Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

instance with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; with the Jewish nation, with David, Solomon, and others. But all these covenants were made in subserviency to the covenant of redemption. For it was only in consequence of that covenant, that God could, consistently with his holy attributes, have any communication with man as a sinner. But some of these covenants were connected with temporal mercies, and depended on conditions on the part of the persons with whom they were made. Thus the national covenant with Israel was a charter, by which they were incorporated as a people, under the government of Jehovah. It was an engagement of God to give them the possession of Canaan, and to protect them in it: to render the land fruitful and the nation victorious and prosperous, and to perpetuate his ordinances and oracles among them; so long as they did not, as a people, reject his authority, apostatise to idolatry, and tolerate open wickedness. These things constituted a broken covenant, the forfeiture of which was at length consummated by their national rejection of Christ. But the covenant that God enters into with his people in all ages, in regard to their everlasting state, is that referred to by the prophets and apostles: "I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people." Here you see, all is promise : the conditions are performed already, and therefore the covenant made with the redeemed runs thus: "As for me, this is my covenant with

them, saith the Lord: My spirit which is upou thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of'thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever." But I purposed to conclude the subject by a word of advice.

2. Finally, therefore, have you a good hope of an interest in God's everlasting covenant? Then let it be your concern to be active in doing, and patient in suffering, the will of God.

Interested in Jesus Christ, your salvation is secure. Christ is your covenant head, and therefore while he lives, you shall live also. He will guide you with his counsel, and afterwards receive you to glory. But how are you to manifest your gratitude to your Saviour? By your love and obedience. "Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price : therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." Devote yourself to the Saviour and his service in all holy obedience. Remember that if you are predestinated to eternal life, you are predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ. Let the love of Christ, therefore, constrain you to live, not unto yourselves, but to him who died for you, and rose again. "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." "Be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." Perhaps you may have trials, conflicts, and tribulations to pass through in the way to your destined inheritance. But remember for your consolation,'' all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose: for our light afHiction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory: all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's."

SERMON IV.

THE PROMISE OF PERSEVERANCE.

Philippians i. 6.

BEING CONFIDENT OF THIS VERY THING, THAT HE WHICH HATH BEGUN A GOOD WORK IN YOU WILL PERFORM IT UNTIL THE DAY OF JESUS CHRIST.

Saint Paul sometimes addresses Christians in language adapted to awaken their fear. "Be not high-minded, but fear: and let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." Such exhortations as these are suited not only to the whole visible church, which includes all who profess our holy religion, and in which true believers and merely nominal professors are so blended, that they can only be separated by Christ himself, the great head of the church; but they were also highly suitable as means by which the work of religion is carried on in the hearts of real Christians, in order to their growth in grace, and to their final perseverance in godliness. But as the sacred writers use such advices as these to awaken fear, they also make use of others to excite hope. "Be fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope. Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end." And again, "Hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of hope unto the end." Where there is evidence of the possession of true religion, the working of the Spirit, mortifying the works of the flesh, and drawing up the mind to high and heavenly things, there is good reason to entertain an earnest belief, that the work of grace thus begun will terminate in the possession of everlasting glory. "Hope which maketh not ashamed," may be exercised as far as we have evidence of being the subjects of real religion: and, blessed be God, there is such a thing as real religion, a religion which is excellent in its nature, which has God for its Author and Finisher, and glory for its end. Nothing can separate a true believer from the love of Christ. Of this truth the inspired apostle St. Paul was fully convinced; and under this conviction, he thanked God for the Christian converts at Philippi, respecting the sincerity and reality of whose religion he cherished a strong confidence; and, under this impression, he entertained no doubt of their perseverance in grace, or of their final possession of that glory with which grace will be consummated. Hence in addressing his beloved Philippians, he says, "Ithank my God upon every remembrance of you, always, in every prayer of mine for you all, making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." From the latter part of this citation, selected as a text for the discourse, I shall make five observations founded

« AnteriorContinuar »