Imágenes de páginas
PDF

and pathetic, and touching, as he whose diction is most imbued with the manner and phraseology of the sacred authors. It will be perceived that the lecturer has not unfrequently made use also of the language of poetry. This is sometimes condemned; but a sentence of this kind will often relieve, and often revive the attention; while it serves to fix a sentiment more firmly in the memory. And is it not in this very way that God has addressed men? How much of the Bible is poetical How curiously constructed are some of its divisions ! In one case a whole Psalm is divided into as many sections as there are letters in the Hebrew alphabet; every division contains an equal number of verses; and each verse beins with the same letter. “I,” says inspired Wisom, “dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.” And will a man inquire— not whether an usage accords with God's condescension, and is likely to be useful, especially to the middle and lower classes—but whether, after a poetical quotation, his style will not seem to sink; or whether the thing be sanctioned by any first-rate authority—and this too—this weighing of trifles; while he is doing the work of eternity, and has souls perishing in view Paul knew the end would not sanctify sinful means; but he knew it justified the use of any lawful ones; and therefore, with a nobleness of mind that raises him infinitely above the intellectually proud and unaccommodating, he could say, #. I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. Unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak .. I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.— And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.” In the following documents, some things may be found looking rather inconsistent with each other. This arises from a wish the author felt strongly to represent and recommend—whatever it was the esent subject. And he is greatly mistaken if this e not the method of the sacred writers. They never seem afraid of expressing themselves too forcibly at the time. They never, stop to qualify the things they are delivering. There are qualifications to be found; but these are brought forward in other places, and where they are themselves the subjects enforced. Our Saviour makes no limitations or exceptions, when he is enjoining confidence in the care and providence of God—“Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall ut on. Is not the life more than meat, and the ody than raiment 7–Take therefore no thought for the morrow ; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” . But the same authority says elsewhere—“Go to the ant, thou sluggard: consider her ways and be wise: which having no guide,

overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?” “Let thine eyes look right on, and thine o straight before thee.” “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” He must be a spiritless teacher who never produces the surprise of paradox; who never alarms the timid and cautious; and whose strength of statement and urgency, does not furnish some seeming contradictions. The author is not sure the same thought or ex}. may not occur more than once in these ectures; or that he may not have used them before, in some of his other publications: for writers are often the least acquainted with their own works; being afraid to read them, lest they should discover faults too late for correction, and be only rendered miserable by the discovery. Should this be the case, it is not only hoped that they may be excused on the ground of inadvertence; but also that they may prove not wholly unuseful, being found in different connections, and applied to different purSes. Pool. subjects were commonplace in themselves; and could be only rendered novel in any degree, by their order and treatment. They were also very extensive subjects, and the difficulty of the preacher arose from the necessity of selection and concentration. He was obliged to reject much that offered, and to confine himself in each instance to two or three views. These ought to have been the most leading, and comprehensive, and profitable. But here the author can only be answerable for intentions and endeavors. To conclude. No thought was entertained of any thing more than the delivery of these Lectures from the pulpit, till many of them were preached. They were or: only distinguishable from his ordinary public addresses, by their length. Into this he was led by a wish to do some justice to the subject without a second discourse upon the same topic, which always divides and impairs the impression. Till a desire began to be expressed for their publication, he had only short notes from which they could be written out. But he then began to secure them, especially by hints and mementos after preaching: and he is persuaded his friends will find the Lectures more than substantially the same they heard with so much candor and acceptance. They will also observe, that he has secured as far as possible even the style in which they were delivered. One thing will be perceived in each of the discourses. He has largely treated the subject in a way of application. He did not intend to hold up the Christian to barren contemplation. His aim was to make his hearers fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of the promise of Christ by the gospel.

Behold the awful portrait, and admire. Nor stop at wonder: imitate and live.

William JAY. Percy Place, Sept. 10.

THE CHRISTIAN

LECTURE I. THE CHRISTIAN, IN CHRIST. “I knew a man in Christ.”—2 Cor. xii. 2.

“A CHRISTIAN is the highest style of man;
And is there, who the Cross wipes off,
As a foul blot, from his dishonored brow?
If angels tremble, 'tis at such a sight!”

