Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][merged small]

69

[ocr errors]

81

[ocr errors]

.

86

89

[ocr errors]

90

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

РАав

PAGB

INTRODUCTORY ESSAY,

ix Spirit of God a Spirit of joy,

Terror of the wicked at the day of judgment, 1,6 Means employed by God for deterring men
Instances of the change of men's opinions at the

from sin,

69

day of judgment,

10 God a jealous God,

71

Success of a good man's prayers hindered by Sins of fathers visited upon children,

73

anger, .

12 God glorified by the sinner's repentance,

77

Success of prayer kindered by lukewarmness, 13 Vanity of earthly confidences, .

78

Exposition of the latter part of Hebrews xii., 15 Weakness of the human heart,

SO

Use and abuse of the principle of fear in re- The heart's deceitfulness in judging its own

ligion, .

16 spiritual state,

Perverseness of sinners,

18 The heart's deceitfulness in respect to its reso-

Effects of sickness on the mind,

19 Jutions,

Faith,

19, 380 Voluntary blindness of the human heart,

Devotion,

22 Pride,

Necessity of cultivating temperance and chas. Relation between suffering and piety at differ-

tity,

23 ent periods,

Three states of man, nature, grace, and glory, 24 Christ the exemplar of suffering,

92

"My son, give me thine heart,"

26 Sufferings of the apostles and primitive Chris.

Description of some who begin to run well,

tians,

95

and then are hindered,

27 Sufferings of Christians in an age of religious

Fervour in prayer necessary,

28 liberty and peace,

97

Persevering zeal,

29 Ends of divine providence in the saints' affilic-

Delight in God's service, .

30 tions,

99

Frequency in prayer necessary,

31 The Christian's safety in time of distress, 101

Zeal to be united with charity,

33 The Christian's affliction followed by glory, 101

Epicure's proverb, :

35 Mercy of the divine judgments,

. 103

Madness of intemperance,

36 Primitive and modern Christian profession

Celibacy and marriage compared,

37 contrasted,

Common duties of husband and wife,

38 | The more devout observance of the means of

A husband and father's love to his family,

grace a proof of growth in grace,

Adorning of the soul recommended to wives, 41 Watchfulness against the least sin a proof of

Household and family of sin,

42 growth in grace,

Pleasures of sin,

42 Ability to resist present temptatiou a proof of

Shamefulness of sin,

49 growth in grace,

Silence and conversation compared,

50 Resistance of sudden temptation a proof of

Foolish talking, or stultiloquy,

52 growth in grace, .

109

Jestings which are not convenient,

53 Sin to be resisted in its beginnings,

Revealing of secrets,

58 No man forced to sin,

111

Profane swearing,

57 Case of single acts of sin interrupting a holy

Speech to be employed for the consolation of

the sorrowful,

58 Imaginations of sin dangerous,

Cautions how to hear sermons,

59 The foolish exchange,

. 116

Connexion between the gospel and the Spirit, 63 Christian prudence shown in selecting eternal

Custody of the Spirit the best freedom,

life as the chief pursuit,

137

Spirit's influence in weaning the heart from Christian prudence shown in using fit means

worldly pleasures,

for securing eternal life,

• 138

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

. 115

67

. 389
• 399

• 397
• 423

. 211

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

• 461

[ocr errors]

PAGE

PAGE

Instances of God's concern for the salvation of Against envy,

souls,

. 140 Against anger,

Modern pretenders to inspiration,

. 141 Preparation for the Lord's Supper,

391

Christian simplicity in making aud performing Prayers for several occasions,

promises,

142 Vanity and shortness of life,

Miracles of the divine mercy,

. 145 Rules for lengthening our days,

431

Way of understanding,

· 172 Miseries of man's life

437

Resurrection of the body,

. 187 Death of the righteous and the wicked, 442

Death and immortality,

. 195 Advantages of sickness,

445

Character of Frances, countess of Carberry, 205 Rules and exercises wherebyour sickness may

Literal and spiritual sense of Scripture, .

be sanctified,

453

Preparation for death,

· 216 The practice of patience,

457

The moral law as expounded by nature, by Acts of patience by way of prayer and ejacu-

Moses, and by Christ,

215 lation,

Exhortation to imitate Christ's life,

242 Practice of faith in sickness,

• 466

Retired and private piety,

250 Acts of faith for the sick under templation, 469

The birth of Jesus,

251 Acts of repentance for old men and for all in

Rules for the conduct of devout meditation, 252 sickness,

471

Death of the innocents, and flight of Jesus into Offices for the minister's use in visiting the

Egypt, ,

259 sick,

475

Comparative advantages of solitude and so- Contingencies and treatings of departed

ciety for cultivating holiness,

266

friends in order to burial, &c.,

481

Temptation,

. 269 Defence of religious toleration,

Faith a practical principle,

284 The obedience of faith,

503

Jesus' conference with the woman of Sa- Rashness of the ancient church in imputing

maria,

289 heresy,

• 503

The eight beatitudes,

. 293 Mixture of simplicity and purity in Holy Writ,510

Duelling,

. 305 Authority of councils to determine controver-

Prayer,

308 sies,

A holy life more free from trouble than a Against religious persecution,

515

course of sin,

322 Practice of Christian churches towards per-

Christ's preparation for his passion,

324 sons disagreeing, &c.,

523

Proper manner of receiving the Holy Sacra- Whether it be lawful for a prince to tolerate

ment,

several religions,

Events occurring on the evening of the pas- Intercommunicating with churches of differ-

sion,

ent persuasions,

529

Crucifixion of Jesus, .

• 347 Nature of cumulative proof illustrated by the

Practice of the presence of God,

evidence of Christianity,

531

Contentedness in all estates and accidents, . 358 Nature, offices, and measures of friendship,

Charity, or the love of God,

383

&c.

Reading or hearing the word of God,

387

[ocr errors]

INTRODUCTORY ESSAY.

“Now they do it," says the apostle, writing to the Corinthians, “to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.” 1 Cor. ix. 25. But who are they? and what is it that they do? The persons alluded to are those who engaged as combatants in the games of ancient Greece. These celebrated

games, which consisted in the competition of the candidates for fame before a vast assemblage from every corner of the land, in exercises of bodily strength, and swiftness, and skill, and prowess, were held at different places of the Greek confederation, at different intervals of time. Among the most celebrated of them all, were those which took place every four years in the immediate neighbourhood of Corinth, and, from the isthmus on which that city is situated, bore the name of the Isthmian games ; and hence we perceive with what propriety and beauty the apostle, writing to the Corinthians, borrows his illustrations, in the passage we have quoted, froin the circumstances of the gymnastic contests for which their vicinity was famous; and how readily they would comprehend the allusion it contains, to the long course of labour and of self-denial by which the champions were wont to prepare themselves for competition and for triumph. For this end the apostle tells us they were “temperate in all things,”—they exerted an habitual self-command; they kept in check every desire, they denied themselves every indulgence, they abstained from every employment, they rejected every luxury, which might tend to enervate their vigour, or clog their agility, or taine their fiery courage. They observed a stated regimen; they trained themselves by laborious exercise; they used a thousand painful and distasteful arts to brace their sinews, and sharpen their perceptions, and mature their skill; they kept their bodies under, and brought them into subjection; they parted with their very freedom for a time, and resigned themselves as slaves to the direction and control of some master of athletic arts, under whose iron discipline they had many things to do, and many to endure,--to become patient of cold and heat, and hunger and thirst, and watching and painfulness, and weariness, and all but intolerable hardships. To a training thus toilsome and intense, the Corinthians knew that the children of the noblest commonwealths of Greece, the kings and princes of her hundred colonies, were wont to submit themselves without repining or regret, with all the entireness and alacrity of voluntary choice. Nor did their labours terminate here. All this was but prelude and preparation. We have yet to survey the crowning struggle, in comparison of which all the action and endurance that preceded was but the sport of children. Then what prodigies of efforts might we behold!--what straining of faculties to their utmost pitch of exertion and resistance ! what eagerness of emulation !-what blazing ardour of courage !—what steadfast might of patience ! —what breathlessness, and dust, and sweat, and tumult, and hope and fear, and long repelled defeat, and dearly purchased victory! Perhaps we cannot form a more striking or a more correct idea of the incredible energy which formed the whole spirit of what an ancient poet therefore calls the “ Isthmian labour,” than by remembering that the word which properly signifies competition in the games of Greece has been adopted in another sense into our tongue, and that that word is

agony.”

