Page images
PDF
EPUB

Man is pollutedthe Gospel speaks of cleansing.

You at least, will not be disposed to deny the universality of this pollution. We know well enough that there are its more and less blameworthy developments. You may be able to point to amiable specimens of human nature : you may perhaps have seen disinterested friendship, the ardour of patriotism, inflexible principle, correct morality, decorating the character which has not yielded to the Gospel of Christ. Notwithstanding this, we weigh the man in the balances of the sanctuary, and he is found wanting. He is not restrained by the fear, nor actuated by the love of God. The motive which alone can consecrate the action, is not present with him ; he is therefore a child of wrath even as others. In the eye of God he is a sinner, and if he have no other dependence than these attractions of his character, he will be doomed at last among those who have lived without repentance and died without hope. Here is another excellency of the Gospel of Christ. It not only provides pardon-it carries on in the heart of the pardoned one, by the agency of the Spirit, the holiness which leads to heaven. All other systems promise impunity. That is neither the Gospel's promise, nor the Christian's aim. After it has freed the soul from the curse of the strong man, it spoils the strong man's goods : it takes away the condemnation first, and then breaks the power of cancelled sin. It proclaims freedom as well as pardon. No man need be a slave now, bound in the chain of his corruptions and led captive by the devil at his will. Wherever he is the Gospel comes to his aid. The glinting sunshine pierces everywhere; the dark is irradiated, the impure is cleansed, the earthly is exalted, the corrupt is transformed. Modern science has discovered that the sunshine is the most accurate and most rapid painter. And so it is : the light of the Spirit flashes down upon the soul in the very humblest of earth's hamble dwellings, and there is painted on it in a moment the image and likeness of God.

Man is miserablethe Gospel makes him happy.

Misery and guilt are necessarily connected. The wicked are like the troubled sea which cannot rest. I need not, for my purpose, and I would not if I could, harrow up your feelings by a detail of the miseries of the world. I need not image the woe and wretchedness of toiling sons of want-pestilence impregnating the air with poisonwar fertilizing the plains with blood. I need not unroof for your inspection the squalid habitations of poverty, nor bid you breathe the feculent air of prisons, nor show you the marks on the brow of the hunger-born where the hoof of the fiend has trod. In the search for misery you need not go so far. You have only to enter the heart of the unpardoned sinner and you find it nestling there : sin is uncancelled, and therefore misery broods. I appeal to you, sinner-is it not true? Your conscience slumbers sometimes, and you try to drown it in intemperance or company; but it is not dead—it is not dead and ever and anon it dashes from your lips the untasted cup of pleasure, and appals you with the horrors of the life to

I appeal to you half-hearted and almost persuaded sinner-is it not true? You are halting between two opinions. You have too much religion to enjoy the world, and far too little to be happy in the church, and you are not happy; you know you are not happy. You have tried philosophy and pleasure, and taste and science, and even scepticism, and they are miserable comforters. Oh, I rejoice that I stand before you with the Gospel of Christ. Here is the balm-the vital and all-healing balm. The atonement which satisfied justice, can satisfy conscience too the blood that took away the sin, shall allay the anxieties of the soul. Come to the cross. Come at once-Come now. So shall you be enabled from hearfelt and exulting experience of its blessings to swell the fullvoiced tribute which by and bye the ransomed universe shall render. “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” SERMON IV.

come.

[The Author kindly consents to the re-publication of this Sermon,

which has appeared in a separate form.- EDITOR.]

THE POWER OF THE HOLY GHOST.

BY THE REV. JAMES KENDALL, 1st, OF NORTH WALSHAM.

OUR GOSPEL CAME NOT UNTO YOU IN WORD ONLY, BUT ALSO IN

POWER, AND IN THE HOLY GHOST, AND IN MUCH ASSURANCE. -1 THESS. I. 5.

success.

THESSALONICA was a populous city, and the metropolis of Macedonia. St. Paul introduced

St. Paul introduced the gospel into this city, and his preaching was attended with remarkable

The Jews, however, who were resident in the city, were so envious and so highly exasperated against him as to stir up a tumult amongst the idolatrous inhabitants, and persecute him to such a degree, that he was obliged to conceal himself, and make his escape. The pious believers sent him and Silas away by night to Berea (Acts xvii. 10.), where for some time they were favourably received: the noble Bereans hearing with candid attention, and searching the Scriptures to ascertain the truth of what they had heard; so that many amongst them, including persons of distinction, believed the gospel. But this happy state of things was soon disturbed by the restless and malicious enemies who had persecuted the Apostle at Thessalonica. These bad men came to Berea and stirred up the people ; and St. Paul was compelled by serious apprehensions of losing his life, to leave the place. Notwithstanding this wicked opposition, however-begun when the Apostle was in Thessalonica, and continued after his departure--the Thessalonians distinguished themselves by their persevering piety. They rendered themselves amiable by their “work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father. (Verse 3.) St. Paul unceasingly remembered this, and perceived in it a demonstration that the gospel came to them not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance. Not only with the power of miracles, and with the assurance that these must be from God; (for no man could do such miracles as the Apostles did, except God had been with them,) but with a morally renewing power, and with an assurance that left no doubt upon their minds of the truth and preciousness of the word.

The success of the gospel then, amongst the Thessalonians was owing to a divine influence accompanying and following the word which was preached to their outward ears, so that it was engrafted inwardly into their hearts, and they brought forth the fruits of good living to the honour and praise of God. The success of the gospel has ever been, and is now, the result of a mysterious operation upon the understandings, wills, and affections of those who hear it. We shall endeavour to make good this assertion. Let us1.-CONSIDER WHAT

PREACHING GOSPEL IN WORD ONLY.

II.-WHAT IS PECULIAR IN THAT PREACHING WHICH IS ACCOMPANIED WITH POWER, AND

THE HOLY GHOST, AND MUCH ASSURANCE.

IS

MEANT. BY

THE

« PreviousContinue »