Page images
PDF
EPUB

God in supplication, or in ascriptions of holy praise. A cold and heartless form is foreign to the very nature of Christian worship. But there is such a thing as being very constant in this duty, and feeling much under the preaching of the Gospel, while the common principles of action are of a worldly kind, and the conduct such as by no means “shines before men, so that they may glorify our Father which is in heaven.” Let us be convinced that all prayer, all preaching, all knowledge, are but means to attain a superior end; and that end the sanctification of the heart and of all the principles upon which we are daily acting. Till our Christianity appears in our conversation, in our business, in our pleasures, in the aims and objects of our life, we have not attained a conformity to the image of our Saviour, nor have we learned his Gospel aright.

Lastly: would we possess this principle of doing all things to the glory of God, let us first seek to have the love of God shed abroad in our hearts. The effect is a great one; the motive which produces it must therefore be powerful. Let us love God and we shall serve him faithfully and universally. And here we perceive the efficacy of the Gospel to produce this great change in

“We all,” says the Apostle, “beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.” The Gospel shews us our ruin without God. It discovers to us the misery of our fallen nature; always mistaking the path of happiness, and striking into many devious paths where happiness never can be found. It reveals a Saviour to us; an heavenly Director, to guide our feet into the way of peace. It proclaims the forgiveness of sins through his blood, and the sanctification of our souls by his Holy Spirit. Thus pardoned, thus encouraged, we seek to run the way of his commandments. Gratitude and affection begin to rule in our breasts. The love of Christ now constrains us to live no longer to ourselves, but “to Him who loved us and gave himself for us.” Thus we begin to serve God, and thus we continue to obey him. Fresh displays of his power and mercy overcome our continual propensity to backslide, and lead us to "run with patience the race that is set before us." Self-denial is cheerfully practised. The operation of Divine grace is extended through all branches of our conduct; and we endeavour, in earnest, "whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, to do all to the glory of God.” Amen.

man.

[blocks in formation]

SERMON XX.

PROOFS AND REASONS OF THE SUFFERINGS

OF THE SON OF GOD

(PREACHED ON GOO D-FRIDAY.)

Isaiah liii. 3—6.

He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows

and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our fuces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us ali.

THAT this passage contains a direct prophecy of Jesus Christ is so plain, that I can scarcely conceive any serious objection to be made to it.

The principal doubt which is likely to arise in the mind is, that it is so literal and particular as to seem to be rather an history interpolated into the text after the events had taken place, than a prophecy delivered seven hundred years before them. But this doubt is instantly removed, by considering that the Jews, the grand enemies of Christ, were the very persons to whom the preservation of this prophecy was entrusted; that they acknowledge it to be genuine, and have never suggested a doubt of its authenticity. If, then, it is genuine, to whom can it relate? It would be a waste of time to attempt to confute the interpretations that have been given by the Jews of late years, by which it is made to apply to Hezekiah, to Jeremiah, &c. It will here be sufficient to observe, that as in a lock consisting of numerous wards, that key alone is the true one which fits all the wards; so in prophecy, that only is the true interpretation of any prediction which fits every part of it; and the more numerous and uncommon such parts are, the more manifest is it, in the case of a perfect coincidence, that the true interpretation has been given. I say, the more uncommon; because if events are foretold which cannot possibly apply but to a few persons, the interpretation is then proportionably limited. If, for instance, a prophecy should relate to a king, this would narrow the range of interpretation to those who bore the kingly office: if to a king who had died a violent death, this would narrow it still more; if that death was inflicted by his own subjects, it would reduce still more considerably the number of persons to whom it could be applied. But, in the present case, there are circumstances so very peculiar, that they can be applied to one

person alone.

The person here spoken of was to be the servant of God, the arm of the Lord, the subject of prophecy. Yet when he came into the world, he was to be despised and rejected of men; he was not to be received as the Messiah; he was to be put into prison; he was to be brought as a lamb to the slaughter; many were to be astonished at him; his visage was to be marred

« PreviousContinue »