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ignorant of the glory of his character, 1st. To each individual who is rejecting when these men still displayed this igno- the great salvation, if there be any such in rance, as having an almost uncontrollable this assembly.-The Redeemer did not dominion over their faculties, we find the come down from heaven, and assert from Redeemer, with persevering kindness, his own unsustained testimony, that he still conveying the instruction which they wąs the Son of God. He does not tell had sinfully rejected, and expressing the scepticism to turn away the understandfeelings of disappointment with which he ing, and the human understanding to viewed their unwillingness to learn. forget its powers of sifting the message,
Such was the case in the instance be- and to lay aside all evidence in support fore us. Jesus had been speaking of his of the message that may be sifted. future glory. He told his followers, that The Redeemer has come to lay before he and his Father were one, and yet, scepticism, grounds upon which it may after all the instruction he administered, come to an enlightened, as well as a right “Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us belief, that he was the Son of God. the Father, and it sufficeth us.” Did He has come to the world, and addressed Christ say, I have identified my Father to unbelief the evidence of his miracles. in all the instructions I have given you,
He has addressed to unbelief the power and therefore you can expect no farther of his spirit to convert men to himinformation-no farther evidence? Did self through a succession of many genehe say, I have ministered to your instruc- rations. He has come to the world, and tion, but your ignorance still remains ? laid before unbelief the triumph of his Did he say, remain in your state of igno- kingdom, in the face of every thing that rance-I leave you alone ? No: But, this world could bring together against with all the kindness peculiar to himself, that kingdom. He has presented to unas a teacher sent from God, he simply belief a people existing like the bush says,
Have I been so long time with without being consumed-a people that you, and yet hast thou not known me?" have defied the powers of persecution-a With willingness and love he proceeds people that have defied the enmity of in the same kindness to unfold the mys- earth and hell combined together a tery to Philip, who was not yet taught, people that have defied the allurements of not yet enlightened, “He that hath the world—a people that have lived above seen me, hath seen the Father."
them, amidst all the temptation that The Redeemer's kindness is not changed. mammon could place before them Now that he is in heaven, he retains with people that have resisted the father of him all the feelings that belong to his lies, and held fast to the truth-a people mediatorial character. Now that he is that have looked for a better inheritance, seated on the everlasting throne, he is and have been raised to a sacred scorn of still ready to deliver the admonitory hint every thing that could bring them down to every one of us, “Have I been so long from a hope full of immortality—a people time with you, and yet hast thou not ready for every good word and work-a known me?"
people substantiating the claims of pure There are two things to which I shall principle, by an enlightened walk and direct your attention, in connection with conversation, becoming the gospel which the words I have now read, while I en- they profess—a people pure in the midst deavour to apply them to your own case. of pollution - a people faithful in the
I. I shall direct your attention to cer- midst of infidelity—a people holding up tain descriptions of characters to which a Saviour in the glory of his character, this interrogatory may be addressed. while as living epistles of his name they
II. Consider the importance of an im- are known, and read of all men. And mediate and direct application of this when we find such a people connected question to the case of each of these cha- with the recollections that his name must racters.
press upon us—with all the Redeemer did I. Let me direct your attention to in his own person, when he triumphed in
the power of his majesty over things that
waited to oppose the evidence on which ADDRESSED," HAVE I BEEN SO LONG he intended to rest his kingdom-when TIME WITH YOU, AND YET HAST THOU we have these objects addressed to NOT KNOWN ME?"
our scepticism, Have I been so long Let me address these words,
time with you, holding up the evidence
CERTAIN DESCRIPTIONS OF CHARACTERS
of my ministers, and sustaining the power
God and man? Therefore, to those who of my character, by creating in sinners are living without the power of that godmy own moral image, and giving them a liness that I have pursued, I must say, resemblance to the character I sustain “ Have I been so long time with you, amidst the glories of the throne, " Have and yet hast thou not known me?" I been so long time with you, and hast 3rd. To those who are found neither thou not known me?" evidence has all sceptics, nor merely formalists; who not these evidences passing before it, and only make a profession of the gospel, not still there is unbelief!
only observe the ordinances of the gospel, 2ndly. To those who have merely adopted but have really a certain measure of feeling, the forms of the Saviour's kingdom, with- a certain measure of mental power, conout having any share in its spiritual and nected with all these observances. -Now, renovating power.—The Redeemer came of all those descriptions of character with not into the world to undergo the suffer- whom we can have anything to do, this is ings of the cross, to instruct in the prin- the most unmanageable and the most inciples of his everlasting gospel, to defend sensible. If we speak of want of power his Father's character, while he received to the formalist, he feels self-condemned the guilty, and admitted them into the at our appeals ; he feels that he has not enjoyment of holy fellowship with him
He is perfectly alive to the self, merely for the purpose of laying appeal which you make to his conscience, down a certain mould into which the when you tell him he is dead amidst the christian community might be formally quickening ordinances and animating cast, till the fleeting possessions of earth principles of the gospel of Christ. You should be transformed into the realities have reached him ; and though for a seaof heaven. The Redeemer came for a son he may make no practical response more exalted purpose. And when we to your appeal, the Spirit of God may find the men of mere form, dead in tres- make it the wisdom and the power of passes and sins, though outwardly con- God to his salvation. When you come forming to the ordinances of the gospel of to the sceptic, you can address his unbeChrist, need we wonder if the Redeemer lief. You can adduce evidence, and bring be supposed to turn round and look at it to bear upon his case, and perhaps their dead formality: No incense as- produce conviction. But when you come cending with their praise, no devotedness to a man whose sentiments accord with of life, no sweetness in the savour of his the truth of revelation, who has a general name, no unction from on high, no regard for the ordinances of christianity, spiritual influence extended to those you have come into contact with a mind around, no combining principle uniting that has power about it-with a mind them together as living stones in the that possesses energy-with a mind that common building, a habitation of God has some measure of enjoyment-with a through the Spirit. To the different mem- mind whose taste has been touched-with bers of this formal and lifeless mass, need a mind which feels no appeal to be made we wonder if the Redeemer looks down to it as to the ordinances of religion, be
“ Have I been so long time cause it observes them—with a mind that with you,” in the preaching of the life feels no conviction when the evidences and power of the gospel, “ and yet have of revelation are urged home, because it you not known me?” Do you verily acknowledges them. Yet this mind has suppose that I took unto me my great not the vital power of godliness. It has power to reign, for the purpose of taking risen above scepticism; nay, higher still : the presidency of such a lifeless collection it has been raised above formality ; it of immortal beings as these ? Was it breathes an air that frees it from the for these that I bled, that I suffered, that accusation of conscience. It attends to I died? Was it for the purpose of re- the things of God. It happens to be colouring to such a powerless profession connected with a considerable degree of as this, that I travailed in the greatness animation, perhaps arising from constiof my strength, and became mighty to tution. It feels that every thing applied save? Was it not for the purpose of re- to the indifferent, the dead, lifeless, soulmoving this, and giving an energy that less, powerless profession of others, becould quicken together with me those that longs not to it, therefore it is not the man. were afar off by nature, that I laid down You cannot say in this case, Thou art my life, and became mediator between the man;" and expect the reply, “ I have
sinned against the Lord.” But when of the temple, which he did with a mathis question is put to such, let me re- jesty becoming his character, we do not mind them, that notwithstanding all this find any instance of the ardour, by which energy, notwithstanding all this vigour man in his imperfection is so often disof character connected with the profes-tinguished, displayed by the Redeemer. sion of the gospel of Christ, there may be If, then, we discover this ardour of chawanting the indwelling of the Messiah, racter unsubdued in any, we can say, by faith, as the hope of glory. There are “ Have I been so long time with some characters who, under any circum- you,” and have you no more of that chastances and any dispensation, will be racter which it behoves you to cultivate found to carry a considerable degree of than this? Have you not reason to come life and power with them. There are into contact with the holy elements of some characters never found walking in the gospel ? a dead, lifeless kind of formality. Were 4thly. To those who are really the people they pagans, they must be ardent pagans. of God, I would sayWere they Mohammedans, they must be (1.) The REDEEMER has a right to the ready instruments to assistit, by the means sovereign dominion over all your affections, with which it was extended, the fire and and he came for the express purpose of the sword. If they belonged to infidels, asserting and maintaining this dominion. they would be active disciples, and would Has he been so long time with you, be up and doing. Are they individuals con- instructing you in this great truth, nected with the state ?-they will be through the medium of all his ordinances, found to move the cabinet, if admitted and through the medium of his word, into it, and perhaps the world. In short, and yet in this instance have you not in whatever province they may find em- known him? The Redeemer came that ployment, the ardour and fire of their he might call the world his own. He characters will throw around them all came to set up an empire of his own. the indications that there is a living spirit. He intended to put down all rivalship in Now, if this is ascertained to be the the claim that he was to urge on the case, and it is a fact that cannot be de- affection of sinners. He came to save nied, if we reflect for one moment upon sinners, over whom he intended to reign. what we know of human nature,—then He intended to put down the world, and it may be, that the profession of the gos
all the claims of the world. He intended pel may be added to this constitutional to give a decided inferiority to the place ardour, and that without the regenerating which every thing earthly should hold in power of the grace of God. But, we the affections of those whom he came to would say, was it merely for the purpose ransom. He intended to lift his own of exciting some unnatural enthusiasm in sceptre to an elevation that would allure the mind, giving to it that species of ar- the world around, and convince the undour which may be possessed in perfect regenerate that his people had been with separation from the holiness which be- Himself. Now, if the Redeemer came to cometh those that draw near to God ;- give himself for the accomplishment of was it merely to give this quickening these purposes—if he lives that we might influence, was it merely to clothe with live also—if he has been instructing you this ardour a people professing the gospel ever since he taught you to escape from of Christ, that the Redeemer came into the wrath to come,-if this is the instructhe world? Let me notice, that as the tion he administers on every returning Lord Jesus Christ is a perfect pattern, to sabbath, and every time you open his which all his people must be conformed,
sacred volume, may we not ask you, the gospel is intended, not to create this “ Have I been so long time with you, ardour, but to sanctify and subdue it. end yet hast thou not known me?” Is About the Redeemer we discover a sub- it not a fact—(and I now address myself dued, yet exalted majesty of character, to the most exalted in this assembly, in We follow him as angels would, to ad- point of spiritual attainments; I feel mire his subdued majesty; while we, in that I am now free from speaking to some the gospel, tread the path that he has individuals, who, perhaps, may not be walked. See him among his friends : we present, to some individuals, who, perfind his language subdued, his feelings | haps, may not apply the question to subdued. If we except a single case, in themselves : I speak now generally to which he drove the money-changers out those who conceive that they have tasted
that the Lord is gracious, and I pursue through the church, from the old to the the interrogative) that you do not know young, as an instrument through which him? Is it not a fact, that the world has God would act by his own almighty still too lofty an ascendancy? Is it not grace; and if we saw one generation of a fact, that its connexions press too fre- the church after another brought to this. quently upon the memory? Is it not afact, state of submission, we should then cease
there is naturally too easy a recur- to put the question, “Have I been so rence to the things of the world, after the long time with you, and hast thou not Redeemer has pressed upon you the great
known me?" in the measure of his claims est claims he can urge upon your regard ? upon your regard. While we know this Is it not a fact, that there is too ready a is not the case while it is quite useless yielding to the influence of temporal to attempt to think it is the case—while things, even when you have been elevated no argument, however ingenious, can to the highest vantage ground that reve- convince any
mind that there is a spiri. lation can supply, from which to view tual ascendancy of the Redeemer over his the allurements of eternal objects? Is it people, we have no right to turn away not a fact, that while the Redeemer pro- from the question, when it is proposed claims himself as your Lord, and com- to us :-Has the Redeemer been so long mands from you the requirement, that as time with you, bringing eternal objects he died for you, it is your duty to live, to tell you that these claims must be subnot unto yourselves, but unto Him that mitted to, and yet have you not known died and rose again,—is it not a fact, that him? Let me refer while the Redeemer presses upon you this (2.) To the people of God in connection just and this holy return, there is still a with this question, as they may be found neutralizing of its effect, by the world when subjects of temporal adversity. disputing with him the throne of your When we find the people of God in the moral power? Has the Redeemer been enjoyment of prosperity, we find them so long time with you, teaching you the all the day having their spirits high. value of eternal things, and you are yet The hours of former darkness have passed so powerless and feeble? If the Saviour away, their sky is clear, and their horihad supreme dominion over your affec- zon bids fair for continued prosperity. tions—if this supremacy of spiritual go- But when all becomes again night, and vernment were preserved through the the black shadows that were supposed to whole of your commercial pursuits—if it have passed by for ever have returned ; were found in the church-if it were when prosperity has given place to adverfound in the world—if it were found in sity, and we find them yielding and givthe familyif it were found in private ing way, can we not then come with the meditation--if this dominion were always question, “ Have I been so long time ready to put in its claim, the moment the with you, and have you not known me?" necessary business of the world had been Do you suppose that the Redeemer, who discharged,--if it formed your mental gave himself as the greatest evidence habits-if it impressed them more with of his love, has deserted you merely bethat spiritual discipline which tends to cause he brought this visitation home to growth in the grace and knowledge of your case? Has he removed any object the Lord Jesus Christ-if, in some ob- from which you derived much of your ject held dear by you, some object that comfort, merely for the purpose of grievhas drawn every power of your mind that ing you for his own pleasure ? Has he could be attracted, the gospel itself were come down from his Father's throne, constantly developing more of its glory, and been accursed at his footstool, on and if it were met by new discoveries, your behalf, and has he long taken the by fresh attachment to the discoveries it reigns of universal government, and rehad thus developed—if the whole mind ceived all judgment into his hands from were given to the spiritual power thus the Father, for the mere purpose of bringcommunicated, in the midst of which the ing to bear upon your person, a sore spirit held dominion, giving direction to visitation, that would produce nothing every movement, till it brought the peo- for your good ? Does he delight in the ple to the stature of a perfect man, when midst of so much enjoyment himself, and they should be ready to wing their way so much power and authority, that he from the enjoyments of earth to the glo- creates a black cloud over the interests of ries of heaven,-if we saw this diffused his people, and declares himself an object
of dread, from which the spirit must neces- you and your God.” Regarding, theresarily recoil, whilst he has nothing in his fore, every measure of spiritual adversity keeping, to benefit those that are objects as arising from the sin of the individual, of it? We may say to the man mourn- (I say not some open glaring failing in ing in temporal distress, “ Have I been so his history, but every movement of the long time with you, and yet hast thou not mind away from God, may be regarded known me?" Do you not know that he as having a decided effect upon the presides over this incident in your his- spiritual interests of man,) let me apply tory? Do you not know that he is alive the question to such a case as this. The to all the feelings by which you are ex- sinner is mourning before God. His ercised in your progress? Do you not prayers are powerless, because he has know that your eye is less upon your employed his affections on other objects, family, less upon its interests, less upon and he withdraws them from the fervour the advancement of its real weal, than the of supplication. The sinner finds his eye of your Redeemer ? Do you not prayers powerless. He cannot bring his know that your feelings, in connection mind to meditate upon the truths of God; with every thing that is associated with he perhaps makes a ready turn to the your real welfare, are but as “ the morn- world, and finds his conscience smiting ing cloud and the early dew,” compared him while he turns to it; he is endeawith the regard that your Redeemer vouring to bring all the powers and cherishes for every hair of your head ? energies of his character to dwell upon Do you not know, that since he gave the everlasting covenant, yet there is himself for you, he is ready to give you a want of power about these exercises; all things ? Do you know that he gave he finds less of profit day after day; himself up to the death for you? And he, perhaps may, while he forgets his do you suppose that he withholds the helplessness, enter, with all his feelsmile of his countenance and delights in ings, into the affairs of the world, and sufferings ? Do you suppose that he he perhaps can, in his desire for busidoes not connect with your adversity, ness, display all his usual tact in his the eternity to which you are approach- commercial speculations; or, if he is a ing? Do you suppose this forms no part man of learning, he is as able to scrutiof the purposes of his kindness? Do you nize all the objects that come within his think this is nothing in the chain of uni- grasp as a literary character ; but when versal government? Do you suppose he returns to the things of God, his darkthat this is an isolated circumstance? Do ness again comes with him. He looks to you suppose that this is not a link in the
the right hand, but God is not there. He chain with which he connects all the be- looks to his left hand, but God is not lievers' welfare? Are you to regard this
there. He looks behind him, but he as an event standing aloof from every cannot perceive him : before him, but he thing that tends to the promotion of his is invisible. His faith can descry no tesglory? Has he been so long time with timony which can relieve him. All his you, and do you prove by this view of former strength has departed. He is the your case, that you have not known son of weakness. He complains of his him?
darkness, yet the complaint is useless. (3.) Let me refer to those who perhaps He is not heard. There is no reply to may be under SPIRITUAL adversity. his petition. In these circumstances, he
The question contained in the text will is found walking in darkness, and having apply mostfully to those who are labouring no light. Instead of saying, be satisfied under spiritual darkness, or under spiritual with this view, it is the dispensation of distress. Let me, however, remind such, God, it is only a token of his favourthat I do not intend to tell them that we would rather apply the question, God sent spiritual darkness for the pur- “ Have I been so long time with pose of trying them. No! spiritual dark- you," instructing you in works of ness is the fruit of our own transgressions. grace and kindness, “yet hast thou not “ YOUR INIQUITIES HAVE
known me?" You are not straightened BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR GOD." Now in him, you are straightened in your own this is a standing and eternal principle in bowels. There is nothing connected with the government of the church of God, Christ, or with his great salvation, that and should never be forgotten as such. would encourage your continuance in your “ Your iniquities have separated between present state. The instruction which we