Imagens das páginas
[ocr errors]

multitude of sins. And yet it is very possible, all this may be no more than saying, "Lord, Lord." After I have thus successfully preached to others, still I myself may be a castaway. 1 may, in the hand of God, snatch many souls from hell, and yel drop into it when 1 have done. I may bring many others to the kingdom of heaven, and yet myself never enter there. Reader, if God hath ever blessed my word to thy soul, prny that he may be merciful to me a sinner!

2. The saying, "Lord, Lord,", may, secondly, imply The doing no harm. We may abstain from every presumptuous sin, from every kind of outward wickedness. We may refrain from all those ways of acting or speaking, which are forbidden in Holy Writ. We may be able to say to all those among whom we live, Which of you convinceth me of sin? We may have a conscience void of any external offence, towards God and towards man. We maybe clear of all uncleanness, ungodliness, and unrighteousness, as to the outward act; or, (as the Apostle testifies concerning himself,) "touching the righteousness of the law," t. e. outward righteousness, " blameless." But yet we are not hereby justified. Still this is no more than saying, "Lord, Lord;" and if we go no farther than this, we shall never " enter into the kingdom of heaven."

3. The saying " Lord, Lord," may imply, thirdly, many of what are usually styled Good Works. A man may attend the Supper of the Lord, may hear abundance of excellent sermons, and omit no opportunity of partaking all the other ordinances of God. I may do good to my neighbour, deal my bread to the hungry, and cover the naked with a garment. I may be so zealous of good works, as even to M give all mygoods to feed the poor." Yea, and 1 may do all this with a desire to please God, and a real belief that I do please him thereby; (which is undeniably the case of those our Lord introduces, saying unto him, "Lord, Lord;") and still I may have no part in the glory which shall be revealed.

4. If any man marvels at this, let him acknowledge he is a stranger to the whole Religion of Jesus Christ; and in particular, to that perfect portraiture thereof, which he has set before us in this Discourse. For how far short is all this, of that righteousness and true holiness, which he has described therein! How widely distant from that inward kingdom of heaven, which is now opened in the believing soul;—which is first sown in the heart as a grain of mustard-seed, but afterwards putteth forth great branches, on which grow all the fruits of righteousness, every good temper, and word, and work.

5. Yet .is clearly as he had declared this, as frequently as he had repeated, that none who have not this kingdom of God within them shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; our Lord well knew, that many would not receive this saying, and therefore confirms it yet again : "Many" [saith he: not one; not a few only: it is not a rare or an uncommon case] "shall say unto me in that day," not only, We have said many prayers; we have spoken thy praise; we have refrained from evil; we have exercised ourselves in doing good ;—but, what is abundantly more than this, "We have prophesied in thy name; in thy name have we cast out devils; in thy name done many wonderful works." "We have prophesied ; "—we have declared thy will to mankind; we have showed sinners the way to peace and glory. And we have done this " in thy name ;" according to the truth of thy Gospel ; yea, and by thy authority, who didst confirm the word with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. For in or by thy name, by the power of thy Word and of thy Spirit, "have we cast out devils;" out of the souls which they had long claimed as their own, and whereof they had full and quiet possession. "And in thy name, [by thypowcr,U()t our own,] have we done many wonderful works;" insomuch that" even the dead heard the voice of the Son of God" speaking by us, and lived. "And then I will profess [even] unto them, I never knew you;" no, not then, when you were " casting out devils in my name :" even then I did not know you as my own; for your heart was not right toward God. Vewcrcnot yourselves meek and lowly; ye were not lovers of God, and of all mankind; ye were not renewed in the image of God; ye were not holy as I am holy. "Depart from me, ye [who, notwithstanding all this, are] workers of iniquity;"— ampta.:—ye are transgressors of my law, my law of holy and perfect love.

