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with an opportunity of hearing evangelical peculiar relation to the apostles, they have a preaching; he has awakened their consciences real, and a very encouraging reference to to the importance of eternal things, and taken Christians in every age of the world who them under his more immediate tuition: and walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit: “none teaches like him.”
and as many as are led by the Spirit of God, But as for you, my dear hearers, who live they are the sons of God.” Avail yourselves in a Christian country, and are privileged of all these advantages, and, like these men with the ordinances of religion, you can never from the east," then shall ye know, if you want a star to guide. Your danger lies not follow on to know the Lord.” This brings us on the side of ignorance, but of knowledge to observe: knowledge unprized, neglected, perverted, III. WE SHOULD DEEM NO DIFFICULTIES abused. This is the condemnation—that you TOO GREAT TO ENCOUNTER, NO SACRIFICES TOO have light, but refuse to follow its leadings, GREAT TO MAKE, IN SEEKING AFTER CHRIST. and cause the Saviour to complain, “ Ye will Behold your example. These wise men did not come unto me, that ye might have life.” not say as they were setting oit, “ But will
T'or you have the Scripture, “which is a not our neighbours and friends condemn us!" lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path.” | They do not ask, “ But what will the learned This is the word of Christ. And what part think of us? Will they not reproach us, as of it is there that does not lead to him? Is engaged in a visionary enterprise, unworthy it the predictive? The testimony of Jesus of the professors of philosophy ?" No. They is the spirit of prophecy. To him give all the did not consult the many, or the few, but the prophets witness.” Is it the ceremonial ?) star. There is a striking difference between The altar, the tabernacle, the temple, the men, individually and socially considered. showbread, the sacrifices, and the incense; Alone, they often feel well; conscience has all were “shadows of good things to come, a moment of leisure; truth speaks, and in the of which the body is Christ.” Is it the mi- absence of lies is heard; and now, convinced raculous ? Who can help looking towards and impressed, they resolve to walk before him from the ark of Noah; the deliverance God in newness of life: but all this resolution of the Jews out of Egypt; the manna that fell is ruined as soon as they intermingle with in the desert; the waters that flowed from the others. To avoid the laugh of one, and the smitten rock?—for “that rock was Christ." frown of another; the coolness of friendship Is it the legal? The law, by convincing us or the enmity of power; they swerve from of sin, worketh a sense of wrath, and annihi- the known path of duty, and "hold the truth lates all hopes of salvation by our own obe- in unrighteousness." Public opinion is one dience: “ The law," says the Apostle, “ was of the greatest obstacles the grace of God has our schoolmaster, to bring us unto Christ.” | to overcome; especially in two cases— With Is it the doctrinal? All the doctrines of the regard to the young, who are so impressible Gospel are derived from his history—from his to Hattery and ridiculeAnd the intellectual, incarnation, his sufferings, and his glory; and who pride themselves on the reputation of all lead to him, as streams that flow from a knowledge, and to whom the words of our fountain enable us to find it. “Who is he Saviour may be applied; “ How can ye bethat condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea lieve who receive honour one of another, and rather, that is risen again, who is even at the seek not the honour that cometh from God right hand of God, who also maketh interces- only ?" How many are there who believe sion for us."
on him, but fear to confess him, lest they You have the ministry of the word. And should be put out of the synagogue, “ for what does every preacher of the truth but they love the praise of men more than the proclaim. with the forerunner, “ Behold the praise of God." Let us, therefore, like these Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the Magi, choose our guide, not from below, but world.” Is he asked by an anxious inquirer, from above. Let us simply ask, What does • What must I do to be saved ?" He would God say—what does God require? It is a be a misleader of souls, and chargeable with light thing to be judged of man's judgment. their ruin, if he gave any other direction He that judgeth us is the Lord-Ilow shali] than that of Paul and Silas to the jailer; appear before him? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ."_" These Again. These men were willing to leave are the servants of the most high God, which their country, their connexions, their families; show unto men the way of salvation." and disregarded all the expenses, incon
You have the Spirit of promise : “ Howbeit veniences, and dangers of a distant and difwhen he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will ficult journey. And you know the decision : guide you into all truth; for he shall not “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall all that he hath cannot be my disciple.” Some hear, that shall he speak: and he will show things must be absolutely renounced. This you things to come. He shall glorify me; is the case with sin of every kind, and every for he shall receive of mine, and shall show degree.-Bosom lusts must all be sacrificed it unto you." Though these words had al ---the right hand cut off, the right eye pluck
ed out. Other things must be conditionally I supposed that they knew his divinity; but parted with. These are our temporal inter- they viewed him as an extraordinary personests. Duty and advantage may lie the same age; and as they were accustomed to prosroad ; but when a separation is necessary we trate themselves before a superior, and offer must show, by our choice, what we deem the him presents, so when “ they were come into one thing needful. Thus Moses “refused to the house, they saw the young child with be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, and Mary his mother, and fell down and worshipchose rather to suffer affliction with the peo- ped him: and when they had opened their ple of God than enjoy the pleasures of sin for treasures, they presented unto him gifts; a season. Thus, between a human and a gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” Divine command, Peter and John said, “We But what worship are you to render him? ought to obey God rather than man.”
- You are to render him the homage of the If, however, the Gospel requires us to mind. This is done by entertaining the most labour, and strive, and tight, it more than exalted conceptions of him. And can you deserves all our exertions. If it demands think of him too highly, after searching the sacrifices, it more than indemnifies us. Scripture, and finding him “fairer than the “There is no man that hath left house, or children of men : the King of kings, and Lord parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for of lords: the Sun of righteousness: the Sathe kingdom of God's sake, who shall not re- viour of the world : the brightness of the Faceive manifold more in this present time, and ther's glory, and the express image of his in the world to come life everlasting. Godli- | person?”—You are to render him the homage ness is profitable unto all things, having pro- of the heart. This is done by giving him mise of the life that now is, and of that which your confidence; and “ blessed are all they is to come.” But, alas! what a difference is that put their trust in him.” This is done by there between the disposition of these follow- yielding him your supreme affection; and be ers of the star, and the conduct of mankind it observed-you do not love him at all, unat large—may I not add, of many of you? less you love him above all.—You are to renThough you have no such lengths to go, but der him the homage of the lip. This is done the kingdom of God is nigh you ; though you by extolling his excellences, and recommendknow more of the end of the Saviour's coming him to others. And can your tongue, ing, and through the vail of his humanity can which is your glory, be ever so well employbehold his glory, “the glory as of the only ed !-- You are to render him the homage of begotten of the Father, full of grace and the life. This is done by obeying his comtruth;” though you have been invited, and mands; by holding yourselves at his disposal; pressed, times without number, to go and by submitting to his dispensations; by devotpartake of the fulness that resides in him—ing yourselves to his cause-honouring the what effect has all this had upon your hearts Lord with your substance, and, in the true and lives? What solicitude have you dis- spirit of a moral, or rather Christian martyr, covered to “win Christ, and be found in sayinghim ?" Of what importance should we deem
“ All that I have, and all I am, salvation were we to judge of it by your con
Shall he for ever thine ; cern to obtain it? How many will the wise
Whate'er my duty bids me give,
My cheerful hands resign." men of the east rise up in the judgment Yea, against and condemn?
“Were the whole realm of nature mine, IV. WE ARE TO BE CONCERNED TO HONOUR
That were a present far too small; HIM, AS WELL AS TO BE SAVED BY HIM. The
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all!" first thought of a sinner when he seeks him is to obtain relief from him in a case wherein Are you afraid of rendering him such hoall other assistance must fail. He is guilty, mage, lest you should incur the charge of and needs forgiveness. He is depraved, and idolatry? Behold your authority: “ As the needs renovation. He is all ignorance and Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth weakness, and needs wisdom and strength. them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he He therefore cries, “ Lord, save, I perish !" will. For the Father judgeth no man, but And for this very purpose he is commanded hath committed all judgment unto the Son; to look to him: “ Look unto me, and be ye that all men should honour the Son, even as saved, all the ends of the earth." But when they honour the Father. He that honoureth ever there is a real work of grace in the heart, not the Son honoureth not the Father which there will be a disposition not only to seek hath sent him. God also hath highly exalthim, but to serve him; and we shall say with ed him, and given him a name which is above the wise men,
“We are come to worship every name; that at the name of Jesus every him."
knee should bow, of things in heaven, and What was the worship they rendered him? I things in earth, and things under the earth; Some have ascribed to these men a higher and that every tongue should confess that degree of knowledge than we have any rea- Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the son to believe they possessed. It is not to be Father.” Here is an authority which not
“I am poor
only allows, but demands the honours we pay on the dark side only. It admits of relief. him.
Under all his disadvantages and trials, he is I hope you are not confounded at the furnished with everlasting consolation and thought of yielding this homage--in the good hope though grace. Though a soldier, stable, and kneeling-before the manger. he fights the good fight of faith; and does not The wise men, it is probable, judging from go a warfare at his own charges. Though a the prodigy of the star, expected to find the stranger and a pilgrim, he has accommodanew-born king surrounded with magnifi- tions and refreshments by the way. This is cence; but his abasement hindered not their his emblem-a bush burning with fire and adoration. And shall it hinder your ardour ? not consumed. This is his motto-" We are Yea rather, shall it not inflame your love? troubled on every side, yet not distressed; For what has brought him down; what has we are perplexed, but not in despair; perseplaced him here? Compulsion ? No:—but cuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not compassion-a love “that passeth know- destroyed."— This is his experience—“I am ledge.” He who was in the form of God, poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon took upon him the form of a servant. He me." It would be fastidious to refuse the dimade himself of no reputation. You know visions which these words naturally afford. it, Christians! You know it:-“ Ye know They contain, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that I. A HUMBLE CONDITION. though he was rich, yet for our sakes he be- II. A BLESSED ASSURANCE. came poor: that ye through his poverty I. A HUMBLE CONDITION. might be rich.” And is dignity lessened by and needy.” A man may be in such a state condescension? Shall his goodness rob him —spiritually—experimentally-comparativeof his glory? So far was Paul from being ly-temporally. ashamed of his humiliation, that he exclaim- All men are by nature poor and needy, as ed, “God forbid that I should glory, save in to their spiritual condition. Sin is very prothe cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And perly considered a fall; and it has reduced when does God require all the highest orders us to a low estate. It expelled us from paraof his creatures to adore him? When he dise; it stripped us of our original righteoushas not where to lay his head. “WHEN HE ness and strength; it robbed us of the image, BRINGETH THE
THE the favour, and the presence of God; it left WORLD, he saith, And let all the angels of us no worthiness, no hope-nothing but a cerGod worship him.”
tain fearful looking-for of judgment, and fiery And when John heard the voice of many indignation to devour us.—This is what we angels round about the throne, and the mean by being poor and needy, spiritually. beasts, and the elders,—and the number of But the conviction of our natural state is them was ten thousand times ten thousand, not easily fixed in the mind; and hence, far and thousands of thousands,—they cried with from acknowledging it
, many, like the Lao a loud voice, saying, “Worthy is the Lamb diceans, are saying, “ I am rich, and increas that was slain to receive power, and riches, ed with goods, and have need of nothing; and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and and know not that they are wretched and glory, and blessing."
miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." But the subjects of divine grace are all ac
quainted with their condition. The Holy DISCOURSE XCV.
Spirit has convinced them of sin; and hum
bled them before God. They now see, that GOD THINKS UPON HIS PEOPLE.
their recovery cannot spring from any good
ness or power of their own; they are conI am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh vinced, that if ever they are saved, it must upon me.—Psalm xl. 17.
be by another, in whom, at once, they can The life of a Christian is a very chequered find wisdom and righteousness, sanctification scene. If it be said of others, “They have and redemption. Hence they become beg. no changes, therefore they fear not God;" he gars at the door of mercy, and are willing to can say, with Job,“ changes and war are live on alms; feeling their dependence, and upon me.” However attractive this world thankful for their supplies.—This conviction, may appear to those whose disposition is con- though self-abasing, is necessary and profitagenial with it, and who make it their portion, ble. Till we apprehend our danger, we shall he feels that it is not his rest. He is a stran- not inquire after a refuge; till we are sensiger and a sojourner, as were all his fathers: ble of our disease, we shall not prize the and there are seasons when he sighs, “ Wo physician, or submit to the remedy; till we is me that I dwell in Meshech, and make my know that we are guilty and helpless, we tents in Kedar. Oh that I had wings like a shall never cry with the publican, “God be dove! for then would I fly away and be at merciful to me a sinner;" or with Peter, rest."
" Lord, save; I perish."-But, “ Blessed are But let us not view his present condition the poor in spirit: for their’s is the kingdom
of heaven. Blessed are they who hunger, battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the and thirst after righteousness : for they shall wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, be filled.”—This is what we mean by being nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and poor and needy, experimentally.
chance happeneth to them all.” There are As all believers feel this to be their condi- those who have met with losses which no talent tion, so we may observe no difference is could have prevented. Every time they have made in their sense of it by their worldly attempted to row, the wind and waves have circumstances. David was a king; yet this been contrary. Is this the case with any of did not alter the view he had of himself, as a you? Are you set back in life? Are your fallen, sinful, perishing creature before God. visions fled? Are your purposes broken off? His palace was not a substitute for heaven, Remember, this has been the case with mulnor even caused him to forget it. He had titudes of your brethren who were before you fame, and armies, and riches; yet these in the world. Your elder brother had not could not supply the place of all spiritual where to lay his head; was a man of sorblessings: he therefore prays, “ Remember rows and acquainted with grief. Your conme, O Lord, with the favour that thou bear- dition is not the result of chance, but appointest unto thy people: O visit me with thy sal- ment. Your safety and welfare required it. vation; that I may see the good of thy chosen, In more easy and flattering circumstances, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy na- you would have had less love to the Scription, that I may glory with thine inheritance.” tures; less business at a throne of grace; “I am poor and needy,” says the believer, less longings after a better country ; less “unless as I obtain the true riches, the un- proof of the tender care of Providence and searchable riches of Christ: and I often fear the all-sufficiency of Divine grace. This is I have none of them. But if I am a pos- what we mean by being poor and needy, in a sessor— how small a portion do I possess! temporal sense. How little, compared with what I want and II. Examine THE GLORIOUS ASSURANCEwish! How little, compared with the in- "I am poor and needy ; yet the Lord thinkfinite fulness there is in the Redeemer! How eth upon me.” This is, little, compared with the acquisitions of First, the language of confidence. David others! They have received from him fulness, speaks without hesitation, and so may every and grace for grace. But I have not attain- Christian; for there is nothing of which they ed: I am not already perfect. How weak can be more certain than this, That God is my faith; how wavering my hope; how thinks upon them. Aameless my zeal. How far-O how far am It is proved by his relations. He calls I from being filled with all the fulness of himself their deliverer; their friend ; their God !—I am less than the least of all saints! husband; their father; and as a divinity is I am nothing !”—This is what we mean by attached to these relations, they must all being poor and needy, comparatively. therefore be perfectly exemplified. His beni
But David was liable to affliction; and ficiaries, his bride, his children therefore, can there had been periods when he was low in never be forgotten. his outward estate. He was originally a It is proved by his promises. “ Remember shepherd, and often acknowledged, with these, O Jacob and Israel ; for thou art my equal humility and gratitude, his elevation servant: I have formed thee; thou art my in life. Even after he had the throne of Is- servant: 0 Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten rael promised him, and the holy oil had been of me.”—“I will never leave thee, nor forpoured upon his head, he was driven out sake thee.” These are words found in a from his inheritance, and was an exile in book we know to be divine. They are the other lands; pursued from place to place, words, not of a man, that may lie, or the son “ like a partridge upon the mountains;" re- of man, that may repent, but of the God of duced to the necessity of imploring of a truth. Talking and doing may be two things foreign prince an asylum for his father and with creatures, but they are the same with mother; and compelled to beg a sword and him. He is often better than his word; but even bread for himself at Nob. Years after who ever found him worse? he was enthroned he was betrayed and op- It is proved by his works. What has he posed, and forced by a rebellion the most un- not done, o Christian, to justify your hope ! natural to leave his palace and his capital! He remembered you in your low estate. Some believers, through life, have had very Without your desert, and without your delittle of this world's goods. They have found sire, he raised up for you a Saviour ; and it hard to provide things honest in the sight seemed to love your souls better than his own of all men. We sometimes censure and con- Son. " He spared not his own Son, but dedemn; as if men were the absolute masters livered him up for you all; and shall he not of their secular condition: but they are not. with him freely give you all things ?"--He It does not depend upon every man to rise found you wandering the downward road, and and prosper: “I returned, and saw under the turned your feet into the path of peace. He sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the l has admitted you into his service, and adopt.
