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waiting for you. God is waiting to receive you ; Jesus is waiting to accept and to bless you; the provision is already prepared, waiting to gratify you. The minister is waiting to see the proof of his invitations and his labours, and his prayer. And angels from heaven, ministering spirits to the church of God, are waiting to see whether you shall accept and honour, or whether you shall neglect and dishonour, the message, the invitation from heaven.
It should be received and accepted at the present time and immediately, because the present time is the day of salvation. It is what God himself condescends to pronounce “ the acceptable time:" that is, in other words, the time in which he is pledged to accept you. He is not pledged for other times, but he is pledged for the present time. For instance : in relation to this invi tation you are described. You are poor and destitute, and need the very blessings proposed. And you are unworthy, and you would be discouraged by a sense of your unworthiness ; and the invitation comprehends you. It describes you that you may have no discouragement in coming. The invitation is presented to you by his ministers ; and his ministers are authorized to say, in his name, that if you yield yourselves to that invitation, God is true to receive you, and bountiful to bless you. Then understand, it is for your attention at the present time, and not for the future. There is no invitation that you shall be received to-morrow : there is no promise that is to be realized as to to-morrow, while you are delaying and negligent. And, therefore, scorning the invitation, there is no encouragement for you as to the future. Now is the acceptable time; it is the time to which the promise applies ; it is the time when the invitation is given ; now is the acceptable time. If you embrace this now ; if grace inclines you to come now, then grace is pledged to receive you, and to crown you with its blessings. Now is the acceptable time; but there is no promise that if you neglect it now, and promise compliance to-morrow, that authorizes you to expect it. O to-day is the day of salvation. How many have ruined themselves by to-morrow's hopes, by to-morrow's prospects, and by resolutions made for the morrow, and not made for the present time! Now is the accepted time: if you are disposed graciously to come now, you shall be received, you shall participate in all this goodness ; you shall be made heirs of life everlasting.
Then it is an invitation to be accepted instantly, because life is short and uncertain. How uncertain you can witness by what has taken place in your families, in this congregation and church. How uncertain, you can witness by what you observe in life and in the world. The world is full of care, affliction, mortality, and bereavement. Life, therefore, is to you uncertain ; and it is irrational, it is sinful, it is most unwise, to put away the invitation which involves all your peace, and all your safety for the life to come, as well as for the life that now is. We cannot tell, my beloved hearers, but this may be the very last time you may have the opportunity of hearing the Gospel ; this may be the last time in which you may be freely invited to come and partake of all the riches of your salvation. Life is so uncertain; so many are dying, dying suddenly, dying away from the midst of their privileges—some from the midst of privileges they have never valueil, that it is the height of folly, as well as the Peight of crime, to reject or to neglect this invitation.
Then the day of grace is often shorter than the day of life. It was so with
Jerusalem : “0 Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thee as a lien gathereth her chickens, but ye would not. O Jerusalem, that thou hadst known the day, even this the day of thy visitation ! but now it is hid from thine eyes." I verily believe, and the statement of our Lord bears us out entirely in the belief, that there are many instances in which the day of grace is shorter than the short day of a man's life ; in which the invitation has been given, has been repeated, has been repeated and again repeated; and in which the invited, at last, under such resistance, has been given up to worship his own idols, to pursue his own course, and to find his own destruction. I beseech you, therefore, look to your salvation; and be not as Esau, that profane person, who preferred the world to God's blessing, and who thus preferring the world to God's blessing, sought a place of repentance with tears, but never found it.
In this service, then, and by this address, the invitation of grace is presented to this congregation. It is so presented as to include all our states, all our circumstances, all our doubts, and scruples, and fears, if we are the subjects of such things. One thing is quite certain on the present occasion, on the presentation of the invitation, the message from heaven. All of you who are capable of thinking and attending to the subject must come to one resolution ; it is either the resolution to accept it, or the resolution to reject it.
