« PreviousContinue »
but the practical part resisted by the flesh. Nevertheless, Luke ix. 23, He said unto them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me ; (Luke ix. 23.) and, whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (Luke xiv. 27.) Are you denying yourself? mortifying the flesh? Consider the point; perhaps you never did yet.
2dly, In sufferings. Besides inward self-denial, the Christian must expect external tribulation. Yea, doubtless, I count all things but loss for the ercellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things. These are they that have come out of great tribulation. Now, in all this we have the comfort of following Christ. He went before you, endured more than you can.
But, 3rdly, his sheep follow Him to glory: and here consider each word. Life: To a condemned criminal a free offer of mercy and life; this your case-a poor lifeless creature, gasping for breath; live ; this your case.
Eternal: 0, that word! The things that are seen are temporal; if you could but once, in some degree, feel the difference. Eternal life: glory; 0, how would the due reception of the thought lift us above!
Are you suffering for Christ? It is a faithful saying; for if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him. (2 Tim. ii. 11, 12.) I give, &c.: and when you consider the greatness of the thing, you must feel that it can only be given : never bought! Selfrighteous person, did you ever compare the exceeding greatness of the heavenly gift with your fancied merits, ?-1 give; it is Christ's to give. (John xvii. 2.) As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. The blessed purchase of his sufferings. Now then, worldling, compare masters : The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life. But yet observe, I give them ; they enter upon it even now,—grace and glory.
-What is eternal life? This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. (John xvii, 3.)
They shall never perish, Consider the awful word, die eternally ; consider, believer, what you are saved from ; the wrath of God-exclusion from Him—the company of the damned. Believer, thou shalt never perish. We cannot, here, know who are God's; therefore we sometimes see those fall away, whom we thought highly of. But they went out from us, because they were not of us.
Take care how you apply the doctrine : if you use it to continue in sin, you show that you are not even now Christ's. If you use it to banish care, you are in great danger. Not like S. Paul, Lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away. No, the proper use of the doctrine is this : “ While I am kept looking to Christ, and hanging on him, nothing can separate me from him; Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, while thus kept.”
Neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. Not man. Not the devil; by craft, or subtilty: tempt he may; but He is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, &c. What! Pluck you out of the hands of Christ ? Shall he lose the reward of his sufferings? Did he not rescue the believer from Satan, at his death? Did he not, when you were wandering and lost in the wilderness of this world and of sin, come to seek you? You can perhaps remember the gracious providences ;—and lay your band on them, &c. Was there joy in heaven then, and shall there be grief now? No. Only keep you following Christ, and you shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck you out of his hand.
Mildenhall, April 21st, 1822.
1 Cor. xv. 22.-For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all
be made alive.
I go up to Calvary - see three crosses especially the object of hatred and derision. In general public punishment does away all evil feelings.- Not so here.-Crowned with thorns, mocked by high and low, by the thieves themselves.
I ask one of the weeping women, “ Who is this ? and what has he done?”
He went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil. (Acts x. 38.) The
blind received their sight, and the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed, the dead were raised up, and the poor had the gospel preached to them. (Matt. xi. 5.) The Spirit of the Lord was upon him: he sent him to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, to set at liberty them that were bound, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke iv. 18, 19.) We trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel. (Luke xxiv. 21.)
I stand, and gaze, and wonder!
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani ? Follow with the women to the grave, and see where he is laid.
What shall we say to these things? How explain them? By the text, which is suitable for the day. God make us to feel it !–God entered into covenant with Adam. What are the terms of that covenant? Obey and live, eat and die. He ate and died : and, in him, as the text teaches, all his posterity.
A nobleman is attainted, &c. Adam lost his honour, as son of God :So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him. (Gen. i. 27.) And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image. (Gen. v. 3.)
See a man impoverishing his family. So Adam. Happiness here, and hope of glory. Esau could not transmit the birth-right which he had sold.
Man transmitting disease. So Adam. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? (Job xiv. 4.) Soul and body poisoned by the fruit. See what a frail mortal body, and heir to how many miseries, we inherit. But look at the soul: here the true death that we die in Adam. Dead to God, without any feeling of His presence.
Is it not an awful thing to have the eye of a holy God always upon us, upon our lives and hearts ? How do you feel if a person detects one of your secret sins; how would you, if he should be a witness not only to actions and words, but to thoughts, for one day ? See Psalm cxxxix. And then think of a man-of yourself— living in perfect unconcern of this holy Being.
Man is asleep; awake him. Ah, he is dead, without any feeling of the goodness of God; cold to all offers of mercy; hard and dead. Tell him of the happiness of having God for his friend; of the glories of heaven ; of the things which
eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, but which God hath prepared for them that love Him. (1 Cor. ii. '9.) He has no ear, no eye, no life. Lament to him of his degraded state; that the glorious features of God are effaced; the beauty of holiness gone. As well lament to a dead body the loss of its beauty.
When the body dies, all'is not over at once. Corruption goes on. But this is only the beginning of death.
Thus much of it you see; but sacred Scripture leads further, speaks of eternal death. Then shall