So sings, with his accustomed energy and excellence, our admired Young. It is not, however, with the poetry of this passage we now have to do, but with the sentiment contained in it. Yes; “a Christian is the highest style of man.” Inspiration itself pronounces him to be “more excellent than his neighbor,” however that neighbor may be distinguished. Who, on a fair trial, can bear a comparison with him?—The rich 3, But he has “the true riches;" durable riches, with righteousness; “the unsearchable riches of Christ.”—The honorable % But he is “great in the sight of the Lord;” he has “the honor that cometh from God only.”—The learned? But he is made “wise unto salvation;” he has “an unction from the Holy One, and knoweth all things.” The sons of heroism — But, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he that ruleth his own spirit, than he that taketh a city.” He subdues enemies that vanquish all other victors: he is more than a conqueror; and the Captain of his salvation thus eulogizes and rewards him: “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God; and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and I will write upon him my NEw NAME.” It was a high encomium our Saviour pronounced on his forerunner: “Among them that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.” But observe the addition: yet “he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Even Adam in his original state, was nothing to a Christian. Redemption delivers us from far reater evils than creation; the one rescues us only rom non-existence; the other, from sin, and death, and hell. The blessings of grace are far superior to those of nature. What was the garden of Eden to “the new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness?” What was the tree of life to Him, the true source of immortality, who came “not only that we might have life, but have it more abundantly 4” We were made by an exertion of wisdom and power; but we are saved by the “manifold wisdom of God;” and by “the exceeding greatness of his power, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” When therefore a man, ashamed of such an infinite distinction, endeavors to free himself from the imputation as a reproach, it is credible that

[ocr errors][merged small]

CONTEMPLATED,

ings of Christ, and the glory that should follow;” but “the angels desire to look into these things.”— Christ crucified was to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness; but John “heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive ower, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” Your preacher, therefore, is more than justified in a plan, the design of which he has already intimated, and which he now proceeds to lay {...}. rou. It is to hold up the CHRISTIAN to your view, in some very important and comprehensive conditions and relations. To this design, we dedicate Twelve Lectures. The First will lead you to contemplate the Christian, in CHRIST. The Second, in the Closet. The Third, in the FAMILY. The Fourth, in the Church. The Fifth, in the World. The Sixth, in PRosperity. The Seventh, in Adversity. The Eighth, in his SPIRITUAL Sorrows. The Ninth, in his SPIRITUAL Joys. The Tenth, in DEATH. The Eleventh, in the GRAve The Twelfth, in Glory.

“Consider what I say, and the Lord give you understanding in all things.”

We are this morning to behold the Christian, In CHRIST.

If this Lecture is more general than the remaining ones, let it be remembered that it is fundamental to the whole series; and with the subject of it, every thing in religion begins. All in your Christian character is derived É. Christ. You cannot be a Christian unless you are in him, Of this state the Apostle here speaks. “I knew a man,” says he, “in Christ.” he mode of exH. is humble and modest; but by this “man” e unquestionably intends himself. We all have known some in Christ; and this should awaken our, joy and praise. But religion is a personal thing.— We cannot be saved by the grace of others. 5.

apply to the same source. For they were once des

us, and is equally willing. He even intends t every instance of his mercy should be a plea against despair. Hence the “man” before us could say, “Howbeit, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering for a pattern to them that should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

To come nearer our subject. There are three states mentioned in the Scripture with regard to Christ.

The first is to be without Christ. “At that time,” says the Apostle, to the Ephesians, “ye were without Christ.” This is true of the heathen; and it is true of all those who are living in sin, even in the land of vision. “The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.” This is the state of Nature.

The second is to be with Christ. “I long,” says

their experience should encourage and induce us to :

titute; and he who enriched them is able to ..". at

Paul, “to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better.” “And so,” says he, “shall we be for ever with the Lord.” This is the state of Glory.

The third is to be in Christ. This is the state of Grace. I need not remark how frequently the Scripture speaks of this condition. Let us reduce its declarations to some easy and brief arrangement. Of this state let us consider,

