« PreviousContinue »
still Christ says,
“not your hearts.” “Behold now is the accepted “ time; behold now is the day of salvation.” And
- Him that cometh unto me, I “ will in no wise cast out."
But, above all, beware of further procrastination. None can say, “what shall be on the morrow. " “ The Master of the house may have risen up
and “shut the door;" and then it will be as vain to “ stand without, and to say, Lord, open to us,” as it was for the inhabitants of the old world, to seek admission into the long-despised ark of Noah, when the days of the Lord's long-suffering were ended. Nay it is impossible to say, whether, even if life be prolonged, God may not be provoked to give you up to final obduracy, and to “swear in his wrath “ that you shall not enter into his rest.”—In any view of the subject, if not now truly penitent, and seeking diligently salvation through Christ our Lord; you have reason to fear lest he should at last address you with these tremendous words : “ Because I called, and ye refused, I stretched out my hand, and no man regarded, but ye
have set “at nought all my counsel, and would none of my
reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity; I “ will mock when your fear cometh. When your “ fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction “cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and “ anguish come upon you ; then shall they call
upon me, but I will not answer ; they shall seek
me early, but they shall not find me.” “Then “will I profess unto them, I never knew you ; de“part from me, ye that work iniquity.” Oh!
my fellow-sinners, such of you as have been favoured with manifold advantages, and have
at times seemed disposed to profit by them; if you should at last die in your sins, what an account will you have to give ! What a meeting will you have, even with those who have spoken to you the word of God, and “watched for your souls ;” who have faithfully and affectionately warned you,
and earnestly persuaded you, by the love of Christ, and by “the terror of the Lord,” “not to refuse “him that speaketh,” not“ to neglect so great sal“ vation !” “It would have been better for “ to have known the way of righteousness, than to “ turn” at last “from the holy commandment de“ livered unto you."
Again let me intreat you to reverence your consciences; and venture not to go on in any thing concerning which your own heart condemns you ; for “God is greater than our heart, and knoweth “all things.” “Submit yourselves therefore to “ God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from
you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh “ to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and “purify your hearts, ye double-minded. Be “ afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laugh“ ter be turned into mourning, and your joy into “ heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of “ God, and he shall lift you up.” Then will the gracious Saviour say of you to his friends and servants," Rejoice with me; for I have found my "sheep, which was lost :” and you also shall ere long share the joy.
Let me then conclude by again reminding you of the words of Christ, “ Him that cometh unto
me, I will in no wise cast out.” Imitate him, who of old cried with tears, "Lord, I believe, help “ thou mine unbelief;" and your sorrow shall in due time be “ turned into joy." And may God of his infinite mercy, grant that all present may be found among those, over whom Christians and Ministers rejoice; over whom Christ rejoices; and who shall rejoice with him, and in his love and presence, to all eternity! Amen.
ON THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
LUKE XI. 13.
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts
unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him ?
In the former part of this chapter our blessed Saviour teaches his disciples to pray; and encourages them, in the most affecting manner, to carnestness and importunity in prayer. With what energy do the illustrations, used on the occasion, address the feelings of our hearts ! “ If a son “shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, “will he give him a stone, Or if he ask a fish, “ will be for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he “ shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion ?"
And while every one who heard him must find his heart revolt against a conduct so contrary to parental affection, he added the words of our text: “ If ye then, being evil, know how to give good
gifts unto your children, how much more shall “ your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to “ them that ask him?" It is not said, to his children, but “ to them that ask him ;" that the asking itself might be a ground of encouragement
to every supplicant. In a parallel passage the concluding words are, “ How much more shall
your Father which is in heaven give good things
to them that ask him?”! But here the Holy Spirit is promised, as the best gift of God to those that are favoured with the gospel, and indeed as comprehending all things which are truly and essentially “ good” for them.
“ God made man in his own image, after his
own likeness.” He had before pronounced each part of the creation “ good;" but when man had been formed, and placed in dominion over the other creatures, he pronounced the whole to be
very good.” Yet here our Lord, addressing his own disciples, speaks of them, and of men in general, as evil: “ if then ye being evil.” We are informed, in the third chapter of Genesis, how“ by
one man sin entered into the world, and death
by sin.” Thus man became as “ clay marred in “the hand of the potter :” and soon after we read, “ God saw that the wickedness of man was great “ in the earth; and that every imagination of the
thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. “ And it repented the Lord that he had made man
on the earth ; and it grieved him at his heart.” “ God looked upon the earth, and behold it was
corrupt : for all flesh had corrupted his way upon “ the earth.”? Accordingly he destroyed the whole depraved race, except righteous Noah and his family: yet, directly after the deluge, he testified that “ the imagination of man's heart is evil from “ his youth.” Undoubtedly then some vast change
· Matt. vii. 11.
? Gen. vi. 5-12,