Page images

their reserve, their decency, their purity- | fulfil his word to his servants upon which he See how they have adorned themselves in has caused them to hope—but he is also enmodest apparel, with shamefacedness and gaged to render vengeance to his adverssobriety!

ries“ he will not spare the guilty." If such tests prove the degree of national “What then, would you have us despair?" guilt-our guilt is great; and if sin destroys I would-If we are resolved still 'to do kingdoms-1 say, we have reason to fear. wickedly. If we are not brought to national

It is not indeed for us to determine when the repentance, I would wish every individual to iniquity of a nation is full: and it seems that expect that we shall be destroyed, both we God sometimes prolongs the duration of a and our king. “At what instant I shall speak country for some providential purposes. They concerning a nation, and concerning a king. may be instruments in his hand of mercy or dom, to build and to plant it; if it do evil in of wrath. But such a destiny does not hinder my sight, that it obey not my voice, then will their final ruin. Though they are his instru- I repent of the good wherewith I said I would ments, they are not his favourites. He may benefit them." use them and still punish them.

But the reverse is true. “At what instant There is one thing of which we hear very I shall speak concerning a nation, and conmuch, and many seem to consider it as a coun- cerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull terpoise to all our fears, that there are so many down, and to destroy it; if that nation against good people among us. Blessed be God this is whom I have pronounced turn from their evil, true, and they certainly afford us encourage- I will repent of the evil that I thought to do ment. Ten righteous men would have saved unto them.” Blessed be God for this welcome Sodom. And God says of the Jews, “I intelligence. For by this he assures us—and sought for a man among them that should the Scripture cannot be broken-that not make up the hedge, and stand in the gap be-only innocence and righteousness will save a fore me for the land, that I should not destroy country-but also repentance and reformait; but I found none. Therefore have 1 tion. Oh that our country may be led to poured out minc indignation upon them. I make trial of this encouraging truth! May have consumed them with the fire of my we search and try our ways, and turn again wrath; their own way have I recompensed unto the Lord. May we seek him while he upon their heads, saith the Lord God.” Let may be found, and call upon him while he is us therefore rejoice in this encouragement. near—" for he is gracious and merciful, slow But let us rejoice with trembling. Let us to anger, and of great kindness, and reremember that it is a hopeful circumstance, penteth him of the evil.” but that it does not absolutely insure the sal- We learn therefore who is the worst enemy vation of a country. Let us recollect that of his countrythe sinner; and who is the there was a time when God used the follow- | best friend—the Christian. “By the bless ing language to Jeremiah and Ezekiel con- ing of the upright, the city is exalted; but it cerning the Jews: “Therefore pray not is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked!" thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor Let us all therefore seek after divine grace prayer for them, neither make intercession to renew our own souls, and to sanctify our to me: for I will not hear thee. Then said own lives; and do all in our power to promote the Lord unto me, Pray not for this people godliness around us. Let us endeavour to for their good. Though Moses and Samuel hinder all the sin we can—in our families and stood before me, yet my mind could not be neighbourhood—by prayer, by example, by toward this people: cast them out of my influence. As much sin as we hinder, so sight, and let them go forth. Though these much misery and danger shall we prevent. three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, Let us prize those institutions which are they should deliver but their own souls by favourable to the morality and sanctification their righteousness, saith the Lord God." of mankind. Especially let us value the What learn we from all this !—That there GOSPEL. It is the grand, and the only ef are cases in the history of nations when the fectual means of " teaching men to deny all Divine forbearance is exhausted, and then the ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live cries of the righteous will avail no more than soberly, righteously, and godly in the present those of the wicked. Were there not in Ju- world.” dea some of the best inen that ever lived We are called upon to confess and bewail when the Babylonians invaded and conquered our national wickedness, and on such an orthem? Have there not been pious people in casion as this we should feel ourselves to be every Christian country when destroyed ? parts of one great whole. But no man will Does God love his followers now better than ever be properly affected with the sins of formerly, when he suffered them to share in a others till he is impressed with his own. thousand public calamities!-While he pun- Here then our concern is to begin. We are ishes his enemies, may he not correct his individually to look backward—and inquire

, friends! Or cannot he indemnify them? - What have I done?”—and to look forwardOr hide them? Or deliver them? He must and ask, “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?" We find the builders, in Nehemiah, , me.” But what would he have them believe? “ labouring every one over against his own You have heard." In my Father's house are house.” And it is a plain but an expressive many mansions: if it were not so, I would image, of an old writer_" that the best way have told you. I go to prepare a place for to have a clean street is for every one to you: and if I go and prepare a place for you, sweep before his own door.”

