Imágenes de páginas

school of the philosophers are such lessons As the evidence, so the doctrine of Chris taught? And let it be observed that these, tianity is the same that it was from the beand such as these, are not the glaring, splen- ginning. Whether to the Jew or to the did triumphs of Christianity, but its daily, Greek; the preaching of John or of Christ noiseless, unobtruding, unostentatious opera- himself

, of the primitive disciples, or of the tion.

ministers of to-day, it is a “testifying of reExcept ye see signs and wonders, ye pentance toward God, and of faith toward will not believe.” Is miraculous proof of our Lord Jesus Christ." From the beginthe divinity of the Gospel still demanded ? ning to the end of the world, the call is, It is at hand. By what instruments does "Turn ye, turn ye, Why will ye die!"the great Jehovah still support and extend “bring forth fruits meet for repentance. the mediator's kingdom? By men themselves The command and the promise are blended feeble, ignorant, forlorn like those to whom together: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, they minister: men standing in need of the and thou shalt be saved," and they are adself-same instruction, consolation, and sup- dressed equally to the jailor at Philippi

, and port which they are called to administer to to the multitudes at Jerusalem: * Repent others: men, in general, as little qualified and be baptised every one of you in the name by natural endowments, or by the acquisitions of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and of literature, to subvert the kingdom of ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Satan, and to build up that of Messiah, as The universality of guilt demands univerthe fishermen of Galilee were to shake the sality of contrition and reformation; and throne of the Cæsars, and to restore that of there is but one "blood” that “cleanseth David which was fallen down. It is in from all sin;" “neither is there salvation in every age the same. “ Where is the wise? | any other; for there is none other name under where is the scribe? where is the disputer heaven given among men, whereby we must of this world? Hath not God made foolish be saved." the wisdom of this world? For after that, What other teacher, what other legislator in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom did not find himself under the necessity of knew not God, it pleased God by the fool- suspending, of relaxing, of mitigating the ishness of preaching to save them that be- severity of the law; of accommodating binlieve." “Who then is Paul, and who is self to times, tempers, and circumstances! Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, Even Moses himself was obliged to tempoeven as the Lord gave to every man? I have rize, and to connive at the breach of the law, planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the in favour of the hardness of the people's increase. So then, neither is he that plant hearts. But the great Christian Legislator eth any thing, neither he that watereth; but has but one unvarying, inflexible code, for God that giveth the increase.” “We have the prince and the peasant, for the noble and this treasure in earthen vessels, that the ex- the ignoble, for the slave and his master. It cellency of the power may be of God, and alone suits all nations, all seasons, all situanot of us."

tions. Among the other inarks of Deity Still call for proof! What kind and de- this is not the least. Christianity is a religree of proof will satisfy or silence infideli- gion, not for this district or for that, but for ty? Shall the sun stand still and the moon the globe; not for the Jew or the Greek, but be stayed? Are not the constant and uni- for mankind; and thus approves itself to be form motions and appearances of those great of Him who “ hath made of one blood all naluminaries an equal, or a superior demon- tions of men, for to dwell on all the face of stration of sovereign power and wisdom? the earth.” Nay more, Christianity is a reShall the shadow upon the sun-dial of Ahaz ligion for both earth and heaven, for time be accelerated or retarded ten degrees ? and for eternity. Its spirit is the spirit of What can it prove more than is done by a love, and perfect love is the fulfilling of the steady and regular progression ? Thousands Law and the perfection of felicity. Now are fed miraculously, at once, by a few loaves abideth faith, hope, charity, these three: but and fishes. Is the miracle less which day the greatest of these is charity. Whereby day feeds the innumerable tribes of the fore? Faith and hope are adapted to a state human race, by a process of vegetation, and of trial and suffering; they imply doubt, difof animal increase? The producing hand ficulty, imperfection : "but when that which is the same in both cases, the manner of is perfect is come, then that which is in part production makes all the difference. Should shall be done away.” But after the exerone rise from the dead, will ye believe and cise of faith and hope has ceased, charity is repent? One has arisen from the dead: but arrived at its maturity; a maturity that infidelity still holds out. And we must leave knows no decay. Thus are " the spirits of it to its consequences: “ If they hear not just men made perfect." Moses and the prophets, neither will they Once more we ask: Is the history which be persuaded though one rose from the we have been reviewing the history of a dead."

