« PreviousContinue »
Witness, ye blind and they “receive their sight." Witness, ye dead—and “ Lazarus comes forth.”« Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher sent from « God : for no man can do these miracles which thou «doest, except God be with him."
Consider his uncontroulable dominion. There is no place where his voice does not reign. He causes the most insensible creatures to hear it. In the original creation " he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast." “He appointeth the “ moon for seasons, and the sun knoweth his going « down.” “ The day is his, the night also is his :" 6 he has made summer and winter:” and when he calls for them, they never refuse to come. Even the unruly sea acquiesces in his mandate; “hitherto shalt “ thou come, and no further; and here shall thy
proud waves be stayed.” The earth obeys the laws which he impressed upon it.
« The voice of the “ Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of “ majesty ; the voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars ; “the voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire ; " the voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness.” “ Marvel not at This: for the hour is coming, in - the which all that are in THEIR GRAVES shall hear “ his voice and shall come forth.” Obeyed by all creatures, he approaches you, and expects submission. Would you be the only rebel in the universe ? Unlike all other beings, would ye swerve from your station, and renounce your allegiance ? Harder than the rock, and more senseless than the dead, would you refuse to hear his voice ?
Consider the dignity of his character. "Where the
“ word of a 'king is there is power, and who may say « unto him, waat doest thou ?”. The most magnificent titles are not too glorious to discriminate the Son of God. “ He had on his vesture, and on his thigh, a
name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.”' Was Isaiah mistaken, when he said of the “ Child born, " and the Son given,” “the government shall be upon « his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonder
ful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace ?" Did He himself exceed his personal claims when he said, “I am Alpha " and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, saith “ the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to “ come, the Almighty ?"
And does He not stand in relations, the most intimate and affecting ? He made us ; placed us so high in the scale of being ; endued our nature with reason and immortality. He sustains us ; * in Him we live, and “ move, and have our being.” His are all our possessions ; and if there be a day, or an hour, in which he is regardless of you, you shall be allowed to be inattentive to him. His demands are founded in the sun which shines upon you ; in the friends you enjoy ; in the bread which nourishes you ; and above all, in the salvation you need. He addresses you from the garden and the cross, and shall his voice be unheard ? Shall such an authority be despised? Will you stand with Pharaoh, and impiously ask, “who is the Lord, " that I should obey his voice ?" Why, “He, in whose “ hands thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways ;"? He“ who remembered” thee in thy“ low estate ;" He " who gave his life a ransom" for thee; He is thy Master"; and shall servants disobey the orders of a master ? Thy Teacher ; and shall disciples refuse the instructions of their teacher ? Thy Benefactor and have loving kindness and tender mércies no claims O wonderful beyond degree ! " Thys saith the Lord" should bring forth a listening world; fathers and chil. dren, princes and people, the wise and the unlearned, the rich and the poor, and-none appears. He speaks, and we are regardless, regardless of a Speaker clothed with every kind of authority ; who also speaks on our behalf, for our welfare, and whose language is, “ hear, “ and your souls shall live.” This brings us from the authority of the Speaker, to consider what is equally included in the address,
II. The IMPORTANCE OF THE SUBJECT—" He “ that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Sometimes speakers promise their hearers more than they can perform, and excite expectations which they are unable to realize. Jesus Christ is not afraid to awaken attention; he knows he can more than repay it ; he knows we can never raise our minds to the grandeur of the subject. He does not trifle ; his instructions are un. speakably interesting and important. In order to this, they must be TRUE. And, my brethren, you cannot but acknowledge that the reality of these things is POSSIBLE ; sometimes it strikes you as PROBABLE, and much more frequently than you are willing to allow; hence your uneasiness ; hence your eagerness to bring forward your opinions to make proselytes, and to embolden your trembling faith by placing numbers around it. We affirm that these things ARE TRUE ;
and observe where we stand when we affirm it ; with in view of evidences, numberless and convincing. There we appeal to a series of prophecies; and here to a train of miracles. There to the sublimity and holiness of the doctrine ; here to the competency and goodness of the writers. There to the success of the gospel, destitute of every worldly recommendation, and in the face of the most powerful opposition ; here to the blood of the best of men, and the consent of the wisest men ; for we stand not only near the fisherman of Gallilee, but a multitude of pre-eminent genius and learning, when we say, “ we have not followed cun
ningly devised fables." With all this evidence, would you dispute the truth of these things ? would you assure us, as some in our day have done, that there is not the shadow of truth in them? What should we think of the understandings of such persons ? did we not know that they must pretend all this to justify their indifference; that when a man has fallen out with his conscience, he must separate from it for the sake of his own peace; and that “this is the condemnation, that
light is come into the world, and men love darkness “ rather than light, because their deeds are evil.”
How pleasing is truth! how satisfactory is it to find something to which the mind may adhere with pleasure, after being the dupe of ignorance and error, and “ like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and toss« ed.” But though that which is important must always be true, that which is true is not always important. It is otherwise here ; as the gospel “ is a faithful “ saying," it is “ worthy of all acceptation." Even " the angels desire to look into these things;" we no
where read of their being naturalists or astronomers; they pass by moon and stars, and press around the cross. And you, my brethren, are much more concerned than angels. I may take up the language of Moses to the Israelites" Set your hearts unto all the “ words which I testify among you this day; for it is “not a vain thing, because it is YOUR LIFE.” To you the gospel is not a history of wonders only; the journey of a God from a throne down to a cross, and from a cross back to a throne; it is the interesting narrative of your salvation. Take every other kind of wisdom; how humbling its claims! they are confined to this world. “Knowledge, it shall vanish away;" the greater part of it is valuable only for a few years; the knowledge of various languages, and a thousand other things will be useless in a future economy. The inquiry is, who has “ the words of eternal life ?” who
“ lead us in thie way EVERLASTING ?” What is a message which concerns, only your property, and the health of your body ? The soul is the standard of the man ; his supreme happiness must relate principally to the chief part of his nature, and the chief period of his duration. Now the gospel fixes its residence in the soul ; illuminates all, sanctifies all, harmonizes all, and strikes its blessed influences through eternal ages.
Contemplate the gospel in connection with youth and with
age ; observe its efficacy in the various conditions of prosperity and adversity ; view its agency in the numerous relations of life, in rulers and in subjects, in parents and in children, and so of the rest. Drop christianity in a family ; spread it through a nation ; diffuse it over the world ; let all be influenced by its