Gambar halaman

made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to come upon us.” They immediately left the camp, as it was, full of every thing which these famishing men needed. This astonishing event was of the Lord, who wrought deliverance for the distressed, and brought them into the possession of abundance.

We have, then, before us a striking illustration of what the Lord, in his infinite

mercy, does for sinners, as soon as they throw down their arms of rebellion, and surrender to him. When they feel compelled, from an entire conviction of their lost state, to cast themselves upon his mercy, and leave it with him to dispose of them, they are, at once, surrounded with a fulness. They come to an important decision—their proud and stubborn hearts yieldthey give up their all, and in giving it up, they find the pearl of great price.” They find safety, peace, and happiness, where they had always refused to seek for them.

Fellow-sinners, there is one important point in which your case is altogether different from that of the lepers. They could have, at the most, but a gleam of hope. For you, in your perishing condition, ample provision has been made, and it is freely offered, “ without money and without price." Christ has " come to seek and to save that which was lost.' Of this most interesting fact, you have clear evidence ; yea, you have demonstration. The God of mercy never fails of sending salvation to those who cheerfully submit to him. He has given his word, that he will do it, and this is the best possible security. Why, then, are not all sinners ready to take this course? Because they do not believe the testimony of God. They do not believe their case is desperate. They have not yet eaten their last morsel. They are for helping themselves. As soon as they abandon their own trusting places, and give up all, they find a rich profusion of blessings flowing in upon them, through the mediation of Christ. Then, and not till then, the glorious plan of salvation opens to their view, and Christ appears to them to be “all in all.” Then, they have a sight of his infinite mercy and compassion, manifested in those words :-“ Come unto me, all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Happy experience has taught them, that “the poor in spirit,” the self-emptied, “ are blessed.” “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

And now, impenitent sinners, having illustrated the several points proposed, I would solemnly expostulate with you, for remaining in a condition which involves certain and eternal death. Let the situation and conduct of these famishing men, instruct and arouse you. The inspired account of them, which you may read in your Bibles, I have improved, as a similitude, to convince

your perishing condition, and to teach you to be wise for yourselves. The Saviour often impressed truths upon his hearers, by recurring to interesting facts, as well as by parables. When you seriously reflect on the condition of these men, sitting without the city, infected with a loathsome disease, not having a morsel of any thing to satisfy their hunger, and expecting nothing but death, in a most frightful form, do you not pity them? Who

you of

of you would not tremble to be in their wretched condition ? Truly their case was pitiable, and seemingly must draw a sigh from the hardest heart ; but it was nothing compared with your own. They were expecting temporal death; but what are you expecting, as transgressors of the divine law, bound to eternity ?-or rather what have you reason to expect? Do you credit the testimony of God? Do you admit, what has been shown in this discourse, that the present condition of impenitent sinners involves the final ruin of their immortal souls? You will not deny it. Then all of you, who have, to this day, neglected the "great salvation,” are now bending over the eternal pit. And is this a safe position ? Is not God, who is 6

angry with the wicked every day,” especially angry with those who know his overtures of mercy, and yet despise them? Have not awful threatenings against such gone out of his mouth? And, God of mercy as he is, can his truth fail ?

I feel that I am now speaking to those, who “ know their Master's will." and to whom the “great salvation" is sent; and that I need only appeal to con science and the heart. Think not then, sinners, to gainsay God's truth; nor "change it into a lie.” Rather have pity on yourselves, and no longer act against light. No longer cherish - enmity against God.” Have pity on yourselves, while the Saviour yet waits with open arms, and bleeding brow, and beseeching voice. Let his love melt you down at his feet. selves to God." Your long delay of repentance evinces deep-rooted depravity; and the necessity of a work of the Holy Spirit. Yield yourselves then to His influence, and to your great surprise and joy, you will find yourselves made " willing in the day of his power,"-willing to act rationally-willing to love and serve the Lord of glory. . This the gospel enjoins and conscience now urges. Why then sit you here and die, while Jesus is yet standing and knocking at your door ? Rise and bid him welcome, who once poured out his life for your sake. Give him your heart-your life—your all-and - his banner over you will be Love." AMEN.

