« PoprzedniaDalej »
IN EVIL TIMES.
1.-OF GRACE GROWING AND INCREASING. 2.—THE FIRST AND LAST IN SUFFERING WORK. 3.-THE WAY TO OBTAIN A SURE AND GREAT REWARD. 4.-THE TWO WITNESSES THEIR TESTIMONY. 5.-THE UNCERTAINTY OF THE WORLD. 6.-MAN'S WRATH AGAINST GOD'S PEOPLE SHALL TURN TO
GOD'S PRAISE. 7.-COMFORT TO MOURNERS FOR THE LOSS OF THE SOLEMN
ASSEMBLIES. 8.-THE EVIL OF UNBELIEF IN DEPARTING FROM GOD. 9.-A WARNING TO APOSTATES.
IN NINE SERMONS.
TO THE READER.
These Sermons call none father but that reverend servant of God Mr. Bridge, whose labours have long praised and yet do praise him in the gates, which these also will not fail to do. If thou wouldest know how to grow in grace ; who shall be first and last in suffering work; how to obtain a sure and great reward ; how to understand the testimony of the two witnesses ; how to take thy heart off the world : if thou wouldest find how man's wrath turns to God's praise ; what comfort attends those who mourn for solemn assemblies; what is the evil of an unbelieving heart in departing from God, and what is the danger of apostacy, buy, try and improve this little treatise : so doing, thou wilt find treasure and sweetness in it, and from thine own experience confess that it is better than gold and sweet as the honeycomb: which that thou mayest do is the hearty desire of thy soul-friend,
SEASONABLE TRUTHS IN EVIL TIMES.
OF GRACE GROWING AND INCREASING.
“ That as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.”—1 Tuess. IV. 1.
The apostle having exhorted the Thessalonians in the former part of this epistle to perseverance in grace, as you read in the former chapter, at verse 8, “ For now we live if ye stand fast in the Lord;” and at verse 13 of the same chapter, “ To the end he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father:” he doth here, in this chapter, exhort them to christian progression, growing and increasing in grace. So in this first verse of chapter iv.
In this exhortation three things are considerable:
First, The matter which he exhorteth them unto in the latter end of the verse, that they would “ abound more and more in the work of the Lord.”
Secondly, The manner of this exhortation, and that is with much earnestness; “ We beseech you, brethren, and exhort you ;" and, “ We exhort you by the Lord Jesus.”
Thirdly, The reason or motive that he uses to press this exhortation : “ That as ye have received of us, how ye ought to walk and to please God.” Ye cannot say that ye have not been taught, for both I and others have taught you, and “ ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God.” Now, therefore, seeing that ye have received this of us, see that
" abound more and more." 66 That ye abound more and more.” Beza and others, they have the words read thus : “ So that ye excel more and more.” I will not dispute the translation. There is one great truth which the words at first view do hold forth unto you, and that is this:
It is the earnest desire of those that are faithful in the work of the ministry, and ought to be the care of all the saints themselves, to abound in the work of the Lord yet more and more.
We are not only to have grace, but to abound and grow. So he exhorts them in the 10th verse of the same chapter : “ But we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more.” The apostle is express in this exhortation : “ But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And in 2 Cor. vii. 1, Having, therefore, these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the Alesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
In the text it is called “ abounding more and more." In verse 10 it is called “ increasing more and more." By the apostle Peter it is called “growing in grace." By the apostle Paul it is called “perfecting of holiness.” Now this you will find, if you look into Eph. iv., the end of Christ's ascension, and the end of all our ministry, of all our preaching and your hearing, that ye may abound in the work of the Lord more and more, aud that ye may be made perfect.“ He that descended, is the same also that ascended up far above all hea
and he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Then in verse 15, “ But speaking the
" truth in love, may grow up into him in all things which is the head, even Christ.” So that you see this is to be our great care that do preach the word, and the endeavour of all those that hear it, that ye may abound in the work of the Lord yet more and more, that you may increase, that ye may grow in grace. And this you will find to be Paul's one thing, Phil. iii. 13 : “ Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, (so you read it,) forgetting those things that are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press towards the mark," &c. “ This one thing I do," so you read it; but the words “ I do” are not in the Greek, but thus: “ This one thing." “ Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this is the one thing, forgetting those things that are behind, and reaching forth to those things that are before.” Our Lord and Saviour Christ, he had his one thing necessary; and David had his one thing too, “ One thing have I desired;" and here now Paul, he hath his one thing, one thing for the saints, and that is this, We forget what is past, and press
on to that which is before ; labouring to increase and to grow in grace, and “ perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
, And this
shall find to be the end of all those afflictions which we meet withal from God the Father. God the Father is unwilling to afflict his children, he would not do it unless it were necessary; why the end of his affliction we find to be this, John xv. 2., “ Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit."
And this you shall find to be the end of Christ's coming, as you read in John x. 10. “ I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." There lies a poor soul, saith Christ, dead in trespasses and sins; I am not only come to give life unto that soul, spiritual life, but that he may have it in more abundance. So that it is not only our duty to have grace, but we must “ abound therein more and more ;" we must grow therein. And, my beloved,
It is not only the duty of the saints to do so, but they will and they do do this. So saith David, “ I will praise thee yet more.” And if you look into Revelations ii., you shall find that this was the commendation of the church of Thyatira, at verse 19., that her works were more at the last than at the first." Pray mind it; it is a great and glorious commendation : oh, that it were the cummendation of all the churches now being. With some it is contrary, their works are more at the first than at the last; but saith he concerning the church of Thyatira, “ I know thy works and thy charity, and the last to be more than than the first.” Where there is a truth of grace, there will be a growth. Read I pray what is said in Prov. iv. 18., “ But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” “ That shineth more and more." Look how it is with the light of the day, so with the grace of God in the hearts of his people ; the light is small and little at the beginning of the day, but it shineth more and more, it grows brighter and brighter unto perfect day: and so though grace in God's people be but little at first dawning, yet that light and grace that is in them, it grows every day brighter and brighter unto perfect day.
Aye, but there is a great deal of danger, through the great opposition that the saints meet withal, that their light should be quite put out: they are in great danger to lose all, for