« AnteriorContinuar »
them that believe.” “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth, any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” Still call for proof! What kind and degree of proof will satisfy or silence infidelity? Shall the sun stand still and the moon be stayed ? Are not the constant and uniform motions and appearances of those great luminaries an equal, or a superiour demonstration of sovereign power and wisdom ? Shall the shadow upon the sundial of Ahaz be accelerated or retarded ten degrees? What can it prove more than is done by a steady and regular progresssion ? Thousands are fed miraculously, at once, by a few loaves and fishes. Is the miracle less which day by day feeds the innumerable tribes of the human race, by a process of vegetation, and of animal increase? The producing hand is the same in both cases, the manner of production makes all the difference. Should one rise from the dead, will ye believe and repent? One has arisen from the dead; but infidelity still holds out. And we must leave it to its consequences: “If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.” As the evidence, so the doctrine of christianity is the same that it was from the beginning. Whether to the Jew or to the Greek; the preaching of John or of Christ himself, of the primitive disciples, or of the ministers of to-day, it is a “testifying of repentance toward God, and of faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” From the beginning to the end of the world, the callis, “Turn ye, turn ye. Why will ye die?” “Bring forth fruits meet for repentance.” The command and the promise are blendid together: “Believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” and they are addressed equally to the jailor it Philippi, and to the multitudes at Jerusalem : “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the re. mission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” The universality of guilt demands universality of contrition and reformation; and there is but one “blood” that “cleanseth from all sin; neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” What other teacher, what other legislator did not find himself under the necessity of suspending, of relaxing, of mitigating the severity of the law; of accommodating himself to times, tempers, and circumstances? Even Moses himself was obliged to temporize, and to connive at the breach of the law, in favour of the hardness of the people's hearts. But the great christian legislator has but one unvarying, inflexible code, for the prince and the peasant, for the noble and the ignoble, for the slave and his master. It alone suits all nations, all seasons, all situations. Among the other marks of Deity this is not the least. Christianity is a religion, not for this district or for that, but for the globe; not for the Jew or the Greek, but for mankind, and thus approves itself to be of him who “ hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth.” Nay more, christianity is a religion for both earth and heaven, for time and for eternity. Its spirit is the spirit of love, and perfect love is the fulfilling of the law and the perfection of felicity. “Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.” Wherefore ? Faith and hope are adapted to a state of trial and suffering; they imply doubt, difficulty, imperfection: “but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” But after the exercise of faith and hope has ceased, charity is arrived at its maturity; a maturity that knows no decay. Thus are “the spirits of just men made perfect.” Once more we ask, Is the history which we have been reviewing, the history of a mere man 2 Is there nothing superiour, nothing divine in this mode of teaching and acting? What mortal could have engaged in such an enterprise, with such support, and have prospered ? What human power and skill reach to the paralytic, the lunatic, the leper ? What arm of flesh can control “the prince of the power of the air 2° What eloquence of man can persuade the rich or the poor, to give up every thing? What tongue can say, with effect, to the wind and to the sea, “Peace, be still ?” If these are not proofs of a present Deity, What proof can be demanded, What proof can be given 2 Our knees bow, our tongues confess “that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” Amen.
HISTORY OF JESUS CHRIST.
BEFORE THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE LORD's SUPPER.
And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold. I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered to me of my father: and no man noweth who the Son is but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.—LUKE x. 17–22.
WISE and good men have attempted to present an artificial arrangement of the several events recorded in the history of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, or what they call a Harmony of the Gospels. It is both a pleasing and a useful amusement to ascertain the dates and to settle the order of events; and labours of this kind, merit high commendation. But the native majesty and simplicity of Scripture stand in
no need of artificial arrangement. The whole spiritual building is august and venerable, and each particular part has its peculiar beauty and excellency. To be assured that such things were done, is of infinitely higher importance than to determine the exact series of succession. Every line of the history of Christ is a radiant display of divine perfection; every step he takes leaves an impress of bonignity behind it It was predicted concerning him, that he should be “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” But it was likewise predicted, that he should “see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied.” The words which have been read contain the accomplishment of this last prophecy. In all our affliction he was afflicted ; let us weep with him : and when he “rejoices in spirit,” let us also “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory ; receiving the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls.” The followers of Christ had now increased to a great multitude. And need we wonder, if such doctrine, supported by such purity and dignity of character, and by such mighty works, had the power of attracting attention and respect wherever he went 2 “There followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan,” Out of those multitudes he selected first twelve, with the peculiar designation of disciples and apostles, to whom he imparted a portion of his spirit and power: “He gave them authority over all devils, and to cure diseases, to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” Afterwards “he appointed other seventy, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place whither he himself would come.” It was on occasion of the return of those seventy, after having fulfilled their mission, and upon the report which they made of their success, that Jesus broke out into this holy rapture: “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit,
and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven