Page images

we" through the deceitfulness of sin" become, as to attend the services of our church in listless apathy, for form's sake, or only in obedience to orders. But, my brethren, "To-day if ye will hear his voice," to-day if ye will make provision for your soul's health, to-day if ye desire not to pervert the holy ordinance of the christian sabbath, "harden not thus your hearts:" remember this day, and its weekly return, to keep it holy, to sanctify it to all godly and christian purposes; resolve henceforward to come hither, to attend the Lord's own house of prayer, weekly, and regularly, gladly, and devoutly. Whatever, or rather however imperfectly, the instructions and the doctrines of our holy faith may be delivered from this place by the mouth of a man fallible as your selves, yet know, that you can at all events do your duty, your religious duty and service. You can here offer up statedly, and as required, the sacrifice of

6 Heb. iii. 13.

7 Ps. xcv. 8.

prayer; here you shall hear the word of God read to you; here you can pour out your thanksgivings; and here the praises of your lips shall not ascend unnoticed before God.

However lightly, my brethren, the wayward heart of man may, in the day of his youth and health, think of these things, yet are the privileges and the comforts of public worship nothing light, or despicable. The worth, indeed, and the importance of christian institutions, and Sabbath observances may be little thought of, and too late known; but think ye that the word was to be vain, which commanded from Mount Sinai, amidst thunder and lightning, Remember, that thou keep holy the Sabbath day?" or that the milder word of the Redeemer's promise, which said, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them," was a mere cold utterance of the lips without meaning, or


8 Matt. xviii. 20.

a mere word of promise never to be fulfilled? However, then, others may foolishly, and thoughtlessly make light of, and cast God's word behind them, let us, my brethren, take to ourselves this promise, nothing doubting but that a blessing will follow, if we, in the spirit of the Psalmist's address, give ourselves, heart and hand, to "worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” 6

9 Psalm xcvi. 9.




MATTHEW xxvi. 18.

"The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples."

THE transactions connected with the history of the death and passion of our Saviour are of a highly solemn, of an infinitely interesting, and, we should add, of an awfully mysterious character. By the passion of our blessed Saviour, we are to understand those sufferings, that agony and torture both of body and soul, which he endured, as the hour of his death drew

* Preached on the Sunday next before Easter,

on, and at length arrived, amidst the bitter scorn and revilings of the multitude, the desertion of his friends, and the outrageous malice of his remorseless enemies. In the chapter of our text we have an account of some of those transactions in which our Lord bore so conspicuous a part, and in which his humility and patience, his submission to the will of his Heavenly Father, and his unextinguishable love for those whom he came to save, are narrated in all the simple eloquence of heavenly truth, and matchless wisdom. In his divine knowledge Jesus our Lord knew all that was to happen unto him. He knew, that in the counsel of the Supreme, and to satisfy the claims of Almighty justice, it was necessary that he should thus suffer. As he had repeatedly alluded to this, the closing period of his life, during his ministry on earth, so did he, as the hour approached, speak more and more distinctly, pointing to the precise moment when it would be "the hour of his ene

« PreviousContinue »