Abbildungen der Seite

soon as the days of their mourning , a religious compact with him: but, it for their father should be at an end. would rather seem from the nature A sad addition this to the other sor- of the argument pursued by the aposrow's of her widowed state !

tle in the passage above alluded to, Alarmed, therefore, for the safety that the Almighty began his dispenof her favourite, she was obliged to sation with this and other instances part with him in haste, and never of his exercise of supremacy, in order again behold him. Let the wretch- that, when in after-times, he should edness wbich was thus introduced reveal his greater purpose of casting into this otherwise favoured family be off unbelieving Israel and admitting a beacon to us, warning us, in our the believing Gentiles, the mouths of intercourse with all men, but more the former might be stopped and they especially with our own household, to might learn not to reply against that seek peace and ensure it.

God, who, in his public and general Lastly, let us learn from this subject dealing with his creatures, will “ have to admire the wondrous ways of Provi- mercy on whom He will have mercy." dence. It was ordained even before This, then, being the will of the the birth of Esau and Jacob, that the Almighty, how wonderfully did he accovenant of promise should be con- complish in the case before us, overtinued through the latter rather than ruling the erroneous design of Isaac the former. This appointment was (who, though understanding the prointended to display the supreme power mise, mistook the person through of Jehovah. “For, (says the Apostle whom it was to be accomplished) by to the Romans,) the children being means of the weakness and folly and not yet born, neither having done any criminality of Rebekah and Jacob. good or evil, that the purpose of God So does he in every instance make according to election might stand, not not only the wrath, but the guiltiness of works, but of him that calleth, it of men to praise him. We may trust was said, The elder shall serve the in Him, therefore, my brethren, to the younger.” In selecting the public utmost letter of what he has promised. agents and instruments, through whom He both can and will make all things he could convey or reveal his mercies work together for the accomplishment to mankind, the Almighty exercised of his purposes. Both we ourselves, his supreme authority. By virtue of and our fellow-men are subject to his that authority, though Abraham had control, and may be, unconsciously, wished the covenant established with nay, even reluctantly, performing his him to be continued through Ishmael, will. Safely then and confidently yet it was determined that Isaac, the may we rely upon him, as individual child of promise, should be given, and sojourners upon earth who need the in him should the divine engagement protection of an Almighty arm, -as be fulfilled. By the same paramount members of a great community that authority then was it determined that can be effectually upheld only by the Jacob, the youngest born of Isaac, Power that “ruleth the nations;"– should inherit the blessing. It might and as Christians looking for the fulbe that the Almighty foresaw that filment of all those glorious promises the character of Esau would be in which have been held forth to us in compatible with the maintenance of Jesus Christ.

A Serinon,



Ephesians, vi. 19, 20.—" And for me, that utterance may he given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make kumwn the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an

ambassador in bonds : that therein I may speuk boldly, as Tought to speak." The Apostle, having described the firmities, many imperfections ; “ But Christian's spiritual armour, and hav- 0,” says he, “I think I can tell you ing reminded the Ephesians of their the reason —you don't bring your duty to pray with all prayer and sup- prayer books with you.” “Our prayer plication that they were to intercede books,” said they,“ you are aware we for all the brethren,-especially begs don't use one.” “No,” says he, “you their prayers in the time of his danger know what I mean, you used to pray -“ And for me, that utterance may be once for me, and then you got good ; given unto me, that I may open my and now you don't pray for me, and I mouth boldly, to make kuown the mys- cannot do you any good; all the good tery of the Gospel, for which I am an comes from my Master.” Recollect ambassador in bonds : that therein I that my dear people; the old man may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." said a great truth, when he told them,

