Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

cannot tell, but I heartily wish, (I am neither a prophet, nor the son of a prophet,) and I hope none of us will ever be driven to America for an asylum, where God's people were driven from this land a hundred years ago. Clouds are growing thick, and if a spirit of moderation does not prevail among governors and governed, what but confusion must happen to persons who strive with one another, and are making sport for the devil, by destroying one another ? May the great and gracious God avert every impending storm; and by diffusing a spirit of moderation and of a sound mind, and by keeping his people close to himself, avert those storms, those terrible judgments, that we have reason to expect from our repeated provocations. I am going now to settle the Orphan-house upon a proper basis; I go now in the fall, that I may be in Georgia in the winter, which is fine weather there. The twenty-fifth of March is the anniversary of the day on which I laid the first brick of the Orphan-house ; by that time I hope, all the buildings will be finished, and the plantation settled; and then I hope to go and preach along the continent to New England, and from thence I intend, if God permit me, to return to my dear London and English friends again.

I have blessed news from the Orphan-house; one writes to me word, would to God you could send a thousand such as you have sent, Mr. Dixon and his wife, that have been old servants there; Mr. Wright, Mr. Crayne, and Mr. Wright's brother, and those that have been employed with them to carry on the work of the Lord; and I cannot think but God intends to lay a foundation for a blessed seminary for Christ. Lord Jesus, hear our prayers upon that account.

Now I must come to the hardest part I have to act. I was afraid when I came out from home, that I could not bear the shock, but I hope the Lord Jesus Christ will help me to bear it, and help you to give me up to the blessed God, let him do with me what he will. This is the thirteenth time of my crossing the mighty waters; it is a little difficult at this time of life; and though my spirits are improved in some degree, yet weakness is the best of my strength; but I delight in the cause, and God fills me with a peace that is unutterable, which nobody knows, and a stranger intermeddles not with ; into his hands I commend my spirit; and I beg that this may be the language of your hearts, Lord keep him, let nothing pluck him out of thy hands. I expect many a trial while I am on board; Satan always meets me there; but that God who has kept me, I believe will keep me. I thank God, I have the honor of leaving every thing quite well and easy at both ends of the town; and my dear hearers, my prayers to God shall be, that nothing shall

pluck you out of Christ's hands. Witness against me, if I ever set up a party for myself; did ever any minister, or could any minister in the world say, that I ever spoke against any one going to any dear minister ? I thank God, that he has enabled me to be always strengthening the hands of all, though some have afterwards been ashamed to own me.

I declare to you, that I believe that God will be with me, and will strengthen me; and I believe it is in answer to your prayers, that God is pleased to revive my spirits ; may the Lord help you to pray on. If I am drowned in the waves, I will say, Lord, take care of my London, take care of my English friends, let nothing pluck them out of thy hands.

And as Christ has given us eternal life, O my brethren, some of

you, I doubt not, will be gone to him before my return; but my dear brethren, my dear hearers, never mind that; we shall part, but it will be to meet again for ever. I dare not meet you now, I cannot bear your coming to me to part from me, it cuts me to the heart and quite overcomes me; but by and by all parting will be over, and all tears shall be wiped away from our eyes. God grant that none that weep now at my parting may weep at our meeting at the day of judgment; and if you never were among Christ's sheep before, may Christ Jesus bring you now.

0 come, come, see what it is to have eternal life; do not refuse it; haste sinner, haste away: may the great, the good shepherd, draw your souls. O! if you never heard his voice before, God grant you may hear it now; that I may have this comfort when I am gone that I had last, that some souls were awakened at the parting sermon. O that it may be a farewell sermon to you; that it may be a means of your taking a farewell of the world, the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life. O come, come, come, to the Lord Jesus Christ; to him I leave you.

And you, dear sheep, that are already in his hands, O may God keep you from wandering; God keep you near Christ's feet; I do not care what shepherds keep you, so as you are kept near the great shepherd and bishop of our souls. The Lord God keep you, lift up the light of his countenance upon you, and give you peace. Amen.

SERMON XXVII.

A FAITHFUL MINISTER'S PARTING BLESSING.-A FAREWELL

SERMON.

REVELATIONS xxii. 21.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

It is very remarkable that the Old Testament ends with the word curse; whereby we are taught that the law made nothing perfect : but blessed be God, the New Testament ends otherwise, even a precious blessing, that glorious grace put into the heart, and dropped by the pen of the disciple whom Jesus loved.

My brethren, as the providence of God calls us now to bid each other a long farewell, can I part from you better than in enlarging a little upon this short but glorious prayer; can I wish you, or you me, better in time and eternity, than that the words of our text may be fulfilled in our hearts: the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. In opening which,

First, It will be proper to explain what we are to understand by the word grace.

Secondly, What by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and its being with us all; and then to observe upon the word Amen: showing you why it is that every one of us may wish that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ may be with us all.

Perhaps there is not a word in the book of God that has a greater variety of interpretations put upon it than this little, this great word grace. I do not intend to fatigue you, or waste the time by giving you all. It will be enough in general to observe, that the word grace signifies favor, or may imply the general kindness that God bears to the world; but it signifies that here, which I pray God we may all experience, I mean the grace, the special grace of the blessed God communicated to his people; not only his favor displayed to us outwardly, but the work of the blessed Spirit imparted and conveyed inwardly and most powerfully to our souls, and this is what our church in the catechism calls special grace; for though Jesus Christ in one respect is the Savior of all, and we are to offer Jesus Christ universally to all, yet he is said in a special manner to be the Savior of them that believe; so that the word grace is a very complex word, and takes in all that the

blessed Spirit of God does for a poor sinner, from the moment he first draws his breath, and brings him to Jesus Christ, till he is pleased to call him by death; and as it is begun in grace, it will be swallowed up in an endless eternity of glory hereafter. This is called the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Why so ? Because it is purchased for us by the Lord Jesus Christ: the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth, in the most emphatical manner, came by Jesus Christ the son of God. If it was not for the purchase of a Mediator's blood, if it was not that Jesus Christ had bought us with a price, even with the price of his own blood, you and I should never have had, and could never have had the grace of God manifested at all to our souls. The covenant of works being broken, our first parents stood convicted before God: they were criminals, though they did not care to own it; condemned before God, and in themselves, so that like their children they made excuses for their sin. Man by nature had but one neck, and if God had pleased to have done it, he might justly have cut it off at one blow: but no sooner had man incurred the curse of the law, but behold a Mediator is provided under the character of the seed of the woman, which should bruise the serpent's head; implying what the Redeemer was first to do without, and afterwards to do in the hearts of all his people: well therefore are we taught in our church collects to end all our prayers with the words, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Moreover, brethren, this grace may be called the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, because it is not only purchased by him, but it is conveyed into our hearts through Christ. The federal head of his glorious body, is a head of influence to those for whom he shed his blood : thus his disciple said, he was full of grace and truth, and out of his fullness we, all that are true believers, receive grace for grace; grace upon grace, says Mr. Blackwall, in his sacred classics : grace for grace, that is, says Luther, every grace that is in Christ Jesus, will be by his blessed Spirit transcribed into every believer's heart, even as the warm wax receives the impress of the seal upon it; as there is line upon line upon the seal left upon the wax, so in a degree, though we come greatly short of what the law requires, the grace that is in Jesus Christ is, in a measure, implanted in our souls; but the Lord Jesus Christ, blessed be God, has our stock in his hands. God trusted man once, but never will more; he set Adam up, gave him a blessed stock, placed him in a paradise of love, and he soon became a bankrupt, some think in twenty-four hours, however, all agree it was in six or seven days, and that he never had but one sabbath ; but now, blessed be God, we are under a better dispensation, our stock

is put into Christ's hands, he knows how to keep it, and us too; so this grace may be said to be the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, secured by his blood, and conveyed to our souls by his being the head of his church and people.

This grace has a variety of epithets put to it, and I question whether there is any kind of grace but what the Lord Jesus Christ exercises towards his people some way or other, every hour, every moment of the day.

First. His restraining grace. Why, if it was not for this, God's people would be as weak and wicked as other folks are. Remember what David said when Abigail came to him; he was going to kill a neighbor for affronting him, forgetting that he was a Psalmist, and was only acting as a creature. Blessed be God, says he, that has sent thee to meet and keep me. My brethren, we may talk what we please, and build upon our own stock; we are just like little children that will walk by themselves. Well, says the father, walk alone then, they tumble down, get a broken brow, and then are glad to take hold of the father; thus Jesus Christ is always acting in a restraining way to his people ; if it was not so, by the blindness of their understandings, the corruptions of their hearts and affections, together with the perverseness of their will, alas ! alas! there is not a child of God that would not run away every day, if Christ did not restrain him!

Secondly. There is convicting grace, which from the Lord Jesus Christ acts every day and hour. Oh! it is a blessed thing to be under the Redeemer's convicting grace! a man may speak to the ear, but it is the Spirit of God alone can speak to the heart. I am not speaking of convicting grace that wounds before conversion, and gives us a sense of our sin and misery: no, I mean convicting grace that follows the believer from time to time. If a heathen Socrates could say, that he had always a monitor with him to check him when he did amiss and direct him when he went right, surely the christian may say, blessed be God for it, that he has a Jesus that kindly shows him when he goes astray, and by his grace puts him into the way of righteousness, that his feet may not slip; this is what the shepherd does to his sheep when they have wandered. What does the shepherd do, but sends some little cur, his dog, after them, to bring them to the fold again? What does Jesus Christ do in temptations, trials and afflictions? He fetches his people home, and convinces them that they have done amiss.

Then, thirdly, There is the converting grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh! what poor unhappy creatures are they, that think they can turn to God when they please, to which

« AnteriorContinuar »