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versation and a holy behaviour, truth, My Christian hearers, how fully temperance, charity, sobriety, and doth the preacher on the Mount inself-denial, these are the essential struct us, that the knowledge of our fruits of a justifying faith, the insepa- duty is no better than a tree which rable evidence of our becoming an heir produceth flourishing leaves, but year of immortality. For the grand decid after year hath no fruit upon it; or, ing question at the last day, when in the higher simile of our divine Christ Jesus comes in the glorious Teacher, than a house built upon the majesty of heaven, will be-not what sand. From that Divine Preacher, we have said, not what we have pro- then, we gather the true notion of fessed, but what we have done more Christian edification, which his serthan others for religion and for God. vant Jude finely expresses by “building
The Judge of the universe tells us up ourselves in our most holy faith.” the very words he will say to man. It is not, as an old divine says, the kind at that day. When all nations filling our heads with unprofitable shall be gathered before him, the Son of notions of religion, and pleasing our man shall separate them, as a shepherd itching ears with a variety of teachers, divideth his sheep from the goats. and pretending to be mightily moved Then the king shall say to them on his and affected by them, like a sort of right hand, “I was an hungered and people St. Paul mentions, who could ye gave me meat, I was a stranger and not endure sound doctrine, ever learnye took me in, naked and ye clothed ing, and never able to come to the me, sick and in prison, and ye visited knowledge of the truth. Sound reme, come ye blessed of my Father ligion, the religion which will save a inherit the kingdom prepared for you man, is in the power of the Spirit, from the foundation of the world.” But and in the faith of Jesus Christ, whose he will say to them on his left hand, example we must keep before us, to “Depart from me ye wicked into ever grow in grace-to show, out of a good lasting fire, for I was hungry and ye conversation, our works with meekgave me no meat, I was a stranger and ness—to give all diligence to make ye took me not in, I was sick and in our election sure, by adding to our prison and ye never visited me.” They faith virtue, by being just towards will answer, that they remember not man and devout towards God. that they thus slighted the Saviour of These are exhortations of the Holy the world. “When saw we thee, and Scripture. How much, therefore, to did not minister to thee.” Then will he be blamed, and how far short of the silence them with a consuming frown. glory of God are those persons, who,
Inasmuch as ye showed not mercy to having lived an uncharitable, or intemone of my hungry, naked, and afflicted perate, or ungodly life, still go the creatures, ye showed no mercy to me.” dangerous length of saying, We expect So true it is, that these empty pro to be saved, because we firmly believe fessors of religion will make a thou- that, through the merits of Jesus sand excuses at the bar of God, but Christ, our sins are forgiven us. they will all avail nothing iť charity
This is the Antinomian heresy, an be not there—we speak not of charity opinion which I trust in God will alone. Equally necessary to salvation never find its way into my congrega are all the other graces of religion ; tion. For it is a child of hell. To but the greatest of these is charity : such a one I would say, Who does by charity I mean the love of God and not believe that the sins of a man,
who trusts firmly in Christ, is for
given, provided he both hears the no happiness but that of pleasing him. sayings of his Saviour, and doeth Away, then, with all the empty vows them with a cheerful heart and an and fading promises of amendment honest purpose. Christ is an all-suf which we so often hear from the lips ficient Saviour, but the Gospel hath of insincere and undecided Christians. conditions ; eternal glory is not the No more let them boast of their fond purchase of a base desire; heaven is reliance upon the goodness of their not the reward of fruitless prayers and hearts, and the honesty of their intenof presumptuous wishes. Christ Jesus tions. The pretence of a good heart is, indeed, the only rock of our salvation. will never supplant the necessity of a Thanks be to God for that unspeak- good life. And very much may you able gift. So entirely do faith, and question both the goodness of that hope, and mercy, and life, center in man's heart, and the honesty of his him, that an unshaken belief of our intention, who doth not show both by pardon and acceptance with God the chastity of his conversation and through Christ's intercession, and in the purity of his life, that his principal virtue of his all-prevailing sacrifice, is desire is to do the sayings of Christ as the foundation, the only, the entire well as hear them. foundation we are to lay. There is, Strange that a rational being, who St. Paul says, no other foundation hath all this constantly sounding in that any man can lay than that which his ears, and applied to his conscience, is laid, which is Jesus Christ; and and he at the same time believing it to the deeper this foundation is laid the be true, can yet all the while be very better, for there is no limit to its little, if any, affected by it. Worse atoning efficacy, no end to its recom than sandy is the foundation on which pence of glory. It could have saved he builds his house of hope. When the ten thousand worlds, if so many worlds winds, and the rains, and storms of had fallen. It is infinite, inexhaust- | temptation, adversity, and affliction, ible, unchangable, everlasting. It is beat against that house, it is certain to the power and the wisdom of God. fall, and dreadful will be the fall of it.
