« ForrigeFortsæt »
press the testimony of the witnesses, dah, with a powerful army, uttering
V. Then I proceed to deduce some instructions and admonitions,
On these and many other accounts it is our undeniable duty "to lift up our prayer for the remnant that is left." There is still a rem
suited to the present emergency. nant among us of real believers; When Sennacherib invaded Ju- there is still ground for hope in the
Lord's mercy; "the effectual fer-zeal for the honour of God and the vent prayer of a righteous man interests of true religion principally availeth much;" the most eminent dictated this prayer. The Lord believers who prayed with signal indeed answered it, "by terrible success were men of like passions things in righteousness:" but Hewith us: even Isaiah once cried out, zekiah had only asked deliverance "Woe is me, I am undone, I am a for his people, not destruction on man of unclean lips;" and yet his his enemies; and his expanded prayers were most effectually an- charity made him earnestly desire swered. It is likewise undeniable, that all the kings of the earth might that our enemies, like Sennacherib, know the difference between the want to subvert our holy religion, true God, and worthless idois, and as well as our temporal prosperity: that they might diffuse that knowand this suggests a powerful plea ledge among their subjects. in lifting up our prayer for national
I would not knowingly offer one deliverance. prayer on this occasion, which But it is confidently asserted by could not be answered consistently numbers, that prayers, offered on with our enemies enjoying peace, such occasions, are the dictates of security, true liberty, good governrevenge, ambition, or avarice. If ment, and the blessings of true reliavowed infidels alone held such lan-gion: but we may pray that the guage, it would not excite our sur-Lord would "abate their pride, prise: but it is indeed most astonish-assuage their malice, and confound ing, that men, pretending to believe their devices," (that is, their dethe Bible, should condemn a practice vices against the peace of other approved and commanded in every lands, or the Christian religion), part of the Sacred Volume! Let us, in entire consistency with these however, examine how Hezekiah friendly dispositions towards them: prayed." O Lord of Hosts, God of for such things would conduce to Israel,who dwellest between the che- their advantage as well as our own. rubim," (that is above the mercy-We may not ask the Lord to aggranseat;)"thou art the God, even thou dize or enrich our nation, that she alone, of the kingdoms of the earth; may reign over all countries, or enthou hast made heaven and earth. gross all the commerce of the world: Incline thine ear, O Lord, and hear; but surely we may pray that famine, open thine eyes, O Lord, and see; pestilence, hostile invasions, and and hear all the words of Sennache-civil discords may be averted; that rib, who hath sent to reproach the there may be employment and food living God. Of a truth, Lord, the for the poor, peace in our borders, kings of Assyria have laid waste all and the continuance of our civil and the nations and their countries; religious liberties. Above all we and have cast their gods into the should pray for the peace, purity, fire for they were no gods, but the and enlargement of the church; work of men's hands, wood and that it may please the Lord to illustone; therefore they have destroy-minate all the ministers of religion, ed them. Now therefore, O Lord with true knowledge and underour God, save us from his hand, standing of his word, that both that all the kings of the earth may by their preaching and living they know that thou art the Lord, even may set it forth and show it accordthou only." Isaiah xxxvii. 15-20. ingly,' that labourers may be sent Nothing can be plainer, than that" forth into the harvest;" "that
the Spirit of God may lift up a weakened their brethren, or given standard" against the torrent of occasion to the enemies of the Lord infidelity, impiety, and vice, that to blaspheme. We ought also to inundates the land; and that all examine what fruit hath been proranks and orders of men may be duced by the solemnities, profesendued with wisdom and grace, to sions, instructions and prayers of serve God and their generation the last season of fasting and humifaithfully and successfully. Such liation. We should ask ourselves, prayers as these may be branched whether we have really acted conout into a variety of particulars, sistently with them, and been more without indulging sinful passions, fruitful, zealous, and conscientious or violating the law of love. And than before? Thus we shall be if we pray in faith, depending on prepared to plead with him as his the Lord alone, and not on an arm children and friends, in the manner of flesh; and duly considering his that Abraham, Moses, Joshua, almighty power and abundant mercy Samuel, Jehoshaphat, and others of as fully adequate to all our necessi-old did; and prevailing with him ties and difficulties, we may yet we shall prevail with man also. hope that he may be entreated for the land, and prolong our tranquillity.
But we must likewise remember, that we are bound to use our influence and improve our talents, by But without personal repentance every exertion, to promote the cause, we cannot offer such supplications and obtain the blessings, for which as these. It therefore behoves we pray; both in our families and every one of us to consider our private circles, and in more public ways, to examine our hearts, humbly stations. Thus we should seek as to confess our sins, to seek forgive- well as pray for, the peace of the ness, and to pray for grace that we community, the prosperity of the may henceforth walk before God in church, the reformation of manners, newness of life. If any persons and removal of every occasion or have hitherto continued impenitent encouragement given to vice and and unbeliving; they should on impiety. If indeed we are decithis occasion set about the great dedly for the Lord, and determine concerns of their immortal souls, to follow him fully, without regard with peculiar diligence and earnest-to men or dread of consequences; ness. Otherwise, whether the Lord our conduct will have a considerspare the land or not, he will not able effect: for the example, enspare them. "Woe be to the deavours, and prayers of his faithful wicked! it shall be ill with him, people are the means, by which for the reward of his hands shall be our national character must be imgiven him." Isaiah iii. 11. proved, and our privileges continued to us.