I will come again, and receive you unto my. Let us therefore personally “ cease to do self; that where I am, there ye may be also.” evil, and learn to do well." Let us fear the Let us consider the various particulars of Lord and serve him. Let us mourn and weep this intelligence; and the certainty of the for the abominations that are done in the whole. land-and if we are not the repairers of the I. THE DECLARATION OF OUR SAVIOUR breach, the restorers of paths to dwell in—let CONTAINS EVERY THING THAT CAN FEED THE us remember, it shall be well with us. If we CONTEMPLATION, AND ENLIVEN THE HOPE OP suffer with others, we shall not suffer like THE CHRISTIAN. them. And we shall soon reach Immanuel's In describing heaven, he calls it his “ Faland, where the din of war will be heard no ther's house"-as much as to say, I am only more!

going home. Now he is not ashamed to call And oh! remember, if your country should his people brethren. Behold,” says he, be saved, and you as an individual continue after his resurrection, “behold, I ascend to impenitent-you-you will be certainly de- my Father and your Father, and to my God stroyed! And what is any national calamity and your God.” Heaven therefore is their to " everlasting destruction from the presence home also. The world knoweth them not~ of the Lord, and the glory of his power!" it knew him not. They are only strangers

and pilgrims on earth. They take many a

weary step; and often meet with rough usage DISCOURSE LIII.

and trying weather. But when tempted to

complain, they are prevented by the reflection THE SAVIOUR COMFORTING HIS

that this is not their home-better entertainDISCIPLES.

ment awaits them at their journey's end(AFTER A FUNERAL.)

heaven will make amends for all. Dr. RowIn my Father's house are many mansions ; if land Taylor, when drawing near the tower

it were not 80, I would have told you. I go of Hadley, in Suffolk, where he had been a to prepare a place for you. And if I go minister, and was now going to be a martyrand prepare a place for you, I will come being asked how he did-answered, “ Never again, and receive you unto myself ; that better; for now I know that I am almost at where I am, there ye may be also.—John home !" —And looking over the meadow bexiv, 2, 3.

tween him and the place where he was to NEVER man spake like this man! Grace be immediately burnt, he said, “Only two was pouted into his lips! And in him were stiles more to get over, and I am at my Faaccomplished in the highest sense the words ther's house.” And when the venerable Mr. of the prophet—“He hath given me the Mede was asked how he did, replied, “ I am tongue of the learned, that I should know going home as fast as I can, as every honest how to speak a word in season to him that is man ought to do when his day's work is weary.”

over; and I bless God I have a good home to Having assembled with his disciples in an go to." upper room, and administered to them the Yes—a good home indeed! Think of a memorials of his death—he announced his building of God and for him; think of an ediapproaching departure. Sorrow filled their fice in which he resides; and which is worthy hearts. Perhaps they expressed it in words; of his infinite Majesty! We have seen splenperhaps it was visible in their countenances. did palaces. We have read of others, the However this may be-he perceived it, and magnificence of which seems to exceed besaid, “ Let not your heart be troubled.” lief. The Scripture tells us that Solomon's

But what can bear them up under such a palace was the wonder of the earth; and that loss ?-We grieve when we lose a good man, when the queen of Sheba had surveyed it, a friend, a common benefactor. But they "there remained no more spirit in her.” But were to lose their Lord and Saviour, their what is all this to heaven! “The palace of teacher, the resolver of their doubts, their the great King.". No man could see it and comforter in every affliction. How then live. But all this is your home—it is your would he relieve them? What is the remedy " Father's house." he applies ?—It is faith!—The discoveries of Our Lord tells us that in this house there faith are the best support under the evils of “are many mansions.” No inconsiderable