My brethren, the matter is perfectly For such a vain and false professor clear. St. Paul long since laid it hopes to be saved against the very down, and we see every day we live, nature of that salvation which Christ with hearts more thankful, the beauty, brought down from the throne of the solidity, which his doctrine gave grace ; he hopes against every precept, to our religion when he writes—“By promise, and threatening of the Gospel; faith a man is justified,” and “God for- | he hopes against our Lord's own words, bid that any man should glory save in the declared and enforced again and again ; cross of Christ.” But this faith must nay, he hopes against the very end be such a principle as the Founder of and design of the Saviour's coming our religion requires in his sermon on into the world, which was to redeem the Mount; it must be a vital obe us from all iniquity, and purify unto diential, working, sanctifying faith, a himself a peculiar people, zealous of faith which, not fearing to wrestle good works. If such a man, shelterwith principalities and powers of dark-ing himself under the fortifications of ness, when the glory of God and the spiritual pride and its most impious good of mankind are concerned, de- offspring, self-righteousness, should monstrates to the world that the true lastly urge as his refuge, that having believer keeps his Saviour's command. been elected, he cannot fall from grace, ments, because he loves him, and has I would answer, the conclusion may be
just, but the argument is false. Where needless to argue, where truth is so is the proof of his election? Where plain and peremptory. the life of the Gospel ? Suppose that In the path way to heaven, that an elected person cannot fall from kingdom where none can dwell but the grace, which is allowing him all he holy, the merciful, and the just, the asks, yet he is no nearer the kingdom candidate for immortality must subdue of God, because he never was in a his unruly appetites, curb his impestate of grace, and therefore could not tuous lusts, restrain his anger, and be elected.
suppress his revenge. And if any There is no falling from a state to thing prove an hindrance to him in his which a man never reached; no losing Christian pilgrimage, though it be dear what he never possessed. But, ah, to him as a right eye, he must plack thou poor blind wandering creature, it out, or precious as a right hand, he are these the best evidences thou hast must cut it off and cast it from him. for heaven? Are these that repent- Thus, O professor of a divine reliance, that faith, that love, that obe- gion, must thou take up thy cross and dience upon which thou hopest to see follow Christ. For thy Saviour exthy Saviour in peace and safety, when pects that thou art ready to endure thou hast passed through the gloomy persecutions, revilings, and hatreds, valley of the shadow of death? As- not only patiently but also for the sure thyself that God will deal with truth's sake. Therefore, he calls upon thee upon very different terms. Mercy thee to love thine enemies, and to do will fill the Judge's throne, but justice good for evil, to bless those that curse will hold the scales of heaven. Hath thee, and to pray for those that denot that God and judge before whom spitefully use thee. thou must appear, when every secret Go then, I again exhort thee, to the will be revealed, and the hidden things preacher of the Mount, if thou wouldst of darkness brought to light, hath He learn thy duty and save thy soul. If not enjoined thee to do whatsoever his thou art a faithful hearer of Christ, Son hath commanded, and to fly thou will return from his preaching, from whatever he hath forbidden ? convinced that thou must, whether in Hast thou done this? Hast thou the bosom of thy family, or the bustle strictly observed those laws and les of the world, be meek and lowly, sons which he hath laid before thee as chaste and temperate, just and mercithy duty ? Hast thou subdued the ful, pious and a peace-maker ; in a passions, forsaken the pleasures, de- word, thou must strive to be, as far as spised the world which he expected the frailties and infirmities of thy na. thee to mortify and deny thyself? Go ture will permit, pure as thy blessed again to hear the preacher of the Saviour is pure, perfect as thy Father in Mount ; listen to that heavenly ser-heaven is perfect. This, I say again, is mon which God himself delivered; the sum and substance of those sayings there thou wilt learn, from the lips of of the Divine preacher, which, if a man the Saviour in whom thou declarest hear and do, thus adding to a steadfast that thy hope is placed, that if thou faith an honest purpose, heaven with wouldst reach the kingdom of heaven, all its glories will be his, and not all thou must be poor in spirit, and where the powers of darkness shall be able is thy spiritual poverty ? Thou must to move or hurt him. be pure in heart, and in what part of If then we know from the lips of thy heart does purity dwell ? But it is Him who loved us unto death, that through the power of faith a conscien- | both holy and happy during our resitious observance of his laws will speak dence in this vale of uncertainty and peace to our conscience here, and stand sorrow. He will do more, even be. between us and the wrath of God here- yond what we can wish or ask; he after, let us take that course which is will, at the day of judgment, when we certain to lead us first to earthly conso- are standing at his right hand among lation and afterwards to heavenly joy. his friends and disciples, “liken us unto Let us, amending our hearts and lives, a wise man who built his house upon and conforming our manners and affec- a strong foundation, and though the tions to his kingdom and his righteous rains descended, and the winds blew, ness, leave all our hopes at the foot of his and the floods came, and beat against cross. Then, for he hath said it, he will that house, it fell not, for it was founded love us and dwell with us, and make us upon a rock.” Amen.
A Sermon DELIVERED BY THE REV. JOHN VAUGHAN, LL.B.
CURATE AND LECTURER, AT ST. CLEMENT-DANES'S CHURCH, JULY 3, 1831.
2 Timothy, iii. 15–17.—“From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. AU Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness ; that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
When the children of Israel were pas- | to the people of God, when our sing through the wilderness on their warfare is accomplished, our course journey from the land of their captivity finished, and our pilgrimage ended. to the land of promise, The Lord,” But how shall we find the way to we are told by Moses, in the thirteenth it? For certain it is that many may chapter of Exodus and twenty-first miss it, and never arrive at the verse, "went before them by day in heavenly Canaan. They miss it, just a pillar of a cloud to lead them on the as the children of Israel would have way; and by night in a pillar of fire, missed their way to the earthly Cato give them light.” For the same naan, had they neglected to attend to gracious purpose for which the Lord the miraculous pillar of the cloud, and was pleased to give them the pillar the pillar of fire. For, as these were of a cloud, and the pillar of fire, he given to guide them by day, and give has been pleased to bestow on us the them light by night, so are the Scripinestimable gift of the Scriptures. tures given to guide us on the road to
We, my brethren, are pilgrims in heaven, and to afford us that light in the wilderness of this world; we are a dark world by which we may be merely passing through it on our way enabled to walk in " the narrow way to another. There is a better land which leadeth unto life." of promise than Canaan; a land of They, then, who neglect the Scripwhich Canaan was but the type and tures, will have no reason to complain, shadow-a land of everlasting rest, if, when an entrance shall be minisand happiness, and glory, promised tered unto others abundantly into the
everlasting kingdom of our' Lord and the title given to the Scriptures by an Saviour Jesus Christ, they find it de- inspired Apostle? Are they the Holy nied to them.
Scriptures ? Then see, my brethren, May the same divine Spirit who in- that you regard them in their proper dited the Scriptures, direct and bless light. You cannot value them too what may be offered respecting them, much, reverence them too highly, or while, from the passage before us, I search them too diligently. Suffer shall take occasion to remark :
not a day to pass without reading some First—THE TITLE given to the portion of God's most holy word, and SCRIPTURES. Secondly—Their AU- whenever you approach it, let it be with
Thirdly-Their IMPORT- solemn awe, reverential regard, meek
sion, simple faith, and humble prayer. First, I am to notice
Beware of a careless and trifling spiTHE TITLE GIVEN TO THE SCRIP- rit, beware of a curious and cavilling
—“Holy.” “From a child thou spirit-rocks on which thousands have hast known the Holy Scriptures." made shipwreck. When the Holy Bible
The Scriptures, or writings, con- is taken up and opened, the place tained in the Bible, have this title whereon thou standest is holy ground. given to them, to distinguish them Consider, in the Second place, from all other writings of whatever THE AUTHORITY OF THE HOLY SCRIP. description. Other books may have TURES. “All Scripture is give by inin them much that is good, but the spiration of God." Bible alone is holy. Other books, Can words be more plain? And whether good or bad, are but the yet, in direct contradiction to this books of men, but the Bible is the testimony of the Apostle, there have book of God. To no other writings, been, and are those, who have had therefore, could the title “Holy" be the folly and hardihood to assert, with propriety given-to these Scrip- that the Scriptures are not wholly tures it exclusively belongs. These inspired, but only some parts of in every respect are holy—they were them. But the assertions of men are dictated by the Holy Spirit to holy of no value and merit, no regard, men—they contain holy precepts and when they thus contradict the declapromises, and reveal holy doctrines rations of God in his Holy word. -point out holy motives, princi- May the Lord Jehovah, by the inples, and springs of action_display fluences of his Holy Spirit, open the the beauty of holiness-declare its eyes of such persons, and deliver them necessity, and are a principal instru- from the guilt and misery of an evil ment in producing it: agreeably to heart of unbelief! “All Scripture is the words of our blessed Lord, re- given by inspiration of God.” The corded in the seventeenth chapter of Holy Scriptures are not the effusions St. John and seventeenth verse- of human genius, talent, and inven. “Sanctify them through thy truth— tion—they are not the offspring of thy word is truth.”
human labour and learning—they are · None but the serious and diligent stu- not the mere productions of men, but dents of the Holy Scriptures—none who a revelation of the mind and will of neglect the directions, precepts, and God, made by God himself. Those promises contained in them—will ever by whom the various books of Scripattain to that holiness, "without which ture were written, wrote under the no man shall sce the Lord.” Is such immediate influence of the Spirit of