Графични страници
PDF файл

fixed and deliberate resolution, that, though all men should forsake Christ, yet will not you. It brought to my mind those glorious times to which the prophet Micah alludes: “ But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills : and people shall flow unto it: and many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths : for the law shall' go forth of Zion: and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” But they were not content with inquiring the way to Zion: They would join themselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant; and were determined that none of the votaries of false gods should surpass them in zeal and devotion. “ For all people," say they, “ will walk every one in the same of his God; and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God, for ever and ever."

Your appearance here this day, in effect, declares that this is

your resolution. You never would have been admitted members of our church, if you had not, in dependence upon God's grace promised this; and you will never be admitted among the general assembly and church of the first born in heaven, if you do not perform it. You will not, therefore, think it impertinent, if a fellow-traveller, on this occasion, endeavours to explain to you the nature of the profession which you make; and what you bind yourselves to, when you engage to walk in the name of the Lord your God for ever and ever.

To walk in the name of the Lord, implies acting according to his direction and appointment. Name is often put for authority, as in the Acts of the Apostles, where it is said, “ In what name have ye done this?" It is equivalent to its being asked, “ Who authorized you to do it?" If you say, therefore, “ We will walk in the name of the Lord our God?” it is as if you should express yourselves in the following language: "Lord, other lords, besides thee, have had dominion over us: but from this time we will make mention of thy name only. We have walked after the ways of our own heart, and the sight of our eyes. So foolish and ignorant have we been ; and even as beasts before thee. O ! that our ways were directed, that we might keep thy statutes ! Let them be never so narrow, and steep, and solitary, through thy grace we will walk in the paths of wisdom, with cheerfulness and vigour, Let our inclinations be what they may, we will not consult them in matters of duty. Thy will shall determine ours, and thy word shall be a law to us during the whole of our lives : and this, with all humility, we promise, without any exception or reserve.' Remember this, when you are tempted to turn aside to the right hand or to the left; or in times of gene ral declension and defection, when many go back, and walk no more with Jesus. Say, as you consider the vows of God, which are upon you, “ On such a day, and in such a place, I gave myself up to the Lord, to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes and judgments; and having opened my mouth to him, I dare not go back. I have sworn, and will perform it, that I will keep his righteous judgments. Depart from me, ye evil doers; for I will keep the commandments of my God."

But walking in the name of the Lord, implies also

walking in his strength; or with a dependance upon him for ability and success. Name is often used to express might and power as well as authority; as is evidently its , meaning in the following words :

Through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.

So when you say, We will walk in the name of the Lord our God, your meaning is this: “ We are apprised of the difficulties and dangers of the course upon which we are entering. We know what treatment our divine Master met with ;, and we expect to drink of the cup of which he drank, and to have fellowship with him in his sufferings. But none of these things move us. We know that of ourselves we have no might against such a multitude of opposers. But we believe, that greater is he who is in us, than be that is in the world; and therefore, though a host should encamp against us, and innumerable evils should compass us about, we will walk on courage. ously in the name of the Lord our God; being assured that with him there is everlasting strength.”

I will only add, that walking in the name of the Lord means, acting with a design of pleasing and honouring him. Thus to give a cup of water in the name of Christ, is to do it for his sake, on his behalf, and out of love to him. So when you resolve to walk in the name of the Lord our God, you virtually say, have, indeed, in times past, been too much lovers of our ownselves; little thinking, and less caring, whether God were glorified or dishonoured by our conduct. But now we yield ourselves to thee, O our God, as those who are alive from the dead ; and laying ourselves, and all that we have, at thy feet, we pray that thou wouldst ever give or deny us what thou pleasest. We wish to be in that station, and in those circumstances of life, which thou knowest would most conduce to thy glory. We will not pur. sue any thing, however advantageous and agreeable ; we will instantly, absolutely, and for ever, renounce it, if we should be tempted by it to bring dishonour upon thy holy name, or to act in a manner displeasing to thee; for we are determined, that whether we eat, or drink, or whatever we do, we will do all to the glory of God.”

66 We

These are the engagements into which you now enter. You may not always, indeed, feel the same lively affections which you at present experience. When the Lord at first turns the captivity of his people, they are like them that dream; they seem to be in a new world; and can go through any difficulty, to testify their gratitude, love, and fidelity, to their gracious Redeemer. But though you may not always be thus lively and zealous, yet it is expected that you live suitably to those first sacred impressions. Be careful, then, that there be an uniformity between your entrance upon religion, and your following practice. You are now young, and will probably meet with many trials of your sincerity and stedfast

You may see those who make no pretensions to religion, prosper in the world, without any changes: but as for yourselves, you may all the while meet with little else but disappointments; one gourd withering after another, from which you hoped for refreshment. By-standers may hence take occasion to reproach you with your religion; and insultingly ask, “ Where is your God? What have you gained


by your devotions, and by pretending to be better than every one about you?”. Be it so: you must be foolish indeed, if you envy the prosperity of the wicked; and poor proficients in religion, if you have not attained that which will counterbalance the loss of every thing else. Let it appear by your unshaken perseverance, that there is something in true piety, superior to every shock and catastrophe. Show that you can love God, and be as hearty in his service when you are hungry, as when you are full; when you suffer need, as when you abound; when you have nothing, as if you possessed every means of earthly enjoyment. Forms and fancies will never carry you through any such difficulties. Be sure, therefore, that you possess godly sincerity. You now profess to give up your hearts to God; and in a day or two this important covenant is to be solemnly ratified. If covenant-breaking, though it be only between man and man, is looked upon as dishonourable and criminal, what must it be to violate your agreement with God, to falsify your promise to Jehovah, and to withhold or withdraw that heart, which you with so much solemnity, and before so many witnesses, seem to devote to his service? It is mentioned by our Lord as fearful aggravation of the perfidiousness of Judas." He that eateth bread with me, hath lifted

up his heel against me:" and it will be heinous treachery and rebellion in you, if you turn back after these solemn engagements. But I hope better things of you; even things that accompany salvation, though I thus speak. I hope, that as you are now admitted members of this Christian Society, you will walk circumspectly; and maintain a character be

« ПредишнаНапред »