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only shall we see light. Let us unite dependence | limitation of Christ's atonement to those whom
'Because I have called, and ye refused, I also
Righteous. The justice of God demands it his mercy permits it; his truth and faithfulnes cannot be maintained without it. All the attri butes of his character will be infinitely honoure by it. The whole intelligent creation will ap prove of it. Sinners themselves will silentl acquiesce in it. The man who had not on th wedding garment was speechless in presence the king, so shall be the finally impenitent unde the sentence of the Judge. And their condem nation as it is perfectly righteous so it is inevit ably
Certain. Now they have an 'accepted time and a day of salvation.' But the door, by whic they are now invited to enter, will then be shu Prayer will no longer avail. All the things th
In the indulgence extended to wicked men there is an apparent deviation from those principles of rectitude and impartiality which regulate the divine government. Not only do they seem to enjoy impunity in sin; they often attain to a far higher degree of prosperity than falls to the lot of others. This has in all ages been a source of perplexity and discouragement to the people of God, whilst it renders sinners bolder and more hardened in wickedness. But they abuse the divine forbearance and long-suffering, not know-belong to their peace will be hid from their eye ing that the goodness of God leadeth to repentance; and they treasure up to themselves 'wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgments of God.' 'Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.' But God will bring every work into judgment, and will render unto every man according to his work; and he will be glorified no less in the destruction of his enemies than in the salvation of his redeemed people. He has distinctly stated
The grounds of their condemnation. They shall not be permitted to urge the plea of ignorance, nor the want of opportunity, nor even moral inability as their excuse; far less shall they be allowed to plead the decrees of God, or the
The God of mercy will then have 'forgotten to gracious,' and will ‘be favourable no more.' Ho vain must be the hope of the poor and distress when their prayer for relief is met not by the lo and language of sympathy, but by laughter a mockery! How dreadful to hear the Father mercies declare, 'I also will laugh at your c amity, I will mock when your fear comet And he is not a man that he should lie, or t son of man that he should repent.'
How then shall we escape if we neglect so gr salvation? Who can resist the force of his mighty arm, or elude the inspection of his a seeing eye? What is there to make up for t want of his friendship, or to protect us from t effect of his anger? The punishment of the si ner will be unspeakably
Awful. To them on the left hand the Judge shall say, 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.' 'When, therefore, the great day of his wrath is come, who shall be able to stand? Who among us can dwell with devouring fire? who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?'
But, blessed be God, there is still a way of escape. The time has not yet arrived of which it is said, 'Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer.' His patience continues to wait, and his Spirit to strive. He calls upon us to 'come, for all things are now ready. Turn ye, why will ye die, O house of Israel? Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.'
*These words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up,' Deut. vi. 6, 7. THE words which form the subject of this exhortation obviously refer in the first instance to the law of the ten commandments, which had on that very day been delivered to the people of Israel. These words' may, however, be supposed to comprehend generally the whole of revelation, including both the Old and New Testaments; and in particular they apply to the record which God has given of his Son Jesus Christ, which unfolds a complete system of truth to be believed, and a perfect rule of duty to be followed, with all necessary means to be observed for the purpose of enabling us to understand the one and to obey the other. Our duty in reference to the words of inspiration consists of two parts: we are commanded to receive them for our own benefit, and we are required to communicate them for the benefit of others. They demand in the first in
only with profound respect, but with affectionate acquiescence; they must be submitted to not only from a sense of duty, but in the spirit of love. To this effect it is enjoined, 'These words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart.'
The words which God has commanded us deserve a place in the heart. They are the words of infallible truth, and merit our fullest confidence; they are the words of eternal life, and claim our warmest attachment. More to be desired are they than gold; yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey, and the honey comb.' It is the heart that God looks to, and speaks to: and the services we perform in obedience to his word can be acceptable and honouring to him in so far only as they express the feelings of the heart. So long as it has not taken possession of the heart, the word of God can produce no sanctifying effect on the character; and is in reality rejected. The good seed must be sown not by the way side, nor on stony ground, nor among thorns, where it would be either entirely lost, or exert only a superficial and temporary influence; but on the soil of a good and honest heart, where it will take deep root, and bring forth fruit in some thirty, in some sixty, and in some a hundred fold. But as it is man's duty to receive the word into his heart, so it is God's work to put it there, and he has graciously promised to do his own work. 'Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after these days, saith the Lord. I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.'
Having taken possession of the heart, the words which God has commanded us will necessarily exert their proper influence in securing all those practical effects which are intended or required. The memory will carefully retain them, the mind will seriously reflect upon them, the mouth will loudly speak of them, and the life habitually correspond with them. In particular, the reception of them for ourselves will produce the desire, and enforce the endeavour to
Communicate them to others. This we are directed to attempt in two different ways. is by teaching, or—
Cordial reception from ourselves. It is not enough that we put them in our houses, so as to have constant access to them for reading and Instruction. "Thou shalt teach them diligently meditation; nor even that we have them in our unto thy children.' Children represent the youth memories so as to be able to repeat them with ease of every family; and in this view the injunction and accuracy from beginning to end. They must is addressed to parents. To them has been not only be known and remembered, but under-committed the charge of teaching unto their chilstood and approved; they must be regarded not dren the words which God has commanded.
For this purpose they should read and explain | cometh down from above it will determine us to the bible to their children, and enable them to embrace every opportunity that may be presented, read and understand it for themselves. Other whether in public or private, of inviting the atbranches of knowledge may be useful and even tention of those with whom we associate to the necessary; but what shall these avail in the end things which belong to their peace. if the one thing needful has been neglected? The Few points of character may be more safely work of parental instruction requires much time relied on as an evidence of personal godliness than and great labour; and it must be done not by the desire to converse on religious subjects. It is substitutes, but by parents themselves, in a course truly mournful to think how very seldom matters of diligent and well directed personal efforts. It of a spiritual nature find their way into our ordiis truly said that 'a good man leaveth an inheri-nary conversation. The professing people of God tance to his children.' He may have nothing meet together and converse about many things; else to give, but if he has conferred on them the they talk on the state of the weather, or the news advantages of a religious education, followed up of the day, or on questions of national policy, or by fervent prayer, and illustrated and enforced by the merits of public men, or the defects of private a consistent example, he leaves them an inheri- character, but have not a word to say respecting tance that is more valuable than any thing and the truths of the bible, nor the concerns of their every thing else. But 'children' represent the souls, nor the realities of an eternal world. How rising generation in general, and in this view the different is the course which the authority of inprecept speaks to all without exception. Many spiration has dictated on the subject! "Thou parents care not for the spiritual interests of their shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine families; in such cases it becomes the duty of house, and when thou walkest by the way, and every professing Christian to endeavour, as far as when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.' possible, to supply their lack of service. In no This practice has many advantages to recomother way can we do so much good at so little mend it. It is of comparatively easy observance. expence as by extending the blessings of a reli- Those who cannot produce a regular and well congious education to the ignorant and neglected nected discourse upon the truths of God, are yet youth. But another mode of communication is able to talk about them in familiar conversation. by talking, orNo man feels himself at a loss for something to say Conversation. Thou shalt talk of them. To when he speaks of subjects that lie near to his talk is to convey our thoughts upon any subject heart, for 'out of the abundance of the heart the in a simple, homely, and familiar style of address, mouth speaketh.' Another recommendation is such as we are accustomed to employ in the com- the probability of usefulness. In this way valuamon intercourse of domestic and social life. With-ble lessons of truth may be communicated, and out being necessarily coarse or undignified it has seasonable warnings administered, and serious imthe recommendation of being universally under-pressions produced, no less extensively and no less stood, and of being calculated to attract and interest the minds both of the learned and the ignorant. It is the style which God himself has adopted in the revelation of his will, for the scriptures which contain it are distinguished throughout by their extreme plainness and simplicity. What was the teaching of Christ but a series of conversations in which he talked familiarly with his disciples or with the Jewish people? S talk on religious subjects evidently for no purpose than to display their own attai but our design should be to instruct an others; and this requires that we should of them with the
same time wit
effectually than by more public and laborious instrumentality. Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou shalt gather it after many days.' But personal holiness is an essential qualification for religious usefulness. We must seek to have our own hearts impressed with the truths of the bible, and then the work of communicating them to others will be easy, pleasant, and successful.
