« AnteriorContinuar »
God laying down his life, and pouring out his blood, for the salvation of the penitent soul ; and receives the secret assurance, that he too will obtain pardon and acceptance, if he “ repent him truly of his past sins ; have “a lively and stedfast faith in CHRIST his “ Saviour; amend his life ; and be in perfect “ charity with all men.” The holy sacrament, also, is a means of grace, as well as a fountain of comfort. Surrounded as we are, on all sides, by trials and temptations ; and exposed constantly to the attacks of the world, the flesh, and the Devil ; of ourselves, we cannot stand upright, and are ever in want of spiritual strength to enable us to resist our enemies.. At the table of the LORD, we receive this blessing.' Here we behold, more clearly, the unspeakable suffer. ings of Jesus, and are armed with resignation to submit with christian patience to the afflictions with which God may visit us; and here we obtain a supply of God's grace, to carry with us into the world, and use it in our defence against all the assaults of sin and hell. Come, then, my friends, to the table of your Saviour : “Oh! taste, and “ see how gracious the LORD is :” eat and drink, and live for ever! He invites you all to the wedding feast; and the only wedding garment you are to put on, is
that which your church bids you to be prepared with,“ to examine yourselves, is whether you repent you truly of your “ former sins; stedfastly purposing to lead a * new life, having a lively faith in God's
mercy through Christ, with a thankful “ remembrance of his death, and being in “ charity with all men.”
[For Easter Day.)
COLOSSIANS iii. 1.
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those
things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.
"HE resurrection of our LORD JESUS
Christ from the grave, which we have this day been celebrating, is the greatest and most important event for mankind that ever took place. It is the strongest proof, my brethren, of the truth of his divine religion, as it at once exhibits a wonderful miracle, and fulfils many remarkable pro• phecies. It confirms all the promises which the Bible makes to christians. It is a visi. ble evidence of our own resurrection from the grave; and gives to every humble believer this comfortable assurance,-that, though he must pay the great debt to nature, which the sin of Adam brought upon all mankind, and submit, sooner or later to the stroke of death, yeh, his glorified body shall rise again from the tomb, and live for ever in a state of peace and joy: “ Now is Christ risen “ from the dead, and become the first-fruits “ of them that slept. For since by man came « death, by man came also 'the resurrection 6 from the dead; for as in Adam all die, “ even so in CHRIST shall all be made “ alive.” Holding this doctrine as a matter beyond all dispute, and considering the converts to whom he wrote, as sure of rising with their blessed Lord, the Apostle exhorts them, in the epistle for the day, to maintain a conduct worthy of such an unspeakable blessing: “to seek the things “ which are above," that is, to make religion, and the salvation of their souls, their chief concern:
" to set their affections on “ things above, not on things on the earth ;" in other words, to love God and his law beyond every thing here below: and to “ mortify their members which are upon the " earth, fornication, uncleanness, inordinate « affection, evil concupiscence, and idolatry;" or, to cleanse themselves from all impurity, all unclean habits, corrupt practices, selfish thoughts, and mean actions, that they may fit and prepare themselves to appear with
Christ in glory, when he also shall appear, at the latter day, to judge the earth. *In the following discourse I purpose, to explain to you, more fully, the duty of " seeking “ ihose things which are above," and to shew you the good effects which will arise to you from practising it.
Men, my friends, are very apt to mistake even the plainest directions; and, misled by passion, prejudice, or interest, to understand them in a sense very different from that in which they were given. This has been the case even in religion, which is the plainest of all things; and there are many at this moment, who put a false interpretation upon the clearest rules of the Gospel, according to the notions they have been brought up with, or the course of life they have been engaged in. Thus, for instance, the very plain injunction, “ seek those things which « are above," has been mistaken; and, though it evidently means, that our affections should not be immoderately bent upon earthly pleasures, or earthly business, but that our chief study should be to obtain the happiness of heaven, and the salvation of our souls ; yet two descriptions of men have given to it a very different meaning: one telling us, that we must entirely give up
the world, its business, and concerns; and the