“I had fainted,” says David, “ unless number will be required. For if it be asked, I had believed to see the goodness of the are there few that shall be saved ?-taking Lord in the land of the living. _“Ye believe them all, eventually and collectively, we anin God," says our Saviour, " believe also in swer, No. The Captain of our salvation is leading “ many sons” unto glory. And John / us. He appeared in the presence of God for saw before the throne “a great multitude us, pleading his sacrifice, and claiming the which no man could number," from all the purchase of the Cross : “Father, I will that diversities of the human race. But there is they also whom thou hast given me be with room enough in the house of God to accom- me where I am, that they may behold my modate all his immense family. There is glory which thou hast given me: for thou therefore nothing to justify monopoly. There lovedst me before the foundation of the world." is enough and to spare.


He has taken possession of heaven in our But the expression implies not only multi- name, and he holds it for us. And we read plicity, but variety. Though the house is that he entered within the vail as our foreone, the apartments are many. There is runner, whose office it is to prepare for the something in the heavenly state suited to the reception, and to announce the approach of circumstances, and character, and taste of those to whom he belongs. every inhabitant. The land of Canaan was Again. “Jf,” says the Saviour, “I go and given to the Jews; but each tribe had its own prepare a place for you, I will come again, division, and the lots of no two of them were and receive you to myself. This is fulfilled in all respects alike. In the world of nature in two cases. He comes again at death. And we see - one glory of the sun, and another this is infinitely desirable. It is an awful glory of the moon, and another glory of the thing to die. And many a Christian has stars; for one star differeth from another star found himself in such a frame of mind as to in glory.” Among the angels we read of say— thrones and dominions; principalities and

“Oh! if my Lord would come and meet, powers: they have their orders and degrees.

My soul should stretch her wings in haste; This also we have reason to believe will be Fly fearless through death's iron gate, the case with glorified saints. We see end

Nór feel the terrors as she pass'd !" less diversity in all God's works and ways. He does this. He is peculiarly near to his And will heaven be an exception? All will people in their expiring moments. Many of be perfectly blessed—but why should all be them have confessed his presence in words; similarly employed; or equally endowed? while others who have not had the same dePlunge a number of vessels into the sea-gree of rapturous confidence, have equally they are all alike filled—but, various in their proved it by effects. Yes, he comes to irradimensions, they hold unequal proportions. diate the dark valley; he comes to establish

Further; he tells them, “I go to prepare their faith, and to enliven their hope, and to a place for you. You are coming too—but I make all grace to abound towards them in must go first—to remove every impediment; this time need. He comes to take them to perform every condition; to secure every in from this world of storms to their everlastadvantage."

ing refuge—to receive them to himselfFor this happiness is not such as Adam as you would go to the door to receive a bewould have obtained after a proper trial of loved friend from a distance, or hasten to emhis obedience in Paradise. It is the happi- brace a dear child returning, after a long abness of a lost creature, in whose restoration sence, from school. difficulties were found which the Saviour He also comes again at the last day to realone could remove. And before He can receive them to himself. And this coming difmove them—see how much it was necessary fers very much from the former. The one is for him to accomplish! It was necessary for spiritual, but the other will be personal. The him to come down from heaven to earth, and one is private, and invisible; the other will be return from earth to heaven. To your com- public and obvious, for every eye shall see plete happiness—his death was necessary, him. The one is to receive his people indihis resurrection was necessary—his ascension vidually; the other will be to receive them and intercession were necessary-his univer- collectively. The one is to receive their sal empire, and his dispensation of the Holy souls, but the other is also to receive their Ghost were necessary.

bodies. This is a grand article of our faith He went away, not only to possess a per- and hope. “To them that look for him, will sonal reward, but to assume a relative dignity he appear a second time, without sin, unto -not only to live a life of glory, but also a salvation. Our conversation is in heaven; life of office; and hence says the Apostle, “ If from whence we also look for the Saviour, when we were enemies we were reconciled the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our to God by the death of his Son, much more vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto being reconciled, we shall be saved by his his glorious body, according to the working uife!" Hence he said to his disciples, " It is whereby he is able even to subdue all things expedient for you that I go away; for if I go unto himself.” not away, the Comforter will not come unto Finally he adds, “That where I am, there you: but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” ye may be also.” Whatever situation were With his own blood he entered into the holy prepared to receive the Christian, he would place, having obtained eternal redemption for feel himself more than disappointed if when

he came he could not see him, enjoy him, be Besides

on all other occasions, when they for ever with him. For he has learned to had apprehended things to be otherwise than place all his happiness in him, and it is only they really were, he had set them right. We in proportion as he can experience his pre- see this with regard to his sufferings, and the sence, that he can say, of any situation, “ It nature of his kingdom. is good to be here."

He had kept back nothing that was profitThere is in heaven company of the first able for them. “ Henceforth,” says he, “I sort; society the most delicious. There we call you not servants: for the servant knowshall join the innumerable company of angels. eth not what his lord doeth: but I have called There we shall mix with all the truly wise you friends; for all things that I have heard and good. There we shall be introduced to of my Father I have made known unto you.' martyrs, apostles, patriarchs. We shall sit And surely he would not have held them in down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the darkness and error in a case of so much conkingdom of God. We shall see those who sequence as this! have gone before us, with whom we were What room was there for suspicion ? Could once connected by the tender ties of nature they question his love? Had he not abundor of friendship. But Jesus is "the chief of antly proved his readiness to serve them? ten thousand." Whom have we in heaven Was he not even then going to lay down his but him?-And he cannot be satisfied unless life for them ?-What could be more awful we shall be with him to share in all his ho- than the circumstances he was now in ? He nour and happiness. “To him that over- was now ready to be offered : and do men feel cometh will I grant to sit with me in my inclined to deceive when—dying ? throne, even as I also overcame, and am set Conclude we therefore by remarking, First, down with my Father in his throne. Where How unlike our Saviour is the “god of this I am there shall also my servant be."-Such world.” The god of this world “blindeth the are the contents of this gracious declaration. minds of them that believe not.” He is afraid

But the more important and interesting of the entrance of light. He reigns by deluany intelligence be, the more anxious are we sion. He knows that the end of these things for its certainty. Our Saviour therefore, is death. He knows that even now the plea

II. MEETS THIS STATE OF MIND IN THE sures of sin are not equal to the sorrows of DISCIPLES, AND SAYS—“ If it were not so, I religion. His servants indulge expectations, would have told you.” How friendly and every one of which will issue in disappointfamiliar! And yet how convincing and for- ment. He knows this—but he refuses to tell cible is this address! Take it thus.

them so: till, from the blindness of sin, he First. If it had not been so—he could have plunges them into the darkness of hell. told them. For he knew all from the begin- Second. We shall never go on well in rening. He was perfectly acquainted with the ligion till our Lord and Saviour has gained situation of his Father's house; with the works our confidence. And this he surely deserves. and enjoyments of heaven; with the character He is often better than his promise, but never of the persons who were to possess it; with worse. Let us in all cases run to his word, the way

in which it was to be obtained. and consider what he has spoken-if he has Secondly. If it had not been so he should not said such a thing, it matters not who has have told them. As their professed teacher, but if he has spoken it-believe it to be it was his office to rectify their mistakes, and more sure than heaven or earth—for heaven to save them from delusion.

or earth may pass away, but his word shall not Here you will also observe, that he had pass away. If you were not welcome to come always laid a peculiar stress upon a future and take of the water of life freely, he would state in his doctrine. He had endeavoured tell you—if future happiness were a fancy, or to induce them to give up the present for the a dream, he would undeceive you; and not future-to abandon treasures on earth, in ex- suffer you to run and strive in vain. Settle pectation of treasure in heaven. Now if there it therefore in your minds that he will notwere no such state of blessedness and recom- that he cannot delude you. pence-ought he to have suffered them to It is expected therefore that the believer's give up every thing that was dear to them confidence in him should be in proportion to here, for the sake of a fool's paradise? He his acquaintance with him. Hence it is said, knew that they had forsaken all to follow him; “ They that know thy name will put their and he knew that in consequence of their ad- trust in thee.” And hence, says the Apostle, herence to him, they would endure persecu- * I know whom I have believed"—my faith tion and death and if there was nothing to is not a blind, rash confidence-I am sure of indemnify them, should he not have told my ground, therefore I tread firm-I have them?

