Page images
PDF
EPUB

find that, in the midst of the severest persecutions, they are enabled to say, “ None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto me, so that I may but finish my course with joy” --] 3. Progressively

[This is implied in the term "walking,” which is a progressive motion necessary to the Christian life. There is no possibility of standing still in religion. Our motion, if not progressive, must be retrograde. Now, as a parent wishes to see in his children a gradual advancement towards maturity both in their bodily and intellectual faculties, so does a minister long for his people's progress towards perfection. He hopes to see in them a more entire devotedness of heart unto their God and Saviour; evincing itself in a greater spirituality of mind, an increasing indifference to the things of time and sense, and a more laborious engagement in every good work — In a word, he wishes to see their progress like that of the sun in the firmament, “ their path shining brighter and brighter unto the perfect day ?."]

The emotions with which St. John beheld this conduct in Gaius were most sublime : and such they will be in 'every faithful minister; as will appear, whilst we shew, II. Whence it is that the attainment of that object

fills him with such exalted joySt. John was not inferior to any one of the Apostles in holy joy. He had been pre-eminently favoured by his Lord and Saviour, insomuch that he was known by the name of “ the Disciple whom Jesus loved.” He had beheld his Lord transfigured on Mount Tabor, and shining forth in all the glory of the Godhead. He had lain in the bosom of his Lord, as on many other occasions, so especially on that evening, when the commemorative ordinance of the Lord's supper was instituted: yet even “ he had no greater joy than to hear that his children walked in truth.” Much more therefore may we expect that ministers, less favoured than he, should have no joy more exalted than that which the sight or hearing of their people's prosperity affords them. This is their sublimest source of happiness;

f Prov. iv. 18.

1. Because it is by this only that the ends of their ministry are answered—

[If the minister impart to his children “the sincere milk of the word,” it is, " that they may grow thereby:" or, if he set before them " the stronger' meat” of the Gospel, it is, that those who are able to receive it may be the more nourished and strengthened for their future labours. If he see no growth in them," he stands in doubt" whether they have ever been truly and savingly converted to the faith of Christ; and “he travails, as it were, a second time in birth with them, until Christ be fully and visibly formed in them.” But when he beholds the plants, which he is daily watering, thriving, and diffusing all around the fragrancy of holy and devout affections, he sees of the travail of his soul and is satisfied: and what the angels enjoyed at the first symptoms of their conversion, he enjoys from day to day: his very life is bound up in their welfare; and “ he then lives, when they stand fast in the Lord"." 2. Because by this only can God be glorified

[Nothing brings more dishonour to God than an inconsistent conduct in those who profess godliness. The very name of God is often blasphemed through the misconduct of those who call themselves his peculiar people. The ungodly world are not content with condemning the offending individual ; " they speak evil of the way of truth” itself, as though that countenanced and even produced the evils that have been committed. On the other hand," the person who brings forth much fruit glorifies God," and " by his well-doing puts to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” To a minister who loves the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, and is jealous for the honour of his name, nothing can be more delightful than to see truth triumphing over error, and the kingdom of Christ exalted on the ruins of Satan's empire. On every fresh report that is brought to his ears, he will exclaim, “ Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!" --]

3. Because without this they can have no hope of ever meeting their people in the realms of bliss

[How joyful is the thought of that hour, when the minister shall go with his people into the presence of his God, saying, “ Here am I, and the children thou hast given me!” And how glorious will be the recompence of his labours, when he shall “ have them as his joy and crown of rejoicing” to all eternity'! If an earthly parent hear of his children, that they are advancing visibly in every thing that is good, so that,

[blocks in formation]

1 Thess. iii. 8.

i 1 Thess. ii. 19, 20.

though he have no hope of seeing them in this world, he feels assured that he shall meet them again at the right hand of God, and dwell with them for ever in his immediate presence; the thought of a temporary separation from them is swallowed up in the joy that the blessed prospect affords him. So it is with the spiritual Parent, when beholding or hearing of the prosperity of his children: for he knows that he shall “rejoice in the day of Christ, that he has not run in vain, or laboured in vaink"] Permit me now to ADDRESS you, 1. In a way of retrospective inquiry

[What report must I hear of you? What report have you to give me of yourselves? Has your walk been consistent, uniform, progressive?--- Be assured, I am prepared to rejoice in your welfare with a truly paternal joy ----] 2. In a way of prospective admonition

[Great and manifold are your dangers, whatever progress you may have made. That you may escape them, “ take heed to God's word,” and follow the steps of your blessed Lord: and look to him for all needful strength. “ Be strong in him," and you shall “ be more than conquerors through him"

k Phil. ii. 16.

VOL. XX.

оо

JU D E.

MMCCCCLXXII.

CHRIST'S COMING TO JUDGMENT.

Jude 14, 15. Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophe

sied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

GOD has had in every age some to testify against the ungodly, and to warn them of the consequences of their sin at the future judgment: and though the faithful execution of this office meets with but ill returns from an ungrateful world, yet we trust there will be found, to the end of time, some, who will gladly suffer reproach or even death itself in the service of their God, and in the benevolent attempt to save their fellow-sinners from destruction. We do not indeed hear of many, who were witnesses for God, before the time of Moses; and even his warnings and exhortations were enforced principally with temporal sanctions : yet the certainty of a future judgment was known not only by Moses, but by the antediluvian world; and was solemnly urged by Enoch as a motive to repentance. This prophecy is not recorded in the Old Testament; but, by whatever means St. Jude attained the knowledge of it, whether by tradition, or by some written memorial, or by immediate inspiration, we may be sure that it was delivered by Enoch; and we may be thankful that such a precious fragment of inspired truth has been preserved to us.

It proclaims to us, 1. The manner in which our Lord shall come to

judgmentChrist, we are assured, is coming to judge the world

[There can be no reason to doubt that Enoch referred to Christ, even to that very “ seed of the woman, who was to bruise the serpent's head:” him he represents as coming to complete his victory over Satan and his agents by calling them to his tribunal, and by consigning them over to the punishment they have deserved. The New Testament writers uniformly speak to the same effect: they declare that it is at the judgment seat of Christ we must standa; that it is Christ who is ordained to be the Judge of quick and deado; and, that all judgment is therefore committed unto him, because he is the Son of mano; or, in other words, that he, who died for sinners, shall, in that very nature that he assumed for them, be the immediate author of salvation to his followers and of condemnation to his enemies.]

And even the manner of his appearing is here plainly predicted

[It is not with “ his saints," but with his holy ones, or holy angels, that he will come. The saints will not be his assessors in judgment till they themselves shall have received their sentence: then indeed - they shall judge angelsa;" but till then, they themselves will stand before him to be judged. But the holy angels will be his attendants in the clouds of heaven; all the “ myriads" of them shall descend with him from their blessed abodes, to increase the solemnity of that day, and to honour him, to whom they owe their very existence. This accords with the description given by Daniele, by St. Paul', and by Christ himself. How different will our Lord's appearance then be from what it was when he first visited our guilty world, and lay a helpless infant in the manger! and how earnestly should we now exert ourselves that we may be prepared to meet him!]

a 2 Cor. v, 10.
d 1 Cor. vi. 3.
& Matt. xxv. 31.

b Acts x. 42.
e Dan. vii. 9, 10.

c John v. 27.
f 2 Thess, i. 7, 8.

« PreviousContinue »