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when we do not fanctify the enjoyment of the creature by the Word of God and prayer.
As the people of Gad will not bow down to this threefold image, they are accused, threatened and ridiculed. Their duty, under fuch circumllances, is to bear their teftimony against this idolatrous worship of the god of this world, to poffefs their fouls in patience, to believe in the Lord's will and power to save them, not to comply by halves, or compromile the matter with the world ; but to be ready to offer up their lives, and leave the event to God, in a steady purpose not to offend him.
. All came to the dedication, even from afar---but how many fiay from the house of God, though at the door ! All bowed down but three---how many are now going to turn their backs on the Lord's table !
From the dedication of our church, from days fet apart to be kept holy, Satan takes occasion to enforce the worship of his threefold image. Now remember the duty of God's people, and quit yourselves like men. Some petty Nebuchadnezzars have sent to gather together, not prirces, but drunken men ; and have set up, not a golden image, no nor a golden calf, but a living bust. O ye, that fear God, be not afraid of their terror, be not allured by their music ; confess the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; and pray that there offenders may, with Nebuchadnezzar of old, resolve, not only to do nothing against, but not even to speak amiss of the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
To you, my brethren, who worship the image, what shall I lay? Shall Nebuchadnezzar rise up in judgment against you? He blessed the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; will you curse him? for in- , asmuch as you do it to one of his followers, you do it unto him. Nebuchadnezzar made a decree, that whoever should speak against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, should be cut in pieces and their houses made a dunghill; and will you cut in pieces, with your tougues, or turn into a dunghill, by
riot and mobbing, the houses of those who fear and love the God of Shadrach, Meshach and. Abednego? No other God can deliver after this fort, said the heathen ; and give me leave to add, no other God can punish after this fort.
The King of kings hath anointed Jesus ! he is lifted up on the cross---- upon a throne of glory. The decree is gone forth, At the name of Jesus every knee must bow. All tongues, nations, languages, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, angels, archangels and faints, above and below, all must fall down. In heaven, trumpets, thunders, lightning, voices.... on earth, the terrors of Sinai, all say, Kiss the Son, He is not a dead image, but the living God..--He comes----the trump of God may sound to day. The burning furnace of his indignation is heated, and eternity is the duration of their torments, whose finoke afcendeth for ever and ever let him bless you now, in turning every one of you from his iniquities, and you shall keep the feast in heaven,
Being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood, falling down to the ground. Luke xxii. 44.
MANY desire to know what passes in the heart of great men, when under afflicting circumstances, or engaged in some great undertaking. Behold the most sublime scene of suffering held out to us in the word of God : here are laid open the last, the dying thoughts and cruel sufferings of the Saviour of mankind : here is a scene, in which we are all moft deeply interefted. Let us look into,
1, The agony of our Saviour. II. What he did in his agony. III. The amazing consequences of that agony.
The agony of our Lord was a conflict-a violent Struggle-a grappling and wrestling with the deepest horror--the agitation of a breast penetrated with the greatest sense of fear and amazement. He was heard in that he feared.
The cause of his agony was, 1. The powers of darkness, legions of devils, who poured on his devoted head their utmost rage and malice. Every wound which sin had given, and the devil had power to infict, the pure and naked bofom of Jesus opened itself to receive. The prince of darknefs, whose chain was let loose for the purpose, now ruled his hour, and, to appearance, triumphed over the Prince of life. 2.
The feeling of the weight of the wrath of God (and who knoweth the power of his wrath?) as kindled against fin-the terrors of the Eordthe cup of trembling—the withdrawing of God's comfortable prefence.-3. The fear of his farther fufferingsviolent, dreadful, and approaching death. 4. The atoning for our coldness, and the painful foresight with how much truth, those words of the prophet might be applied to inany, Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by ? . During his agony he prayed more earnesly. He prayed earnestly before, but now more earnestly ; before, he kneeled, but now, he threw himself proftrate on the earth, He prayed aloud with strong cries and tears.* He was in an agony, every power of soul and body being stretched to the utinolt- Those, who never, or seldom pray, are strangers to fpiritual conflicts. · The greatness of his agony, and intenseness of his prayer caused that amazing circuinstance of his sweat being, as it were, great drops of blood. Amazing! Because, it was a cold damp night-he lay on the dowy ground it was so profuse as to run down in
great drops to the ground the sweat was mixed with blood, bursting out of the capillary veffels through the open pores.
Observe, Adain finned in a garden ; in a garden Christ expiates fin. Before death, In the sweat of thy brow, Ecot before death Christ sweat, and with all his body laboured. In sorrow shalt thou bring forth ; Christ sweat blood, strong sign of pain. Cursed is the ground, &c. Christ, when made fin and a curse, lies prostrate on the ground, and bedews it with blood.
Brethren, we must all be brought to an agony ; yea, we must be crucified with Christ, if we would reign with him. Beware then of vilifying the spiritual agonies of the children of God, by calling them mad fits. ' - You who, in agony, have brought forth children, or struggled under the load of excessive drinking, or laboured for life when in danger, struggle and agonize now for your souls.
Learn to pray most, when most troubled when weakest-when inolt tempted. Still look to the Lord Jefus adore him-love him. Be not dry, like Gideon's fleece, in the midst of this sacred dew. O come for the answer of his prayer ; 'tis thy balm of Gilead, the precious ointment, which runs down to the skirts of his clothing. Wash away thy sin : bathe in his bloody sweat ; it is the former and the latter rain, bedewing prophets and apostles..
Let every believer remember, (and rejoice in the semembrance) that sweat, pain, the earth, the grave are fanctified : and let every stubborn unbeliever be. ware of the cry of his blood. It now cries better things, by and by, it will cry bitterer things, than the blood of Abel.
The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the vio:
lent take it by force. Mat.
THE grand device of Satan is to prevent us from feeing the necessity of this holy violence, or from put, ting it in execution. To prevent the effe&t of this itra. tagem, our bleffed Lord gives us the plainest directions in these words, Strive to enter in at the strait gate-Labour for the meat which endureth to eternal life, &c.&c. But in no scripture is the direction more plain, than that of the text, The kingdom, &c. Let us confider, I. The nature of this kingdom. II. How the violent take it by force. III. Answer an objection to the doctrine of the text.
This kingdom is that of grace, which brings down a heavenly nature and felicity into the believing foul. The kingdom within us is righteousness and peace, and joy----it is Jesus apprehended by faith, as given for us, and felt by love, as living in us. In a word, it is the image of God lost in Adam and restored by Chrift.-pardon, holiness, and happiness, issuing in eternal glory.
This kingdom fuffereth violence, which is offered, 1. To those lords, who reign over us----the world, the devil, the flesh. These rebels must be turned out; our own wills must be overcome, and ourfelves furrendered up to God, as to our lawful and chosen Sove. reign. 2. An humble, holy, sacred violence inuft be used in prayer :---- with Jesus, that he would open, in our hearts, the power of faith, apply the efficacy of his blood, and bestow upon us the spirit of prayer, or in other words the prayer of faith : ----with the Fa. ther, that he would look through the pillar of fire, and difconfit all our enemies:----with the Holy Ghost, that he would take up his abode with us.