Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

and solemnity of voice; when you speak to them of the things which most deeply interest your soul; so God the Holy Ghost speaks to you. The Christian is not to be forced and driven in his path. God only calls him to it, and leads him in it. He must yield himself to the gentlest influence. Not by violence, but by judgment, by choice, by affection he proceeds in the way to heaven. There are times when the Spirit moves on his heart; and if he remains insensible to his influence, the breathings of the Spirit may be gone, and the soul be left to the poisoned breezes of worldliness and sin! Let Chrisjans become habitually watchful for Divine influence; let them cultivate a sacred sensibility to it; let them be fearful of losing the least influence which the Eternal Sanctifier ever exerts on the mind, on the conscience, or on the softened and sanctified sensibilities of the heart; and I am persuaded they will :walk more closelyi' and more sweetly with God ;---șin, will less trouble them';; they will live in the light of heaven; they will have joy in God their Saviour; and then revivals of religion will continue longer ;-indeed, I solemnly believe they would never cease.

6. If we would have the aids of the Spirit, we must seek them by constant and fervent prayer. Divine sovereignty has chosen to connect the benefaction with the petition that seeks it.., Ask, and ye shall receive, is the promise that encourages prayer. And in reference to no other gift is the promise of God so full, so clear, so broad, as, in reference to this. ! The Holy Spirit to them THAT ASK HIM, is the blessed measure of his blessed bounty. The willingness of the father to give bread to the hungry child, is the measure of God's readiness to bestow the Spirit. He gives with the hand and the heart of a father. Here only there is no limit flung around desire. When we pray for any thing else, submission must qualify anxiety ;-not as I will, but as thou wilt. But, praying for the Holy Spirit, IMPORTUNITY is our best submission to God; I will not let thee go except thou bless me.

My brethren these are some of the things needful for your securing the presence and the aids of the Divine Spirit in your walk along the way of the christian life. They show you,

1. There is no safety in religious indifference and sloth. Your security, as Christians, countenances no indifference. The best

gifts of heaven are to be sought with a holy fervor and a heavenly appetite.

2. They show you that the excellency of religion, the honor of its Author, and the desirableness of its possession, will be estimated very much as you demean yourselves before the world. Ye are the temples of the Holy Ghost. God dwells in you. God acts in you. Your unfaithfulness is his dishonor and the scandal of the cross! What caution, what sanctity, what careful separation from sin, and what reserve for God should mark your daily course!

33. These truths show you the importance of improving those seasons when the evils of sin are felt, and the weakness of the flesh, and worthlessness of the world, and when death and eternity come up as present to your view. They are the seasons when God dwells in his temple. The Holy Ghost is then moving on your hearts, to lead you, by truth, from sin to holiness, and separate you unto God.

4. These truths show you, that there is no offence to God in your being dissatisfied under the absence of his Spirit. He would have you mourn; he would have you seek him by tears, and lamentations, and prayer, and give him no rest till he return. If you feel any longings after God, indulge them, cherish them, and never be satisfied till he comes to dwell in you, and walk in you, and be your God. In - holy prayer give no limit to yourselves. Launch forth on the ocean of the Divine perfections and promises. Ask any thing that is necessary to holiness. God is as much glorified in giving, as you are blessed in receiving his sanctifying gifts. Heaven is all bounty to the heart longing for its benefactions.

[blocks in formation]

PASTOR OF THE AMITY-STREET BAPTIST CHURCH, NEW-YORK.

THE PREACHING OF ANOTHER GOSPEL ACCURSED.

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you ' into the grace of Christ unto another Gospel: which is not an other; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, 80 say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."-Galatians, 1:6-9.

