Page images

yours and mine?) that it made him | thing of inexpressible sweetness in pant after GoD, the living GOD. "I that word sitting at the right hand of

count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith; that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death." Do, my dear hearers, when a spirit of lethargy seems to be coming on, do see in this what a healthy posture of soul is? "Seeking and setting the affections on things above."

And, believe me, these things are worthy for which I speak. If the servants could say of the Centurion, he is worthy for whom we plead, I can say these things are worthy for which I speak. Communion with GOD-near walking with GOD-a life of faith in Christ-living on highliving not only, beloved, on Christ's fulness, but on Christ himself, not only on what he has, or what he has done, but on what he is, in his godhead, in his humanity, in the tenderness of his heart as well as the fulness of his salvation. To live in the blessed anticipation of glory, and honour, and immortality. To rise up in the morning, and say, this day, and every day, I would wish to consecrate to my God. These are things that are worthy your regard. Having our affections set upon GOD ALMIGHTY, wins us from all undue and inordinate affection to any thing here below, and fixes and settles our tenderest regard on those things that are imperishable and eternal.

GOD. My dear hearers, some may say the second head was the most interesting, but I am constrained to acknowledge, Christ sitting at the right hand of God is the most deeply interesting of all subjects to me, for without it we are lost to all eternity. Having finished his work—having finished transgression-having brought in an everlasting righteousness, he is now sitting at the right hand of God; hence springs the genuine motive for all holiness. A dear man of GoD once said, when we take up our stand beneath the cross of Christ, we have leisure to look at our sins. I believe of all postures it is the holiest of all postures it is the happiest-of all postures it is that which brings most fruit unto God.

When we are enabled to look at things above, to set our affections upon them, remembering that Christ is sitting at the right hand of GoD, that he has blotted out sin and made an end of it; and when his precious blood is sprinkled on our hearts, we can then say, with ardent desire, LORD GOD give me every grace, make me like thyself, make me conformed in body, soul, and spirit to thee, dead to the world and alive to God, thirsting for GOD, and loving GOD supremely, willing to do and suffer his will, so that at last I may be able to finish my course with joy, and that which the LORD has committed unto me. It is a sweet, and quiet, and happy posture of soul to look at Christ sitting at the right hand of God.

And, besides this, there is something delightful in the thought that he is at the right hand of our Father, and that our Father is quite as willing to give as he is willing to intercede, and he has gone there to take possession of heaven for his church. So that every poor RIGHT HAND OF GOD. There is some- petitioner, every poor beggar (and that


is our name, our character, and our glory) every poor beggar that goes to that throne of grace, for mercy, for grace, goes to Christ and sees him that has taken possession of heaven for his church, as their great head and glorious representative.

My dear hearers, look at that passage and see that Christ is exalted at the right-hand of GoD, for the very purpose of giving thee the things that thou dost want. Dost thou want all manner of support, go to him for it, he has it to give thee, and it is his glory to give it thee-I would say, and I can appeal to the hearts of those that hear me, that never under any pressing emergency when we have been disappointed in creature helps and creature confidence, have we been led in our poverty and extremity to cast ourselves on that faithful High Priest, but what we must say, that he has a heart that can be touched with a feeling of our infirmities. It is no idle thing that Rutherford says, "When I sigh he sighs, when I mourn he mourns, when I look up he rejoices" it is truth, most blessed truth. a proof of this had I in that loving letter that you lately sent me—I mean the church, here within these walls! Could you not say, if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it! Could you send me that tender affectionate letter if this principle were not true in any measure in you?-What you felt for me-I thank GOD for it-it was balm to my heart; but let us look up to the great inexhaustible ocean that is in the heart of the Redeemer, and see that his grace is sufficient, because his heart has infinite love. He has enough for all, and he has all for his people.


My dear hearers, the subject is vast, and most blessed. One must be brought, I believe, into a certain posture to see the truths of the Gospel. If there is a certain point of view in which one can

look at earthly objects, and only in that point of view, so, I believe, the LORD places the souls of his people in a certain point of view, that they may discover, by the teaching of his blessed Spirit, the infinite value of certain truths. Most certainly the LORD teaches us a lesson day by day, that this is not our rest. He is showing us day by day, that there is but one object on which our soul's affections ought to be placed. We are surrounded by a variety of temptations and trials the world knows nothing of-they can judge only of the outward man, but the greatest crosses are within. Those that most try a man, perhaps, never come out, as some of our worst diseases never show themselves upon our skins. But here, beloved, is our mercy, we have a risen Christ to go to-we have a Christ, that go when we will, will never say to us nay-we have a Christ who has enough, and whose glory it is to give whatever he has and he gives freely-he gives without money and without price-it is his glory to give-and you never can exhaust what he has to give. As he is the joy of his saints in glory, so he is the joy and glory of his saints on earth.

