« IndietroContinua »
evidence by which our faith and hope are supported, hath already stood the test of many generations; and the most violent attacks of its enemies, instead of shaking the foundation, have only served to show, that it is laid by that fame Almighty Hand which created and upholdeth these heavens and this earth. Nay, these heavens, and this earth, shall at length pass away; but one jot, or one tittle, in these lively oracles of wisdom and truth, shall in no wise pass away till all be fulfilled.
The privileges of a Christian are not a picture drawn by fancy, neither doth his comfort take its rise from those inexplicable impreslions to which the dreaming enthufiaft is constrained to refort. The intelligent believer stands upon firm ground, and is always “ ready to give an answer to
every man that asketh him a reafon of “ the hope that is in him.”'
Do you inquire into the object of his hope, he will tell you without hesitation, that he looks for a portion after death, in comparison whereof, this earth which we
inhabit, and all that it contains, shrink into nothing, yea, less than nothing, and vanity.
Whatever we behold in this material world hath the seeds of diffolution fown in its very nature. Our bodies themselves are only cabernacles of clay, which ere long shall be crumbled into duft, and fee corrup tion.
Here we breathe, as it were, in the midst of contagion and defilement; and the best things we enjoy are liable to be perverted, either into the instruments or occasions of fin. Honour tempteth to pride, power to oppression, and affluence to sensuality and criminal indulgence: Few, comparatively speaking, can carry carry with an
even and Iteady hand the full cup of prosperity any length of way; like Jehurun, they are apt to kick when they wax fat, and lightly to esteem the Rock of their salvation.
Nay, though they should escape the pollution of these earthly enjoyments, by using them with moderation, and employing them to the purposes for which they were designed ; yet fo precarious and fugitive are all fublunary things, that it is impof
fible for any man to promise upon their continuance. Who can say,
Who can say, “ My moun“ tain standerh strong, I shall never be “ moved ?"-Can any man guard himself at all times against secret fraud and open violence ? - Nay, every element, the wind, the fire, the water, may in a moment be armed with sufficient force to make the unwelcome separation betwixt us and the best of our worldly posseffions.Thus corruptible and defiled, thus uncertain and transitory, is all that is moft admired and courted here below.
Not so the portion of the faints ; the inheritance they look for is « incorruptible, * undefiled, and fadeth not away."As it hath no principle of decay within itself, fo neither can it be wasted by any thing from without. It is “ reserved," or laid up, “ for them in heaven;" a place of abfolute fafety, beyond the reach of every adverse power, and equally secured against deceit and rapine. There is no thief to steal, no spoiler to lay waste. In those regions of perfect light and love, no fuch piteous complaints are heard as these,
My bowels ! my bowels! I am pained at
my very heart, because thou hast heard, " Q my soul! the sound of the trumpet, and 66 the alarm of war." All above is order and harmony; there is nothing to hurt, nothing to destroy, through the whole extent of the heavenly Jerusalem, that imperial feat of Zion's King.-Such, can the believer say, is the object of my hope.
Do you inquire into the grounds of his hope, he hath an answer ready in the words of my text, and can say with the Apostle Paul-If when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more being reconciled, we all be faved by bis life.
Here the reasoning is at once profound and obvious; it is simple and ingenious' at the same time: so simple and obvious, that the mind, with one glance, perceives its force, and is satisfied ; so profound and ingenious, that the more accurately it is examined, the more conclusive it will appear. From the efficacy of Christ's death, which
the Apostle had proved at large in the fore. going part of this epistle, he infers, in this passage, the superior efficacy of his restored life :-) say, his restored life ; for the life here referred to, was not that life previous to his crucifixion, which he led upon earth in the form of a fervant ; but the life he now lives at the right hand of God, where he is exalted to the throne as a Prince and a Saviour,
having a name given him above every
name, that at the name of Jefus every s knee should bow, and every tongue con
fess, that he is Lord, to the glory of God “ the Father.”
Two comparisons are here stated; the one betwixt the past and present state of believers ; formerly they were enemies. to God, now they are become friends. The other comparison is betwixt the past and present condition of the Saviour; once he was dead, now he is alive. And the sition that connects the two is this, That reconciliation . to God was entirely owing to the death of Christ, as the meritorious procuring cause.
These are the premises from whence the Apostle draws his con
And the propo