Obrazy na stronie


Christ, of whom charity that “hopeth all of its power. And the same is the case, things" can only hope and pray that they though in a less degree, now. We must may yet throw down the arms of their rebel- honour the Son even as we honour the Father. lion, and " kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and As we bear his name, so must we shew forth they perish from the way, when his wrath is his praise. ki

2. The invitation is, moreover, to a marthey that put their trust in him,”—apart from riage. In a parable somewhat similar, which these, there are those of whom charity may was delivered on a different occasion, and both hope and believe all things, and yet which you will find in the fourteenth chapter they may at last become cast-aways.

of St. Luke, the invitation is to a great supper. The parable introduces us into the palace The supper is, indeed, included in this inviof the great King. It shews us the guests tation ; but it is not to take place yet. It will who have come at his bidding.

It tells us

be celebrated in heaven, when “the marriage that we ourselves are of the number. And of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made we prove it by our own profession of religion, herself ready; and a voice shall come out of and partaking of his ordinances, and frequent- the throne and say, Blessed are they which ing of his courts. It tells us also that there are called unto the marriage-supper of the is a difference between the guests: and it re- Lamb" (Rev. xix. 5, 7, 9). In the mean time minds us that a time of scrutiny and separa- the guests are amply provided for, though we tion is at hand ; that the King will come in to know not the glories which are yet in reserve. see the guests, and then some will be re- | They are called to the marriage; and their jected.

duty and privilege is to wait on the King's Son, Let us, therefore, dear brethren, look more and give him honour; to go forth, like the closely into this subject, and consider, in the wise virgins, prepared to meet the bridegroom, first place, the invitation to the marriage; and and to welcome his appearing. then observe who are the acceptable guests ; 3. And who are the persons invited to the and, lastly, those who are rejected. And marriage? My brethren! the invitation is may the Spirit of God enlighten our minds, worthy of the King who gives it, and the and direct our meditations, and apply the occasion which is to be celebrated. It is word with power to our hearts and con- addressed to all. He hath sent forth his sersciences, for our individual good!

vants, saying, “Go ye into the highways, and I. We have, in the first place, to consider as many as ye shall find bid to the marriage.” the invitation to the marriage.

The Gospel is to be preached to every creature. 1. It was that of a certain King; and the All that we meet with, whatever may be their guests were invited in honour of his Son--" he rank or character, must be invited to come. made a marriage for his Son." By this it is There is abundant room for all. There is intimated that the design of the Gospel is the rich provision. There is willingness---- nay, glory of Christ. God in Christ is glorified there is earnest desire in the heart of the King in every sinner that is saved. If he has to receive and to welcome you all. He has chosen us in him, it is "to the praise of the not only made ready, and made known his glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us gracious disposition; but, knowing how greatly accepted in the beloved” (Eph. i. 4-6). our natures are depraved by sin, and how

And when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed much our souls cleave to the dust, he has from heaven with his mighty angels, he shall sent forth his servants in all directions, rising come to be glorified in his saints, and to be up early and sending them; and by them he admired in all them that believe in that day" invites, he urges, and, more than this, for (2 Thess. i. 7-10). How, then, my brethren, the love that he bears to your never-dying can any expect salvation who do not give the souls, he beseeches you to come, that you may whole glory of it to the Son of God ? How be blessed for ever. He has proclaimed his can they look to be glorified, when his saints willingness to receive you in his word, which alone are glorified, and he in them? You he has put into your hands; and in the dishonour the Saviour, if you seek salvation preaching of the Gospel, you hear his call in any other way than through him who has repeated from time to time. In his name, purchased it at so great a price for us; and therefore, I now say to each of you, it cannot in any other way be found; for for all things are now ready.” The blessings "neither is there salvation in any other ; for which are provided have been procured at there is no other name given among men great expense; but they are freely offered to whereby we can be saved.”

your acceptance. All that you can need is to The grace and condescension of the Saviour be found here, and more than you can ask or will be magnified in every one who shall think-pardon for the guilty, peace for the attain the kingdom of glory; for they shall troubled soul, grace and strength for the all manifest in their own persons the extent weak, and satisfying pleasures for all.

It is

“ Come,

a King who invites you : it is a special occa- Christians, and they will at length be cast sion on which he invites you : it is in honour out. The Church of the living God will be of his Son. Why, then, do you not all purified from every false professor, and will come?

at length be presented to him as "a glorious Some of you may, perhaps, be ready to Church, without spot or wrinkle, or any such doubt whether it is possible that the call can thing.” be addressed to you. O say not, brethren, II. Let us therefore proceed, in the second that you are unworthy, so as to excuse your place, to observe the mark by which the acselves; but say that you are unworthy, so as ceptable guests were distinguished in the pato humble yourselves before Him, and to extol rable before us. They had on a weddingmore highly the riches of his grace. You are garment. In all other respects they resembled indeed unworthy. But such are the persons the rest : they had been found in the highwhom he calls. Did he not come to seek and ways: they had been invited to the marriage: to save that which was lost ? Does he not they had obeyed the call. Their distinctive rejoice in our recovery, and all the court of mark was this--they had on a wedding-garheaven partake of his joy? “ There is joy ment. in the presence of the angels of God over one 1. And this, brethren, we must all seek to sinner that repenteth ;” and not the less, be- possess. But where is it to be obtained ? From cause of the depth of misery and wretched the hands of the King, who himself provides ness from which he has been rescued. it. This is intimated in the parable. For

Beloved brethren, let none of you refuse how, otherwise, could persons of all descripthe call of the Gospel. It was made to the tions, suddenly and unexpectedly called in Jews ; by them it was rejected, and they from the highways, be expected to appear in brought upon themselves the destruction of any wedding-garments, much less in such as which they were warned in this parable. were suited to the palace of a king? And it And if its rejection were to become general is in accordance also with the custom which among us, we have reason to believe that prevailed in eastern countries, for the master similar judgments would also be our portion of the house, on special occasions, to provide There are indeed too many who reject it at vestments for his guests. the present day. They do not come, not In our natural state, which is a state of because they cannot, but because they will sin, we are all like Joshua the high-priest, not come. They make light of it, and


who is described, in the third chapter of their ways-one to his farm, and another to Zechariah, as clothed in filthy garments; and his merchandise, and another to his plea- when we believe on Christ, a corresponding sures. Oh, how hardly shall they that have change takes place in us. “ Now Joshua," riches enter into the kingdom of heaven! | it is said, was clothed in filthy garments, With these they build up barriers to shut and stood before the angel. And the Lord themselves out : they erect a separating wall answered and spake unto those that stood between them and heaven: they fall into a before him, saying, Take away the filthy snare and divers lusts, which drown men in garments from him. And unto him he said, perdition: they have it in their power more Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass than others to gratify “the lusts of the flesh, from thee, and I will clothe thee with change and the lusts of the eye, and the pride of of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair life;" and, like others, their nature is fallen mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre and corrupt.

“ The care of this world, and upon his head, and clothed him with garthe deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, ments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.” and it becometh unfruitful.” Let the poor Thus, again, when St. Paul, in the third be thankful that they do not stand in such chapter of the epistle to the Romans, has slippery places that this powerful tempta- brought us in all guilty before God, and tion is not presented to them; and let the proved that, by the deeds of the law, there rich, if they have been prevented from yield shall no flesh be justified in God's sight, he ing to the temptation, ascribe their preserva- shews us that our justification is only by tion to restraining grace; and, above all, let " the righteousness of God, which is by faith them seek that they may hear and obey the of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them call, so as to give honour to the Son of God, that believe.” When we have on this “best and be approved in his sight.

robe,” by faith in Jesus Christ, we may For we must particularly observe, brethren, take up the language of the faithful in the that not all who came to the marriage were sixty-first chapter of Isaiah, and say,---"I accepted. “ The King came in to see the will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall guests ;” and those only remained who were be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed counted worthy. Thus, in the professing me with the garments of salvation, he hath Church, there are some who are not sincere covered me with the robe of righteousness ;

him to say,

per ?

as a bridegroom decketh himself with orna- are become new." The heart of stone will ments, and as a bride adorneth herself with

be taken away--the carnal mind, which is her jewels."

enmity against God; for “ it is not subject 2. Do you ask, dear brethren, to whom is to the law of God, neither indeed can be :" this wedding-garment offeredthis best robe, and a spiritual mind will be given to you: which God has provided for us in the right- and “the law of the spirit of life in Christ eousness of Christ ? We reply, it is offered Jesus will make you free from the law of to all. Every invited guest is required to sin and death :" and you shall know, from put it on. And are there any of you who your own experience, that “ there is no conobject to put it on? Is it too much that the demnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, King should prescribe the wedding-garment who walk not after the flesh, but after the in which we must appear before him? Having spirit.” (Rom. viii, 1, 2, 7.) made an abundant provision, and invited us O then, my brethren, "put off concerning freely to come and partake of it; and having, the former conversation the old man, which is moreover, at great cost, furnished a robe for

corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and every one that shall come, is it too much for be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and

“ without that robe not one of put on the new man, which, after God, is those that are bidden shall taste of my sup- created in righteousness and true holiness."

