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[The heart of an unconverted man has no disposition to trust in God; nor indeed has he any just ground for trust in him, since God is his enemy. But after a man has been awakened to a sense of his sins, and has sought for mercy through the Lord Jesus Christ, and has even some comfortable evidence that he has obtained mercy, yet he finds it exceeding difficult to repose his confidence in God, to the extent that the Scripture warrants him to do so. He cannot believe that God is so attentive to his concerns, so ready to administer to his wants, and so all-sufficient for his necessities, as he is represented to be in the Holy Scriptures. In proportion as he grows in the knowledge of God, his trust in God is enlarged: and when he comes to realize the idea, that there is nothing, whether great or small, that is not ordered by God, nor any situation which he cannot, or will not, overrule for our good, if only we put our trust in him; and when, in consequence of this conviction, his whole care for body and for soul, for time and for eternity, is cast on God, and he rests on God's promises “ without staggering at any of them through unbelief;" then he honours God as he ought, and his heart may be said to be perfect towards God. The difference between a person who has not attained this perfection, and one who has, may be seen in Elisha and his servant: the one, though well instructed, and habituated to serve God, is troubled when he comes into circumstances of great and unexpected trial; whilst the other is composed, seeing the horses of fire and the chariots of fire forming an impregnable bulwark all around him, and God himself engaged for his support -- -] 2. When our desire to serve him is supreme
[Many are the considerations which arise in the mind to influence us in the discharge of our duty. Inclination, interest, passion, the fear of man, the hope of applause, will often bias our judgment, and lead us astray. The truth is, that in all wrong conduct the heart is more to blame than we are ready to imagine: it is the film in the eye that disguises and distorts the objects: “if the eye were single, the whole body would be full of light.” And here again the difference between Christians of different stature is very apparent: those of lower attainments being open to impression from a vast diversity of objects, whilst those of higher attainments keep their eyes steadily fixed on one object. It is surprising how clear the path of duty becomes, when a man discards every question but this, " What will most please my God?” But this question must be asked, not only in reference to things positively good and evil, but in reference to things in which we seem at liberty
to adopt either alternative. Where this principle fully occupies the mind, and operates with promptness and decision, swallowing up every inferior consideration, there the heart is perfect towards God, and the man "stands perfect and complete in all the will of God.")
Let us mark, II. What tender regard God shews for persons of
that character--“ He despises not the day of small things;" but those who thus honour him, shall be most abundantly honoured by him: 1. He will shew himself strong in their behalf—
[There is nothing that he will not do for them, either in a way of providence, or of grace. Are they in difficulties or trials of any kind? We say not, that he will work miracles for them as for Israel in the wilderness, or for his servants the prophets; but we do say, that what he did visibly for them, he will do invisibly for all who trust in him: and we conceive it of great importance to observe, that the miracles of former ages were not intended only for the comfort of those in whose behalf they were wrought, or for the confirming of the messages delivered by them, but also for demonstrating to the very senses of men what a minute attention he would pay to the concerns of all his people, and what effectual succour he would impart unto them in every time of need. As the imputation of righteousness to Abraham by faith was not recorded for his sake alone, but for that of believers in all ages, so the miracles wrought, whether for him or others, were not wrought for their sakes alone, but for ours also, who shall experience similar interpositions, only in a less visible way: for them he accomplished ends without means; for us he will accomplish them by means: nor have we any more reason to be anxious about events than the most favoured of his servants had in the days of old a.
Assuredly too will he afford us under spiritual trials the assistance of his grace. The promises, " My grace is sufficient for thee;" and, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee;" are as valid at this day as they were in the days of Paul and Joshua: nor can there be any temptation whatever which we shall not be enabled to surmount, if only we trust in himo.]
2. He will search out all occasions for such displays of his
b Acts iv. 19, 20. and xxi. 13.
c Rom. iv. 22–24.
