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they shew a readiness in taking up our words, or even our ideas.
VII. Though the Jewish sacrifices were abolished by the death of Christ, there are various Christian sacrifices which that one great offering and atonement, made by our Lord upon Calvary, renders acceptable. "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
For instance, there is the continual offering or sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name."
There is the offering or sacrifice of deeds of mercy and charity. "But to do good and to communicate forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."
There is the sacrifice of temporal relief, to supply the wants of ministers. "The things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God."
There is the living sacrifice of our bodies. "That ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
There is a closing sacrifice of them, at our death. "Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all."
There is the offering of the Gentiles. "That the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost."
And finally, there is the offering of the Jews. "In that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts, of a people scattered and peeled."
The meat offerings and drink offerings of the Levitical ministry had little in themselves: but being brought in company with animals that were to be slain, or presented where stood an altar sprinkled with blood, they found acceptance. Thus the services and offerings of the Christian have nothing in themselves to recommend them; but, sprinkled with the blood of Jesus, they may be brought and are graciously received. Consequently, we make the offering of ourselves, according to the service of our Church, after receiving the broken bread, and the wine poured out, which are the life-giving emblems of the sacrifice of Christ. First we receive the bread and wine; and THEN it is added, in the following prayer, " And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto thee."
VIII. In considering the propriety of infant baptism, some
require us to produce an express injunction to baptize infants, while others hold it sufficient if we can shew that we may. There are some expressions, in the Acts of the Apostles, which might lead us to infer that the latter is quite sufficient; that if we can prove permission, it is enough (though without disparagement to the authority resting upon express command, in our Lord's final injunction to his followers).
There are three cases of baptism in the Acts, in each of which the question whether there is permission seems to be the only question raised. These are the cases of the Eunuch, Cornelius, and St. Paul.
"The Eunuch said, See, here is water. What doth hinder me to be baptized?" He does not say, Must I be baptized? is it necessary that I should be baptized? but only, What doth hinder me to be baptized?
In the case of Cornelius and his company, St. Peter said, "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized?" He does not ask whether it is commanded to baptize them; only, whether any man can forbid it.
In the case of St. Paul, Ananias said to him, "And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized." He only inquires if there is any hindrance-why he tarries. If there be none, that is sufficient.
This point, then, is the only one that requires to be determined: whether we are permitted to baptize an individual. If we can prove this, it will be sufficient, without going any further: for it was sufficient in the three cases, of the Eunuch, Cornelius, and St. Paul. So, therefore, with respect to our children also. Ascertain a permission; and, without going further, to look for the command, it ought to suffice us in respect to them also.
And with all our Christian privileges the case is the same. Such is the very nature of a privilege. We do not ask if we are commanded to use our privileges. The only question we can pretend to ask is, Are we permitted to use them. Happy will it be for us, if we learn to see our Christian privileges in this light. Perhaps it would help many amongst us some steps forward in their Christian course. For if once we bring all to this point: if once we come to ask only, Is it permitted? Is it permitted that I may trust in God? Is it permitted me to stay myself on him in Christ Jesus? Is it permitted me to hope?—the answer is at hand, IT IS.
IX. "Solomon loved the Lord." (1 Kings iii. 3). But there was something previous to this; even when Solomon was a newborn babe. The Lord loved him." (2 Sam. xii. 24).-Truly "We love him, because he first loved us."
may we say,
X. We may observe, in St. Peter, a great disposition to oppose the Lord. When Jesus spoke of his sufferings and resurrection, Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, "Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee." Again, when Jesus washed his disciples' feet, Peter said unto him, "Lord, dost thou wash my feet?.....Thou shalt never wash my feet." Shortly after, when our Lord said to him, "Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now, but thou shalt follow me afterwards," Peter said unto him, " Lord, why cannot I follow thee now?" When, on the contrary, our Lord afterwards said to him, "Follow me," it does not appear that he immediately or entirely obeyed; for he turned about; and our Lord had again occasion to say, Follow thou me." And, lastly, when Peter was fasting on the house-top, and the vision appeared with the accompanying command, "Rise, Peter, slay and eat;" he said, "Not so, Lord: for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean." Such then was his natural disposition, even after our Lord's resurrection. But, having at length had a clear view of his Master's will, he exclaims, "What was I, that I could withstand God?"
