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SERMON BY THE REV. W. PULLEN.
THURSDAY, MARCH 14, 1833.
A Farewell Sermon,
DELIVERED BY THE REV. WILLIAM PULLEN,
AT HENDON CHURCH, ON SUNDAY, MARCH 3, 1833.
Jude, 20, 21.-" But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto eternal life."
BEAUTIFUL as is every page of the Gospel dispensation-crowded as is each book, each chapter, with the unerring evidence of the power, and the wisdom, and the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, there are some passages, nevertheless, which seem to fix themselves with a more than usually tenacious hold upon the affections of the human heart, when through grace that heart has been convinced of sin, and converted to GOD.
Now, this may be accounted for, either by the peculiar force with which these passages display GoD's love for the sinner, while He declares his hatred of sin, or from some individual association of pain or pleasure, which may have fixed them, with the seal of the Spirit, on the fleshly tablets of the heart itself.
her swollen and tearful eye falls upon words which tell her, that He who spared not his own son, for our sakes, can have no pleasure in the death of a helpless babe: but only sends us such afflictions, even the most acute, in love for souls whom He wins to himself by chastening — wounding, only that he may the more surely heal. She reads there perhaps, that it is better to be in the house of mourning than in the house of feasting, because adversity is safer for a man's soul than prosperity. And then, she binds the blessed message to her bosom-a talisman of comfort and a harbinger of hope. In after-time, when the natural grief which had rent her bosom, has been subdued, and the bitter tears which she had shed, have been wiped away by the hand of a merciful God, she opens again the Book of Life, at the wellremembered words which had comforted her in her early sorrow, and she reads them with a fond and tearful recollection of the budding hope, which GOD had thought it best for
The anxious mother, just bereaved of her tender offspring-disquieted and alone by the cradle of her dead infant, opens the blessed volume in search of that comfort which the world cannot give, but which God has promised to the weary and heavy-her soul, should be blighted. laden, who come to him. Mayhap, Again: the young and erring maiden,
who had been listening long and dan-hand on all here present-when many gerously to the poisoned accents of shall have gone down to the dust guilty love, and is just about to plunge from whence they were taken-when into a stream which always hurries the ice of age shall be around the on to misery,-pauses for a moment, hearts of some, and its snow-shower ere she steps across her father's upon their heads-when those who threshold, to listen to the "still small are now children shall have grown up voice" which seems to whisper near into manhood-when the infant lispher, and which her conscience repeatsings of many yet unborn, shall break in echo. And, if happily she be sud-upon the listening and attentive ear of the anxious parent—it may be that the circumstance of the passage just read, having been selected for the text of the last sermon, which, as your appointed minister, I am called to deliver to a people with whom I must ever blend so many affectionate associations, shall stand forward on the wide field of memory, conspicuous among the many from which I have been permitted to declare to you the counsel of Gop. It may be, when the hidden future shall have unfolded to me the allotments of an over-ruling Providence-when other scenes and other times may engage the labours, which with too little of faith, and, consequently, too little of profit, I have bestowed on you, the remembrance of this day, associated with the words to which I have called your attention, will rise up before me as a sweet vision of the past, embittered only by the recollection, that I bade you farewell, ere it had been permitted me to do more good among you-ere it had pleased GOD to render me more worthy of the sacred, the awful charge, which in infinite love for my own soul, He has condescended to entrust to me. And do Thou, O merciful Father-whether the way before me be of sorrow or of joy-do Thou shower down upon my ministry, wherever it may be appointed, the abundant blessings of thy grace : may the same holy power rest upon the congregation here present-may Thy good Spirit lead him who ministers to them, to know nothing and to preach
denly and fully awakened to the peril of the brink on which she stands, she rushes, may be, from the danger of her thoughts and the yearnings of her natural heart, and falls low on her knees before the throne of Him, who never yet looked with unpitying eye upon the self-accusing suppliant. When her first prayer for safety has been uttered and heard, the Spirit peradventure guides her to her longneglected Bible-she grasps it with a trembling but determined hand: she opens, she reads and she is rescued! When the path of piety and duty has been once more sought and trod; and, at length, around her happy hearth are gathered the olive-branches of a hallowed affection, shall we wonder that she should love to read to the partner of her home and the children of her bosom, the page that had been blotted with her early tears - the awakening call by which God had aroused her from her early danger? Shall we wonder, that the sacred volume-her companion in the church and in the closet-though bearing ready evidence in each chapter of close and earnest meditation, should open more frequently and more widely, at the page in which a GOD who loved her, had first put it into her heart to find deliverance from the most dangerous and tempting trial of her life? And now, to bring the association home to ourselves, brethren.
In after years, when Time shall have laid a heavy and consuming
nothing but Christ crucified; and all those who assemble to pray and to be taught, to look only to Jesus as the Author and Finisher of their faith; and, having no glory save in His cross, may the world be crucified to them, and they to the world!
The text alone is pregnant with instruction: "but ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of GOD, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."-Here is,
Having detained you by these few remarks, to which I am led by the occasion of my now addressing you, we will proceed to the consideration of our subject.
