صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

you should consider no service too mean for your performance, if the welfare of a fellow-creature or a fellow-christian requires it; that you should condescend to men of low estate; that you should learn of him who was meek and lowly in heart, and who pleased not himself. We may extend this, now, to every other grace. The apostle John says, "He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk, even as he walked." Here, you see the inestimable mercy spoken of, is union and communion with him; but the claim-how is the claim to be tried and judged? How are we to determine whether this claim be valid or vain? How do you regard him? Regard him, says the apostle. as your model, having the same mind in you which was also in Christ. He was so zealous, that he could say, " The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up." Are you fervent in spirit, while serving the Lord? And he could say, 'My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work ;" and is your duty in any measure your privilege? And, though a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, in the midst of the church he sang praises: and are you thankful, even in your trials? And when he was rich, for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be made rich: and are you ready to communicate, willing to distribute? And he said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do and are you implacable, or are you ready to forgive others, as he has forgiven you? This must be the criterion. You are Christians so far, and no farther than, as you resemble him. "If any man have not the spirit of Christ," says the apostle, "he is none of his."


Fifthly, "Ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well, for so I am; but if I am your Master and Lord," you should esteem all you have as mine, and use it accordingly. Your endowments, your talents, whatever they may be, these you are to preserve, and employ, and improve for him. He says, "Occupy till I come," and he will require his own with usury. I wish you would observe this circumstance. If you have no title to yourselves, which, I think, we have proved this evening, how is it possible that you can have a title to any thing that you now call your own? No man liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself; but "whether we live, we live unto the Lord, or whether we die, we die unto the Lord; so that living and dying we are the Lord's; for to this end he both died and rose again, that he might be the Lord both of the dead and living." Do you think, now, that your time is your own, that you may lie as long in bed in the morning as you please, or that you may lounge as much in the day as you choose? You will soon appear before a Being, who has said to you, "Redeem the time." Can you suppose, that your tongues are your own, and that you may use them as you please? Let me tell you, you will soon be in the presence of a Being, who has said, "For every idle word that men shall speak, they must give account thereof in the day of judgment; for by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned:" and who inspired his apostle to say, "If any man among you seemeth to pe religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth himself, that man's religion is vain." And do you think now, that your substance is your own, that you may either hoard it, or that you may expend it as you like? You will soon be in the presence of a Being, who has told you, "To do good and to communicate forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." Have you thoughts? They ought to cluster around him, and you should be able to say, with David, "How precious are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How

great is the sum of them!" Have you passions? You have; and you ought to be able to say, with Watts,

"If there be passions in my soul,
And passions, Lord, there be,
Let them be all at thy control,
My Saviour, all for thee."

"If any

"As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same." man speak, let him speak according to the ability that God giveth, that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever.

Sixthly, Ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well, for so I am; but if I am your Lord and Master, you should be willing to partake with me in all my estates. This is what he said to his hearers before; "If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub; how much more shall they call them of his household? The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord; it is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord." Can you object to this? If you are to reign with him hereafter, you must suffer with him now. If you are to live with him in heaven, you are to be dead with him on earth. Do you feel any thing like this now? When his word has free course, and runs, and is glorified-when sinners are added to the church, such as shall be saved-when professors walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called, does this delight you? On the other hand, are you sorrowful for the sorrow of Jesus, and is the reproach of the church your burden, and are you humbled and grieved, when you hear of the miscarriages of professors of religion? How desirable is it, that you should feel this oneness of mind and of heart with the Lord Jesus! And this will be the case, if you are found faithful to the obligations under which you are.

Seventhly, Ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well, for so I am; but if I am your Lord and Master, why, then, you may depend upon me for all the advantages of the relation. Says the apostle to the Colossians, "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men, knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of your inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ." It is impossible for you to serve him for nought-" Verily there is a reward for the righteous." O! you say, but it is a reward of grace. Who wishes to deny this? This renders it the surer: this renders it the sweeter: this renders it the greater. This enables us, since it is a reward of grace, to believe in its greatness-" Great is your reward in heaven." But there is not only a recompence after the service, but even in it-" In keeping his commandments, there is great reward." If the queen of Sheba envied Solomon's domestics, and said, "Happy are these thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom," how much more should we hail the servants of the King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dwell in his house, and are still praising him, each of whom can say with David, "On thee do I wait all the day." O, he is surely your Lord and Master; he will supply, he will support you; he, like a wise and good master, will consider all the injuries done to you, as done to himself; he will not lay more upon you, as his servants, than he will enable you to bear; he will make your strength equal to your day; his grace shall be sufficient for you; he will not cast you of in the time of old age, nor forsake you when your strength faileth; no, the

boary head shall be a crown of glory, found in the way of righteousness; and he will behold you with pleasure, and say, "I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth." Yes, in eternity, in time, in life, in death, in prosperity, in adversity, in all his lively frames, and in all his gloomy ones even, every servant of the Lord Jesus will be able to say, "Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O Lord."

Well, then, in conclusion, first, entertain proper apprehensions of Christ He is not only a Saviour, but he is a Lord and Master. Is Christ divided? This is impossible in the reality. But there are some, who would thus separate what God has joined together, in their views, and in their creed, and in their practice too. There are some, who would receive him as their Redeemer, and yet, who would not hail him as their sovereign. And concerning these, he says, "As for those mine enemies, who would not that I should reign over them, bring them forth, and slay them before me." Such is the doom of those, who take his sceptre and dash it against his cross. Do you imagine, that he came by blood only, and not by water too? Is there nothing in sin, but guilt? Is there not pollution? Does it not defile, as well as condemn? And do you not need, therefore, cleansing as well as pardon?

Then, secondly, beware of hypocrisy and inconsistency. Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say? Why do you wear my livery, while you are entirely regardless of all my concerns? "If I am a master, where is my honour?" "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, snall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." "What doth it profit, my brethren," says James, " though a man say he have faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?" Yes, faith can save him; but not such faith: so it is to be understood. Faith without works! O the inconsistency! Far worse in its consequences, than the entire neglect that is observable in many professors of religion. "Out of the same mouth, proceedeth blessing and cursing: my brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig-tree, my brethren, bear olive berries, or a fountain send forth both salt water and fresh? Be decided. Do not puzzle men to determine what you are, but declare plainly that you belong to the Lord Jesus, and that you are concerned to promote his cause and glory in the world.

Thirdly, some have other lords; some love idols, and after them they will go. Some call gold their hope, and make fine gold their confidence. Some are lovers of pleasure, more than the lovers of God. Some love and serve the creature more than the Creator, who is God over all blessed for evermore. I may address you, in the language of Saul to David's followers, "Can the son of Jesse give you fig-trees and vineyards, and make you captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds, that all of you follow after him?" May I not say to you, Can the world give you those inestimable blessings, which the Lord Jesus will confer upon you, intermingled, indeed, with trials here, but without admixture before the throne of God, and of the Lamb for ever? Or must we remind you of the address of God to the Jews, in the days of Jeremiah, "They have turned their back upon me, and not their face; but in the time of their trouble, they will say, Arise, and save us; but where are thy gods that thou first made? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble."

No, you must lie down in despair. "What fruit had ye then, in those things whereof ye are now ashamed," says the apostle to the Romans," for the end of those things is death."

Finally, O that I could persuade you, immediately and sincerely, to take him for your Lord and Master! O that you would take with you words, and turn unto him, and say, "Lord take away all iniquity; receive us graciously: so will we render thee the calves of our lips!" O that you would realize the language of Isaiah, "One shall say, I am the Lord's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel!" And will none of you, my young friends? What a privilege is early dedication to God? Beza says in his will, "Lord, I thank thee, that at the tender age of sixteen, I was enabled to give up myself to thy service." There are, in the presence of God this evening, those who could say the same; and next to the salvation of their own souls, are they daily blessing God, that they were enabled to remember him in their youth. Excited and encouraged by those blessed words, that have adorned many an early tomb-" I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me," whatever be the resolution of your neighbours, your friends, or even your relations, say with Joshua, "As for me, choose ye this day whom ye will serve; but I cannot suspend my choice upon yours; choose ye this day whom ye will serve; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Well, what can you say in answer to this? Have you ever heard any thing unfavourable of him? Is he not worthy of all your homage and service? Is not his yoke easy, and his burden light? Ask those who have worn the one and carried the other. Is not his work honourable and glorious? Is not his service perfect freedom? Is not " godliness profitable in all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come?" O, but you must give us time to consider. What time do you require? How much time have you already expended! And how uncertain is your continuance here! How soon may you be hurried into eternity, exclaiming, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!" And can you be saved too soon? and happy too soon? And what time do you require now to deliberate? What is there to deliberate upon for a moment? Whether you should be slaves, or whether you should be servants! Whether you should touch the golden sceptre that is stretched forth, saying, Touch and live; or whether you should be dashed in pieces, like a potter's vessel, with the iron rod! Do you require a moment, to decide whether the devil shall be your master, or the Lord of life and glory; whether hell or heaven shall be your home? Wherefore "kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. ' Amen.



Baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."1 PETER, iii. 21.

MOST sacred and most responsible is the profession of the Christian; let us take our impression of it from the language of Holy Writ. The Christian is one who is in Christ; and of him, therefore, it is written, "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new;" and he henceforth "lives not unto himself, but unto him which died for him and rose again." Of him it is written, that, by Christ," the world is crucified unto him, and he unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." The Christian, again, is one in whom Christ is; of him, therefore, it is written," If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness." The Christian is a son of God; of him, therefore, it is written, "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God; for "ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but we have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father:" and "the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." The Christian, again, is Christ's, or one belonging to Christ; of him, therefore, it is said, "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." The Christian is one to whom the Scriptures assign the name of "saint," or "holy one;" one set apart from an evil world for the service of God; he, therefore, is included in the frequent apostolical salutation, "To them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus," "to them that are called," "to them that are saints," "beloved of God," "faithful brethren," "elect," and "partakers of the divine nature."

The Christian, again, is one who has been baptized: of him, therefore, it is written, "We are buried with Christ by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is free from sin." • Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God



« السابقةمتابعة »