mere man? Is there nothing superior, no

thing divine in this mode of teaching and poor to give up every thing?. What tongue acting? What mortal could have engaged can say, with effect, to the wind and the sea, in such an enterprize, with such support, and “ Peace, be still ?" If these are not proofs have prospered ? What human power and of a present Deity, what proof can be deskill reach to the paralytic, the lunatic, the manded, what proof can be given ? Our leper? What arm of flesh can control “ the knees bow, our tongues confess that Jesus prince of the power of the air?" What elo- Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Faquence of man ean persuade the rich, or the ther." Amen.





And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject nnto us through thy

And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behokl, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes : qven so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight. All ihings are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.--LUKE X. 17--22.

Wise and good men have attempted to and respect wherever he went?

" There present an artificial arrangement of the se- followed him great multitudes of people from veral events recorded in the history of our Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from JeruLord and Saviour Jesus Christ, or what they salem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jorcall a Harmony of the Gospels. It is both dan." Out of those multitudes he selected a pleasing and an useful amusement to as- first twelve, with the peculiar designation of certain the dates and to settle the order of disciples and apostles, to whom he imparted events; and labours of this kind merit high a portion of his spirit and power: "He gave commendation. But the native majesty and them authority over all devils, and to cure simplicity of Scripture stand in no need of diseases, to preach the kingdom of God, and artificial arrangement. The whole spiritual to heal the sick.” Afterwards " he appointbuilding is august and venerable, and each ed other seventy, and sent them two and particular part has its peculiar beauty and two before his face into every city and place excellency. To be assured that such things whither he himself would come.

It was on were done, is of infinitely higher importance occasion of the return of those seventy, after than to determine the exact series of suc- having fulfilled their mission, and upon the cession. Every line of the history of Christ report which they made of their success, that is a radiant display of divine perfection; Jesus broke out into this holy rapture: “In every step he takes leaves an impress of be that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit

, and said, I nignity behind it. It was predicted concern- thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and ing him, that he should be “a man of sor- earth, that thou hast hid these things from rows and acquainted with grief.” But it was the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them likewise predicted that he should " see of the unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemtravail of his soul and be satisfied." The , ed good in thy sight.”. Let us trace the prowords which have been read contain the accomplishment of this last prophecy. In all The evangelist records, at full length, the our affliction he was afflicted'; let us weep commission granted to those seventy, but with him: and when he “ rejoices in spirit," gives us no particulars respecting their prolet us also “ rejoice with joy unspeakable and gress. These must be collected from the full of glory; receiving the end of our faith, account which they themselves give of it. even the salvation of our souls."

The sevenly returned again with joy. EveThe followers of Christ had now increased ry thinking man enters on a difficult or a to a great multitude. And need we wonder, hazardous enterprise with very mixed emoif such doctrine, supported by such purity tions. He feels the consequence attached to and dignity of character, and by such mighty an arduous and important station; he feels works, had the power of attracting attention the pressure of responsibility, and the solici


tude of general expectation pointed towards thence will I bring them down: and though him. The animating stimulus of hope is re- they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, pressed by the dread of miscarriage. It is a I will search and take them out thence; and terrible thing to return foiled, disappointed, though they be hid from my sight in the botdiscomfited. The eve of a battle is a sea- tom of the sea, thence will I command the son of solicitude. But when the conflict is serpent and he shall bite them.” The great over, when success is no longer doubtful, the Author and Finisher of our faith asserts to soul enters into a state of perfect composure. himself the same divine attribute, and conMournful is the reflection, “ I have laboured nects with it perpetuity of duration, in the in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, charge which he gave to his disciples before and in vain;" but how complete is the tri- he ascended up into heaven: “Go ye and umph of an apostle reviewing a successful teach all nations;" there is a claim of uniministry, and looking forward to the glorious versal power and presence; and he adds the recompense of reward “ I have fought a gracious assurance; "and lo, I am with you good fight, I have finished my course, I have alway, even unto the end of the world." kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up Here are omnipresence, and endless, unfor me a crown of righteousness, which the changing existence united. When the viper Lord, the righteous judge shall give me in dropped harmlessly from the apostle's hand, that day.” Such was the triumph of the in the island of Melita, there was the name, seventy, having finished their circuit of the the presence, and the power of Christ. When cities of Galilee.

