« AnteriorContinuar »
on the Work of Christ, from Luke of God. He comes into the world, iv. 18, 19; the third, on his Suf- which was created by his power. He ferings, from Isa. liii. 3-6, it appears made, in all points, like unwould be difficult indeed to extract
to man, sin only excepted. He thus beany one series of remark, or forci
comes intimately related to the human
race: yet he retains all his dignity and ble appeal, wbich should convey all his holiness, as a Divine Person; even a distant idea of the origina- and is therefore worthy to intercede lity, correctness, or feeling, with with the Father. In this character he which our author has treated the stands, as it were, between the dead and grand foundations of our most holy the living, between sinful men and a faith. We do not remember ever holy God. He offers up his own life to have seen the harmony of Scrip- world: he is invested with the charac
as an atonement for the sins of the ture upon these great topics explained with so much clearness, Intercessor, the Advocate of the human
ter of the Mediator, the High Priest, the beauty, and strength. The great- race: the keys of hell and death are put ness of the work corresponding into his hands: he openeth, and no man with the magnificence of the work- shutteth; he shutteth, and no man opener, the holiness of God, the sinful- eth: the Father hath committed all ness of man, the lofty and compli- judgment to him; and pardon and etercated character of that great nal life are dispensed through him, acMediator between God and man,
cording to his will. Thus we may perthe man Christ Jesus, are all so
ceive an intimate connection in every pointed out and exhibited in their part of the system. The account given
us of the character of God and of that different bearings upon each other, of man, plainly evinces the necessity of and their harmonious tendency to a Medíator; while the view which is one great résult, that it would be communicated of Christ Jesus, of his vain for us to attempt to separate office and character, reflects fresh light that which is so beautifully blended, on the nature both of God and man. or reduce that which is already so
From our knowledge of God and man, well digested, and so closely com
we might easily expect some such éi. pacted. We select, almost at ha- pedient as that of a Mediator and Rezard, the following extract from the revelation of Jesus Christ, we are
deemer to have been adopted, From Sermon IX:*
confirmed in our view of the holiness of “ If, then, man is represented through- God and the siņfulness o man, and we ont the Scriptare' as very corrupt; and if perceive the wisdom and goodness of "the purity and holiness of God are al- God in giving his Son to be the Saviour
ways described to be, like his other of mankind.” Vol. ii. pp. 141-143. attributes, infinitely good and great; these representations are closely con- The contrast between those who nected with those passages of Holy Writ
are and those who are not the ob'which speak of the necessity of a Mediator. They intimate a total separation jects of the work of Christ, is between God and man; they shew the admirably drawn up in Sermon * impossibility of an union between them;
XVIU. they manifest the propriety of some'expedient to reconcile them to each other, "The poor captive confined in prisop, something which shall 'render'it consist- cannot well be insensible to the misery of ent with the holiness and purity of God his condition, nor wholly unconcerned for to permit the approach of man, some his deliverance. But a sinner, whose state thing which shall prepare man to ap- is justly compared to his, maybe destitute proach his God. 'Thus there is one con- of all such feelings; and this is, in fact, sistent system throughout religion. All the case with the generality of sinners. It teaches concerning God manifests his They are unconcerned about their sins. holiness; all it relates concerning man They are not afraid of God's judgments. manifests his unfitness to stand in the They see little or nothing to be lamented presence of God. A Mediator, there in their condition. They are not only fore, is prepared; one of infinite digni- wretched, and misérable, and poor, y no less than the oply begotten Son and blind, and naked, but morally dead Withal: quite insensible to the misery of vey to us perfect conceptions. The such a state.
union is of an infinitely higher and “ This, however, is by no means the closer nature, than earthly words can case with the persons here represented describe, or human imagination conImages are used with respect to them, ceive. And a great part of the errors which describe their minds as deeply of man arises from this source, that he lonchied with the sense of their unhappi- judges of God by earthly ideas, and Dess. They are not only captives, but tries his ways by the scanty conceptions they are broken-hearted in their bon- of worldly reason, Vain and foolish dage. The good news of redemption is proceeding! Every thing relating to to be preached to them; which would God, every thing relating to the ways of be no glad tidings to those who felt not God, mocks all the efforts of man's únthe weight of their chains : the year of derstanding. We cannot form a clear jubilee is to be proclaimed, when all the judgment of any one of his attributes, oppressed were set free; which would or fully comprehend any of his actions. be most acceptable to those who were His ways are in the great deep, and his test sensible of their calamity.
judgments past finding out. Let us, " And this description of the persons then, when we approach our present who shall be benefited by the salvation subject; one which treats of the very of Christ is perfectly just, and corre- highest and most solemn transaction sponds strictly with the whole tenor of between God and man; one, confessed. Scripture on the subject.” Vol.ii. p. 307. ly, which has no parallel by which it
can be judged, and must therefore rest The depth and importance of the solely upon its own basis; let us divest following extract from the last of our minds of all narrow, partial, grovelthese sermons, we think, will excuse ling ideas derived from the earth on our production of it, even after we which we tread, and the poor fallen bare so long dwelt upon these doc- creatures by whom we are surrounded, trinal views of our author.
and elevate our thoughts to the majesty
of God, the sublimity of his attributes, "If there appears any difficulty in and the glory of his Son. Then we receiving this testimony concerning the shall see that snch was the awful holiend which the Saviour was to accom
ness of God, that he thought it right to plish, let us reflect that it was a transac- display that holiness in the most illus. tion entirely of its own kind, nothing trious manner, by making his own Son similar to it being to be found, accord- suffer death as an expiation for sin. ing to which we may measure its pro- Such was hís infinite mercy that he withpriety or explain its nature. Let us held not from us his only Son, but gave also bear in mind, that heavenly subjects him up to be the propitiation of our sins. are not to be judged of by worldly ideas, He treats him as the representative of Or tried at the bar of human reason. the human race. The son takes upon And hence arises the difficulty of com- him their nature: he bears in his own prehending those parts of Revelation body their sins: he voluntarily suffers which relate to heavenly things. From for their sakes :-and God, in accepting the ignorance of our minds and the imper- what he suffered, accepts them also ; fection of our faculties the Revelation pardons, for his sake, their transgresmust necessarily be accommodated to sion; receives them into his favour, as worldly ideas. It must be an approxi- the redeemed of his Son; and blesses mation to truth, rather than truth itself. them with infinite and eternal blessings, It must select some earthly analogy, and on account of their relation to him. give an imperfect explanation of hea. With him they are raised from death; venly subjects, by a reference to the through
him they are translated to heaearthly subjects with which they best
ven. Sanctified by him, their prayers admit of being compared. Thus, in are heard and their imperfect repentance speaking of the proper nature and dig- accepted. Through him all mercy, life, nity of the Saviour, and his relation to and pardon, in a word, all blessings, are God, the term "Son of God is used; dispensed to sinful man.” Vol. ii. pp. becamse the idea of a Son conveys the
348–351. Dearest resemblance of that mysterious union, that intimate connection, which
On the second head of extracts, subsists between Christ and the Father. viz. froin the practical and experiBet yet the term is inadequate to con- mental parts of these valuable ser
mons, we shall not dwell long ; To speak in the emphatical language of partly because it will need no illus- the Apostle, it is Christ formed in the tration to the most cursory reader, heart by the powerful energy of the that the purest and most exalted Holy Spirit; in consequence of which standard of true scriptural faith and
the person becomes a new creature, holiness is uniformly set up; but
both with regard to his temper and
practice: he partakes of a Divine na. partly also because, if we are to ture, and those members which were speak freely, we do not think that formerly the servants of sin are now the peculiar excellence of these employed as instruments of righteoussermons consists in that searching ness unto God. This is real godliness ; oloseness of practical application, this is what is profitable unto all things, that anatomy of the heart, that vi. having the promise of the life that now gorous appeal to the conscience is, as well as of that which is to come. and all the most operative passions The form of godliness, too often and in common-place minds, wirich we
too fatally mistaken for it, brings no sce in some writers, whose habits, there the love of God; does not correct
jast peace to the mind; does not implant or whose turn of thought seem to the faulty dispositions of the heart; is have led them strongly to that de- of no service in the distressing scenes partment. We find in them more of life, and is attended with no good to of Howe's “ Blessedness of the society. From this shadow of godliness Righteous," than we do of Baxter's the opinions of the world have been too “ Christian Directory, or Call to the generally taken respecting its substance, Unconverted;" more of the reasoning las appeared to be so barren of good,
and its effects estimated; and hence it sagacity of Sherlock, than tlie busi- and so useless to nianhind, neither proness-like style of a South, a Bar- moting their peace nor their virtue. row, a Secker.
Always, however, Let us, therefore, seek for something we rejoice to see the grand and more substantial. Under the deep imfundamental points of the Christian pression of the corruption of our nature, life most clearly laid down, and most let us breathe after the sanctifying in strongly insisted upon. The re
fluences of the Spirit of God; and pray novating change, the devotedness earnestly to obtain the nind which was of the heart to God, the true sanc.
in Christ. Let us remember that the rification of the soul under the ness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost;
kingdom of God consists in righteousinfluence of the Iloly Spirit, with and that he that serveth Christ in these the broad distinctive line of de- things is acceptable to God and approxmarcations between him who serv- ed of men." Vol. ii. pp. 238, 239. eth God and him who serveth him
Some admirable and highly not," are all stated and appealed to with perfect correctness and deci- practical instructious occur also in sion. As an example, we select out of the same volume, in the discourse on a multitude of others the following and Pharisees," and also on the
" the Righteousness of the Scribes energetic delineation of godliness.
duty of “ doing all to the Glory of “But it must be remembered, that god. God;" which last is handled quite liness is not a cold assent to the truths in Mr. Venn's manner, being inof religion. It is not a natural softness and benevolence of temper; it is not troduced by a most able exposition - the abstaining from gross sins, or the of the preceding passage in St. Paul, giving to God a part of our hearts and in which the subject is discussed some vacant portions of our time, while of eating things offered to idols. the bulk of both is alienated from him, We must content ourselves also that will entitle us to the benefits which with referring to a very practical follow godliness. No: godliness is the and useful sérinon on the • Reasons entire subjection and devotedness of the soul to God himself. It is the prac. why Men do not coine unto Christ,"
tical acknowledgment of his unlimited which contains an admirable passovereignty, and the unreserved dedica- sage following the words,“ li retion of our whole selves to his service.' quires a very deep sense of the
holiness of God, of the sinfulness "Behold here the baneful effects of of man, and the awfulness of stand- fraud !" ing in judgment before the Divine Our third line of selection was Tribunal, in order justly to value to embrace the more devotional, such a Saviour as Jesus Christ." spiritual, and sublime subjects of Vol. II. p. 196.- A variety of most discourse in these volumes, which, as useful and discriminating observa: they constitute a large class, so they tions also appear in the First Vo- appear to have been the employlume, on “tbe Tares and the ment most congenial to our author's Wheat," " the Causes of Unthank- mind, the object most suited to his fulness," and "the gradual Progress genius and most familiar to his of Evil,” and some very forcible ap- thoughts. Seldom have we found peals to the conscience, in the ser- a wider range of pieces, within so mon on “ Indecision in Religion.". short a space, from which to select "The Fall and Punishinent of Da- specimens of the real eloquence of vid, "in this volume, and the character feeling, the energy of a sanctified of “Jacub and Esau," in the second, imagination, the soarings of moral are also ably and strongly bandled. sublimity. God and his attributes;
On the character of Jacob, Clurist and the resplendeut perfec Volunie II. Sermon II. we find tions of his person; angels and their some profound observations on employments; heaven' ard its "prophecy not being our rule of choicest joys; the communion of conduct:" and we are particularly saints above and below; the whole pleased with the following remark, family in heaven and earth, with all in the opening, which puts a trite its varied feelings and pursuits, though important subject in a new bopes and interests, privileges in light.
possession, and in prospect; these
are subjects upon, which he ever "In many facts of history recorded seems most delighted to dwell, and by the sacred penman, he merely relates to have inseribed on them " It is the story, without making any comments good for us to be here." In this upon it. This simplicity of narration is sacred atmosphere, bis wing never pecaliar to the ancient historians. The
seems to flag, bis zeal to cool, his soul practice of modern times is different. The historian now 'commonly conveys taken full possession of his mind ;
to faint. Heaveu itself seems to have bis own judgment on that which he records : be intersperses reflections': he and in his pages, whilst occupied on displays himself as well as his subject. these topics, if we may borrow an anThis plaimess of the ancient writers alogy from the purest earthly flame, may be attended either by good or bad Divine! consequences. The beneficial consequeuees are these, that we are led to Love his golden shafts employs, here reason for ourselves, and that we are
lights compelled in so doing to increase the His constant lamp, and waves his purple diligence and accuracy of our examina- wings, tion. One of the mischievous conse: Reigns here and revels. querces (I speak particularly with 'res But we must proceed to our exspect to the sacred writers) is, the danger tracts. In Sermon III. Volume I. of approving the actions related of good on "the Glory of God," from Exod. men, whenever the historian has not marked them with a note of disapproba.
xxxiii. 18. we have a finie description tou." Vol.ii. pp. 17, 18.
of the glory of the Deity, from
which we find it difficult to select He then remarks, that the whole · any passage, which should convey life of Jacob became afterwards as a just conception of the whole instructise a lesson against fraud, portrait. The followiug sentence as though the inspired peninań on the goodness of God much had inscribed in the front of it, struck us.
“This is true glory-that the most pow; sins of backsliding and treachery; sins erful of all Beings should be the inost against the clearest light and knowledge. genérous; the most lofty, at the same We should also enter into eternity; time the most merciful; the most glori- should survey the duration of that love, ous, the most condescending. No finite which was from everlasting to everlastcreature ever was, or can be, as long- ing; should behold the thrones of glory, suffering and merciful as God. It is and the eternal bliss to which that love the glory of his nature to be exempt will advance the redeemed. Oh! my from the elements of those passions brethren, how well did the Apostle exwhich tend to diminish the exercise of claim, it'passeth knowledge!:» Vol. i. immeasurable love. God is love: pp. 78, 79. prire, unvarying love; love in its essence. No jealousies, nor envy, nor selfishness, in this volume, on " the State of the
The following sermon, the sixth nor rivalship, nor private wants, nor poverty of means, can ruffle his mind, Saints above, contrasted with their or limit the full exercise of his love." former Condition below," from Rev. Vol. i. pp. 44, 45.
vii. 9-17. preached on All-saints The proof in the same sermon, day, leaves us under the same diffithat holiness and justice are but culty of selection, and makes us again modifications of his goodness, is a fear that the simple dignity of any fine specimen of the reasoning sub
one passage may in appearance fall lime. In the next
sermon, on the below the majestic effect produced Prayer of St. Paul for the Ephe. by the whole when viewed together. sians,” we have the following pas in which, if our readers should dis
We shall give the opening passage, sage on “the love of Christ, wbich passeth knowledge."
cover any thing bordering on the
style of some of the admired « In what particulars does it differ French preachers, they may here from the most exalted human love, or from the still more pure and generous in their idea.
learn that they have not been first affection of an angelic being? I answer -it differs essentially. But in order to “ On this day, consecrated to devout comprehend it aright, it is necessary meditation on a future state and heaventhat we should form some adequate con. ly inheritance-within these hallowed ception of the glory of the Son of God, walls, in which we feebly attempt to as the object of adoration to all the emulate the worship, the feelings, and hosts of lieaven ;--that we should un. the employments of the blessed spirits derstand, in a degree, the perfections of above ;--on this festival, dedicated to his nature;-that we should ourselves the pious commemoration of the saints feel somewhat of that ardent love to his who have slept in Christ, and are now Father's law, which glowed within his with him in joy and felicity; let us breast;-that we should also be actuat endeavour, my Christian brethren, by ed, in a degree, by that inexpressible the help of God, to detach our thoughts hatred of all pollution and sin which he for a few happy moments from the felt;-that we should entertain a just alluring scenes below; from the tumults, conception of man, and be sensible how the anxieties, the troubles, the vicissi. low and worthless a creatures in his fal. tudes, the fears, the follies, the vanities, len state, he is ;--that we should under the corruptions, of this sinful world; stand something of what it would neces and fix them, in devout contemplation, sarily cost to redeem the soul and to on that glorious state and that blessed expiate Divine Justice. We should feel assembly of which so delightful a picture å portion, also, of what Jesus felt in the has been just presented to us. It is a garden of Gethsemane, when his sweat picture rendered sacred by the recolwas, as it were, great drops of blood. lection that it describes the felicity of We should feel something of the breadth those beloved friends who were once of that love which extended to the co-' our companions and guides upon earth; vering of such a multitude of sins; sins who departed hence in Christian faith of such a complicated dye; sins of the and hope; and to whom our souls yet memory, the will, the imagination; sins cleave in all the union of the tenderest of revolt against God, of willing service affection. It is a picture endeared to to Satan, of hatred of the Almighty; us by the bumble bope that it describes