These then are they of whom the apostle speaks, and this is what they do. And why? Wherefore all this preparatory toil and self-constraint, and slavery and suffering ? Wherefore this immense expenditure of active and of passive energy in the actual knot and strain of competition ? It is that “ they may obtain a corruptible crown;" that the victor may bind his brow with a wreath of laurel, or, as was the practice at the Isthmian festival, of pine; garlands which, though of evergreens, yet soon waxed sere and red, and drooped, and shed their leaves, and mouldered into dust. True, indeed, the fading garland formed to the eager and emulous spirits of the Grecian youth, not so much the reward itself, as the symbol of the reward for which they panted. That reward consisted chiefly in the honour which adorned the conqueror's name, and not his forehead; in the admiring gaze of congregated Greece; in the applauding shouts which rent the air from that vast multitude, as glowing and panting from the victorious strife, and soiled with not dishonourable dust, the youthful conqueror advanced to receive the hard-won chaplet; in the accents of triumphal music which hailed his success, and the strains of prevailing poets which promised to bear his name upon the wings of song to distant climes and distant generations. Yet was it all a perishable glory he thus obtained, almost as brief and fading as the laurel on his brow. The fickle breath of popular applause soon veered and shifted round; in the full tumult of acclamation the tones of envy and of jealousy were heard mingling,perhaps the more distinctly from the discord which they made,-the aspiring nature within felt, even while the applause continued, that it was not worth the price that had been paid for it,--that it could not fill the soul as it had filled the ear; before long the last echoes died away into silence, and before much longer into oblivion. Another name filled the mouths of the multitude and the trumpet of renown; and such immortality as bards had promised vanished into an idle dream,—the veriest illusion which ever fascinated to mock the soul of man. So that with respect to the glory as well as to the verdure which made the Isthmian chaplet seem so bright and beautiful, so worthy an object of ambition and pursuit, the apostle could emphatically exclaim, “Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown.”

With the case thus described of a competitor in the Isthmian labour, pursuing with such eagerness and exertion a perishable reward, the apostle contrasts that of a Christian pursuing, by somewhat of the same means, a reward that is imperishable. “They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.”

The earthly preparation of the Christian for the inheritance above bears, in many respects, a strong resemblance, and is therefore frequently compared in Scripture to the training and the contest of an Olympic combatant. It is true the Christian is not allowed to look to his future glory as, simply and strictly speaking, the reward of his own exertions or his own endurance; the result of these in precisely the same way in which it might be said of the victorious competitor for the pine wreath or the laurel, that he had merited his glory,—that he had earned his crown. It is not our business at present to explain very much at large the consistency of the two different views which Scripture gives us of the celestial inheritance; sometimes representing it as “ the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord,” and sometimes as a prize to be “sought by patient continuance in well-doing.” Suffice it to observe, that while the doctrine of human merit is equally indefensible on the principles of reason and of revelation; while from the justice of heaven, man, viewed in himself, deserves nothing at any stage of his existence but punishment; still it is obvious that the Sacred writers show no reluctance to employ the terms“ reward” and “recompense,” in reference to the future glory of the saints. Nor are such terms, even when we keep in mind the great fundamental doctrine of the gospel, that " we are saved by grace,” unmeaning or obscure. We must recollect that the reward itself is not of debt but of grace; that it is that to which, previous to the promise, no man could have advanced a claim, and which, even after the promise, no man can secure without the aids of God's renewing and sanctifying Spirit. Yet still there are many circumstances connected with the eternal felicity prepared for believers, on account of which it is appropriately described by the name of reward. Heaven is the Christian's reward, inasmuch as it is inseparably connected with his sanctification. “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” Heaven is the Christian's reward, inasmuch as it will be bestowed expressly as a mark of God's approbation of the conduct to which it is annexed. “Well done,” is the blissful invitation with which the saint is welcomed to Paradise, “Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things; be thou ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Heaven is the Christian's reward, because its glories and felicities will be dispensed to him in proportion to the degree of faithful service rendered by him here to the Lord and his Anointed; in proportion to his work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope.” “Every

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »