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by the assurance of a glorious reward, the same conflict, the same inducements and a splendid triumph at last. But he to fidelity are held out to you as those conceals from them none of the sufferings which cheered on the confessors of former they might previously be called to en- ages. The promise is still sure—the redure. He assures them that, before they ward is certain—the prize of immortality could hope to obtain the promised crown, is still to be won—and the glorified Sathey might expect increased hardships. viour is still saying to every one now preThe bloody sword would remain un- sent, “ Be thou faithful unto death, and sheathed. They might anticipate bonds I will give thee a crown of life.” and imprisonment, torture and death. As These words contain, individuals, they might be called to seal I. A solemn exhortation; and, their testimony with their blood, and as II. A gracious assurance. a church, they might expect an extended Both of these topics claim our serious term of tribulation; but, amid all their attention. And may the Spirit of all sufferings, they were not to darken, by grace aid the speaker, and impress his cowardice, their bright hopes for eter- hearers with a deep sense of the vast im. city. All their losses and pains will be portance of the subject, that each of us much more than compensated by the may, during life, with ceaseless aim, successful issue of the conflict. How seek after glory, honour, and immortality. glorious to ascend to heaven from the I. The soLEMN EXHORTATION demands scaffold of death to receive the martyr's our consideration. Be thou faithful crown!
unto death.” Fidelity is the duty here You, my friends, are not exposed to enjoined. The meaning of the term is the same severe trials, losses, and suffer- level to the understanding of every one, ings, for the sake of Christ, as the church and therefore does not require any lengthin Smyrna. But, as the adherents of the ened explanation. It has an obvious “captain of salvation,” you must en- reference to the proper and conscientious dure hardships as good soldiers of Jesus discharge of every duty which we owe Christ. While you are in the world you as moral, social, and responsible beings. will have to fight the battles of the Lord. So long as one incumbent, especially reThe enemies of your souls are still as cognised duty is neglected, the claim to hostile to the spiritual welfare of the entire fidelity is forfeited. And in this friends of Christ as ever, and as full of unhappy condition every individual of malignity against your glorious leader. our species is placed. But it is not in Circumstances are indeed changed. The this extensive sense that we design to world is now more formidable in its consider it in this discourse; but as desmiles than in its frowns, and more de- scriptive of what the disciples of Christ structive by its allurements than by its owe to him as their Saviour and Lord. terrors. And Satan's policy is likewise His claims to their fidelity are unaliena. different. Instead of appearing in all his ble and just in themselves, but recognative deformity to work on your fears, nised to be so by those who assume his with more cunning he now puts on the name, and solemnly profess their attachgarb of an angel of light. Instead of ment to his person and cause. Viewing employing his agents to light up the the exhortation as delivered by the glori. burning pile, and use instruments of tor-fied Redeemer to his followers, we reture to appal the followers of the Lamb, mark, and induce them through terror to apos
1st. That Christians are urged to fidelitatize, he rather endeavours to gain them ty in their professions of personal attach-, over to his cause by flatteries. Still you ment to the Saviour. The claims which "Wrestle not against flesh and blood, but the Son of God has on the faithful adagainst principalities, against powers, herence of all his followers are so many against the rulers of the darkness of this and powerful as to defy enumeration. world, against spiritual wickedness in The infinite glories of his divine person high places.” And while you maintain the intrinsic and manifested excellences Vol. 1.-33
of his mediatorial character—and the fully known to the Son of God before he amazing undertaking which he executed entered on his mediatorial undertaking, or for man's salvation, exhibit him to every came on the benevolent errand of saving believer in a light the most attractive and souls from the second death ; and yet he amiable. It is impossible for one who willingly came, and pressed forward with knows and feels that he has been rescued a holy impatience to the hottest of the from impending destruction by the gene- conflict, that he might overthrow, for rous interposition of another, to refrain ever, the enemies of our salvation, and from cherishing towards his benevolent work out for us an eternal deliverance. deliverer the most grateful emotions. O! there is a grandeur and sublimity in And surely every sentiment of wonder the love of Jesus, harmoniously blending and glowing attachment must rise to its with all that is winning and attractive, highest exercise, when the redeemed sin- which cannot be correctly appreciated ner remembers the unparalleled love and without exciting in the believer a triboundless compassion of Jesus to guilty umph of the most pleasing yet indefinamen, and the striking proofs which he ble emotions. In the love of Christ there gave of these. When our race must have is every thing which is best fitted to properished for ever had he not interposed, duce love in return. The vastness of its he became their surety. He came forth extent—its immeasurable depths—the infrom the bosom of his Father, where he tenseness of its regards—and the disinwas venerated and adored by all the hea- terestedness of its sacrifices, are well venly hosts, and appeared on our earth in calculated to make the deepest impresthe “ form of a servant.” Though he had sion on the soul of every Christian. made the world and all its inhabitants, Now, my friends, you profess to have yet, when he came to it, he found no birth- appreciated the character, the work, and place but a stable, and no cradle for his the excellences of Christ, and to be infant head but a manger. And he was influenced by love to him. You have not ignorant of the reception with which | avowed your attachment to him in the he would meet before he appeared among most solemn and public manner, and you men. He knew that penury, toil, reproach, are bound by every consideration of duty and persecution would be his constant at- and consistency habitually to act under tendants—that every obstruction which the constraining influence of love to earth and hell could throw in his way, to Christ. The pulse of this heavenly afimpede his benevolent enterprise, must be fection ought to beat strongly and steadiencountered—that in the execution of his ly within you, so long as your heart remagnificent undertaking he would have tains its natural warmth. Your love to to bear the ingratitude of men, and the Jesus must not blaze like a meteor, but attacks of devils—the fury of the powers burn like the sun. No combination of of darkness, and the wrath of offended external circumstances must quench the heaven-that in the fulfilment of his cove- pure flame of heavenly affection to the nant engagement with his Father to save Saviour. Providence may frown, friends sinners, he must pass through scenes, may disclaim you, or, like the leaves in and sufferings, and conflicts, such as autumn, may drop into the grave-health never were before exhibited, nor endured, may depart—the languor of disease and and never shall be again. The sun suf- the fell grasp of death may paralyze your fered a miraculous eclipse to conceal the faculties; but whatever you may have to terrors of the hours during which Jesus encounter from the attacks of enemies hung suspended on the accursed tree. without, or suffer from within, endeavour And the signals which announced the never to allow the ardour of your love to victory won, and salvation complete, cool. So long as it is in vigorous exerwere the loud voice of the expiring Sa- cise, it will bear you up over every caviour, exclaiming, “ It is finished," rend lamity. You will not hesitate to suffer ing rocks, supernatural darkness, and a for Him who did so much for you. Seek great earthquake. Now, all this was then to have your love fed with the holy oil of heavenly influence, that you “ may authority of Christ, and of fidelity to his be able to comprehend with all saints cause. Those who would persuade you what is the breadth, and length, and that you ought to attach no importance depth, and height, and to know the love to the articles of your creed, provided of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that you keep strict watch over your conduct, ye may be filled with all the fulness of are to be avoided as poisoners of the very God.” Then shall you evince the reali- springs of moral action. They do every ty and intenseness of your affection to thing in their power to infuse into the soul your Saviour, and prove your fidelity to one of the most certain elements of spirithim. And as his love to you was not ual death. Their own crude opinion, cooled by the indignities he endured, the when once embraced as a practical princiagonies he suffered, or by the grave in ple, proves fatal to all correct morality. It which his sacred body for a while lay is indeed possible for a man of bad prinentombed; so “neither death, nor life, ciples, occasionally, to do an outwardly nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, good action, but it is impossible that it nor things present, nor things to come, nor can be so estimated by the Searcher of height, nor depth, nor any other crea- hearts. Though thousands of his fellows ture shall be able to separate you from applaud, the righteous Judge will conthe love of God which is in Christ Jesus demn him. But as a general maxim it our Lord.”
