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is required at the hands of the false prophet! If on the contrary the steward of God's mysteries be “ found faithful, if he warn, exhort, rebuke, with all long-suffering and doctrine,” but his hearers will not endure sound doctrine, but put it away from them, and cleave to the world and sin, they must abide the consequences, but that minister is clear of the blood of all men. My brethren, I beseech you, contemplate our relative situations! I stand not here to trifle with eternal things! I stand here as a messenger from God to you, as an ambassador of Christ, to beseech you in Christ's stead to be reconciled to God ! With St. Paul “ I magnify mine office ;" it is a divine appointment confirmed by the credentials of heaven, and ratified by the blood of Jesus. Say I not, well then, “ TAKE HEED HOW YE HEAR!” Remember, you will one day have to give an account! This gospel is a message of life or of death unto you! “ If our gospel be hid,” saith the apostle, “ it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the God of this world hath blinded the eyes of them that believe not.” If the simple testimony of the love of God in Christ Jesus appear“ foolishness” to you, remember it does so “ only to them that perish!” If the doctrines of Christ are a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, remember that it is said, that that stone will grind unbelievers to powder! If we teach for divine truth the doctrines of men, reject them with safety; but if on this solemn occasion it is “ thus saith the Lord”—who then shall contend with Him ? Lean not upon man, nor any child of man; “ search the scriptures whether these things are so.” Receive the word with deep seriousness of mind, considering that upon it your eternal destiny depends. And be not a hearer only but a doer of the word. Hear practically, with a sincere desire to order your life and conduct according to God's word, however unfashionable or unpopular it may be: and, especially let me say, hear for yourself. Too many hear sermons for other people, and are able to evade the parts that apply to themselves by occupying their minds with those passages which are applicable to other characters. This is one of the modes by which Satan “ catches away” the word as soon as it is sown in our hearts.
And above all, listen to this ordinance of God, the preaching of the truth, in a spirit of humble prayer. Pray for the seeing eye, the hearing ear, and the understanding heart. It is only when God opens our hearts that we shall hear to the salvation of the soul. Without his assistance we may be pleased, affected, amused, we may assent, applaud, and acknowledge the gospel of truth, but we shall never obey it in the love of it, never humble and abase our souls, never be turned from the love of the world to the love of God.
Let then prayers and supplications ascend from every heart among you, for a
universal blessing on the ministry of the word, that it may have free course and be glorified, that it may accomplish the purposes whereunto it is sent. And when the judgment shall be set, when the books shall be opened, and every man must give an account of the talent committed to his charge, may it then appear that, “ We have not laboured in vain, or spent our strength for nought,” but that some at least have received the cup of salvation at our hands, that some hardened sinner has been softened, some thoughtless being reclaimed from a life of folly! For, we would ask with St. Paul, “ What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming !"
JOHN XVII. 17.
“ Thy word is truth.”
This sentence occurs in one of the most sublime passages of the New Testament Jesus was about to depart out of the world and to return to the Father; “ Having loved his own he loved them unto the end,” and before he left them he poured out for them this beautiful prayer. In language of such dignity and assurance as no mere creature could utter in the presence of God, he asked for a continuance of the divine favour with his disciples after his departure from them; he declared that while he was with them he had kept them in the right way; and the legacy which he wished to bequeath to them was the