Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

tify the deeds of the body, ye shall live !.” To the consciousness of leading a life conformable to this principle of holiness and virtue the Apostle here refers, as the inward testimony on which we may rely; not to enthusiastic imaginations, or those miscalled experiences, which some are wont to insist upon as infallible proofs of their being in a state of

grace.

Against all these errors, the admonition in the text affords the surest preservative. It implies, that to every member of Christ's body God's grace will be sufficient, if duly sought for and applied ;—that if it fail of effect, its failure will be attributable to ourselves; that the completion of its purpose cannot take place till life itself is ended ; and that by its fruits only, its efficacious influence upon our faith and practice, can it be known that we really have this gift of God abiding in us, or may entertain any reasonable expectation of our final acceptance.

Are we solicitous, then, to be assured that we have not received the grace of God in vain ?-let us not trust to any fallacious tests of our own devising, but impartially examine our thoughts, words, and actions, by the unerring standard of God's word. That word

x Rom. viii. 15.

[ocr errors]

6 Be ye

66

being itself the blessed work of the Holy Spirit, nothing repugnant to it can proceed from the same Spirit. In that, as in a mirror, we may see what we really are, and may judge of ourselves by its faithful representations. It will shew us, without flattery, what faults we have to amend : it will encourage

“whereto we have already attained,” to “ walk by the same rule'.” But in looking into it for these salutary purposes, we must adhere to St. James's golden rule, “ doers of the word, and not hearers only,

deceiving your own selves. For if any man “ be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he “ is like unto a man beholding his natural “ face in a glass, for he beholdeth himself and

goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth 66 what manner of man he was. But whoso “ looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and “ continueth therein, he being not a forgetful “ hearer, but a doer of the work, this man “ shall be blessed in his deed”.” By this law we are to judge ourselves now, because we shall be judged by it hereafter. “ And as

many as walk according to this rule, peace “ be on them, and

upon the Israel 6 of God.”

66

mercy, and

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

SERMON XXIII.

REVELATIONS iv. 8. And they rest not day and night, saying, Holy,

Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

On the first reading of this sublime passage of Holy Writ, our thoughts are immediately directed to that great mysterious article of our faith, which the service of this day presents to our contemplation". The vision, of which it forms a part, bears a striking resemblance to one that was vouchsafed to the Prophet Isaiah, on first receiving his call to the prophetic office. The Prophet

saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high “ and lifted up; and his train filled the

temple. Above it stood the seraphims : “ each one had six wings; with twain he “ covered his face, and with twain he covered “ his feet, and with twain he did fly. And

a Trinity Sunday.

66

66

one cried to another, and said, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth “ is full of his glory h.” In these prophetic symbols, which are more diffusively represented in St. John's vision, are signified the profound reverence, humility, and promptitude, with which the heavenly host surround the throne of the Most High, ever ready to obey his commands : and the alternate hymns, or responses, in which they thrice address the Almighty under the denomination of Holy, may be regarded not only as marking the intensity of their devotion, but also as having reference to the three distinct persons in the Godhead, whose unity is at the same time implied in the one common appellation ascribed to them, “ the Lord of hosts, “ the God Almighty, which was, and is, and 6 is to come.”

That we are warranted in thus interpreting the visions both of the Prophet and the Evangelist, may be inferred from the application made of Isaiah's vision by St. John himself, and by St. Paul. St. John applies it to our blessed Saviour :-“ These things said “ Esaias, when he saw His glory, and spake “ of Himo;” meaning Christ, to whose miracles he had just adverted. St. Paul, citing

b Isaiah vi. 1, 2, 3.

c John xii. 41.

« VorigeDoorgaan »