« PreviousContinue »
that as to any
There are persons who profess that it is a matter of indifference whether they wake from death immediately or at the day of judgment, because they say one day with God is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day, and therefore they can implicitly trust Him with their life, to raise them up at his good pleasure; and they say
their life and practice, it is the same thing virtually whether their resurrection be immediately or at the day of judgment. But this is an error, an insidious and a dangerous error, which imperceptibly encourages a general temper of unbelief. This indifference as to the time of our resuscitation from the dead does not proceed from an implicit faith in Christ, but from lamentable coldness towards Him; not from an excess of love, but from the want of it. This indifference has not its foundation in nature, because nature longs for this immediate continuance of existence. It has not its foundation in reason, because reason promises this immediate continuance of existence. It has not its foundation in Scripture, because Scripture implies this immediate continuance of existence; and sure I am that it has not its origin in love. What we love we long for. It argues more
“ I long to be with Christ; I long to see that countenance which was crowned with thorns for me; I long to prostrate myself at those feet which were pierced for me” than to say “ He
love to say,
sands of years.
Would you say
knoweth best; it is the same thing to me whether I see Him at the day of my death or after thou
Is this the language of love? Owould you say it of one whom you loved?
friend? Would you say it of your child? If
If your child lay dead, and your Redeemer were on the earth again, would you address Him, saying “ Master, I know that Thou canst raise my child at the day of resurrection, and that sufficeth ?” Was it for such a speech as this that He was seen to weep? When the affectionate sister, when the heart-broken parent besought the exertion of His mighty power with tears, saying, “ My little daughter lieth at the point of death, but come and lay thy hand upon her and she shall live,” did he show his compassion by answering “ Wait until the resurrection?" No, no. Christ came not to destroy, but to fulfil; not to strain, torture, or annihilate the innocent desires of nature, but to sanctify them? And does He require of us that we should desire a serpent instead of a fish, a stone instead of bread, a sleep of a thousand years instead of life, glory, and communion with Him? He better knoweth what is in man. He expects no incongruities. He requires of us not according to what we have not, but according to what we have. He requires us to desire and hope not otherwise than after our finite capacity. He is pleased that we love and long for his appearance, that we heartily pray for his kingdom to come, and if from what He said and from what He did we can found a hope of being with Him soon, (according to our finite capacity soon) that hope we should cherish as the joy of our life, putting away from us all childish diffidence, and approaching boldly unto the throne of grace.
Where Christ is there shall also his servant be. If Christ be dead or asleep, then we his members shall sleep or die; but if He dieth no more, if death have no more dominion over Him, we must likewise reckon ourselves to be dead to nothing but sin. For He giveth us to have life in ourselves. He, the root, giveth nourishment to all the branches. He the head giveth life to all the members, saying not, you shall have everlasting life, but, you have everlasting life; not you shall pass from death unto life, but, you have passed from death unto life. The whole doctrine of regeneration supposes a new principle of life imparted by Christ which shall survive the shock of the death of the body. The very word translated resurrection bears this sense. If we coldly give our assent to the position that at some future time, (after a thousand years perhaps, we may after an incomprehensible manner be in our Redeemer's presence, our religion will be as cold as a December sun; but if we believe that as surely and as sensibly as I see you and as you see me we shall see Him, and be under his dominion at the day of our death, this is an influencing faith; it brings his kingdom nearer to us, for it may come upon us in a few years or days.
Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be ascribed all honour, praise, and glory, might, majesty, dominion, and thanksgiving, for ever and ever. Amen.
OBEDIENCE TO CHRIST.
Matt. xxviii. 20.
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have
All things whatsoever Christ hath commanded is a subject inexhaustible; but there are certain leading ordinances, certain daily duties which he hath in an especial manner appointed for us to walk in. Whosoever wishes to conform his life to the Gospel rule, so as to be led to the performance of whatsoever Christ hath commanded, must walk in these; for Christ himself hath laid them down as indispensable for every one who would either begin or continue to be a Christian.
In the first place prayer is that grand medicine prescribed by the great Physician of souls. Prayer is a duty of such wide extent as to be interwoven positively with every motion of our soul or body. It comprehends confession of sin, supplication for mercy, intercession for friends and enemies, thanksgiving for mercies and blessings, perpetual invocation of the Holy Spirit proceeding from the