« PoprzedniaDalej »
St. Paul; the Apostle turned, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, to the Gentiles. Behold in these examples, the established course of the divine counsels. Grace, perseveringly neglected and abused, is withdrawn. If God shall withdraw his grace from thee; thou shalt become, like Saul, the servant of another master. An evil spirit, that evil spirit who is the author of fin and misery, shall seize thee as his prey. Then who shall break thy chains ? Enslaved to Satan, thou shalt perform his pleasure here : thou shalt fulfil his work, adding iniquity to iniquity : and into his kingdom Thall death remove thee, there with him to be tormented for ever and
My Brethren ; knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade, men. Reflect and be persuaded. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God. Forget not the blessings of redemption. Glorious as was the earthly dominion to which Saul was exalted; how faintly does it shadow out the kingdom which the Lord of glory has purchased for you! Be faithful unto death, that He may give you the crown of life.
On religious Comfort.
ISAIAH xl. I.
Comfort ye, comfort ye, My people, faith
nounces the Gospel to the people of Ifrael. To his evangelical eye, enlightened by the spirit of Jehovah, futurity becomes present. Through the obscurity of remote ages
he beholds the sun of righteousness glowing with unclouded beams. What he beholds he reveals. He avers to the twelve tribes that the word of their God stands fast for ever ; that at the appointed hour, however distant, God will eftablish the covenant made with their forefathers; that He will send the promised Redeemer, who shall feed his flock as a shepherd, preach
good tidings unto the meek, bind up the broken-hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, and comfort all that mourn. But the Gospel was not to be good tidings only to the posterity of Jacob. Its consolations were to extend, as Isaiah repeatedly declares, to the Gentiles, to the utmost corners of the world. In unison with the declarations of this eminent Messenger of God; with the primeval covenant to Abraham, that in his feed all the nations of the earth should be blessed ; and with the corresponding promises of the Most High renewed from generation to generation, by succeeding prophets; is the voice of the Angel, who communicates the birth of Christ to the shepherds : Behold, I bring you good tida ings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Considering therefore the words of the text as pertaining no less to ourselves than to the inhabitants of Judea to whom they were addressed; I would endeavour, under the blessing of God, to apply them to our immediate instruction.
Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, faith
We have here from the lips of eternal truth, the assurance of a very great blessing to follow from the preaching of the Gospel ; Comfort : and a description of the persons
to whom the blessing belongs; My people. I propose in the first place to shew what the comfort is, which the Gospel of our Lord conveys to mankind : and afterwards to describe the persons, who are authorised to take that comfort to themselves.
1. Whenever we speak of comforting another, the very expression implies that he is in tribulation and distress. When the Gospel of Christ is stated as bringing comfort to men ; the statement itself proves that, without the gospel of Christ, the condition of men must be wretched. If the Gospel is to minister effectual comfort under that wretchedness, it must meet all our wants : it must lay open a method of complete deliverance from the evils of every kind under which we labour. Examine then what is the situation of men, of every one of us, by natureand search whether Jesus Christ has not provided for us in his unbounded mercy the means of being rescued from all the miseries, to which by nature we are subject.
What is the situation in which each of you finds himself, in consequence of that corrupt nature which you have brought into the world? You discover that from the earliest period which you can recollect
you have been prone to fin. Sin fhewed symptoms of its power over you in your infancy. As childhood advanced, siņ manifested itself in additional shapes. Youth came attended with new offences. Man. hood added to the nụmber. You perceive the imagination of your heart still to be evil continually. In word, or in thought, or in temper; or in conduct, you discern that
you are a perpetual transgressor: disregarding God, unwilling to obey Him, weary of serving Him, distrustful of his Providence, discontented with his appointments ; injurious to your neighbour ; prone to be unkind, unforgiving, felfish, envious, proud, ambitious. presume to whisper to yourself that, when you trespass against heaven and before man, you do not know that you are offending : or that you are constrained to offend in opposition to your judgement and choice. Whatever plea' may be alledged in special instances of ignorance or of surprise ; you in general sin against your knowledge and conviction. In almost every case of sin, your conscience either reproaches you at the time; or would have reproached you, if you
had not wilfully shut your ears, and denied yourself leisure to listen to its warnings. And when you transgress through
Nor can you