There is no other way in which we can attain My brethren, it has been offered to you holiness, but by our union with Christ; and many times, and it is now offered to you “ without holiness no man can see the Lord." again. Hear the voice of the Saviour calling It is a fruit which does not grow upon the to you (Rev. iii. 18), “ I counsel thee to buy tree of nature. It is a fruit of grace, and is of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest produced by the Holy Spirit, in those who be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest believe in Jesus. Under his sanctifying inbe clothed.” And how can it be purchased ? tluences, as he takes of the things of Christ In the same way that the water of life and and shews them unto us, and thus glorifies every other blessing is to be obtained-with- him, we shall be enabled to act from new out money and without price. “ Believe in principles; we shall be impelled by new mothe Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be tives ; and shall seek new ends. The glory saved.” Look to him as your Righteousness of God will be set before us in all things; we for justification before God; for “this is his shall die unto sin, and live unto righteousname whereby he shall be called, the Lord ness; we shall delight in spiritual and eternal our Righteousness.” Receive him by faith as things; we shall be constrained by love to a such. Rely on his merits alone for pardon, holy and devoted obedience; and thus growand grace, and eternal salvation. Cast away ing in grace and in the knowledge and love all confidence in the flesh--in any thing that of God, shall be made meet for the kingdom you have done or suffered-in any thing that of heaven. you can do or suffer. Let your confidence Let me ask you, my brethren, whether you rest on Christ: let your hopes be built on are clothed with the wedding-garment of Christ, who is the sure foundation, the rock Christ's righteousness, and are experiencing of ages, which can never be moved. Then the power of his grace.


you are, praise will

you be the covenant people of God- and bless God for his mercy towards you, and the true circumcision, who worship God in follow on to know the Lord. They are “ the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have garments of praise" which he has given you, no confidence in the flesh. You will “


and “ the spirit of heaviness” should be put forth in the strength of the Lord, making away. They are your “ beautiful garments,' mention of his righteousness only:" you will your “robes which have been washed and say, “ In the Lord have I righteousness and made white in the blood of the Lamb ;' and strength.”

you should " watch and keep them,” “ lest 3. And then will you experience also, my they be defiled” (Rev. iii. 4 ; xvi. 15). And brethren, that this wedding-garment has rirtue “ will be granted,” in due time, that in it, by which you will be made acceptable you shall be clothed in fine linen clean and guests, and fitted to sit down with Abraham, white ; for the fine linen is the righteousness Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God; of the saints (Rev. xix. 8).

" shall for you shall find that it will be as when the walk with Christ in white,” and you woman touched the hem of Christ's garment, mingle with that “great multitude, which no there came virtue out of him, and healed her. man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, Your spiritual maladies shall be healed-you and people, and tongues, which stand before will be renewed in the spirit of your mind. the throne of God, and before the Lamb, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; clothed with white robes, and palms in their old things are passed away. Behold, all things hands ; and cry with a loud voice, saying,

to you

And you

shall yet

in mercy,

Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the presumptuous confidence. The rejection of throne, and unto the Lamb" (Rev. vii. 9, 10). the wedding-garment of Christ's righteous

III. But there is another view which I ness incontestably proves that you neither must take of the text. There may be those appreciate the condescension and grace of present who have not this good hope in them: the King of kings, nor will give honour to in order that they may be moved by fear, if his Son. Be assured, that those that honour they be not drawn by love, I must not omit him he will honour, and they that despise to state, in the last place, that some of those him shall be lightly esteemed. Say not, in who come to the marriage will be rejected; your unbelief, that God will not be so strict; that some of the professors of religion will that though you may not have complied with be convicted of an unsound profession, and all his commands, yet he will deal with you will be cast out, so that they shall never see

The truth of God declares otherthe kingdom of heaven. These are repre- wise. And judge yourselves, brethren, which sented by the man who had not on the wed- is most worthy to be received, the truth of ding-garment.