(5. It is to put this beyond all possibility of contradiction, (hat our Lord confirms it by that apposite comparison: "Every one," saith he, "who hcareth these sayings of mine, and docth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built His house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house ; "—as they will surely do, sooner or later, upon every soul of man ; even the floods of outward affliction, or inward temptation; the storms of pride, anger, fear, or desire;— "And it fell, unci great was the fall of it:" so that it perished for ever and ever. Such must be the portion of all who rest in any thing short of that Religion, which is above described. And the greater will their fall be, because they "heard those sayings, and [yet] did them not."

II. 1. I am, Secondly, to show the Wisdom of him that doeth them, that buildeth his House upon a Rock. He indeed is wise, "who doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." He is truly wise, whose "righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees." He is poor in spirit; knowing himself even as also he is known. He sees and feels all his sin, and all his guilt, till it is washed away by the atoning blood. He is conscious of his lost estate, of the wrath of God abiding on him, and of his utter inability to help himself, till he is filled with peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. He is meek and gentle, patient toward all men, never " returning evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise blessing," till he overcomes evil with good. His soul is athirst for nothing on earth, but only for God, the living God. He has bowels of love for all mankind, and is ready to lay down his life for his enemies. He loves the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his mind, and soul, and strength. He alone shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, who, in this spirit, doeth good unto all men; and who, being for this cause despised and rejected of men, being hated, reproached, and persecuted, rejoices, and is "exceeding glad," knowing in whom he hath believed; and being assured these light, momentary afflictions, will "work out for him an eternal weight of glory."

2. How truly wise is this man! He knows himself;—an everlasting spirit, which came forth from God, and was sent down into an house of clay, not to do his own will, but the will of Him that sent him. He knows the world ;—the place in which he is to pass a few days or years, not as an inhabitant, but as a stranger and sojourner, in his way to the everlasting habitations; and accordingly he uses the world as not abusing it, and as knowing the fashion of it passes away. He knows God;—his Father and his Friend, the Parent of all good, the Centre of the spirits of all flesh, the sole Happiness of all intelligent beings. He sees, clearer than the light of the noon-day sun, that this is the end of man, to glorify Him who made him for himself, and to love and enjoy him for ever. And with equal clearness he sees the means to that end, to the ing your hope of salvation on this, you arc still building upon the sand.

3. Do you go farther yet? Do you add to the doing no harm, the attending all the ordinances of God? Do you, at all opportunities, partake of the Lord's Supper? use public and private prayer? fast often? hear and search the Scriptures, and meditate thereon? These things, likewise, ought vou to have done, from the time you first set your face towards heaven. Yet these things also are nothing, being alone. They are nothing without the weightier matters of the law. And those you have forgotten: at least, you experience them not:—Faith, mercy, and the love of God; holiness of heart; heaven opened in the soul. Still, therefore, you build upon the sand.

4. Over and above all this, arc you zealous of good works? Do you, as you have time, do good to all men? Do you feed the hungry and clothe the naked, and visit the fatherless and widow in their affliction? Do you visit those that are sick? relieve them that are in prison? Is any a stranger, and you take him in? Friend, come up higher! Do you "prophesy in the name of Christ?" Do you preach the truth as it is in Jesus? And does the influence of his Spirit attend your word, and make it the power of God unto salvation? Docs he enable you to bring sinners from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God? Then go and learn what thou hast so often taught, "By grace are ye saved through faith:" "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but of his own mercy he saveth us." Learn to hang naked upon the cross of Christ, counting all thou hast done but dung and dross! Apply to him just in the spirit of the dying thief, of the harlot with her seven devils! Else thou art still on the sand; and, after saving others, thou wilt lose thy own soul.

5. Lord, increase my faith, if I now believe! Else, give nie faith, though but as a grain of mustard-seed !—But " what doth it profit, if a man say he hath faith, and hath not works? (Jan [that] faith save him?" O no! That faith which hath not works, which doth not produce both inward and outward holiness, which docs not stamp the whole image of God on the heart, and purify us as He is pine; that faith which docs not produce the whole of the Religion described in the foregoing chapters, is not the faith of the Gospel, not the Christian faith, not the faith which leads to glory. O beware of this above

« AnteriorContinuar »