I. The NATURE. II. The IMpoRTANCE. III. The Evide Nce.

I. The NATURE.-What is it to be in Christ'? It is to be a Christian. Paul, speaking of certain individuals, says, “who were in Christ before me:” that is, they embraced Christianity before he did.— “The churches,” says he, “which are in Christ:” that is, Christian churches, in distinction from those which were Heathen and Jewish. “Salute, (says he,) Apelles approved in Christ;” that is, an approved Christian. It is needless to multiply examples, as the thing is undeniable. But admitting the fact, there must be some reason, and some very powerful reason, not only for the o of the expression, but for the expression itself. The language is perfectly peculiar. There are indeed various relations and connections in life; and some of our fellow-creatures are much attached to others, and very dependent upon them; yet we never say, a patient is in his physician; or, a servant in his master; or, a discile in his teacher. But we constantly read of our ing in Christ—and “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.” New terms imper. make way for new doctrines; nor has any subtlety of the enemy of souls succeeded better in corrupting the mind from the simplicity there is in Christ, than modernizing the language of divinity. When men are shy of the “words the Holy Ghost teacheth,” we are always afraid they are beginning to be ashamed of the things. The expression means a state of union with Christ. This union may be considered as visible and professional; or real and vital. This is not a distinction without a difference; there is a foundation for it, in reason; and it is even o, to harmonize the testimonies of divine truth. Thus our Saviour says, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” Thus a man may be in him, and be fruitless; and be in him, and perish. But can either of these be true, when applied to those who are Christians indeed; and of whom, by a change of metaphor, it is said, “I will put my Spirit within them, and cause them to walk in my statutes, and to keep my judgments and do them 7" and “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand?” We therefore must admit, that a person may be in him by profession, when he is not in him in reality; in him, by a form of godliness, while he denies the power thereof; in him, by an external alliance "...". church, and by the use of his ordinances, while he is a stranger to the renewing of the Holy Ghost, and the grace of God in truth. As religion ceases to be persecuted, and becomes respectable, such pretensions will be frequent; and they may for a while impose upon men, and even good men: but God is not mocked—and what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God casteth away his soul? But there is another union with Christ: and this union is not only real and vital, but the most intimale, and entire, and indissoluble; independent of the changes of time, unaffected by the diseases of

the body, uninjured by death, untouched by the destructions of the last day. Let us look at it. But how shall we do this? Here the sacred writers lead the way; and were we like-minded with them, our senses would minister to our faith, and every thing would admonish us of the Lord of all. The sun would tell us that there is a nobler orb above him, “with healing under his wings.” The wind would remind us that “so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” We should think of Christ and of Christians as one with him, whenever we saw a foundation and a building; a fountain and a stream; a shepherd and his sheep; a king and his subjects; an advocate and his client. None of these indeed can do justice to the subject; the subject being so peculiar in its nature, and so boundless in its extent. The sacred writers feel this, and therefore, to increase their efficacy, they throw off from the images they employ every imperfection in their kind; they add to them attributes which are not naturally inherent in them; and the multiply their number, that they may accompris by combination what could not be done by individuality; and thus, though these allusions fall short of the glory they are applied to illustrate, they aid our meditations. With many of these we are furnished in the Scripture. Let us glance at a few of them; and let us be thankful that instead of their having any thing novel in them, they are well known and familiar. We are in Christ as we are in Adam. “In Adam all die: so in Christ shall all be made alive.” From the first we derive our natural being, and from the second our spiritual. By the one we fell, by the other we rise again. By the disobedience of one, many were made sinners; and by the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous. From the one, sin reigned unto death; by the other, grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life. “The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord stom heaven. As is the earthy, such are the also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, o are they also that are heavenly; and as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” It is commonly supposed that the ark was designed to be a type of Christ: it certainly affords a striking image of him. A deluge was coming on, and Noah and his family were exposed to the flood, as well as others. But they escaped uninjured; for they availed themselves of the shelter provided. They entered it in time; and the Lord shut them in ; and they could not have been safer had they been in heaven. Not a drop of the torrents from above, or of the deep below, touched them; and through the universal wreck they sailed out into fair weather and into a new world. But

there was no other mode of deliverance. Swimming

was useless; a boat was a vain thing for safety; and truly in vain was salvation hoped for from the hills and the multitude of mountains. All were overwhelmed that contemned the Divine appointment; for though there were abysses of destruction every where, there was only one ark. “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other Name given under heaven among men whereby they must be saved,” than the name of Jesus. “I am,” says he, “the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” A peculiar provision under the Law was also an emblem of our subject. The man committing casual murder was exposed to the avenger of blood, who had a right to kill him wherever he should be found, unless in one of the cities of refuge. The lace of immunity was situated on an eminence, to |. visible from afar. The road to it was open, and

wide, and prepared; and when there was any danger of mistake, a direction pointed—“Refuge, Refuge.” To this, therefore, the offender, incapable

of trifling or tarrying, fied for his life; and it is easy to imagine what were his feelings, his anxiety, his anguish, till he had entered the asylum; and the calm and confidence he enjoyed as soon as he could turn and face the foe, and say “Thou canst not touch me here.” To this, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, who would well understand the allusion, refers, when he speaks of those “who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before them.” Christians are in Christ as the branches are in the tree. It matters not how near a branch is to a tree–yea, if it lean against it; yea, if it be corded to it, or even nailed, it can neither flourish or live, unless it be in the stock. But when it is in the tree, the very same sap that pervades the one, flows into the other, and sustains and fertilizes it. And, says our Saviour, “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me; for without me ye can do nothing.” And to mention nothing more—They are in Christ as the members of the human body are in the head. For he is called “the head of his body the Church:” and believers are said to be “members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” They are real and living parts of him. As the head governs and directs the body, they are under his guidance and authority: and as the body is actuated by the head, and depends o ligatures with it, and influences from it, so they live by him; and of his fulness they all receive, and grace for grace. —Let us,

