« AnteriorContinuar »
its features, may be likened to the the dromedaries of Median and church of Christ, from its transparency Ephah, and they from Sheba shall and its brightness. The world, even come; they shall bring gold and inin its ignorance, is intelligent enough cense, and they shall shew forth the to see that these two qualities are in praise of the Lord, and they shall the dew, but it will hardly admit the come up with acceptance upon mine resemblance as applicable to those altar, and I will glorify the house of who have shut their hearts against its my glory." This pouring out of principles, and who manfully expose believers was from the East; there all the fallacies in its practice. But we it was that the star arose, from have scarcely a right to expect this, whence the Wise Men went forth because they grope in darkness, and to adore the Child at Bethlehem. the truth is not in them, but it is This was the calling of the Gentiles a legitimate and just comparison; for to the salvation of the Son of Maryhe who has the spirit and the mind this was the dew of his youth. But of Jesus, however able and willing this generation—where is it? and all he may be to keep back certain the successive ones for eighteen hunpoints of his character from the pub- dred years, where are they? why, lic eye, cannot in the great essen- like the dew that shone upon the tials of his discipleship, do this. It green herb—they are gone from usis transparent in his hatred of sin ; “ Death has had dominion over them," it is transparent in his love for Christ; and their very graves have been again steal upon him in his private walk, and again fresh tenanted. But with his lonely meditations; watch him to all this destructiveness of life, there the market-place, in his dealings as has been no loss to the church of a man, or as engaged in the higher God; one band of God's people after employments of a Christian, and you another has been raised to fill the ranks will soon make the discovery for of the slain, like a succession of dew yourselves, that in these grand turn- out of the womb of the morning. ing points of vital religion he stands Lift up your eyes round about and unveiled, a bright and transparent see, “ Thy sons shall come from far, believer.
and thy daughters shall be nursed at There is one other point of re- thy side. The abundance of the sea semblance upon which it would be a shall be converted, and the glory of loss of time to argue—the hasty pass- the Gentiles shall come in." And ing away of this dew, and a new when will there be a pause in this creation of it, all through the sum- work of creation? When shall we mer. Observe the closeness of this look for a cessation in the rising of this representation; and observe it es- spiritual dew? Never, my brethren, pecially in regard to one part of the never until heaven shall be again text, the earliest dew—“ The dew clouded with the wrath of Deity of thy youth.” This allusion is not never, until the law of righteousness to be mistaken ; it is directed to the shall have lost its power to draw it morning of the Gospel day-to the forth from its bed of earth never, first showing forth of the incarnation until the morning itself has yielded of Christ, when the Gentiles were to unto the brightness of a meridian day. take their place in the dispensation Now, even now, whilst the moments of of grace: then was brought to pass time are discharging themselves into the saying of the prophet—"the mul- eternity, it is beautifying the sunny titude of camels shall cover thee; plains of Hindostan, and the dreary
heights of Greenland. It is not as the vineyard I am helping to dress ; it was when Jehovah's voice seemed and although there be many withering but like a grain of mustard-seed, when plants, I believe there is dew covering the religion of the world was bound up us: and much that we know nothing of, in the narrow corner of a wilderness, may be still lying in the womb of the and the precious manna fell only at morning. But, to-day he may call it the tent-doors of Israel. The glory of forth, and to-morrow, and each will the Lord has risen upon almost every be the day of his power, and each will land; yea, the glory of Christ in his add something to the beauty of holicovenanted mercy. He has set it up ness; and then, my brethren, joined as an ensign to the people, and the as you will be to the company of godly spread of gospel knowledge, and the disciples, admitted as you will be into increased working of Christian prin- the assembly of the first-born, you ciples, prove that thousands upon shall truly appear in multitude, in thousands have rallied round it. I transparency, and in brightness, as trust there is some evidence of it in the dew that covers the earth.
FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE WIDOW'S FRIEND AND BENEVOLENT SOCIETY, AT
ST, BRIDE'S CHURCH, JANUARY 20, 1833.
Matthew, xviii. 12–14.-" How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of
them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth to the mountains and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, Verily I say unto you, ke rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even s it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."
One feature of the society for which is actually deserved according to the
meritorious poor and suffering.” Of, most needing the guardianship of its course, Christian brethren, I should shepherd. It is exposed to the cold feel with such persons, that our duty of the night and the heat of the must be first, to relieve the suffering day, to the assault of a variety of family of God. I am taught by the diseases and other animals, to eneScriptures to do good unto all men; mies of every kind; and I need not but especially unto them that are of to say, how just on that account it is the household of faith. But then, the image of man. Proud man is in the Scriptures do not say, because I his infancy we know, and we may am to endeavour to do good unto the say in the infancy of his religious household of faith, that I am to neg- character, and perhaps I ought to add lect every body else. And what I in every part of it, the most weak, would desire in the following dis- helpless, defenceless, and hopeless, course is, to present, what appear to of all animals without God. “ In me, the just Scriptural views upon me, that is, in my flesh dwelleth no that point-to show that if the family good thing.” “Of myself I can do of God, the meritorious sufferers be nothing." “ And the life," says an the first objects of compassion, every experienced Christian, “ I live in the man that suffers is an object of bene- flesh, I live in no power of my own, volence ; let him be what he will, let but by faith in the son of God, who his present circumstances be what loved me and gave himself for me.” they may, that he suffers is a suffi- Therefore we conceive the image of cient cause why he should be an ob- the sheep to be particularly chosen to ject of attention to the servants of intimate to us the weak and defencethe Lord, to every man who would less state of human nature. tread in the steps of his Master.
But it is not merely as a sheep he In order to establish this principle, is described; but as a sheep that has I would endeavour, in dependence gone astray—that has left the shepon the divine blessing, to examine herd's fold—that has wandered from the verses which I have now read; the right pasture—that has forgotten and I would earnestly beg of you to the steps he ought to follow, and the unite with me in prayer to the Father guardianship under which he ought of all compassion, that I may be to shelter himself. This is the deenabled to extract from these verses scription of ourselves, brethren, by their proper lessons, and that God nature; you are the sheep that have of his grace, would carry them home gone astray—you have forgotten the to your hearts and to mine.
hand that made you — the hand that Observe, then, in the First place, has providentially conducted you—the THE IMAGE UNDER WHICH IT PLEASES hand that is ready to lead you to the GOD TO DESCRIBE HIS CREATURES living fountains and green pastures
It is under the image of consolation here, and to lead you of sheep that have gone astray. “If to the living fountains of life in a man have an hundred sheep, and eternity. one of them be gone astray.” It may And, here, brethren, would appear be that it has pleased God to de- to be the particular sin of human scribe man, as you know he fre- nature. You tell me of an individual quently does in the sacred Scriptures, who is honest, upright, industrious under the image of a sheep, because, and irreproachable as to all the perhaps, it is of all animals, the most great concerns and duties of life ; but defenceless, the most helpless, the then you add, with regard to him,
there is this one fault-he has a tender | he leave it to the wolves and eneand affectionate father, and though mies of every kind? Does God deal just to all around him, irreproachable with us, as the persons of whom I in every part of his moral conduct, was speaking in the opening of this he is ungrateful to that parent, discourse are desirous of dealing with though his father loves him, he does those who are at once suffering and not love his father. Why you say, guilty? Does he abandon them. It at once, Let me not hear of his mo- speaks of the shepherd here as seekrality; with that blot I can have no- ing that sheep. Leaving, is the dething to do with him. There is our scription given us, the ninety and picture as the children of God. Inine about whom there is no anxiety, may be speaking to day to honest and, seeking that wandering sheep. men, I may be speaking to persons And brethren, need I say, how justly irreproachable in their moral con- this describes the dealings of God duct; but I say if you forget our with ourselves? Persons often comcommon Father, if you do not love plain that God Almighty will have him who first loved you, if you forget nothing do with them; he extends his God your Maker, and Christ your favour to others, but that his grace Redeemer, you may have all those seems to be withheld in their own excellencies, but there is a foul fatal case; and that no warnings no intiblot on the escutcheon of your charac- mations from God, no touchings of ter, that at once dispels all that is mercy, no manifestations of a Father's great and honorable and good, and love have ever been exhibited in deprives you of all attention in the their own case. Are they sure of that? sight of God and good men. We When you were a child, and you were have wandered from God—we have led into some offence against God and forgotten God we have neglected your fellow creatures, was there noHim that made us, and Him that re-thing in your conscience that redeemed us—we have wandered from proached you? Was there nothing his pastures—we have quitted his fa- that made you unhappy when you mily—we are prodigal children in had done wrong? If there was, what that family. And that is our crime was it? What sent that pang into your in the sight of God; it is the very heart? What touched the cords of picture presented to us in these verses. conscience? God! It was your FaThe sheep that has gone astray, ther speaking to you. Well, then, as quitted the pastures of its shepherd, you have gone on in life, you, perand sought protection under some haps, have been led to read the Scripother shepherd. It has listened to tures, and some particular verse has the voice of a stranger, and to the touched your conscience, made you voice of its proper shepherd it will feel, has been like the hand writing not listen.
on the wall; and you have read in the But now, brethren, observe Se- interpretation of that verse these condly, WHAT IS SAID AS TO THE DEAL- words, “ Thou art weighed in the INGS OF GOD WITH HIS CREATURE balance, and found wanting." Who UNDER THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES. Does was it that sent that verse to the he leave him? Does he abandon this heart? What gave it a force to your wandering sheep to the consequences mind which it has not had to the of its own misconduct? Does he give minds of others ? God! It was God it up when it has forsaken him? seeking out the sheep, it was God When it has got out of the fold, does speaking to the conscience. I may
say the same with regard to dis- giving up, perhaps, her concern for courses from the pulpit. While some that part of her family that staid at sermon has been preached, while home, and clung to her bosom, and some discourse has been addressed sought their happiness in her domesto this or other congregations, you tic circle, and going out into the wilds have been tempted to say, “ Why that and wastes of human nature, and discourse has been made for myself, searching after the forgetful childit seems fitted for my own case, how the child that had often sent a pang that part comes home to me, it seems into her heart, and had gone nigh to as if the preacher knew the particular break it-the child that had done state of my own soul, and pointed the every thing he could to dissolve her arrow at my bosom." The arrow love, and to make her heart hard, and was pointed at your bosom, but who impenetrable to affection. It was the pointed it? Not the preacher, but shepherd seeking the sheep that deGod, the free grace of God. It was served nothing at his hands. God that Father whom you conceived to has so sought you, my brethren. have neglected, and forgotten, and Now you will observe, Thirdly, passed over you. It was God your | The FEELINGS WITH WHICH THE SHEPFather by his Spirit, speaking through HERD 18 DESCRIBED REGARDING that sermon to the soul. It was the THE SHEEP WHEN HE WAS FOUND. It shepherd seeking his sheep.
is said here, “ And if so be that he And thus, brethren, I might go find it, verily I say unto you, he rethrough a thousand instances in a joiceth more of that sheep, than of the person's life; and I believe, that if ninety and nine which went not asthere were an honest investigation tray.”. This statement cannot be inset on foot as to this particular point, tended to convey the notion that God that you, and I, should be brought to loves a man better because he has, sinthe conviction that-far from God ned; that is impossible. Sin is always not having spoken to us—far from detestable to God. And that child who his having passed us by-far from has been, as it were, separated from the shepherd having permitted us to its mother's womb to God—who has wander in strange pastures, and to grown up in love, and faith, and holisten to strange shepherds, he has liness—who has performed the duties been speaking to us from hour to of religion with diligence and devotion, hour, from childhood to manhood, must be dear to that. Saviour, who from manhood to old age ; and I have has shed his blood to take away the sin scarcely ever met with the person of the world, who hates iniquity even who could not be brought to the con- with a perfect hatred, who hates sin in fession, that conscience had not spo- proportion to his own perfect holiness. ken, or, in other words, that God had But I conceive the verse merely means not spoken. And in all these in- | to convey, by the strongest possible stances it was the shepherd seeking figure, this truth-the intense delight the sheep; it was God coming unto which the Saviour of sinners feels in us; not to the meritorious, but to those the salvation of one of his creatures. who deserved it not; it was not the It is not that he rejoices more over shepherd seeking the sheep that de- the sinner that returns, than over the served any thing at his hand, but the man that has never offended; but he shepherd seeking the wandering rejoices to the very extremity of joy, sheep; it was the father looking after with that capacity of happiness pecuthe prodigal child; it was the mother liar to himself, and that fulness of