« EdellinenJatka »
children and servants in the pri- time, and then passeth away. And vileges and duties of the Christian yet, as the past is irrecoverable, as character? We are commanded the future may never come, it is of to train up our children in the the utmost importance that we way in which they should go. Now, should pause and consider, during has this been our conduct during the existing moment, what are our the past year? or may not our views and feelings, our purposes children and our servants justly and resolutions. complain, that however we may Do you now feel ashamed, and have attended to the concerns of humbled, and truly penitent, under our own souls, we have grievously the recollection of your past transneglected theirs ?
gressions in the sight of a holy God, Has there been in us, during your numerous defects of duty and the
year that is past, a diligent at- commissions of sin? If the consitendance at the table of the Lord deration of your past ways does a regular habit of self-examination, not excite such feelings of humiof true and unfeigned repentance liation and of penitence, it is, my of sin-a believing application of brethren, because you have been the Saviour's sacrifice - an ear- superficial in the inquiry, or have nest endeavour to walk in newness been estimating your conduct by a of life? Have we not only en- mistaken, an erroneous standard. deavoured to attend to religion at So long as you compare yourselves some times and on some occa- with yourselves, or judge yoursions, but have we laboured habi- selves by yourselves, you may pertually to maintain a spirit of holy haps be well satisfied. So long as circumspection ? Have we been you estimate your conduct and bewatching over our tempers, and haviour by the example of many passions, and appetites, and en- around, who make a plausible prodeavouring to comply with the fession of religion, you may feel apostolic exhortation," whether that you are, so to speak, as good ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye as they; but if once you compare do, do all to the glory of God ?" yourselves with the holy law of
o my brethren, when we come God, and estimate your character, tbus to consider our past ways, and by that perfect and unerring stanto enter with seriousness and im- dard, or compare it with the holy partiality into the review, how example of the Saviour, the lanmany instances shall we perceive guage of
hearts will be, in which we have been so defec- hold, I am vile; I am all as an untive, so negligent, so forgetful, that clean thing; I am the chief of sinwe must ever feel deeply humbled ners : enter not into judgment with in the sight of Almighty God, and thy servant, O Lord!” beseech him with all earnestness Are you now welcoming the not to enter into judgment with us, Saviour ? Many, like those of old, but to have mercy upon us, and see no form nor comeliness in him pardon our past offences through that they should desire him. They the merits of his dear Son ? are ready to say, What is thy be
Secondly, Consider your ways loved more than another beloved ? with reference to the present. Look- They will speak of the excellence ing at the present moment, indeed, of the morality of Jesus Christ, we may well say, What is it? It of the sublimity of his doctrine, vanishes while we speak. It is, as and the perfection of his example; it were, only the connecting link but they are prone to lose sight of between two vast eternities. For, the value of his sacrifice; they feel what is
your life? It is even a nothing of personal interest in him; vapour, that appeareth for a little there is no void to be filled up in
their minds; no defect in their righ- work which is begun; and animate teousness which compels them to you to press forwards, forgetting look out of themselves; no habitual the things which are behind, and dependence upon Jesus Christ, no reaching forth unto those which running to him continually; no
are before. counting all things but loss for the Thirdly, Consider your ways as excellency of the knowledge of to the future. him; no settled abiding convic- If, my brethren, you are suittion, that without an interest in his ably affected with the past, and in atonement they must perish: yet a right state of mind at the prethis need of Christ, this longing sent, you will be induced to say, after Christ, this willingness to give What shall I render to the Lord for up every thing for Christ; this abid- all his benefits? You will feel that ing conviction, that without Christ the time past may suffice to have they must perish; and this conse- wrought the will of the flesh; and quent coming to Christ, believing will cheerfully suffer the word of on him, fleeing to him, earnestly exhortation while we say, Set out desiring an interest in him, is indis- afresh in God's service with renewpensably necessary to a state of ed diligence and devotedness. If acceptance and reconciliation. much of your time has been
Again, Do you now earnestly spent unprofitably; if the talents, seek for the enlightening, sancti- and privileges, and opportunities fying, strengthening, and consol- you have enjoyed, have been ing influence of the Holy Spirit? neglected or misapplied; surely Every discovery of your true cha- it becomes you to labour earnestly racter as a sinner must be ac- to improve what still remains. Encompanied with an increasing deavour, therefore, solemnly to resense and feeling of your blind- view your past lives, that the reness, ignorance, weakness, and collection of your defects and mispollution. If, therefore, you have takes may excite to greater deduly considered your past ways, grees of diligence and industry; you will welcome in an especial that the weakness of your former remanner that promise of the Father, solutions may
you to lay hold which the Saviour gave to his dis- more firmly on the divine strength; ciples shortly before his removal, that you may no longer halt bethat he would send another Com- tween two opinions, or attempt to forter who should abide with them unite that which the word of God for ever. Every fresh discovery of declares is impossible, the service the evils of your own heart, every of God and the service of the day's experience of the temptations world. Choose your part with sewith which you are assaulted, will riousness and consideration; but compel you to feel more and more choose with decision and determithe need you have of his divine nation. If the Lord be God, grace, and will lead you to seek serve him; if Baal, then him.” But more earnestly that it may be while you determine that no earthly vouchsafed.
