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most vigorous endeavours? If you can find but little leisure for the service of God, and the care of your souls; if you can spend whole days without calling upon God, or reading his word; if the Sabbath appears burdensome to you, and you join in your hearts with those profane persons whom the prophet Amos describes, as saying, (viii. 5.) "When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the Sabbath, that we may set forth 2 wheat?" If you are conscious that it is thus with you, I need scarcely inform you, that you must be classed with those whose language it is, "Who will shew us any good?" A
2d Use, therefore, which I would make of this subject, is to exhort you, who are yet carnally minded, to think seriously of your condition. Ye are pursuing what will for ever flee from you. Ye are combatting with a decree of him who is Almighty, even that irreversible decree which hath pronounced vanity on all things below the sun. Ye are opposing the experience of all who ever made the same trial before you; ye are struggling with the very feelings of your own hearts, which as yet have never found that permanent satisfaction which they require. O then be persuaded to relinquish those false plans of happiness by which you have been hitherto deluded, and to seek the favour of that God who is the only adequate portion of an immortal soul. Listen to that expostulation and advice, (Isa. Iv. 2, 3.) "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David."
Lastly, let me call on those who have been taught to value the light of God's countenance above all things, to be humble and thankful. Often recollect that mercy which plucked you as brands out of the burning, and set you apart to see the glory of the Lord, and to show forth his praise. Often acknowledge that sovereign grace by which you were arrested in the broad way that leads to destruction, and led to him who alone bath the words of eternal life.“ Who made thee to differ, and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?" If he who com. manded the light to shine out of darkness hath shined into your hearts, to give you the light of the knowledge of his glory, as it shines in the face of Jesus; adore and praise this distinguishing goodness; acknowledge, with humble gratitude, that it was the doing of the Lord. And if you would continue to enjoy the comfort wbich ariseth from the light of God's countenance, be careful to abound in all those “ fruits of righteousness, which are through Christ to the praise and glory of God.” Our duty and our comfort are wisely and graciously connected together. “Great peace bave they that love thy law," saith the Psalmist, “and nothing" shall offend them." 6 The work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness, and assurance for ever." As many as walk according to this rule, peace sball be on them, and mercy, and on the Israel of God. Amen.
Preached on the Evening of a Communion Sabbath, March 16,
1783, a few days before the Author's death.
HEBREWS ix. 28.
Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and
unto them that look for Him shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation.
THERE are two things which we are taught to be
. lieve concerning Christ. The first is, That he once appeared in this world, clothed with our nature; that he published to sinners of mankind a pure and heavenly doctrine; and after exhibiting, in his own conduct, a fair and unblemished example of holy obedience, at last offered up himself a sacrifice to God, to expiate our of
. fences, and purchase our eternal redemption. The second is, That this same Jesus, who was dead, is now alive, and sitteth on the right hand of the Majesty on high, from whence he shall come at the end of the world, crowned with glory and honour, and attended with all the host of heaven, to judge the quick and the dead.
We were this day commemorating, in the Holy Sacrament of the Supper, what Christ hath already done for the redemption of his people. There we beheld him “evidently set forth as crucified before our eyes,” bearing our griefs, and “ wounded for our transgressions.” And now to display the riches of his grace, and our infinite obligations to love and serve him, let us with joy
contemplate what he is farther to do, as it is shortly expressed in the latter part of my text: "Unto them that look for him, shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation." The
First thing that claims our attention is the certainty of our Lord's return. "He shall appear the second time." And, blessed be God, this comfortable truth doth not depend upon any doubtful process of reasoning, but is both supported and illustrated by a variety of the most clear and express declarations of holy writ. The apostle Jude informs us, that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, by faith foresaw this great event, and said by divine inspiration, "Behold, the Lord cometh ten thousand of bis saints, to execute judgment on all." It was Christ's promise to his disciples, "In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also." The angels who attended him at his ascension into heaven bare witness to the same truth. ❝ Ye men
of Galilee," said they, "why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Nay, we are told, that the Father hath appointed the very day in which " he shall judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained." In a word, this doctrine is not only frequently asserted in Scripture, but is so intimately connected with all the other parts of revelation, that the whole must stand or fall with it. Is not the Sacrament of the Supper a visible pledge of our Lord's return, as well as a memorial of his sufferings and death? And do we not profess an equal belief of both, every time we
partake of that holy ordinance. “ For as often as we eat this bread, and drink this cup, we do show the Lord's death till he come;" that is, we commemorate his death in the faith of his second and glorious appearance.
This, my brethren, is an interesting trath, and doth justly challenge our most serious attention. It is not more certain that we are met together in this place, than that we shall all meet again at the tribunal of Christ, where every one of us shall appear in his true colours, without any mask or disguise. At present we are but little acquainted with ourselves, and frequently mistaken by others; but the sentence of the supreme Judge will rectify all mistakes, and at once put an end to the presumptuous hope of the hypocrite, and to the fears and anxieties of the humble self-suspecting soul. Whom he then justifies, none can condemn; and whom he then condemns, none dare justify, neither is there any that can deliver out of his hand. What a mighty influence ought this to have on our temper and practice? Were any of us to be tried for our lives at a human bar, I am persuaded that the thoughts of it would so fully possess our minds, as to leave room for almost nothing else. Yet the most that the judge can do in such a case, is to determine the day beyond which we shall not live; while neither he, nor any man in the world, can say with certainty, that we shall live till that day come. One of a thousand accidents may cut us off, and prevent the execation of his sentence; so that the legal date of our lives may be considerably longer than the term which the Author of our lives hath appointed. But the issue of that trial, which we must undergo at the second appearance of Christ, is of eternal consequence to us. Our final state is determined by it; and no power in -heaven or on earth is able to defeat or alter the sentence.