Let us look at the Apostle here in that all good comes from the Master. a three-fold light. Let us first look We are only the servants; poor simat him as a prisover, and ask how it ple servants; all good comes from the came to pass. Let us then look at Master: look to him ; look on him. him as a minister, and see the work Let us, first of all, direct your athe had to perform ; he had “to make tention to the APOSTLE, AS A PRIknown the mystery of the Gospel,” SONER. He was “an ambassador in he had to “ speak it boldly.” Let us bonds.” He was discharging the duty then, in the third place, look to him of an ambassador; but in a jail. If I as a petitioner to his Christian friends ; were to go to court, and ask to see the he says to them, “ Brethren, pray for French ambassador or the Russian me.” He did this under the teaching ambassador, and were to see that of the Holy Ghost; and he did it such ambassador was chained to a well; for no man's services will ever soldier, was a prisoner in our court, be worth a straw, unless they are the I should be ready to say—Then we result of prayer. Nay, the prayers of are not at peace with that court, dean archangel will do little good for a pend upon it. An ambassador by the people, unless the people learn to law of nations is a sacred person ; pray for their minister. It was the and whenever war is declared, safe saying of an old Presbyterian minis- conduct is always granted to the amter, when some of his people said to bassador back to his own court: his him, “ Sir, we cannot profit by you as person, by the law of nations, is conwe once could, and we have waited | sidered sacred. And when I see an upon you to tell you so—” the old ambassador from heaven, (for such man burst into tears: he told them was the blessed St. Paul) chained to a he did not doubt there were many in- soldier, 0, I say, this tells a tale indeed. What does it tell? It tells me, though by God's help we will tell that earth is not at peace with heaven, you the truth to try you. There is but or it would not chain heaven's ambas- one way, the gospel says, to heaven. sador. When I see the church of the But that is not all ; it says, moreliving God persecuted—when I see over, that way is through a crucified the faithful ministers of Christ mar- Saviour. It is not your own goodtyred—when I see the blessed Apostle ness; so that when you get to heaven, exercising his ministry in a jail-I God knows you shall have nothing to say, it tells a tale: the very fact speaks boast about. It is not by your own volumes: I know immediately, that power; so that when you get to earth is not at peace with heaven. And heaven, you shall not have to say, yet there was in this something very My, might and my power accoinlenient to what he was afterwards plished this. All his glory is taken subject.

away from man, and demanded enBut think what if I had ascended tirely and exclusively to be attributed this pulpit to-day with a soldier to God. I do not wonder men of the chained to my arm? What if you all world do not like the preaching of knew I was a prisoner for the sake the cross. Why? Because it casts of the Lord Jesus! Ah! I don't won- down the idol of human excellence into der that the disciples loved the blessed the dust; it lays low all human merit; Apostles. Verily, there was some- it puts us all--learned and illiterate, thing in what they suffered for the old and young, master and servant sake of the truth, far more honour- -one with another, on one common able than ever the church has seen, level; smites us down to the ground, in all her outward splendour and and tells us we deserve to die ; then grandeur. There was something in holds out the hand of mercy and says, that chain, which the blessed Apostle “Look unto me and be ye saved ;' wore, which chained him to a Roman neither is there salvation in any soldier, who at certain intervals was other, for there is none other given relieved by another-although a pri- among men whereby you can be soner-there was something in that saved." chain, I say, far more honourable Don't, then, expect, dear people, than the choicest robe that ever this that the world will greatly love the world saw; there was something more truth. They never did, they never honourable in that chain, than in the will, they never can. They never costly robes of the Jewish high priest, did, I say. Look at the history rewhen he went on the great day of corded in the Holy Scriptures, and atonement before the Lord. Yes, tell me, if you can, where and what, there was suffering, and suffering was the period when he that was for Christ's sake: and suffering for born after the flesh, ceased not to Christ's sake, let me tell you, dear persecute him that was born after the people, wherever it is found, is an Spirit? They never will : why? Behonour. He suffered not as an evil cause as long as man remains in an doer, but he suffered as a well doer; unconverted state, the evil tree must he suffered for preaching the cross, bring forth evil fruit. I have said and because he lived according to its they never can: why? For this obpreaching. And why, O why is it, vious reason ; our Lord explains the that the world cannot bear the truth? whole. He turns to his little comI will tell you why. There are two pany of disciples, and he says, “ If

