« AnteriorContinuar »
And on what did that hope depend? | great results of redemption, and the deIt was, unquestionably, on a perfect sire which he felt to accomplish them, faith, and on a perfect love. He had was only a just desire ; and as his a perfect knowledge of the great review of those great results was still sults to which redemption would lead ; unchangeable, the desire which he and he had a mind perfectly adapted felt to accomplish them must be unto comprehend the greatness and im- changeable too, because his nature portance of these results, because he was immutably holy. So that hope beheld fully the holiness of God, and founded on faith and love could never the need there was that that holiness change, and had the power to anishould be magnified in the world. mate him, often in the midst of every And knowing the real enormity of obstacle, to pursue that which was to sin, he was prepared to estimate aright issue in our eternal happiness. the nature of that punishment which But, my brethren, if our Lord Jesus sin necessarily entailed. He knew Christ with this admirable constancy the misery to which the lost would pursued our salvation, ought not we infallibly be exposed; and he could, to pursue it too? If he could thus therefore, feel the greatness of that constantly labour for the welfare of rescue which he was preparing to others, have we no heart to labour make. He had a heart to appre- for our own? Are we his disciples ciate the importance of that salva- in this respect ? Have we in this tion, because he loved God, and matter been conformed to the exbecause he loved his people; and, ample of Jesus Christ? Or if we have therefore, he could feel to his inmost obtained the conviction that we have soul what it was to diffuse happiness not, or if we have been in so slight a throughout the myriads of the re- way that it is scarcely deserving a deemed; and he could feel still more name, let me ask you seriously, to deeply, it may be, the glory he would answer to your own minds, whether render to One who was inexpressibly you have an intention this time of dear to him. Thus sustained by faith being conformed to him? and by love, his hope had a power mean, my brethren, to imitate, in which nothing could subdue. In him what remains of your pilgrimage nothing was mutable. His opinions through time, the constancy of our could not change, because those opi- blessed Lood in seeking after this nions were the knowledge of certain salvation ? At first sight it should and demonstrated truth. His affec- appear, that salvation is so incomtions could not change, because those parably precious, involving as it does
eternal interests, that no one could | little apprehended, and not in the hesitate as to what is most ardently least longed for, how can it animate to be desired and most sedulously any one to constancy of purpose in pursued; but a little more reflec- pursuing it? He may see its necestion will serve to show that it is no sity, he may have some languishing easy matter to pursue salvation with wishes after it, because he knows it any measure of the constancy which necessary; but languishing desires, our blessed Lord manifested. If our | and strong irresolution likewise, must hearts were, indeed, prepared as his fail to bring us to that constancy heart was, if we had the same en- of purpose. Nor can any one rest lightened judgment which he had, on the force of circumstances safely; then, no doubt, it would be impos- for in this shifting world, circumsible to manifest any other than his stances soon change and loose their constancy; but let it be remembered force. Nor can any one depend on that to a worldly heart, and to a the desire of constancy; for we see blinded judgment, salvation has no continually, that desire is naturally attraction whatever. We can desire overborne by temptation. to escape eternal suffering, we, it is These things, then, will not prevail true, wish to have, what I may term, to make one constant. It is absolutely the external glory of heaven; but necessary that salvation should proeven this hope is so vague, so con- duce a just impression on the heart. trasted with the warm and stirring It is absolutely necessary, that in our interests of time that it will never vision we should see salvation as operate much on the mind ; and if it Christ saw it; that in our vision we did it is not salvation. Salvation, it should have an enlightened judgment self, to a worldly mind is an object and a prepared heart like his. It is of absolute dislike. Salvation, which absolutely necessary that salvation is the renewal of the heart by the should appear to us in its unspeakable power of the Holy Ghost, so that it importance, if ever we would manifest, loves God and pays to him an affec- in our Christian course, the constancy tionate obedience, and so obeying, that will make us so far resemble enjoys his presence and his blessing Jesus Christ. If we have an enlightfor ever-salvation, which being of ened judgment and a prepared heart; this character, implies the loss of all if we have, in other words, a lively criminal enjoyments, instead of being faith and a genuine love to God, then the object of desire to a worldly and shall we manifest constancy in the ill-governed mind, is the object of its pursuit after salvation; because it is loathing. And if I address a worldly true, that salvation is, indeed, incomperson this night, (as it is too pro- parably more attractive than any bably I do,) I ask bim, if he will be worldly objects whatsoever, when the true to himself, whether such a sal- heart is thus prepared to appreciate vation is not at this moment the ob- its value, and when the understanding ject of his loathing, his heart being can perceive its glory. Yes, if we set on criminal gratification, and have but faith and love in any meathis salvation being wholly inconsis- sure like that which animated our tent with it, and opposed to it. He blessed Saviour, then, indeed, to look prefers that which he knows to be to that great salvation which he has contrary to the will of God, he has provided for us, must win us away no heart for that which is consis-from the trammels of time, and must tent with it; and so, salvation thus prepare us to meet the trials which the profession of religion may entail. capable of making the most timid reCan we, then, realize the emancipa- solute, and the most changeable contion from perfect depravity, to which stant. every unconverted man is hastening But it is absolutely necessary that --can we think of being rescued from salvation should be thus seen. Unthe dreadful companionship with the less it is, we shall ever waver, beworst of beings whom sin bas defiled cause, brethren, we are ever neces
-can we think of being free from an- sarily governed by the objects of our guish and despair, without feeling that affections; and if other things seem these are blessings to be earnestly to us as amiable and important as salcoveted or steadfastly pursued ? vation seems, then will they sway us
Or if we look at the positive bless- as much; and if they are opposed to ings of salvation, and with a lively the pursuit of salvation they will difaith, and with a heart renewed es- vert us from our course ; and instead timate their importance, we shall of manifesting the constancy with see that they are wort being stead which Jesus pursued our salvation, fastly pursued. To be saved-to be we shall show that lamentable changeadmitted to those joys which even to ableness which we see too frequently our enlarged capacities would admi- among the professors of the Gospel. hister absolute contentment—to enjoy How, then, shall we kindle within unassailable security, and that in the us this lively hope which is built on possession of all the blessings which faith and love? If you are bent, my a paternal God can heap on his per- brethren, on receiving this just imfeeted children to have attained, at pression from salvation, there are two last, that moral perfection for which things, which seem to me, absolutely We have toiled and sighed on earth in essential to your success—there are rain-to have a blessed and elevated two things, the failure in either of companionship with all the noblest which will entail our certain disapand best of beings God has formed pointment; and these two are atten-to have exalted converse, unwear- tion and prayer. Without we pray ing activity in the highest employ- we cannot expect the grace and blessments, a heart filled with love which ing of God; and every effort is preis no more alloyed by jealousy, nor sumptuous, and will assuredly fail. affected by bereavements, nor spoiled We cannot change our hearts if unby sympathy with suffering—to be renewed; we cannot improve them if there, above all, in the presence of they are renewed. Left to ourselves Him whom we know to be the Author we shall infallibly, and in every case, of all our blessings, and the perfect turn away even our attention from the model of every human perfection—to things of God, and give an undue atsee Him face to face who was our tention to the things of time; more conductor to glory, as he gave us the and more, therefore, will these spifirst principles of spiritual love—to ritual and eternal things fade from love our Saviour-to be conscious our attention, were we to imagine that He loves us—to see the manifes- they are incapable of influencing us. tation of that love perpetually—to Every Christian knows well the laknow that we shall never depart out mentable changes in the mind; and of his presence again-to feel that we how those things, which, at one moare worthy of his love-yes, if there ment, appear able to occupy all the be lively faith, if there be genuine faculties and engage the best energies love, these are blessings which are of mind and body, at another, seem to
fall on the listless ear, as if there ness demands, we cannot hope to have
no importance or beauty in that faith and love in lively exercise, them. Now this will ever be, except so as to make hope powerful and uniwhere the Lord supplies us with his form in its influence on our minds. own grace; and that grace we may Let me, therefore, exhort you, as not hope for, except we are seeking I charge it on my own conscience, it bumbly at his hand. No atten- thus diligently to set your attention tion, therefore, without prayer can on these great truths, and thus earbring the benefit we require. nestly to entreat the Lord that he
