Page images
PDF
EPUB

sons

ing about questions of no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers ;"—learning and talents, which, if properly exerted, might have “put to silence the ignorance of foolish men,” and “ have turned the sinner from the error of his ways ;" might have shamed the infidel, and converted the profligate.

So various are our opinions, and so opposite the conclusions, which different persons draw from the same premises, that all should learn to mistrust their own judgment, and treat the tenets of others with candour and lenity. To scorn and denounce any fellow-creature, because we quarrel with his creed, is both wickedness and folly. Uncharitableness is, of all vices, the most unchristian. The ignorant zealot, and the furious bigot, may deal out anathemas against heresy, and confound error with guilt; but the disciple, who has imbibed the spirit of his Master, instead of joining the intemperate cry,will lay his hand upon his mouth.He will “judge nothing before the time;" but will “judge this rather,--not to put a stumbling block, or occasion to fall, in his brother's way,” by requiring that as necessary to salvation, which the Author of salvation has not required.

One thing is clear, that if we pretend to be Christians, we must “put away all bitterness, and clamour, and evil speaking, with all malice, and be kind one to another ;" “ for he that loveth not,”—though he may prate and preach eternally on the hypostatic union, and all the mysteries of the Godhead," he that loveth not, knoweth not GOD."

However opposite our creeds and articles, we must all agree, if we understand our religion, in holding that faith, that saving “faith, which worketh by love ;" and journey on together, through this dim vale of shadows,—this state of imperfect knowledge,“ in unity of spirit,though not in uniformity of belief; “in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life.”

After all our debates and controversies, which perhaps we should do well to bury in oblivion, the wise decision of the Jewish leader and legislator should be a standing rule and lesson to all times and nations. “ The secret things belong unto the LORD OUR GOD; but the things which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children for ever ; that we may do all the words of this law.” If any thing be secret, it is the nature of the Godhead. This it is not for the worms of earth to explore. “No man can see my face and live.” The things which are revealed,—that “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins,"—that “glory and honour shall be to every one that worketh good; tribulation and anguish upon every soul that doeth evil,"—these are “the things revealed;" the awful declarations from heaven, which belong to us and to our children for ever," to write upon our“ hearts, and bind as frontlets between our eyes." .

Brethren, “elect through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,” if indeed you know that Just ONE, and feel the power of his resurrection; if you understand the genius, and are alive to the tendency, of his religion ; you will not contend for speculative points of faith, and neglect “ the weightier matters of his law;" a law which comprises whatever is just, lovely, and of good report. Nor will you still, like those who have fallen from the grace of the Gospel, be devoted to the gratifications of the world; forgetting, that “ the world passeth away, and the lusts thereof;" — forgetting, that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven,” not against those who doubt the truth of abstract propositions, but against “ ALL, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” This is no mystery. “We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ.” This is no “ doctrine of doubtful disputation.Though the knowledge of the Divine essence is “high as heaven," and “deeper than hell,” we need not climb the skies, or plunge into the abyss, to learn, that “ He will judge the world.” Though the measure of his perfections is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea, we need not traverse the earth, or compass the ocean, to discover, that “ He will judge the world.” Ponder this, ye that are wasting the hours of trial in scholastic debate and strife of words !—ponder this, ye that are consuming the day of grace in the unprofitable drudgery of avarice, or the low enjoyments of sensuality,—He will judge the world!The “ Alpha and the Omega," the “FIRST AND THE LAST," hath pronounced in terms that all can understand, and which all are bound, at the peril of their souls, to hear and to remember,—“Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me; to give to every man, according as his work shall be.”

DISCOURSE VIII.

GOD OPERATES IN THE MORAL, AS IN THE

NATURAL WORLD.

MARK, CHAP, IV. VER. 26, 27.

“ And He said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should

cast seed into the ground, and should sleep and rise, night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how."

This, like many of our Lord's allusions, is very intelligible, upon the least reflection, to every common capacity. But the misfortune is, that they are often rendered obscure by absurd comments; and the plain reader is led from the mark by an injudicious attempt to set him right. He would readily enough have found his way, if left to his own understanding. It is a common error with interpreters to attempt to make too much of a parable ; to find out some latent meaning in almost every word; when, in fact, we

« PreviousContinue »