II. Consider the IMPORTANCE of this state.

We often, in determining the worth of a thing. appeal to authority; and we are much influenced in our decision by the competency of the judge. Here it must be confessed the multitude are not a safe guide, nor yet many of those who by their rank and attainments may seem entitled to take the lead in society. They rise early and sit up late, and eat the bread of sorrow, and deny themselves, and compass sea and land for fortune and for fame. But their urgency in the things of time and sense, forms a deplorable contrast with their insensibility and negligence with regard to the things that belong to their everlasting peace. So that were we to estimate the value of the prize by the zeal of the candidates, we could not deem it worth a moment's thought. But we do not appeal to the blind and the deaf in questions of color and of sound. How can the votaries of the god of this world o: a kingdom that is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost? “The world knew him not” when on earth: and it is not wiser now. But the spiritual judgeth all things, though he himself is judged of no man. Let us turn to Paul. Paul was a man of learning and wisdom. . He had been the greatest enemy to the cause of the gospel, and had, from the most irresistible and perfect conviction, become its adherent and advocate. He was not a novice in experience, but had been for many years acquainted' with the Saviour, studying him as a Minister, as well as believing in him as a Christian, when he wrote to the Philippians. Yet what was his language? “Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found IN HIM.” Thus he was fully persuaded that a union with Christ was a state infinitely desirable; and that his estimation was well founded will appear—

If we survey the state in connection with the ad

[ocr errors]

vantages inseparable from it, but never to be enjoyed without it. And here I must make a selection. ‘.

I find myself in a garden abounding with productions, all of which I wish to commend; but I have o time to lead you to notice a few of the flowers and the fruits; and in doing this, order is not necessary. But is it desirable to be delivered from captivity and bondage—a bondage the most degrading; a captivity the most oppressive? | Here you enjoy it. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Is it desirable to be safe from condemnation? Condemnation is to be judged of by the doom to which it consigns us. Now, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them.” And who can appreciate the misery of this curse? Who knoweth the power of his anger ? It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. But “there is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.”

| That is, none that will affect their security. , Con

science may condemn; the world may condemn; Satan, the accuser of the brethren, may condemn —but these are not the Judge. “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth It is Christ that died; yea, rather, that is risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Is acceptance with God desirable? Here we have it—“This,” says God, “is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The complacency extends to us, as well as to himself. “Thou hast loved them,” says the Saviour, “as thou hast loved me.” He hath made us accepted in the Beloved: and this is true both of our persons and our services. “He gave himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor; and we could not have been originally so dear to God as we now become, through his mediation. Tell me, ye who delight in communion with God, and are so often constrained to repair to him for mercy and grace to help in time of need, Is it good to draw nigh to God? And can you go to him freely as your Father? at all seasons? on all occasions? and in every thing by prayer and supplication make known your requests unto God, with an assurance of success? “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence, by the faith of him.” o In him we have all our supplies and endowments. “We are complete in him.” Where can I find righteousness? In vain I look even to my duties and to my holy things. These are all defective and polluted; and if they deserve any thing, it is con

