Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

it may be proper to stand neuter. If we can do no good, we shall do no harm, and this is often a considerable point. In the senate of a nation a member may waive his vote; things may be balanced in his mind; and nothing for the time may cause either side of the question to preponderate. And it is the excellency of a representative to be of no party. Two nations may worry and consume each other, while a third, however pressed, may remain neutral and save its wealth, and its subjects. But here-we repeat it-and it cannot be repeated too often; here, there is not, and there cannot be a state of indifference. “He that is not for me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad. No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

Are you, then, the enemies of God; and have you to this hour been striving with your Maker ? 0! let me admonish you. Let me address you in the words of Eliphaz to Job : “ Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto thee.” Let me urge you, in the language of the apostle Peter, to “ humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, and he will exalt you in due time.” If you are willing to return, be not discouraged. Behold him stretching forth the golden sceptre, saying, “ Touch and live. I will be merciful to the unrighteous, and thy sins and iniquities will I remember no more. He is in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." He has established a ministry of reconciliation, and sends forth his ambassadors to beVOL. 1.

CC

seech you to be reconciled unto God. How wonderful that he should not wait to be solicited, but make the proposal himself, and beseech us to accept of it! Will not such love prevail ? Do you still harbour doubts in your minds which keep you from him ? Let me, if possible, dispel them by another illustration-for till your hope be excited, it is in vain to expect your return. A king may justly punish rebels : but suppose, from his clemency, he has issued a proclamation assuring them, that whoever within a given period will come in and give up his arms shall be pardoned and released—What would you think of this prince, if, as soon as one of these rebellious subjects entered his presence, to claim the privilege, he should have him immediately hanged !-But you say—surely he never could do this : his honour would be at stake. Though he was originally under no obligation to save him, he is now; for he has bound hmself by his word. And can God deny himself ?—Venture then upon his promise. Go to him with weeping and supplication, and say, “ O Lord, other lords besides thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.” But remember, you have no time to lose the season of allowed submission is fixed, and will soon elapse. “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art in the way with him : lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison."

Happy those who have dropped the unrighteous struggle, and are now one with God. The enmity of your heart has been slain ; the weapons of your rebellion have been thrown down, and many a tear shed upon them.-Be as zealous for him as

you have been against him. He has done much for you; and you have much to do for him. Rise up for him against the evil-doers, and stand up for him against the workers of iniquity. Redeem for him the time which you have lost. Honour him with your substance. Employ in his service, every power you possess, and every blessing you enjoy. Whether you live, live unto the Lord ; or whether you die, die unto the Lord; so that living or dying, you may be the Lord's.

To conclude. We have been speaking of a striving with God, which is unlawful and destructive—but there is a striving with him which is allowable and necessary. It is by prayer and supplication. Such was the strife of the woman of Canaan under the severe discouragements she at first received, to try her fervency, and her faith. Let me alone, said God to Moses: Moses was striving with him in prayer, for the preservation of the Israelites; and God speaks as if he could do nothing against prayer. Let me go, said the angel to Jacob: Jacob was wrestling with him ; and " he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless ine. And he blessed him there."

And when Providence seems to oppose the promise: when experience seems to disagree with the word; when we are exercised with delays and rebukes too—then to persevere—to pray, and not faint-this will be found nothing less than a wrestling with God. But this is a holy violence ; this is a pleasing resistance: and in this strife we are sure to prevail. He never said to the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain. “ Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart : wait, I say, on the Lord.”

DISCOURSE XXVIII.

COMMUNION WITH THE SAVIOUR, INSEPARA

BLE FROM HOLINESS.

If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.- John xiï. 8.

If the most minute circumstances in the lives of illustrious characters be pursued with eagerness and pleasure-surely we can never feel indifferent to any part of the history of our Lord and Saviour.—He was fairer than the children of men. He was higher than the kings of the earth. All he did was wise and good; and we are concerned in all.

Observe the transaction to which the words before us refer

" Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God and went to God: he riseth from supper"-Such a solemn preface raises a high degree of expectation. From such an introduction, who would not look for an illustrious display of his power and glory?

-But " he laid aside his garments: and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter; and Peter said unto him, Lord dost thou wash my feet ?”—How much was all this in character with Peter !—He was strongly attached to

his master, and deeply sensible of his own un worthiness ; but forward and impetuous; rash in action, and often speaking without due reflection. Therefore,

" Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do, thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.” There is something more in this action than you are aware of, and by and by you will perceive it. The intimation refers to the design of this washing, which was two-fold. First, exemplaryto enforce upon them condescension, humbleness of mind, brotherly kindness. And secondly, symbolical—to lead their minds impressively to things of a higher nature. What, therefore, was perhaps excusable in Peter before, became censurable now. After such an intimation he should have implicitly acquiesced ; instead of which, he saith, thou shalt never wash my feet. Upon which Jesus answered him, in plain and awful terms, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” Though this declaration intends nothing less than the necessity of obedience in this instance, it surely comprehends much more. He therefore now does not mention the washing of his feet, but of himself; if I wash thee not. And the threatening — thou hast no part with me, seems too dreadful to be denounced against an unwillingness to comply with this ceremonial observance, which sprang from something good, as well as evil in the apostle ; and was therefore a mixed action ; a sin of infirmity. Besides, we know that our Saviour was accustomed to teach by facts, and imagery ; to pass from the body to the inind ; to ascend from particular hints, to general truths; and to express more than is immediately perceived, in order that it might be dis

« AnteriorContinuar »