« PreviousContinue »
in his ears,
his notice. The unwelcome guest who entered the room at the marriage feast was detected, and the enquiry rung
Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment?" But he made no reply; he could not justify his conduct; be had nothing to say in his defence; "he was speechless.” And observe the command, and mark the destiny to which he was consigned ! “Then said the king to the servants, bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth," Matt. xxii. 13. Every hypocrite, and every unfaithful servant will be detected, exposed, and rewarded according to his deeds. How important that ministers of the gospel should be sincere and earnest in the sermons they preach, lest any souls should be lost through their unfaithfulness. Fidelity to the truth they proclaim may expose them to persecution and ridicule, but necessity is laid upon them, and woe unto them if they shun to declare the whole council of God.
These are not days for ministers to slumber at their posts, nor the soldiers of Christ to recline on their swords, when so many millions of unpardoned sinners are on their way to the judgment seat of Christ. There must be decisive action and gigantic efforts to awake the slumbering, to arouse the lukewarm, and alarm the careless. Another consideration is,
4. The reward connected with christian fidelity. If faithfulness in secondary matters secures the confidence and respect of our fellowmen, we may reasonably conclude that fidelity to our Maker will render us lovely in His sight, and obtain His approbation.
“ For saints are lovely in his sight,
« finish our
The chief reward of the faithful is on high. thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life," Rev. ii. 10. Here we see the recompense is coupled with patient persevering fidelity; the connection between the one and the other is easily traced, the means and the end are inseparably associated. “So run that ye may obtain.” We must “ hold on our way," and “endure to the end,” so that we may course with joy." Warriors are applauded and honoured when they are victorious in battle, but the richest earthly rewards are insignificant and fleeting in their duration when compared with those of heaven. So are the people of God honoured and rewarded when they have triumphed over the last enemy. “ Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things : enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” This is the bighest dignity to which we can be elevated; here is the unfading diadem, and joys pure, full, and endless. A throne, acrown of life, an incorruptible inheritance, an everlasting kingdom, are promised to the faithful. Joshua, at the close of a long and eventful life, reminded all Israel of the faithfulness of their Deliverer and Guide. "Ye know in all your hearts, and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof," Josh. xxiii. 14. In conclusion, I remark,
1. That all have an important work to perform. Salvation to secure, hell to escape-a God to glorify, and heaven to gain. You who are wasting your time, and neglecting the great salvation purchased by the death and mediation of Jesus Christ, remember how awful is your condition, and how great the danger to which you are exposed ; and will you, and dare you trifle away your precious time, and bury or misapply your talents,
and then plunge into the lake of fire, which is the doom of all the unfaithful Pause in your unhappy career, be persuaded to repent and believe the gospel "now, while it is called to-day."
2. Servants of Christ, be faithful. "Occupy till I come,” said the Saviour; live in expectation of his return, that you may be found of him in peace having on the wedding garment. Ministers, teachers, lea'lers, masters, servants, parents, children, be faithful. Jehovah demands it, the scriptures inculcate it, the Saviour urges it, ministers proclaim it, the church requires it, the world needs it. The whirl of time, the convulsions of society, our responsibility and immortality urge us to be faithful. The rejoicings of the blest and the wailings of the damned, cry, be faithful. Though the world may frown upon you, and friends desert you; when temptations assail you, and want oppresses you, be faithful. In health, when afflicted, when the chill of death creeps upon you, and eternity is near, be faithful; then may you exclaim, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word : for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.'
“ Should worlds conspire to drive me thence,
Moveless and firm this heart should lie;
“How softly on the bruised heart,
A word of kindness falls,
The moistening tear-drop calls."
This is another important feature in the Christian character, another beautiful link in the believer's golden chain.
Meekness bears a striking resemblance to gentleness, an exposition of which has been given in a previous lecture. But one eminent writer remarks, " There are certain grand principles in religion which must be introduced upon every subject; and repetitions in respect of them are so necessary and becoming, that no learning, ingenuity, or eloquence, can compensate for the omission. Such as repentance of sin, faith in Jesus Christ, whatever relates to his person, love, atonement, and grace; regeneration, love to God and man, and the future state of righteous and eternal retribution. The more full the heart of the writer or the speaker is of the good treasure, the more will he enlarge on these subjects, to the disgust of such as, under the influence of pride and worldly affections, savour not heavenly things.”
The precepts and commands of Jesus Christ are to be regarded universally, and the badge of discipleship must
be worn uniformly, for it is said that harmony in actions is much more excellent than in sounds. The Psalmist says,
« Then shall I not be ashamed when I have respect unto all thy commandments." All christians do not attain to the same degree in meekness, but it is incumbent upon all to exhibit genuine marks of a meek and gentle spirit. This grace or fruit of the spirit must be cultivated, this temper of mind must be manifest in our words and actions, the law of kindness must dwell upon our tongues, for “the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and meekness."
In us by nature there dwelleth no good thing; but when grace triumphs, the inner man is renewed in righteousness and true holiness. The object of religion is to destroy every evil propensity of the heart, to erase from the soul all impurity, and implant those principles and dispositions which produce a new creation, constitute the basis of evangelical hope, and occasion results the most cheering and influential. It expels from the heart all that is sour, callous, and vile; it exiles from the mind all gloom, sorrow, and turbulency, and all that is sordid, grovelling, and contemptible, becomes exotic to the character of its possessors. Besides this, it inspires the heart with refined and elevated thoughts, promotes peace, and imparts pure and unmingled happiness to the mind.
Actions good or bad are generally based upon corresponding principles. Christian meekness is not a natural instinct, nor does it consist in the observance of the rules of etiquette, but it is a principle wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit; hence separation, humility, docility, forbearance, and forgiveness, are among its characteristic features. There is