« PreviousContinue »
fluence, their general habits; many, | in religious error ; and that when you to whom they are possibly attached by find yourself going on too prosperously the ties of love and of respect, and with in life--when you have no lets, or whom they would almost be content hindrances, or crosses, or troubles, then to share some danger ; that at last is the very time to hesitate, and tremble, they begin to take courage; they sup- and examine, lest, haply, you may have pose that religion is not so strict as it got into that declivity which blinds the is represented, or else why should so eyes while it destroys the soul. many considerate persons not conform A great man of our own times once to it? that it is not so difficult, or else publicly declared, that he had met with why should the world not take more such uniform success in life, that he pains about it? that the majority of began to be afraid that God was angry, men look happy, and cheerful, and and had forsaken him. The sincerity easy, and that therefore the conduct of such a sentiment might, perhaps, which allows that, so far from being have gone some way in working out 80 culpable as some formal persons
his salvation. who deceive themselves, and others
But it is time now to turn to the pretend to assert, must be right and narrow roof of the Gospel entrance. sufficient; that God is merciful, and Observe, first, then, it is a strait gate : therefore that he will not punish so
it will not admit us easily ; money will many of his creatures for a little fai- not open it-stratagem will not unbar lure in the rigours of his service ; and it—the crowd (for there is no crowd that he would not have made the com- there) will not bear us in whether we mon way of life so delightful and plea- will or no. Alas! I wish not unfairly sant as it is, if it were so surely to
to alarm any one here present; but the lead to the destruction of the soul. I bolt of this gate turns comparatively but say these excuses, either directly or seldom, and it can be opened only by reindirectly, are very frequently urged pentance and tears ! We must kneel, and by us; and no man present can fairly weep, and pray: the only price here is say, but that, in any thing he does, penitence and faith-the best passport right or wrong, it is a great source of is a sincere heart. But I wish to make a consolation to him to find the majo- remark here upon the terms of the text; rity of the world on his side.
Few," says our Lord, “few there be But, my brethren, whenever you that find it.” What does this shew? are inclined to feel consolation from Why, undoubtedly, that it must be the practice of the world, whenever searched for: carelessness will never you begin to doubt that you are make or preserve a Christian. It will in any jeopardy, because you see
not do to sit down and fancy that reothers walking by your side in ease and ligion will come and force herself upon security, turn to the seventh chapter of us, or that we shall be brought, as if by St. Matthew, and read there these a miracle, to her strait, but friendly words of the text : “Wide is the gate, portal. No, we must inquire, and reand broad is the way, which leadeth flect, and seek diligently, and compare, to destruction; and many there be that and prove; we must not be Christians go in thereat." There learn, that in- merely because our fathers were; or sensibility is no argument of a good belong to any particular church or deconscience; that splendours are no partment of Christianity, only because proofs of a safe road; that the friend it has been the custom of our family ship of the world is enmity against and household, but we must search and God;
that the greater multitude are prove for ourselves ; and then (as the Apostle enjoins) “ hold fast that which | pediments to remain. My brethren, is good.” We must read, or rather this also is literally the case : the broad study the Bible ; that is, read it re- road of the world is rendered smooth gularly, attentively, with prayer, and by the number of those who are in it: with a candid and teachable mind; and they are all going the same way; they then the grace of God will guide us keep up each other's spirits ; they reinto all truth, and bring us in safety to move each other's difficulties; they dethe sure, though narrow, way of sal- fend, countenance, support, and apvation.
plaud, with mutual attention.