holds true, that as a tree is known by its 2d. The exhortation calls on Christians fruits, so are a man's principles by his to be faithful in their adherence to all the conduct, and the converse of this statedoctrines of revelation.—Correct views of ment is equally certain. Be not then divine truth are essential to the formation indifferent to any one doctrine of revelaof the Christian character. "The truth" tion. Hold fast the form of sound words is the great instrument which the Holy which are contained in the oracles of Spirit employs in regenerating and per- truth; contend earnestly for the faith fecting believers, and for fitting them for once delivered to the saints. You canthe services and enjoyments of the bless- not surrender the smallest portion of died on high. Divine truth is the lamp of vine truth without hazard to your spiritual heaven, by which the dark soul is illu- welfare. And if through ignorance or minated, and the footsteps of the Chris- unbelief you neglect, overlook, or abantian pilgrim directed in his way to the don any of the peculiar doctrines of promised rest. The Bible is the mirror Christianity, the consequences may be in which the moral deformity of our awfully fatal. You must not shape your hearts is most strikingly reflected, and religious principles by the prevailing the beauty of holiness most attractively opinions of the world, but by the word displayed. The doctrines of revelation of God. To give up in complacency to well understood, and cordially believed, the enemies of Christianity, or in courinfluence every spring of moral action, tesy to the spurious liberality of the age, and give an impulse to right conduct. any of the doctrines of the gospel, is to To insinuate error into the mind is like prove a traitor to Christ. You must be casting poison into a fountain. The decided in your adherence to every truth streams which issue from it become pes- contained in the Bible, and determined tiferous, and impregnated with death. to hold it fast though you should stand
It must be of vast importance, then, alone. Consistency, safety, and fidelity that you form accurate views of those require this of you—you must never be doctrines which the Spirit of the living ashamed even of those doctrines against God has unfolded, and whose truth he which the wit of the scoffer, the reasonhas demonstrated by the most splendid ings of the rationalist, and the contempt miracles, and by other evidence no less of the profane are most bitterly directed. satisfactory. To estimate lightly the You must take your stand at the foot of worth of any truth taught in the Bible, is the cross, grasp it as the standard around to betray an utter want of respect for the which you must valiantly fight, and take as your war-cry the words of inspiration, is in his nostrils. The wall of fire which “God forbid that I should glory, save in the Redeemer has reared around his own the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Zion, is not deemed sufficient for her whom the world is crucified unto me, safety, but the visible arm of earthly and I unto the world.”
power is sought as a substitute. As the The text calls on Christians,
sworn subjects of the Prince of Peace, 3d. To be faithful in maintaining the you are bound to vindicate his insulted royal authority of the Saviour, and his honour, and assert the supreme authority Headship over his church.—Jesus was fore- of your King. It is treason to Jesus to told by the prophet as a priest on his allow a usurper to enter his sacred prothrone, intimating very forcibly that he vince, and dispute with him his authoriwould unite in himself the offices of a ty, or claim a homage which is excluking and of a priest; that while he would sively his due. come in all the meekness of a lamb to be The conduct of all the worthies of forslain, and in all the compassion of our mer generations loudly calls on you to great High Priest, to offer up himself a imitate their heroic example. The cruel sacrifice, and to bear the infirmities of threatening of an arbitrary despot-the his people, he would come likewise in / alluring influence of voluptuous musicall the majesty and authority of a king to the showy pomps of an idolatrous worlegislate for his church, and to throw ship—the prostrate knees of sycophantish over her the shield of his own omnipo- multitudes—the burning fiery furnace, tent protection. These laws are con- seven times heated, combining, as they tained in the Bible, which is the only did, all that is alluring on the one hand, statute book of the church. They are and appalling on the other, could not piain, perfect, and easily understood. shake the courage of the Hebrew youths, They are of universal obligation, and bind nor secure their ignoble compliance with as firmly the greatest monarch on earth what they regarded as sinful. Daniel as the lowliest individual. Every man chose to be cast into the lion's den, brave is commanded to study them for himself, the loss of worldly honour, and encounand to judge for himself. The commands ter the rage of a despotic king, rather than -prove all things—hold fast that which offend his God, and wound his conscience. is good—let every man be fully persuaded Reverence for the royal authority of Jesus in his own mind-are addressed indis-led many, in former days, to the scaffold criminately to all to whom revelation and the stake. Scotland, too, has had comes. No man, no class of men-no her martyrs in the same noble cause. counsel, assembly, or parliament-can, Our natal soil has been watered with without daring arrogance, issue an au- sainted blood. The individuals who call thoritative interpretation of any passage it their own, and claim kindred with of sacred Scripture, and enforce it upon those who resisted every human encroachthe conscience of another. To your own ment on the authority of Christ, and yet master you must stand or fall-every one tamely surrender their religious liberties, of you must give an account of himself and allow men to legislate for the church, to God. One is your master, even Christ, dishonour the cause/with which they and all ye are brethren.
