Imágenes de páginas

motives of curiosity, he climbs up into a sycamore tree that he might see Jesus, who was to pass that way; our blessed Lord looked up, saw him, and said unto him, “ Zaccheus, make haste and come down ; for to-day I must abide at thy house." “ And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.” Now, observe, as soon as this rich man—the chief among the publicans, avowed himself a disciple, he becomes a reformed character; instead of being covetous, oppressive, and extortionate as heretofore, he will make ample restitution if he has wronged any one, and resolves on giving half of his goods to the poor. To these individuals might be added the honored names of JAMES and JOHN; PETER and PAUL. These all lived and died in the faith ; they gave heed to their Master's instructions, and rested upon him for salvation ; they were obedient to his will and devoted to his interests. Then to be a disciple of Christ, is something more than merely to bear his name, or to profess his religion. We must become new creatures in Christ Jesus:-and “Will ye also be his disciples ?” Observe the painted manner in which the question is put. “ The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost ;' hence, the invitations of the gospel are addressed without exception to all men; nay they are pressed home upon the heart of every individual with peculiar tenderness and force. Whoever applied to Christ and was rejected ?-On the contrary, the greatest possible encouragement is given to every one who wishes to become his disciple. Do you not in effect hear the Master's voice saying, “ Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out ?What numbers-blessed be God !-

have already accepted these invitations of mercy ; they have enrolled their names among the lowly followers of Christ. The question is now put to yourselves. Will ye also join this band of disci. ples? The appeal is direct and personal. Do not think of passing the question. We ask not the friend sitting near you ; nor are we addressing your nearest relatives, whether a brother, a parent, or a child. We ask yourselves, personally and separately. “Will ye also be his disciples ?" Do not say there is something in my case so peculiar, that I am not required to be a disciple of Christ. Remember that the appeal in the text, is comprehensive and universal, as well as direct and personal : so there is no evading your individual responsibility. Weigh the reasons which recommend the question to your practical regard. Are the instructions of Christ unnecessary ? You are ignorant, and know not the way to heaven ; you are in the broad road leading to endless misery, and know not how to escape destruction. Not unfrequently conscience is roused to a conviction of your guilt and danger ; you cry out in fearful agitation, “ What must I do to be saved ?” The Lord Jesus comes to your relief, he says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me." It is his province to open and to shut the gates of heaven; and those only who are taught by him, can enter the celestial city. The awful sentence, “ Depart ye cursed !” is justified on this simple declaration, “I never knew you,”-ye never came to me for instruction, nor did I ever recognize you as my disciples. Oh, then, to learn of Christ is essential to your salvation; and who teacheth like him?

He spake with authority, and in him dwelleth perfect wisdom; and yet though learned infinitely beyond the Eastern sages, he is willing to teach the lowliest of mankind, and his language is so plain, that it becomes intelligible to the meanest capacity. “The way-faring man, though a fool, shall not err ;" he that runs may read ; and it is emphatically stated, “ the common people heard him gladly.” And with this great plainness of speech, what affection and tenderness are combined! Some impart knowledge merely because it is their duty, there is no kind feeling in their hearts towards those whom they undertake to instruct, and their manner is austere and forbidding. How different the Saviour, he has compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; it is his delight to make men wise unto salvation. And since it is found that no one teacheth like him, we may ask with equal confidence, Is there a better Master? Say-ye disciples who lived with Christ personally upon earth, how kindly ye were treated ; how prompt was Jesus to relieve you when in trouble ; what forbearance he discovered, ever willing to excuse your infirmities; and his smiles how encouraging; his rewards how great in return for every token of affection, however small, it was in your hearts to bring to him. Jesus Christ, though now in heaven, at the right hand of the Father, has the same compassion-the same forbearance-the same generosity, so that his disciples, still sojourning in this “ vale of tears," will ever find in him the best of Masters. And if the disciples be thus favored, can we point to individuals more secure-more happymore to be envied than they? If despised and persecuted by the world, the Lord of heaven and earth will own and honor them. Should temptations and trials overtake them, consolation is not withheld, and a strong Deliverer is at hand, who is their never-failing refuge. They have fellowship with Christ, and this affords them the purest gratification. They mingle with the saints, and the communion is sweet. They have hope even in death, and the Lord will preserve them in safety to his heavenly kingdom. Will ye also be the disciples of Christ? Weighty indeed, it has now been proved, are the reasons which recommend the question to your practical regard. Think, moreover, in addition, of the intense interest evinced by many who propose the enquiry. We have left undetermined the motive which influenced the poor man in the text, when he put the question. Of this we may be confident, no sincere disciple of Christ wishes to be without associates. All are fervent in their prayers, not a few are active and zealous in their efforts that the number inay greatly increase. Natural affection, strengthened and hallowed by religious principles, will make pious relatives anxious to know that Christ, the hope of glory, is in the hearts of those that are near and dear to them. What parent, who loves the Saviour, does not wish to bring his children to Christ-uneasy till they all enter his school for instruction. And if the child have tasted that the Lord is gracious, he cannot rest till his father and mother-hitherto, perhaps, estranged from the “Sinner's Friend,”-are enrolled among his disciples. The churhes of the saints, greet with pleasure every accession to their numbers. Come, for all things are now ready, is the invitation they

cordially give to strangers dwelling near; and, baptized with a missionary spirit, they send messengers to distant parts of the world, that the perishing heathen may hear of Jesus, and rely upon him for salvation. The ministers of the gospel determine to know nothing among their people but a crucified Saviour, and the great object they keep steadily in view, on which their hearts are set, is to win souls to Christ. Holy angels, taking great interest in the great work of human redemption, are seen bending from their radiant seats, and realizing unutterable joy as the tidings circulate in heaven, another sinner upon earth has repented, and is sitting at the feet of Jesus. The divine Redeemer himself, is waiting to see the travail of his soul, as if even he could not be satisfied till a great multitude which no man can number, take refuge in him as their Saviour. How plaintive his language, how great and unaffected his sorrow, when he wept over the ancient city, saying, “ O Jerusalem-Jerusalemthou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee ; how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.” We have now considered attentively, I hope, the question in the text, and assuredly, a more important one never was proposed. “Will ye also be his disciples ?'' Remember,

II. An answer is expected. We urge a decided ansu'er.

So obvious and well understood, are the duties arising out of this relationship to Christ-and sa

« AnteriorContinuar »