Page images
PDF
EPUB

66 Be

soever bis carthly tabernacle is dissolved, they, who were betore carried into Abraham's bosom, after having caten bis bread, and worn the fleece of his flock, and praised God for the consolation, may welcome him into Paradise, and into “the house of God, eternal in the heavens."

27. We “charge” you, therefore, “ who are rich in this world,” as having authority from our great Lord and Master, kyLTOESTENY, — to be habitually doing good, to live in a course of good works. “Be ye merciful, as your Father who is in heaven is merciful :” who docth good and ceaseth not. ye merciful,”-how far ? After your power; with all the ability which God giveth. Make this your only measure of doing good, not any beggarly maxims or customs of the world. We" charge you to be rich in good works;”as you have much, to give plenteously. “Freely ye have received ; ficely give;" so as tolay up no treasure but in heaven. Be ye “ready to distribute” to every one, according to his necessity. Disperse abroad; give to the poor; deal your bread to the hungry. Cover the naked with a garment; entertain the stranger; carry or send relief to them that are in prison. Heal the sick; pot by miracle, but through the blessing of God upon your scasonable support. Let the blessing of him that was ready to perish, through pining want, come upon thee. Defend the oppressed, plead the cause of the fatherless, and make the widow's heart sing for joy.

28. We exhort you, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to be willing to communicate; norwv XBS Elvm. ; to be of the same spirit (though not in the same outward state) with those believers of ancient times, who remained steadfast in tnx.wiit, in that blessed and holy fellowship, whereiu “none said that any thing was his own, but they had all things common.” Bea steward, a faithful and wise steward, of God and of the poor; differing from them in these tiro circunstances only,—that your wants are first supplied, out of the portion of your Lord's goods which remains in your hands,-and, ihat you have the blessedness of giving. Thus “lay up for yourselves a good foundation, not in the world which now is, but rather, “ for the time to come, that ye may lay holdon eternal life.” The great foundation indeed of all the blessings of God, whether temporal or eternal, is the Lord Jesus Christ,--his righteousness and blood, --what he haih dove, and what be bath suffered for us. And “other foundation,' in this sense, can no man lay;

110, not sin Apostle', no, lot an Angel from beaven. But through his PULS, "Watercoile de in his be in a foundation for a good

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

reward, in the day when “ every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour.” Therefore “ labour” thou, “not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life. Therefore," whatsoever thy hand (now) findeth to do, do it with thy might.” Therefore let

“ No fair occasion pass unheeded by;

Snatching the golden moments as they fly,

Thou by few fleeting years ensure eternity!” “ By patient continuance in weildoing, seek thou for glory, and honour, and immortality.” In a constant, zealous performance of all good works, wait thou for that happy hour, when the King shall say, “ I was an hungred, and ye ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink : I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.-Come, ye blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of thc world!"

SERMON XXIX.

ON OUR LORD'S SERMON ON THE MOUNT.

1)ISCOURSE IX.

"No man cim serve two musters: for either he will hate the

one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and

despise the other. le cumot serve God and mainmon. Therefore I say imlo you, Take no thought for your life,

what ye shall eat, or whic: ye shall sirink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more

ihan ment, and the body than ruimot? Behold the fowls of the air : for they sow not, neither do

they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father

feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they ? " Which of you by taking thought can uild one cubit unto

his stature ? " And why take ye thought for ruiment? Consider the

lilies of the field, how they grow ; they toil not, neither

do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory

Wis not currayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which

to day is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall lie not

much more clothe you, () ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, Ihat shall we eat.

vr, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we

be clothed? (For after all these things (lo the Gentiles seek :) for your

henvenly Father knoweth that ye hare need of all these

things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;

and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow : for the morrow

shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient into the dy is the cril thereof." Valt. vi. 24–34.

[ocr errors]

1. It is recorded of the nations whom the King of Assyria, after he had carried Israel away into captivity, placed in the cities of Samaria, that “They feared the Lord, and served their own gods.” “These nations,” saith the inspired writer, " “ feared the Lord;” performed an outward service to him; (a plain proof that they had a fear of God, though not according to knowledge ;) “and served their graven images, both their children, and their children's children; as did their fathers, so did they unto this day.” (2 Kings xvii. 33, &c.)

How nearly does the practice of most modern Christians resemble this of the ancient Heathens ? “They fear the Lord;" they also perform an outward service to him, and hereby show they have some fear of God; but they likewise “serve their own gods." There are those who “teach them (as there were those who taught the Assyrians] the manner of the God of the land;" the God whose name the country bears to this day, and who was once worshipped there with an holy worship: “Howbeit,” they do not serve him alone ; they do not fear him enough for this : But "every nation maketh gods of their own : every nation in the cities wherein they dwell." “These nations fear the Lord;” they have not laid aside the outward form of worshipping him; but “they serve their graven images," silver and gold, the work of men's hands : Money, pleasure, and praise, the gods of this world, more than divide their service with the God of Israel. This is the manner both of "their children and their children's children; as did their fathers so do they unto this day.”

2. But although, speaking in a loose way, after the common manner of men, those poor heathens were said to “fear the Lord,” yet we may observe the Holy Ghost immediately adds, speaking according to the truth and real nature of things, “They fear not the Lord, neither do after the law and commandment, which the Lord commanded the children of Jacob; witb whom the Lord made a covenant, and charged them, saying, Ye shall not fear other gods, nor serve them.-But the Lord your God ye shall fear, and he shall deliver you out of the hands of your enemies."

The same judgment is passed by the unerring Spirit of God, and indeed by all the eyes of whose understanding He hath opened to discern the things of God, upon these poor Christians, commonly so called. If we speak according to the truth and real nature of things, “they fear not the Lord, neither do they serve him.” For they do not “after the

covenant the Lord hath made with them, neither after the law and commandment which he hath commanded them, saying, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.“ “ They serve other gods unto this day.” And “No man can serve two masters.”

3. How vain is it for any man to aim at this,-to attempt the serving of two masters ! Is it not easy to foresee what must be the unavoidable consequence of such an attempt ? “Either he will hate the one, and love the other ; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” The two parts of this sentence, although separately proposed, are to be understood in connection with each other; for the latter part is a consequence of the former. He will naturally hold to him whom he loves. He will so cleave to him, as to perform to him a willing, faithful, and diligent servicc. And in the mean time, he will, so far at least, despise the master he hates, as to have little regard to his commands; and to obey them, if at all, in a slight and careless manner. Therefore, whatsoever the wise men of the world may suppose,

" Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

4. Mammon was the name of one of the heathen gods, who was supposed to preside over riches. It is here understood of riches themselves; gold and silver; or, in general, money, and, by a common figure of speech, of all that may be pur chased thereby; such as case, honour, and sensual pleasure.

But what are we here to understand by Serving God? And what, by Serving Manimon ?

We cannot serve God, unless we believe in him. This is the only truo foundation of serving him. Therefore, the believing in God, as “reconciling the world to himself through Christ Jesus," the believing in him, as a loving, pardoning God, is the first great branch of his service.

And thus to believe in God implies, to trust in him as our Strength, without whom we can do nothing, who every moment endues us with power from on high, without which it is impossible to please him ; as our Help, our only Help in time of trouble, who compassetih us about with songs of deliverance; as our Shield, our Defender, and the lifter op of our head above all our enemies that are round about us.

It implies, to trust in God as our Happiness; as the centre of spirits; the only rest of our sculs; the only good who is adequate to all our capacities, and sutricicnt to satisfy all the desires hc hath given us.

« PreviousContinue »