« AnteriorContinuar »
answer: the world, self, family, intel- | Lord Jesus Christ to a poor empty lect, money, rank, our own righte- sinner, made willing by God to come ousness, all, all are empty, Christ is and receive it all, as his own mere full. Poor sinner, thou hast never grace in Christ Jesus ! seen thine own emptiness, and con- I believe, my dearly beloved, that sequently hast never known the Sa- the grand secret for maintaining viour's fulness ; but this very mo- habitual joy in the Lord, is to set the ment may be the time when the axe Lord Jesus always before us. The is laid at the root, and thou mayest moment the eye is off the cross we at this moment be down into the dust, sink. Place me doctrine, or precept, and cry to that God for mercy, that or promise, take me away from the no one ever sought in vain.
cross, I sink; place me the lives of And how comes it to pass that so the holiest, place me the example many of his people are strangers of the best, and take away my eyes to this blessed joy of the Lord ? off the cross, I sink. As true is it in Numbers are entangled still in the the new dispensation, as in the old, old covenant—they still cleave to the I can never enter the tabernacle and covenant of works, and though, in approach God, but by the brazen their judgment, they are partially altar. Oh! brethren, as Goodwin convinced that salvation is only by counsels, first wash and then worgrace, that righteousness is only in ship. First plead the sacrifice, and another, yet they have never been then I can work, and not till then. properly divorced from their first Do you desire the joy of the Lord ? husband. They still cleave to the if these were my last words that old covenant, the covenant of doing, came from these lips, I would say, the covenant of works, instead of the place Christ, the crucified man, GOD covenant of receiving, which is the in our nature, perpetually before covenant of grace. Still they wait to your eyes: one sight of a crucified bring a price in their hand. One has Emanuel will more remove the cobread of a poor dull countryman stand- webs of legality, drive away the ing by the brink of a river, expecting despairings, and despondings, and the time when the river should stop, the distrust which springs from a and he should be able to pass over. legal covenant, than all other prinJust the same is it with numbers of ciples whatever. those, in whom there is a work began Then be very careful and very by the power of the Holy Ghost, prayerful in thy walk. Take good they see enough of sin to make them heed of not making excuses for Degwretched, they see enough of the lected duty. Oh, may God the Spirit defect in their own righteousness to keep you and me ever bearing this leave them, in their judgment, con- in mind,—that to walk in the joy of vinced they cannot stand before God the Lord, and the comfort of the in them: but still, just like the rind Holy Ghost, we must walk in the that binds the branch to its own dead fear of the Lord. Be very teachstock, still they cleave to them and able when God lays a duty before still hang upon them. Oh, that the you, be careful how you tamper with blessed Spirit this day might sever it or neglect it ; when God places a that rind in twain, and lead them to neglect upon your conscience, be see what a full, free, finished, great, ware how you turn from it. It is gracious salvation, there is in the God's blessed messenger to your soul, and you will have reason to on earth or whether we be in heaven. thank him for it to all eternity. May God graciously bless his own Carelessness of walk is the death of words, lay the subject on your hearts spiritual joy. To be holy is to be as far as I have unfolded it in agreehappy. Conformity of will to the ment with his own sacred record, will of God is essential to any real and pardon all its defects, for Jesus enjoyment of him, whether we be Christ's sake.
Nos. 3, 9, 10, 35, 36, 53, 68, 69, 96, 112, 119, 123, and 124, contain Sermons by the Rev. J. H. Evans.
The third Sermon by Mr. Evans, on the Growth of Grace, is still unavoidably delayed, but will shortly be published.
DELIVERED BY THE REV. J. HAMBLETON, AT THE CHAPEL OF EASE, HOLLOWAY, ISLINGTON, SUNDAY EVENING, OCT. 13, 1833.
Genesis, xvi. 13.-" Thou God seest me."
