Page images

rely on the all-sufficient merits and atoning blood of the Saviour, and to receive eternal life as the gift of God in him. Yet the general tenor of scripture requires this unreserved submission of sinners to divine justice, and reliance on free mercy and grace, as essential to salvation.

But the language under consideration likewise demands implicit obedience to the Saviour, as the anointed King over his redeemed people, and over all worlds for their advantage. "Kiss the Son lest "he be angry, and so ye perish from the way." When Samuel anointed Saul king over Israel, he testified his cheerful and cordial acquiescence in the Lord's appointment, by the kiss of allegiance. In like manner, we are not only required to welcome the salvation of Christ with unfeigned gratitude, and to express our love by obedience in some particulars, according to our own choice or discretion: but we are called upon to submit to his authority, and yield obedience in all things; and, if our repentance, faith, and love be sincere, we shall cordially render it. Our past sins will appear to us as acts of rebellion against our Sovereign and bounteous Creator; present failures will be considered as additional provocations, which need forgiveness through the atoning blood; and our obedience, as the only undeniable evidence of our repentance and conversion. We shall regard every interest or object which would draw us aside, as an idol and usurper; every contrary propensity as the remains of our old bondage; and the path of duty as true liberty, the perfection of which we shall long after with groans and tears.

But further, we are required, to "honour the

"Son, even as we honour the Father that sent "him." Thus the worshippers of Baal kissed his image, and the idolatrous votaries of the golden calves used the same ceremony."2 JEHOVAH therefore seems to say in the words of the text, I demand for my beloved Son that very adoration, which I prohibited and abhorred, when offered unto idols.' When our Lord had said, "I and

my Father are One," the Jews accused him of making himself equal with God; and their renewed attempt to stone him, together with the immediate cause of his condemnation to the cross, proves that he neither denied nor evaded the charge. On this point, he and the Jews were at issue; for this supposed crime he suffered and died; but "he was declared to be the Son of God " with power, by his resurrection from the dead." And he, who carefully examines the account given of the worship rendered to " the Lamb that was "slain," by redeemed sinners, an innumerable multitude of angels and all creatures, as made known in vision to the apostle John, will not be able to mark any difference between it, and the adoration paid to "Him who sitteth on the throne, " and liveth for ever and ever."3 It cannot therefore be wonderful, if the disciples of Christ on earth should be required to learn the worship of heaven, as a part of their "meetness for the inhe"ritance of the saints in light."-But we proceed, III. To make some remarks, on the warning and encouragement, "If his wrath be kindled,

1 John v.
' Rev. v. 6-13.

* 1 Kings xix. 18. Hos. xiii. 2.

[ocr errors]

yea, but a little; blessed are all they that put "their trust in him."

What is this but a declaration that, if you refuse the salvation of Christ, reject his authority, and deny him the honour due to him, his love will be turned into fiery indignation, and he will glorify his name in taking vengeance on his despisers, as well as in saving and blessing his humble disciples ?-With allusion to the day of judgment it is said, "The kings of the earth, and the great 66 men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, "and the mighty men, and every bondman, and

every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and "in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the "mountains and rocks fall on us, and hide us from "the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and "from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day "of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to "stand?" Observe the words, " the wrath of the “Lamb,” the wrath, not only of an offended King and Judge, but also of a despised Saviour. This will enhance the guilt and condemnation of those who neglect the gospel, and render their condemnation more intolerable than that of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Our attention should be peculiarly fixed on the expression, "If his wrath be kindled, yea, but a little,"—that is, Should you be found among the more plausible and moderate of those, who refuse submission to the Saviour; among those who have least provoked his indignation; your doom will yet be very tremendous. This comes home to the

1 Rev. vi. 15-17.

case of multitudes. Many persons readily express their abhorrence of the blasphemies, atheism, and other enormous crimes, which, alas! have been perpetrated in a neighbouring nation; and with a latent self-flattery they rise in their own good opinion, by comparing their conduct with that of such daring enemies to God and his Christ. Others exclaim against those that deny our Lord's divinity or his atonement; and they seem to feel much inward satisfaction in opposing these dangerous heresies while some congratulate themselves that they never scoff at religion, but always speak respectfully of its sacred truths and duties. Thus in various ways men keep up a persuasion that they are Christians: yet, if we insist upon unreserved submission to Christ, according to that view of it which has been stated, they would perhaps acknowledge they had not gone so far in religion. If they have not been avowed opponents, they have in great measure endeavoured to maintain a neutrality but such persons should recollect that Christ has said, "He that is not with me is against 66 me;" so that all will be considered enemies, who are not his cordial friends and loyal subjects. -Indeed this is a general cause of men's destruction: they compare themselves with some other characters, fancy themselves better than they, quiet their consciences, and go on in the ways of sin and ungodliness.


But what consolation will it be in the day of wrath, should your condemnation be one degree less heavy than that of your neighbours? Should you approach as near to Christianity as a man can possibly do who is not a true disciple of Christ,

what would it avail you? Suppose you hesitate, from love to some lawful earthly comfort, which you prefer to Christ, and refuse to part with for his sake: will not that very circumstance render your feelings most exquisitely poignant, when the doom shall be pronounced against you? This cannot be too closely brought home to conscience: for it was a prevailing delusion even at the time when our Lord was on earth. Know therefore, whether thou art a Judas, betraying Christ for sordid lucre, under the mask of a disciple or a minister; a Pilate, "washing thine hands," by giving up his cause from fear of man and then pretending to excuse thy conduct; a Herod, that openly insultest him; a Gallio, that carest for none of these things; or a Felix, who tremblest and stiflest thy convictions: whether thou join the multitude that cry, "Crucify him, crucify him; "not this man, but Barabbas ;" or, with Agrippa, art "almost persuaded to be a Christian ;" or "de"partest sorrowful, because thou hast great pos"sessions :" whichsoever of these characters may belong to thee, know assuredly that thou wilt


perish from the right way," unless thou repent, and become a believing and obedient subject of the Lord Jesus. And what will it avail thee that numbers will be associated in the same condemnation, or even perish in a still more tremendous manner?


But is not this harsh and uncharitable? the words of Christ himself. "Except a man

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me, he cannot be my disciple." "Except he "forsake all that he hath, he cannot be




« PreviousContinue »