صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

his motives are imperfect, or altogether unsound: any thing is better than to continue hardened in sin. But we must be exceedingly careful not to stop here; not to rest contented with a partial amendment of the exterior conduct, while the heart is not wholly given up to God in humility, sincerity, and perfect willingness to keep all his commandments. And, mark well again! such a state of the heart is never to be obtained except by a believing application to the Redeemer, in humble prayer, for his grace to overcome sin, and subdue every thought into a voluntary captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Once more; mark well my advice and exhortation on this all-important point: I will leave it with you, expressed in the concisest terms I can imagine or devise. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for every blessing, for every comfort, for every hope and expectation, present and future, in this world and in the next. Apply to him for these things in prayer, steadily and uniformly. Receive him in all his offices. To receive him; to believe in him; to apply to him; to have faith in him; are expressions which all mean the same thing,

and are as essentially different from a mere faith of speculation, a mere belief in the history of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, as light is from darkness.

Now, if you follow this advice, you must expect to be misrepresented, perhaps derided and insulted as an enthusiast who makes a mere faith of speculation every thing, and who maintains that the wickedest man in the world, if he have but faith, though he continue in his sins, will infallibly go to heaven. This cross and misrepresentation you are to bear patiently; and, by letting "your light shine before men, that they may see your good works," you are to confute their false statements, soften the harsh and erroneous judgments they have formed of you, and lead them, if it should so please God, to a happy change of their own views, tempers, and practice. Always remember that you yourselves were once in the same state of blindness and darkness.

Brethren, there is no essential reformation of conduct, no conquest to be made of sin, but through the help of Christ. Go to him as a poor sinner, in penitence and faith, "and be will in

no wise cast you out." Neither is there any perseverance in good conduct, but through precisely the same means.

May Almighty God, of his great mercy, be pleased not only to give us a right judgment in all things, but also to incline our hearts, that we may continue in firm faith, and steady obedience to his holy commandments, even unto our life's end.

300

SERMON IX.

LUKE xvi. 31.

And he said unto them, If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.

THIS is so remarkable a passage of Scripture, that I scarcely remember any eminent divine who has published sermons and not made this the text of some one of them. And with great reason: for as the design of all Scripture is to bring the fallen offspring of Adam to a right knowledge of God, to awaken them from a state of carnal indulgence or slothful indifference, and to encourage them to seek salvation in the Gospel way; so the text which I have just read to you is a portion of Scripture admirably calculated to promote these great purposes.

This declaration of our Lord, "If they hear

not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead," must be taken strictly. When men use expressions of this nature with regard to each other, we are well aware that they are often to be received with considerable restriction. For example: when affectionate parents are grieved on account of the disobedience of their children and their neglect of repeated admonitions, they will frequently exclaim, with impatience, that "It is in vain to say or to do more than has been done: it is all to no purpose: such and such advice has been rejected; such and such steps have been taken without effect: there is nothing further to propose or to hope." This language of grief and disappointment, we know very well, by no means excludes all future trials, or future expectation of amendment neither are the persons who use it to be understood as abandoning all hope, or giving themselves up to despair. But the solemn declarations of our Lord are not to be placed on a level with our hasty and inconsiderate effusions. When the Divine Saviour asserts, with an emphatical repetition, that " they had Moses and the Prophets, and ought to hear them; and that if

« السابقةمتابعة »