consideration shall induce you to If such is the case with you; neglect the only way of
and if you are indeed deeply humbled safety through the Redeemer's under a sense of sin-truly peni- blood; strive also against that luketent on account of your past trans- warm spirit, that spirit of conformgressions-earnestly desiring mercy ity to the world, which so fatally through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ destroys the comfort and impedes -habitually seeking for the influ- the progress of many professing ences of the Holy Spirit-we may Christians. Be more careful and well congratulate you on that good circumspect in the use of the means of grace. If you would met with in their shops or their buserve God effectually, you must sinesses at an early hour on every diligently wait upon him in the other day in the week, are so forordinances of his appointment; and getful of the Lord's day, that they be constant and early in your ean scarcely arrive in the house of attendance at the house of God: prayer by the noontide hour, nor be regular, that you may receive this without the sacrifice of secret the whole of that instruction which and family devotion. O rob not God vouchsafes by the voice of God of his sacred day; but begin his ministers, ‘and that you may this year with the holy resolution, not lose those discourses which that your sabbaths shall indeed be may be more especially appropri- devoted to the divine service. ate to your state, by an unneces- Be regular and diligent in your sary absence from your place. If preparation for and attendance at you would experience true enjoy- the table of the Lord. Nothing ment in waiting upon God, be more effectually conduces to not only regular but also early growth in grace and advancein your attendance. You mustment in the divine life than a freseek the divine blessing by diligent quent participation of the Lord's prayer; and if the earlier parts of Supper. The great enemy of souls, the service are neglected, if there indeed, endeavours to persuade has been no confession of sin, no men that there is some lurking prayers for pardon, no calling and danger, some secret snare, in this waiting upon God, is it at all sur- divine institution; and he too often prising that you should remain de- succeeds in inducing persons to abstitute of enjoyment and consola- sent themselves, even for years totion? or that the sermons which gether, from that ordinance which you hear should be productive of is especially appointed for the little abiding benefit? Labour, strengthening and refreshing of their therefore, not only to obtain souls. But believe not him rather knowledge, but experience - not than God. Obey not his voice, merely to possess speculative, but rather than the command of Him deeply practical views of religious who said, “ Do this in remem
and to come with hearts brance of me.” Did the Saviour prepared for the reception of that desire your welfare when he died word which is described by the for you?- Did he not desire your Saviour as the good seed of the edification when he instituted these kingdom.
memorials of his love? and will Be seriously attentive to the you be so ungrateful as to refuse duties of the closet and of the his invitation, when, by the voice of family; secure time for secret com- his ministering servants, he says, munion with God in private prayer Come, for all things are and the study of his holy word, by ready? O begin not to make ex80 regulating and arranging your cuse, but examine yourselves, and business, that your stated periods so eat of this bread and drink of of devotion shall not be intruded this cup, on. In many cases, this will ne- And while you thus set out with cessarily require you to redeem holy determinations to devote yourtime from sleep, from company, selves more entirely to Almighty from late visits, and evening par- God, than you have in former ties ;-to renounce the sinful habit years; and are for this purpose in which so many indulge, of rising more constant and early at the later in the morning of the Lord's house of God --more diligent in day than any other. Lamentable is private prayer, and the study it to find, that those who are to be of his word-more frequent in
attending on the Sacrament of together for good to them that love
you, my brethren, not to delay or can you so effectually secure the neglect this entire devotion of youraffections of your servants-how selves to God. Many, alas! spend so attach them to your interests, as their lives in purposing what they by leading them to seek the salva- never perform. The commencement tion of their souls? How can you of a new year finds them as the so repay your obligations to Al- commencement of its predecessor mighty God for the blessings of did. Convinced, perhaps, that they his providence, as by adopting are wrong; forming resolutions to Joshua's resolution, “As for me and be right; waiting till the streanis of my house, we will serve the Lord?” temptation shall have passed by ; Let then the word of God be looking for the day when they may daily read in your houses; let your be religious without difficulty, and family be collected together, and serve God without trials, and get unite with them in prayer and to heaven without taking up their praise; let the labours of every cross; they are the same now as day be thus consecrated to God, they were this time last year.
The and he will mercifully accept and same, did I say? no—that is imown the service.
possible. They are a year older He, my brethren, he is ever have wasted another year-have ready to hear, to pardon, and to lost another year's opportunities— bless. He calls upon the Jews to have entangled and enfolded themprove him by complying with his selves in still stronger chains of precepts, and to try whether he sin-are become more difficult to would not assuredly vouchsafe excite, more practised in vain them a blessing. And is he the excuse, more averse to the reGod of the Jews only? Is he quired labour and exertion; they not of the Gentiles also ? Have are hastening to the grave with an you no promises in which you may increasing load of sin — with a trust, which may animate your shorter period of life-with a great hope and encourage your expecta- work to perform, and yet not knowtions? Surely if you take the Word ing what a day may bring forth. of God for your guide, and if you And is this your case? Is it the really desire a prosperous and a case with any who are here preblessed year, you will devote your- sent? O may God grant that you selves, and all belonging to you, may indeed consider your ways! more simply and entirely to Al- may repent you truly of your sins mighty God.
past, and so flee Jesus We say not indeed that tempo- Christ, and devote yourselves unto ral prosperity shall necessarily fol- him, that this year may be the below-we presume not to pry into ginning of life to your and the secrets of futurity. The bless- that if called hence before its ing of the Lord maketh rich; he close, an abundant entrance may may see fit to withhold worldly be administered into the everlastwealth; he may provide some bet- ing kingdom of our Lord and Sater thing for you; yet this we know viour Jesus Christ. Amen. assuredly, that all things shall work
REVIEW OF BOOKS.
Sermons by the late Rev. William pure and scriptural. Like Luther, whom Richardson, Subchanter of York
be greatly admired, he considered justificaCathedral. Vol. I. - York,
tion by faith to be the grand fundamental
doctrine of Christianity; and to this, like 1822. Pp. 494.
a true son of the Church of England, he We never feel more sensibly the made every other subservient, whether be difficulties of our office, than when
was laying the foundation, raising the sacalled to notice the produc- stones of the Christian building. “By grace
perstructure, or adjusting the ornamental upon tions of eminent departed minis- are ye saved through faith,” was his language, ters. We are seldom authorized " and that not of yourselves; it is the gift to speak in terms of pure and un- of God; not of works, lest any man should
boast *." mixed praise; and yet we are well
Than this, he thought there aware, that such is the irritability held it to the last whole and undefled.
could not be a clearer proposition, and he of some minds, that the very small
But though so strenuous an advocate for est degree of criticism on the pro- justification by faith alone, without the ductions of departed worth is im- deeds of the law, yet there could scarce be puted to motives which have no
a more practical preacher, or one who
more zealously inculcated upon his people, existence. Happily in the case
that they should he careful to maintain good before us, the difficulty is in great works. These things he considered good measure removed by the very ju- and profitable unto men, not as by any dicious and sensible remarks with means a foundation of hope, but an eviwhich these Sermons are intro- dence of faith, and of their meetness for duced ; and we know not how we
heaven. Thus he rightly divided the word
of truth, and, as a wise master builder, can convey to our readers a more
laid the foundation of our hope in faith and correct view of the present volume love which is in Christ Jesus. - Pp.iv—vi. than by calling their attention to
The editors then remark, that the following extracts from its Preface.
nothing of systematic arrangement
has been attempted in the following These Sermons (say the editors) are work; and, after briefly stating quite devoid of ornament, which he was
the subjects which are treated in known rather to shun than to cultivate, and these discourses, add, are not characterized by those finely turned periods which a refined reader may look for.
Such as they are, either in order, matter, But he will find sometbing of greater or manner, they are now given to partial worth-bonesty, good sense, a well ar
friends, and a candid public, in that plain, ranged mind, and sound divinity.
unadorned dress which characterized the For the better information of his hearers, author, both as a man and a Christian miand their greater improvement in Christian nister; and in conformity to the wish of knowledge, the author was accustomed to 'many, that he might appear as himself, and inculcate religion in the, order of the in- as they had been accustomed to hear him, spired writers, by frequent courses of ex- not only in sentiment but in diction, as pository serions, in wbich he embraced little alteration has taken place, either by nearly every branch of a Christian's faith addition or diminution, as could consistor practice. Thus were brought before his ently be avoided.-Pp. vii, viii. congregation, as a succession of years enabled him fully to do, the characters of God
The volume contains thirty-five and of man, of the Redeemer and his great
sermons. They are, generally work, of the Sanctifier with his variety of speaking, short, but full of weighty, graces and gifts, and in short the whole original, and important remarks. counsel of God as delivered in his word to
The fourth Sermon, on Dan. iv. a fallen world.
His views of religion were precisely 35, treats of the sovereignty of those of the Church of England, as con
God; a subject which, however tained in her service and accredited formu- clear in some respects, is in others laries; and to these he bad a very strong attachment, as, in his deliberate judgment,
* Ephes. ii. 8, 9.