Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

The careful observer of history will readily admit it. He sees that this spirit has reigned in the breasts of all whose memory he reveres, and whose deeds have been beneficial to man. All improvements that have been made in man's condition have had their rise here.

It is the essence of patriotism; to sacrifice all, and part with one's life for his country, is patriotism; nothing short of this deserves the name. Leonidas, Regulus, Hancock, Washington-how glorious their deeds-how blessed their memory! And what spirit prompted them?

It is the fountain of philanthropy; to suffer privations and hardships for others, is philanthropy. While memory lives, it will linger around the names of Howard, Clarkson, and Wilberforce.

It is the spirit of the missionary cause. Is it not clearly seen in the life of him who leaves all to civilize and Christianize heathen lands? And is there not a moral grandeur investing this cause, which commands the attention of the world? O, how glorious the object it proposes! how numerous the self-denials it requires! Even angels admire and wonder!

II. It is involved in the golden rule.

"All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." Say not that obedience to this rule requires it not. Christian, you ask it of your brother in your pilgrimage. You know you owe it to your impenitent friend; for were you in his place with your feelings, you would ask it of him. "All things whatsoever," &c. And if the soul be more valuable than the body, and eternity than time, you are not loving him better than yourself by submitting to temporal evils for his salvation. And what rule can be wiser and more benevolent? What would make earth happier? O, it would do away selfishness, and make this wide world a family of brothers, a second Eden! As human beings now are,

[ocr errors]

obedience to this rule involves the exercise of the principle which we are now vindicating.

III. It was the guiding principle of the Saviour.

You plead earthly precedents, but Paul can refer you to the King of heaven. Moses saying, " Blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book," (Exod. xxxii, 32,) was high authority, but Christ is the highest known in earth and heaven. I hear Paul pleading this exalted rule: Phil. ii, 5-12. I might go over the Saviour's history, and bid you see in every line the proof; but I can refer to two circumstances only: Luke xix, 41; Matt. xxiii, 37. How could he have gathered them but by his bleeding hands upon a cursed cross? His cruel death! And O! it was for you! Isaiah liii. Was not his first step to leave heaven, and all its honour, and happiness, and glory? Did he not come to bear your sins, and avert your doom? Did he not assume your sufferings? Was he not accursed of men, and smitten and left of God? O! let his word declare. He came to suffer, to die for your salvation. It was an infinite sacrifice, such as all created beings could never make. And now, "If any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his."

Have I not proved the doctrine to be consistent with reason and revelation? But have I inspired the feeling? This was my main object. How many can adopt the language of the text? O, there is a lamentable lack of feeling among us. The drunkard, the debauchee, the sinner may say, "No man careth for my soul." We need this feeling to rouse us to effort; this effort to see the salvation of sinners. Will you cultivate the feeling, and make the effort? Reflect on the little worth of every thing except souls-souls exposed to hell, but made for heaven. Reflect on what thy Saviour did for thee. Is it not a privilege to imitate him? God help you so to do.

XIV.

WHEN CHRIST, WHO IS OUR LIFE, SHALL APPEAR, THEN SHALL YE ALSO APPEAR WITH HIM IN GLORY.-Col. iii, 4.

THE saint's hope of a blessed immortality is based on a surer foundation than all earthly hopes. It is not founded on any inferences drawn from his present existence, or from the capacity of the soul, but on the promise and history of the Captain of our salvation. He who is our life— the fountain from which we derive every thing that gives animation and vigour to our souls-whose connection with us is so intimate that he is our head-so necessary, that were it dissolved our spirits would be as lifeless as our corpses he has given us his promise, "Because I live, ye shall live also,”- a promise based on this very union. And to quiet all our fears, he has spread before us his own history from the manger to heaven. In all this he has shown you human nature leaning on the divine, pursuing its wondrous journey to immortality. In your likeness he stands before the throne, presenting the proof and the pledge of your own blessed immortality. This shall one day be made manifest to us all; for "when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."

I. The Christian, in this world, is in a state of humiliation. There is nothing in his present appearance which indicates the saint as an heir of glory. There is in this respect an analogy between him and Christ. He bore no sign of his Godhead, no marks of royalty. The world knew him not. This humiliation results from several causes inseparable from our present state of existence, some of which I will now mention.

1. His union with a frail, corruptible body. Human glory is greater or less from its connection with external

forms, &c.-as a king and a beggar; Christ on the mount of transfiguration, and on the cross. Now it is our irreversible doom to carry with us a dying body! What changes sin has wrought in the body we cannot fully ell; but it has impaired its beauty and strength, and made it dying. From the cradle to the grave it is the waning form of departed glory, bearing on its front the marks of God's anger. We may not perceive the humiliation, but Heaven must. You would see it in a criminal chained to a corpse. In something of this light angels

see us!

2. The nature of the life he here leads. The employments of men add more or less to human glory. They are to a great extent earthly, not heavenly; sensual, not spiritual. The very terms of our present existence are, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground." Much time must be spent in providing for these bodies. Intellectual pursuits are engaged in chiefly to facilitate the making of this provision. All spiritual pursuits are but preparatory duties; they are attended with toil, self-denial, &c. Such is the condition of human life. The saint is here a pilgrim, far from home; a labourer covered with sweat and dust-a soldier in arms and wounds-nor will he be victorious over all his foes till his day shall have past, his sun gone down.

3. The place of his abode. A change has come over this earth; it is not Eden now-it is cursed, and it bears the marks of it: sterile plains, wasting storms, &c. It bears the marks of judgments also: the flood, &c. the footstool of God. It is filled with sin, covered with darkness. No wonder that here you should be like the sun seen through the fog-shorn of your glory!"

* " 'As when the sun, new risen,

Looks through the horizontal misty air,
Shorn of his beams."

Paradise Lost.

II. At the appearance of Christ he will be exalted to glory.

66

Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me." "I will come again and receive you unto myself." Yes, Christ shall appear at the last day, "in the clouds with power and great glory," to own his friends, and conduct them to heaven. The world on fire will be the signal to the universe of their triumphal entrance-angels their escort-the harps of heaven their welcome. Splendid have been the processions of kings, but this will outvie all earthly pageants. Immortal honour will be attached to those that compose it.

No human being can fully tell in what this glory will consist. The Bible has laid down the principles, but who can enlarge? What imagination will not fail? Who that has thought most-seen most-will not say, "What I know is finite, what I do not know is infinite?" I am reluctant to particularize, lest I should take from the beauty and grandeur of the subject. I would rather dwell on those general ideas, given in the Bible, which overwhelm by their vastness; but they make not the vivid impression which results from minutiæ. Consider then,

1. That the saint will be freed from all the imperfections of his present state of existence. Sin has affected both body and soul; but this cause will cease to act upon him after death. At the resurrection, his body will be made incorruptible and glorious, worthy of the soul, of heaven, of God. His mind will be unfettered, undarkened, capacious as eternity-every way fitted for its delights and employments.

2. The place of his abode. Many times does the Bible tell us it is heaven. However vague our notions of it, this we know it has felt no curse, knows no suffering. Earth's most glowing imagery is used in the Bible in

[ocr errors]
« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »