Page images
PDF
EPUB

course was blessed to the conversion of three thousand souls.

Yes, brethren, “ the word of God is indeed quick and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” And by the preaching of that blessed word, man's inherent corruption was demonstrated,--the pride of reason was humbled,—the prejudice of bigotry was conquered,—the strength of civil power was broken. And what could more clearly manifest a divine interposition? What could more unquestionably prove that “the weakness of God is stronger than men ?” Well, therefore, might the Apostle declare, in the succeeding verses of the same chapter, “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise ; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty ; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen ; yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things which are ; that no flesh should glory in his presence." In conclusion, let me beseech you,

beloved in Christ, to remember, that in professing a belief in the Gospel, and atoning blood of Jesus, you acknowledge a religion which has GOD for its Author, and His Holy Spirit’s might for its safe

guard and support :-a religion founded on the most perfect rules of heavenly wisdom; providing equally for the Creator's honour, and the happiness of his frail and rebellious creatures ; requiring a belief in nothing opposed to sound reason, however its mysteries exceed man's dull and limited comprehension; and imposing no restraints on its professors, which a wise man would not wish to lay upon himself: a religion, not founded upon any vain and visionary prospects of worldly interest, not inculcated by force, or the terror of arms, not insinuated by“ enticing words of man's wisdom,” but which, underevery seeming disadvantage, has, for more than eighteen centuries, maintained its ground, “ against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spirital wickedness in high places ;"-yea, and shall still continue, under God's protecting hand, firm and immoveable, till time shall be no more. For have we not the blessed assurance of our Lord Himself, that against His church “ the gates of hell shall never prevail ?" Since, however, it cannot be dissembled, that the unholy and unchristian lives of many professing Christians, have too often “given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme,” let us, dearly beloved, take diligent heed to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called.” Those who are learned in Christ, it might perhaps seem almost needless to exhort, to “hold fast the profession of their faith without wavering ;" for they “know in whom they have believed ;” yea, like the Colossian converts, their “ hope is laid up in heaven, since the day they heard of the Gospel, and knew the grace of God in truth.” But, as “ for this very cause,” Paul ceased not to pray, that “ the saints and faithful brethren at Colosse," might increase in that knowledge, and in those spiritual gifts, which had been imparted to them under the ministry of Epaphras ;-as he exhorted them who had “received Christ Jesus the Lord, to walk in him ; rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as they had been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving;"—so would we beseech all those who “have tasted of the heavenly gift,” to be constant and fervent in prayer, that they may be strengthened with all might, and continue in the faith, grounded and settled,” that so in the great and terrible day of the Lord, they may be presented, “every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” And while, to the weak and unlearned, the mere“ babes in Christ," we would address the encouraging words of our blessed Redeemer, “ fear not little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom;" we would also implore them to pour out their hearts in prayer and supplication, for the aid of that Holy Spirit, which can alone guard them from the machinations of those who

would“ spoil them through philosophy and vain deceit;"--alone keep them “stedfast in the faith," “stablish, strengthen, settle them.”

O, then, let each, let all of us, who “have redemption through the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of our sins,” bow down in humble adoration, and with the whole host of heaven, worship Him that sitteth upon the throne, and the Lamb. And since it is by Christ alone, that God is reconciled to us, and dwells in us,—since it is the blood of His Cross that has made peace between Jew and Gentile, between heaven and earth,-may His blessed Gospel subdue our hearts to true holiness; may it prove unto us “a savour of life unto life;" may divine grace establish and confirm us in it; and may the “Sword of the Spirit,” even “ the Word of God,” make us more than conquerors, over every enemy, spiritual or temporal, that may attempt to supplant our feet, and take away our crown! Amen.

SERMON XXIII.

FOR THE FESTIVAL OF EASTER.

1 THESSALONIANS, IV. 13.—“I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep."

THE Christians at Thessalonica, to whom this epistle was addressed, had been converted to the faith through the instrumentality of the Apostle Paul; who, having gone thither by divine appointment, to preach the doctrines of the cross, his ministry was attended with such remarkable success, that in the first chapter of this epistle, he says, “we give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of

you

in our prayers :"_" for our Gospel came not unto you in words only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance : and ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having

« PreviousContinue »