But May the Lord that made us thus the poor solitary Christian is too often preserve us. But, observe, the next left, in his lonely but pious journey, to remark: The gate is not only “strait,” provide for himself; he is thwarted by but “the way is narrow.” Admission the world, slighted and misrepresented to Christianity does not immediately by the multitude, frequently without secure to a man, as a matter of course, the least social advice or intercourse, all its privileges. “In my Father's and subject to moments of despondhouse are many mansions :" and this ency, when nothing but God's grace applies to religion upon earth, as well can help or reinstate him. But the as to happiness in heaven. There are road is still further to be called nardifferent degrees of Christian perfection row, because it confines us within cerfrom the first dawning of penitent tain limits. Christianity does not alobedience; and of babes in Christ, to low excursive flights, and wanderings the noonday manhood of the confirmed by the way side, at our own will and saint. Difficulties, therefore, must be pleasure, nor that pursuit (so common expected, especially at first, in the to the other party) of every gleam of Christian course. Nature and sin will pleasure that flits across our path ; but not part with us without a consider it bounds our course; it draws about able struggle. “Narrow is the road.” us the impassable line of God's comAnd why is it narrow? I will mention mandments ; it subdues the roving one reason, which will shew a cause, propensities of sensual appetite, and among others, for the different pro- points only to the goal that is fixed portions of the two ways. You will ob- before us. serve that the broad way is made It now only remains for me shortly broader by the continued crowd of its to apply the subject to our personal travellers : they prevent the verdure improvement. I take it for granted, from growing; they beat it down with then, that in this congregation there their footsteps, and make the path are two kinds of persons—some who wide, and smooth, and dusty; whereas are proceeding through the spacious the narrow way is contracted for the gate of sin, and others who are walkvery opposite cause—it is little fre- ing along the narrow track of humble quented, so little, as to allow the grass religion. I shall address a word of and the briars to grow, and the im- advice to both parties.
(To be continued.)
London: Published for the Proprietors, by T. GRIFFITHS, Wellington Street, Strand;
and Sold by all Booksellers in Town and Country.
Printed by Lowndes and White, Crane Court, Fleet Street.
SERMON BY THE REV. E. SCOBELL.
THURSDAY, MAY 12, 1831.
(The Rev. E. Scobell's Sermon concluded.) I first call upon you, then, you who been singular? Where would Lot have are yielding to the facilities of Satan, been if he had not been singular? and and who have ventured your footsteps where will every Christian be who is amidst the carnal and thoughtless afraid to confess Christ before men, when crowd, give some account of your- he comes to meet him as a judge with his selves ; state the reasons, if you have holy angels? Do not (whatever you any for your infatuated conduct. Is lose it for) lose heaven from ceremony it that you promote by it your present or shamefacedness. But perhaps you happiness? You know better than I are touched-you see your can convince you, that it does no such
yet be saved ?" you say.
I thing; you know you are often tor- tell you, “ Yes,” blessed be God, it is tured with doubts, and anxieties, and never too late ; and "
though your disappointments and care. But sins be as scarlet, they may be yet hope, possibly, that all may yet be well white as snow.” Do you ask the in the world to come! No, the text way? Happy omen! St. Thomas asked has settled that point for you; “ the the same question; and what said broad road leadeth to destruction.” the Saviour, “I am the way and the The wages of sin is death.” Is it truth and the life.” I can add nothing the beauty of the road, the pleasure of to this. sin that seduces you ? Every moment But I turn, lastly, for a moment that beauty, such as it is, is becoming to the lowly travellers in the narless. Is it the multitude of your fellow- row road, to those, who like Martha, travellers ? Alas, what can they do for have chosen the better part-to those you, when they cannot help them- whom grace, and conversion, and selves ? Is there one of your profligate faith, and obedience have brought companions who will care, (not that within the straitness of the Gospel enit mattered if he did) but is there one trance. May God prosper you, my brewho will care, if you plunge into the thren. You will need all the resources gulph to-morrow? And are the pains of the Holy Spirit to help you in your of hell less, because the groans are thorny ascent. Be aware of your many? But, perhaps, you do not like difficulties, and you will conquer to be singular. Singular! what, not to them the better. Never regret the save your souls ? not like to be singu- pleasures or advantages you have left lar! but I can tell you, that to go to behind; you are travelling to a fairer heaven (if the text be true) you must country, where there are prepared for be singular; for the road is narrow, you, what the heart can now not and few there be that find it. Where even conceive; and remember that would Noah have been if he had not God's eye is upon you as you travel
along. Do you meet with neglect, and wives, and parents and children, from the world? Are you assailed with dwell together in religious unity, and ridicule for what is called your foolish spiritual affection. In the awful night choice? Are even your temporal in. of judgment, let not two be in one terests injured, and sometimes deeply, bed, the one taken and the other left; by your service of the cross? Yet be let not two be in the field, the one acnot disheartened; what does it signify cepted, and the other rejected! but to you? your hearts are not there, and let all who loved each other on earth for your sakes Christ has overcome be joined together in love eternal. the world ! In every trouble, turn to Thus, shall hope make the road easy; the verses of the text, and bless God the towers of the new Jerusalem will for having placed you among the safe, soon appear, and our journey shall though smaller number. Cheer, then, terminate with these glorious sounds, each other as you walk on your pil- up your heads, O ye gates, and grimage. Let all be united in a holy be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and love and emulation ; but especially let the King of glory shall come in." families act together; let husbands
DELIVERED BY THE REV. H. B. BULTEEL,
AT ST. CLEMENT DANES CHURCH, FOR THE CONTINENTAL SOCIETY OF LONDON,
MAY 10, 1831.
John, vi. 37.-" All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me."
It is not my intention, my dearly be-, portion or measure of success ; that its loved in the Lord, at this present mo- prospects, therefore, are limited, even ment, to speak much to you respecting as the word of God itself has limited the prospects and success of the so. them; that it has no universal expeeciety whose cause I stand here to ad- tation of making converts of the whole vocate this day. There are other times, world, but expects that the Lord willgive other occasions, other opportunities, unto them that portion which it seems on which these things may be known, good to Him, even as many as it shall and there is a day not far distant when please Him to call by means of the you will hear an account of the society, ministry of his word. what has been its success, and what are On this passage then, beloved breits present prospects. But rather it thren, let us meditate at present. is for me to dwell particularly upon Sweet, indeed, are its words, and may the principles of the society—to come the Lord the Holy Spirit be sent down to the scriptural grounds on which it in power from above to make them in. is founded, and which I trust are to deed precious to our souls ! “All that be found in these few short but most the Father giveth me shall come to sweet words which I have brought before you for your meditation—"All There are then, two particular points that the Father giveth me shall come to which I would call your attention to' me." By which I mean to say, in these words. The First is, that there that this society has an eye to a limited is a portion of mankind given by God the Father to his dear Son Jesus Christ. Well then, it is those that were given And the Second is, that all who are so by God the Father to his Son Jesus given to Christ, shall infallibly come Christ, and that before all worlds ; unto him.
yea, it is “the remnant according to First-THERE IS A PORTION OF MAN- the election of grace.” And this KIND GIVEN BY God the Father to shews us, beloved, the time when the HIS DEAR SON Jzsus Christ. Ob- church was given to Christ, for if it serve, my beloved brethren, it is said, be according to election, then we know “all that the Father giveth unto me," that election took place before ever and no more. Who then are those time was, as we see from the strucwhom the Father hath given to his ture of these words that the “gift” Son? Is it all the world that He has takes place before the “coming." so given? No; it is not all the world. Yea, ages before the world was created, It is most true, indeed, that all the the church was given by God the world are in a certain sense given to Father to his dear Son. “ Chosen in the Lord Jesus Christ, but all the him," says Paul to the Ephesians, world are not given with the purpose “ before the foundation of the world, of bestowing on them eternal life that they should be holy and without through his merits. No. Jesus him- blame before him in love." “Not self in the seventeenth chapter of according to works :" again, “but acJohn's Gospel, prays to his father, cording to his purpose, and of grace and says, “ As thou hast given him given us in Christ Jesus before the power over all flesh that he should foundation of the world.” Here then, give eternal life to as many as thou if we would inquire into the time when hast given him.” And in the same the church first began to be dear unto chapter we find that they are distin- God, when it first stood as it were the guished from the world; for our Lord object of his special love, we must himself prays for them in contradis- look for it in those everlasting covetinction to the world—“ I pray for nanted settlements which subsisted them, I pray not for the world, but between the Father and the Son before for them whom thou hast given me, the world began. In the seventeenth for they are thine.” And so likewise chapter of John, to which we have alwe read in the first of the Ephesians, ready referred, we find that Jesus himthat though God had given Christ to self says to his father, “Father, I be head over all things, He had given will that they also, whom thou hast him especicially “to be head to the given me, be with me where I am, Church, which is his body.”
that they may behold my glory, which My dearly beloved brethren, you thou hast given me: for thou lovedst will observe in the last verse of that me before the foundation of the world." chapter, that it is only the church At the moment the Father began to which is given to Christ—the church love the Son, did he begin to love the which is his body. All the world do church, whom he had given him—and not stand in this intimate relationship so Jesus prays, “ that the love whereto the Lord Jesus Christ. They are with thou hast loved me, be in thine not members of his mystical body. and in them !” No, beloved, it is the children of God So the church and Christ have alalone that stand in this near, this close ways stood together in the view of relationship, and it is between them God the Father, and so they will ever and Christ that this most blessed union stand together. What God hath thus subsists.
put together, no man nor devil shall