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impart to us in the hour of our need, and in the way of faith and prayer.
Faith looks upon Christ in the way of glorification. This is a happy way, a pleasant path. We shall not long be here. I know God's saints are sometimes much tried in the anticipation of death ; but I know there is not one of them has any cause for it. I think it is a testimony of Cecil's, that among the thousands he had seen in the course of his life who had gone to the banks of Jordan discouraged, he never saw one go through the waters whom the Lord did not uphold, and make strength of his weakness, and put a peaceable quietness into the heart of his believing
Do you ask the secret of all this? It was looking off from themselves to their risen, ascended, and glorified Lord. There is my Saviour and my Advocate! He has taken possession of heaven on behalf of his people ; and here am I, the weakest, the meanest, the poorest, and the feeblest : but his strength is my strength, his merit is my merit; and his ascension will bring up all his members safe to glory at the last.
I remember once reading, “ Treasure up evidences, because in the day when you come to die they will stand you in good stead.” I have visited many of God's saints- when they have come to die; I have seen some high in doctrine, some low in doctrine; I have seen some rejoicing, and some who have been peaceful and quiet : but I never found one of God's saints who ever looked back and said, “ What a devout saint of God I have been !" I have always found that, in the contemplation of eternity, every thing seemed to fade but the merit of the great Atoner, the satisfaction of the great Sacrifice, the intercession of the Son of God, the mediation of Jehovah Jesus. It seems as if everything did then fade from the mind, and nothing seemed to be sprinkled on the heart but the precious blood of Immanuel.
What shall I say of the man who has been hitherto turning his back on this way-walking not in the King's highway, but in his own way of pleasure, money, ambition, intellect? I would prefer being one of those who have bowed the knee to Juggernaut, than stand in that man's stead who hears the gospel sound, and is hardened in trespasses and sins. You think I harp upon one subject: the Lord knoweth, before whom I stand, how he lays these things on my heart, by what I see, and hear, and read concerning those who profess the name of Christ. How
awful is the state of those to whom I have alluded! What way are they walking in? Is there an aged one here—an old man or an old woman? I speak not now regarding the distinctions among men, but I look at them only as standing on the brink of eternity. Whither art thou going? Since thou last didst hear me, hours have passed on, days have passed on; but have they not brought thee nearer to thine own destruction? Who has been thy guide ? Has it not been he who did seduce our first parents, through whose power it was that the world at the time of the flood was a destroyed world? Who is it that cajoles thee, week by week, that it shall be better by and bye, that a more convenient season will come? Will a more convenient season come than the present, when the next moment may waft thee into eternity?
Is there here a poor, burdened soul, a wearied spirit, a contrite sinner, stripped of his self-confidence, laid low in the dust ? Has he been hitherto seeking rest, and finding none—toiling for peace, and experiencing none? What a way would that be to thee, if thou wert led to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ! This shall be the pleasant walk to thee-to step out of thyself, and put thy trust on the finished work of Immanuel, God with us. If a man in that street who was before a slave of the world, were to turn into this chapel, and lift up his hands in prayer, would not the change seem marvellous in thine eyes? And is it not a change almost equally marvellous if thy poor burdened spirit were by one glance, looking off from self to Christ, by the power of the Holy Ghost, to enter into the way of pleasantness and peace ? Is there not enough in Jesus ? His blood can make sins that are deep as scarlet, white as wool. Canst thou point to one care he has ever rejected-an instance of one too vile for the power of his blood to atone for ? Not one such can be found, because his name is faithfulness and love. O that my words may be laid on thine heart! Then shalt thou find wisdom's ways to be
ways of pleasantness, and paths of peace. It requires wisdom to discern these ways. The ways of wisdom are often very deep and mysterious, very rough and painful ; yet the issue of them is pleasantness, the end of them is peace. What a poor worm must thou be when we can say the tears of a broken heart have more happiness in them than all thy laughter and enjoyment! Add gold to gold, title to title, influence to influence ; take a man from the lowest walks of life; give him all that this world can give, and we say, the tears of a broken heart have more substance in them, than all the flash, and the fire, and the treasure of this world, with all its pomp and circumstance. And, as Rutherford says, “ If the ploughed side of our field be so much brighter than thy bright side, what must our bright side be ?" If we can turn to our tears, and say, “ They that sow in tears shall reap in joy”—“ sorrowful, yet always rejoicing”—“ having nothing, yet possessing all things,” what must thy state be when compared with that state which is all cloudless and bright, in the regions of perfect holiness and perfect happiness ?
