Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

voted president, the beloved pastor of the flock of Jesus Christ, which statedly meets for worship and instruction in this place, has been called from his labours on earth to his reward on high. It seems as if but a few weeks had elapsed, since within these walls he joined us in the song of praise, or in our united addresses to the throne of grace. His departure has left a mournful void in this sanctuary: that voice which so often roused the sleeping conscience, which confirmed the faith or relieved the sorrows of believers, will never more be heard from this sacred desk: the clods of the valley will hide the precious remains of this heir of heaven from the view of his afflicted relatives and flock, until they and he shall awake from the long sleep of death, and together shall appear before the Judge of quick and dead. But we have still another loss to register and mourn. It is that of the respected and venerable president of the New Jersey, and American Bible Society. He too, since we last assembled in this place, has descended to “the house appointed for all diving.” Through a long period, he had appeared in the Christian horizon as a star of no ordinary magnitude and splendour. Until the latest moment of reason, “his light shone before men” with all the mild radiance of Christian excellence. Preeminent for wisdom and learning, for piety and benevolence, this ornament of his country and benefactor of man, having “fought the good fight,” having “kept the faith,” has now “finished his course,” and like the illustrious prophet whose name he bore, has ascendod, we trust, in a chariot of light to the paradise of God. Casting a look of retrospective sorrow over the graves of these lamented and devoted men, we may adopt the language" of the pious Montgomery, and exclaim— “Behold the bed of death' The honour’d sleeping clay ! Heard ye the parting breath Mark'd ye the eye's last ray

[ocr errors]

“Bury the dead, and weep In stillness o'er the loss— Bury the dead—in Christ they sleep Who bore on earth his cross. Soon, from the grave their dust shall rise In his own image to the skies.” In closing the present exercise, allow me to ask you, Christian friends, what is the chief motive which has brought this assembly together at this time? It was not surely the pursuit of entertainment—it was not to pass an hour in the indulgence of a fruitless curiosity. No : we trust it was a higher motive. It was a desire and purpose of doing good: it was the determina

tion to cast your respective mites into the treasury of heaven: it was that by your contributions, your presence, and example, you might assist in scattering through our own and through distant lands the oracles of revealed truth. Connected as this society is, with the national Bible Society, (the noblest institution of pious benevolence that exists in this western hemisphere) let us bear in mind that every dollar now contributed, that is not expended in the purchase of a Bible for the destitute of our own county, will be appropriated to carrying the glad tidings of salvation to some more distant fellow citizen or fellow mortal. Let us remember too, in the exercise of so laudable a charity, that “he who giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord.” He lendeth to a Being who can either fill his barns with plenty, and make his cup of joy to overflow ; or who can deprive him of health, of reason, or of friends, and make every moment of life a burden and a curse. Nor let us, on this occasion, forget that the period is fast approaching, when all now present shall be summoned to their last account, before the tribunal of Eternal Justice. It will be of incomparably greater moment then, that we should have now assisted in the circulation of this blessed volume, among the ignorant and needy, than to have filled the highest throne on earth —than to have reared to ourselves the loftiest monument in the temple of Fame, or to have died surrounded with all the wealth and luxury of the richest voluptuary on earth. Taught by the sure word of prophecy, we know that this section of the universe which we inhabit is fast hastening to an end. The millennial day appears to have begun to dawn. Already in the wide diffusion of the scripture, in the incipient conversion of the Jews, in the abandonment of idolatry and the profession of Christianity by multitudes of the heathen in every quarter of the globe, we hail the first fruits of that vast harvest which will soon be gathered from every region under heaven. Roll on then, ye destined ages, and complete the predicted reign of sin and desolation Roll on, and usher in the second advent of the Great Restorer of the Universe And lo! he comes— comes in the clouds of heaven with attending angels, and every eye shall behold, and every knee shall worship him. “See Heav’n its sparkling portals wide display, And break upon us with a flood of day. No more the rising Sun shall gild the morn, Nor evening Cynthia fill her golden horn: But lost, dissolv’d in bright millennial rays, One tide of glory—one unclouded blaze Shall gladden Earth—The Light himself, shall shine Reveal’d—and God’s eternal day be thine. The seas shall waste, the skies in smoke decay,+ Rocks fall to dust, and mountains melt away,+

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

BRIEF Discourses, NO. x.-ON ADOPTION.
BY E. S. Ely.
“Ye have received the Spirit of Adoption.”—Rox. viii. 15.

The spirit of Christianity is not a spirit of slumber, of ignorance, of illiberality, of stupidity, of licentiousness, or of bondage. Jesus Christ promised, that he would pray the Father, who should send the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth, into the hearts of believers, to dwell with them. Without the inhabitation of the Holy Ghost there is no experimental religion. Except ye live in the Spirit; are led by the Spirit, taught by the Spirit, comforted by the Spirit, ye are dead in trespasses and sins. Unless the Holy Ghost has convinced you of sin, of righteousness, and judgment, and has united you to the Saviour, by working faith in you, there is no divine life begun in your souls. If ye are alive by the quickening influences of the Holy One, he actually abides in you, and ye are new creatures, because he makes you free from the law, instigates you to the practice of piety, and communicates to you the inheritance and felicity of the children of God. Every hearer, who is a true Christian, is actually a temple for the Holy Ghost. He does as truly reside within you by an actual presence, as your souls abide in your bodies. He operates within you also, as evidently as your intellectual faculties, in conjunction with those of volition, feeling, and agency, regulate your mechanical frame. Not merely the influences of the Spirit are experienced within you; but the Holy Ghost himself pervades your whole complex nature, so as to be in your souls, and tabernacle in your houses of clay. This Spirit, which makes you Christians indeed, is the Spirit of adoption spoken of in the text; and every one of you who deserves the Christian name, every one who is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, has received him. You might as easily be a man without the immortal mind, as a Christian, a believer, or a child of God, without the Spirit of adoption. Should we not, then, consider, I. Some of the properties of the Spirit of adoption; and, II. Some of the evidences which may prove that we have received him : It may be profitable to us, and, to this end, may the Holy Ghost assist us. Yes, blessed Spirit, give us saving knowledge of thyself, in thy divine character of the Spirit of adoption. 1. It is the property of this Spirit to change a sinner's state, so as to introduce him into the family of God. We naturally belong to the household of rebellion, and being the lineal descendants of apostate Adam, are accounted by God the children of the devil, and the rightful heirs to everlasting damnation. Vol. II.-Presb. Mag. 4. A

[graphic]

But when the Spirit convinces us of sin and righteousness, in such a manner that we accept of God's unspeakable gift, Jesus Christ, the Father by a sovereign act of his grace adopts us. He receives us into the family which bears the name of his dear Son; and accounts us, from that moment, no less the members of his celestial household, than the holy angels. You all know that adoption means the act of taking any individual into a family, to be a son, or daughter, who was not a child by natural generation and birth. By the act of the Spirit we are regenerated; and of course by his agency we become the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty. 2. It is the property of the Spirit of adoption to communicate to all who are translated into the divine family, the disposition of children. In vain would it be to change our state from the household of hell to that of heaven, were not the temper of our souls changed also. Natural men, of carnal minds, do not feel like the sons and daughters of Jehovah. They have no inclinations which would become their relation to the heavenly Father. They have emotions of distrust, jealousy, and hatred. But the Spirit, being come into their hearts, makes them perceive, believe, and realize, that God is a Father, of infinite purity, and unbounded goodness. So soon as the Holy Ghost takes up his residence in any human heart, love succeeds to opposition, and penitence to rebellion. God no longer seems to be a tyrant, but a tender parent. The mind of the sinner who receives the Spirit of adoption is so essentially transformed, that he exercises faith, confidence, complacency, gratitude, and all the filial affections, in relation to that very Being whose proffers of love he before despised, whose word he contemned, and whose holiness and righteousness made him an object of the most fearful apprehension. 3. It is the property of the Spirit of adoption to communicate to us parental instruction. After we are admitted into the family of God, our Father does not suffer us to remain in perfect ignorance, but sends his Spirit, to develope to our minds a perpetually increasing knowledge of ourselves, of God, of his designs, of the character and offices of Christ, and of our duty. The instruction which is given that we may be adopted, is not sufficient to satisfy us, after we become sons; and, therefore, to expand and fill our desires, and enable us to glorify our FATHER, who is in heaven, the Spirit of truth causes us to grow in the knowledge of such things as the children of so great and glorious a parent should comprehend. To qualify us to act our part in the Lord's house, and to enjoy God, for ever and ever, he arrests our attention, excites inquiry, renders investigation pleasant, unlocks the hidden treasures of the Bible, and teaches us the things of Jesus Christ. For all our practical and saving

knowledge, we are dependent on the Spirit, and he would not condescend to instruct us, were it not for the relation which we are to sustain in the family of Jehovah for ever. 4. The Spirit of adoption is the medium of parental discipline. We need correction; but we should not receive it, were not the Holy Ghost to unite us to Jesus Christ, and make us children of God. All sinners who are not adopted receive PUNIs HMENT, or vengeance instead of Disc IPLINE, which is pain inflicted with the intention of improving the state and character of the person exercised by it. Since, therefore, it is the Spirit who makes us children, it is the Spirit also who introduces us to the fatherly correction of our God. It is this same Spirit also, who teaches us to regard the afflictions which we experience in a proper manner; for if he did not teach us, we should never be the wiser for all the judgments which are commingled with mercy. 5. It is the property of the Spirit of adoption to sanctify the temporal blessings, and spiritual privileges, which our heavenly FAt HER confers. He teaches us that we are children, and makes us feel that God dealeth with us as with the members of his own family, by giving us a portion of good things, in due season. Without the Spirit of adoption in our hearts, temporal blessings would but alienate us from our God; but through his influences they bring us nearer to him, and we rejoice in him, who openeth his bountiful hand to supply the wants of his children. This same Spirit makes us grateful as children to a parent, for all those religious privileges, by which we become assimilated to our God, and prepared for his presence in glory. 6. The Holy Spirit enables us to perform filial duties. God requires the heart, and the Spirit of adoption enables us to give it; for until we view God as our Father, we can never yield him our affections; but when he has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, we have such emotions as Jesus had ; and are disposed to imitate his example, who came not to do his own will, but to glorify the Father. Being convinced and humbled by the Spirit, we feel the force of the inquiry, “if then I be a father, where is mine honour o’’ Malachi, i. 6. And such is the state of the believer's soul, that he thenceforth renders unto. God something of the cheerful service due to a benevolent parent. To reverence his name, venerate his character, consult his pleasure, believe his word, love him, pray to him, praise him, confess our sins to his parental ear, submit to his will, and defend his cause by our faithful exertions, and even by the sacrifice of our lives, are filial duties, which the Spirit of adoption

« PoprzedniaDalej »