Philip, in the desert of Gaza, “preached They express peculiar satisfaction in re- Jesus” to the Ethiopian eunuch, and convertporting to their divine Master, that “even ed him to the Christian faith, there was the the devils were subject to them, through his name, the presence, and the power of Christ name." It was matter of great joy to them, When John, in the isle that is called Patmos, that their preaching had been acceptable and heard a great voice, saying, I am Alpha and useful; that they had been the honoured in- Omega,” there was the name, the presence, struments in his hand to “ heal all manner of and the power of Christ. That presence, sickness, and all manner of disease;" to pre- my brethren, we hope and trust, is in the dispose the minds of men to receive the midst of this worshipping assembly, and prekingdom of God, by healing their bodies: siding over it; is to consecrate that table and but to prevail against the great adversary those elements of bread and wine; is to who had so long tyrannized over the nations, sanctify and ennoble our communion and felleading them“ captive at his will,” this filled lowship. But it is not confined to this place. up the measure of their joy. At the same It is at this moment diffusing light, and life, time, they modestly disclaim all personal me- and joy over myriads of worshippers in the rit. They humbly ascribe the glory of all east, in the west, in the south, in the north. this wonderful success to the potent name of It is the confidence of all the ends of the their almighty Lord. Jesus himself exer- earth, and of them that are afar off upon the cises underived power over universal nature. sea :" " in all places where I record my name “What a word is this!" exclaimed the asto- I will come unto thee and bless thee." nished multitudes, “ for with authority and Where two or three are gathered together power he commandeth the unclean spirits, in my name, there am I in the midst of and they come out:" but the disciples have them.” power, and prevail only through virtue com This subjection of the devils to the dismunicated to them. " Without me,” says ciples, through the name of Christ Jesus in he," ye can do nothing:" and then is the his reply contemplates as the beginning of believer most strong when he rests on im- Satan's complete and final overthrow, as a parted strength. Now those disciples were step toward the total subversion of his king. speedily to be scattered abroad upon the face dom. " He said unto them, I beheld Satan of the earth, carrying with them the doctrine as lightning fall from heaven;" “ when I and the name, that is the wonderworking sent you forth armed with my commission, power of their Master. Wherever, there and furnished you with power to execute it, fore, virtue accompanied that name, there I saw swift destruction overtaking the dewas Christ himself present; and of whom stroyer. You have begun a conquest which but of Deity can it be affirmed that he is in I am proceeding to accomplish. You hare more than one place, in many places, in all subjected his mischievous agents. I shall space at once?

God challenges omnipre- bruise Satan himself under your feet shortsence as his own: “Am I a God at hand, saith ly.” “His usurped dominion,” as “ the God the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any of this world,” as “the prince of the power hide himself in secret places that I shall not of the air,” as “ the ruler of the darkness of see him ? saith the Lord: do not I fill heaven this world,” is hastening “to expire. Root. and earth ? saith the Lord.” “Though they ed, established as it may seem to be, it shall dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take vanish in a moment, rapid as a flash of lightthem; though they climb up to heaven, ning, which disappears before it is well seen."