We have not to awaken him by our cries, or to prevail upon him by our pleadings, as though he were of himself either inattentive to us, or adverse to undertake our cause. It is not for this end that our prayers and tears are required; but for the impressing of our own minds, that all our help must come from him. His eye is upon us from the first moment that we begin to think of him; yea, his eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to find out the objects, as it were, who feel their need of him. Whether they be in a cottage or a dungeon, he will fly to their aid, and delight to make known towards them the exceeding greatness of his powerf,” and “the exceeding riches of his grace.” Whilst Satan, their great adversary, “goes to and fro through the earth” “ seeking whom he may devour," our God will surely not be less vigilant in our defence. His whole heart and his whole soul are engaged for us", nor will he lose one whom he has given to his beloved Son'.] As an IMPROVEMENT of this subject, we will suggest a
few words, 1. Of warning
[Let those who neglect God consider that his eyes are over them no less than over the righteous; but it is in order to bring upon them all the evil that he has denounced against them
And let those who profess to know him, but in works deny him, remember, that it will be of little profit to “ have a name to live, if they are either dead, or dying” in his sight'- Above all, let those who, like Asa, are in the main “ perfect before God," beware how they resent the reproofs that may be given them for any failures in their dutym: for, though they should be saved at last, they little know what dereliction or punishment” they may suffer for their fault before they die ---] 2. Of encouragement[Let not any say,
“ The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me." “ Can a woman forget her sucking child ? She may; but God never will” forsake the meanest of his people'. Think not of the greatness of your difficulties, but of the love, and power, and faithfulness of your God Then in the midst of your warfare, you may already begin the shouts of victory Only believe, and you shall assur
uredly “ see the glory of God.”] i Eph. i. 18, 19.
& Eph. ii. 7. h Jer. xxxii. 40, 41.
i John x. 27-29. Luke xii. 32. k Amos ix. 4. Prov. v. 21. 1 Rev. iii. 2. m ver. 10.
n Both of these are seen in ver. 12. o Isai. xlix. 14, 15.
p Rom. viii. 33-39. q John xi. 40.
THE ROYAL EDICT.
ADVERTISEMENT.—The author feels it necessary to prefix to this Sermon some short account of the occasion on which it was delivered.
The author was at Amsterdam, (in June 1818,) partly with a view of re-establishing there an Episcopal Chapel, in which there had been no service for seven years, but principally with a view of seeking the welfare of the Children of Israel. He went thither rather to explore than to act. (See Neh. ii. 12—16.) But just previous to the 18th of June, he understood that the Third Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo was to be kept throughout the Netherlands, as a day of thanksgiving : and just at that time also he quite accidentally heard, that the King of the Netherlands had a year before issued an Edict, requiring all the Jews to educate their children in the knowledge of their own Scriptures, and calling upon all his Christian Subjects to aid in this good work. Despondency, not unlike to that which paralyzed all exertion at Jerusalem, in Nehemiah's days, so universally prevailed, that no one had risen to the occasion ; the very Commissioners, who had been appointed to carry the Edict into effect, had published a Report, in which they gave it as their opinion, “ that the Lord's time was not come;" and there was great danger that the gracious designs of the Monarch would be altogether frustrated. The author therefore judged this a fit occasion for calling the attention of the Public to the Edict ; and accordingly, after devoting the Morning Service to the more appropriate subject of the day, he employed the Evening Service in an endeavour to forward this good work. Considerable attention was excited to the subject by means of the Sermon ; which was therefore instantly printed in Dutch, French, and English, for the purpose of its being circulated throughout the Netherlands : and he has reason to hope, that active exertions were afterwards made in many places, to promote, what every benevolent mind must ardently desire, the edification and welfare of the Jewish People.
So good an example having been set by the Emperor of Russia and the King of the Netherlands, the author hopes that the attention of our own Governors also, both in Church and State, may be called to this long-neglected People ; and that, now the British Public has been invited by authority (the King's Letter) to aid in supporting Missions to the Heathen World, the claims of the Jewish Nation, to whom under God we owe all the light that we ourselves enjoy, will not be overlooked. It is with a view to this great object, that the author sends forth the Sermon in this country ; where, if the foregoing explanation had not been given, its relevancy and use might have been justly called in question.
2 Chron. xvii. 9. And they taught in Judah, and had the
book of the law of the Lord with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people.
ON a day set apart for thanksgiving to God for mercies received, it is peculiarly proper to consider what we may render unto the Lord for all his benefits. Certainly, if any event ever deserved repeated annual commemoration, it is that which has freed the world from the most grievous tyranny that ever it endured. Of the bitter cup which was put into the hands of every nation in Europe, this nationdrank very deeply: and the change which it has experienced, in the restoration of their rightful Monarch, and in the establishment of a free Constitution, calls for their devoutest acknowledgments to Almighty God. Doubtless we may with justice pay some tribute of honour to those who by their counsels and their arms effected the overthrow of the Usurper : but it is God alone who giveth victory to kings, and to whom the glory of this great victory must be primarily ascribed : and he who accounts a day consecrated to this service superfluous, shews, that he is far from justly appreciating the blessings that have been conferred upon him. The monarch himself has given to his people a very decided evidence, that he feels the depth of his obligations to the God of his salvation : and it will be your own loss if you
do not cultivate a similar spirit, and improve the occasion to the honour of your God.
But it is not to thanksgiving only that your Monarch invites you: he calls you, by a special Edict, to unite with him in seeking the welfare of your Jewish
a The Netherlands.