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A Sermon



1 Peter v. 10, 11.-But the God of all grace, who hath called us into his eternal

glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

These words present a beautiful model | God spiritual your hearts have been for the order of our communion with cold, your lips silent—to Him who can God—they bespeak the union of prayer bless, you have urged your petitions, and praise—they affect the necessities but to him who hath blessed you have of the creature and they affect the spoken never a word-your claim is glories of the Creator—they are not upon the hand which giveth liberally only a breathing of the desires, but and witholdeth not—your obligation to they are also the ascription of a de- the hand which has been widely vout admiration—they are not con- opened with all manner of store, from fined to the present want, to the selfish- your infancy to your age, to your ness of the present want, but they gray hairs, is unthought of. That ingive you the image of an eye that is imitable form of words, “Our Father,” busy in tracing back the former mercies from the lips of the blessed Jesus, of the Lord, of a heart that bows with a ought to humble you here—it begins free and full gratitude before their source. with praise, it ends with praise; God,

It may be thought a startling asser- in his glorious perfections, is its Alpha tion, a paradoxical assertion, (though and Omega-human wants have a midan examination of the fact will prove dle place. In heaven praise will be all in the truth) that in our very times of all, there, will be no petition, no prayer, remembrance of God, there is a deep the language of eternity will be song. forgetfulness of God—that is to say,

But if we

to join in the that the recognition is a partial re- anthem of angels before the throne cognition—that there is only a seeing hereafter, we must begin the anthem of the half of God's face ; thus you of angels before the throne now-we are brought to a sense of the true state must know the letters, the sentences of of your soul, you are touched with a the ode we are to sing, we must be feeling of your infirmities, your de practised in its mighty burthen. Some ficiencies and ignorances, your weak- have imagined foolishly, that hearts nesses, your guilt-and you seek at the which had been previously empty, will Divine throne a suitable supply in all in heaven be suddenly and miracu. pardon, and wisdom, and strength, lously filled with the love of God, that you see, and rightly see in God the lips which had been before altogether only fountain of these, but you fre- shut, will at once burst into singing quently see nothing else, and you the praises of the Lamb; but this is leave the Divine footstool with having a whisper of Satan, the delusion of the called every thing down from heaven, enemy; all exercises of the holy angels but with having sent nothing up. The in which we shall mix there, must be man spiritual hath occupied you cultivated, entered upon here. The wholly, whilst in the praises of the formation of the habit below will pre.


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cede the infinite progression in the habit guidance and assistance of the Holy above; the church in glory will be the Spirit, without whom nothing is church transplanted—its identity will strong, nothing is holy,"Iwould follow be preserved—the passage

will be out of the fourfold division into which it breaks. of much tribulation to where no tribula- First. THE CHARACTER GIVEN OF tion is. The wing of the insect is folded God. in the chrysalis, and what spring is to Secondly. THE RECIPIENTS OF God's it, heaven will be to us in an infinite FAVOUR. degree-expansion, perfection, joy! Thirdly. THE MEANS TO ITS ENJOY

And, now, what is the state of Ment; and, your preparation ? Are you often em. Fourthly. THE EFFECT WHICH IT ployed in thinking upon the perfec- PRODUCES. tions of God, and in speaking good THE CHARACTER GIVEN OF GOD. of his name? Are you frequently He is called “the God of all grace"making melody in your hearts before the one great and only fountain of all him because of the riches of his supplies to our temporal and spiritual mercy? Is Christ in his condescending necessities-inexhaustible, the overlove, in his travailing love, in his flowing and the ever full-the centre atoning love, in his redeeming love, in of the three mighty economies of creahis intercessional love, an enkindling tion, of providence, and of redempof your souls into song? Is there a tion, flooding all with his presence, man before me whose whole life has sustaining all with his power, directbeen without one act, one expression of ing and controlling all with his wis. praise God-ward—who does not even dom, replenishing all with the streams know the matter, the subject of the of his love. Creation-in the raising harmonies of the celestial world—who your bodies from the dust, in giving has for years been living in the midst you the distinction of reason, the of all grace, and is yet the unim- powers and capacities of the living soul pressed, the unawakened—and to to hold communion with himself, to whom the next month, the next week, meditate upon his Divine excellencies, the next day, may be a cutting-off of to separate the rays of his attributes, his life, an eternal separation from all to dwell upon his character in its own opportunity that would lead through cloudless glory. Behold the GOD the exercises of the church militant to of grace. Providence in the preserthe exercises of the church triumphant? vation and deliverance of your lives decide— watch !—"The God of all through consuming sicknesses and grace, who hath called us unto his amidst awful accidents, in the mani. eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after fold blessings of your families and of that ye have suffered awhile, make your worldly estate, in the privileges you perfect, stablish, strengthen, of country and climate, in the ensettle you : to Him be glory and do- joyment of your civil rights and reminion for ever and ever. Amen!" ligious liberties. Behold the God of

To this solemn and weighty prayer of grace, in the mercies of redemption, St. Peter we may apply the remark al- in the bringing you from darkness ready made on the great prayer of from the darkness of your own hearts, Christ, his Divine master, its beginning from the darkness of vain and proud and its ending is praise, while the ne- teachers, the blind leaders of the cessities, the spiritual necessities of blind-from the depths of heathen seGod's people occupy a middle space. perstitions into the marvellous light of And now, in dwelling upon it with the the Gospel-in emancipating you from

the bondage of the curse, from the of the Father yearning over us in undominion of Satan, and raising you speakably the richest of all providences! to the glorious liberty of the children But what were the peculiar manifestaof God-in the visiting you with the tions of the grace of God, which St. infinite compassions of the incarnate Peter sought for the Christian church, Son, in providing for you a full, per- in his own words, for “ The strangers fect sufficient satisfaction, and atone- scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, ment for all your trespasses and all Cappadocia, Asia and Bethynia, elect your sins--in the sacrifice of the Lamb according to the foreknowledge of of God without spot or blemish—in the God the Father through sanctification opening a way of access and of ac- of the Spirit unto obedience and ceptance through the blood-shedding sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ?” of God's dear Son—in the publication, Why, they were these, the grace that the broad, the free publication of mes- should make perfect, the grace that sages of heaven, of mercy to a world should establish, strengthen, settle. of ruined and lost souls, to a whole And where is the spiritual pastor whose creation groaning and travailing toge- heart is not alive with his heart, whose ther in painuntil now

w-in the strengths, voice of prayer is not an echo to his the intense, the forbearing, the un- voice of prayer? How often is the weariedly patient exercise of a Divine silent desire springing up with me, love pleading through every variety of that the God of all grace would make appeal for the things which affect our

you perfect, put off from you all imtrue and imperishable peace, in the purities of the flesh by which so offices of the Spirit of God, towards many a soul is sore let and hindered enlightening the ignorant mind, to- in running his heavenly race, and wards strengthening and perfecting clothe you with light, that your conthe weak endeavour, towards sancti. sistency might exhibit as it were the fying the unholy purpose, towards very garment of your master without quickening, and regenerating, and seam, woven from the top throughoutcreating anew the dead in evil works, how often do my enquiries follow you in the grasp of the Omnipotent pluck- through the observances here, follow ing the brand from its burning, snatch- you into the customs of your homes, ing from the bottomless perdition and follow you in the avocations of the elevating to the felicities of the heavenly week : if my thoughts were embodied world, to the right hand of the throne, things, what knockings would there be behold the God of all grace, of sove- at your hearts, that I might feel as. reign, unmerited, free, gratuitous, sured that the grace of the Lord Jesus boundless, eternal grace !

Christ is making you perfect, comThis latter, in the Apostle's eye, was plete in him, and then that the same the summing up of all discoveries, this grace might stablish you-stablish was the mighty confluence of a thousand you, my brother, in your feeble resostreams, this was a commingling all lutions, in your weak and wavering Divine energies into one, this was a faith, amidst the assaults of the enemy making bare the whole heart of God; within and of the enemy withoutit is in redemption that we see a creat- stablish you more and more in the ing power go forth that has to con truths of God's holy word, whilst the tend with a far more stubborn and in- infidel and blasphemer are entering tractable material than it met in into their awful conspiracies against the elements of chaos. It is in re- your soul's peace, that the grace of demption that we see the tenderness God might strengthen you, when the flesh is at its weakest, that the spirit nance after ordinance, Bible-reading may be at its strongest—that what after Bible-reading, ministering after ever the trial, you may have power ministering, each has a tongue, and from on high to meet it—that in the utterance is come unto me, every storm of affliction your head may and be ye saved all the ends of the be still above the waters, you may find earth ;” the souls of all are deeply ina rock to cling to in some of the un- terested in the message, and the mes. speakably precious promises of the sage goes out to all. But those who gospel-that in your grapling with the receive it are a peculiar people, they are Tempter the might of the Lord may the few, who seeing, do see, and heargive you the mastery—that the same ing, do hear, they are the few who are grace may settle you-give you heart conscious of their wants, are pierced amidst the professions of the Gospel — with a suffering sense of their sinful that taking root downwards you may infirmities, and thus in all earnest bear fruit upwards—that as you grow prayer and supplication seek the

mercy in experience, your inward testimonies of God. They are led to know that may be stronger to the sure oracles they are guilty, and they ask for parof God—that as you encrease in krowdon; they are led to know that they ledge your confidence may repose more are ignorant, and they ask for Divine fully in the verities of the character of light; they are led to know that they a God in Christ—that the deeper may are unholy, and they ask for sanctifibe your insight into his wisdom, the cation; they are led to know that by more enlarged your view into his nature they are alienated from GOD love, the more manifold and convincing that they are strangers, and therefore the proofs of his faithfulness-that you they ask to be reconciled and adopted; may be settled in the assurance to the they are led to know that they are in a last, that he who hath begun a good state of destitution, and ask that the work within you will perform it- grace of God may dwell in them richly that amidst all the agitations of care, and abound more and more! the restlessness of sickness, the per

