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judges in some cases, they are prone to ima- | which they could not retract, concerning the gine they are so in all; forgetting that faith certainty of her death, he put them all out," has an office, and a province, as well as sense and, as the resurrection and the life, he “ took and reason: faith adds the knowledge of God her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, to our own; faith acquiesces in his declara- arise." When, lo! the fountain of life is tions, however mysterious; and looks for the warmed, the blood begins to liquify and flow, accomplishment of his promises, however im- the pulse beats again; she breathes; she probable.
looks—“her spirit came again, and she arose Secondly. We observe that a serious state straightway: and he commanded to give her of mind is the best preparation for divine meat.” This order was to show truth. “A scorner," says Solomon, "seeketh The reality of the miracle, by the use of knowledge, and findeth it not." And no her faculties. wonder: he is not in earnest in his inquiries. It evinced the perfection of the miracle; He is under the bias of his prejudices and his she was not restored to the state in which she passions. The mind and will of God are no died—that was a state of sickness, in which thing to him: he neither regards his grace, food was rejected: but to the state she was in nor his glory. He would rather meet with before her disease; a state of health and apargument, to countenance his error. He re-petite.
joices to discover any thing that can furnish It was also to mark the limitation of the materials for ridicule and reproach. He has miracle; nothing further was to be done prea proud confidence in his own talents, and ternaturally; but her life, which had been renever thinks of asking wisdom of God. Every stored by extraordinary agency, was to be serious inquirer is a prayerful and practical preserved as before, by ordinary means. one; and he will be sure to succeed. “The It also distinguished this miracle from that meek will he guide in judgment: and the of the final resurrection. The resurrection meek will he teach his way. The secret of will produce a spiritual body, requiring neithe Lord is with them that fear him; and he ther sleep nor food : but this damsel was raised will show them his covenant. Then shall we only to a natural life, subject to the same inknow, if we follow on to know the Lord: his firmities as that of other people, and liable to going forth is prepared as the morning; and die again. he shall come into us as the rain, as the latter But have we not here an image of the res. and former rain upon the earth."
toration of man from the death of sin to the But our Saviour does not indulge a banter- life of righteousness!—The Lord's hand goes ing Pilate with an answer. He does not with his word; and he lays hold of those he gratify an anxious Herod with a miracle.calls.-We immediately arise, and spiritual When he rose from the dead, he does not appear motion follows spiritual life.—We "hunger to those who had seen him work miracles, and thirst after righteousness," and the food and ascribed them to Beelzebub. What is we desire is furnished : and we are nourished one of the reasons he assigns for speaking in up unto the measure of the stature of the fulparables? “Therefore speak I to them in ness of Christ. parables: because they seeing see not; and The scene must have been inexpressibly hearing they hear not, neither do they under- interesting.--Jesus stands in all the charms stand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of compassion, enjoying the luxury of doing of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall good. The child clasps the fond father and hear, and shall not understand; and seeing mother, and looks around with surprise and ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this awe upon this wonderful Stranger in the people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears room. The parents embrace her, and adore are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have Him, giving vent alternately to the feelings closed; lest at any time they should see with of natural affection, and religious praise. their eyes, and hear with their ears, and "Her parents were astonished;" they seemed should understand with their heart, and should like men that dream; they could hardly bebe converted, and I should heal them.” What lieve the reality of their blessedness, while was the consequence of this mode of tuition ? they broke forth in expressions of wonder, at Those who loved the truth, and longed to be the display of such power and kindness, such acquainted with it, applied to him for an ex omnipotence and mildness; and were ready planation; and were in no case refused: while to run forth, and publish abroad their obliga. the obstinate and self-sufficient, the vicious tions to one who had done such great things and inattentive, stumbled and fell, and had for them. I only to thank themselves for their injury and! But his hour was not yet come. He would
ruin. So true is it that, “To him that hath furnish us with an example, not only of be. shall be given; and he shall have more abun- neficence, but of humility. He would teach dantly: but from him that hath not, shall be us to be content to do good, for its own sake, taken away even that he hath."
and like the sun to shine, and bless without Hence these scoffers shall not remain in noise— but he charged them that they should the room. After they had made a declaration, tell no man what was done."