It requires wisdom to discern the paths of wisdom in the midst of this poor dying world, and it requires wisdom to walk in them. My dear brethren, my heart's desire for you is, that you may walk near to God; but the conviction of my spirit is, that in order to do it, thou must live on the Lord Jesus Christ. I go to him with my sins, and he gives me righteousness; I go to him continually, but I never weary him. It should be the business of life in all its emergencies to go to him for holiness, for support, for the continual upholding of his grace. Live in him for sympathy; be very jealous of looking to the Creator for sympathy. I think sometimes, I lose a blessing by going to the creature first, instead of going to my Lord first. What husband, , do you think, likes his wife to go and open her heart to a stranger instead of to himself ? Art thou wrong in using the means of grace ? No. Art thou wrong in looking to him for sympathy? No: but thou art wrong in not going to him first.
Need I say how this involves the very substance of a holy life? What is it that weakens faith? What is it that strengthens unbelief? What is it that grieves the Spirit of God?
6. Your sins have separated between you and your God." This is the cause of separation : O avoid it, and walk near to God. As faith is the cause of all nearness, so close walking is the appointed means whereby God strengthens faith. Therefore avoid all laxity of walk, all coldness and want of watchfulness unto prayer. May you realize in your own souls the very substance of these words! In every trial, in every emergency, in every want, look to Him; and you shall be more than conquerors through Him who hath loved you.
THE ACCOUNTABLENESS INCURRED BY THE MINISTRY OF THE GOSPEL.
REV. S. ROBINS, A.M.
CHRIST CHAPEL, NORTH BANK, REGENT'S PARK, JULY 17, 1836.
" For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that
perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?”—2 CORINTHIANS, ii. 15—16.
If ministers of the gospel were appointed to labour only amongst willing hearts-if they never spoke a word for Christ but it found its way immediately to the understanding and to the affections, then would this world be blessed far above the condition of our fallen state. But it is not so: we have to deliver this message to many who will not receive it, to many who resist it, to many who set themselves in opposition to it; yet all the while the minister of the gospel knows that is that which is spoken to his people does not lead them near to God, the delivery of the requisition increases the distance of their separation from God; and hence it is that such a burden is continually laid on him, that he may quote the words of the apostle, and use them in application to his own responsibility and his own labour: “ Who is sufficient for these
There never was known so worthless a thing as a careless minister of Christ, the man who shall take upon his lips solemn words, who shall deal forth exhortation and warning, and speak of encouragement and of threatening unto others, while his own heart remains frozen in its indifference, and he speaks to his people of things which he had never felt, and towards which his life bears no corresponding testimony. It may be well pardoned if the minister of the gospel shall seem over-earnest and over-anxious; if he shall reiterate to his people the solemn things of judgment; if he shall bring before them again and again the matters which concern their souls as well as his. He remembers that he has to deal, not with one class, or with another class alone, for then were his task comparatively an easy one. He must speak to the believer, of all the rich and the
gracious consolations which the Word of God doth furnish forth for them ; or he might speak to the hardened and the ungodly, of the terrors of the last day, of the misery of an undone eternity; and of the certainty of God's threatenings as well as the certainty of his promises. But the minister hath to deal with those who are mingled in their character—those who include in their numbers the advanced believer, such as are taking their first step in the Gospel, those who are just beginning to give heed to the words of life, those who are pausing on the threshold of the Gospel, and those who are altogether indifferent and careless, if not hardened and settled down in a carnal worldly spirit. It is, therefore, very reasonable and opportune that he should sometimes tell them of their danger; that he should sometimes forewarn them that by every word he deals forth, and every message to which the heart has not yet borne witness, they are increasing their responsibility, and enlarging the amount of their spiritual danger.
Now so, beloved, would we deal with this present passage of God's Word: and we would speak of it, in the first place, as it respects the accountableness incurred by the ministry of the Gospel; and, secondly, as it affects the spiritual condition of those amongst whom it is delivered.
As to the first head of our subject, we have to speak to you concerning THE RESPONSIBILITY WHICH ATTACHES TO THE HEARING OF THE Gospel. There are three separate and distinct conditions, and only three, which we can conceive men to occupy spiritually in respect to God; either the condition of those who have no direct revelation ; the condition of those who have a direct but an incomplete revelation ; and the condition of those to whom it is direct and entire.
Now the first of these is the condition of the heathen. They enjoy no direct revelation from God; they are left to other means ; not being irresponsible, not out of the province of accountableness, but occupying other ground, and having a different standard before God. The Lord gave them conscience ; he established conscience as his own vicegerent in every human heart; so that among all the diversity of circumstances in the midst of which men have lived, in all the variety of their condition, still there hath been this arbiter to pronounce upon all moral questions, to guide them into the truth, and to lead them unto righteousness, except just so far as its authority was contravened and hindered by the power of the carnal