66 Submit your

Come, anxious sinner, in whose breast

A thousand thoughts revolve ;
Come, with your guilt and fear opprest,

And make this last resolve:

“I'll go to Jesus, though my sin

Hath like a mountain rose ;
I know his courts, I'll enter in,

Whatever may oppose.

"Prostrate l 'll lie before his throne,

And there my guilt confess;
I'll tell him, I'm a wretch undone

Without his sovereign grace. "I can but perish if I go ;

I am resolv'd to try :
For if I stay away, I know

I must for ever die."


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

2 Timothy, i. 12.- For I know whom I have believed ; and am persuaded that

he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him, against that day.

If ever there was an unlike subject of conversion to the Christian faith, it was Saul of Tarsus. His education, his habits, his prospects, his ardent and active zeal against Christians, his powerful intellect, his pride, his very conscience, all under the influence of wrong impressions, rendered his perseverance in Judaism morally certain, and the idea of his change, in the eyes of thinking men, perfectly chimerical. Satan himself seemed not less likely to become an apostle, than this fierce and intrepid Jew. His active spirit, and his implacable malignity, “ breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord,” would, if permitted to take its course, have “made short work with the dissenters” from the order established at Jerusalem ; would have crushed the infant church; and scarcely left materials for one paragraph of the general historian. But the Lord Jesus had other views for his church, and other employment for the persecutor. In the height of his career in the very act of executing the bloody commission of the highpriest—when surrounded by armed men, to enforce his orders—at mid-dayon the public road-near a celebrated city-a burst of glory from the face of Jesus Christ eclipses the brightness of the sun ; an invisible power

smites him and all his company to the earth ; and a voice, the authority of which made him feel, that his Creator was speaking, addresses to him those memorable words; Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? The high-priest, the Sanhedrim, the nation whose hopes all centre in him, his character, his commission, are forgotten in an instant. Men have no leisure for any thing else, when they are conscious that God is speaking. Who art thou, Lord ? ex. claims the trembling and astonished persecutor : I am Jesus, answers the heavenly voice, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. Lord, replies he, every disposition to cavil or tamper, being perfectly subdued, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. Gentle as a lamb, the high-spirited and ferocious Saul obeys the mandate. Smitten blind by the light which shone around him, he is led by the hand into Damascus: where he remained three days without light, and did neither eat nor drink. Under such tutelage as no other man ever enjoyed, he passes through the process of conviction and conversionexperiences the second birth-has a new heart put within him-is instructed

in the mysteries of the kingdom-is furnished with all gifts and graces—is taught the service which he is to perform, and the sufferings which he is to endure and comes forth not a whit behind the chiefest apostles, and straightway preaches Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. Fiveand-twenty years, had he tried the service of Jesus Christ, when he penned this epistle to Timothy, proving, by turns, and sometimes all together, the honors, the victories, the disappointments, the pains, the sorrows, of his apostleship. At this very moment he was a martyr to the truth ; and suffering unheard of things, for the word of his testimony. Yet he utters no complaint; his tone is firm and cheerful ; it is the voice of Salvation from the belly of Hell. I am not ashamed, says he, for I know whom I have believed; and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him, against that day.

Brethren, there is something in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and that persuasion of his ability which belongs to his faithful followers, which bears them up over every discouragement, and will at length enable them to elude the great destroyer, and to fly, on the wings of the morning, to the place of their eternal rest. Paul was an example. But he was so, on principles which are common to the household of faith. It was not as an apostle, but as a believer, that he cherished so triumphant a hope, and sung so sweet a song, in the house of his pilgrimage. It will be of advantage to us, if we take a nearer view of Paul's knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ ; and of that perfect confidence, which he entertained, that all should be safe in his hands.