child thou hast known the holy ich are able to make thee wise through faith which is in Christ ii. 15.
le with regard to the early One most important cirecorded for our instruction.
They do this
His father was not a Jew, nor a proselyte to the | firmed than in the words of the apostle, who religion of the Jews, but a Greek, and conse- declares that they are able to make wise unto quently, if not hostile to the Jewish scriptures, yet ignorant of them, and indifferent about them. Timothy had not been circumcised in his infancy; but his religious education had, notwithstanding, been carefully attended to by his grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice, who were not only Jewish by birth, but, which is far better, decidedly pious women. Through the blessing of God upon their labours, young Timothy acquired an early and intimate knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures; and he was by this means prepared to follow the example of his excellent mother by embracing the gospel, and devoting himself to the service of Christ. During the whole of his subsequent life he continued to cherish a grateful sense of the benefit which he had derived from early parental instruction; and Paul, his spiritual father, took occasion to remind him, both as a ground of thankfulness to God, and a motive to perseverance in duty, that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.'
Other writings make men wise, but not 'wise unto salvation. The wisdom that may be derived from them is valuable in a very high degree, and capable of being applied to many useful purposes, and worthy of being sought after with ardour and diligence; but it is the wisdom of this world, which has to do only with the things of the world, and which, with the world, will at death pass away and be forgotten. What can all the wisdom avail us which the facts of history apply, or which may be derived from a minute acquaintance with the maxims of philosophy, the mysteries of science, or the rules of art, so long we remain destitute of that wisdom which the ht of inspiration has revealed? 'Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For er that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the lishness of preaching to save them that be
The arrogant deist who denies the necessity of revelation, labours under a delusion scarcely tore palpable and pernicious than the blinded tary of the Church of Rome, who asserts its Sufficiency. We know that the scriptures need the help of interpretations to clear up their scurity; much less do they need the help of raditions to supply their deficiency. The end ir which they were given, and their perfect effiy to the accomplishment of that end, could at have been more clearly and conclusively af
By the discoveries which they afford. The first step towards the attainment of saving wisdom consists in the knowledge or conviction of sin. The scripture hath concluded all under sin, that every mouth may be stopped, and that all the world may become guilty before God.' But a conviction of sin without the hope of forgiveness could only lead to despair. The awakened sinner finds a refuge in the holy scriptures, which assure him of an acceptable atonement offered for the expiation of his guilt, of a perfect righteousness wrought out for the justification of his person, and an effectual influence provided for the sanctification of his nature. Here is a redemption alike honouring to the perfections of God, and suited to the circumstances of man, comprehending everything which we can possibly need, or reasonably desire, or profitably seek after, knowledge for our ignorance, pardon for our guilt, love for our enmity, purity for our corruption, strength for our weakness, hope for our fears, life for our death. The holy scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation by
The influence which they exert. Our Lord said of them, what cannot be affirmed of any other writings, 'The words that I speak unto you they are spirit, they are life.' Paul had felt this influence in himself, and from experience he could declare, 'I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.' He had witnessed it in others, and he could appeal to thousands when he said, 'For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.'