Jude, of whom little more is known, than that he was allied to the family of our Saviour's earthly parentsbeing the son of Alpheus or Cleophas, and brother of James the Less, addresses this short but beautiful epistle to the general Christian Church. After saluting them, and asking divine blessings for them, he exhorts his fellow-Christians to contend earnestly for the genuine faith as delivered originally to the saints, in opposition to the erroneous doctrines taught by false teachers. He reminds the Chris-rious ways, been told, that "unless
I. In the first, then, my dear brethren, I hope you are not now to be taught, the nature of this holy faithin whose service it is to be built up, nor on what corner-stone it is to be raised. If unhappily one be here who knows not the blessed truths, let me tell them. "Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid-the Lord Jesus Christ." You, my beloved, have often and in va
tians of the severity of God's judgments inflicted on the apostate angels and unrighteous men of former times; and from these examples, he warns them against adopting the seducing principles of those who were endea vouring to pervert them from the truth, and denounces woe against all persons of impious and profligate character. He reminds them of the predictions of the Apostle concerning mockers in the last days, who should walk after their own ungodly lustssensual persons, not having the spirit, and exhorts them in the words of the text, to preserve themselves in the true faith and love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. He concludes his epistle by calling on them to use their best endeavours to recover others ascribing glory, dominion, and power to the only wise God and Saviour, for ever and ever!
First, THE DUTY ENJOINED: to be built up on the faith of Christ's atonement, and kept in the love of Gov, through prayer in the Holy Ghost:
Secondly, THE end promised: the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
the Lord build the house, their labour is but lost that build it ;" neither are you now for the first time reminded, that when your earthly tabernacle shall decay, there is a house for the redeemed, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; nor that it is only when built on the Rock of Ages that the edifice can stand: but that being built on Him, the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. No, the winds may howl, the tempest may beat and the waves may dash, but, clinging to the cross, the persevering, faithful Christian, shall be enabled to defy their fury and withstand their shock!
This figure of being built up on a holy faith in Christ, we shall find frequently used by Scripture writers. Without occupying your time by referring to them, let it be enough to know that God has condescended to raise His living Temple in our frail
and perishable bodies:-that he has
dation to the roof: every princely palace and every lowly hut shall melt with the elements away, when the earth with all its works shall be conBut this spiritual building shall grow up to heaven in all its perfection of beauty and glory: in it shall be found no unclean thing, nor unclean person, but only them whose names are written in Heaven!
Now, before we can be permitted to build up ourselves in Christ, we must acknowledge him as our king, and feel the need of him as our Saviour. But this we shall never do, till, in answer to our prayers for the teaching of the Spirit, we have been fully and without condition, convinced of the utter ruin of our nature by the disobedience of Adam and the entire impossibility of ever being restored to the favour of GOD, but by the mediation and atonement of the blood of his Son: for unless Jesus had died, there had been no sacrifice to appease the offended Deity, and without sacrifice there had been no salvation.
We know that it is difficult for proud human nature to believe this; to believe that the natural man-be he endowed with all the adornments of learning, all the brilliancy of genius and all the pomp and power of wealth-be he the idol of the worldly wise, or the envy of the wondering multitude, is, without Christ, of all men the most miserable and poor, and blind, and naked;—that at the last dread tribunal, human learning shall avail him nought-the brightest talents shall be eclipsed by the simplicity of Gospel light-the idolatry of the world, and the jealousy of the world, shall no longer minister at the altar of self-worship-riches shall gain no longer the adulation of the parasite, nor the exacted tribute of the beggar's praise! We know it is difficult, too, when youth is in its spring, and mirth, and happiness, and
which we had ignorantly raised it. There must be a motive for all we do, all we desire and all we pray for ; and that motive must be the love of GOD in Christ Jesus. Without Him nothing we do, nothing we have, nothing we hope for, shall profit us, but with him, GoD has freely promised us all things, even eternal life. And we have been assured, for our encouragement, that he is to be found by those who seek him, and ready with his abundant blessings to make his everlasting abode with those who desire him for their Saviour. By prayer in the Holy Ghost we have access to His throne, and if we have not all we ask of the Father in his name, it is because we ask amisslooking up to Him rather as if we were the princes and rulers over the empire of intellect and power, than creatures of the perishable dust and companions and brothers of the corrupt and grovelling worm!
I will now briefly call your attention,
health are around us, to remember that we must very soon go down to the dust, and become as clods of the valley; and that unless we have lived and died in the faith and service of Him who has a claim to us by the purchase made by his own blood, the eternal souls which he died to save, shall be forfeited to, and claimed by, the devil and his angels! But I ask, whence arise these hard and bitter things? Not in the scheme of our salvation itself, since that is clearly and undeniably revealed to us in characters so plain, that he who runs may read; but it arises, brethren, from our blindness, our ignorance of the nature of sin in the proneness of the human mind to regard as righteousness that which GOD can only look upon as iniquity. Hence many (alas! how great a number) are apt to build up their hopes of pardon and mercy, at the last, upon their upright dealings with their fellow men, and their abstinence from those crimes and impurities against which the moral economy of mankind alone, revolts. Now, how sinful is this very act! to attempt to justify ourselves by that, in which GOD has most distinctly told us, we shall find no justification. That we are justified and freely justified, before GOD, is true; but it is only in Christ, and by His blood-nothing else can raise us above the level of our sinful nature; but He can bring us face to face with GOD. Faith in Him, therefore, must be the mainspring and the root of every religious and moral good, or we shall still remain the workers of iniquity, and He will not recognize us before His Father's throne. We must build all on him as the only true foundation, the sure and abiding Rock, or when the tempest of God's wrath and the hurricane of his power shall beat upon our temple, it shall be torn up for ever from the sandy basement on
Secondly, to the END PROMISED— "the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
A day is coming, brethren, when we shall set a higher price upon the mercy of the Lord Jesus than we now do: a day when some shall call upon the mountains to hide them from his wrath. And methinks that wrath must be somewhat greater than we can conceive, to prompt us to cry out for such an alternative. There are numbers now who shudder at a thunder-clap, and flee in coward terror even from the harvest storm; and will it be a light thing for them, think ye, brethren, to look upon the elements melting with fervent heat, the heavens passing away as a scroll, and the earth burning with unquenchable fire ;-in a word, to be surrounded by all the dreadful apparatus of the vengeance of an offended GOD, whose