Page images
PDF
EPUB

ciple. Such belief supposes previous pains and seriousness; it implies pains having been taken to inquire, to examine, and to weigh the evidences of Christianity, not to take it upon trust, or because our ancestors believed in it, but to examine for ourselves, to study the Sacred Scriptures, to consult the best books, and to converse upon the subject with pious and learned friends. We should also discover an anxiety and earnestness in this pursuit. If I walk over a piece of ground, and there lies a jewel in full view, will any merit attach to me for taking it up; but if I take a spade, and dig deep into the bowels of the earth in search of this treasure, then I am entitled to praise for my diligence.

But farther, such belief implies also seriousness. The debauchee will not give up the enjoyments of sensuality, in search of the hidden treasures of the Gospel; the worldling will not forsake the love of gain, or the pursuit of worldly honours, for the simplicity enjoined on the followers of Christ; he is left at perfect liberty to adopt his own principles; in this happy country, he is neither persecuted for being a Christian, or for refusing to become one; provided he lives a decent life, he may quietly descend to his grave, in perfect ignorance of the doctrines and precepts of the Gospel. Such characters are

not likely to take the trouble of investigating the authority, of examining the evidences, which support it. It is to the humble, candid, serious inquirer after truth, that many gracious promises are bestowed. "Seek, and ye shall find," saith our Lord; "knock, and the door of grace and mercy shall be opened." "Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price.

I shall close this plain address with a double congratulation, 1st, on what you have not seen; and, 2nd, on what you expect to see.

You have not seen that Saviour whom you love, wearied and fainting with fatigue, depending on the kind support of pious women, and asking for a cup of water at Samaria's well. You have not seen him persecuted and threatened, driven from city to city, and from town to town; and in the midst of all his benevolent exertions, meeting with every species of neglect and ingratitude; you have not witnessed the agony he endured in the garden of Gethsemane, or beheld him betrayed into the hands of his enemies, by one of his intimate associates; you have not seen him arraigned before one tribunal, then hurried to

another, where false witnesses were heard against him, and where he suffered the grossest indignities which hatred and malice could invent; you have not beheld him sinking under the weight of his cross till exhausted nature could support it no longer; you have not seen him extended on that cross, or witnessed the convulsive struggles of expiring nature; you have not beheld his sacred temples bound about with grave clothes, nor looked into the cold damp sepulchre, where the Lord lay. I congratulate you on having been spared such scenes;-you have not viewed the sun under an eclipse, in that moral region we have been contemplating; but you shall view that sun break through these clouds, (my second congratulation,) and shed light and joy around. You shall see that Saviour, whom you love, descend again to earth, surrounded by attendant angels; you shall hear a voice proclaiming, "This is my beloved Son;" and I will vacate heaven, if necessary, to grace his appearance, and complete his triumph. You shall behold him seated on the throne of judgment, while an assembled universe awaits his sentence. You shall see him dividing the multitude, placing the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on his left. You shall hear the sentence passed upon all mankind; and you shall witness the condemnation of

66

the wicked, while the righteous are rewarded with eternal life. Seeing then, brethren, ye look for such things, what manner of persons ought ye to be, in all holy conversation and godliness!"

66

I shall conclude with the beautiful expression of St. Peter, to which I have before called your attention: you will behold Him, “ whom, having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory. Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." Amen.

SERMON VI.

OUR SAVIOUR'S DYING PRAYER

FOR HIS

PERSECUTORS.

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. LUKE xxiii. 34.

We are entering, my christian friends, by divine permission, on a short series of discourses, on what must be deemed the most affecting part of our Saviour's history ;-the various expressions he uttered during the six hours he was suspended on the cross. There are many advantages attending this mode of instruction. It is highly useful, either to take up connected subjects in their different combinations, or to pursue a single subject through all its various ramifications. A very skilful draughtsman may, in the hurry of travelling, take but a slight sketch of a statue, a pillar,

« PreviousContinue »