But the holy scriptures can exert no influence unless they are believed. Articles of food may be wholesome and nutritious, but in order to impart strength to the body they must be received into it. Medicines may be calculated to effect a cure, yet the patient would inevitably perish if he should continue to resist their application. Our unbelief cannot affect the truth of the scriptures, but it will prevent their efficacy. The influence which they exert is not mechanical, but moral: it is the influence of doctrines and precepts, of promises and threatenings, addressed to the understanding and the judgment, the conscience and the heart. But these cannot operate unless they are felt; nor can they be felt until they are believed. Instead of being the savour of life unto life, which they are graciously intended and calculated to be, they become to all who reject
them the savour of death unto death. And as it | parents remember the word which says, 'Train forms the chief aggravation of their guilt now, up a child in the way he should go, and when so it will constitute the bitterest ingredient in he is old he will not depart from it.' The experitheir cup of suffering hereafter, that the holy ence of young Timothy serves to show how scriptures, which they have resisted, are able to much a pious mother or grandmother may do for make wise unto salvation, through faith which is the salvation of children. To all who have enin Christ Jesus.' joyed similar advantages, the apostle would say, anHold fast the form of sound words which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. Those things, which ye have both learned and received, and heard and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.' If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.'
After all, the holy scriptures exert only instrumental power. They are perfectly fitted to do their work, but being merely an instrument, they can do nothing effectually without the agent. Since all men are by nature inclined to reject the scriptures, and since, in point of fact, the great majority of those to whom they have been addressed do actually reject them, the question arises, How comes it to pass that any believe them? This effect results from the operation of a power distinct from the scriptures, and which makes use of them only as its instrument. To
you it is given,' says the apostle to the Philip-'And I will put enmity between thee and the
pians, to believe in his name.' And he speaks elsewhere not of the things which he wrought, but of the things which God wrought by him to make the Gentiles obedient in word and deed.' Without the agency of the Spirit, Paul would have planted, and Apollos watered in vain. Hence the Saviour prayed for his disciples, 'Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.'
But as the scriptures are nothing without the influences of the Spirit, so the Spirit does nothing without the instrumentality of the scriptures. Through them he begins his good work of grace in the soul, carries it forward, and brings it to perfection.
We have an important duty to perform in regard to the holy scriptures. It is to cultivate the knowledge of them. Thou hast known the holy scriptures.' All the knowledge that is necessary may be acquired by our own efforts in the use of appointed means, by reading and hearing, with diligence, meditation, and prayer. But to be made wise unto salvation' implies that we know the scriptures experimentally and practically, and in such a way as to be sanctified by them. They can be savingly useful to us in so far only as we mix faith with our knowledge of them, by realizing their truth, and by having recourse to them for principles to govern, rules to direct, motives to animate, and consolations to support us under all the difficulties, and troubles, and temptations of our present militant condition.
An early acquaintance with the holy scriptures is peculiarly necessary. How highly favoured are they to whom it can be said, 'that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures!' Let
woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, Gen. iii. 15. THE curse pronounced on the serpent consists of two parts, the one having a relation to its natural, the other to its representative character. An irrational animal cannot be the object of moral blame. The serpent was nothing more than the unconscious and involuntary instrument of corrupting Eve. Yet the serpent was made to share in the punishment of her disobedience. From being probably both harmless in disposition, and beautiful i form, it was degraded into an ugly and venomou reptile. Because thou hast done this, thou ar cursed above all cattle, and above every beast o the field, upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dus shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.' In con sequence, the serpent has ever since been a object of dread and detestation, and it continue to this day to be shunned or destroyed as a dan gerous enemy of the human race.
But the curse of God, which extended eve to the visible instrument of the temptation was chiefly directed against that old serpen called the devil, and satan,' who was the invisib agent in the temptation. He tempted the wo man by means of the serpent, and the divin displeasure was accordingly conveyed to hi through the serpent as his representative. L us view the curse in connection with its execi tion.
The design of the tempter was to put enmit between man and his Creator, and he succeede in his diabolical purpose. In yielding to his sol citations, the woman accepted his offered friend ship, and promised a willing obedience. Si entered into the world, and death by sin.