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purposes, and with
2. One event happeneth unto all, but for very different
and with very different effects. To bad men, afflictions come clothed in all their terrours, and as indications of God's anger and hatred.
and hatred. Good men consider them as the correction of one who loves them, and who is anxious for their welfare, ' Amictions produce remorse and anguish in the wicked; to christians only they are useful. They come forth as gold purified in the fire.
3. We infer from this, and the whole of the discourse, that, good men bave the strongest motives to bear afflictions with patience and resignation. It is God who chastens : “ and “ shall mortal man be more just than God?
shall a man be more pure than his Maker ?" Jesus, our Master, suffered afflictions; and we his servants can have no right to complain. Though in the world we have tribulation, he overcame the world, and when he departed from it, he left the promise of the Holy Spirit. But the chief motive to bear afflictions, patiently, which arises from this discourse, is the profit with which they are attended.
Happy is the man whom God correcteth ; “ therefore despise not thou the chastening “ of the Almighty, nor faint when thou art
“ rebuked of him.” “ Lift up the hands “ which hang down, and the feeble knees.” No chastening is, for the present, joyous but grievous. You must feel pain that you may derive any benefit. But the seasonable and salutary influence of affliction will save you much labour and many a pang:
With what difficulyou have overcome an inveterate habit of indulgence, if adversity had not brought you to timely reflection? What pain must you have felt at death, if the disappointments and evils of life had not disengaged your affections from the present scene? To adversity you are indebted for the exercise of those virtues which are most ornamental to the christian character, and most proper for the present state of weakness and dependence. Be not grieved, therefore, as those who have no hope. These light afflictions, which are but for a moment, will work for
you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. The sun that was suddenly overcast, will soon shine forth with double brightness. The fields will again look cheerful, and the face of nature will again rejoice. Amen!
On the merits and sufficiency of Christ, as an er
piatory sacrifice for the sins of man.
John, CHAP. 1, VER. 29.
“ Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
THIS was the second publick testimony gi-
How happy were those ears which heard this joyful sound ! how blessed those eyes which beheld the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth! with what eagerness, wonder and rapture must they have contemplated this extraordinary personage! This was a sight which many prophets and righteous men desired to see but could not. We too are, in some respects, deprived of this privilege. But, though the Lamb of God no longer tabernacles on earth, or is visible to mortal eyes, still we may,
eye of faith, pierce within the veil and see him seated at the right hand of God. Nay, he has left, even on earth, pledges and memorials which serve to recall his memory, and, by objects addressed to the senses, to render him present to the imagination. We cannot now listen to those heavenly instructions which issued from his lips; but we may still
peruse them in that sacred book, wherein, though absent, he still speaketh. His bodily presence we can no longer enjoy ; but wherever two or three are assembled in his name, there is he graciously and spiritually in the midst of them to bless them. His glorious face is beheld only by angels and the spirits of the just made
perfect ; but his broken body and shed blood are represented to us by the most striking and significative emblems. Come to this holy ta ble, and you will “ behold the Lamb of God, “which taketh away the sin of the world.” . Here you
will behold the whole mysteries of his appearance.. Here you will see him, sent of God, meek, innocent and inoffensive, led as a lamb to the slaughter, and offered in sacrifice to his father, that he might expiate the guilt of sin ; that he might purchase those gifts and graces which are requisite to the sanctification of sinners ; and, that, by exhibiting a noble example of virtue, and confirming the truth of all his doctrines, he might take away transgression and make an end of sin.
The phraseology of the text will appear elegant and expressive, if we consider the
persons to whom it was addressed, and the time when it was uttered. John was now speaking to a company of priests and levites, whose daily business it was to offer up lambs, in sacrifice to God, for the expiation of the sins of Israel. It likewise
from the context, that, the conversation happened about the time of offering up the evening sacrifice. In allusion, then, to the lambs offered under the