網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版
[ocr errors]

that co

But he shall come a second time, as it regards his bodily presence, “ without sin ”—without a sin-offering—" unto salvation.” And then all the typical effects as well as the moral effects of the fall, shall be done away with, as regards all that shall have believed; for death, the death of the body, and the spiritual death, and the punishment consequent upon sin, shall be destroyed, in reference to every member of Christ's mystical body

" He shall come. When this event shall take place we know not. Many have ventured, indeed, to predict the exact time of his coming; but all those who have ever assumed the character of prophet on this subject, have hitherto been out of their calculation

; and we venture to say, that all their successors in prophecy will be equally so; for “ of that day and hour knoweth no man. We know it will be a sudden event; the time will be unexpected ; and hence our Lord tells

us,

as it was in the days of Noah, even so it shall be at the coming of the son of man.

And how was it then ? “ They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage ”-minding earthly things, and earthly things only; when suddenly the rains descended, and the fountains of the great deep were broken up. And when Cbrist shall come, he tells us, it will be like this : there will then be found much unbelief, much infidelity prevailing even at that time.

The personal coming of Christ, at the time referred to in our text, will be visible to all. As it regards the spiritual coming of Christ, we can refuse to direct our eyes towards it. We cannot help the light shining on us; but we have the awful power of shutting our eyes against the light-a power which sinful man generally uses to his own destruction ; but there will be no power whatever to shut our eyes against Christ when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, for every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him shall wail because of him.” That foolish, wicked atheist shall see him : that man who denies that Christ ever spoke to his creatures in this Book shall see him; that man who has held the truth in unrighteousness, who has professed an orthodox creed while he has been living the life of a profligate, shall see him : that hypocrite who wears a mask, and has done it all the days of his life, passing himself off for a Christian, which he knows he is not, shall see him : the wonderful believer in Christ shall see and wonder, and love and adore. 6 He shall come ;

" and the coming of Christ will be a source of indescribable joy or anguish, according to the condition of the beholders. To all those that love Christ his coming will be most delightful. - They love his appearance," the Apostle says. They loved his appearance when on earth : for what was it made their hearts rejoice more than when their oil and their corn and their

It was

wine increased ?

the manifestation of his presence that made them happy. They had this ; and though they were very poor and afflicted and persecuted, some of them, yet they were happy as Christians. Christ, “ the hope of glory,” manifested himself in them, and caused them to rejoice “ with joy unspeakable and full of glory:" Well, then, those who loved him while here below, and who had often desired to see him, longed to see him face to face-they shall behold that Saviour to whom they owe their all-all their hope, all their consolation, all their salvation. When they see him it will be productive of happiness indescribable, because they shall see him under circumstances of absolute security. Here we are not secure; here the best, the holiest men on earth may offend ; here we may 66 draw back

upon perdition : but there there shall be no more death nor sorrow ; there there shall be no more fear ; for having once entered into that house they shall go no more out for ever ; once saved, eternally saved ! once in glory, eternally in glory! To behold the Saviour under such circumstances cannot fail to fill them with unutterable bliss.

But oh, how awful, how distressing, how inexpressible must be the feelings of those who would not come to Christ—who would not have him to reign over them—who, instead of loving him, despised his principles and his ordinances, and his people! They will see him when he comes. The influence of the punishment of annihilation, we have been told, is next in order to eternal damnation ; but I cannot believe it is so bad as eternal damnation. But though horrible, the wicked will desire it; they will desire to be annihilated ; they will call to the rocks and to the hills to fall on them, and to hide them from the presence of Him who sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb." Oh, how dreadful! Oh, that they had called on Him who died to save them, and who strove to save them, and who did all that Omnipotence could do with moral agents to save them ; but they would not be saved. To behold Him coming for the purpose of publicly adjudging them to everlasting perdition, must wring their hearts with an anguish too great for human conception. God grant that we may never know what it is by experience? We know that many, very many, will perish : the Bible has revealed this, and we do not conceal it : and if those perish who have sat under the ministry of the Gospel of mercy, their perdition will be no common perdition. Oh, the hell of those who die unsaved under the Christian dispensation ! Better for them had they received their existence in some of the dark places of the earth which are full of the habitations of cruelty.

1

[blocks in formation]

• But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

meekness, temperance.' GALATIANS v. 22, 23.

It is a great thing to be a Christian. It is to be feared that many deceive themselves with false hopes; and will be found wanting when weighed in the balance. Not every one that saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven ; but he that doeth the will of God.' The great head of the church has given us marks and evidences, by which to examine ourselves, so that none need be deceived in a concern of such vast importance : and we cannot too frequently and rigidly, try ourselves by this test of experience and character. Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith ; prove your own selves.'

There are two principal evidences, by which we may determine whether we are Christians, and heirs to the heavenly inheritance. The first, is the witness of the divine Spirit with our spirit. This is an inward consciousness of the pardon of sin, and acceptance with God through faith in Jesus Christ. It is independent of all outward circumstances, and is sometimes enjoyed by the believer, before an opportunity presents to show its fruit to the world.

The second, is the fruit of the Spirit. Those heavenly tempers and dispositions, which follow the work of justification ; and that holy and blameless life, by which others can judge of a work of grace, and the state of the heart. This is inseparably connected with evangelical faith ; and without it, all our hopes are vain. If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his.' He does not belong to Christ, consequently cannot be an heir of his salvation. If the tree be made good, the fruit will be good also. If the fountain be cleansed, the streams will be pure. And if the sinner be converted, and have faith in Christ, the fruits will necessarily appear.

The grand agent in accomplishing this work in the hearts of

[ocr errors]

men, preparing them to glorify God, and enjoy him forever, is the Holy Spirit ; which Christ promised to send into the world.

Our subject presents us with some of the evidences, or fruits, which flow frorn experimental godliness.

1. Peace. The calm, quiet, and serene state which follows justification by faith, and is generally the first fruit. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Previous to this change, the mind is carnal, it is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.' This enmity to God shows itself in the transgression of his laws, resistance of his Spirit, hatred to his people, and opposition to his moral government. This enmity being removed, the soul sees the suitableness and fitness of the divine government, and exclaims, how I love thy law !' With this spirit the soul submits itself to God, and feels that the yoke of Christ is easy, and his burden light.

In an unjustified state, while under a sense of the guilt of sin, we have nothing but fear and terror, and awful forebodings of future wrath. Conscience, enlightened by the Spirit of God, speaks out to the sinner, and makes cowards of the boldest. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.' But the forgiveness of sins, brings peace to the troubled mind, for great peace have they that love thy law.

But such as have peace with God, and peace of conscience, will be disposed to live in peace with all men. Christ has no contentious and quarrelsome members in his spiritual family. If any think otherwise, they deceive themselves on this subject.

Look at that contentious family! The father against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother. Here, where all should be calm and peaceful, the stormy passions rage uncontrolled ; and it resembles more the regions of darkness and despair, than a place of domestic enjoyment. But let the spirit of Christ be introdưced into these hearts, in its refining influence, and all is changed. Anger, hatred, and malice are removed; and are followed by kind and benevolent feelings towards each other. The demon of discord is cast out and the angel of peace takes up his abode with them.

View for a few moments that neighborhood, where every thing is favorable for enjoyment and usefulness. But unhappily, hatred, variance, wrath and litigations aboun.l ; to the destruction of all that is desirable and praiseworthy. But the spirit of Christ will allay this animosity and strife ; and make all feel interested for each other's happiness. It will inspire them with a disposition to restore peace where it is lost; and preserve it where it is enjoyed.

« 上一頁繼續 »