Images de page
PDF
ePub

all things loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dross, that I may win Christ, and be found in him; not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith cf Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Are you such characters? We speak of having his glorious Advent in view. Beloved friends, be honest to yourselves: do you count all things loss for him? Do not deceive yourselves. If you have any doubt, adopt the course of the first mernbers of the Philippian church. You obscrve among them two remarkable characters; one of them earnestly asking the Apos. tles, " Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" the other frequenting a place where prayer was wont to be made.” This is the course to become the friends of Christ: not receiving the mysteries of his religion in a self-confident spirit, as if your own wisdom were sufficient for your guidance; but meckly consulting the Sacred volume, and in earnest praycr saying with the devout Patriarch, * What I know not teach thou me."

The two converts to whom I referred afforded a delightful encouragement, that none thus seeking the Lord shall scek in vain. Few natural characters scem more opposite than those of Lydia and the Jailor: the one, a mild and gentle female; the other, a man whose office had increased his natural obduracy. If, however, you examine their history, you will see that the Lord freely imparted his grace to cach; and when that grace had been received, or when they were made partakers of faith in the Lord Jesus, there was a great similarity between them: both publicly professed the name of Christ, and both courteously received the Apostles. Oh then, do you protit by their history, that you may be found anong the friends of Christ at his coming. Your own interest invites you. You must be sensible, that in your best state you have a weak body, and a very imperfect spirit. What a blessing, then, to have this weak body changed into a glorious body, and this naturally sinful soul conformed to the mind of the Son of God! This is a privilege indeed! If then, you have hitherto pursued another course, take this for your moito in the present year: “Our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Let us, my friends, commence the year together. In the prospect of that blessed day, I know nothing that would more increase my delight, than that

to see

we should be associates by the way, and finally sit down together in the same kingdom.

And you, my christian brethren, who are among the true friends of Jesus, let me entreat you to dwell more upon this blessed hope. You now complain of a weak body, and of a disordered soul. It shall not always be thus. He, whose word is truth itself, has given us a promise that “ he will come again, and receive us unto himself.” Wait, then, this glad event; anticipate his coming; meet Him on the way, by the lively actings of faith, and by fervent and frequent prayer. It is sweet to turn to the place from whence he comes. The very lifting up of your hearts to heaven will detach you more and more from carth; will enable yon the world in its proper light, as a passing pageant only important in this view,—that they who inhabit it have been bought by the precious blood of Christ, and are now invited to partake of its unsearchable riches.

Let his coming also affect you in this manner; that, as the great difference between your present body and the body you will then have, is this; that your body will then be more free to serve him, and possess a spirit like his, perfectly pure and holy, now seek more of his likeness. Present to him your body, soul, and spirit, as a resonable service. This is the happy life, to be coming nearer to Jesus; nearer to him in more simple reliance upon his merits, by partaking more of his image, and by a more willing devotedness to his service. Could I express my desires for

you in one word, they would be summed up in the name of Jesus -- that you may be sprinkled with the blood, arrayed with the righteousness, filled with the Spirit, armed with the mind, .conformed to the image, raised by the power, and finally cast your crowns before the throne, of the once crucified Jesus. To this ever to be adored Saviour, in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be all glory and honor and wisdom and power ascribed, now and forever more! Amen.

SERMON IV.

THE KING OF GLORY.

By the Rt. Rev. GEORGE HORNE, D.D.,

Bishop of Norwich.

REVELATIONS, i. 7. Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also that

pierced him; and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even 80, amen.

If any thing can lead men to repentance, and turn the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of that Just One, the wisdom which maketh wise unto salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus, it must be the united considerations of his mercy and justice: his infinite mercy during the day of grace, when all sins, that can be repented of, are forgiven unto men; his inexorable justice at the day of retribution, when he shall infallibly render unto every man according as his works shall be. And perhaps there is no better method of stirring up our wills to procure an interest, or of discovering the interest we already possess in the love of Christ, than by viewing in their proper colors the terrors of his judgment, as they will show themselves to the astonished world at that awful hour of his second Advent; when the mark put upon false principles and evil actions shall drop off, and all things be estimated by the measures of Christianity, and the standard of the Gospel of Jesus.

