« PreviousContinue »
the length of their journey is marked a disinterested character in his atout by him, and then they will pass tachment to his people that has filled beyond the boundaries of trial and Heaven with astonishment. “ God so sorrow to that same house, to that loved the world that he gave his only home of many mansions, where their begotten Son;" and that only begotten blessed Master is already gone to pre- Son so loved his people, that he conpare a place for them; because it is sented to be this gist, this sacrifice, his design, that there where he is, this sin-offering. there, at least, they shall be also. His But, my brethren, we should do happiness is not a solitary happiness, well more frequently to contemplate he will not be satisfied as to the con- this property of our Saviour's love, summation of the plan of grace till he that we have no claim upon his reshall see of the travail of his soul and gard, that in ourselves there not only mark the whole multitude, given to is put forth nothing to attract that him of his father, with thrilling love, but every thing to repel that hearts of gratitude and joy, ascribing love. It was while we were yet sinin his own presence“ salvation unto ners—while were yet without Him that sitteth on the throne and to strength—while we were utterly unthe Lamb for ever."
able to render to him aught that But the passage of Scripture before could be accounted valuable to his us, describes more minutely, The pro- pure regard—it was under these cirperties of that love wherewith these cumstances that he manifested his objects of his regard are loved in this love—it is a love that has its source world. In the first place, the expres- in his own breast. There is, perhaps, sions before us, suggest to the mind, a type of this love seen in our own the disinterested nature of the love of world : that love, perhaps, may be a Christ. He mentions the subject of type of this love wherewith a mother his love in connection with his own thinks and feels towards the helpless violent departure out of this present object she has brought forth. There world. The very thoughts that occu- is nothing of intellect-there is nothing pied our Saviour's mind at this mo- of dignity—there is nothing of virtue ment were thoughts of agony, of that there is nothing of benevolencedeath which he was to suffer and ac- there is nothing that should call forth complish on the cross. He was to be any intense sympathy and affection in an atonement, a sin-offering; and in that creature, that object of her comorder to realize this design, he was to passion; and yet God has selected pass through sufferings whose aggra- the very emotions with which vated nature it were difficult for us mother's heart thrills towards that to describe. Oh, when we think of helpless being, to describe that love the pure mind of Christ, when we wherewith God loves his people. The think of the perfect hatred with which mother's love finds its source in her he recognized evil, we may well ima- own breast-it is an uncontrollable gine that to contemplate his departure instinct, and there is in God when he from the world amidst the manifesta- looks on his people, and sees them tion of a crime that had never known lying in their guilt, he says to them a parallel, we may behold what must live, and he loves them with a disinhave been the disinterested nature of terestedness that we cannot contemhis love that he should, at this time, plate surely without astonishment, and connect with those sufferings the pe- surely without at the same time enculiar objects of his regard. There couragement and delight. was a nobility of kindness, there was But this passage of Scripture, seems
SERMON BY THE REV. GERARD NOEL.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 1832.
( The Rev. Gerard Noel's Sermon concluded.) to tell us likewise respecting this love, bore the impression of God. There wberewith Christ has loved us, that hath never been a love like this love. it is a holy love. Why did he connect But the exp ssion before me sughis departure from the world with the gests further, as a property of Christ's mention of this love? Might not one love, that it was a wise love. It is said, reason be to mark out the holy nature “now before the feast of the passover, of that love? He could not manifest when Jesus knew that his hour was that love to his people in any manner come that he should depart out of this that should compromise the rights of world unto the Father, having loved God, the claims of moral obligation his own which were in the world, he - he could not exercise a love that loved them unto the end. And the should lead any one of his creatures supper being ended, the devil having reasonably to question the purity of now put into the heart of Judas Iscahis government of the world ; and riot, Simon's son, to betray him; therefore this love manifests its holy Jesus knowing that the Father had properties, the Son of God himself given all things into his hands, and must suffer, that this love may honor- that he was come from God, and went ably be exhibited. Mark, before to God; he riseth from supper, and the sacrifice of Christ this love was laid aside his garments; and took a in existence; the sacrifice of Christ girdle, and girded himself. After was not the source of this love, but it that he poureth water into a basin, was the symptom and expression of and began to wash the disciples' feet, this love. This love was in the breast and to wipe them with the towel of Deity from all eternity. It was wherewith he was girded." I refer God's so loving the world, ere this to this as, to my mind, bringing a very sacrifice was accomplished, that led distinct conviction of the wisdom of him to yield this sacrifice. It was the Christ's love. He was now going to everlasting love of God that sent forth part with them—he was now to terthe Mediator between God and man. minate his companionship in this preThere is, therefore, a holiness in God's sent world, with these objects of his love. It is an awful love—it is a love love; and he would seize this partiForthy of God to manifest; it is not cular occasion to instruct them in a the undue partiality of this world—it point which they most wanted to know, is not the fondness that often sacrifices which was most essential to their welprinciple, and is reckless of conse- fare. My brethren, pride is the great quences; but it was love which had sin of man; and there is nothing that the very stamp of Deity upon it, it he so slowly learns as genuine humi
lity. To shrink into himself, to ex- of manifesting folly and guilt; but in pand his thoughts to God, and to the love of God there is a wisdom hang with a complete dependance on that designs true happiness, and, the grace and strength of God, is a therefore, expects the moral condition lesson most essential to his welfare, and the moral discipline of the objects and a lesson which he is most slow to of that love. Why then is it, my learn. Our Lord, therefore, seems to brethren, that the people of God are me, to have selected this precise mo- a tried and afflicted people, bowed ment, this moment which memory | down with many sorrows, heart struck afterwards would retrace with deep- with many griefs, combating with est interest and emphasis, in order to many foes? Is it because God's love give his instructions respecting humi- is a wise love? There are some leslity, in a manner the most marked, sons that are not to be learned in the and the most likely to be recalled. sunny valley; they must be learned He took the slave's place, and washed on the bleak mountain's side. There his disciples' feet; and he not only are some lessons which prosperity intended by this to convey the lesson, cannot teach, yet these lessons must that no man is cleansed from sin be- be learned. The people of God are fore God whom Christ's blood hath training up for a world for which now not washed—“ If I wash thee not they are much unfitted; their printhou hast no part with me;" but also, ciples are erroneous—their faith is to give them an example that they weak—their affections are deluded should stoop low, that God might lift and corrupt—they need the discipline them high, and that they should, of their Father's correcting love, and henceforth, learn dependance on God that love is wise. Therefore the protheir Saviour. His love, then, was vidence of God is often to the world's wise. A wise instructor times season
eye, aye, and to the eye of a weak ably the lessons he wishes most to faith—a stern providence, severer, impress, and our blessed Lord thus perhaps, than the murmuring heart shows the fittest moment in which to loves to receive. But this is the key record his deep sense of the value of to those providences. Why do men that humility that was to be the ele- weep—why do they combat—why do ment in which the affections of his they toil—why do they struggle--why people were to live, thrive, and be are they made to feel that this world sanctified to God.
is not their resting place, nor this My brethren, perhaps this circum- world their scene of final condition? stance, the wisdom, I mean, of Christ's It is, that they may be trained up by love, is a key to much of that provi- these varied efforts of a kind and wise dential dispensation which marks the Providence, and be made meet, by condition of the church of Christ be- the lessons of dependance which they low. Why is the condition of the have learned, to soar, at last, with perchurch of Christ below one of conflict fect safety, into the liberty of enjoyand of trial? It is because the love ment of the sons of God above. of God is a wise love. There is no Oh, my brethren, do you not think indulgence in the mind of God which that that generous Saviour, who is was placed apart from the real wel- now withdrawn from the sight of his fare of the objects of that love. In people, is looking forward with inthis world's history partial fondness tense interest to that time when he defeats its proper end—in this world's can pour a full tide of bliss through history fondness is often the occasion his people's hearts, and they shall be safe under the glorious pressure of|tion—much imperfection ; but as he that prosperity! The time is coming found the source of love within his when his love may give full scope in own breast, as he had taken the full the bliss it can communicate without dimensions not only of human misery, endangering the safety of his people. but human ingratitude and depravity, It belongs to that higher world in he was prepared to love through all which the body is glorified with the these obstacles, he was prepared to soul-in which no enmity can enter-| love to the end. The Scriptures porin which no snare can be spread-in tray the love of God, by referring to which no interruption of duty can be those images of strength and fixedfelt-it is in that world where the ness which nature furnishes. “The Spirit of God has consummated the mountains may depart, and the hills work of redemption, and made “a be removed; but my kindness shall people redeemed” to partake the very not depart from thee, neither shall character and likeness of their God the covenant of my peace be removed, and Saviour. Then it is that there saith the Lord, that hath mercy on is prosperity without danger, there is thee.” happiness without pride. Then will Oh, my brethren, it is because there our blessed and generous master be is constancy in Christ that the happiseen in the midst of his church, ness of his people is secured. Could spreading happiness around them, the mind of Christ waver aught, that they shall contemplate and enjoy, could inconstancy belong to Christ, without one uneasy sensation, one where were human hopes? There alarm, one interruption of the perfect were no anchorage for man's hopes dependance of their souls upon the then; but man must drist through a grace of the gospel, a free and full stormy sea and never know a harand everlasting salvation.
he must perish in the profound But, my brethren, there is another abyss of misery. But the purpose of quality of our Saviour's love, con- God in Christ standeth sure ; the nected with those I have mentioned, Lord knows them that are his, and in which is, the constancy of his love. order that they may have strong con“Having loved his own who were in solation, in fleeing for refuge to lay the world, he loved them unto the hold of the hope set before them, he end.” Constancy is a property of hath confirmed that promise, that our Saviour's love. We are familiar,in word, which was itself the anchor of this world, with the term inconstancy; the universe, in order to meet the there is nothing lasting, nothing on infirmities of his people, though it which we can depend. Woe be to needed no other declaration than him who trusts on any broken reed “Thus saith the Lord;" yet in pity of this world. There is no stability to the infirmity of man, who knows on anything here ; it is rocking like the sanctity of an oath, Jehovah himthe waves of ocean ; but in God our self vouchsafed such condescension Saviour's love there is a constancy as to guard that immutable word by and fixedness of purpose never to be an oath ; and this was his direct deunfixed. “Having loved his own, he sign, that they might have strong loved them unto the end." There consolation who have fled for refuge was much to barrass his mind in to that hope, and that hope has proved those objects of his love--much to now the anchor of the soul to escape. throw a eloud over his countenance- Oh, my brethren, the love of Christ much perverseness-much irresolu- is an eternal love! It is not like the
summer torrent from the mountains, , bimself to God's work and his daily which may run with violence and duties with a fixedness of design, and depth for a moment; but it is the with a courage of expectation which settled current of the deep flowing shall enable him to burst through river, yea, the unfathomable depths many a shackle, which has, hitherto, of the ocean! “Oh, that thou hadst kept him back in the ways of God; he hearkened to my commandments, then shall be enabled to know the nature had thy peace been as a river, and of that holy victory which the Spirit thy righteousness as the waves of the of God can effect for his soul on this
side the grave. “Open thy mouth My Christian friends, let those to wide and God will fill it.” You are whom Christ is precious—let those to not straightened in God your Saviour, whom the love of Christ is a theme of you are only straightened in your unspeakable joy, often remember the character of God;“ for as the heavens constancy of Christ; and let them are higher than the earth, so are God's contrast that constancy with their own ways higher than your ways, and his inconstancy, and the oftener they thoughts than your thoughts.” make the contrast the more will their Now, I would address a few words inconstancy be detected—the more to those who may be here assembled, will their love become settled and and to whom the love of Christ has firm—the more will they cling to the never yet been a theme that they have promise of him whose promise puri- contemplated with real interest and fies the heart and settles it on the delight. They come, perhaps, on the basis of conscience. Oh, it is a sense Sabbath day to the house of God, of the love of Christ that nerves the partly by curiosity, partly by habit, mind for active obedience. It is when partly by a sense of shame, or partly the purposes of God are not foreseen by the goadings of conscience, but -it is when hazard and accident seem they have never yet taken their station to mingle with our notions of Christi- at the foot of their Saviour's crossanity-it is then that the heart stag- they have never considered the nature gers, that the purpose is irresolutem of their relation to that Saviour-they it is then that the hands hang down have never contemplated their condiand the knees are feeble. But let the tion in this world, that they are sinners honest soul, to whom Christ is dear, under the curse of God's broken law, preserve and cherish the perception and that if there be truth in God there that it is the design of God to give must be misery for those who reject him eternal life and endless joy--that his authority and despise his goodness. it is the design of God to make him Oh, if there be any such here present, like himself in holiness and to com- I would, with earnestness, present to municate all the properties that are their minds this picture of the love of communicable from God to his crea- | Christ; and I would ask, whether ture, man, through the union of the there is any object that they can fix man Christ Jesus with his Godhead, their thoughts upon in this world's enoh, let this but be perceived—let a joyments that can compare with this man but live in the atmosphere of enjoyment, to be the object of the SaGod's love-let him spread out before viour's disinterested, holy, wise, and him the varied promises of the Gospel, eternal love! Oh, my fellow sinners, and his soul shall gather fresh courage, what will be your condition if you and his heart shall assume a nobler draw nigh to death ignorant of this and a firmer attitude ; he shall address Saviour's love, with no heart to sym