claim alliance, and are traitors to the But though these statements are as Saviour. Whatever, then, it may cost reasonable as they are scriptural, they you, maintain the exclusive authority of have been sadly overlooked, both by in- Christ over his church, and over the condividuals and churches. The authority sciences of his followers. * Be faithful of Christ has been set aside by human unto death." enactments, and the sacred territory of But your loyalty to Christ must not conscience invaded.
His own blood- stop here. While you contend for his bought church has been torn from under prerogatives, you must yield yourselves his own almighty protection, and put up wholly to his service. He has instiunder the patronage of man, whose breath | tuted ordinances to be observed, and
given laws to be obeyed. His authority sacrifice this may cost you, do not hesitate attaches alike to every one of them. To for one moment to make it-present pleaneglect the one, or disobey the other, is sure, secular advantage, worldly friendto forfeit all claim to the character of a ships, are less than nothing when put in Christian, and to incur his righteous dis- the balance with the salvation of the soul. pleasure. His will must be your rule~ Give yourselves cheerfully to the work his glory your end—his ordinances your of the Lord—enter with holy ardour and delight—his favour your life, and his stern resolution on that course which apsmile your heaven. Their he peared to you so desirable from a commucomes, bringing his reward Wou. nion table or the borders of eternity; let give to every man according as his ock your language be, “ I am crucified with shall be, he will say of you, “ Blessed Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, are they that do his commandments, that but Christ liveth in me; and the life they may have right to the tree of life, which I now live in the flesh I live by and may enter in through the gates into the faith of the Son of God, who loved the city.”
me, and gave himself for me." The exhortation requires you,
But if you, in opposition to all your en4th. To be faithful in paying your 80- gagements and professions, abandon the lemn vows.- Many of you have come un- Saviour's cause, how dreadful must be der the most solemn obligations to devote your eternal condition, and how terrible yourselves to the service of God. His your doom! Does it not now make your vows are upon you. They are registered blood run cold and stagnate at your heart, in the book of his remembrance, and you to conceive it possible that, instead of never can deface the record, or recall the rising from your graves with joy, to join sacred transaction. It shall remain in the myriads thronging to take their place delible till it be exhibited before an as- on the right hand of the Judge, you may sembled universe, and read in the hearing be called out of your prison-house to be of countless multitudes. Whatever may dragged as a perjured traitor to receive
have been the character of these transac- the condemnation you have merited; and * tions, whether in the shape of resolutions, instead of obtaining the crown of life as
promises, subscribing with the hand unto the reward of fidelity, to be given over the Lord, or seating yourselves at the into the custody of death and hell, to be communion table, they are for ever bind- tormented for ever with the devil and his ing upon you. Whensoever they may angels as a cowardly deserter from the have been made whether when you cause you had sworn to defend? were first awakened to see your guilt and The text commands you, danger as a sinner, or when the earthly 5th. To be faithful unto death. When house of your tabernacle seemed dissolv- you made a profession of religion, and ing, and you had the near prospect of be- enlisted into the army of the Captain of coming an inhabitant of eternity, or when salvation, it was not for a short camsurrounding the sacramental board, with paign, but for life. Having put on the the affecting symbols of a crucified Sa- Lord Jesus Christ, you are henceforth to viour in your hands, or when your hearts have no fellowship with the unfruitful burned within you for benefits received, works of darkness—having set out in and mercies enjoyed; it matters not what your way to heaven, you are not so much may have been the time or circumstances as to look back; you are to press on toin which you vowed to be the Lord's; wards the mark for the prize of the high his claim to your services is unquestion-calling of God in Christ Jesus. You are able. You cannot set it aside. You are not to use your religion as you do your bound to glorify him in your bodies and Sabbath attire. It must be worn as your your spirits, which are his.
habitual garb-you must be clothed with Give up, then, my dear friends, the it. Alas! there are many who make a sins you vowed to forsake-abandon the profession of religion who are utterly company you resolved to shun-whatever ignorant of its great principles, and have