« السابقةمتابعة »
them to him in repentance for
peace and acceptance with God, and makes him the chief ground of their rejoicing. And especially let none derive hope from the Gospel without coming to Christ as a whole Saviour, with all their sins, with all their needs, for all his blessings, for a pure heart, as well as washing in his blood, and with earnest desire to be renewed by him to universal holiness. In order to which, and to prevent any suspicion of my slighting and undervaluing this necessary part of Christian salvation;
5. Let it be observed, that as we should search the Scriptures, to the end we may believe on the name and power of Jesus Christ, and come to him for the life of our souls ; so we must likewise search them to know what he
requires of us in all other respects, and what kind of life a true faith will produce in us. Pardon, and peace with God, salvation and eternal life by the grace and might of a Redeemer, without any merit of ours — there is the soul's rest, and the solid ground of our comfort. Believe this with the heart, as God wills and commands, and Christ is yours, to save you from death. But though we must consider this as peculiarly the glad tidings of the Gospel, and the relief of conscience labouring under a sense of guilt and unworthiness, and have the sacred art always to keep it separate in our minds from any work or obedience of our own; yet on the authority of the same Scriptures, which reveal him to us as a Saviour, and the Restorer of our life, we are obliged to submit to his teaching, and receive a law at his mouth. You cannot open the Bible without seeing how hateful sin is to God, what a curse it brings with it, how ruinous it is to all our hopes. The whole Scripture, from beginning to end, is nothing but a history of God's dealings with mankind on account of sin, of his will to punish it, or the methods he has taken to deliver us from it; and Christ's death
the cross is such a full declaration of the heinous nature and dreadful malignity of it, and of our certain doom if we continue in it, that it cannot but strike terror into us at the same time that it comforts and revives us, And if the instruction it conveys to us should not be sufficiently attended to, we cannot mistake the plain and positive command, to “ add to our faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity. For so," and not otherwise,” an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ;" 2 Pet. i. 5, 6, 7, 11. His kingdom of grace upon earth is a kingdom of redeemed souls, walking worthy of the mercy they have received, “ showing forth the praises of him who called them out of darkness into his marvellous light," in all the fruits of a holy conversation; and though there will always be men of corrupt minds, turning the children's bread into poison to themselves, and denying the Lord that bought them in a fundamental article of his religion, yet the whole word of God stands up against them; and the faith which does not work by love, and sincerely endeavour to keep the commandments, is as certainly false as that the Scripture is true. We read that he said to one and another, who distrusted his power or will to help them, where is your faith? But much more may be said of those, who pretend to believe in him, and yet disgrace their profession, by making little account of that holiness which he so earnestly recommends to them, and so strongly binds upon their hearts and consciences, as the work and proof of their faith. It is a severe rebuke from his mouth – and may he sharpen it to us all — “ Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke, vi. 46. And
and thus he calls for it, “ If ye love me"
surely, besides the authority of his commands, the obligations we have to him strongly plead for our obedience;
in the character of your Saviour, dying to redeem you, and the Author of all your hopes —“keep my commandments;" John,
xiv. 15. I say, what a call is here to every gracious, Christian heart! How dead must all those be who do not hear it; and why do we talk of the goodness of them, when we cannot find one spark of gratitude in them for all he has done and suffered for us? He stooped very low to raise us from the dus t, to take us out of the belly of hell, and exalt us to heaven. He could not change the nature of the Most High God, and pull down eternal Justice from its throne; but he could become man to satisfy it, and make a way for mercy to flow in upon us. He could not recal past sin, or make it to be what it is not, unworthy of punishment; but he could take our sin upon himself, and bear the whole weight of God's vengeance against us for it, in his own body on the cross. He could not make us our own saviours; and therefore he would save us by himself, and come into the world to be our life, and to be “ made of God unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption;" I Cor. i. 30. And in return for all this, he says, “ keep my commandments :" still with a view only to the happiness of his creatures; and that their joy might be full, both in the sense of remission, and the recovery of their corrupt, and therefore miserable natures, to the love of God and holiness.
Oh! then,“ search the Scriptures,” both for faith and practice; that having the Lord Jesus Christ testified to your hearts, you may walk worthy of him unto all pleasing, and receive the kingdom of God as little children, by the full submission of your wills to his teaching and authority. Let it not seem grievous to you to
take that blessed book, which is the record of God's love and man's salvation, daily into your hands. Let your Sabbaths more especially be devoted to the sacred employment of reading it, with prayer to God that it may be opened to you in the fulness of Christ's blessings. If you had made the glad tidings it brings to sinners your hope, the study of it would be the delight of your souls; you would acquaint yourselves with it more and more, and receive directions from it, as well concerning that hope, as the way that leads to it, and the means of securing it. Your faith would be continually increasing, and your lives answerable to your faith. And if you do not thus value and pray over it, and give up your wills to God in the reading of it, it is a certain sign either that the Spirit's work never began, or is at a stand with you. Certainly the knowledge of the only true God, and of Jesus Christ whom he hath sent to give life unto the world, is not a matter of small moment; and as you will look for it in vain any where else but in the Spirit's treasury of Holy Scripture, so if you do not look for it there with a care and diligence in some measure suitable to the importance of it, you are yet unawakened and unbelieving. I pray God those may not be vain words to you which you hear so often from the Litany; and that your hearts may answer to them now while I am speaking them to you again : “ That it may please thee to give to all thy people increase of grace to hear meekly thy word, and to receive it with pure affection, and to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, we beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.”
Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter
into his glory? Luke, xxiv. 26.
These words are part of the discourse which our Lord had with two of his disciples, to whom he appeared after his resurrection, as they were walking into the country, and talking together of all those things which had happened to him. They were in the common belief of the Jews, that the Messiah when he came would either set up a temporal kingdom, and make them victorious over their enemies, or restore Paradise to the earth : his death therefore, though it was so plainly foretold by the prophets, and the salvation of mankind depended upon it, was not what they looked for; and it seems as if all their hopes of his working a great deliverance for them were buried with him in the grave. But when they had opened their griefs and fears to him, and told him what perplexity of mind they were under on occasion of his death, especially as there was a report stirring among them that he was risen again, and had been seen by certain women of their company;
“ he said unto them, O fools," (not in scorn, it was a mild word from his mouth, that is, O inconsiderate men,) “ and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses, and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself,” (ver. 25 -27). But notwithstanding their misapprehension of the nature of his kingdom and office, let me tell you these were good hearts, and the men for Christ, though for the present they were overwhelmed with doubts and dif