God, or your unbelieving fancies. You shall It is evident, my brethren, that the men- find mercy, indeed, if you flee to Christ, the tion of one man in this place does not refer mercy-seat, but not otherwise; and the mercyto number, but to character; otherwise it seat is open to all. You shall be admitted would be opposed to the concluding words

as welcome guests,


be clothed with the of the parable, in which our Lord draws an robe of his righteousness, but not otherwise. opposite conclusion, “ Many are called, but to others, the garment in which you are few are chosen." Its use appears to be this: clothed may appear like the wedding-garment it serves to divide the guests into two classes; which the King has provided; but it cannot and forcibly impresses upon us this solemn deceive the great King. Your real chatruth, that if there should be but one present, racter may be unknown by the world, and without a wedding-garment, among the as- by the Church of God on earth ; but it will sembled multitudes, when the King shall come yet be made manifest to all. He who " walks in to see the guests, the eyes of the King will in the midst of the golden candlesticks knows rest upon that one ; he will be singled out, your works." The robe, which is his own, and exposed before all.

will be recognised by the King. It was no The absence of the wedding-garment in doubt one of the

goodwho obeyed the any who are bidden to the marriage may call, that refused the robe which was proproceed from various causes ; but they are vided: the bad," or those who see themall resolvable into this one, their own per-selves to be such, would not think of reverse will : they will not receive it, and put | fusing it.

To every one of them the Saviour O how should this lead us to searchings of may say, How often would I have gathered heart, lest any of us may be trusting to any you under my wings; how often would I supposed righteousness of our own, for achave clothed you with the garment of salva- ceptance and eternal glory. We all profess tion; but

would not.

the faith of Christ; we are members of his Some, through carelessness, neglect it; Church visible ; let us often put this question others, through inconsideration, deem it un- to ourselves non, How came I in hither ?” important; whilst others, through pride and lest when the King comes in to see the guests, self-sufficiency, think the garment of their we should be found destitute of the weddingown imaginary righteousness good enough: garment, and then shall we be speechless. they will not stoop to appear before God in 0, brethren, let me hope that you will look to the righteousness of another, though it be Christ alone for salvation ; that you will bethe righteousness of God himself, the wed- lieve on him and serve him ; then shall you ding-garment which God has himself pro- have boldness in the day of the Lord ; then vided, and which he declares to be indis- shall you meet himn with joy. pensable, and without which every one who However many the excuses which men may appears among the guests will be considered make now, they will be speechless then. The as an intruder, endeavouring to force an wicked shall be silent in darkness. That entrance into the kingdom of heaven in the fearful doom will be pronounced upon them, “ filthy garments” of fallen nature, which, “ Bind them hand and foot, and take them however clean they may appear to the dim away, and cast them into outer darkness ; and darkened vision of mortality, are there shall be weeping, and gnashing of abomination unto the Lord, and cannot for a teeth." moment endure the brightness and the glory And why, brethren, has the Lord spoken of an eternal world.

thus ? and why do we repeat his words? It Beloved brethren, put away

from such is that, “knowing the terrors of the Lord, we vain pretensions, such delusive hopes, such | would persuade men :" and, knowing also his

it on.



[ocr errors]

grace and love, we would intreat and beseech plead his mercy, his goodness, his glory, his cove. you, as though God did beseech you by us, to

nanted promise of redemption, through his Son Jesus be reconciled to God — to believe in Christ, fered up for the mercy of God-no plea avail for the

Christ. And since no prayer can be successfully ofand serve him ; and then shall you see him exercise of his love--no hope encouraged, that, for as he is, and be like him, and dwell with him his name's sake, he will save us, except through Jesus for ever.

Christ—so He, the Saviour, is mentioned last in order,
He is our final hope. All our pleadings must not
only begin, but end in him."*

In the Eristle, St. Paul is calling the attention of

the Christians at Corinth “ to the Isthmian games, " Understandest thou what thou readest?"-Acts, viii. 30.

which were celebrated near” that city. “• Did they

not well know, that though several racers set out to SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY.

run for the prize, yet it was only awarded to the vic“ AMONG the several reasons given for the names of

torious person, and the rest were disappointed? This this and the two following Sundays, the most probable induced each of them to exert himself to the utterseems to be this: the first Sunday in Lent being forty

most, in order to be successful. Let, then, the Corindays before Easter, was, for that reason, called Qua

thians do the same in their Christian course; let them dragesima Sunday, which in Latin signifies forty; and

run with earnestness, self-denial, and patience, withfifty being the next round number above forty, as sixty

out shrinking from hardships or perils, and without is to fifty, and seventy to sixty, therefore the Sunday loitering from attention to worldly allurements, that immediately preceding Quadragesima Sunday, being they might obtain the prize which self-indulgent profarther from Easter than that was, was called Quin,

fessors would come short of. They well knew, that quagesima (or fifty) Sunday, which is also fifty days every man who contended in these athletic exercises inclusive before Easter; and the two foregoing Sun

must prepare himself for them by the most rigorous days, being still farther distant, were, for the same

and universal temperance, or he could not expect to reason, called Sexagesima and Septuagesima (sixty

succeed. Now, they submitted to this self-denial for and seventy) Sundays." +

a garland of herbs or evergreens, which would soon On this and the two succeeding Sundays, the Church

wither and decay, even as the honour annexed to them may be said to turn her face towards Christ's passion.