The words of the divine and well-beloved John now read are, it is presumed, not improper for this purpose, as they evidently fall in with the design of our Church at this season, and speak the same language with her Advent services -"Behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him; and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

In these words we may observe,

I. Christ's Advent to judgment, with the manner of it: “Behold he cometh with clouds."

II. The circumstance of the world's beholding him, and the effect it shall produce: “ Every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him; and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.”

Ill. The faith and hope of the church, displayed by her wishing and praying for his manifestation, notwithstanding all the terrors that are to attend it: “ Even so, Amen.”

1. Then, we are to consider Christ's Advent to judgment. There is something wonderfully awful and affecting in ihe short description the text gives us of it. The beautiful manner particularly in which it is introduced, is worthy notice. St. John having occasion to mention his dear Lord and Master, at whose command he wrote this epistle to the churches, fired and transported at the glorious name, runs on with amazing rapidity enumerating the blessings of the Redemption which is by him; and having carried him from his cro:s to his throne, and ascribed all glory to him sitting upon it, immediately he sees him in the clouds, and breaks forth in the words of the text. The whole passage runs thus: “ John to the seven churches which are in Asia, Grace be unto you, and peace from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ who is the faithsul witness, and the first begotten from the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth; unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his father; unto him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.Behold he cometh!" It is evident, likewise, at first sight, how well this sudden and abrupt introduction is calculated to awaken our attention to what follows. “ The corruptible body, alas! presseth down the soul that museth on many things,” and especially when it museth on the things of eternity. Multitudes lie asleep in their sins amused with delusive dreams; dead to their true views and interests, as a corpse sleeping in the dust is dead to the views and interests of this life. Therefore the Holy Spirit, about to make proclamation of Christ's second Advent, first sounds a trumpet in Sion and an alarm in the holy mountain, and ushers it in with an emphatical - Behold! which, like the voice of that wakeful bird that gives the first notice of the approach of the morning, and as a prelude to the Archangel's trump which is to give notice of the approach of the last morning that shall ever rise upon the world, is designed to awaken a careless and indolent generation out of its lethargy, importing the same in this place, with those other frequent calls of the apostles and prophets — " Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. Arise, shine for thy light is coming, and the glory of the Lord is rising upon thee.”

“Behold he cometh.” And is not this a sight worthy of our attention? Is it not very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should behold it? that we should

open
the
eyes

of our faith, which the bewitching cup of pleasure and vanity, mingled by a deceitful world for our destruction, has charmed to sleep? that we should " lift up our heads, and look up, to see our redemption drawing nigh?" For draw nigh it will, and it does, whether we consider it or not. Every evening takes a day from the world's duration. The portion of the wicked is so much less, and the time of their punishment so much approached; the sufferings of the patient so much diminished, and their hopes of deliverance so much increased. Nay, every clock that strikes bids us recollect that the promise of Christ has then received an additional force: “ Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

The precise day and hour knoweth no man. Though probably as it was at his first Advent; so likewise will it be at his second. The faithful servants, who are watching for the return of their Lord, and “ looking for redemption in Jerusalem,” will be able, by the books of the Scriptures, and the signs of the times, to tell when the day is approaching. But what avails a curious disquisition upon the exact period of the world's dissolution? What is likely to be the fate of those malefactors, who, instead of preparing for their trial, spend the small portion of time allotted them, in disputing with each other concerning the hour in which the trumpet shall sound, and the judge make his entry? In this, above all other cases, “ blessed is the man that feareth always. Blessed is that servant who, whether his master cometh at the second watch, or whether he cometh at the third watch,” is ready to receive him and exhibit his accounts. Blessed, in short, is he, and he only,

VOL. II.-5

« PrécédentContinuer »