Happy they amongst those who hear me, who have had in some degree the axe laid at the root of this world, if it is but in a degree-who have been willing to be taught, in some small measure, that Christ, and only Christ, can satisfy the soul, and Christ, and only Christ, can make us happy in time and in eternity, GOD ALMIGHTY grant, that those among my hearers who have been hitherto setting their affections on things below, and not on things above, may be led to see and feel to-day somewhat of their poverty, and seek the true riches, where alone they can be found, in the bosom of our Father and our God.

A Sermon



Exodus xvi. 25.-" To-day is a sabbath unto the LORD."

MAN is naturally averse from all restraint; he is a stiff-necked creature, and will not easily bow to the yoke. It is little matter, however holy the rule, or wise the precept, or salutary the discipline-however great or venerable the authority, or strong the testimonies of a happy experience, all are resisted by the strength of an opposing pride. His secret and dearly cherished delight is to stand uncontrouled in his choice, and to remain unsubmissive to any will but his own. He shapes a path for himself—he exults like the untamed beast in the lawlessness of an evil course-he shuts out the very light itself that he may be free in darkness-he loveth darkness better than light. Let even HIM, who wrought mighty miracles-let Christ exhort and he refuseth to obey -let the appalling voice go forth which shook Sinai with its thunderslet Jehovah speak and still his posture is defiance he makes light of the commands of the living God-he glories in rebellion. What caused Satan's fall from a world of bliss-what led him to prefer a region of tempest and fire?-Self; that he might be his own master. What cost Adam an expulsion from the garden of Paradise -his driving out by an angel into the wilderness? The answer is the same-Self; that he might be his own master. What is now plunging so widely the soul of the sinner into the punishment of GOD's violated law? The answer is the same-Self; that

[ocr errors]

he might be his own master. How is it that thousands of our fellows are, at the time I am now speaking, making profanation of this sacred day-resisting the ordinances of the LORD-doing their own way— finding their own pleasures-speaking their own words-ceasing to make the sabbath a spiritual delight, the holy of the LORD, and honourable? The answer is one and the same-Self; that they might be their own masters. Pride is the awfully influential principle which, as it first cast from GOD, keeps from GOD-which, as it first drove from Paradise, prevents a return to Paradise-which, as it first went to depeople Heaven, now goes to the thinning of the church of Christ, and the peopling of hell.

Christians, may you ever pray against Pride, may you earnestly beseech the Holy Spirit, that he will graft in your hearts true humility; and that so sinking the confident man, the boastful and vain reasoner, into the little child, into the meek disciple, you may learn Christ-you may reverence Christ's authority as one that teacheth-you may obey his words as the wisdom and the truth and the love of GOD, to his own glory and your everlasting good,-to which I add a sincere and heartfelt AMEN for Jesus' sake.

[ocr errors]

To-day is a sabbath unto the LORD. On this text I would comprehend what I have to say, in the raising and the answering three questions. FIRST, How is to-day to be kept as a

sabbath unto the LORD? SECONDLY, Why is to-day to be kept as a sabbath unto the LORD? THIRDLY, Where is to-day not kept as a sabbath unto the LORD. And may the Lord of Sabbath direct and bless for Christ's sake.

The sabbath is a day of consecration-a setting apart to the LORD. It was with the LORD a day of profound rest, after the labours of the creation—a time, I should say, of spiritual enjoyment and complacency on a review of all he had wrought for man by the wonderful contrivances of his own infinite wisdom-by the outstretching of his own infinite, creating and sustaining power-by the expansiveness of his own free, sovereign, and enriching love. It was a day on which, as the source of all things, he looked, as it were, along his own rays, his own emanations, and he delighted to behold that all was good. It is a day that should be full of God, full of divine contemplations-it is a day to be rendered to Him, as the offering of the gold seven times purified —it is a day of the whole dedication of the body and soul to the LORD, as not our own but as his. The Divine command by Moses, was distinguished from the rest of the rules of the decalogue, by a more solemn form and emphasis, "Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath-day." By Jeremiah, "Hallow ye the sabbath-day, as I commanded your fathers." By Ezekiel, “Hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know I am the LORD your GOD."

