« AnteriorContinuar »
viour, from this load of sin, under which they laboured, in consequence of the fall of Adam; and to save their souls, upon the conditions of their repentance, faith, and obedience." So God loved the world, that “ He gave his only-begotten Son, to the end " that all who believe in him should not “ perish, but have everlasting life.” “ This " is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be " received, that CHRIST JEsus came into the “ world to save sinners.” And to destroy the notion of the Jews, and of those like the Jews in this respect, who believed that God would save them alone, and that all who did not belong to their nation or church would perish; "the saying" of Jesus told them plainly, that CHRIST “ died for ALL;" that is the grace of God had appeared unto ALL “ men;" that" as in Adam All died, even so « in CHRIST should ALL be made alive." To give comfort, also, to mankind under that sense of sinand infirmity, which the gospel had awakened in them, “the saying" of Christ told them further, that they had an 6 advocate with the Father who is in heaven,"
even Jesus Christ the righteous;" and a friend and comforter on earth, even the Holy Spirit; to assist them in performing their duty, and conquering their spiritual enemies, if they would but seek his assistance
in humble prayer; “ ask, and ye shall " have ; seek, and ye shall find;. knock, « and it shall be opened unto you."
Το assure mankind, that death did not put an end to their being, and that this life was not ghe whole of their existence; the “ saying” of Christ pointed out the resurrection from the grave, and the life everlasting. “I am the 6 resurrection and the life,” saith the LORD, “ he ihat believeth in me, though he were dead, “ yet shall he live ; and he that liveth and “ believeth in me shall never die." To make it clear to mankind that their state in the next world would be either happy 0.1 miserable, according as their behaviour had been good or bad in this, the same "say“ ing” of Christ told them plainly of “a “ judgment to come;" that at the latter day," the Son of man shall come in his
glory, and all his holy angels with him ;' shall gather all nations before him; and pronounce this sentence upon those who have been good christians," Come, ye bles “ sed children of my Father, receive the
kingdom prepared for you from the foun“ dation of the world ;” and a contrary one upon the disobedient and worthless, « De.
part from me, ye wicked, into everlasting
fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. And, lastly, to satisfy mankind, that salvation
could not be obtained without holiness and righteousness; that neither the faith and outward worship of the Jew were of any avail, without piety of heart to God, and brotherly love to
our fellow-creatures; nor the learning or philosophy of the Gentile, unless it were accompanied with piety and virtue in the behavicur; "the saying" of CHRIST, or the holy gospel, expressly said, “ Not every one that saith LORD, LORD, “shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven, " but he that DOETH the will of God, who " is in Heaven;" and that “ neither for“ nicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor “ effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with “ mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor “ drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, “ shall inherit the kingdom of God."
Such is “the saying" of CHRIST, or the substance of the christian religion ; “ by “ keeping which," our blessed LORD says, we “ shall never see death.” It is hardly necessary, I should think, to explain to you, what the words “keeping his saying" means. You know, that keeping the commandmeat is, doing that which the commandment bids you to do. The very reason why a human law is made, is, that they may “ keep” or obey it. The laws of our own country, for instance, are enacted, to regulate the conduct of those who dwell therein, that they may do nothing which is contrary to public justice or private peace. As long as he “keeps," or obeys, those laws, so long the subject is entitled to that protection which the laws hold out as the reward to those who do so. When a man pays a strict obedience to them, doing all that they command, and forbearing to do what they forbid, he then * keeps" the laws; he is a good subject, and may promise himself the enjoyment of all the advantages which those laws hold out to a proper observance of them. Exactly thus is it in religion; he alone is a good subject of CHRIST, who " keeps his saying," or obeys his laws; and he alone may expect that reward for his obedience which he promises to them who fulfil them faithfully, Verily, " verily, I say unto you, if a man keep my
saying, he shall never see death."
It remains for me to consider, in the second and last place, the nature of the reward which is promised in these words, “ he shall never 6. see death." It is a clear case, my brethren, that our blessed Saviour does not speak here nf temporal death; of our going out of this world, and, in God's appointed time, being carried to the grave.
“ Dust thou art; and 66 to dust shalt thou return,' was a part of the sentence pronounced upon mankind as
early as the fall of Adam ; and the experience of almost six thousand years has proved, that this sentence has been executed upon all the sons of Adam, with the exceptions of Enoch, who was taken from the earth; of Elijah, who was caught up to the clouds in a fiery chariot ; and of our LORD Jesus CHRIST, who ascended gloriously, before his disciples, into the heaven of heavens. Yes! "
man that is born of woman “is but. of few days,” here below; “it is “ appointed unto him once to die;" “ for
corruption is his father, the worm is his “ mother and his sister." .* Man dieth “and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up “the ghost, and where is he? As the 66 waters fail, from the sea, and the flood
decayeth and drieth up, so man lieth dowo, « and riseth not till the heavens be no more. And, indeed, this first or natural death is very distressing to poor human nature; and the prospect of it would be quite overwhelming, if we were not supported under it by the promises and prospects of the gospel, i To
go hence, and be no more seen;" to leave all whom we have loved, and who have loved us here below; to be separated for ever from this world, its business, its pleasures, and its connections; to suffer those pains which commonly attend the separation