Even real Christians, at such a time as this, are called upon to re- Let such as profess to turn unto view their lives, and renew their him that smiteth them, take care humiliation for all their past sins, they do not rest in notions, forms, as a part of the guilt accumulated or external reformation, without by the land. They should especi- true conversion, repentance, faith, ally consider their conduct as pro- and holiness. The prophet took fessors of the gospel, and inquire in notice of persons answering this what particulars they have dishon- description, when he said, They oured their profession, misled or return, but not to the Most High."
Hosea vii. 16. And nothing more the earth for their iniquity. The effectually prevents the conversion earth also shall disclose her blood, of sinners, than a mistaken idea and shall no more cover her slain." that they are already converted. Isaiah xxvi. 20, 21.
i. 29.-Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
CHRIST THE LAMB OF GOD*.
Charity to the poor and afflicted is likewise an essential concomitant of acceptable fasting and humiliation : "Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring JOHN the poor that are cast out to thine house? When thou seest the naked that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thine own JOHN Baptist, the predicted forerunflesh? Then shall thy light break ner of the Messiah, was doubtless forth as the morning,-then shalt well informed of his person, offices, thou call and the Lord shall an- and kingdom. He prepared the swer. If thou draw out thy soul way of the Lord by preaching reto the hungry, and satisfy the pentance, as indispensably necesafflicted soul, then shall thy light sary to a participation of the blesrise in obscurity, and thy darkness sings about to be communitated to shall be as the noon day." Isaiah mankind; and while he baptized lviii. 6-12. the people with water, as an out
Finally, my brethren, if you thus ward emblem of their souls being return to the Lord, and seek his washed from sin; he declared that face, I am sent to you with encou- the Redeemer would baptize them raging words. "Let the heart of with the Holy Ghost and with fire. those rejoice that seek the Lord." He bare witness to him as the Son of Say ye to the righteous, that it God, the Bridegroom of the Church, shall be well with him; for they and "the Lamb of God which takshall eat the fruit of their doings." eth away the sin of the world." "In the time of famine they shall He cried, saying, "This was he of have enough."- Though the fig- whom I spake, He that cometh tree should not blossom," and every after me is preferred before me, for resource should fail," yet they may he was before me: and of his fulrejoice in the Lord, and joy in the ness have we all received." He God of their salvation." Be not added on another occasion, "The therefore afraid of evil tidings: Father loveth the Son, and hath let your heart be fixed, trusting in given all things into his hand. He the Lord." If you hear of "wars that believeth on the Son hath and rumours of wars, see that you everlasting life; and he that believbe not troubled." Should a deluge eth not the Son shall not see life: come, the Lord will prepare you an but the wrath of God abideth upon ark, in which you may be secure and him." John iii. 35, 36. comfortable: and he will say unto It is evident, that this most emiyou, Come, my people, enter thou nent servant of God, laboured to into thy chamber, and shut thy communicate to his disciples exaltdoors about thee; hide thyself, as ed apprehensions of the Lord Jesus, it were for a little moment, until and to excite in them large exthe indignation be overpast. For pectations from him. In honouring behold the Lord cometh out of his the Son of God he was willing to place to punish the inhabitants of * Preached on Good Friday, 1795.
abase himself, "as unworthy to loose lected, in preference to all others, his shoe latchet." He was asto- for some wise and holy reasons; nished to think the Saviour should and suggests important instruction come to be baptized of him, when to the teachable student. This must he was conscious that as a sinner he especially be the case, with that exstood in need of Christ's spiritual pression of the text, which engages baptism and when we consider the our present attention: because it excellency of John's character, with frequently occurs with reference to the extraordinary things spoken of the character, sufferings, and salvahim in Scripture; we shall know tion of Christ. what inferences to draw from his A lamb is the well known emblem testimony. Certainly he would not of innocence, gentleness, patience, have concurred with those, who em- and purity: and no doubt an allusion ploy all their abilities in trying to was made to these things in speakpersuade mankind, not to think too ing of the Redeemer as the Lamb highly of Christ,-not to honour of God. Yet we cannot suppose him too much, and not to depend that this was the principal meaning on him too entirely in the great con- of that appellation, when we duly cerns of eternal salvation.-But the consider the various passages in words of the text must be exclu- which it is used: for in what sense sively our present subject; and from could a lamb take away sin, except by them we may inquire, becoming an atoning sacrifice.
The slaughter of innocent ani
I. On what account Christ is call-mals, and consuming of the whole ed "The Lamb of God." or some part of their bodies upon an altar, was an essential part of religious worship, from the entrance of sin to the death of Christ. Those
II. The import of the words, "Who taketh away the sin of the world." III. The call to "Behold the animals alone were used for this Lamb of God."
IV. The peculiar instructions to be derived from meditating on this subject.
purpose, which were man's valued and useful property, and the most perfect in the kind: but lambs were by far the most common oblation. Thus Abel by faith brought the firstI. On what account is the Lord lings of his flock as an offering unto. Jesus called The Lamb of God." the Lord, and was accepted; but We should not forget, my brethren, faith must have reference to a divine that the language of Scripture was testimony, command, or appointdictated by the Holy Spirit, and ment: this Cain disregarded, “leandemands our most reverent atten- ing to his own understanding," and tion on that account. If then we virtually denying his need of an interpret it in a general way, and atonement; and therefore he was treat those metaphors, under which rejected. No sooner was Noah divine mysteries are revealed, as liberated from the ark than he offerwe would do the language of mere ed burnt-offerings to the Lord: Gen. men, who often use pompous words viii. 20, 21: and doubtless the geand extravagant figures of speech neral opinion, that such sacritices without much meaning, we shall be were proper to appease the anger found guilty of despising the sacred of the gods, was derived from orioracles of God. No doubt every ginal tradition; for it seems to have metaphor or illustration was seno ground at all in human reasonings.