ye were of the world the world would One reason is this, – the faithful love its own; but because ye are not preaching of the cross says this: of the world, but I have chosen you There is only one way to heaven. “0 out of the world, therefore the world how bigotted,” says the man of the hateth you.” world! “0, how unnecessarily strict!” A most distinguished clergyman says the libertine. “How severe !" once said to a Christian lacly of consays another. “How unkind !” say siderable rank, that he had found out all the rest; “ how ungrateful!". Ah! a way of preaching the gospel withwell then, it must be so, for we out giving any offence at all: the cannot tell you a lie to please you ; 1 reply of that lady was very excellent,


“Doctor,” said she, "you ask my and he is bringing us a message from opinion, and I will give it you. I GOD this morning, at which the believe, that where the offence of the mightiest heart might well tremble. cross goes, the blessing goes with it.” Human dignity, and human rank, and And so it does. Take away the of- , birth, and blood, all seem so little fence of the cross, and there is an when one hears a man talk of the end put to the powerful preaching of coming of the great day of God, and the cross. Man may be offended; he bid us be ready for it. may be displeased : he may hate and Every faithful minister of Christ is abominate the truth ; but, by God's an ambassador. We come with a help, the truth must be spoken, and by message ; do not look at the messenGod's help I trust he will enable us to ger, but look at the message; do not say, In his strength it shall be spoken. look at the servant, but ask who is And may you evermore have a will his master; do not look at our ining and obedient ear, and a tender firmities, and helplessness, but look and contrite heart.

at the greatness of that message But let us look, in the second place, which we have to deliver-the solemn at ST. PAUL AS A MINISTER. The at- responsibility we are under to distitude in which his ministry is here charge our duty to God. What we described is very striking. He calls have to speak about is the gospel himself an ambassador. The grand and it is “That I may speak boldly.” question when an ambassador comes There is a necessity that I should is, not who he is; you do not ask whe- speak boldly. The Apostle was in ther he is the son of a peer or the the power of the lion; so to speak, son of a pauper; but we ask these the paw of the lion Nero was just two things ;-Whom does he come ready to fall upon him. He knew from? and, What does he come about? he was about to suffer martyrdom, We ask who sent him, and then the for the Lord had taught him this; errand on which he is sent. And can and he seems, by his making this rethere be any thing more solemn, my quest, to have been extremely anxious dear hearers, than the thought, that the that to the last he might fulfil his great and mighty God, before whose ministry, and speak the word boldly. solemn bar every soul of you shall one What, then, we have got to preach day stand, there to hear the sentence is the gospel-the mystery of the of eternal glory, or to receive the gospel. We have to preach a great sentence of eternal fire,-that that many things that we cannot undergreat God sends his ambassador to stand ourselves--a great many mysyou! When I see a faithful minister | teries. For instance, the mystery of of Christ, I don't ask who he is; I the union of three persons in one do not ask whether he is a rich man; adorable Godhead: the incarnation one of noble blood, or whether he is of our Lord Jesus Christ himselfthe son of a pauper ; no:-Who sent “ Very God and very man:” the him? Is it clear that God sent the mysteries connected with our elecman? Does he preach according to ' tion in Christ; with our justification the word of truth? Does he bring a through his blood, by which his righmessage according to the gospel ? | teousness is accounted ours, and we Then I must give an account accord- are looked upon as spotless and pure ing to what he says. do not often through his blood. But we are not to hear a sermon, but I had that pleasure keep them back. I recollect an excelthis morning in my own pulpit. And lent sermon once preached by the prewhen I saw the devoted and godly sent Primate, who was then the bishop man preaching the word of life; when of this diocese, in which he used these he reminded us of the great day of words: “Some may say” (he was judgment; 0, I could not help think- pleading for schools)

o is it quite ing, how little all earthly rank seems enough to teach the poor the comwhen a man is talking about the mys- mon principles of good conduct and teries of eternity! I looked at him, general propriety, and submission to and thought,-There is the son of an their rulers ; surely it cannot be admiral ; ah! but he is a Christian necessary to trouble their heads minister, and that is more than all ; ' with mysterious doctrines. So may some say, but we have the express | know what it is to delight to speak command of God himself. We are the word ; at other times it is hard to teach these things, not only to the work. But, to tell you the truth, we rich, but to the poor; and we are to have got hearts just as bad as yours; believe that the same God that makes we are osten hindered in that work, them to be understood by the rich, in which we ought not to be hindered. will make them to be felt and under- We ought to be like angels - we stood by the poor.” Yes, the mys- ought to fly on our work, and love tery of the gospel we are to preach, the work, and long to live in it, and and that to our dying day.

be ready to die in it; and I hope we But let us, in the third place, no- sometimes feel so. There are other tice, THE APOSTLE IN THE CHARACTER times when we have no utterance ; OF A PETITIONER. He says, Pray when we cannot speak as we would, "for me that utterance may be given when the people seem not to hear. unto me, that I may open my mouth 0, pray that we may have utterance, boldly, to make known the mystery and make known to you the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an of God. ambassador in bonds: that therein I But further, they were to pray may speak boldly, as I ought to that he might have boldness. It was speak. He asks that he may have enough to alarm the Apostle when he from God utterance; that is here did not know but that every sermon eminently“ eloquence” — that elo- he preached might be his last. Yet quence that might, under God's bless- what sermons they were! When the ing, be the means of extensive good. man was looking for martyrdom, and Perhaps in the savage character of saw the sword suspended only by a some with whom he had to do, there thread over his head, and knew it was much to damp his courage, to was to fall upon him soon-

1-0, then alarm his fears; but an ambassador verily the people heard him; and should never appear intimidated ; an they thought, He may never preach ambassador never should be fright- another sermon; he may be dead ened ; an ambassador should feel that, before to-morrow; he may be a marin the message he has to deliver, he tyred man: and he asks the people is under a responsibility for its de- to pray God, that he might have livery, not for his personal safety. boldness. I heard of a rich man who

Yes, he asks, that they would pray said a few months ago, concerning a God that he might bave utterance, Christian minister whom he osten or eloquence. Should you not have used to hear—when he came out of liked to have seen the dear man ; to the church, a friend asked himhave seen him with a soldier chained What do you think of the sermon?" to him; to have seen him speaking “I wonder,” said he, “ at the man's the word to some of Nero's soldiers? impudence.' And what suppose you He asks that utterance might be given made this to be called impudence ? unto him. It is a great thing when Because the darling sin of the man God gives liberty of speech to his was shot at, with an arrow taken from faithful ministers. No useful mi- this book. Yes, plain reproof, renister can be, unless the people will proving actual sin excited the remark hear: a bold faithful minister is a that I have just quoted. O, dear blessing; but sometimes, when the people, be willing to know the truth people are unwilling to receive the of your state ; be willing to have word, or when the people do not faithful reprovers. Do not think we receive it thankfully, as they ought are hard when we reprove you; beto receive it-or when they are cap-hold, we seek not yours but you: we tious and cavilling, instead of devo- | wish to do your souls good; we wish tional-he has no utterance; he can- to bring you to Christ at last, and to not speak as he would speak. My bring you to heaven. God grant that dear people, if you want to get good this may be the case, and we ask no from your clergyman, pray, that more ; for we have nothing more to when he stands up he may come in ask, than that you all, with us, may all “ the fulness of the blessing of at length enter into the life everthe Gospel of truth.” Sometimes we | lasting.

« ZurückWeiter »