The “us” of the apostle compreturbations and agonies of death, yours hends every bosom that is deeply may be the cheerful hope of the righ-stricken with a spiritual want, and teous, the triumph of the believer in which earnestly breathes a spiritual Jesus, "the peace of God which pass- prayer ; but although the favour of eth all understanding !”-Such I say

the Lord was thus widely to be exare the outgoings of my prayers on tended, it is predicated that the

peoyour behalf, and if there be but a union ple who receive it are a suffering peoof your own in the name of Christ, ple. Although the richest in mercies, our joy shall be full.

they are recognised as the deepest in SecondlyThe Recipients of the affliction—the patriarchs, the kings, DIVINE FAVOUR, “the grace of God the priests, the prophets, the Lord and who hath called us."

the disciples were all great sufferers. The apostle included himself with It is a part of the economy of the the strangers scattered over the earth. kingdom of grace that this should be; Whilst he spake of the riches of God's the wine of God's own mixing has almercy, he spake of its universality, ways many bitters in it. What would the Divine love is the love of a father faith be without trial? A mere name. to his children; to all the human fa. What would patience be without afmily the voice goeth forth—day after fiction? A mockery. What would day, providence after providence, ordi- resignation be without a rod to kiss ?

A shadow. What would comfort be so let the responsibility lie where it without a tear to be wiped away? An ought-let the glory and the praise be empty sound. But though the chil. Christ's, in sending out each mighty dren of God must pass through tribu- summons. Let the free and sovereign lation, still the text conveys a welcome grace of God be extolled and magnified truth in the intimation of its short that would persuade and elect upon continuance, “after that ye have suf- the conditions of his own rich and fered awhilethe affliction was to be everlasting covenant; but let the neg“light and but for a moment, which lect of the call in all its guilt, and should work out the far more exceed- shame, and condemnation, and woe, ing and eternal weight of glory.” Yes ! rest with the man who refuses to obey Christian, who art so apt to magnify the voice of the Lord, who despises all thy troubles, so apt to arraign the his counsel, and will have none of his wisdom that appoints, and doubt the reproof. Let the man see, that with his faithfulness that presides, to cast a sus- own hands he is forging the chains that picion on the love which watches, thou shall bind him down for ever, let the shalt one day see what a small thing man feel that self is the scorpion lash thy affliction was to the greatness of whipping him on to a place of torment, thy glory—thou shalt one day discover that while heaven is all above him and how vitally interwoven it was with thy before him, his own hell is within himsafety—thou shalt one day see how that with every warning to restrain, mightily influential it was in lifting to keep back, he is rushing willingly, thee from a world of sin and death! madly as hopelessly, upon the thick The valley of humiliation is at the foot bosses of the Divine buckler. of the mountain whose top reaches The call by Christ Jesus now goes heaven!

forth, is sounding in your ears, in all its But, Thirdly. The meANS TO A PAR- tenderness, in all its strength. And are TICIPATION OF THE DIVINE FAVOUR- any here resisting it? What is that call “who hath called us unto his eternal from?—from sin a sa reigning principle, glory by Christ Jesus.”

from sin as a blasting curse, from a “ Hath called us” by Christ Jesus, world of weariness and lies, from the ministry of Christ Jesus, by the houses of deceit, from the strong holds life of Christ Jesus, by the spirit of of Satan, from the miseries of a life of Christ Jesus, by the prophecy-fulfilling sin, of an end in sin from the fears of truth of Christ Jesus, by the miracle- death and from the wrath to come! And working power of Christ Jesus, by the what is the call to? to holiness, to redeeming love of Christ Jesus, by the light, to freedom, to pardon, to peace, passion and death of Christ Jesus, by to the joy of Divine communion, to the resurrection from the dead and the much assurance, to the inheritance of ascension into heaven of Christ Jesus, the just, to, in the all-comprehending by the intercessional appeals of Christ words of the text, eternal glory! The Jesus—these are all living voices full miracle of the love which intercedes, of earnest entreaty, struggling with the to be equalled only by the miracle sinner at every turn, striving with him of the love which blesses ! continually at the door of his reason, And will any remain deaf to the at the door of his affections, at the call, blind to the splendour of the high door of his experience, at the door of reward? How some enquiring voice his conscience. But let the distinction goes up which perhaps never brake the obtain, that to “call” is not to force, silence of self-complacency, self-deluthat the voice is not the hand, and sion before, am I to meet the call? In

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