demnation: and if he thus enters into judgment

with us, no flesh living can be justified But Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Thus I appear before him, “not having my own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is of faith;” and this not only justifies me from all things, but gives me a title to eternal life.—And where but in him can I find strength 2 The journey I have to take, the race I have to run, the warfare I have to accomplish; the duties I have to perform; the trials I have to bear: all these are not only above my natural powers, but even above the grace I possess, without fresh and constant supplies of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. But he cries, “my grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Surely therefore shall one sav, “In the Lord have I righteousness and strength.” Where shall we end ? “If children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.” . But he is heir of all things; therefore, says the Apostle, “All things are yours: whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all, are yours; and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's. You are united to him, and he is united to God. , You are in him, and he is in God. How secure, then, is the happiness of believers' Their life is hid—with Christ —in God! How incapable of rupture is the connection between them and God, unless the medium that unites them can fail! But “I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor principalities, nor o nor things present, nor things to come, nor eight, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We may also view the importance of this state, in connection with certain seasons when it must be peculiarly felt. There are four of these. The first is the hour of conviction. What is the reason that many of you read and hear of this state with such indifference 1 that you make light of the invitation to enter it? and go your way, one to his farm and another to his merchandise 1 You do not feel yourselves in the wretchedness and jeopardy it implies, and is designed to relieve. One question forced from a wounded spirit—“What must I do to be saved?” would magnify this state more than all the arguments your preachers can ever employ. When a man is awakened to serious consideration; when he examines his character and condition; when he looks and sees what he is, what he wants, what he deserves; when he perceives the vastness and certainty of his danger; when he finds himself perfectly unable to effect his own deliverance, and knows also, that the help of men and angels united could not reach the desperateness of his case—then, how inexpressibly desirable appears a connection with him, who is able to save to the uttermost who was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification in whom it hath H. the Father that all fulness should dwell hen how delightful to hear him say, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest " Then how blessed, by believing, to enter into rest, and “joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom he has now received the atonement " The second is the day of trouble. And this may always be expected; for a man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards. And what, in the wreck of property, in the loss of relations and friends, in the failure of health and comfort—what will you do without “the consolation of Israel ?” While your cisterns are broken, the fountain of living water is far off; while your lamps are extinguished, no Sun of Righteousness is nigh. But if you had an interest in him who is the hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in the time of trouble, your trials would be all sanctified and alleviated: at what time you were afraid, you would be able to trust in him: in the multitude of your thoughts within you, his comforts would delight your soul. “I am cast down, but not destroyed. I feel my losses, but I am not lost. The waters are bitter, but this tree heals them. The Cross takes away the curse; yea, turns the curse into a blessing. It is good for me that I am afflicted. I know this shall turn to my salvation, through prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” The third is an hour that awaits you all. The day of trouble may come—the hour of death must come. The one is probable, the other is absolutely certain. For what man is he that liveth and shall not see death? The living know that they shall die. But though death be a universal event, it is not a universal privilege. It would be the most dreadful delusion in many of you to say, “It is bet

ter for me to die than to live;” for however severe . present sufferings may be, they are only the ginning of sorrows. If death find you out of Christ, it would be good for you if you had never been born. There will be nothing to screen you from the power with which it is armed by sin. It will deprive you of all you hold most dear. It will terminate your space for repentance. It will close all your opportunities of mercy. It will put a seal upon your character and condition for ever. It will arrest, and deliver you to the judge, and the judge will deliver you to the officer, and you will be cast into Fo and you shall not come out thence till you have paid the uttermost farthing. But hear the voice from heaven: “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.” He in whom they are found, has abolished death, by the final destruction of the state, and the present removal of the sting; by the change of its nature and office; by turning it into a departure, a sleep; by making it endless gain. If death finds you in Christ, it will be the angel of the covenant; it will wipe away all your tears; it will lead you to the altar of God, to God your exceeding joy. You may continue to neglect and despise the Friend of sinners now, but you will have other thoughts soon. Death will discover and display the errors of life. How will you then wonder that the trifles and vanities which now engross you should ever have acquired such an ascendancy 1 How will you be amazed that you constantly disregarded him who alone can befriend you when all other helpers fail! Then you will learn, but in vain, that an interest in Christ is the one thing needsul. Cannot you look forward 3 Cannot you foresee this, before the knowledge can result only in despair For, fourthly, There is another day, and from which the former derives its greatest dread—it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment. I do not ask you what are your thoughts now —but what will they be, when the heavens shall pass away with a great noise? when the elements shall melt with fervent heat? when all that are in their graves shall come forth 7 when the dead, small and great, shall stand before God, and the books shall be opened? What will you then do without a friend, an advocate 2 Then the tribes of the earth will mourn and wail because of Him. Then they who have despised Him, and rejected Him, will cry to the rocks and mountains to hide them from the wrath of the Lamb. But the believer in Jesus lifts up his head with joy, for his redemption draweth nigh. Here he looked for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life, and now he enjoys it. He is found in him, and therefore he is found of him in peace—and hears him say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” To which we may add, that all this admits of anticipation by faith; and now, even now, he can say—“I am not ashamed; for I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day.”—Let us, therefore,

III. Consider the Evidence of our being in Christ.

There is no doubt but it is very desirable to know this; and it would be strange to suppose that it is impossible to ascertain it; especially since we are not only required to examine ourselves, and prove whether we are in the faith, but also to rejoice in the Lord always. Paul, we see, was assured of this— “I knew a man in Christ:” and he knew himself to be so, not as he was an Apostle—for a man might have been an Apostle, and not in Christ: this was the case with Judas—but, as a believer. Official service is very distinguishable from personal expe

« AnteriorContinuar »