must be very transient; but Christians contended As that time is one of express humiliation, so the ser

with the enemies of their salvation, in the hope of vices of these three Sundays all partake of that tone

obtaining an incorruptible crown of glory and felicity, of feeling which will be deepened in the solemn season

and ought not to shrink from any self-denial or selfof Lent.

suffering.' He places before them his own example The Collect is taken from the Sacramentary of

in this matter: what he exhorts them to do he was St. Gregory, and is an exact translation of the original

himself doing. Thus he sought and possessed the Latin form. " The general spirit which these three

assurance that he should not, after having preached collects” (of Septuagesima and the next two Sundays) conflict), be himself rejected, as having no title to the

to others (as the heralds called the combatants to the " breathe, is that of deep humility: a spirit more especially required in the Christian at this time, when incorruptible crown.'. This does not imply that the he' is preparing his mind to observe, with due and

apostle doubted of his acceptance or perseverance; appropriate seriousness, the returning season of Lent.

but it shewed the Corinthians the nature of his assurIt is under this powerful impression of self-humilia

ance, and forcibly cautioned them not to rest in such tion that we beseech the Lord · favourably to hear the

hopes as were consistent with indiscriminate selfprayers of his people.' At least this expression evi

indulgence, even in things lawful. He had abundant dently supposes the petitioner to have his soul deeply

occasions and methods of thus bringing and keeping impressed with the characteristic spirit of Christi- under his body, without using the tortures, austerities, anity, which requires its followers to humble them

and flagellations of the papists; whilst he willingly selves in the sight of the Lord.' Therefore, in ap

endured hunger, thirst, fatigue, imprisonment, &c. in proaching the throne of the Almighty, we feel and

preaching the Gospel, and was frequently in watchconfess ourselves unworthy to offer unto him any sa.

ings, fastings, and prayers, as well as habitually temcrifice, even the sacrifice of prayer. If our prayers be

perate in all things." + accepted, they owe their acceptance to his grace and

The Gospel is the parable of the labourers in the favour. They are the expression of our bounden duty

vineyard. “ The way of God's dealings with man, and service. He, however, is merciful--not viewing

under the Gospel dispensation, is here compared to our frailty and unworthiness, not weighing our merits

the conduct of a householder who employs labourers ---but pardoning our offences through Jesus Christ our

in his vineyard. The householder has a vineyard to Lord. Thus, when we are sufficiently humble to feel

be cultivated; he hires labourers; he assigns them a that our prayers are accepted only by grace, we are soon

reward. God, too, has a work for his reasonable creabrought to confess, that, whatever sorrows overtake

tures; that they should live righteously, soberly, and us, they are as nothing, compared with our unwor

godly in this present world, in expectation of his thiness. We confess that, by the heaviest calamities,

glorious kingdom hereafter. Early in the mornwe are but justly punished for our offences :' . It is

ing,' from their very infancy, are Christians summoned of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed.' Nor

to this service, summoned to renounce the works does the Christian consider himself degraded by such

of the devil, and to keep God's holy will and comconfessions of infirmity and unworthiness; for he is

mandments, and to walk in them all their life. So not thereby prevented approaching the living God,

is it engaged in behalf of every child in baptism ; but rather rendered more fit for his service. So, in

and happy, happy would it be, if all, as they came this collect, with humility indeed, but in a well

to age, acknowledged the obligations by which they grounded faith, we beseech the Almighty, by every

are bound, and kept that service which is perfect availing plea, to deliver us from the evil of sin. We

reedom.' Great, indeed, is the lionour of the ser

vice, and great the recompense of the reward.' We beg to apprise our readers, that the Liturgical Hints for

Why has our heavenly King so often reason to exposthe remainder of the present year will comprehend the collects, tulate, 'If I be a father, where is mine honour? And epistles, and gospels, of the Sundays (with those for Ash-Wednes- if I be a master, where is my fear?' clay and Good-Friday) only: those appointed for saints' days

shall hope to illustrate another year. Wheatly.

• James on the Collects. + Rev. T. Scott's Commentary.

« PoprzedniaDalej »