صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

comparison of it, think ourselves only happy in it, and in the strength of it resist temptations, live above the world, and “ keep our lamps burning like men that wait for their Lord.”

Hear now what we are in and under our Christian hope, from the Epistle to the Hebrews, “ Ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” The meaning is, that as the Jewish tribes, at certain stated times, came from all parts of the country to worship at Jerusalem, and offer sacrifices in the temple on Mount Sion; so all Christians, the true Israel of God, however dispersed through the whole world, are gathered together in one body under Christ their Head, to offer free-will offerings with a holy worship, the continual tribute of their grateful hearts, in the New Jerusalem, the city of the living God. And mark it well, this is their happy state and condition now, while they are upon earth. Though they may not see it themselves, it is so in truth and reality, and in the sight of God : for the whole family of God in heaven and earth is but one under its glorious Head; and his saints on earth actually belong to the blessed society of saints and angels in heaven, through the mediation and sprinkling of the blood of the holy Jesus, cleansing them from all sin, and which speaketh better things, and crieth louder in the ears of God for mercy, than the blood of Abel did for vengeance.

God grant that the cry of this precious blood, in all our hearts, may be above our sins and fears; and that,

[merged small][ocr errors]

“ through patience and comfort of the Scriptures,” we may hold fast the blessed hope of being numbered with the saints of God in glory everlasting. And many, many thanksgivings be to God from many ten thousands of rejoicing hearts, and happy, redeemed souls, for this glorious hope. O Lord, for thy dear Son's sake, give it into all our hearts in the power of the Holy Ghost, and make it a holy fire of love burning in us day and night; that we may sing with the whole multitude of the heavenly host, “ Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace, good-will towards men.” And all glory be to the everblessed Trinity, for the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost. Amen.


And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the

inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications. Zech. xii. 10.

In these words the prophet mentions that remarkable time when the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, or the Jewish nation, shall turn to the Lord in prayer, from a sense and conviction of their undone state, want of pardoning grace, and especially of their great sin in rejecting and crucifying Christ, and saying, as they do to this day, “ We will not have this man to reign over us.

That the time will come for their conversion, and that the main body of the Jews will again be owned by God as his people, all the prophets declare with one consent, and many are of opinion that it cannot now be far off. But what is needful to observe to you is, that the cir


cumstance here particularly taken notice of as a mark of their conversion, and owning of Christ for salvation, must also be a mark and proof of ours; and that it is equally necessary for every man and woman of every other nation, at all times to the end of the world, to have the spirit of grace and of supplications poured upon them, i. e. a gracious spirit of prayer for the blessings of Christ and his Gospel, from an earnest will and desire to be saved according to it.

This is what I am to open and press upon you at this time, and I pray God enable me to do it to your conviction.

I. I shall show what this spirit of grace and of supplications is, or when we may be said to have it.

II. That if we have it, it must be poured upon us, or the Spirit's work in us.

III. That in the want of it, we can have no proof of a work of grace upon our hearts.

I. I shall show what this spirit of grace and of supplications is. I have told you already in part, that it is a gracious desire of the heart for spiritual good things, and for the health and prosperity of our souls; not for the success of our temporal affairs, or abundance of worldly blessings of any kind: for though we may lawfully ask for them, in token and acknowledgment of our dependence upon God, and are bound to be thankful for what he gives; yet we must be content in the want of them, and willing to resign them whenever he sees fit. These things must not be uppermost in our thoughts, or the great burthen of our prayers. Alas! we have but too much of this disposition from nature; and such a state of mind as this, of continual caring and wishing for the world, is our curse, and the depth of our fall; and what, if our

[ocr errors]

eyes were opened, we should pray against. That disposition of heart which is meant by a spirit of grace and of supplications, consists in choosing what God chooses for and having such a lively sense of the great value and importance of spiritual blessings upon our minds, and of the necessity of obtaining them, as to have our hearts continually turned to him in prayer for them; in considering the favour of God and eternal life as the great end we were born and live for, which we desire above all things, and without which we should think ourselves undone for ever.

When we not only acknowledge the being and providence of God in common with all mankind, but live in his presence, and choose him for our portion, and know that his favour and blessing is infinitely more to us than all the world : when we see our vileness, misery, weakness, and condemnation in sin; dread to continue in it; long to be discharged from the guilt, and delivered from the power of it: when Christ is presented to us by the eye of faith, as an all-sufficient Saviour, and the relief he offers us in the remission of our sins, strength against them for the future, and the gift of his perfect righteousness for our eternal justification, appears to us as the most welcome and seàsonable of all mercies, every way suited to the case of sinners, and the very thing we want: when we acknowledge the necessity of the Holy Spirit's operation to convince us of sin, and work faith in us, and his indwelling in our hearts, to change the vicious bent of them, subdue our inbred corruption, natural enmity to God, and opposition to his will: when we are convinced that this world is not our home, or what we were made for; that the happiness of it is a dream, deceitful in its appearance, short in its continuance, and never attained to in such a degree as that we can say our hearts are at rest, and we have what we wish for; and therefore sit loose to it; set our affections on things above, and turn our eyes and hearts to our everlasting inheritance in heaven:-I say, when we thus know God and ourselves; know our sin and danger; know

: our want of deliverance; know our great business in the world; we shall beseech him, as for our lives, to keep us steadfast in this belief, to remember us in mercy, and whatever else he denies us, not to deprive us of an interest in Christ; but to guide us by his Spirit, and make us his children, and heirs of his kingdom. Then we put up the true spirit of grace and of supplications ; the natural, strong desire we all have for happiness is fixed upon its only right object, and forces the awakened soul to cry to the God and Father of mercies, “ Give me thyself, give me thy Christ, give me thy Spirit, deliver me from the evil I feel or fear, and make me fit for thy heaven, or I die.” The man, in whom this spirit is, continually cries, “ What can I have a prayer for, if not for the life of my soul; peace and friendship with my heavenly Father; comfort and sweet hope here to bear me up in all conditions, and a blessed eternity ? Is forgiveness of sins, and salvation by Christ, so light a matter with me that I cannot find in my heart to ask for it; or do I ask for it coldly, and with but little desire to have my request granted ? Is there any thing else I could wish for more, than to be taken into God's protection as a child of his family; to have my guilt removed, my faith strengthened, and my will and affections renewed ? Let others think most of the increase of their worldly store, and pray for it in the depth of their hearts, as God sees they do, though they do not think so, I have but one great prayer for myself and for them, - Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us ;' refresh us with thy peace, and guide us with thy counsel, that thou mayeșt receive us to thy glory,"


[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »