« PreviousContinue »
What is man?-He is dark-" darkness has covered the earth, and gross darkness the people." What is the Gospel?-It communicates light to those that sit in darkness. What is man?-He is a guilty sinnerthe whole world is guilty before God. What is the Gospel? It is an annunciation of pardon to the guilty: "Be it known unto you, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins." What is man?-He is polluted, depraved, defiled by sin. What is the Gospel ?-It exhibits a fountain opened for sin, it conducts to that fountain, and it says, "Arise; why tarriest thou? wash away thy sins, calling upon the name of Christ."" The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin." What is man? -An alien from God, from happiness, from heaven. What is the Gospel ?-When it is received by faith, man is adopted into the family of God, and made an heir according to the hope of everlasting life. By each, by all of these things, we may see how the Gospel corresponds with the state of mankind. Man has not a single spiritual want, but in the Gospel, provision is made for its supply. How important is sight to the blind-liberty to those that are bound-pardon to the guilty-purity to the depraved-happiness to the miserable! And such is the Gospel.
THE MINISTRY OF ANGELS.
"ARE they not all ministering spirits," says St. Paul, "sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation?" In this passage we are plainly taught, that ministering to the saints is a standing employment of angels, throughout the ages of time, Accordingly,
they are exhibited in Jacob's vision of the ladder as "ascending and descending," from heaven to earth, and from earth to heaven continually, in the discharge of this great duty. According to this declaration also, we are furnished by the Scriptures with numerous examples of their actual ministry to the children of God. Thus angels delivered Lot from Sodom, Jacob from Esau, Daniel from the lions, his three companions from the fiery furnace, Peter from Herod, and the Jewish Sanhedrim, and the nation of the Israelites, successively, from the Egyptians, Canaanites, and As syrians. Thus they conducted Lot, Abraham, and the Israelites, in seasons of great difficulty and danger, to places and circumstances of safety and peace. Thus they conducted Gideon to the destruction of the Midianites, Joseph and Mary to Egypt, Philip to the Eunuch, and Cornelius to Peter, to the knowledge of the Gospel through him, and to the salvation of himself, his family, and his friends. Thus angels instructed Abraham, Joshua, Gideon, David, Elijah, Daniel, Zechariah the prophet, Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, the Virgin Mary, the Apostles, and their fellow-disciples. Thus they comforted Jacob at the approach of Esau Daniel in his peculiar sorrows and dangers, Zechariah in the sufferings of his nation, Joseph and Mary in their perplexities, Christ in his agony, the Apostles and their companions after his resurrection, Paul immediately before his shipwreck, and the Church universally, by the testimony and instruction given in the Revelation of St. John.
SALVATION principally relates to the soul and to eternity. It is, 1st, a change in the man; and 2nd, in his condition; 3rd, begun and carried on in time; but, 4th, reaching onward through endless futurity. 1st, it affects the various powers of the soul; enlightens the understanding; rectifies the judgment; regulates the affections; gives a new bias to the will, &c.; and delivers "from blindness," (Luke ii. 30-32, and iv. 18,) "hardness of heart," (Zech. xii. 10,) and "contempt of God's word and commandment." (Heb. viii. 10.) 2nd, It is a change in man's condition; formerly he was guilty, but now he is pardoned; then condemned, now justified-regarded as innocent; then exposed to endless wrath, now-to die would be endless gain. Hence it follows, that salvation is, 3rd, a present blessing, not the business of purgatory, or of death, but of this "accepted time." Yet 4th, it runs into the future; and, in perfect possession, and exercise of glorified souls, and bodies; in the worship of God, and the enjoyment of his heaven, is-everlasting salvation.
Sketches of Sermons.
"HE will beautify the meek with salvation." (Ps. cxlix. 4.)
THE beauty which salvation confers, consists in the following things:
1. In inward adornings; in purity of heart, in the image of God upon the soul. The Scripture teaches us, that the ungodly are unclean and deformed, while "the King's daughter is all glorious within." God is as conversant with our hearts, as he is with our exterior,
and the heart that bears his image is beautiful in his
2. The beauty of salvation consists in those good fruits of it, which appear in the life of all true Christians. The fair fruit that hangs in autumn on a productive tree, gently bending down its branches on every side, confers great beauty on the tree; and both the tree and its fruit are the ornament of the situation, where they are found. Thus the fruits of righteous ness upon the people of God, upon the heirs of salvation, constitute much of the beauty of their character, honour their profession, and adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour.
3. The beauty which salvation gives consists in spiritual joys, in sacred delights. The salvation of God has joys to impart, and when his children are dressed in robes of joy, they have on their beautiful garments : "beauty is given them for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." The beauty of salvation is progressive. It is like the light of a beautiful day; it shineth more and more till perfect noon. The beauty of salvation is universal. No man can with truth boast that he possesses it in his heart, while it fails to throw its loveliness over all his life and conversation.
This subject holds out much comfort to the children of God, under all the embarrassments and troubles of this life. Though now they may "lie among the pots," in a state of sorrow and depression, yet they shall be as the wings of a dove, covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold;" for God "will beautify them with salvation. Be patient, therefore, brethren, and hope to the end. Consider what great things God hath laid up for them who love him; for those who trust in him before the children of men." Evans' Sermons.
WHAT is repentance? Here it is easy to err; nay, we shall be sure to do so, unless we keep to the Bible. Some will tell you that repentance means penance, and, indeed, in the Catholic translation of the Scrip tures, the word in the original, which we translate repentance is frequently rendered penance. The word, however, taken in its fullest sense, signifies a change of mind. Repentance is not only a change of creed, or profession; it is a change in a man's opinions. Ask a worldly man's opinion of sin, of holiness, and of Christ, and you will find every one to be incorrect. With regard to the first:-he will say, that though sin is certainly wrong, yet, as we are all sinners, and frequently cannot help transgressing, God will not punish us for it so severely and strictly as some persons imagine. But what says the real penitent? He sees sin as an accursed thing; he views every breach of the divine law as an offence of the greatest enormity. Once, indeed he could witness crime, and hear cursing and lying, without feeling or remorse; but now the remembrance of his past and even his present conduct humbles him in the dust. Ask a worldly man his opinion of holiness, and, if he says what he thinks, he will tell you he esteems it a thing far from necessary; that a man should certainly be just and honest, and pay every one his own, but as for the holiness the "saints" contend for, were it to be practised, it would turn the world upside down. Thus the unconverted man hates holiness, his mind is enmity against God, and he hates the image of God wherever he finds it. But the Christian penitent sees the beauty of holiness, and every deviation from the holy law of God fills his soul with sorrow and humiliation. With regard to