How full are these words of force and solemnity. Let us fix the mind on them until we feel their significancy. Is it a profane blasphemer, who opens his mouth only to pour forth execrations, who has "clothed himself with cursing as with a garment," and whose malignant feelings towards his fellow-man assume the awful form of an appeal to heaven? No ; it is one who delighted rather in blessing ; and who, cruelly as he was hated by his own nation, requited their enmity only with the most earnest wishes for their salvation, though he were himself accursed to obtain it. Is it the hot haste of a good man speaking unadvisedly, and rather according to the infirmity of the man than the sobriety of the saint? The very form into

which it is cast, and the calm, firm repetition of its tremendous denunciations, stamps it as the language of deliberation. Far from being an outburst of human passion, the language is that of one full of the Holy Ghost, of one selected and sent forth by Christ to be an authoritative teacher of the churches

-an inspired apostle. They are not the words of human infirmity, but the utterances of a holy God and a true,-his unerring and “lively oracles.” May, then, that Spirit which spoke in Paul harken in us. The truth here taught us, if awful, is yet a salutary and timely one.

We learn, I. That it is possible to ascertain what the true gospel is ; II. That the gospel is unchangeable ; III. And that they who pervert it are accursed.

I. It is possible to acquire certainty as to the true nature of the gospel. Paul's language throughout the epistle implies this. It would have been most unreasonable and most cruel thus to denounce those whose doubts as to the real purport of the gospel were unavoidable and excusable. He makes no exceptions for ignorance, and prejudice, and heedlessness. He needed to make none. He had credentials, such as none of their false teachers brought, that Christ had sent him to preach the gospel. Miracles, prophecies, and the moral results of his preaching, proclaimed him one commissioned of God. As to the doctrines he had taught, they could be left in no doubt. He assumes that the distinction between his own gospel and that of the rival teachers was palpable on the most cursory examination; and that his rudest hearers were competent to perceive the difference between the opposing doctrines, and were bound to make the requisite discrimination. He had spoken clearly and without reserve; consistently and without variation. He had in Galatia, as every where else, taught that men were sinners and could not be saved by their own good deeds ; but that Christ“ gave himself for us," (chap. 1:4;) and having died as the sacrifice, arose as the High Priest ; and that, repenting and believing, men might be jnstified freely in his righteousness, and accepted through his mediation. He had taught that by nature all inherited and deserved the wrath of God; but that through Jesus the Holy Spirit was given, producing a change of heart. He had taught that the fruit of the

Spirit thus given would be necessarily holiness of life in each true convert. Christ, the crucified Redeemer, the Holy Spirit, the great renewer and enlightener of the world, were the theme of his familiar converse, his ministrations and his writings. There was no want of certainty, then, ás to what he had taught, and what they should believe.

2. But we find men, after excusing themselves for having spent a whole lifetime in a state of spiritual irresolution, or what is rather indifference to all religion, sheltering themselves under the plea, that amid contending systems and warring pulpits they cannot ascertain what the gospel really is. Some, calling themselves Christian teachers, assure them that there is no hell, but that death is to every man the gate of heaven. Others contend that Christ had no inherent deity, and made no propitiatory sacrifice. He was but a wise and good teacher, and if men are saved it is not by his atonement or by any other substitute sacrificed in their stead. Others, again, teach that Christ did indeed die for our salvation, but that it is our own meritorious conduct and character that entitle us to his salvation, or in other words, we are saved by our own righteousness. Amid the teachers who thus stand contending with each other, and contradicting the testimony of the great body of Christians in all ages, these irresolute men profess to be at a loss what sentiments to receive. And sometimes they wish that they had lived in the primitive ages of the church, and could have heard the gospel from the lips of the apostles themselves.

Let such remember, then, that in the apostles' times they would have been subjected to the same perplexity of which they complain in our own. Let them remember, also, that they would then have found relief only from the same sources to which they are directed now. If they are distressed by the many and contradictory teachings of human guides, the Galatians were exposed to the same trial. While the apostles yet lived, the churches they had themselves planted and instructed were visited by those who taught another gospel. Paul had taught a righteousness by faith in Christ that magnified the cross. These false teachers taught a righteousness that was of the law, making void the cross of Christ. In what way were

« PoprzedniaDalej »