« PoprzedniaDalej »
paring for them will then be ready. Each of them shall enter into the blessed abode provided for him. They shall go no more out for ever ;" and "the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them to living fountains of water and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Then shall they sing together, with united gratitude and joy, the triumphant and eternal song of praise, saying, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing: for thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb."
And now say, my dear brethren, in the review of what you have heard, is not the Lord Jesus a good Shepherd indeed? He redeemed his flock with his blood, and guides them by his Spirit, and feeds them with all the rich fruits of his purchase. He defends them in life, accompanies them through death, and conducts them to those regions of light and love, where they shall dwell in his presence for evermore, eating the fruit of the tree of life, and drinking the water of the river of life, following the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.
Thrice happy they who are the sheep of his pasture; who, allured by his love, and aided by
his grace, have returned to him as the " Shepherd and Bishop of their souls."
Let me then call upon such; for of such, I trust, a goodly number are assembled in this place; let me, I say, call upon them to reflect, with gratitude and joy, upon the proofs they have already received of his care and tenderness. Remember how he found you wandering in the wilderness, exposed to every beast of prey, insensible of your danger, and unable to avoid it. Remember how he opened your eyes to see your misery, and not only discovered the all-sufficient remedy, but powerfully determined and enabled you to apply it. And let these past experiences endear him to your souls, and strengthen your dependence on him, for whatever else may be necessary to complete your salvation.
This is the natural tendency of the representation I have given you, and this is the improvement of it that best suits the occasion of our present meeting. The good Shepherd is this day to feed his own sheep, in the fattest part of that pasture which his love hath prepared for them. The ordinance now before us, doth not merely exhibit the riches of his grace, but seals and applies them to each believer in particular, that, having this security superadded to the unchangeable promise and oath of God, they may "have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge, to lay hold on the hope set before them."
With this view, then, let us approach the table of the Lord, and pray, that this gospel-feast may prove effectual, by his blessing, to confirm our faith, to inflame our love, and to enliven our hope; that, by the nourishment it affords, we may be strengthened to pursue our journey through this wilderness, till, having passed the Jordan of death, and arrived at the heavenly Canaan, faith and hope shall become sight and enjoyment, and love, ever growing with the ages of eternity, shall embrace, with increasing vigour and delight, the good Shepherd, who gave his life for the sheep. Amen.
HEBREWS, xiii. 5.
He hath said, I will never leave thee nor
THIS comfortable declaration or promise is introduced by the apostle, to enforce the duty of contentment, to which he had exhorted the Hebrews in the preceding part of the verse. Nothing can be more unbecoming in a child of God, than dissatisfaction with his present condition, or anxiety about his future provision in the world. It is no wonder to see worldly men, whose portion of good things lies wholly upon earth, loading themselves with thick clay, and eagerly grasping every thing which their craving appetites demand. Such persons cannot but be uneasy when they meet with disappointments; because, having nothing desirable in prospect beyond the grave, in losing their present enjoyments they lose their all. But the Christian, who knows of a treasure
in heaven, a treasure incorruptible in its own nature, and which no fraud nor force can take from him, may and ought to look down, with a holy indifference, upon every thing here below, resigning himself entirely to the disposal of his Heavenly Father, who not only knows what is best for him, but hath likewise obliged himself, by covenant and promise, to make all things work together for the eternal advantage of those who love him and confide in his mercy.
It was this argument which Christ used with his disciples, to dissuade them from an anxious solicitude about their temporal concerns (Matth. vi. 31.), "Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or what shall we drink? or wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the Gentiles seek, and your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." God will support and maintain his own people as long as he has any service for them in this world. He knows all their wants; and as his goodness constantly inclines him, so his power doth at all times enable him, to bestow every needful supply in its season. And can our interest be lodged in better hands? Who that believes this, would choose to be the disposer of his own lot?"The Lord reigneth," says the Psalmist, let the earth rejoice." And surely they who can