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He that judgeth you is the Lord ; his decision is infallible, and his sentence regulates your doom. Does He view you this evening as enemies or friends ? As strangers or relations? Is it possible to determine this? It is not only possible but easy. Observe what he did, and remember what he said in the days of his flesh. “ And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples s and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For “ whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is « in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and s mother."
Our Saviour preached in various places. He was now in a private house; and is said to be "talking to “the people.” It marks the ease, the simplicity, the familiarity with which he spake. When a preacher can exemplify this mode of address without sinking, he is peculiarly pleasing to his hearers, and often most successful in the force and sublimity of his thoughts. " While he yet talked to the people, behold his moth“ er and his brethren stood without desiring to speak “ with him." Vhat was the design of his friends it is impossible to determine ; but they had something interesting to communicate, and could not approach him for the intervening multitude. The people there. fore conveyed along the notice of his relation from one to another till it reached the person who stood by him. “Then one said unto him, Behold thy mother " and brethren stand without, desiring to speak with “thee.” Our blessed Lord was despised and rejected of men; but there were some who knew his worth, and loved and honoured him; and at hearing of his mother and his brethren, they were ready to exclaim,
O happy brethren! to have such a brother ! O happy mother! to have such a son! Our Saviour was not so confined to his subject, as to refuse a new idea sug. gested by the occasion; therefore knowing their thoughts, he tells them of another connection with himself; from his family according to the flesh, he leads them to his spiritual kindred; and from a union with him, which was temporal and confined to few, he leads them to one which was everlasting and em. braced all good men.
“ But he answered and said “ unto him that told him, who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he STRETCHED
FORTH HIS HAND TOWARDS HIS DISCIPLES, AND SAID, BEHOLD MOTHER AND MY BRETHREN!. FOR WHOSOEVER SHALL DO THE WILL OF MY FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN, THE SAME IS MY BROTHER, AND SISTER, AND MOTHER.".
Whence we observe, that OBEDIENCE TO THE DIVINE WILL IS AN EVIDENCE OF OUR BEING RELATED TO Je.. şus Christ. Our Lord here gives us the character and the privilege of his disciples.
I. Their CHARACTER; they do the will of his Father.
II. Their Privilege; they are his brother, his sister, his mother. “Remember me, O Lord, with " the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit
me with thy salvation ; that I may see the good of
thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy “ nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.”
I. We have the CHARACTER of his disciples. He
describes them as DOING THE WILL OF HIS FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN. All obey ; but some do the will of the devil ; 'some do the will of man ; some do their own will, and some do the will of God.
Some do the will of the devil. This is a dreadful charge ; but it is fully supported by the address of our Saviour to the Jews ; “ Ye are of your father the "devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” And what is all sin, but “the work of the devil ?" “ For “the devil sinneth from the beginning.” He therefore who lives in the practice of sin co-operates with him, resembles him, strives to please him, fulfils his wishes. The devil loves pride, and the sinner cherish. es it ; he takes pleasure in revenge, and the sinner indulges it ; his empire is maintained by iniquity, and the sinner commits it.
Some do the will of men. They are entirely gov. erned by others ; they receive the law from the opinions, masinis, and manners of their companions, superiors, relations; from the conversation received by tradition from their fathers ; from the example of the multitude. And by no better authorities than these, are many influenced even in the concerns of religion ! But " we ought to obey God rather than man ; and
to live the rest of our time in the flesh, not to the « lusts of men, but to the will of God.”
Some do their own will. They are as regardless of the authority of God, as if they were persuaded that his being and perfections were a fable ; they live without him in the world, never asking when they en: gage in any course of action, whether it will please or offend him, whether he has forbidden or enjoined it?
They follow only the bias of their own inclination, and this being since the fall depraved and irregular, carries them widely astray from their duty and happiness. For it is as dangerous as it is criminal to obey such a guide. Hence to be abandoned to its influence is spoken of as the greatest curse ; “ So I gave them “ up unto their own hearts' lust; and they walked " in their own counsels." It has been said of children, that they are undone if they have their own will ; and the reason is, because they are not wise enough to choose the good and refuse the evil. But this is much more true of man; if he has his own will, he will be sure to ruin himself ; for a sinner is much more likely to make a foolish choice than a child; and he who wants grace, has less understanding than he who wants years.
But the Christian makes the will of God the grand, the only rule of his life ; and every consideration induces him to say, “ Not my will, but thine be done.”.. His authority over us is supreme, and his relations to: us are numerous. He is our Father, and we owe him honour, our Master, and we owe him fear; our Benefactor, and we owe him gratitude ; our God, and we owe him obedience, devotion, all. we are, and all we have ! Nor does our obligation spring only from his dominion over us, and his claims to us ; but from the very nature of his will, which is wise, and righteous, and good.
That we may not bé ignorant of his will, he has been pleased to reveal it ; this revelation is contained in the Scriptures of Truth. Opening these, we find all needful information ; they are a lamp upto our
feet, and a light unto our paths. They contain general principles and particular rules. There are descrie bed the duties we owe to ourselves, to our fellow creatures, and to God ; the duties which spring from the various connections and conditions of life ? the duties of kings and of servants ; the duties of prosperity and adversity. Viewing us as sinners, they shew unto us the way of salvation, and preach repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.
The man therefore that would do the will of God, walks by this rule. He repairs to the Scripture, not for advice but law; he enters the sanctuary of revelation, and bowing before the lively oracles of God he, cries, “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?". 6 Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.” For you will observe that his concern with the will of God lies not in knowing, but in doing it. And indeed if this be not in our desire and design when we search for the will of God, we are not likely to be honest in our investigations, or successful in our attempts. For, “he
that doth his will, shall know of the doctrine wheth“ er it be of God ; and we shall know if we follow on
to know the Lord.” But allowing it to be possible to obtain the clearest knowledge unaccompanied with obedience, it would be useless ; for “ if ye know these " things, happy are ye if ye do them ;" yea, it would be even injurious, by enhancing our sin and aggrava. ting our condemnation ; for “ to him that knoweth “ to do good and doth it not, to him it is sin.” “ And " that servant which knew his Lord's will, and pre“pared not himself, neither did according to his will, “shall be beaten with many stripes. For unto whom