Let us conclude.
I Had not He who has removed your child 'If our Saviour so amazed the spectators, a right to take it away? Was it not his own! and honoured himself by the revival of one Did he ever relinquish his claim to it? Did body newly dead; what will it be when he he enter your house as a robber, or as a proshall come to be glorified in his saints, and to prietor? be admired in all them that believe: when he cannot he sanctify the loss, and more than shall speak, and “all that are in the graves make up any deficiency in creature-enjoyshall hear his voice, and shall come forth; ment, by the comforts of the Holy Ghost? So they that have done good, unto the resurrec- that you shall not faint in the day of advertion of life; and they that have done evil, sity, but in every thing give thanks ? unto the resurrection of damnation !"
Is not your lamb lodged in the Shepherd's Again. It is worthy of remark, that of the bosom? Said not the Saviour to you, as he three persons whom our Lord raised from the was languishing and dying, and you wished dead, Lazarus was the loved and only brother to keep him back, “Suffer this little child to of Martha and Mary; the young man was the come unto me, and forbid him not, for of such only son of his mother; and the damsel the is the kingdom of heaven!" only daughter of Jairus: so touched is he Will not the very body that is now mou). with the feeling of our infirmities; so much dering in the dust be changed and fashioned regard does he show to relative affection; so like the Saviour's own glorious body? well does he remember that we are dust; 80 Will you not soon meet? And never part? perfectly does he “ consider our trouble, and “Wherefore comfort one another with know our souls in adversity !"
these words." The subject leads me to address those who are parents. You say, God only knows the anxieties you feel on behalf of your rising DISCOURSE LXXVIII charge. But he does know. He inspired you with the tenderness you feel, and produced the relation in which you stand. It is THE PROFITABLE PURSUIT, not consistent with the designs of his providence, that you should regard your children
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his as burdens and torments. Nor is it his plea
righteousness; and all these things shall be sure, on the other hand, and on this side the
added unto you.—Matthew vi. 33. greatest danger commonly lies, that you “Man that is born of a woman is of few should idolize them. You should hold them days and full of trouble.” To the numberless with a loose hand, as you know not how soon real evils of life he adds imaginary ones; and your dear delights" may be taken from you, of all his afflictions, none oppresses him more and pierce you through with many sorrows. than care. The heathens confess this, and
Have your children been blessed with their philosophers endeavour to remove the health and strength ? and are they now bloom- burden; but they could only lighten it. They ing like olive plants round about your table? saw the disease preying upon his vitals, and Remember, the continuance of a blessing de- they pitied and prescribed; but they could mands your praise no less than the recovery only abate the paroxysm of the pain, while of it.
the root of the distemper continued. Have you been tried by seeing your chil. Let us be thankful for Revelation. Let us dren, “at the point to die," and did he send sit at the feet of Jesus.-How does he ellhis word and heal them? Have you received force a freedom from anxiety? Never man them back, though not from the grave, yet spake like this man. " Take no thought for from the borders of the grave? Dedicate your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall them afresh to their Deliverer. “Train them drink; nor yet for your body what ye shall up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” put on. Is not the life more than meat, and And let the sickness which has not been unto the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of death, be for the glory of God.
the air: for they sow not, neither do they But others weep for their children, and re- reap, nor gather into barns: yet your bea. fuse to be comforted, because they are not.- venly Father feedeth them. Are ye not You no longer see, while repeating their much better than they? Which of you by morning and evening prayers, their little taking thought can add one cubit unto his hands suspended on your knees. You no stature? And why take ye thought for raplonger hear their broken, artless language, ment? Consider the lilies of the field, how more affecting than all the eloquence of words. they grow; they toil not, neither do they And you say, There is no Saviour now on spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solo earth-or I would hasten to him, and pour mon in all his glory was not arrayed like one out my heart before him
of these. Wherefore, if God só clothe the Yet let me ask, not unfeelingly to condemn grass of the field, which to-day is, and to your sorrow, but to regulate and alleviate morrow is cast into the oven, shall be not your distress;
I much more clothe you, O ye of little faith!
Therefore take no thought, saying, What , poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, out of the dunghill; that he may set him Wherewithal shall we be clothed ? (for after with princes, even with the princes of his all these things do the Gentiles soek :) for people." your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have Let it however be observed that there is need of all these things.” We have not time something inseparably connected with this to examine the beauty and the force of this kingdom of God. It is “the righteousness reasoning. Suffice it to observe, that in the of God." There are some who, instead of words which I have chosen for our present proving their schemes by the Scripture, are almeditation, he finishes his admonition by op-ways bringing the Scripture to their schemes. posing care to care; he would draw us off | Having attached a favourite meaning to a from inferior concerns by the attractions and particular word, they give the term the same impressions of a superior interest-an interest signification wherever they meet with it, rewhich demands our principal regard, and gardless of the connexion in which it stands, will more than indemnify us for every sacri- or the purpose for which it was introduced. fice we make in the pursuit of it.But We make no scruple to say, that the rightseek ye first the kingdom of God, and his eousness of God in this passage intends real righteousness; and all these things shall holiness; the renovation of our nature; the be added unto you.” The words lead us sanctification of our lives. And we say not to ask, and enable us to answer three ques- this from our disbelief of another very interest- ; tions.
ing doctrine of the Gospel, and which holds I. WHAT ARE WE TO SEEK ? II. How forth our justification as flowing from the ARE WE TO SEEK? III. WHY ARE WE TO merits of the Redeemer: and while we know
that our obedience is defective, and feel that I I. WHAT ARE WE TO SEEK?" The king in many things we all offend, and come short dom of God, and his righteousness."
of the glory of God, we humbly look for the The children of this world are wiser in acceptance of our persons and of our services their generation than the children of light. (in the Beloved; and repose the confidence of If I had to propose an estate, I should easily our weary souls under the shadow of his engage your attention; how much more if I cross, “not having our own righteousness, could offer a province !-a kingdom! A which is of the law, but that which is through crown sparkles in the eye of ambition. A the faith of Christ, the righteousness which throne is the pinnacle of human pride. What is of God by faith.” exertions have been made, what blood has But this reliance is always accompanied been shed, to grasp a sceptre that rules a few with true holiness. The same principle that miles of territory, and soon drops from the calms the conscience always purifies the hand that wields it! But here you behold heart. A title to heaven is always attended *the kingdom of God:” a kingdom of which with a meetness for it. And to this our Sahe is the founder, the governor, the owner, viour refers. No righteousness, no kingdom! the giver; a kingdom announced by prophets, The one is essential to the other. And the established by miracles, prepared before the other is not arbitrary: it is founded in the foundation of the world; a kingdom that can- nature of things; in the nature of man; in not be shaken, but remains for ever; a king the nature of heaven. “Except a man be dom, in comparison of which, all the re- born again, he cannot see the kingdom of nowned empires of the globe vanish into God." The enjoyment is impossible. To nothing, and in the possession of which you look therefore for glory without grace, or may mourn over an Alexander as a grovel-heaven without holiness, is treason against ing worm.
Scripture, and rebellion against common Grace and glory are not so much different sense. It is to make God a liar; to abolish states, as different degrees of the same state. all the distinctions which preserve the harHence Christians are even now made par-mony of the world; and to reduce the creatakers of this kingdom: but their present tion to a chaos. “What fellowship hath participation is imperfect. Here they are righteousness with unrighteousness? And princes; but princes in disguise; the world what communion hath light with darkness? knoweth them not. They are like David, Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not anointed, but not proclaimed; and through inherit the kingdom of God? Be not demuch tribulation are entering the kingdom. ceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor Their royalties are above. There-are their adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of robes, their crowns, their palaces; and they themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor shall reign for ever and ever. Nothing less covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor than this will satisfy the infinite goodness of extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God towards them: though they were once God." his foes, and by a frown he could have anni- These are the blessings we are to seek. hilated them, "he spares them, he pardons But them, he exalts them: “He raiseth up the II. HOW ARE WE TO SEEK THEM? First:
" seek ye first the kingdom of God and his own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure. righteousness." First, in time: and first, in nor speaking thine own words." attention.
| Seek them first every day; by securing We are to seek them first, in time. in the morning a season for the closet and
It should be the first concern in life. Here the family. Such previous devotion will I have an opportunity to address those of you best fit you for the duties and events of the whose reason is opening, and whose affec- day. Such intercourse with God will best tions are beginning to glow. How en-prepare you for all your dealings with men. couraging is the promise: "I love them that Again. We are to seek them first in allove me, and they that seek me early shall find tention. They are to be supremely regardme! Remember therefore your Creator in ed, because they are supremely valuable. the days of your youth:" hereafter you may not Many acquisitions are desirable, and some have time for this work: and how dreadful are useful, but religion is the one thing needwould the consequence of prevention be! ful. It fixes its residence in the soul, and If you die before you finish a journey you strikes its influence through eternity. If it intend to take, a building you intend to rear, be any thing, it is every thing: if it be ima connexion you intend to form, it is com- portant at all, it is all important. It is not paratively of little moment; you will then therefore to be a secondary business, which have done with every thing below the sun is to give place to every other interest; erery for ever. But if you die before you have other interest is to give place to this; to this secured the salvation of the soul, it would every other pursuit is to be rendered suborhave been good for you if you had never dinate and subservient. Thus David, in the been born: for if you are not saved, you are Old Testament, and Paul, in the New, speak lost--and lost for ever! . And is there no of godliness as their only concern. “One danger of this? Are any of you so young thing," says the former, have I desired of as not to have followed to the grave persons the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may younger than yourselves? There is but a dwell in the house of the Lord all the days step between you and death. “For man of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are and to inquire in his temple.” And, says the taken in an evil net, and as the birds that latter, “ This one thing I do, forgetting those are caught in the snare: so are the sons of things which are behind, and reaching forth | men snared in an evil time, when it falleth unto those things which are before, I press suddenly upon them."_But godliness is as toward the mark." necessary for time as for eternity. If I were Are you likeminded with them? To de sure of your living to the age of Methuselah, termine this, let me ask you two questions I should still say, “Seek ye first the king. First. What are your desires? Every dom of God, and his righteousness." You man has some languid and lazy wishes. Bxmust enter the world with God, if you would laam wished to “die the death of the rightpass wisely, and safely, and happily through eous,” but was not concerned to live their it.-And never, my young friends, will you life. Herod wished to see our Saviour work have such a favourable opportunity of know- a miracle, but he would not stir out of doors ing the things that belong to your everlasting for the purpose. Pilate asked, What is truth? peace as you now have. Of the year of life, and stayed not for the answer. If a few this is the spring; of the day, this is the powerless, inoperative wishes would carry morning. How many are now bewailing the persons to heaven, none would ever be turnwaste of this precious season, and vainly en- ed into hell. But if you are in earnest, your deavouring to redeem the time, and repair the desires accord with the strong language of loss!
Revelation; you “hunger and thirst after What applies to youth, falls with redoubled righteousness :" you wait for the Lord force upon age. Have you, my aged friend, more than they that watch for the morning been criminal enough to neglect this concern "your soul breaketh for the longing it hath till now? Surely you have no time to lose. unto God's judgments at all times." And Let it be your next concern. It should have upon a review of your anxieties, you will be been your care sixty, seventy years ago. able to say, Every thing now cries with a voice louder
“Give me thy counsel for my guide, than thunder, “Seek ye first the kingdom of
And then receive me to thy bliss; God, and his righteousness.”
All my desires and hopes beside,
Are faint and cold compared with this." What has been said, respecting time at large, will apply to every period of it in par-/ Secondly. What are your exertions? ticular.
For something in this case will necessarily Seek the kingdom of God and his right- be done. This in the Scripture is held forth eousness first every week; by sanctifying by “pressing into the kingdom of God, the first day of the week; “calling the sab- “ taking the kingdom of heaven by violence," bath a delight; the holy of the Lord, ho- " fighting the good fight of faith," " sunning nourable; and honouring him, not doing thine the race that is set before us," " labouring to
enter into his rest." Now explain these ex- | possibility, but probability; we have not only pressions as you please, deduct from them probability, but certainty to actuate usa far more than the laws of metaphorical lan- certainty derived from the promise of God, guage require; yet, will not the remainder who cannot lie; from the gift of his own be more than enough to condemn thousands Son; from the experience of all his people. who assume the name of Christian? Will Here is no peradventure—" Ask, and it shall it not imply much more than that specula- be given to you; seek, and ye shall find; tive, indolent, formal, time-serving, costless knock, and it shall be opened unto you. religion, which satisfies many of our modern They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. professors; a religion that requires of them He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing no sacrifices, and allows the retention of precious seed, shall doubtless come again every worldly passion and indulgence ? with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
What then are you doing? What is your They that know thy name will put their prevailing and habitual course of action? trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forAre you applying the Sabbath to the purposes saken them that seek thee.” for which it was consecrated ? Do you read Secondly. Besides gaining this kingdom in the Scripture and hear the Gospel with re- and righteousness, all other things shall be verence and attention? Do you take pains to added unto us. This is designed to meet an go to the house of God with constancy, and to objection, by no means unusual, in the expeworship him when you are there, “in spirit rience of Christians. It arises from their and in truth?" Do you pray without ceasing? natural and civil condition in the world ; from And in every thing give thanks?-You toil for their businesses; their families; their chilthe meat that perisheth—do you labour for that dren; their bodies. They cannot be entirely meat which endureth unto everlasting life? | dead to those things. If they wish not to You forego ease, you give up your time, you make provision for the flesh, to fulfil the “ rise early and sit up late, and eat the bread lusts thereof;" its wants must be relieved ; of carefulness," to please the world, to gain a and the honour of their profession is conname, to increase your hoard of shining dust cerned in their “ providing things honest in
-are you laying up treasure in heaven? | the sight of all men." They often find it Do you deny yourselves, and take up your harder to trust God in their temporal, than in cross and follow the Saviour, in obeying his their spiritual interests. This thought will, commands, in imbibing his spirit, in copying sometimes at least, enter their minds, though his example? Are you, by patient continu-l it be not lodged and entertained there; “ If ance in well-doing, seeking for glory, honour, I always make religion my first concern, may and immortality? Are you stcadfast, un- I not be a loser by it? Will it not frequently moveable, always abounding in the work of stand in the way of my secular advantage ?" the Lord ?-But
He who knows our frame, and remembers III. WHY ARE WE THUS TO SEEK THESE that we are dust; he who often meets the BLESSINGS ? Here are two motives to ani- fears of his people before they have expressed mate and encourage us: the one implied; the them, He cries" No. Mind my affairs, other expressed. We shall succeed in our and I will manage yours. " Them that hoprincipal aim, which is to secure the kingdom nour me, I will honour.” All these things, of God and his righteousness—this is implied: while you regard them, in the order wherein and in addition to these, all other things shall I place them, shall be added unto you." be given us—this is expressed. “ Seek ye It would be an unwarrantable conclusion first the kingdom of God, and his righteous to suppose hence, that a Christian can never ness; and all things shall be added unto expect any difficulties in life ; but it does you:” as a kind of surplus, over and above authorise us to hope for such a proportion of the contract. What can we desire more. the good things of this world as shall be
First. Though destitute as we naturally needful for us: only, of this, He who dispenare of his kingdom and righteousness, if we ses them is the judge. It is the office of a seek them in the manner here required, we father, before a child comes to years of disshall obtain them. Such an assurance is ne- cretion, to choose for him; and it is the hapcessary to excite attention and diligence. piness of the child to have such a guide. No man will undertake an enterprise that he Hence we are so much disposed to pity an deems useless and impracticable, especially orphan deprived of such a director, and if it be attended with difficulty and expense. thrown upon the wide world. Poor little Hope is the mainspring of motion in all the traveller! What wonder if he mistakes his concerns of the world. The soldier wars, way !-Now this can never befall the children the scholar studies, the merchant trades, the of God: He will not leave them orphans. husbandman ploughs, in hope. It is the This is their privilege, that while incapable same in religion. Here indeed, so infinite is of judging for themselves, they have a Fathe prize, if there was only a probability, or ther in heaven, infinitely wise and good, to a possibility of success, we ought to seek it, choose for them. If they can bear prosperity and to seek it first. But we have not only without injury, they shall have it. If fulness