I. The knowledge which Paul had of his Redeemer; I know whom I have believed.

The apostle's knowledge of Jesus Christ was personal, that is, it was a knowledge of Christ himself, and centred in himself; not merely an acquaintance with his religion. Many people imagine, that to know something about the Christian religion, to be able to explain it, and ready to recommend it, is equivalent with knowing Christ himself. Whencesoever they imbibed such a notion, it was not from their Bible. This makes a very broad difference between the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and every other sort of knowledge; and the Scripture does not deal in vain distinctions. The knowledge and the love which accompany salyation, go together, and are coupled by the Scripture to the person of the Saviour.

That I may know Him, saith Paul. Whom having not seen, ye love, adds Peter. Now here is the parting point with many a decent profession, yet the very point upon which eternal happiness is suspended. Many a demonstration of the Christian verity, and many a splendid panegyric on its excellence, worth, and necessity, have flowed from lips which the fire of God's altar never purified; have been prompted by hearts which were never touched by the love of Christ. Startle not; as if I preached an unheard-of doctrine—but go, if you are not afraid of the experiment-summon the tongues of men and angels to speak the praises of revealed truth; and then stand aghast at discovering, that without charity, that vivifying principle in the world of grace, you are no better than sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. In living religion Christ is all. The hearts of his people are, without exception, drawn, in tender affection, to himself. The thought, that he loved me and gave himself for me, filled, and subdued,

and melted the heart of one apostle ; and drew from another the gracious declaration, We love him, because he first loved us; and so do all his sincere followers find the fact to be at the present hour.

Now to both this knowledge and this love of Christ something more is necessary than can be learned from human books, or taught by human speech, or enforced by human example. That which happened unto Paul must happen unto us. God must reveal his Son in us; the Holy Spirit must také of the things which are His, and show them unto us. Is it wonderful that Christ Jesus was so glorious in the eyes of the apostles ; and is now so glorious in the eyes of all who have an apostle's hope ?

1. Paul was enabled to take an enlarged and decisive view of the glory of the Redeemer's person. He never dreamt that idiot dream of a created Saviour. There was no doubt in his mind, nor is there in the minds of any who tread in his steps, whatever there be in the minds of those who pride themselves in their distinction, as philosophical believers, that he who is the eternal Life, must be the true GodGod over all, blessed for ever. He perceived him to be, and he celebrated him, and taught others to expect him, as the great God our Saviour. It was, in his judgment, a mystery, the great mystery of godliness—the very pillar and ground of truth, without which the whole fabric of salvation falls to ruinsthat God was manifest in the flesh, and so became our Brother, and has made us bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh

In the person, moreover, of Jesus Christ, all the counsels of the Godhead centre. In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledgeIn him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. If God reconciles the world unto himself, it is in Christ Jesus. If the light of his glory shines unto us, it is in the face of Jesus Christ. If he gathers together in one, a new family, composed of holy angels and redeemed men, he gathers them in Christ. If

every knee is ordered to bow, and every tongue to confess, it is to Jesus Christ, who has a name which is above every name, and has it expressly for this purpose. In fine, the Father hath committed all judgment to the Son, with this end, that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father ; and that under the fearful sanction, that whosoever shall refuse so to honor the Son, shall find all his worship rejected: He that honoreth not the Son, honoreth not the Father who hath sent him.

2. Paul had equally lofty views of the Redeemer's mediatorial work ; by whose perfect obedience many shall be made righteouswho gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity-who is the propitiation through faith in his blood, that God may be just, and the JUSTIFIER of him that believeth in Jesus-80 that we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his gracewho has risen again from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that sleptwho has gone into heroen, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption for us--who is at the right hand of God, making intercession for us; and is able, therefore, to save unto the uttermost all thut come unto God by him.

3. Paul had, further, a view of the glory which Jesus Christ has promised to his followers. For them death hath no sting-over them, the grave

boasts no victory nor the second death any power. Their Saviour shall reclaim

[ocr errors]
« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »