« AnteriorContinuar »
and in various ways relieved. Bre-, of families have gone up, as an inthren, there are doubtless annual sub- cense to Heaven, for the blessing scribers to the charity here; they will which their friends have bestowed learn with joy that their confidence upon them. Brethren, as God has has not been misplaced--that their given you, so give in return to your alms have not been bestowed in vain. poor brother; and may God repay Let us have a hope, that the prayers into your bosoms ten thousand fold!
DELIVERED BY THE REV. T. BINNEY,
AT THE WEIGH HOUSE, EASTCHEAP, SUNDAY AFTERNOON, FEBRUARY 24, 1833.
John, xiv. 6.—" No man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
The effect of familiarity with any read it just now; and perhaps it has thing, is to render us almost insen- affected you very little. And yet if sible to the properties of grandeur you dwell upon it, you will find it is and magnificence which it may pos- one of the most extraordinary an
In a thoughtful mind, almost nouncements you ever heard or can every thing in nature gives rise to conceive. Just imagine that we who thoughts and feelings which fill them are in this assembly should be silently with admiration: and there are in na- sitting for a few moments, having our ture such glorious and splendid ob- minds brought into a state of serijects that we are sometimes really as- ousness and attention; and that in the tonished to think with what perfect midst of that silence, a man who apinsensibility we gaze upon them, and peared like a common mechanic, how little they have affected us : there should rise up in the aisle in the midst are some people who have never had of us, and looking round should assert an idea in their lives of the wonder this for himself, and assert it for and glory which there are about the truth; supposing he should tell it us works of God, and have never felt with the voice of authority, and speak any admiration on their account. of it as a matter of positive truth,
The same thing may be observed which none of you might refuse to reoperating upon us in reading the Scrip- ceive—“No man cometh unto the tures. The effect of familiarity with Father but by me—you must come the words of Scripture often renders through me:" what a feeling would us insensible to the strange, wonder- be produced! How we should gaze ful, and extraordinary statements upon upon the man! How we should ask which our eye rests. Now I consi- him, who art thou ? How we should der the passage I have just read to say, what an amazing claim is this? be one in point. You have heard it What, you to stand between Deity read a hundred times ; you heard me and the whole species of mankind ?
What an amazing position! what a the passage proceeds upon that. God remarkable elevation to occupy-that —the father of all spirits, of all all that ever lived--that all that do minds, and all beings, to whom he live now, whatever be their circum- has given an intelligent nature, on stances and their character, whatever whom he has conferred moral capabe their wisdom and their capacity, cities. From that very circumstance must come to God by you! And then it is their first and positive obligation we say, why should there be obstacles —it is their duty, and will constitute at all? Why should we have to come their happiness to come to him ; that to God through you, or through any is, to have constant intercourse with one? Why should we not go directly him, by acts of worship, and acts of into the presence of the Father, as devotion, and by prayer; and to have you are at liberty, we suppose, to go. constant intercourse with him by acts Now just imagine, that any man should of affectionate confidence, which they rise up in this assembly, and utter this are to exercise in the principles of as an universal truth-as a truth to his government; and by acts of afbe received by all mankind, and what fectionate confidence in him as to would be our feelings? We should every thing which happens to them; be utterly overwhelmed and asto- by delighting in their capacity to nished. And yet there was a time imitate and resemble him, and by when these words were spoken on partaking something of that resemthis earth, by one who appeared in blance, and by enjoying something the garb of a mechanic—by one who of his joy. In any world, where appeared in the likeness of sinful an intelligent being exists under this flesh, in a world apostate and de- obligation-if that intelligent being graded, with respect to others—who has not fallen, he delights in it-it is uttered these words, and uttered them his happiness and joy thus to come to with the authority of God. And you God, and to have intercourse with and I are to receive them, and they him, and to receive the light and life, lie at the basis of all our great views and influence of his joy. There is of God. They are to be received, as something solemn and impressive Entering into the very essence of our about it. To come into contact with happiness and our safety. “No man the eternal and infinite mind! We cometh unto the Father but by me.” | feel strongly when we have a prosThese words were uttered by Jesus pect of coming into contact with some of Nazareth, and they are true, and eminent person, and being introduced they are worthy of all acceptation; into the presence of a man distinguishand they must be received and acted ed by capacity or elevated by rank : upon by you and by me, if we would the idea of coming into the presence of enjoy the happiness that comes from a man whose reputation has been estaGOD.
blished for high genius, or extensive I take up these words then as true, learning,—there are few men who do as containing a positive truth, which I not anticipate an introduction like that find on the authority of God in the without some feelings of anxiety and Bible; and I proceed to make three curiosity ; there are few men, if they or four observations upon it by way have not been accustomed to it, who, of illustrating that truth.
in the anticipation of coming into the The passage implies this first, - presence of a monarch, do not dwell that it is a primary duty of all intelli- upon it, and feel some degree of gent beings to come to God. I think anxiety respecting it, and respecting
the particular circumstances with a being should stand up and say to which it will be attended. Now just them — “None of you can come to conceive of any human mind, em- God but by me :” and yet there is bodying within itself all the capa- that singularity about our condition. city, and all the knowledge, and all And now, why is this? I am per. the genius that ever has distinguished suaded I need not enter at large into any human being, or all human an explanation of it. You are aware beings put together; conceive of one of the difference between natural, and human mind embodying all the capa- what might be termed supernatural cities which ever adorned human religion. Worlds that have never nature (and there might be such a fallen-places where the beings have mind) and how should we feel in the kept their first estate, are in a state of anticipation of an introduction to it? what I would simply term, natural Take some of the elevated spirits piety, natural religion. With respect before the throne of God, and think to us who have fallen, we who are of coming into the presence of them, sinners, we who have broken God's and what would our feelings even law, we who stand exposed to the then be? But all these things fall short condemnation which results from that of the idea of coming into the presence infraction, we (who are thus injured of God himself. And then to have a in our moral character, and sustain a proper idea of our accountableness, different relation to God, if we come and our responsibility, and our being to him we must come in a particular constantly under his eye—there will manner. And the singularity of this be, by these, something immensely arises from our position of guilt. solemn added to our idea of coming God is to be viewed by us not merely to him: and yet it is our primary duty as God, but as a God whom we have to delight in this, and to do it. offended—a God whom we have dis
I observe, in the second place, that obeyed-a God whose law we have there is a very remarkable singularity broken. And, therefore, there is about the day in which man is to come some process required; there is someto God. This does not hold with re- thing necessary to mark our circumspect to those beings of whom we have stances, both upon God's part and spoken, or with respect to any beings upon ours And the peculiarity of that we know of. “No man cometh the thing as revealed in scripture is, unto the Father but by me.” Any —that we are to come to God, through thing like that was never uttered in a mediator. The Son of God is heaven. Gabriel never stood up in represented in scripture, especially heaven and said, “No angel can come in those beautiful chapters which I unto God but by me.” It would ex- read to you (the first and second of cite surprise and astonishment if any Hebrews), he is represented as taking such sentiment were to be uttered in on bim our nature-as a divine person heaven. It never was uttered, and appearing in the likeness of flesh, to never will be uttered, in any world in be the mediator between an offended which the beings continue to be just God, and offending man. He is rewhat they were when they proceeded presented as presenting himself a from the hands of God (and I doubt not sacrifice for human guilt, as virtually there are such worlds); it never was removing the sins of mankind, and as uttered there; they delight in constant having them imputed to him, and, as intercourse with God and in coming it were, making satisfaction for them to him: and they never heard that --presenting something like a compensation to the majesty of God. And | I observe, in the third place, that in on that, as a reason, God can proceed coming to God it becomes us to have in offering mercy to depraved human respect to the Mediator, and to come beings, and admitting them into his on the specific business for which he is presence. They are, therefore, to appointed. Only imagine, any of you come to God as an offended being, that are parents, that one of your who has set forth a certain arrange- children, or several of them, were ment, by which they are to come, and under your displeasure – that they plead with him, and to plead the work had deeply and grievously offended and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, you. Or imagine the case of a moand to ask the forgiveness of sin, in narch, against whom a certain portion the consideration of that reason which of his subjects had rebelled, and who is presented in the Holy Scriptures. are, therefore, under his displeasure ence.
Now, all just views of religion, his virtuous and his just displeasure. brethren, rest upon this foundation. Imagine, in either of these cases, that All deism, and the variety of forms of some overture was made, by the soheresy in the Christian church, arise vereign or by the parent, to the refrom an imperfect and inadequate bellious children, or to the rebellious impression of this very truth. The subjects—that there was some kind deist rejects revelation altogether, and gracious and affectionate declaraand he rejects a mediator altogether, tion of readiness to forgive on certain because he looks abroad on the face conditions and in a certain way. Just of the world, and he thinks that imagine that the children heard all nothing more is necessary to come to this—that they had a communication God, but some prayer, and some con- sent to them in which it was distinctly fession, and some expression of peni- laid down and ascertained: or imatence, and that that is enough: he gine that these rebellious subjects thinks nothing of his danger before heard all this-that they had some God. Then there are forms of in- proclamation put into their hands from accurate ideas with respect to religion which they might learn all this. And and what the Bible teaches. Some just imagine that either the child or men reject the idea of the divinity the subject should dare to come into and sacrifice of Christ, and think it is the presence of the parent or of the enough to come to God, as professing sovereign, unconcerned about the matto receive the truth of Christ-to ter wherein they had offended. Imareceive him as a prophet, and they gine that the child should talk of any have no idea of his priestly sacrifice. thing and every thing, and give utterI think that is equally as bad as deism ance to any feeling or every feeling itself. It is not coming to God by except the business on which he came Him who is appointed for the very there: imagine that your child without purpose of coming to God. I think adverting to the circumstances of his these views result from very inade- actual offence, and of your displeasure, quate impressions of the holiness of and to the plan which you had deGod--from very inadequate ideas of signed by which reconciliation might bis majesty-from very inadequate be effected between you—that your ideas of the nature of sin—and from child came and praised the properties very inadequate ideas of that kind of of your character, and rejoiced in medium wbich is représented in the something like the genuine affections New Testament as the way into the of your nature, and the principles of presence of the holiest of all. your behaviour, and praising your
heart, or your hands, or your head. as rebellious subjects; and that you Or conceive of the subjects entering the are to plead a certain reason by which presence chamber of their monarch, you may come in. You treat all and that without adverting to the pro- these with contempt, and you have clamation that had been made as to the just general, vague notions of the diway in which their rebellion might be vine mercy, and of the duty of prayer; passed over, and how they might re- but have no scriptural view of the nejoice in the pardon of their prince--cessity of your coming to God on the they should come and unite together specific business for which that mein some manifestation of their feelings diator is appointed. “No man comwith regard to his government and eth unto the Father but by me.” Any his reign, and the happiness of his of you who have any of these inadesubjects ; never once referring to the quate impressions, and are dreaming business on which they were supposed away life in these vague generalities; to come, or to the feeling that they or insulting that Mediator, who has were rebellious subjects, or advert- told you of the necessity of your reing at all to the way in which they garding him in your approach to God ought to appear before him, by which are losing your souls under the they might receive his pardon, and form, but with the fancied idea of your be again ranked among the King's possessing the substance. servants who had kept their obedi- I observe, in the fourth place, that
Would there not be something in coming in the way that has been monstrous in all this? And do you not pointed out we have every encouragebut perceive that the child would in- ment; and we shall find it to be sufficrease his offence, and that the sub- cient. We shall have a welcome, and ject would add something like ingra- shall surely receive whatever is retitude and contempt to their rebellion? quisite to ensure for us happiness and And do you not think that their pun- satisfaction. “ No man cometh unto ishment would be increased by their the Father but by me.” But every thus slighting the proclamation that one that cometh by me may ; "and had been made to them?
whoever cometh by me I will in no Now familiar as these illustrations wise cast out.” These are relative are, I think every one of you must expressions, and the one truth should see the force and the appropriateness ever be connected with the other. of them. and I mean to say that there But when Christ says, that “No man are many present who just treat God cometh to the Father but by me,” it in this way. You pretend to go to involves all those solemn and importhim, but have not your minds affected ant ideas to which I have referred ; by the business on which you ought and it ought to impress our minds to go there, and appear before him : very deeply with the importance and you have not the just idea impressed necessity of having regard to the on your mind of your actual exposure Mediator in his priesthood, and in to God's displeasure, and that God his sacrifice, as the only way by which has given you a reason which you we can come to the Father. But we may plead, and that you are to come should connect with that, the other on that business, and urge it with idea. If we do thus come to God on faith and confidence for the reception the business for which the Mediator of that mercy which you require ; that is appointed—if we come to God by you are to come into his presence who the way, the new and living way conis the moral Governor of the universe, secrated to us by the blood of Jesus