The source of opposition to God's will is in our hearts. Often, when his pleasure is made known to us, will our hearts almost unconsciously exclaim, "Not so, Lord," or "Why so, Lord?" or "Be it far from thee, Lord!" But this unconsciousness is no excuse, because it arises from our hearts being evil, so that every one of our imaginations and first thoughts, as they naturally rise within us, except so far as we are renewed by Divine grace, is only evil, and that continually; and this evil does most especially manifest itself by opposition to the Lord's will. A time, perhaps, may come, when we shall see the guilt of this our natural and constant resistance to God, in all its enormity and, full of astonishment, self-abasement, and selfreproach, exclaim, What was I, that I could withstand God!"
XI. The Levitical service began by a human sacrifice. This took place at the foot of Mount Sinai. Previous to this time, it does not appear that the priestly office was confined to the house of Levi; for it is said (Exodus xxiv. 5), "And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace-offerings of oxen unto the Lord." But afterwards, the children of Israel having made the golden calf, the Levites are called upon to enter upon their office by an initiatory, and that a human, sacrifice. "And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate
throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. Moses had said, CONSECRATE yourselves to-day to the Lord, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother." This then was their offering of consecration, or initiatory sacrifice. As the Levitical service began by a human sacrifice, so it terminated even by the great and adorable sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom the high priests offered up. closing sacrifice of the dispensation, however, infinitely exceeded the initiatory one, as well as all that came between.
XII. There are two passages in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians which are cast almost in the same mould, and have nearly the same structure, though they contain two distinct ideas.
"He hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
"Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor; that ye through his poverty might be rich."
That is though he knew no sin, he was made sin; though he was rich, he became poor; for us, for our sakes; that we, who are all sin, might be made the righteousness of God; that we, who are all poverty, might be rich; through his poverty, in him.
XIII. Beware, says St. Peter, lest ye "fall from your own stedfastness:" and then he adds, "But grow in grace." As if he would say, The best way to avoid falling, is to ascend; the best way not to decline, is to be growing; the best way to avoid going back, is to be going forward.
XIV. We may learn some things in Scripture by what we are told: some by what we are not told.
First, by what we are told. "I told you, and ye believed not." Now I have told you, before it come to pass." Secondly, by what we are not told. him, He shall not die." And again: would have told you."
Jesus said not unto "If it were not so, I
XV. Moses came forth from the presence of the Lord with his face shining. Zacharias came forth dumb.-A warning and an encouragement to ministers.
XVI. Satan affects to doubt whether Christ be the Son of God; but knows it to be true. In the wilderness the devil said, "IF thou be the Son of God." (Luke iv. 3.) But ere the end of the chapter we read, that devils "came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God-for they KNEW
that he was Christ" (verse 41.)-And do not the children of Satan still sometimes imitate their father in this respect; pretending to doubt concerning doctrines, which they KNOW to be true? XVII. There are two sorts of ungodly persons, of opposite characters. In the one are seen a false and self-righteous strictness; in the other, criminal self-indulgence and luxury. Each class has its representative in the discourses of our Lord. The former he represents by the Pharisee, who fasted "twice in the week" the latter by the rich man, who "fared sumptuously every day."
XVIII. In his atoning character, Jesus Christ submits to his Heavenly Father's will but in his intercessory character, he declares his own. As our Atonement, he says, "Not my will, but thine, be done:" but as our Intercessor, "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I
XIX. The view of God's Majesty is very different from the bottom of Mount Sinai and at the summit. At the summit, all is splendour and glory. "And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness." But to those below, all is wrath and terror. "And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount, in the eyes of the children of Israel." (Ex. xxiv. 10, 17.)
XX. The Lord rested on the first seventh-day sabbath, and on the last. On the first he rested "from all his work which he had made." On the last, he rested in the tomb, from the greater work of redemption.-The resting implies, in each case, not so much weariness, as completion and perfection. He rested after the creation, because he had ended it," and, behold, it was very good." He rested after his death upon the cross, because all was "finished."
XXI. The father, doubting whether a child can be given to him, is soon silenced by the angel. "I am an old man," says Zacharias. But the angel answers, "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God." Another father, doubting whether his child can be restored, is answered by our Lord himself. thou canst do any thing," says the father. "If thou canst believe," the Lord replies.
XXII. We read that Christ wept three times. The first time for a man, the second for a nation, the third for the hu man race. For a man, when he wept over Lazarus (John xi. 35); for a nation, when he wept over Jerusalem, foreseeing its ruin, and the desolation of all the Jewish people (Luke xix, 41); for the human race, when he offered up prayers and sup