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same book : John saw heaven opened, and observed one with a vesture dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God; and he hath on his vesture, and on his thigh, a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Rev. xix. 11. 13. 16.)
Now, what think ye of Christ? Who will venture to, say, we will not have this man to reign over us? (Luke xix. 14.) Shall the wisdom of God, speaking through him, be heard in vain ? Shall he bid us learn of him, (Mat. xi. 29,) and we refuse him as a teacher ?. Shall the love of God be placed before you in the dying Sa. viour, and will ye turn away from the sight? Heard ye not his fervent, final prayer for his murderers, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do? (Luke xxiii. 34.) This prayer was for you and me, and was not in vain. By the omnipotent power of God, which dwelt in him, he who was delivered for our offences, was raised again for our justification. (Rom. iv. 25.) Shall the attributes of God be all exercised for us ; the wisdom, the love, and the power of God, be all mani. fested to us, and for us, for our happiness, for our sal. vation, and we yet remain lukewarm ? Forbid it, grati. tude—forbid it, God! Man may, in bis willing ignorance, despise the divine wisdom ; in the indulgence of his evil passions, his heart may be so hardened, as to be insensible even to the love of God; and in the mad. ness of his folly, he may so abuse the powers which God hath given him, as to bring his whole force against the Author of his being. But, blessed be God, man is not omnipotent, and God is almighty; the less must be overcome of the greater; God will not be foiled in the end which he had in view in our creation; nor the
Saviour disappointed of the joy which was set before him, and for which he endured the cross, despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. xii. 2.) The heathen shall be his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth his pos. session. (Ps. ii. 8.) Is there a lingering doubt in the mind of any, whether he will be for God, or for the enemy of God and man? Let such a one remember, that, strictly speaking, there can be no neutrality in this
for this apparent indifference operates as the act of an enemy; its natural tendency is to make otherg indifferent; and, certainly, to continue the indifference of those who are already in that state, a state so unwise, a state so offensive to God, that he says, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth ; as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous, therefore, and repent. (Rev. iii. 16. 19.) How unwise is it in men to be indifferent on a subject of so much importance; it is as much more important to us as heaven is better than earth, as a ne. ver-ending duration is greater than this span of passing life. It is not only required of us that we should not be indifferent, but that we should be zealous ; and if our zeal is in any degree proportionate to the object in view, it never can be too great ; nor need we fear that it will degenerate into fanaticism, while it is direct. ed by our understanding-while we have, thus saith the Lord, for what we say or do.
Perhaps this may be considered as departing from the main object of our text; and possibly it may in some degree, yet it is connected with it, in so much as the grace of God has been turned into lasciviousness, by
men who crept into the church, committing this great evil, denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 4.) And may not that which has been, appear again? May it not appear even among us? We think it may, and we will tell you how. A mind, fixed only on the end, the final happiness of all men, but forgetful of him who is the way, and the truth, and the life, (John xiv. 6,) is he not looking for the end without the means? And such a one, if he gets into the heat of controversy, is he not under the temptation to deny the necessity of a Saviour ? And have we not heard of some falling under the temptation, reviling the doctrine of the atonement, the necessity of the blood of Christ, and ending in atheism, denying the Lord God? May we use the language of Paul, and say, I write not these things to shame you, but, as my beloved sons, I warn you. (1 Cor. iv. 14.)
O keep close to the side of the bleeding Saviour ; let all your hope rest on him ; for other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. iii. 11.)
We have seen the glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, in the knowledge of Christ, as Prophet, Priest, and King; let us now take another, but not contradictory, view of our subject; the Gos. pel.
Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, writing to the Gala. tians, says, the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, in thee shall all na. tions be blessed. Now, to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of
many, but as of one ; and to thy seed, which is Christ. (Gal. iii. 8. 16.)
Let us look at the promise to which the apostle al. ludes. When God was pleased to call Abraham to get out of his country, and from his kindred, and his father's house, to a land that he would show him ; it was ac. companied with a promise, that of him should be made a great nation, that he should be blessed, and his name great, and that he should be a blessing. It closes with these words, and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all fami. lies of the earth be blessed. (Gen. xii. 3.) Was not this blessing the reward of his faith and obedience? He manifests his faith by his obedience, in leaving his country, his kindred, and his father's house, at the com. mand of God. Let us imitate his example, and when duty calls, may no earthly consideration prevent us from rendering to God a willing obedience. But who is he who curseth Abraham ? The Jew almost adored him, and thought himself entitled to great favour, be. cause descended from him ; the Christian blesses him, Mahomet does him honour, and we do not know that even the idolater hates him. We observe that the party blessing is named in the plural, while the party cursing is in the singular. Who is this but the grand enemy of all righteousness; whether of faith or practice; who de. ceived our mother Eve, teaching her to believe him, rather than God, and soon found her his willing and obedient subject. Let the principle of faith, or confi. dence in God, only be shaken, and disobedience to him will soon be found to be the necessary result.
The next Scripture which has relation to the subject of the Gospel, as taught by the apostle, is when God was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorah. He says, shall I hide from Abraham the thing which I do ; seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all nations of the earth shall be blessed in him ? (Gen. xviii. 17, 18.)
What nearness of union and communion with God! What blessedness in having God for our visitant! And why may we not ? Abraham had no greater reason to believe and trust in God than we have. Let us then live near to God, by a realizing sense of his presence; and the God of Abraham will come to us and bless us. (We will continue our subject at our next meeting.)