of His death,
we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.”
“Let us run, therefore, with patience, the race that is set 1, 2.
before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith ; who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
I said before, that the reason why the Church requires of all her members, who are able to understand these things, that they keep this service, which was by Jesus Christ Himself appointed, to preserve the memory of our deliverance until His coming again; that they receive the Lord's Supper at this time especially, when these great things were accomplished.
Need I put you in mind again of the penalty appointed by God Himself for those that wilfully refused to keep the passover, which was but a type or shadow of this ? THAT SOUL SHALL BE CUT OFF. The least that can be meant by that expression is, that man shall have no benefit by this deliverance; it shall be no blessing to him, whatever it be to others.
Need I tell you what judgments the Israelites brought upon themselves by forgetting their great deliverance ?
Lastly; need I put you in mind of what the Apostle assures us was the consequence, in his time, of receiving the Lord's Supper, without considering the ends for which it was instituted, and the obligation it laid upon all Christians to lead holy lives ; namely, that God visited them very remarkably for their neglect.
I need only tell you, that these things were written for our example, that we should not follow them in their sin, that we may not share with them in their punishment.
In one word : this is the true Christian sacrifice, without which there is no remission of sins; it was appointed by Jesus Christ Himself to be done in remembrance of His death, until His coming again to judgment. This should, in all reason, put us all in mind of the account we must then give; and to be always endeavouring to prepare ourselves for that great day, which is to determine our condition for ever and ever.
Now, may God grant that at the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ to judge the quick and the dead, we may have a share in the resurrection of the righteous, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
To whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, now and for ever.
THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST OF THE GREATEST
IMPORTANCE TO MANKIND.
Acts i. 21, 22. See Luke Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time Acts 4. 33;
that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, [i.e. during the 26. 22, 23; Rom. 1. 4;
time of His ministry,] beginning from the baptism of John unto
that same day when He was taken up from us, must one be 4, 14, 20.
ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection.
1 Cor. 15.
That our blessed Saviour, in making choice of the number twelve, for His Apostles, on whom to build His Church, had respect to the twelve tribes of Israel, amongst whom the Church of God had been till that time, there is little reason to doubt. But then that these twelve were to be witnesses of His resurrection, and that that number must of necessity be filled up, for this purpose, seems to be spoken with regard to the vast importance of this truth especially. It is not said, to be witness with us, of His wonderful miracles, of His most holy life, of His divine doctrine, of His meritorious death, or of His glorious ascension, but of His resurrection. There must, I say, be some extraordinary reason, that one must be chosen to supply the place of Judas) to be a witness of Christ's resurrection.
And indeed there is so much stress laid upon this matter of fact, both for establishing the truth of Christianity, and for promoting of true piety (which is the end of Christianity), that the Apostles every where appeal to this article of the Christian faith, both to persuade men to believe the Gospel, as also to live as becomes the Gospel; and they appeal to it, as to a thing in which they could not possibly be deceived.