The expression is in use with both the sacred | honourable and unspeakably grateful to be and profane authors. The downfal of the invested with authority to control evil spirits, king of Babylon is, by the prophet, represent- to cure inveterate distemper, and quicken the ed under this bold imagery: “How art thou dead, and to enjoy perfect personal security fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the amidst snares, and dangers, and the shadow morning! how art thou cut down to the of death, to speak with tongues and instruct ground!” The Roman orator says of An- the ignorant. But these and other choice thony, “ thou hast dragged down thy col- gifts of God have been conferred on the unleague from heaven;" and when Pompey worthy. Great talents are not always sancthe Great was hurled from his proud pre- tified to the possessor. Beneficial to others eminence, Cicero represents him as having they may be unprofitable or even pernicious “fallen from the stars." The time to favour to the man himself. He may speak with the a darkened, enslaved world was now come, tongues of men and of angels : he may have and Jesus triumphs in the near prospect of the gift of prophecy, and understand all the conversion of the Gentile nations " from mysteries and all knowledge: he may have darkness to light, and from the power of all faith so as to be able to remove mountains; Satan unto God.”

he may lay out his whole estate in works of The former mission of the seventy was charity, and even submit to suffer martyrdom, limited to “ the cities and places, whither he and after all remain destitute of that princihimself would come;" now their sphere is ple which alone admits into the kingdom of enlarged, and with an extended commission heaven. The magicians of Egypt performed fresh assurances are given of divine protec- wonders, but they served only to harden the tion wherever they went. “ Behold I give heart against God. Balaam was a true unto you power to tread on serpents and prophet, but “he loved the wages of unscorpions, and over all the power of the righteousness :” he knew and approved the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt better course, but he deliberately persevered you. After the resurrection from the dead, in the worse. Simon had the art of bewitchan unbounded career is set before them, the ing the people of Samaria with sorceries; vast globe is spread out as the scene of ac to him they all gave heed, from the least tion, the whole human race, through all ages to the greatest, saying, this man is the great and generations is the grand object of the power of God.” “He himself believed also, gospel ministry, and powers adequate to the and was baptized," but his heart was not undertaking are granted. “Go ye into all right in the sight of God;" he was still " in the world, and preach the gospel to every the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of creature"_"and these signs shall follow iniquity. “ Not every one that saith unto them that believe; in my name shall they me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom cast out devils; they shall speak with new of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if | Father which is in heaven. Many will say they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not them : they shall lay hands on the sick, and prophesied in thy name? and in thy name they shall recover.' Here every obstruction have cast out devils ? and in thy name done is removed, all opposition dies, every enemy many wonderful works? And then will I is subdued, and the scriptures are fulfilled, profess unto them, I never knew you : depart which say: “ Every valley shall be exalted, from me, ye that work iniquity.” Where and every mountain and hill shall be made God has bestowed much, he will expect low: and the crooked shall be made straight, much, and in proportion to the number and and the rough places plain :" “ Thou shalt value of the gifts received is the account not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for that must be given. Who was equally the arrow that flieth by day, nor for the honoured with the apostle of the Gentiles, by pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for extraordinary communications from heaven? the destruction that wasteth at noon-day.” but “it is not expedient for me,” says he, " Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: to glory:" “ of myself I will not glory, but the young lion and the dragon shalt thou in mine infirmities.” In what then does a trample under feet." Thus was the serpent's Paul, in what does every believer chiefly rehead bruised, and the triumph of the Re-joice and glory ? In the composing reflection, deemer completed. Compare spiritual things - my name is written in the book of life.” with spiritual, the commission of the great " I know whom I have believed, and I am Head of the Church with the execution of persuaded that he is able to keep that which it, the promised support of the apostles with I have committed unto him against that day.” what they were enabled actually to achieve, “ Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown as the facts stand recorded in the book of of righteousness, which the Lord, the righttheir acts.

eous judge, shall give me at that day: and But Jesus points out to his disciples a purer not to me only, but unto all them also that source of joy than even a grant of miracu- love his appearing.” Compared to this, lous powers could bestow. It was highly what a poor trifle it is for a man to know that

his name is in an opulent testator's will for a inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay splendid bequest, were it even the reversion his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?" of a kingdom? This is that “ peace of God That which is good in the eyes of man is which passeth all understanding, which shall frequently a sore evil; but that which is keep the heart and mind through Christ good in the sight of God must be good in it. Jesus, and which the world can neither give self; and when Deity shall have executed nor take away."

the whole plan of his providence, the myriads This is “ the hour," the eventful hour of his saints and angels shall with one voice when “ Jesus rejoiced in spirit:” the hour proclaim “ all is good." Blessing, and when the great Sovereign of the universe honour, and glory, and power, be unto him was subjecting spiritual wickednesses to that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the human agents, and perfecting praise out of Lamb for ever and ever." the mouths of babes and sucklings; when Having made this ascription of universal all the glories of the kingdom of heaven un- power, authority, and property to the Father, veiled themselves to his view, and the na-he represents himself as invested in an equal tions of the earth hastened into it. The extent of doininion, as sole and sovereign scenes of sorrow and suffering which must administrator of the world which he made, intervene are absorbed in contemplating the which he upholds, and which he came to blessed effects which they were to produce. redeem. “ All things are delivered to me of “ In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and my Father.” God is “ Lord of heaven and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven earth.” Now these two words imply all and earth, that thou hast hid these things space, with all the beings which inhabit the from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed worlds “ visible and invisible, whether they them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or seemed good in thy sight.” Here we behold powers.” To the utmost extent of the words, our great pattern setting us the example of therefore, and of their import, the sovereignty referring every thing to God, as the first of God, Redeemer extends, and it is asserted cause and the last end of all; who acts by and ascribed neither in a single passage, his own uncontrollable, inexplicable supre- nor in doubtful terms.

* All power," says macy, and with a view to his own glory. he, in another place, “ is given unto me in But we are not to understand our Lord as heaven and in earth;" "authority to exegiving thanks that “the wise and prudent” cute judgment also ;" * power over all flesh, were kept in a state of ignorance respecting to give eternal life.” “ The Father raiseth the things of God, but that while they were up the dead, and quickeneth them: even so 80, while they remained under the power of the Son quickeneth whom he will. For wilful blindness, it had graciously pleased the Father judgeth no man; but hath comGod to manifest these things to the compara- mitted all judgment unto the Son; that all tively simple and illiterate. We have a si- men should honour the Son, even as they milar mode of expression, and which falls honour the Father.” Now this is either mere under the same mode of interpretation, in pretension, unfounded as that of the devil the epistle to the Romans, vi. 17, where the over “all the kingdoms of the world, and apostle says: “But God be thanked that ye the glory of them," or it is a claim of right: were the servants of sin ;” meaning obvious- and who but God can support such a claim? ly, “ that although, that whereas ye were Who but God can possess and exercise the the servants of sin, ye have obeyed from power of quickening the dead, of executing the heart that form of doctrine which was judgment upon all, not only according to delivered you:” So here, “ I thank thee, their works, but according to their most seO Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that cret thoughts, and of bestowing eternal life! while the wise in their own conceits, and the Is a creature, a mere man like ourselves, to prudent in the estimation of the world, neg- be entrusted with, is he capable of managing lect and despise the things which belong to such an empire? No; Where all power, their peace, their all-importance is discerned, then, is lodged, there is Deity; " in that he felt, prized, and improved by persons, lowly put all in subjection under him, he left noin their own sight, contemptible in the eyes thing that is not put under him.” Behold, of men, but estimable in the eyes of Him Christian, and rejoice in spirit, the powers who " resisteth the proud, but giveth grace of darkness prostrate under the feet of the unto the humble."

Prince of Peace: He “ maketh his angels Jesus ascribes to the Father universality spirits, his ministers a flaming fire," and of dominion, under the title of Lord of hea- " are they not all ministering spirits, sent ven and earth;” and he resolves all crea-forth to minister for them who shall be heirs tures and all events into divine sovereignty: of salvation ?" Behold the heathen given “ Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in him for his inheritance, and the uttermost thy sight.” “ He giveth not account of any parts of the earth for a possession ; " He of his matters." "He doth according to his must reign until he hath put all enemies will in the armies of heaven, and among the under his feet.” We, my beloved brethren,

« AnteriorContinuar »