Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub
[ocr errors]

It

than Jesus Christ? Why was Eli charged with honouring his sons above the Lord; and what brought such a speedy judgment upon himself, and upon them ; and provoked God to say," I will judge his house for ever, for the iniquity which he knoweth ?” It was because “ his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.” Grace forbids not parents to be affectionate towards their children it only sets bounds to natural affection : and makes us cautious, that our tenderness for our offspring do not induce us to transgress the line of our duty. would be miserable policy, to build up an interest in our hearts for children, upon the ruins of our love to our Saviour. It would be wretched, to have smiling sons and daughters on earth, and an angry Saviour in heaven; to have a flourishing family, and starving souls; to be unhappy if our babes be a short time out of sight, and to be easy though we spend hours, and days, and weeks, without a glimpse of our Redeemer. Does not this betray a sinful and dangerous indisposition; Parents but little think, in how many ways they dishonour and displease the blessed Jesus by such a conduct. When they love their children inordinately, and regard their own interest in them more than God's; when they are more anxious for the health and complexion of their bodies, than for the purity of their souls; when they are more solicitous to lay up earthly treasures for them, than prayers and counsels ; when they are more favourable to offences against Christ, than disobedience to themselves; they are guilty of a most sinful and dangerous preference. Parents, therefore, should keep their hearts with all diligence. They should be

1

earnest with the God of all grace, that he would maintain the supremacy in their affections : so that let him bless them with children however amiable and engaging, Christ may be still dearer than any or all of them : and that, amidst their tenderest feelings for them, their hearts may be still reserved for Jesus.

Thirdly, we are in danger of repining when we are deprived of our children. In this case we are often guilty of excess, as well as in those instances which have been already mentioned. We act as if we thought that our children are not mortal: or as if we supposed that they must necessarily outlive our. selves. We forget, too, the promises which we made when we devoted them to God in baptism, that we would leave them entirely at his disposal for life or death; and that we would look upon them as his, more than our own, and would resign them to him when he should be pleased to demand them. But if the Lord take us at our word, and call for a child, perhaps our dearest or our only child, possibly, too, at a time when it was most engaging, and when every circumstance seemed to concur to make its life desirable, do we readily give it up, and say, “ The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away ; blessed be the name of the Lord ?" It were well if such a submission were always displayed. But many, alas ! in those afflictive circumstances, refuse to be comforted. They are soured, and fretful, and secretly offended with Providence, for robbing them of that which was their greatest delight, and making a breach in their comforts, which they imagine nothing can repair. Upon this a despondency takes place, and they become unfit for duty, and negligent of it; as if there were not enough in Christ to make up for the loss of this withering comfort. Let us reject the thought with abhorrence.

We have never more need of earnestness with God, than when we are tried with such an affliction. Let me add too, that we have never a fairer opportunity of testifying the sincerity and the superiority of our love to Jesus, than when earthly comforts are in this manner removed. Then, to show that our sorrow for them, cannot hinder us from delighting in him, and that we can love him' even when he puts such a bitter cup into our hands, is honourable to him; and declares to all the world, that " we count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord.”

To conclude, let us all adore the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he will condescend to accept of our love. Let us contemplate more frequently those divine excellencies, which render him infinitely worthy of our highest regard : and let us be particularly careful that we do not, by our immoderate joy at the birth of children, or our excessive grief at their death, give him cause to be jealous of us, while he says, “ He that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me.”

SERMON XIX.

CONSOLATION IN CHRIST.

PHILIPPIANS ii. 1,?

If there be any consolation in Christ.

Did the Apostle doubt it? Was it a disputable matter with Paul, who had obtained such singular mercy? Did he, who had been caught up into the third heaven, and had tasted of that joy which is unspeakable, and full of glory, put the question, as if it were doubtful, whether there were any consolation in Christ or not? Impossible. The Lord had never a warmer advocate than this zealous Apostle. He scarcely ever mentions his name, but with rapture; and frequently digresses from his subject, to indulge the overflowings of his grateful heart, in the praises of his best-loved friend and Redeemer. Far from intimating any suspicion, he seems to mention it as a thing which no one could question. “ If there be any consolation in Christ, as surely you know and feel that there is; if there be any comfort in love, as you must all of you acknowledge; fulfil ye my joy; that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." I shall now put

I shall now put the ques. tion to several classes of people, and then mention the inferences which it naturally suggests. But it

proper first to observe, that I shall appeal to

may be

those only who may be supposed to be competent judges. I shall address none but such as are really the disciples of Christ ; and who, having been admitted to the most intimate communion with him, can best tell how far he deserves the character of the “ Consolation of Israel." I ask not you, sinners, who are slaves to your passions, whose God is your belly, who glory in your shame, and who mind earthly things, if there be any consolation in Christ ; for you are incapable of enjoying the happiness which religion imparts. I ask not you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, who clean the outside of the cup, and make broad the borders of your garments, and, when you give alms, sound the trumpet before you, to attract the notice of men : You labour hard for a form, but know nothing of the power of religion. I inquire not of you, if there be any consolation in Christ: You are not the persons to whom our Lord refers, when he says, “He that hath

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father

; and I will love him, and manifest myself unto him.' But I ask, first of the young convert, if there be any consolation in Christ?

By young converts, I mean those who have been lately awakened to a sense of their misery and danger; and have fled for refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before them in the gospel. Were I to ask such, if there were any consolation in Christ; “ Any consolation in Christ !” they hastily reply; why there is no consolation without him. When horror and anguish took hold upon us, because of God's righteous judgments, we knew not whither to flee,

« ПредишнаНапред »