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FAMILY SERMONS.—No. CLVIII. in the contemplation of the awful
was come near, he beheld the him there within a few days; when
far removed from the bosom of the eyes.
compassionate Saviour. He beheld The circumstances under which the city; it awakened in his mind these words were uttered, were many painful reflections; and he very remarkable.
It was the time wept over it. Not all the provocaof the Passover; and our Lord was tions he had bitherto borne, not all approaching Jerusalem with a view the cruelties that were soon to be 1o celebrate its appointed rites. added to them, could restrain his His way lay across the Mount of feelings of pity, when be reflected Olives, which was to the eastward on the doom that was about to fall of that city, at the distance of a on his wilfully blinded countrymen, few furlongs, and commanded a and uttered the solemn exclamamagnificent prospect of the temple tion in the text, which may be thus and other public buildings. He paraphrased, " Oh, unhappy and had arrived at the descent of this devoted city, would that even at mount when the multitude around length, in this thy last and latest him“ began to rejoice and to praise hour of grace, thou wouldst repent God with a loud voice, for all the and turn to God! Then should thy mighty works which they had seen former rejection of prophets and him perform, saying, Blessed be righteous men even yet have been forthe King that cometh in the name given! Then would a merciful Savi. of the Lord ; peace in heaven, and our even yet have rescued thee from glory in the bighest.” Thus enter- destruction! Oh that thou hadst ing in triumph the city where his known, even thou, the long-belovprophets had been so often despis- ed and favoured city of Jehovah, ed, and where he himself had been where his choicest mercies were persecuted and rejected, what richly poured out, and bis repeatwere the thoughts that employed ed warnings exhibited, the things his mind? Was he elated with the that belong to thy peace! But honours ihat were paid him ? will now they are hid from thine eyes ! the applauses of the multitude who O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and scattered branches of the palm men of Judah, judge, I pray you, tree in his way and exclaimed, between me and my vineyard ! “ Hosannab to the Son of David! What could have been done more Blessed is he that cometh in the unto my vineyard that I bave not name of the Lord ?" Or was be done in it? Wherefore, when I lookproudly enjoying the triumph thused that it should bring forth grapes, afforded him over the scribes and why brought it forth wild grapes ? pharisees, who were ever envying And now go to; I will tell you what and discouraging every demonstra- I will do to my vineyard; I will lion of the public regard to his take away the hedge thereof; and sacred person ? Or was he dwelling it shall be eaten up, and break with secret satisfaction on the speedy down the wall thereof, and it shall ruin that was coming on the inhabi- be trodden down ; and I will lay tants of that devoted city, for their it waste : it shall not be pruved obstinate rejection of his Divine nor digged; but there shall come mission ? Or, what was a yet more up briars and thorns. I will also affecting subject, was he absorbed command the elouds that they rain
no rain upon it.” Or, in the words disclose in his word ample informathat follow the text; “ The days tion on these points; and it is nesball come upon thee that thine cessary for our everlasting safety enemies shall cast a trench about that we should become acquainted thee, and compass thee round, and with what he has thus commuoikeep thee in on every side, and cated. shall lay thee even with the ground, The case of the Jews, as deand thy children within thee, and scribed in the text, will shew us they shall not leave in thee one the nature of the things that belong stone upon another, because thou to our peace. For, what was the knewest not"—that is, thou didst ground of their guilt? What was not lay to heart—" the time of thy the message that they refused to visitation." “ O Jerusalem, Je. receive? It was the message of rusalem! thou that killest the pro- peace through the death and merits phets, and stonest them which are of a crucified Saviour. They wilsent unto thee! how often would fully rejected the Lord of life and I have gathered thy children toge glory. They felt not their need of ther, even as a ben gathereth her him: they would not come unto chickens under her wings, and ye him that they might have lise : they would not! Behold your house is thought themselves safe in an outleft unto you desolate."
ward profession of religion, and But, while the passage before us boasted of their spiritual privileges, thus leads us to admire the tender- while they remained ignorant of ness and compassion of Christ, it God and of themselves, and shewshould also awaken another train ed no desire either to receive the of reflection in our minds. As record of his Son, or to submit with the people of Jerusalem, so themselves to his holy and self-dewith each of us; there are things nying law. It is thus with too that belong to our eternal peace; many persons in every age; they a space is given for us to become may not indeed, like the Jews, acquainted with them; too many openly reject the Messiah, the neglect this opportunity; and to anoinied of God, and the Prince those who do so, a time will come of Peace : but they slight his meswhen the things that belong to their sage; they live contentedly in a peace shall be for ever hid from state in which there is no true safetheir eyes. May our meditation ty; they are ignorant of that dion these points be blessed by the vinely revealed plan of mercy by Spirit of God, to excite in us a which God is reconciled to man, salutary dread lest we neglect so and man to God; they despise the great salvation ; and to lead us to offer of spiritual peace; they are an earnest resolution, by his grace uomindful of the blessings of that assisting us, to lose do time in ap- peace; they are at war with the plying ourselves to make our call- Majesty of Heaven, and bave no ing and election sure.
well-grounded hope of God's fa1. There are things that belong vour either here or hereafter. In to our eternal peace.-All the trifles a word, they neglect both the docof this world will soon pass away: trines and the precepts of Chrisit will be of no concern to us, a tianity: they neither betake themfew years hence, whether we were selves to a crucified Saviour for young or old, rich or poor, pro- pardon, nor endeavour to fulfil his sperous or afflicted. But there are righteous commands. Yet there is subjects of never ending moment: no peace with God on any oiber the concern of our souls, the in- terms: his language is, Repent terests of eternity will last when and be converted, ibat your sins all worldly affairs are for ever for- may be blotted out; Believe in the gotten. God has been pleased to Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt
be saved ; Present your bodies and eth that he may have compassion souls to God, which is your réa- upon us: there is no defect of sonable service ; Let all bitterness warning or invitation on his part ; and wrath, and anger, and clamour, he addresses us as in the language and evil-speaking be put away from of the text; “ ( tbat thou hadst you, with all malice, and be ye known, even thou, in this thy day, kind one to another, tender heart. the things that belong to thy peace!' ed, forgiving one another, even as Now is the accepted time; now is God for Christ's sake hath forgiven the day of salvation; while we are you. Such are the things that be- in possession of our faculties of long to our peace; including all mind and body; while our conthe doctrines and duties of our science remains capable of imholy religion; and particularly a pression ; while the Holy Spirit grateful reception of Jesus Christ, continues to strive in our hearts ; the eternal Son of God, as our while the offer of mercy is affordProphet, Priest, and King, with a ed us, and grace is promised to life of faith upon him, and obedio enable us to embrace it. If we cuce to his requirements.
fall short of salvation, we shall 2. A season is mercifully afford- have nothing to complain of but ed us to become acquainted with our own thoughtlessness and imthese things..God bare long with penitence. The text presents a the Jews : hie did not cut them off forcible illustration of God's conat once, or for their first offence. duct towards us.
How affecting He gave them a lengthened day the lamentation of Christ over Jeof grace, a space for repentance. rusalem! “ If thou hadst known"They lrad line upon line, and precept he does not finish the sentence ; upon precept: the Messiah him- grief seems to choke bis utterance; self appeared personally amongst he weeps for those who wept not them; his Divine mission was plain- for themselves, and even yet would ly declared by his miracles; be he have received them had they healed their sick, be opened the not obstinately turned a deaf ear eyes of the blind, he made the 10 his expostulations. lame to walk, and the dead 10 live. 3. We are next to shew that His message of mercy was faithfully too many persons neglect the opand affectionately proclaimed to portunity thus afforded of be. them. “ If any man,” said he, coming acquainted with the things
thirst, let him come unto me and that belong to their peace. The drink ;" “ Take my yoke upon Jews notoriously did so : but, alas ! you, and learn of me; for my yoke theirs is not a solitary instance ; is easy, and my burden is light." the case is common; O that it be “ This is the will of God, that ye not our own! The world before believe on him whom he hath sent." the flood were warned by Noah, a
God so loved the world that he preacher of righteousness : during gave his only begotten Son, that the space of a hundred and twenty whosoever believeth in him should years, he proclaimed the approachnot perish but have everlasting life.” ing judgment; but they neglected Such were the constant declarations the message till their day of grace of the Saviour wbile upon earth; was past, and they were swept such his slowness to anger towards off with irretrievable destruction. an unrelenting race; ibus shew. The sons of Lot had warning to ing bimself to be indeed a God leave the devoted city of the plain; • merciful and gracious, long suf- but they believed noi the threatenfering, and abundant in goodness ing, and were destroyed in the and truth."
overthrow. The same awful truth We also, in like manner, bave is illustrated by many other exour day of grace. The Lord wait- amples recorded in Scripture. And
is not the fact precisely similar in city, and foresaw the impending our own day? Do not too many vengeance, pronounces their doom. resemble the invited guests in the The door of mercy is about to be parable, who were so busy with their closed; and be proceeds, in the farms and their merchandize, with verses which follow the text, to the business or the amusements of predict the fatal issue. He had the world, that they disobeyed the proved by his long forbearance and gracious summons, and were justly offers of pardon that he hath no excluded from the benefits intende pleasure in the death of the wicked, ed for them? But it is superfluous but that the wicked turn from his 10 multiply proofs on this part of way and live; and he was now to the subject: we shall therefore pro- shew, wbat is no less certain, that ceed to the next point for consi. his threatenings are not in vain, deration, which was to shew, that, and that it is a fearful thing to fall if we neglect the warning so mer- as an impeviteut transgressor into cifully given us, a time will come the lands of the living God. when the things that belong to our Let us apply this subject to our. peace sball be for ever hid from selves. Have we hitherto rejected our eyes.
of Divine mercy? 4. In the case of the Jews, this Have we refused to return to a state awful period had now arrived. of obedience to the Saviour ? Have God bad given them up: their we preferred the world or sin to hour was past: Jehovah seemed God? And bave we hoped, thus to say to them, “ Thou hast for- living and dying, to escape un saken me; thou art gone backward: punished ? No: it cannot be thus, therefore will I stretch out my band “ God is not a man, that he against thee, and destroy thee; I should lie; neither the son of man, am weary with repenting.” It was that he should repent: hath he indeed long before this sentence was said, and shall be not do it ? or thus finally issued: often had the hath he spoken, and shall he not Almighty expostulated with them, make it good ?" We know not as in the language of the Prophet: how soon the sentence may go “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? forth; “ Cut it down: why cumHow shall I deliver thee, Israel? beretb it the ground ?" It is not, How shall I make thee as Admah ? however, yet too late : " Return How shall I set thee as Zeboim? to me, and I will return unto you, My heart is turned within me: my saith the Lord of hosts.” “ Let repentings are kindled together. I the wicked forsake his way, and will not execute the fierceness of the unrighteous man his thoughts, mine anger; I will not return to de- and let him return unto the Lord, stroy Ephraim: for I am God, and and he will have mercy upon him, not man; the Holy One in the and to our God, for he will abunmidst of thee.” But now a decree dantly pardon.' Had the Jewish was gone out similar to that of old, people listened to the warning, -", the Lord, have spoken it; and, like Ninevah, repented of their it shall come to pass, and I will do transgressions, they had not been it: I will not go back, neither will cut off; for, “Al what instant," I spare ; neither will I repent: saith Jehovah, “ I shall speak conaccording to thy ways, and accord- cerning a nation, and concerning ing 10 thy doings shall they judge a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull thee, saith the Lord God." The down, and to destroy it; if ihat Saviour himself, who had so often nation against whom I have propleaded with his unbelieving coun- nounced turn from their evil, I will trymen according to the flesh, who repent of the evil that I thought to even now wept over them as he do unto them.” The same conapproached their long-favoured solatory declaration applies to every CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 242.
individual of mankind. The threat- the arguments which may be urged
in their opinions ; and that, besides To the Editor of the Christian Observer. There are perhaps scarcely two in
a multiplicity of distinct sects, I was much pleased with an ex- dividuals of precisely the same sentract from Waterlaod, in your timents ? Many causes may indeed Number for November, respecting unite to produce this unhappy conthe simplicity of the faith of the sequence; education, prejudice, primitive church in regard to the partiality, every thing which tends equal Divinity of the Father, Son, to warp the judgment, and to suband Holy Ghost, and the unity of ject its determinations to the in the Godhead. Great advantage fluence
fluence of the passions. Still the would arise to modern Christians want of a simple reception of the from exercising a similar simplicity declarations of Scripture in their of faith in all the declarations of plain meaning, is one very consiScripture ; and perhaps in this very derable source of the janglings point consists much of that humble and divisions in the Christian child-like character which our Lord church. For these disputes do not declared necessary to qualifypersons arise so much from the words of for an entrance into his kingdom. holy writ, simply taken in themIf we observe the habits of children, selves, as from the deductions men we shall perceive, that till experi- draw from them, and the systems ence and observation have taught they build upon them; or from their them the frequent insufficiency, per. opposing one text to another, and haps even the deceitfulness, of many profaning those spiritual weapons around them, they give implicit be- which ought to be employed exclulief to whatever is communicated sively against the common enemy in to them as truth, and are as re- a suicidal contest among fellowgardless as they are ignorant of disciples and friends. The active