On the other hand, it is a pre- may make these truths influential; sumptuous enthusiasm to expect, that that to that attention and to that the Lord will so influence our hearts, prayer he will give his blessing. that we can see and feel the greatness There is in the truth set before us, of salvation, and be animated con- a power of influencing us beyond all stantly to pursue it, unless we are em- the limitations that we can set to its ploying the only mode, which the influence. We have seen (in fact, we constitution of our nature shows to be know it to exist in many cases) that requisite, in order to obtain just im- the hope which salvation exercises is pressions from it. The idea of salva- far greater than any that the world extion is a complex one. There are ercises. We have seen, through the many great truths included in that goodness of God, instances of a rare one idea, each one of which must be constancy; but yet such constancy as studied, with each one of which we every child of God is expected to atmust be familiar; and it is not a pass- tain unto, if only he will employ himing thought of them, nor an accurate self thus diligently to attain the blessidea of them, that will suffice. We ing. Are you, my brethren, bent on are so formed, that truth must dwell attaining it? Do you see how needin our minds, or else, without a mi- ful it is to be constantly in the ways racle, it must fail to influence us. of God? Do the lamentable instanThe great truths which are compre- ces of inconstancy which occur, imhended in that one word salvation, and press you with a sense of the danger all the blessings consequent on it, you should feel in your best efforts ? must pass before the mind; or, at Are each of you aware, that it is neleast, those principal ideas compre- cessary to the lustre of your charachended in it must dwell in the mind. ter, and the maintenance of your reThe mind must rest with complacency ligious peace, that you should be on each of those great blessings, which constantly in the ways of God? Will are all purchased for us, and which you thus attend? Will you thus pray? are all comprehended in that one word Then may the blessing from on high salvation; and unless the mind does descend among us, fill this congrerest on them, God will not work that gation with light and joy, Christian miracle which our indolent minds activity and love—then, in a busy, a may be looking for, and cause the worldly, a money loving, a power prospect of salvation to produce that loving city and age, may you be sigimpression on the soul absolutely re- nalized by your constancy to Godquisite to form us to constancy in the then shall you pass through this turways of God. So, my brethren, un- bulent world peaceful and sereneless we are combining these two, the then, though surrounded by temptaattention which the subject requires, tion, shall your course be steadfast in with the prayer which our own weak- the midst of every thing that should
make you inconstant. And the old, I even here, there will be a sum of rebefore they depart from this world, ligious happiness enjoyed, by those shall be able to witness a good con- who form the members of one Chrisfession to the young, how they in the tian congregation, which it is difficult Christian walk have served the Lord; for language to express, or for the and those who are young, who are heart rightly to estimate. And this sustained by an energy which is not shall be but the prelude of those their own, and depending on the grace better joys when there shall be no which God can bestow to the feeblest temptation to inconstancy remaining, and the strongest, shall be from their when we shall have on us the impress earliest youth to their latest age of the divine character, bear his name the same men still, only continually on our foreheads, and be partakers ripening in the graces of the Spirit, of his own unassailable security and and continually advancing in like- bliss. Which may God of his inness to the Lord Jesus. So God will finite mercy grant for Christ's sakebe glorified, my brethren ; and so, Amen.
DELIVERED BY THE REV. JAMES PARSONS,
AT TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD CHAPEL, FEBRUARY 5, 1833.
John, xiv, 2.-" Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you : not as the world
giretà, gire I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." PROBABLY, my brethren, no scene the immortal happiness of our souls. must be regarded as so interesting, Probably there are none of the beauas that which occurred when our Re- tiful and interesting announcements, deemer held his last interview with which at this period proceeded from his disciples previous to his propi- the lips of our Redeemer, more tiatory agony and death. It is, no adapted to possess so powerful a hold doubt, difficult to connect in our on the human heart as the verse which own minds, the circumstances which we have read, and on which it is now surrounded it with such a charm, and our intention to address you. It has which stand in tenderness and sub- not unfrequently been called, the lelimity so pre-eminent and noble in gacy of our Redeemer to his people; the annals of the world. It is per- and it is perfectly impossible for fectly impossible for us Christians to those persons who are impressed with peruse the record in which it is nar- right views of religion, ever to revert rated, without deep and profound to it without feelings of the warmest emotion ; nor can we look at the in- gratitude and delight. structions which are there contained, It is my desire, Christian brethren, without perceiving, that, if we follow that you who have already through them in spirit and in truth, we must grace believed, may be inspired by forthwith become partakers of the in the contemplation of it; and it is also fluence of those blessings which are my desire, at the same time, that those to secure our eternal well being, and who have no part or lot in the matter,