Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

"fulness the good fight of faith, under the animating 66 assurance, that we shall come off more than conquerors through him who loveth us." And, in the same style of encouragement, St. John, we find, tells us, in the words of the text, that "the victory which "overcometh the world, is our faith;" and that he may be said to possess this victorious faith, who "believeth "that Jesus is the Son of God."

[ocr errors]

You will observe, that the latter part of the text is explanatory of the words immediately preceding. The apostle first asserts, that faith giveth us the victory over the world; and then goes on to inform us what this faith is; "It is a belief in Jesus as the Son of "God:" in other words, it is believing in him as the Messias, foretold by the prophets, and prefigured by the sacrifices and other rites of the law: it is believing in him as the second person in the sacred Trinity, assuming human nature, and revealing the will of God to man, so that consequently all his promises, threatenings, and precepts, must be true and worthy of our most serious regard; it is believing in him as the Mediator between God and man, through whom we have access to the Father, having obtained remission of our sins. And surely, it must be evident to every one, that the natural tendency of this heavenly principle is to make us rise superior to the world; to give us the victory over its frowns and its allurements, by presenting constantly to our view the rewards and punishments of a future state; and the life, and death, and glorious resurrection of our Redeemer, in order to procure for us the one, and to prevent our sustaining the other.

In the prosecution of this discourse, I shall, therefore, proceed to show the salutary operation of faith, in the

various circumstances of this mortal life; whence will appear the truth of St. John's observation, that it is the victory which overcometh the world; and this will give occasion to a few words of affectionate exhortation, by way of practical improvement.

Scripture and experience teach us, that men are, in their best and most permanent estate, nothing more than strangers and sojourners here upon earth, travelling through a wilderness beset with numberless difficulties and dangers, towards a better habitation, a place of rest: the earth under their feet is frequently barren and dreary; and the heavens over their heads are often covered with clouds and thick darkness. In this situation, faith is to be recommended, as the best comforter and surest support, under all their distresses. Its strong eye perceives the clear heavens expanded beyond the surrounding gloom. To its extensive view temporal calamity seems to shrink, and becomes almost annihilated. It sees the world and every thing in it flying swiftly away upon the wings of time. It launches forth into the vast abyss of eternity, where all the little concerns of this world; its pride, pomp, and glory; its oppression, poverty, and contempt, are swallowed up, and lost for ever. Whatever the distress may be, it serves as an universal comforter: it、 gives health upon the bed of sickness, riches amidst the trials of indigence, liberty in the chains of bondage, and life itself under the stroke of death.

Things temporal are seen, they are constantly pressing upon every sense, to solicit and engross our atten tion: worldly pleasure allures us into the paths of sin; temporal pain terrifies us from the performance of our duty. But let faith become the ruling principle of our VOL. II.

9

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

64

"fulness th

[ocr errors]

assurance

querors

same sty

us, in t

[ocr errors]

Sermon 6.

The Ender of Fath

hers and the things which are eternal immediately the ascendency. This heavenly principle teaches compared to the glory which shall be revealed hereas that the afflictions of a moment are not worthy to be be done; while we are carrying the cross, it sets the after; it seems to give us the reward, before our work crown of glory on our heads. And as to the seducing pleasures of this world, instead of those which are transitory, it discloses to our view such as will never have an end; instead of comforts which can never satiate the desires of the immortal soul, it directs us to those blessed mansions, where only is to be found a fulness

tainment, which is always mixed with an infusion of of instead of this shallow cup of earthly enter bitterness, it gives us drink from those rivers of plea

[graphic]

"over

be sa

"th

ex

ar

C

pure, and ever growing more and more

are always delightful.

Humble resignation to all the dispensations of Divine though the mountains may shake at the tempest of the Providence, is the necessary consequence. What Lord; while we see him in the midst of the storm, our hope will not be moved! What though our duties may be hard, and our trials grievous; while we are

are all under the direction of

satisfied that these things

infinite wisdom and goodness; while we believe, we
shall be established; we shall not fall nor faint, but
endure patiently unto the end, pursuing the footsteps
faith and patience, now inherit the promises. Of these,
of those primitive and heroic Christians, who, through

in the eleventh chapter of his Epistle to the Hebrews.
St. Paul has commemorated many illustrious examples
Although they were stoned, were sawn asunder, were

b

th

th

m

ar

th

[ocr errors]

de

ful

he

ma

":

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

IS

an

(6

[ocr errors]

the

live

be

10

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

, were slain with the sword; destitute, afflicted, .mented; through the strength of their faith, holy men of old obtained a good report; and r names are recorded for our admonition and .couragement, that we, emulating their virtue, may become partakers of their felicity.

But, when the humble Christian thus enters upon the performance of his duty, and seriously considers the magnitude of the task by which his soul is to be saved, and the joys of heaven obtained, he may well begin the work of his salvation with fear and trembling; he may well implore, with the first disciples, "Lord, "increase my faith!" He feels the weakness and depravity of his own heart; he is sensible of the powerful influence of vicious example; he knows how liable he is to be seduced into a violation of his Lord's command, "Love not the world, nor the things of it.” "How then shall he avoid the snares which lie in his

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"6

<<

way? How shall he preserve himself innocent and "undefiled?" Steadfast faith in Jesus the Son of God, is the best, the only security. His Gospel offers aid and protection; his encouraging language is, "My Spirit shall be sent down to strengthen and comfort you my grace shall be sufficient for you: through "this, thou shalt be enabled to do all things!" When these merciful promises are heartily embraced by a lively and true faith, apparent difficulties vanish from before it; alarming apprehensions are diminished in proportion to the steadfastness of his dependence on the truth and goodness of his Redeemer; and the meek Christian pursues his way, through the path of virtue and religion, under these cheering reflections; "The "Lord will not leave me, nor forsake me: I had,

hearts, and the things which are eternal immediately gain the ascendency. This heavenly principle teaches us, that the afflictions of a moment are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed hereafter; it seems to give us the reward, before our work be done; while we are carrying the cross, it sets the crown of glory on our heads. And as to the seducing pleasures of this world, instead of those which are transitory, it discloses to our view such as will never have an end; instead of comforts which can never satiate the desires of the immortal soul, it directs us to those blessed mansions, where only is to be found a fulness of joy; instead of this shallow cup of earthly entertainment, which is always mixed with an infusion of bitterness, it gives us drink from those rivers of pleasure, which flow at the right hand of God; which are always pure, and ever growing more and more delightful.

Humble resignation to all the dispensations of Divine Providence, is the necessary consequence. What though the mountains may shake at the tempest of the Lord; while we see him in the midst of the storm, our hope will not be moved! What though our duties may be hard, and our trials grievous; while we are satisfied that these things are all under the direction of infinite wisdom and goodness; while we believe, we shall be established; we shall not fall nor faint, but endure patiently unto the end, pursuing the footsteps of those primitive and heroic Christians, who, through faith and patience, now inherit the promises. Of these, St. Paul has commemorated many illustrious examples in the eleventh chapter of his Epistle to the Hebrews. Although they were stoned, were sawn asunder, were

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PoprzedniaDalej »