« AnteriorContinuar »
calamity, and mock when your fear cometh ;"I when you may be given over to the waywardness of your own will, or to the undisturbed indulgence of your own indifference. If we could lead you to the bed-side of one of the many who, in this vast parish,* are yearly passing from time into eternity, without any saving knowledge of him to whom they are going, such a sight would preach, far “louder than a thousand homilies,” the urgent necessity, while in full possession of your health, and of your faculties, of seeking Him who alone " has the words of eternal life.”
You do not know, God grant you never may know, by experience, the miseries of the chamber of sickness, when unillumined by the rays of the gospel of peace; the agonies of a dying hour, with the great work of salvation left undone. A God to go to, but no Father—a Judge,
i Prov. i. 26. * Chelsea had at this time a population of more than 32,000.
but no Saviour-an eternity opening before
your eyes, but no heaven in which to spend it !
0! to whom shall you go at that hour, if
you do not now fly to the Saviour of sinners, and find pardon for your sins, and peace
souls ? Rest not, then, we urge you by all the hopes and fears of a blissful or miserable eternity, rest not upon an undefined expectation of God's
without having approached him through that Redeemer who is the only “way
mercy has ordained. Be not content with any thing short of this experience of the apostle, “ that
believe and are sure,' that the Saviour of sinners is indeed your Saviour, that his offers are accepted, his merits pleaded, his righteousness applied, his commands obeyed by you, according to the grace which is given unto you, that all these things are truly yours, even as you
are Christ's, and Christ is God's."2
2 1 Cor. iii. 23.
Matt. XVI. 22.
“ THEN PETER TOOK HIM, AND BEGAN TO REBUKE
HIM, SAYING, BE IT FAR FROM THEE, LORD: THIS SHALL NOT BE UNTO THEE.”
So deep is the corruption of our nature, and so frequent the waywardness of our will, that we are never more liable to fall into sin, than when upon the highest pinnacle of spiritual elevation. Have we experienced much of the divine presence in the hour of prayer, we scarcely rise from our knees before some successful temptation reminds us that, notwithstanding our near approach to the mercy-seat, we are earth-born sinners still. Have we been enabled to overcome some spiritual enemy, to resist some carnal inclination, to minister successfully to the necessities of some poorer, or more ignorant fellowcreature, a feeling of satisfaction or selfcomplacency too often succeeds the effort, in a manner
so unexpected, and for which we are so little prepared, that we find sin has mingled with, and ruined the duty, almost before it had been concluded. Who that has ever looked attentively into his own heart will deny this ? And who that does not deny it, will scruple to confess, with anguish of soul, and with a secret aspiration for penitence and pardon, " that every imagination of man's heart is only evil continually ?”ı
These reflections have naturally suggested themselves, from a review of that portion of the narrative in which we are at present engaged. In our last Lecture, we beheld Peter deserving, and receiving the approbation of his Saviour for his astonishing confession of faith, and his affecting demonstration of love. We are
1 Gen. vi. 5.
now to see him subjected to the rebuke of his Divine Master, for an improper exhibition of that same zeal, which had lately distinguished him in so honourable a manner above his fellows. Our Lord, anxious to correct the misapprehension of his followers upon the tendency of his mission, and the nature of his kingdom, endeavoured to prepare their minds for the ignominy and suffering which shortly awaited him. • From that time forth, as we read in the 16th chapter of St. Matthew," began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter,” Peter always foremost either in good or ill, “ took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord : this shall not be unto thee ;” or, as the marginal reading gives it, “ Pity thyself,” O Lord, spare thyself! The affectionate heart of the