I have now simply, as the minister of Christ, as responsible for all that is thus said at the last great day, and under a living conviction that I must meet you at that last great fearful day—I have now to ask, since every person in this place, attending to the subject at all, must have a resolution and a decision of mind; I have to ask, What'is your secret purpose of mind on this subject? Is this invitation accepted, or is it rejected? There is no medium course.
You cannot place it aside; you cannot promise it future attention; you cannot hide it on a coming day. Your mind is exactly before God in this position at this instant-it is either accepting or rejecting this invitation. If not accepted in deep penitence of spirit, in faith in God's word, and in hope of his salvation, then, whatever may be the pretence, whatever may be the plea, your spirit is inwardly rejecting the invitation of divine mercy. I beseech you not to deceive yourselves. Carry this conclusion home to your closets, to implore the grace which can overcome every difficulty, and enable you to yield yourselves joyfully, and for ever, vody, soul, and spirit, to Christ as your Redeemer. Amer.
THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST CONSIDERED IN CONNEXION
REV. 8. ROBINS, A. M.
CHRIST CHAPEL, NORTH BANK, REGENT'S PARK, GOOD FRIDAY, 1835.
"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit."-1 Peter, iii. 18.
We are, for the most part, familiar enough with the leading topics of Gospel truth, and with the main facts of the Gospel history; those which serve, as it were, for.and-marks in the great field of Christian theology. But our especial danger is this-that we are so occupied and so engrossed by the things of earth and of time, which though small in their dimensions, yet being near at hand, serve to hide from us the far more gigantic and stupendous interests of our everlasting
And yet those things to which we are so insensible, have fastened to themselves the regardfulness of all the intelligent universe. We believe that the great achievement of redeeming, and restoring the world, is a matter whereon angel and archangel have, from the earliest development of God's design, been continually fixing their regard. And hence it was, that when the Saviour bent the steps of his mysterious journey towards the confines of our dim and far-off world, the angels were ready with their song; and when one sinner is converted, and one soul gathered into the kingdom of Jesus, the angels rejoice over such an one. And we cannot but believe, that when the Saviour hung upon the cross-that when he cried with is dying breath, "It is finished," the angels, who had been so regardful in observing all the progress and the development of God's gracious design, then hanging over the marvels of Christ's dying hour, would rejoice, because therein was the accomplishment of all which God had proposed for their contemplation; then was fulfilled the overturning of the kingdom of darkness. And when the Saviour died, there would go forth trembling and dismay amongst the spirits that had been banded and leagued against God: and there would be raised among the celestial company, anthems of such bursting praise, as never before had been heard, even in the courts of heaven itself.
But it was not only the intelligence of the universe that was thus fixed on the death of the Saviour, and the triumph thus gained for Jehovah; but even mute and inanimate nature sympathized with its dying Lord, and the rent rocks, and the open graves, bore testimony that it was no common death which the earth was thus witnessing. Now, al: these things will cast a shame on the
insensibility of mankind-so closely, so far more than all others interested in this great matter-if they shall continue regardless, and cold, and insensible, and absorbed by the things of earth and time, while all beside themselves are interested in the matter before them.
We think, then, it is a very profitable ordinance, that we are called together from the midst of our week-day work, from the midst of the secularities of life, from the midst of the absorbing engagements, the clinging, cleaving interests of the world; and that we are now, by the direction of our Church, assembled together in the sanctuary of the Lord, to consider the most august and the most magnificent thing which can be brought before human contemplation. And truly does it open to us a very wide field of consideration. We might endeavour to bring before you how all the prophecies were fulfilled which especially related to the great events of this day. We might shew you how the Lamb, the appointed Paschal Lamb, of which not a bone was to be broken-how the morning and the evening sacrifice-how the blood sprinkled on the doors-how the scape-goat, over which the sins of the people were imprecated, and which was then driven into the wilderness-were all telling of what was to come to pass when Jesus died. We might shew you not only how these daily and standing prophecies amongst the Jews had their fulfilment-the palpable, and the visible, and the evident prophecy and type; but we might shew moreover, how the written records and predictions had their exact and their most precise fulfilment, when Christ was betrayed by his own familiar friend; when he was sold for a specific price, and that price employed in a predicted use; how his garments were rent, how they were parted among the soldiery, and how for some of them a lot was cast; how his side was pierced, and the gall, ere he died, was given him to drink. And we might shew you how strong the evidence of this is from prophecy; shewing you, at the same time, that the persons who were most interested in denying the fulfilment, were the very persons to whom the custody of these written records were committed.
