« VorigeDoorgaan »
“ searcher of hearts,” before whom our private judgements must shortly come under a' review: has any book a smaller share of the time, the memory, or the affections of many of us than this book of God? Do not the successive returns of business and amusement so far engross our time and our thoughts, that we have either no leisure or no disposition, to attend to the things which pertain to our peace? Consider, in " them we think we have eternal life." We know we are posting to eternity as fast as the wings of time can carry us; we know, that the consequences of our behaviour in this span of life will attend us into an invisible unalterable state ; and we confess, that the necessary directions for our conduct in these most important and precarious circumstances, are to be found only in the Bible : what words then can describe our fatal insensibility, if, all this acknowledged, we have no heart to consult, or to value, this inestimable treasure put into our hands?
Many inquiries, more curious than useful, have been started concerning the divine procedure with the Heathen nations, and those who never heard of the Gospel of peace.
“ The Judge of all the earth will (undoubtedly) do right,” Gen. xviii. and will be justified at the great day, when every man shall receive according to his works. Till then we must wait for the knowledge of what he has not seen fit to reveal. But thus much he has already told us, that, however it may go with those who know not the Gospel, dreadful will be the doom of those who, having it published among them, refuse to obey it. “ The servant who knew not “ his master's will shall be beaten with few stripes, Luke, xii.
But this will not be our case; at least our ignorance will be rather an aggravation than an ex
cuse; a wilful, obstinate, infatuated ignorance. We have the words of eternal life in our hands; “ line
upon line, precept upon precept:" but how do we imitate those (whom perhaps we have been ready to blame) spoken of in the parable, who, when they received a kind and gracious invitation to a royal feast, made light of it, and “ all with one consent began to “ make excuse!” Luke, xiv. It is easy to apply this to the Jews of old: so David could clearly judge in the case of the rich man who killed his poor neighbour's lamb, 2 Sam. xii. ; but had not the prophet helped him, he would not have collected that he him. self was the person intended. But to bring the general truths of Scripture home to the heart is the work of God; and perhaps, while I am speaking at random, he may rouse the consciences of some to say in particular, Thou art the man. Then they will soon see how much it behoves them to search the Scriptures, when they understand the weighty meaning of the words, eternal life.
Some of us, I hope, do already make conscience of frequent reading the Scriptures; but let us remember the force of the word search. It is not a careless superficial reading, or dispatching such a number of chapters in a day, as a task, that will answer the end. I have already reminded you, that it is a business will need
your best application; a serious, impartial, humble, persevering inquiry, accompanied with earnest prayer for the light and assistance of God's Holy Spirit. When we set about it in this method, we shall soon find happy effects; pleasure and instruction will go hand in hand; and our knowledge advance as the growing light. The precepts shall inspire us with true wisdom; teach us how to order all our affairs, respecting
both worlds, to fill up our several stations in life with propriety, usefulness, and comfort; and to avoid the numerous evils and distresses which those who live by no rule, or by any other rule than God's word, are perpetually running into. The promises shall be a sup
every trouble, a medicine in every sickness, a supply in every need. Above all, the Scriptures will repay our trouble, as they testify of Christ. The more we read of his person, offices, power, love, doctrine, life, and death, the more our hearts will cleave to him: we shall, by insensible degrees, be transformed into his spirit. We shall, with the apostle, say, “I know in “ whom I have believed,” 2 Tim. i. Every thing we see shall be at once a memorial to remind us of our Redeemer, and a motive to animate us in his service. And at length we shall be removed to see him as he is, without a cloud, and without a vail; to be for ever with him; to behold, and to share the glories of that heavenly kingdom " which (Matth. xxv.) he has pre
pared (for his followers) from before the foundation " of the world." Amen.
PREACHED IN THE PARISH CHURCH OF OLNEY,
ON THE FOLLOWING SUBJECTS :
1. The small Success of the ||11. Of Believers' Rest in Christ. Gospel Ministry.
12. Of the Yoke of Christ. 2. The Mysteries of the Gospel | 13. The Service of Christ easy hid from many.
and pleasant. 3. Of those from whom the Gos-l14. Believers cautioned against pel Doctrines are hid.
Misconduct in their Profes4. The Nature of Spiritual Re- sion.
velation, and who are favoured |15. The Extent and Sanction of with it.
the Third Commandment. 5. The Sovereignty of Divine 16. The Christian Life compared Grace asserted and illustra- to a Race.
17. No Access to God but by the 6. Of the Person of Christ.
Gospel of Christ. 7. Of the Authority of Christ. 18. Of a Living and a Dead 8. The Glory and Grace of God Faith.
revealed in Jesus Christ. 19. Guilt removed, and Peace 9. Labouring and heavy-laden restored. Sinners described.
20. Of the Assurance of Faith. 10. Of coming to Christ.
Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk,
O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted, Psal. lxxxix. 15, 16.