« PreviousContinue »
self-denying men amongst the laity, as there are at present. Keep, then, a united people. Hold up your clergy by your prayers. Show
your love to Christ by your love to his church. Endeavour to walk consistently with the rules of that Church to which you belong: but, remember, one rule is, charity to those that differ from you. You never gain any thing for the Church of England by abusing those who differ from us, or by justifying every thing, right or wrong, that is done amongst us. There are abuses that need to be rectified; and which are fast being rectified, thanks be to God: but, I repeat it, the Church of England is at this hour God's great instrument for the conversion of these realms, and the preservation of true religion in the world.
While, then, I endeavour to show brotherly love to all who really love your Lord and Master in sincerity, I do not say, Hold out your hand to the Socinian; I say, Refuse it: I do not say, Hold out your hand to the Papist; I say, Refuse it. Yes ; contend for the Christian and the Protestant faith : and if some, who ought to have known better, and of whom we believe that they are good men, will cruelly speak against the Church established in these realms; then be this your spirit-being reviled, do you bless, being persecuted, do you submit.
And now, beloved brethren, I hasten to bid you FAREWELL in the name of the Lord. I have much to be thankful for that I have been spared to preach God's word amongst you so many years. I received, last week, a very kind, and courteous, and truly fatherly letter from your kind old vicar (whose life I pray God to spare), a letter from a father to a son, expressive of the greatest kindness towards me on my retirement from this lectureship. Well, by and bye all earthly connexions must be brought to an end; sooner or later one, and another, and another will have gone: and what do you think when I tell you, what you know already
know already as well as I can tell you, concerning the assembly of the last day, that, compared with that assembly, this is nothing ? No; every individual now present must die; every individual must, sooner or later, be committed to the dust. But man does not sleep in the grave for ever : there is the resurrection of the dead; there is the life everlasting. I have to acknowledge many infirmities, many failings: but, thank God, my conscience does not accuse me that I ever kept back a faithful truth, were it ever so displeasing. My conscience does not smite me this day that I ever kept back anything that was profitable for you, for fear of offending you: God is witness, and you also, that I have endeavoured, according to my feeble ability, to speak the word in love. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace ; praying him to keep you from falling, and present you faultless at last before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.
THE BEST GIFIS OF GOD BESTOWED ON HIS PEOPLE.
JOHN STREET CHAPEL, KING'S ROAD, OCTOBER 4, 1836.
" And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto
thee: the land of Egypt is before thee : in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell.”—Genesis, xlvii. 5, 6.
If we were on a journey, a journey towards our home, our longthought-of, fondly-beloved home, and were told that the whole of that journey was wearisome, that the roads were rocky, the hills steep, all the accommodations by the way wretched and miserable ; if we were told we should have no comfort in our way thither, that nothing was before us but storm and tempest; yet the thought of home, the blessedness of the anticipation, the consciousness that soon it would all be over, and that then we should experience the full enjoyment of the long-thought-of, fondly-beloved home-how this would cheer us!
Now if the Lord God Almighty were so to deal with us, and place before us, as indeed he does place before us, eternal life, eternal glory, the full enjoyment of himself in heaven, and all our journey thither be painful, wretched, and miserable; if we had no pleasantness by the way, nothing to mitigate our sufferings by the way, nothing to look forward to but storm, and tempest, and calamity ; yet the thought of home, the thought of the glory, ought to be enough to cheer our spirits, to animate our hopes, and make us travel on the way almost as if there were no roughness in it. Now God hath so dealt with us; he has not only given to his Israel the promise and the beginning of eternal life; he has not only given to them the glorious anticipation of opening glory hereafter, and the full enjoyment of himself in that glory; but he has given them all blessings by the way. The ways of obedience are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace: even upon earth, we may say, the true Israel of God have “ the best of the land :” they have the best by the way ; and what shall we say of the termination of the way? We may
say of every poor, careless, thoughtless worldling here, this evening, that they are toilers up the hill—toilers “ all the night,” and “ have taken nothing." O, if such a one did but know for one moment, if he had but one glimpse of, what there is in the possession of Christ, and what there is in the real substance of the Gospel when really experienced by the power of God; then would his poverty and wretchedness stare him in the face as an armed man, and he would feel that to this moment he had been living in worse than nothing and vanity.
I will not to-night take up your time by endeavouring to prove, because most who are present feel quite assured, that Israel of old was typical of the true Israel of God; but I shall content myself with presenting three points for your consideration : and may the Holy Ghost lay them upon your consciences, and open them to your understandings; open your understandings unto them, and then give you a spiritual love of them, a purified affection towards them, that they may be exhibited in your life, your conduct, and your temper, to the praise and glory of the God whose grace it is. In the first place, then, I would endeavour to show, that God's best blessings are towards his true Israel; secondly, consider why it is so ; and, thirdly, place before you some of the great practical tendencies of the truth.
In the first place, GOD GIVETH THE BEST UNTO HIS ISRAEL. He gives them a land of rest, he gives them a land of safety, he gives them a land of abundance, and he giveth them the best things in that land. He not only pardons them, but his pardon is a costly pardon. What a poor idea the Socinian has of pardon, to suppose that God forgives us for our wretched tears' sake, for our repentance’ sake, and for our good works' sake. Supposing it is so, what a wretched view of pardon he has ! It is not worthy the name of pardon. But God, in pardoning his true Israel, pardons them in the way of the most unsullied justice, and the most perfect purity: their redemption cost him his own Son, the life of his own Son ; Jesus himself died in order that his church might live; he took the cup of suffering that they might take the cup of blessing; he drank it to the dregs that they might have the cup of blessing to taste by the way, and drink of its fulness to all eternity. When God pardons, he pardons as God; it is a costly pardon: and when you and I come to die, and look eternity fair in the face, perhaps this one truth may suffice (and nothing else will suffice at that moment), that our sins-black as they are, and we know not their blackness-aggravated as they are, and we know but little of their aggravation—our sins may be so brought to our view in a dying moment as we have had no conception of during our lives; and yet, notwithstanding what they are, the blood is the blood of Jesus, and every drop of that blood had the whole glory of Jehovah therein : it is the blood of Him who is infinite. That is the basis of our confidence : take it away, and I have no confidence. The pardon is a costly pardon; the righteousness wherewith he justifies is a costly righteousness—the righteousness of God. My dear hearers, what poor conceptions we have of these great truths! As they pass my lips from time to time, I have sometimes the inward reproach, “What, talking of them again, and yet so little improved in them !” What poor superficial views one seems to have of the truth, that though the believer is what he is, and though he has done what he has done, and though his own righteousness cannot answer God's law for one of a thousand of the transgressions that he has committed, yet that he stands complete in the righteousness of God; that the saints in heaven are not more justified than he is; that he stands, not in the righteousness of the first Adam, but in the righteousness of the second Adam; and that the righteousness of Christ is as much imputed to him, and as much accounted his, as if belonging to himself originally, by his own obedience in life and in death.
Now this is the best of the land: God giveth his own his best. He not only gives them pardon, it is a costly pardon : he not only gives them righteousness, but he gives them a glorious righteous
Does he supply their wants? It is all fulness he gives them; even for the supply of the little ones, as you observe in the twentyfourth verse : “And it shall come to pass, in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh ; and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones :" unfolding this great truth--that the supply which is in Christ, is not only for the least, but for the least wants of the least ; that there is nothing minute in God's sight, that there is nothing trifling in his eye, and that he has laid up an abundant supply for the most minute of all circumstances in the Lord Jesus Christ; for helplessness of body, for nervousness of spirit, for a distracted mind, for strong inward temptations, for outward trials, for domestic afflictions, for every thing that concerns us in that straight way, the straightness of which at times no one can enter into but the Lord Jesus Christ himself: and