But our text seems to open to us another line of contemplation; and we throw out these suggestions because they may serve as a profitable subject, whereon, during the remainder of the day, you may fasten your minds. Taking this present verse as the subject of our consideration, we rather propose, first, to speak to you of the amount of suffering in connexion with the character of the divine Saviour; and in the next place, the cause of the endurance to which the Saviour was called.
As to the first head of our subject, THE AMOUNT OF SUFFERING IN CONNEXION WITH THE CHARACTER OF THE DIVINE SAVIOUR. It is said, that he was "the just one;" that he suffered "the just for the unjust." Now, concerning human righteousness, it is spoken of in the Bible only in two ways: either by way of comparison-so that one who lives under the fear of God, and under the influence of his Holy Spirit, leading a life of comparative obedience and duty, stands out, as it were, from the dark back-ground of the low morality and the evil practices of the world wherein he mingles; so that in contrast with tnem he shall be called a "righteous one;" and yet, if he be brought to another measure, and if he be tried by another standard, if the balance of the
sanctuary be applied to his doings, there shall be found such an utter deficiency in all the apparent excellences of his moral character, and such ■ mingling of sin, even in his holiest and most righteous doings, that we cannot positively pronounce (though we can comparatively do so) of such an one that he is righteous. For the righteousness of man may be spoken of in the Book of God as his own, whereas it is imputed to him; it is, as it were, delivered to be his complete in the Saviour, it is attributed to the saved
But you will see how the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, the complete and stainless holiness of his character, is something altogether separate from this it is not a thing of comparison, but a thing of positive essence; it is not a thing imputed from another, but it is a thing which he eternally and inalienably possessed himself. Now we can conceive no point more important to be kept continually in mind-especially as there are such erroneous and heretical opinions abroad on this head; we think there is no point that we can hold more firmly than this-that the Saviour was as pure in his human nature from sin, as in his divine nature. Now it has not been asserted by any, even the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ, that actual sin might be imputed to him. Even the infidel, who denies the divine mission of Jesus, who denies that he came from heaven on an embassy from heaven's King-will yet marvel at the self-denying beauty of his moral character; and he will tell us that the Gospel, though it is not inspired, though it tells us nothing of the counsels of God, is yet a most precious book, because it opens such, in the way of precept and example, as the world had never before seen, It is not, therefore, of actual sin, but it is of original sin, that we must speak.
Now we cannot assert how original sin can possibly be imputed to the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, any more than actual sin; because the very entailment was cut off, and the succession was interrupted. He lived not in the line of the first Adam; he was included not in the covenant of our first father: and therefore he did not inherit that stained, and polluted, and defiled nature, which has belonged to all his progeny. If it were not on this account, we can see no reason why there must have been a miraculous conception; we see no reason why the Lord Jesus Christ should not have been born into the world by the very parentage by which others are produced. But it was for this very purpose that the line of succession might be interrupted, and that the entail might be cut off, and that the inheritance might come to him in a nature as pure and sinless, as that wherein the first Adam stood before his Maker on the morning of his creation; that morning when he walked unstained and unspoiled in Eden, and held communion with his God, conversing with him even as a man would converse with his friend.
Now, we think that it is indeed a most touching thing, that He, who alone on the broad platform of this globe, was unchargeable with sin, was the one on whom all the burden of transgression was to be bound; that He who in his own character was altogether blameless, against whom his enemies could bring no sinful charge, of whom it was pronounced by the judge who condemned him that there was 66 no fault in him," and by the rude soldiers who stood by his cross to guard his exécution, that he was truly the Son of God;" we think it