These words, as the history declares, , every man, and every man's hand were spoken by Hagar, Sarai's maid, against him: and dwelling continually after the angel of the Lord, who in the presence of his brethren. A appears to have been no other than description which has been exactly the angel of the covenant—the Lord fulfilled, both in Ishmael himself and Jesus Christ had appeared to her in in his descendants, the wild Arabs the wilderness. She had gone there, of the desert unto the present day. you will find, in petulance and pas- Then after this, it was that “ she sion, disgusted with the hard treat- called the name of the Lord that ment of Sarai : and there was seated spake unto her--Tbou God seest in dejection and despondency near a me: for she said, have I also here fountain of water. Here it was the looked after him that seeth me! angel of the Lord met ber; and he wherefore the well, the fountain was came, we are told, with a very search- called Beer-labai-roi ;” that is, the ing question—“ Hagar, Sarai's maid, well of him, that loveth and seeth whence camest thou? and whither wilt me. Here, then, in this, her lanthou go?" Aud she said,“ I fee from guage at that moment, we have first the face of my mistress, Sarai.” This of all the conviction of one who had answer tells whence she came ; but been out of the way of duty. it does not tell whither she was going ; Other thoughts will open upon us for this, like many others under the as we proceed, but let me first eninfluence of passion, she, probably, deavour to urge this-Hagar had evicould not tell and did not know. The dently done wrong in leaving Sarai's angel then bid her—"return to thy house so abruptly, though she had mistress, and submit thyself under been harshly used by Sarai, whose her hands." Thus God, by his angel, conduct towards Hagar was quite established the duty of mutaal sub- unjustifiable, being full of jealousy, jection and subordination. The doc- envy, and domineering pride. Yet, trine is the same with that of St. this and much worse usage than this Peter :-“ Servants be subject to did not justify Hagar in flying from your masters with all fear; not only Abraham's house without permission. to the good and gentle, but also to the She had, it is true, reasonable cause froward.” The angel of the Lord of complaint ; she might have told it then promised to Hagar a numerous to Abraham; she might have solicited posterity ; also the birth of Ishmael, for her dismissal ; she might have whose name signified-God shall hear ; poured out her complaint to God, and because the angel told her the Lord looked to him for deliverance and had heard her aftlictions. He then support; but no, full of passion and describes his future character-that pride, which commonly forms the of a wild man ; with his hand against very essence of angry passion, she flies away-away from her home, her comforting grace, are proposed, all duty, and her God, and is here in is. apathy and cold contempt. But the wilderness without a friend, a not in early life only; up to this day protector, or a guide. Her thoughts this has too much been our character, at this time could not be thoughts of wanderers from God, neglecting our peace; her prospects could not be duty towards him ; “ we have erred bright and good ; her whole state of and strayed from thy ways, O God, mind was any thing but enviable. As like sheep that are lost.” And then soon then as she is brought to a better when we have been doing wrong we mind, her first thought is — “thou imitate our first parents, and imitate GOD seest me," seeth me a wanderer, Hagar's conduct described in the a sinner, a sheep straying from thy context, and flying from his presence,' fold, a runaway servant: thou God we shunned the thought of God'; and hath seen me all the time. :
thus, like her, we were in the wilder i And surely, my friends, this same ness, though in the midst of this world! thought ought to speak conviction to At such a time you hardly knew our own minds. How often have we whither you were going, and at that also been out of the way of duty ? season you were in imminent danger some, such as servants and young of perishing both in soul and body. persons, have been guilty of this very | There was no food for the soul to be sin of Hagar ---of insubordination, found in sin, no sympathizing friend petulance, and passion towards rela- among the worldly minded, 'no intives and superiors. Did no man ward peace while in a state of res amongst us ever treat parents with bellion against your God, no hope disobedience? Has no one here pre full of immortality to gild your gloomy sent ever caused a pang of sorrow to path. Oh, had any of us died while a father who watched over him, and afar off from God, we never, throughto the mother who nursed him? Has out eternity, could have been brought there been no such thing as sullen- nigh. If Hagar had died there in ness, no perverseness, no stubborn the wilderness the wild beasts would rebellion, in early life? But whether have torn her flesh, and her bones this be so or not, in regard to God would have lain bleaching in the sand, we certainly all have been long and a monument to travellers of one who much out of the way of duty. I know perised out of the way of duty. And no stronger proof of the corruption if any one amongst us had perished of our nature than the indifference and whilst wandering from God, then he contempt with which in our early days who goes about as a roaring lion, we too often treated the God of all seeking whom he may devour, would grace. I can in some way under- have had us for his prey , and then, stand the hardened sinner, I can ac- also, all who knew us, as they passed count for the conduct of the hoary along the road of life would have headed rebel; but without the doc- seen, or ought to have seen, in our trine, the Scriptural doctrine, of man unhappy end, a monument for the being corrupt by nature, I should be traveller of the danger that awaits quite perplexed on turning to the the soul while wandering, straying young, and finding those, who, in other from God. And, oh, what an inscriprespects, are not insensible to kindly tion for the recording angel to have motives, yet, when God and his gra- marked over us—“here lies one who cious claims---Jesus Christ' and his lived and died a sinner-a wanderer dying mercy, the Holy Spirit and his from God.”
Now have we all thought of this as | in us. If He in his mercy is pleased we ought, “ Thou God seest me,” in to forget it and to blot it out of the regard to our wanderings from God. book of his remembrance, we should God knows every step of your de- not, we should remember it to deepen vious course, He marks every proud our gratitude and to heighten our aspiring after independence of him, love to him, we should remember it each longing after vanity, each co- in order that, knowing the native corveting desire of things which he for- ruption of the heart, we may everbids. When man beheld you not more walk humbly, watchfully, and when you seemed altogether as un- circumspectly. And, we should reperceived by any human eye as Hagar member too that the Saviour of sinwas in the solitary wilderness, when ners, and the doctrine of his cross, you thought the darkness of the night and the record of his grace, and the might shroud, or the closet of the heart pledges of his love, and the influences might screen-thou O GOD sawest of his sanctifying spirit, may be more me, thine eye, Othou omniscient precious to one who has so much, so one, beheld me, thine ear heard the often, and so deeply revolted against whispered murmur. “Thou knowest God. my down-setting and mine up-rising, But I come to a second thought. thou understandest my thought afar Our text is not merely the language off. Thou compassest my path and of one who had been out of the way my lying down, and art acquainted of duty, but also of one, who, while with all my ways.
For there is out of the way of duty, had been met not a word in my tongue, but, lo, by the Lord pleading with a solema Lord, thou knowest it altogether.” searching question. This is very clear
My friends, this thought of the in the history, so clear that I may omniscience of God is most affecting proceed at once to the application to in recalling to us our former sins. I ourselves. Now when you, my friends, envy not the man who would deem were out of the way of duty, I mean it an unmanly thing to weep like a living in carelessness, folly and neg. child at the remembrance of his trans- lect of God, he has met you, not in gressions ; as soon would I envy the a visible appearance in person, bat millstone its hardness, or the rock its by his word, his providence, bis miinsensibility. You have committed nisters, and, above all-Oh let me hope sins in days that are past, and thou, O it for you, by his grace. He finds you God, hast seen them all; sins, too, in regard to your souls, like Hagar which the presence of a human being in the desert, faint, friendless, and would often have restrained, for would hopeless; He questioned you in some we like men to know all our sins? Yet what the same manner as he quesGod has known them all, all things tioned her, Hagar, Sarai's maid, are naked and open unto him with whence camest thou, and whither wilt whom we have to do. I call on you, thou go.” The manner in which this then, in the name of God to be deeply question is put is very remarkable, humbled at the thought; I entreat “ Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest you to cherish this consciousness of thou,” implying where she ought to be sin. Let none amongst us ever be “in the service of Sarai, at that time. found again to speak of sin with le- And similar is the question with vity; never, even in thought, to glory which God meets us when out of the in what should be our shame, never, way of duty, young person, who no never, forget what God has seen ought to be serving thy God, wherea