To keep this day of the LORD is, then, to hallow it-and HOW ARE YOU TO DO so? I will now, in the way of rule, make answer, premising, that your spiritual exercises will be personal and particular, that they will be of the closet as well as of the temple.

And FIRST, the day will be begun, continued, and ended in self-examina

tion. The sabbath presents, as it were, a standing place, a breathing place for this holy, and too much neglected duty. In the morning, as you rise from your beds, enquire into the progress of your souls, in sanctification and in meetness for heaven. Weigh leisurely and solemnly the matter in the sight of GOD as to your growth in grace, and in the knowledge of your LORD and Saviour Jesus Christ-as to severer mortifications of self-as to your wider separation from the vain customs of an evil world—as to a more complete uprooting from the deep places of your hearts, your favourite and cherished sins-as to a more close and frequent communion with God in the spirit of prayer-as to lowlier submission to the teachings of the Great Guide into all truth-as to the evidence of a holier fear, of a livelier faith, of a more expansive benevolence to the brethren in Christ-as to the increase of the love of GoD within you-since the last sabbath.

Through the day also, let the selfcommuning voice press the inquiry. If, amidst the exercises of the church, your hearts, as well as words, are GOD-ward-if, while you confess your sin, you think of your sin, you keep it before you-if, while you bewail your manifold infirmities, you feel the weight of your infirmities

if, while you breathe requests for pardon, you are deeply sensible that you stand in need of pardon-if, while you pray for strength to overcome your spiritual enemies, you are conscious of your exposure to your spiritual enemies-if, while you make your thanksgiving to Almighty GoD for his mercies, and, above all, for his inestimable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, you recall his mercies, and do thus acknowledge the grace of a GOD in Christ.

At the close of the day, too, you will

ask of your souls what enlightening and sanctifying effects have been produced upon you by the services of the spiritual house-by the prayers you have prayed-by the great truths you have heard to the exaltation of Christ as your only Redeemer, and to the abasement of the sinner? And whe- | ther you have added through the day to faith and virtue, by an exhibition of a pure and consistent example, so that no violence has been done to your conduct at the house of GoD by your conduct at home-nothing occurred to mar the image of the profession in the outward conversation-nothing that might, to your servants, or to your children, create a suspicion or darken with a doubt your sincerity and truth.

SECONDLY, the day should be begun, continued, and ended in prayer. Prayer at your own bed-side, and prayer at your family altar, that upon you and yours GoD would vouchsafe the enlightening, the convincing, the sanctifying influence of his Holy Spirit-that in a frame of devout gladness and of holy desire, and of unfeigned humility and meekness, you may enter into our religious house-that the minister of Christ appointed to watch over you might preach to the understanding and to the conscience, with demonstration and with power-that with all simplicity and faithfulness and fearlessness, he deliver the Gospel message as it came to him from the lips of Christ, as it came from Christ to a fallen and ruined and lost world-that under God you may thus add daily to the church such as shall be saved.

Again, through the day in the two services-I say the two services of the day-the litanies and the collects will present their full matter, their rich materiel towards making your requests known unto God, in all that may meet your spiritual as well as your bodily wants, by your relationship to Him as well as to others.


And then at night, when the gates of the sanctuary are closed, you will bow your knees before the GoD and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, that he may have made your hearts prepared ground for the bringing forth of the sown word sixty and a hundred fold-that Christ and his doctrine may abide in you richly and with all knowledge-that the sabbath may shed its chastising and sweet influences through the actions of the coming week-that, indeed, men may take knowledge that you have been with Jesus-that your hearts are burning, as it were, with some new talk with him upon the way-that your faces are zealously set Zion-ward-that you have had a closer walk with GOD, and a more calm and a more happy frame that you are ripening, shall I say, for heaven itself.

THIRDLY, as a general direction, the day will be begun, will be continued, and will be ended in praise. Begun— praise to the mercies of the LORD, that though in death's orb, you have yet another opportunity to receive the news from heaven, the glad tidings of great joy-to hear what the LORD GOD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people and to his saints. Praisethat you can enter this holy place without fear of the violence of persecuting men-that you may worship in the truth, calmly and securely. Praise

that you have a new occasion for meeting the gracious smiles of him who cometh to be amidst and to bless the two and three that are gathered together in his name.

Continued-praise through the day that you do see the marvellous light amidst the great darkness-that in your doubts, your ignorances and sorrows, you have unvieled to your eyes the source of all truth and all consolation-that you have brought near to you amidst the severities of the law, the mercies of the Gospel-amidst the

« PreviousContinue »