Obrazy na stronie

coming to attempt the same exercise, and avoid the contrary as death and destruction.

3. In committing these important concerns into the hands of the Redeemer, faith has chiefly in its eye the day of death and of judgment. Paul committed his soul against that day. Eternity has the grand and leading influence on religion. The one prospers in proportion as we are impressed with the other. While thoughtless and unconcerned about eternity, we will always be indifferent about Christ. It is no wonder that the last day makes such impression upon the awakened soul as to engross the attention, and make it be spoken of with eminence and emphasis. It is the day when the plans of Providence, and the schemes of creatures, will all be finished. It will never be succeeded by another. In the transactions of that day every rational creature is deeply concerned. His condition will be solemnly and irreversibly decided for eternity. The day of death is of equal importance with that day. At death the state is decided. Then the soul appears before the Judge, and receives sentence. It will be recognized at the last day. It is this consideration which makes death so important. When it approaches, faith rouses itself, collects all its vigour, and loudly cries for mercy. With remarkable ardour it repeats its language, “ Receive my soul.” Why all these vehement exertions ? The day which it always had in view is now at hand, and the prize will be gained, or lost for eternity!

That faith has this day in its eye is evident from its exercise respecting others. The best thing Paul

could do for another was to seek that he might find mercy in that day. Remarkable is that prayer in behalf of Onesiphorus, “ The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day.” Mercy then is crowning, and all who receive it are everlastingly and infinitely happy. That faith has that day in its eye is also evident from the exercise of believers about themselves. At conversion, being fully persuaded that they must be judged by God, and sensible that they cannot stand on any thing of their own; they put their souls into Christ's hands as a depositum and trust to be kept by him against that day, presented by him in that decisive period, and be kept under his immediate care during the final judgment. Christ receives the trust, and gives the highest evidence at last that he was worthy of it. Well

may he address the believer who put his soul into his hand, and say, There is thine own with interest; I have let no ill befall it, I have neither lost it, nor suffered any to pluck it out of my hand : when ready to go astray I brought it back, and never allowed it to wander within the flood-mark of Divine wrath : when cited before the Judge I kept it in my hand, and answered myself: now, enter into the joys of thy Lord: heaven and all my fulness are thine! No doubt faith commits the soul for time, and the journey through the wilderness. The believer puts himself into Christ's hand for duty and trial, difficulty and danger; but still with an eye to the day of death and of judgment. His constant language is, - Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. My flesh and my heart

faileth ; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. This God is my God for ever and ever: he will be my guide even unto death.” The apostle says, “ If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” We might add, if we committed our souls for this life only, however important in itself; still, without an eye to that day, it would be of little moment.

4. When faith commits these important concerns to Christ against that day, it always discovers him as unspeakably worthy of being trusted, and is persuaded that he cannot be trusted in vain. The

apos. tle says, I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him. It is this discovery that makes the believer deposit his soul in the hands of the Redeemer with confidence and ease. Every thing about this transaction is too weighty and important to be committed to any, unless he is an object worthy of the highest trust. The believer trusts him with the soul, his better part. He employs him about the most important work-salvation from sin and wrath; and for a period of no shorter duration than eternity. These things are of infinite consequence, and plainly show that the object entrusted must be seen able to manage such momentous concerns.

Faith considers and credits the account given of Christ in the Scriptures, where he is pointed out as worthy of the highest confidence. There he is expressly called the Most High God, and the most indubitable proofs of his divinity are adduced. He is exhibited as God in our nature. He became map

that he might suffer in our room, and have an experimental acquaintance with our miseries. In his official character the Scriptures exhibit him as appointed and sealed by his Father, to purchase immortal souls, and heaven as their eternal inheritance. Every where, they declare that he has done it in his death. Thus we read of the redemption of the purchased possession, and that the saints are redeemed, not with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. Redemption is always spoken of as the fruit of his death, and his blood is expressly declared to be the price. The Scriptures represent him as full of grace and truth, and exhibit him in the most amiable and endearing relations, to induce sinners to entrust him with their souls. They proclaim that he is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto him. This declaration must include his willingness. Without this, a revelation of his ability could never yield comfort to a soul oppressed with guilt, and would be directly opposite to the glad tidings of salvation. In the word he is expressly set before sinners as the great ordinance of God for salvation; and it is the amount of Divine revelation to beseech them to come, behold his worthiness, and commit their souls to him for salvation. In the very act of entrusting Christ with the soul, faith has actual experience of his being worthy. Coming, believers find rest. In the act of stretching forth the withered hand, it is healed. Committing itself to Christ, the soul leans and rests on him, and the believer finds himself safe as on a

rock or in a garrison; and every renewed act of faith increases this comfortable experience.

5. When faith has got a discovery of Christ as worthy of trust, and has actually committed the soul into his hand; though many attempts should be made to shake it, it is not easily moved. After Paul had employed Christ for salvation, many endeavours were used to shake his confidence; but all in vain. When he wrote this, he was under cruel persecution, and had the immediate prospect of a painful and ignominious death. But none of these things moved him. So it is with believers. Faith proceeded on good and infallible grounds when it first surrendered the soul to Christ. It ventured on the promise and oath of Jehovah. Acting in this manner was the result of deliberation, and produced solid satisfaction. The poor believer had tried many other objects, and found them inadequate, and refuges of lies. Wearied out, he left them all, as Lot the cursed city, devoted to destruction. Now, when harassed with temptations about the unworthiness of Christ, faith cannot but be persuaded that He is infinitely worthy of being trusted as a keeper, who, being God, undertook to be the surety of sinners, and gave himself to be a propitiation.

Almost innumerable are the attempts to shake the soul that has entrusted Christ against that day. Unbelief makes a constant business of it. It insists upon the improbability of God dying for his creatures, and for such a guilty wretch as the person's self. It urges that we have never seen him, that we have no

« PoprzedniaDalej »