Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

result of the discoveries of the Gospel. On this rests the great system of consolation, which it hath reared up for men. We are not left to dubious and intricate reasoning, concerning the conduct which God may be expected to hold towards his offending creatures : But we are led to the view of important and illustrious facts, which strike the mind with evidence irresistible. For, it is impossible to believe, that such great operations, as I have endeavoured to describe, were carried on by the Almighty in vain? Did he excite in the hearts of his creatures such encouraging hopes, without any intention to fulfil them ? After so long a preparation of goodness, could he mean to deny forgiveness to the penitent and the humble? When, overcome by the sense of guilt, man looks

up

with an astonished eye to the justice of his Creator, let him recollect that hour of which the Text speaks, and be comforted. The signals of Divine mercy, erected in his view, are too conspicuous to be either distrusted or mistaken.

In the next place, The discoveries of this hour affords the highest reason to trust in the Divine faithfulness, for the accomplishment of every promise which remains yet unfulfilled.

[blocks in formation]

For this was the hour of the completion of God's ancient covenant.

It was the performance of the mercy promised to the fathers. We behold the consummation of a great plan, which, throughout a course of ages, had been uniformly pursued; and which, against every human appearance, was, at the appointed moment, exactly fulfilled. No word that has gone out of the mouth of the Lord shall fail. No length of time alters his purpose. No obstacles can retard it. Towards the ends accomplished in this hour, the most repugnant instruments were made to operate. We discern God bending to his purpose, the jarring passions, the opposite interests, and even the vices of men ; uniting seeming contrarieties in his scheme; making the wrath of man to praise him ; obliging the ambition of Princes, the prejudices of the Jews, the malice of Satan, all to concur, either in bringing forward this hour, or in completing its destined effects. With what entire confidence ought we to wait for the fulfilment of all his other promises in their due time; even when events are most embroiled, and the prospect is most discouraging ? Although thou sayest, Thou canst not see him ; yet judgment is before him, therefore trust thou in him. Be attentive only to perform thy duty ; leave the event to God;

and be assured, that under the direction of his Providence, all things shall work together for a happy issue.

[ocr errors]

Lastly, The consideration of this whole subject, tends to excite gratitude and devotion, when we approach to God in acts of worship. The hour of which I have discoursed, presents him to us in the amiable light of the Deliverer of mankind, the Restorer of our forfeited hopes. We behold the greatness of the Almighty, softened by the mild radiance of condescension and mercy,

We behold him diminishing the awful distance at which we stand in his presence, by appointing for us a Mediator and Intercessor, through whom the humble may, without dismay, approach to Him who made them. By such views of the Divine nature, Christian faith lays the foundation for a worship which shall be at once rational and affectionate; a worship in which the light of the understanding shall concur with the devotion of the heart, and the most profound reverence be united with the most cordial love. Christian faith is not a system of speculative truths. It is not a lesson of moral instruction only. By a train of high discoveries which it reveals, by a succession of interesting objects which

it places in our view, it is calculated to elevate the mind, to purify the affections, and by the assistance of devotion, to confirm and encourage virtue. Such, in particular, is the scope of that Divine institution, the Sacrament of our Lord's Supper. To this happy purpose let it conduce, by concentrating, in one striking point of light, all that the Gospel has displayed of what is most important to man. Touched with just contrition for past offences, and filled with a grateful sense of Divine goodness, let us come to the altar of God ; and with a humble faith in his infinite mercies, devote ourselves to his service for ever.

1

SERMON VI.

ON GENTLENESS.

JAMES, iii. 17.

The wisdom that is from above is-gentle.

To be wise in our own eyes, to be wise in the opinion of the world, and to be wise in the sight of God, are three things so very different, as rarely to coincide. One may often be wise in his own eyes, who is far from being so in the judgement of the world ; and to be reputed a prudent man by the world, is no security for being accounted wise by God. As there is a worldly happiness, which God perceives to be no other than disguised misery; as there are worldly honours, which in his estimation are reproach; so there is a worldly

« PoprzedniaDalej »