Page images

same God to be thus observed, and another thus slighted ? Alas! is not the case clear, that you do not keep one of the commandments, because it is God's commandment; otherwise you would keep them all with the same reverence: if, therefore, you abstain from murder even, or theft, you do it not because God has so commanded, but from some other motive,—from a regard to the laws of your country, to your own character, or because you have no temptation thereto. I beseech you to give this consideration due regard, because, by the blessing of God, it may lead you into the knowledge and consciousness of sin ; it may convince you that, even in those things wherein you think yourself the clearest, you are not thankworthy towards God; for you have not acted from a regard to his glory or his laws. It may lead you to inquire whether you ever did, IN A SINGLE ACTION OF YOUR LIFE, abide by a commandment of God, simply and truly because it was God's commandment. My brethren, I speak plainly, if peradventure it may please God to convince any one here present of that evil of his heart, which he had not before known or suspected. Should it so please Him—and O, that it may !)—such a one will, indeed, have reason to call this Sabbath a delight.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

John v. 39. -Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have

eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.

Men are not born to live and die like the beasts that perish. God has endued many kinds of beasts with much strength and most wonderful instinct, and a beautiful affection for their young. They eat, they drink, they make their habitations, they increase and multiply, they provide for their young, they enjoy their short life, they lie down and die. They have done their work, and have, according to their capacity and power, served God. But is this all that men have to do? You would think so by looking at many, nay, at most of them. What are men in general doing but eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, providing for themselves and their families, enjoying themselves as much as they can in the delights of this world, and looking forward that to-morrow may be as to-day and much more abundant? Who would think that man,-every man you meet, is in a short time to leave this world and every thing that it contains, and go to live in another for ever? Go into men's houses and talk with them; what is the conversation about? About this world, and its news, and its trifles. Is there a thing said in the course of a whole day or week, in some of your houses, by which it could be known that you knew you had souls within which can never die? The beasts act according to the wisdom which God has given them. But what words can describe the folly of man? You are to live for ever; you must, very soon-you know not how soon,-enter into the eternal state, you have the means in your hands of making that eternity an eternity of happiness; you know it; you know, too, that there is everlasting misery as well as everlasting happiness, the one or the other must be your lot -I say to each one of you, and would I could say it to your hearts !--must be your own lot; and yet you live on as unconcerned as if these things were a dream, an idle tale. Nevertheless, there is everlasting life to be had, if


will your hand for it; it hath been obtained for undeserving sinners by Christ Jesus; it is most plainly revealed to you in the sacred Scriptures. Therefore Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of Christ.

My friends, it is a grievous consideration that many

of you are content to be without the power of searching the sacred Scriptures; I mean, without being able to read. And many that have the power, I fear, do not use it; many who can read,

put forth the last book which they take up, which they feel themselves interested in, is, the Bible. And many even who read it, how little do they understand or value its contents! What shall I say to all these but what our Lord said to the woman of Samaria, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water. John iv. 10. If you knew, if you understood, if you felt what everlasting life is, if

you could but conceive the real delight and peace, which the true Christian has in the exceeding great and precious promises contained in the sacred Scriptures, you would quickly find some means of learning to read them; you would get your neighbour to teach you, nay, you would go to school to your own child, sooner than remain without so rich a treasure.

But before I urge this any further, I would particularly to-day endeavour to show you what you are to look for in the sacred Scriptures; they testify of Christ; every part of them is full of him. It is he, his life, and righteousness, and death, and resurrection, and exaltation, his blessed person and offices, what he is in himself, and what he is to us,--these are the subjects for the contemplation of a Christian, and these are the subjects which he must search the Scriptures to find; not only the Scriptures of the New Testament, but of the Old also. You find, Luke xxiv. our Lord himself, after his resurrection, meeting with two of the disciples as they went to Emmaus; on what subjects did he discourse to

them? Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. And in the same chapter we find him opening the understanding of the disciples that they might understand the Scriptures, and saying unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead on the third day, that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations. Surely we cannot be more profitably or delightfully employed than in following our Lord's example, and in endeavouring to find in the sacred Scriptures the things concerning him. May he be pleased, while we are so doing, by his blessed Spirit, to open our understanding, that we may understand; and may we be made wise unto salvation. Lift up your hearts, each of you, I beseech you, that the Holy Ghost may be present with us, while I attempt to draw your attention to some few of the most remarkable histories, types, prophecies, and promises, respecting Christ, in the Old Testament.

1. The first remarkable history which I will mention to you as containing a reference to Christ, is that (Genesis xxii.) of Abraham's offering up Isaac. God commanded Abraham to offer up Isaac; meaning, not only to try the obedience of Abraham, but to show hiin, in a figure, the way of salvation. For thus did the justice of God demand that the whole race of mankind should be doomed to .eternal death. But mark the faith of Abraham: when Isaac asks, Behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering ?

« PreviousContinue »