Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

maintained between heaven and earth, till at length the Word of God appeared “ in the likeness of sinful

flesh,” that, in our nature, he might encounter and subdue the sworn enemy of our species. All that has been transacted in the kingdoms of providence and grace, from the beginning of the world, has been in subserviency to this grand point, the redemption of the deathless soul. And is it so! And shall there be found among us numbers utterly insensible of their natural dignity, that dare disparage the plan of infinite wisdom, and stake those souls for trifles, which nothing less than the blood of Christ could redeem! There is need to use great plainness of speech; the matter is of the utmost weight; be not therefore offended that I would warn you against “the deceitfulness of sin.” Suffer not your hearts to be entangled in the vanities of the world; either they will fail, and disappoint you in life, or at least you

must leave : them behind you when you die. You must enter an invisible unknown state, where you cannot expect to meet any of those amusements or engagements which you now find so necessary to pass away the tedious load of time that hangs upon your hands. You to whom a few hours of leisure are so burdensome, have you considered how you shall be abļe to support an eternity? You stand upon a brink, and all about you is uncertainty.—You

see,

of

your acquaintance, some or other daily called away, some who are as likely to live as yourselves. You know not but you may be the very next.

You cannot be certain, but “this very night your soul

may be required of you,” Luke, xii. Perhaps a few hours may introduce you into the presence of that God whom you have been so little desirous to please. And can you, in such a situation, sport and play with as little concern as the lamb, already marked

[ocr errors]

66

out to bleed to-morrow? Oh! it is strange! How fatally has the god of this world blinded your eyes ! and how dreadful must your situation be in death, if death alone can undeceive you!

IV. Lastly, We may gather from these words the certainty of the Gospel-salvation. God himself delivered up his Son for us all. He declared himself well pleased with him, Matth. iii. as our Surety, upon his first entrance on his work; and testified his acceptance of his undertaking, in that he raised him from the dead, and received him into heaven as our Advocate. Now, 66 if God himself be thus for us, who can be

against us?” Rom. viii. If he who only has right to judge us is pleased to justify us, “ who can lay any

thing to our charge? If Christ, who died” for our sins, and is risen on our behalf, has engaged to “ in“tercede for us, who shall condemn?”

"There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ “ Jesus.” Nor is this all ; but every thing we stand in need of is fully provided ; and we may well argue, as the apostle has taught us elsewhere, “ If when we

were enemies we were reconciled to God by the “ death of his Son, much more being reconciled we s shall be saved by his life,” Rom. v.; or, as in the passage before us,

“ He that spared not his own Son, " but delivered him up for us all,” when we were alienated from him,“ how shall he not with him freely “ give us all things,” now he has taught us to pray, and given us his own promises to plead for all we ask? This brings me to the second clause of the text; only it may

be proper, before I enter upon it, to subjoin two cautions, to prevent mistakes from what has been already said.

Ist, Let us remember that all is free gift. He gave

[ocr errors]

66

him as

his Son; he gives all things with him. The Gospel allows no place for merit of our own in any respect. There was no moving cause in us, unless our misery may be deemed such. Our deliverance, in its rise, progress, and accomplishment, must be ascribed to grace alone; and he that would glory, must “ glory in “the Lord,” i Cor. 1.

2d, Let us observe the apostle's phrase. He says not absolutely for all, but for us all; that is, those who are described in the former part of the chapter, “ Who are led by the Spirit of God, who walk not “ after the flesh, who are delivered from the bond

age of corruption,” who have liberty to call God, Abba, Father," and prove their relation by following

66 dear children.” Christ is " the author of “ eternal salvation to those only who obey him,"

It cannot be otherwise, since a branch of that salvation is to deliver us“ from our sins," and " the present evil world,” Gal. i.; to “ purify us “ from dead works, to serve the living God.” “ Be

not deceived, God will not be mocked; whatsoever

a man soweth, that shall he reap. He that soweth “ to the flesh, shall,” notwithstanding all that Christ has done or suffered, yea so much the rather, “ of the “ flesh reap corruption,” Gal. vi.

The text having declared, that God spared not his Son for our sakes, proceeds to infer, that." with him he “ will assuredly give us all things.” Here we may take notice, first, that the words all things must be limited to such as are needful and good for us. It may be said of many of our desires, “ Ye know not what ye

ask,” Matth. xx.: in such cases, the best answer we can receive is a denial. For those blessings which God has promised absolutely to give, such as pardon,

Heb. v.

grace, and eternal life, we cannot be too earnest or explicit in our prayers; bụt in temporal things we should be careful to ask nothing but with submission to the divine will. . The promises, it is true, appertain to “ the life that now is, as well as that which is to come," 1 Tim. iv. “Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or “ life, or death, or things present, or things to come; “ all are ours, if we are Christ's,” i Cor. iii. But the particular modus of these things God has reserved in his own hands, to bestow them as best shall suit our various tempers, abilities, and occasions. And well for us that it is so: for we should soon ruin ourselves if left to our own choice : like children who are fond to meddle with what would hurt them, but refuse the most salutary medicines, if unpalatable; so we often pursue, with earnestness and anxiety, those things which, if we could obtain them, would greatly harm, if not destroy us. Often, too, with a rash and blind impatience, we struggle to avoid or escape those difficulties which God sees fit to appoint for the most gracious and merciful purposes—to correct our pride and vanity, to exercise and strengthen our faith, to wean us from the world, to teach us a closer dependence upon himself, and to awaken our desires after a better inheritance.

Again, as God, by his promise freely to give us all things, has not engaged to comply with the measure of our unreasonable short-sighted wishes; so neither has he confined himself as to the time or manner of bestowing his gifts. The blessing we seek, though perhaps not wholly improper, may be at present unseasonable: in this case the Lord will suspend it, till he sees it will afford us the comfort and satisfaction he intends us by it; and then we shall be sure to have it

Sometimes it is withheld to stir us up to fervency and importunity in our prayers, sometimes to make it doubly welcome and valuable when it comes.

So likewise as to the manner. We ask one good thing, and he gives us an equivalent in something else; and when we come to weigh all things, we see cause to say his choice was best. Thus David acknowledges : “ In the day " that I called, thou didst answer me, and strengthenis edst me with strength in my soul,” Ps. cxxxviii. David asked for deliverance from trouble; the Lord gave him strength to bear it; and he allows his

prayer was fully answered. A parallel case the apostle records : he besought the Lord thrice, 2 Cor. xii. for the removal of that trial which he calls “ a thorn in the “ flesh;” the answer he received was, “ My grace is “ sufficient for thee.” Such an assurance was more valuable than the deliverance he sought could be. Sometimes we seek a thing in a way of our own, by means and instruments of our own devising. God crosses our feeble purposes, that he may give us the pleasure of receiving it immediately from himself. It were easy to enlarge on this head ; let it suffice to know, our concerns are in his hands who 6 does all

things well ;” and who will, and does appoint “all to work together for our good.”

From the latter clause, thus limited and explained, many useful directions might be drawn. I shall only mention two or three, and conclude.

1st, Since we are told, that God freely gives us all things, let us learn to see and acknowledge his hand in all we have, and in all we meet with. When Jacob was returning to Canaan after a long absence, Gen. xxxii, the fear of his brother Esau occasioned him to divide his family and substance into separate compą.

1

« VorigeDoorgaan »