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or can be so wise as to comprehend his dealings fully. But when we shall have passed the gates of death, and shall have entered, as I trust we all may enter, into eternal life, we may then, perhaps, be permitted to see much that is now veiled from our eyes. And in the mean time we must receive with thankfulness and humility what the Almighty in his great goodness has revealed. God cannot have sent his own Son into the world without making it our duty to listen to and to believe in him. He cannot have given us his holy word without making it our duty to read and attend to all that it says. The Bible itself places before our eyes, plain and casy to be seen, both all that we ought to do, and all that we ought not to do.
obscurity in any of our duties.
There is no
teaches us that it is our duty to believe in, to fear, to love, and to obey God: to obey him because he is our Creator and Father, to love him because he is our Benefactor, and to fear him because he is our Judge. The Bible also tells us that we must put our faith in the salvation wrought for us by the Lord Jesus
Christ, who himself expressly says: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation*." Again, St. Paul comprises the duties of the Christian life in the three great virtues, "Faith, Hope, and Charity!" Let every one of you, therefore, strive to nourish all these virtues in your hearts, and you will then find that a truly Christian charity will enable you to do all your duty towards your neighbour; that Christian hope will lead you to put a real trust in God; and that the Christian faith will bring you to the very footsteps of his Almighty and eternal throne.
With these holy feelings and principles, with a humble but firm reliance on God's promises, and with a constant sense of his mercy in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, let us all, my dear children, endeavour "to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling."
*John v. 24.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, that he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life."-John v. 24.
Ir is certain, as, indeed, in my last sermon I endeavoured briefly to show to you, that to believe in and to obey Christ is a necessary part of a Christian's duty. To exemplify this to you the more particularly, I will now call on you to reflect on the great sin of which the Jews were guilty in refusing to believe in him, or even to hear the heavenly lessons, which he taught.
You have all of you read in the New Testament the history both of the life and of the death of our holy Redeemer. The Jews themselves had long expected his coming. They had been taught by their prophets, and particularly by the great prophet Isaiah*, "that a child should be born to them, and a
* Ch. ix. 6, 7.
son given, who should be the prince of peace, and who should order and establish the throne of David and his kingdom with justice and judgment." "There shall come forth," it is further said, "a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him the spirit of wisdom and understanding the spirit of counsel and might: the spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord*." "He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wickedt." "The Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to servet."
These prophecies the Jews interpreted as of a Messiah, who should come as an earthly prince to fight the battles of their nation, and to deliver them from their earthly enemies. The meaning of the word Messiah, which is a Hebrew word, is the same with the meaning of the Greek word Christ, that is, the
* Ch. xi. 1, 2. The same Ch. ver. 4. ‡ Ch. xiv. 3.
But the real mission of Christ was to be the Saviour of the world, to redeem not the Jews only, but all mankind, from those worst enemies, the enemies of the soul, or from the bondage of sin, and the power of Satan. Coming in this capacity, he came in a meek and lowly guise, preaching repentance, and peace, and forgiveness of injuries. But the proud Israelites, as, indeed, I need not tell you, refused to acknowledge him. They hardened their hearts, as they had done of old time in the wilderness; and, at length, they filled up the measure of their guilt by condemning him, the Lamb of God, the Saviour of the world, to an ignominious death, even the death of the cross.
When we read in the Scriptures the relation of this conduct of the Jews towards our blessed Saviour, we feel our indignation rise at their cruelty, and we shudder at their blindness and hardness of heart.
But let us not condemn the Jews without looking into our own hearts, to see that there be no like hardness or blindness in ourselves. You will perhaps exclaim, that it cannot be.