« PoprzedniaDalej »
SERMON BY THE REV. C. BRADLEY.
THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 1831.
(The Rev. C. Bradley's Sermon concluded.)
CIES WERE TO BE PREACHED.
Let us pass on now to our THIRD soul may be, the Gospel can recover point, namely, Where THESE MER- them ; no matter how guilty, the Gos
The pel can save them. Repentance and text says first “in all nations.” It forgiveness are not preached in hell : is the peculiarity of the Gospel that it they are needed there, greatly needed, makes no distinction of persons : every but not a soul there can obtain them. other revelation of God to man may - Prayers are not offered there. This in this view be considered as local. sentence stands over the entrance of The blessings of the Mosaic dispen- that fearful place, “He that is unjust, sation were confined to one nation, let him be unjust still : and he that is the house of Israel. There were, doubt- filthy, let him be filthy still.” Reless, wise and good reasons in the pentance and remission are preached Divine mind for thus limiting it; but here: they are the portion of you and the blessings of the Gospel are like of me, therefore you and I may obtain the air that surrounds and circulates them, may repent, may be pardoned; through the earth, free for all, effectual and live eternally. for all, needful for all. The language But observe, though these blessings of our Lord proves this, “ It behoved,” were preached to “all nations,” there he says,
“ that repentance and re- one place specially mentioned mission of sins should be preached in where they were to be published first. his name among all nations.” Then And this is the very last place in which we gather that all nations need these we should have expected them to be mercies, else why tell them of mercies published at all, “ beginning,” says that are not required by them, mercies our Lord, “ at Jerusalem.” And is which in fact may be to them no mer- it not affecting, brethren, that the first cies at all ? Repentance and remis- offers of grace should be made to sion are not preached in heaven. those, who, of all people in the world,
Again,"all nations" may obtain these least deserved this honour, and least mercies. There is not a country on wished for it—that the heavenly gift the earth, there is not a human being should be tendered to those first, who in any country on the earth, that is most despised it. One would rather excluded from the Gospel mission. have expected from Jesus a totally “Go ye,” saith its Divine author, different charge. “ Let repentance “ go into all the world, and preach and remission of sins be preached the Gospel to every creature.” “The throughout this wretched world, let same Lord over all is rich in mercy every Gentile nation hear my Gospel, unto all that call upon him." No and every sinful barbarian be told of matter how lost any nation or any my grace, my Spirit shall wait to be
gracious unto him, and my blood shall "Out of Zion shall go forth the law, cleanse him from all his sins. But and the word of the LORD from Jeru. hasten away from Jerusalem, carry no salem.” “ The Lord shall arise upon tidings of mercy to that wicked city, thee,” says Isaiah again, “ and his waste po labour or pains there, it has glory shall be seen upon thee." To been from the first the slaughterhouse begin at Jerusalem was one propheof my prophets--I sent them down to tical mark of the Jewish Gospel discall them to repentance, but they killed pensation. The church looked for the them-I came to them speaking mercy, bursting out of the Messiah’s glory love, and grace, and with wicked there; and there, accordingly, he orhands they crucified and slew me. dered his disciples to carry his Gospel 0, go not there, they will reject and first, there began Messiah's reign, and destroy you. O, there was a time there began his triumph. when all the love of my heart was This proceeding tended also to contheirs. I wept over them tears of firm the divinity of the Saviour's mis. anguish. Could tears of blood have sion : it was, and is so still, an inmoved them, they should have seen controvertible proof of the reality of tears of blood shed by me in their his pretensions. What was Jerusastreets; but now the vengeance of lem? It was the place where Christ heaven is upon them. Go into all had been scoffed at, despised, and rethe world, and preach the Gospel to jected. He had been regarded there every creature ; but as for Jerusalem as an impostor, he had been executed pass it by: sooner preach to the rocks there as a blasphemer. True, he had and the sands of the wilderness.” now vindicated his pretensions by rais. This we might have expected, but ing himself from the dead, but this ex. Christ's ways are not like our ways. traordinary circumstance was misreHe commands the first offers of sal- presented, and was attempted thus vation to be made to the very people to be explained away~"He never whom we should have excluded from arose, his disciples stole him out of salvation altogether; and all the world his tomb by night.” Now, if the disare to wait for the bread of life till ciples had left Jerusalem, and gone at this people have eaten of it, and been once to the heathen world, it would satisfied.
have appeared as though they could Now, there must have been some not have faced the light; they would reason in our Lord's mind for this ex- have abandoned the place, Jerusalem, traordinary proceeding. Perhaps it where their testimony could be sifted may have been this; it was so ordered and enquired into, perhaps, contrafirst, to fulfil the prophecies concern- dicted ; and the Gentiles would have ing him. You observe that through said of them, and said it with a reason. out this chapter he lays peculiar stress able pretext, “We will not believe on the prophecies : he no where else these men, let them not bring their dwells so much on them. Now, it was tidings of resurrection to us, till they foretold by several prophets, that the have carried it there, where the cir. preaching of the Gospel should begin cumstances of the resurrection can be at Jerusalem, that the foundation of enquired into." But in testifying of the Messiah's kingdom should be laid their Master in the very city where he in that place where the degradation of was crucified, to preach him as an asthe Messiah was witnessed, and that cended Saviour in the very streets the scene of his deepest humiliation along which he was led to execution, should be the first theatre of his glory. to declare him to be God over all
to the very men whose interest it, change his skin, and the leopard his was to prove him a treacherous and spots, than expect such impossibilities deceitful impostor, and to do this at from us. But Christ says to such the risk of persecution and death, and men, “Go ye to Jerusalem and look to do this successfully and triumphantly, there. Who ever slighted more priviprevailing on thousands to bow down leges, or abused more mercies, or comto Jesus as the only Saviour of their mitted heavier crimes, than that city? souls, to cause those thousands who 0, could you see the record of their sins, before shouted “ Crucify him, crucify could you estimate the guilt that nailed him,” now to call him “ Blessed,” me to the accursed tree, you would all this laid the foundation of the not make light of your own transgresGospel so sure, carried such convic- sions, but you would bless God every tion along with it to men's minds, day you live, that your hand never that the enemies of the cross were si- slew the Lord of Glory, that your lenced, and this event, up to this hour, tongue never cried, crucify him, that the enemies of the cross cannot resist. you never rejoiced in his woe.” And The Nazarene was followed by the yet when he sent the Apostles forth enemies who shed his blood, the male-first, he said, Preach my Gospel to factor was worshipped and adored by these very men, they were first in the very city which witnessed his de- my care when I left my grave, they gradation, and which after his degra- stood foremost in my pity when I left dation, witnessed his glory, his name the earth, they partook first of my rebecame the subject of gratulation and pentance, and my grace, and my salva. joy, and his cross the object of their tion when I sat down in the skies. boasting and their glory.
But the poor sinners of the Gentiles, Christ sent his Gospel to Jerusalem coming to me and asking mercy at my first, that he might exhibit to all na- feet, shall they question my readiness tions and ages the extent of his mercy, to show them mercy ? Jerusalem the freeness, the power, the fulness of found grace, shall they be cast out? his grace. It is common with men, My murderers are sitting here. Some when really convinced of sin, to dis- of those very voices I heard shouting trust the divine mercy. The advan. in derision at my sufferings, are now tages they have lost, the mercies they filling the heavens around me with have abused, the graces they have their songs. Those heavens, and the trampled on, the iniquities they have earth you stand on, shall sooner pass committed, appear to them to form away than one of you asking merey at such a load of guilt, that it can never my feet shall perish there ? And as be removed away from them; and for you who despair of my power to when at last, Jehovah's pardoning cleanse, you who give me credit for mercy entered their soul, another kind my kindness but distrust my greatness, of distrust began to harass them. go ye also to Jerusalem. I wrought These hard hearts of ours, they say, miracles in that city, that people saw never can be thoroughly opened, these my mighty works; but they never polluted affections
be prayed, they never trembled, they recleansed : pardoned we may be, 0, pented not. What heart could be what cannot a gracious Saviour do, harder than theirs ; but I was exalted but as for loving God, and honouring to give repentance to the world ; and God, and walking with God, and en. sooner was I seated upon my joying God, rather may the blind man throne, no sooner was I enthroned the rejoice in the light, the Ethiopian Mediator of the Church, and Dispenser
of all the gifts of the everlasting Spirit, it: so surely will I sanctify and cleanse than I began with Jerusalem. Before it, so surely will I present it to my one Gentile heart was touched by my Father, not having spot or wrinkle or grace, I poured out repentance there; any such thing. Dim it may be for a I subdued and converted and purified time, I see every spot that disfigures it, and gladdened and made meet for every blemish that tarnishes it, but all heaven thousands of guilty souls. I this is only for a time; I will so sent a remedy when the evil seemed cleanse it in the sight of him who past all remedy. I can purify as easily chargeth his very angels with folly, as I can pardon. I am as able, and as that it shall stand spotless in the full willing to sanctify, as I am to save. I blaze of His majesty, a glorious Church, love my Church and gave myself for holy and without blemish.”
