Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

human another; and from these sources what consolation may we not expect? It is true, that the love of God is infinite; but we can understand but little of it; and therefore, in Christ we see the love of man, which may affect us more tenderly, and should serve as a motive and pattern for ours.

Shall we then sympathize with one another in the common calamities of life, and shall we be unaffected at the sufferings of Jesus, though infinitely more painful and distressing than any which men have ever endured ? “ Shall he tread the wine-press alone?" Shall he sweat, as it were, great drops of blood ? Shall he thirst, and groan, and die, and we refuse him the small tribute of a tear? No; let us go forth to him without the camp, bearing his reproach : and let us hate and oppose those sins, to atone for which he suffered and died. Many of our distresses are the effect of our own guilt and folly, and are brought upon us by an over-ruling Providence against our inclination. But all his distresses were the voluntary effects of his compassion. He was originally happy, and infinitely exalted above the reach of sin or sor. row. But he pitied our misery, and, in order to rescue us, assumed our nature, and received the sword of vengeance into his own body, which was whetted for us. Shall we not then be touched with the feeling" of his agonies, when they were endured for our salvation ; when he was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities ? What hearts must we have, if we do not relent, and melt into tears of gratitude and love, on such an occasion! Stone, indeed, they were, and stony they still are ; and if thou, Lord, do not smite the rock, hard and insensible they will ever remain. But a word from thy mouth, a glance of thine eye, shall instantly put life into our souls, and fervour into our devotions ; and, quickened and assisted by thy Spirit, we shall run, and not be weary; we shall walk, and not faint.

Let us not then disgrace our High-priest by languid affections, and heartless services. Let us push them from us with indignation and contempt, as unworthy of a Saviour. Let us love and serve him, with a pure heart, fervently. Let us call upon our souls, and all that is within us, to join their several powers, that there may be something of the fervour of heaven in our devotions. When we see him “ pouring out his soul to death ;” when we behold him rising from the dead with power and great glory, and passing into the heavens to complete our salvation; when we view him at the right hand of God, and hear how affectionately and fervently he pleads our cause; and especially, when he is hastening towards us with looks full of love, and bis hands full of blessings, then, my fellow Christians, let us give vent to our bursting hearts. Let our souls magnify the Lord, and our spirits rejoice in God our Saviour. Let us confess all our sins upon the head of this scapegoat, pour all our griefs into the bosom of this friend ; and since we have not an High-priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin, let us go boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in time of need.

The subject which we have been considering, should be also improved, as an encouragement to sinners to come to Christ, since he has manifested such a merciful and gracious disposition. “Come unto me, says he, “ all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” “ He will regard the day of small things.' " He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax.” It would oppose his very nature to reject the meanest sinner who comes to him; so exceedingly is he inclined to receive and relieve the distressed. O! happy, happy men, who have such a Saviour! But how shall

you escape, if you neglect so great a salvation ?

A consideration of the tenderness of Christ should make us willing to live out our time for God, and actively employ ourselves in his service.

Several men of distinguishedeminence in the church of God, have failed in this respect. When the duties of their station become difficult, they are hasty to remove. Moses, Job, and Jonah, seem to have transgressed in this particular. But seeing that our great High-priest, Jesus the Son of God, is so tenderly affected towards his servants on earth, it should reconcile us to our labour and sufferings. Absence cannot cause neglect or forgetfulness; and therefore, if such a kind and bountiful Master will have us stay longer at our work, let us be content, and take a pleasure in spending, and being spent, for the advancement of his kingdom.

This subject also affords great comfort to the af flicted people of God.

Perhaps their trials are such as no one on earth is able or willing to relieve. They say with the Psalmist, “ I looked on my right hand, and beheld; but there was no man that would know me. Refuge failed me, no man cared for my soul.” But still there is a friend in heaven, who can, and will, give them relief. Take, therefore, Christians, your cup, and drink it, however bitter it be. Lay hold of your cross, and bear it; and run with patience the race that is set before you, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith ; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now sat down at the right hand of God. For, consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be weary and faint in your minds.

Lastly, the sympathy of Christ obliges us to sympathize with one another; and with all God's people in their sorrows and sufferings.

The too evident want of benevolence and compassion, shows that we have but little of the spirit of Christ, and are very unworthy disciples of such a kind and compassionate Master. Though it may be well with ourselves, and there be nothing in our persons, families, or circumstances, to give us uneasiness, yet we should remember those that are in bonds as bound with them, and those that suffer adversity, as being ourselves also in the body. We should weep with those that weep. We should be kindly affectioned one to another. We should bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law, and follow the example of Christ. If this be our character, we may hope that we are his disciples; and then when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we also shall appear with him in glory.

SERMON VII.

THE UNCHANGEABLENESS OF CHRIST.

HEB. xiii. 8.

Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, to-day, and for ever.

· There is no truth more frequently and bitterly experienced, than what the preacher says of all sublunary things; “ Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”We begin the world with great expectations, and having met with no disappointment, suspect no deceit. Our fondness grows with enjoyment. But when our hearts are captivated, when our mountain seems so strong as never to be moved, and when we are ready to say,

Soul, take thine, ease,” soine accident breaks the charm, and all our imaginary prospects vanish.

I say imaginary prospects; and let not the men of pleasure be offended at the word : for what better title do · life's best enjoyments deserve? Wealth, which has generally been looked upon as essential to happiness, is held by the most precarious tenure; and when we think that we grasp it fastest, it suddenly takes wings, and flies away. Friends, whose company, sympathy, and assistance, have, indeed, a Very considerable influence on our comfort, are by no means to be depended upon; for when the num. ber is largést, and mutual harmony and pleasure

« ПредишнаНапред »