proved the character I depend upon, and Thirdly. If it had not been so—he would therefore I unreservedly commit myself to have told them. This follows from the for-him-he is an old friend, a tried friend. How mer. For what was proper for him to do, he many evidences have I had of his kindness, always did.

veracity, and power! How reproachful would

it be if I could not trust him now! “I know We have no reason to believe that they whom I have believed, and am persuaded that are acquainted with our circumstances, or can he is able to keep that which I have commit- employ themselves for our welfare-yet for ted to him against that day.” If ye will not us they languish, and for us they die. We believe, surely ye shall not be established. may improve their removal; it should draw

Third. What a Master, what a Saviour do us away from earth, and attach us the more we serve! How sincere! How kind ! " His to heaven. And thus their going away will heart is made of tenderness; his bowels melt be for our welfare. When we lose the lives with love." How concerned is he not only of our friends, we should be careful not to lose for the safety, but also for the comfort of his their deaths too. followers! With what a soft hand does he They will not come to receive us to themwipe away their tears! How graciously does selves—but they will welcome us when we he reward them-how infinitely does he pro enter their everlasting habitations. The sevide for them! " This is my beloved, and this paration is temporary. A time of re-union is my friend, O ye daughters of Jerusalem !" will come. We shall see their faces, and hear

Fourth. Are you to fill any of these their voices again in the flesh. O cheerful conmansions?-Is there a place above prepared solation !-how suitable--and how sure! "I for you !-How people long to rise in the would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, state! How they envy the great! How happy concerning them which are asleep, that ye would they deem themselves if they could get sorrow not, even as others which have no into such-and such places! To what humi- hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and liations will they submit; what sacrifices will rose again, even so them also which sleep in they be ready to make, to attain such fleeting, Jesus will God bring with him. For this we unsatisfying honours ! But what are they say unto you by the word of the Lord, that what can they be to "heavenly places!"—in we which are alive and remain unto the which you are blessed with all spiritual coming of the Lord shall not prevent them blessings in Christ ?"

which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall For whom then are they prepared ? I an- descend from heaven with a shout, with the swer, for those who are prepared for them. voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God makes his people “ meet for the inherit- God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first

: ance of the saints in light.” The vessels of then we which are alive and remain shall be mercy are “afore prepared unto glory.” caught up together with them in the clouds, Others would be only miserable there; even to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we if God had not determined to exclude them. ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort But The wicked shall not stand in his sight, one another with these words." he hateth all workers of iniquity: without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever lov

DISCOURSE LIV. eth and maketh a lie." Here nothing that defileth can ever enter. For such as love sin

THE DISCIPLES IN A STORM. there is another place prepared. “ For Tophet is ordained of old ; yea, for the king it is And when he was entered into a ship, his disciprepared: he hath made it deep and large : ples followed him. And, behold, there arose the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, ship was covered with the waves : but he doth kindle it." The place indeed was pre- was asleep. And his disciples came to him, pared, as our Saviour says, “ for the devil and and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us : * his angels;" but sinners, by their rejection of perish. And he saith unto them, Why are his grace, will make it their own!—It is ye fearful, 0 ye of little faith? Then he therefore said that Judas, when he died, went

arose and rebuked the winds and the sea; to his “ own place.

and there was a great calm. But the men Lastly. Let us rejoice in hope. Let us lay

marvelled, saying, What manner of man is open our minds to these everlasting consola

this, that even the winds and the sea obey

him !—Matt. viji. 23–27. tions which our Saviour here reveals and in

Let them fill us with a joy unspeak- A STORM at sea is one of the sublimest apable and full of glory in all our present trials, pearances in nature. Hence it has often emand especially under the loss of dear and ployed the painter's pencil and the poet's pen. valuable friends.

David, whose genius was very vivid and dis Let us remember that when no longer tinct in its conceptions, has given us an advisible to us, they are not lost. They have mirable representation of this impressive reached their Father's house. They are dis- scene. "They that go down to the sea in ships

, posed of infinitely to their advantage. And that do business in great waters; these see this should subdue the selfishness of our grief

. the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the If we love them, we ought to rejoice in their deep. For he commandeth and raiseth the promotion.

stormy wind, which lifteth ap the waves


« PreviousContinue »