ed you into his family. Had he a mind to “I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinkkill you, he would not have shown you such eth upon me." things as these. You have had your fears, It is rendered wonderful by the greatness but he has shown you their folly. You have of God. What a trifling elevation leads one said, “ I am cast out of his sight;" but you man to overlook another. How generally are have been enabled to look again towards his the lower ranks disregarded by those who holy temple, and the shadow of death has have a few acres of land, a little shining dust, been turned into the morning. You have or an empty title to distinguish them-while not advanced as you ought to have done, and they are only worms themselves, and are you mourn it; but you can say, to the praise crushed before the moth. But behold, God of the glory of his grace, “Our heart is not | is great, and we know him not. All nations turned back, neither have our steps declined are before him as nothing. Well, therefore, from thy way: though thou hast sore broken did David, when he surveyed the universe, us in the place of dragons, and covered us exclaim,“ Lord, what is man, that thou art with the shadow of death."
mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou How many things are there worthy of par- visitest him!” This is nothing less than Inticular review in your history. Though they finite Power and Majesty stooping to weakhave been less marvellous, they have not been ness and meanness. less merciful than his dispensations towards It is rendered wonderful by our unworthihis people of old. Have you not been deli- ness. The more holy any being is, the more vered from the land of Egypt and the house must he be offended with sin. How then of bondage, by a strong hand and an out- must God be provoked by it, who is of purer stretched arm?”—I mean have you not been eyes than to behold iniquity! " And yet how “ delivered from the power of darkness, and much has he seen in me," says the Christian, translated into the kingdom of God's dear to try him, not only before I knew him, but Son ?" Have you not had the bitter waters since I have been called by his name. I canof Marah healed by casting a tree into them? not take the most superficial review of my. -I mean, have not your sufferings been self without seeing that it is of the Lord's sweetened by the cross of Christ? Have you mercies I am not consumed. Where is there not been fed by ravens?-I mean, have not any other benefactor that would have conti. the most unlikely instruments befriended nued his regards, or have given me another you? Have not the oil and the wine multi- thought, after such instances of perverseness plied ?-I mean, have not inconsiderable re- and vileness as I have been chargeable with sources been rendered sufficient for your ex- from year to year towards God ?" igences; so that, while you had nothing to Thirdly. It is the language of consolation. depend upon, you have lacked nothing ?- “I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh “ Whoso is wise, and will observe these upon me.” This is enough : this will more things, even they shall understand the loving-than counterbalance every thing that is dekindness of the Lord;" and be able to say, "I fective or distressing in my condition. There am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh are three things in God's thinking upon us upon me."
that are solacing and delightful. Secondly. It is the language of wonder. Observe the frequency of his thoughts. InIt is said by the apostle Peter, that God calls deed they are incessant. You have a friend his people out of darkness into his marvellous whom you esteem and love. You wish to light; and one of the things which fill them live in his mind. You say, when you part with surprise, and continue to fill them with and when you write, “ Think of me." You surprise through life is, that God fails not to give him, perhaps, a token to revive his reregard such creatures as we are.
membrance. How naturally is Selkirk, in It is rendered truly wonderful by the “con- his solitary island, made to say ; duct of men." This we continually witness; and we are prone to judge from what falls My friends, - do they now and then send
A wish or a thought after me? under our own observation.
O tell me I yet have a friend, alas! of those with whom you have to do, Though a friend I am never to see! prove either frail or treacherous ! How many
“ Ye winds, that have made me your sport, have abandoned you, after the warmest ex
Convey to this desolate shore pressions of friendship and kindness! How
Some cordial, endearing report
of a land I shall visit no more." often have you heard the voice saying, “Cease from man! Cursed is the man that trusteth But the dearest connexion in the world in man, and maketh flesh his arm!" In this cannot be always thinking upon you. Half way you have been peculiarly tried when re- his time he is in a state of unconsciousness; duced; for people reverse the maxim of So- and how much, during the other half, is he lomon, and suppose a friend born for prosper- engrossed! But there is no remission in the ity. The flower that, while fresh and green, Lord's thoughts. He never slumbers: and is put into the bosom, is thrown away when though he manages worlds, and calls the shriveled and dry. But it is otherwise here. I stars by their names, he numbers the hairs