DELIVERED BY THE LORD BISHOP OF CHESTER,
AT THE CHURCH OF ST. MARY WOOLNOTH, LOMBARD STREET, MARCH 20, 1831.
Genesis, i. 26.—“ And God said, let us make man in our own image, after our
Such is the account Scripture gives of instinct which is needful for their prethe creation of mankind. God made servation; and they can be taught haman in his own image, and breathed bits convenient for their masters, for into his nostrils the breath of life. But whose use they were intended, but how are we to understand this? Scrip. they do not bear the image of their ture also acquaints us that God is a Maker, though they testify his wisdom spirit whom no man hath seen at any by the skill with which they are formtime--whom no bodily shape can in ed, and answer their intended use. any way resemble. The Israelites who They have no power which enables witnessed his surpassing glory are them to understand more than is preoften reminded that they saw no man.
n- sented to their senses. They have no nerof similitude; therefore, this image, reason to govern their affections, or to this likeness, did not consist in any teach them when to follow their appebodily form or shape. The likeness of tites and when to restrain them. They the Divine nature here ascribed to man, cannot be made acquainted with their is in the soul and its faculties, in its Maker, or act in willing conformity intellectual and moral powers. Man to his commandments; the only obeis distinguished from the other crea- dience they can yield, is that of the tures which God hath made, in that machine to its contriver. In all these he is capable of acquiring knowledge, things the other animals differ from and discerning between good and evil, man, and man from them. Man has and regulating and directing his affec- faculties of the same nature as we are tions. All these things mark a de- taught to ascribe to Him, who is incided difference between man and the finite in wisdom and knowledge and other animals; they cannot acquire goodness. He has an understanding knowledge. They are gifted with the to perceive truth, and may reach to
things invisible; a soul capable of spi- | to any thing beyond what their eyes ritual affections, capable of acting from behold and their hands handle. They the noblest motives and looking for- perform the bodily functions of men ; ward to immortal glory. So that when but they know not Him in whom they God beheld him, together with the live and move and have their being; world which he had given him to in- | they are ignorant of his commands, habit, and the creatures over which he his promises, his warnings, his will, had dominion, he surveyed the works all which are to be exercised, and how which he had made, and, behold, they will it be in the end? Are these not were very good; all fitted for their they of whom it is written, “ My peopurposes. The fair creation to sup- ple perish for lack of knowledge." port mankind, and useful animals to Such, I fear, in some of its features, assist their labours ; themselves to is the character of too many of the inrender unto God the obedience which habitants of our land. St. Paul comhe demands and deserves to enjoy, of plains "because they did not like to rethe faculties which He had bestowed, in tain God in their knowledge, therefore serving and honouring and in loving God gave them over to a reprobate and in fearing him.
mind.” And this, not of the heathen Looking out, however, on the world only, the prophet speaks of God's own as it now is, what do we see around people—Israel. “Hear, O heavens; and us? Do we see the image of God give ear, O earth; for the Lord hath spoprevail? “How is the gold become ken; I have nourished and brought up dim, and the fine gold changed?” I children, and they have rebelled against turn on one side, and I see a multitude me. The ox knoweth his owner, and who have no thought of God their , the ass his master's crib; but Israel Maker ; they have set up idols in their doth not know, my people doth not hearts; wealth is the object of their consider.” Even of those to whom desire, riches their pursuit and their the Gospel has been revealed, with all worship. Brethren, what will be the its merciful promises and expectations, end? Man returns unto the earth, the Apostle complains, and what will riches do for him? I walk, of whom I have told you often, look on another side, and I see mul- and now tell you even weeping, that titudes who pay no heed to their Ma- they are the enemies of the cross of ker, because they have given them- Christ; whose end is destruction, selves to fleshly lusts, and to the grati- whose God is their belly, and whose fication of their bodily appetites and glory is in their shame, who mind their sensual desires. The wants earthly things.” Does not this dewhich they have in common with the scribe a fearful portion of our world? brute animals, which are the only How is it with you?
Is the early dewants they feel, are satisfied; and their sire of the heart to know Him that is maxim is, “Let us eat and drink, for above? Do the young come of their to-morrow we die.” Brethren, how own accord to their ministers and their will it be in the end with such ? “We teachers, and say, Declare unto us the must all appear before the judgment things of God, acquaint us with Him, seat of Christ, to receive according to the that we who are engaging in his service things done in the body, whether they may neither forget him through ignobe good or bad. I look around again, rance, nor offend him through folly. and I see other multitudes who are I fear that those who have had exstrangers to God their Maker, because perience among the young, will not their thoughts have never been called have found this to be the only use made
« For many