« 前へ次へ »
lest that which is lame be turned out of the way ; but let it rather be healed.
– Christianity is designed to refine and soften; to take away the heart of stone, and to give us hearts of flesh; to polish off the rudenesses and arrogances of our manners and tempers; and to make us blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke. Lord Chatham, in one of his Letters to his Nephew, finely says, “Politeness is benevolence in little things." Religion should make us the most polite creatures in the world; and what persons of rank do from education, we should do from principle ; yielding our own desires and claims to become all things to all men, if by any means we may gain some: and be not only sincere, but without offence, until the day of Christ.
- If so, some professors of religion have much to learn. They think of nothing but their own indulgence. They know nothing of bearing with infirmity; of waiting for improvement; of watching for opportunity. They are decisive, and dictatorial, and hasty, and severe. They pride themselves only on what they call faithfulness, and which is the easiest thing in religion to them, because it falls in with their own natural temper—not to say, that frequently what they mean by fidelity is only rudeness and insolence. But while we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth, we are required to be courteous; and to pursue whatsoever things are lovely, and of good report.
- And without this, professors will not only render religion unamiable and repulsive; but will lower themselves in general estimation, and lose the influence which is derivable from reputation and esteem. Who can regard the haughty, and the selfish? But for a good man some would even dare to die. An inoffensive, self-denying, lovely disposition and carriage wins the heart. It is not In our power to love ; but it is in our power to be loved. Our loving another depends upon him; and here we have no control : but another's loving us, depends upon ourselves; and he that will have friends, must shew himself friendly.
Doddridge buried a most interesting child at nine years of age. The dear little creature was a general favourite : and he tells us in his Funeral Sermon, that when he one day asked her, how it was that every body loved her-I know not, she said, unless it be that I love every body. Tell your children this. Also read to them—“The child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men,”
“For he that in these things serveth Christ, is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us, therefore, follow after things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”
May 5.—“ If thou knewest the gift of God.”
John iv. 10.
As if he had said to the woman-Thou mistakest me for a mere Jew, wandering, and weary, and sitting thus on the well, and asking for the refreshment of water, seemingly dependent on the kindness of a stranger. But if thou wert acquainted with me that I am the Mercy promised from the beginning; the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth; that I am come into the world to save sinners; and that in me all fulness dwells what an opportunity wouldest thou find was now afforded thee-“ if thou knewest the gift of God”—
He calls himself the gift of God, because he came not according to the course of nature. A body was prepared him. A virgin conceives, and
what an opport if thou knewest of God, be
bears a Son; and the holy thing born of her is called, The Son of God.-We go also further. A preternatural interposition might have taken place in a way of wrath ; and this is what seemed most probable in the case, and would have been the foreboding of our guilty minds. But God sent not his only begotten Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. He therefore came, not according to any rule of desert. A few years ago, we heard much of the rights of man; and though the expression was abused, and brought into contempt, there is a propriety in it. Man has rights, with regard to his fellow-creatures. Children have rights, with regard to parents; and subjects, with regard to sovereigns. A man has a right to enjoy the fruit of his labour ; he has a right to worship the Supreme Being according to his conscience. But what were his rights with regard to God? What right to protection has a subject that has become rebellious? What right to wages has a servant that has run away from his master > As sinners, we had forfeited all expectation from God-except a fearful looking-for of judgment and fiery indignation. We could have no right to the bread we eat, or the air we breathe. What claim, then, had we upon God for the Son of his love. He was a gift infinitely free ; and not only free as opposed to desert, but also as opposed to desire. Was he withholden till we felt our need of him, and became suppliants at our offended Maker's feet? Ages before we were born, the plan was formed, and accomplished, and announced. And when we are desirous of obtaining the blessings of it, we find them provided ; and hear a voice, saying, Come, for all things are now ready. All other good, too, is insured by him. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Yea, he has given us all things in him; and whatever
a perishing sinner needs, even to life eternal, is to be derived from him.
- And if you knew the gift of God-surely you would say, with the Apostle, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." You should overlook nothing in his bounty: but gratitude should bear some proportion to the favour it acknowledges. What is the sun in Nature, to this Sun of Righteousness! What is our daily bread, to this Bread of Life! Here are the exceeding riches of his grace-in his kindness towards us by Christ Jesus.
- If you knew the gift of God, surely you would avail yourselves of it. You would consider a participation of him as the one thing needful. You would receive him as he is presented in the Gospel ; and as Zaccheus received him, who made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
- If you knew the gift of God, you would not yield to despondency. You would not say, by way of objection, I have no money, no worthiness. This is supposed. Who thinks of buying a gift? of deserving a gift? especially such a gift!
- If you knew the gift of God, you would make him known. You would commend him to your children, your relations, your friends, your neighbours—You would pray, “Let the whole earth be filled with his glory” —
“ His worth if all the nations knew,
May 6.-" Therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.”
2 Sam. vii. 27.
WHERE did he find his inclination, and power to pray “In his heart." The heart is every thing
in religion. Man judgeth according to the outward appearance; but the Lord looketh to the heart; and requires it-My son, give me thy heart. Where he does not find this, He finds nothing. Where this speaks, words are needless : he knows what is the mind of the spirit. Hannah-she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard-yet what a prayer she prayed ! and how successful! It is a blessed thing, therefore, to find it in our heart to pray—so that, while it is with many a bodily exercise only; a task which they would gladly decline; an effort forced upon them from something without-some danger, or trouble : we may do it naturally; and therefore constantly and pleasantly, from a principle in us, like a weil of water, springing up into everlasting life.
And what was the prayer he found there? It was this—“Let the house of thy servant David be established before thee.” David had a peculiar concern for his family; and, from his character, we may be assured, he wished it to be not only or principally glorious, but good. It is a man's duty to seek to promote the temporal welfare of his house ; for he that provideth not for his own, especially those of his own house, hath denied the faith, and is worse than an Infidel. But the wish of many is not to build up their house in Israel, but in the world. They are only anxious for an increase of earthly wealth and honour. And how injurious have such risings in life proved to the comfort and the religion of the family. And how inconsiderate and inconsistent are parents, especially if they are pious ones, in longing for such perils, when they know the depravity of human nature, and the snares of prosperity. How much better is it to see, and to leave their household great in the sight of the Lord; and under the blessing of that Providence which will make all things work together for their good.