Page images
[ocr errors]

sarily leads to self-abasement. O how contrary to religion is pride! But, above all others, how absurd, criminal, intolerable, is spiritual pride? What a proof of self-ignorance, as well as forgetfulness of God! The first views of a penitent are fixed on the enormities of his life; but when these are, in some measure, fubdued, additional discoveries of the glory of God bring forth the latent corruptions of his heart, What affecting complaints does that eminent, zealous, faithful minister of Christ, the apostle Paul, make in the following well known passage, Rom. vii. 18. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh)

dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with .me; but how to perform that which is good, I find . not. And ver. 23, 24. “But I see another law in

my members, warring against the law of my mind, • and bringing me into captivity to the law of fin, • which is in my members. O wretched man that I • am! who shall deliver me from the body of this • death?' Nay, the clearest views which a believer can take of the riches of divine mercy through a Redeemer, though they afford unspeakable consolation in God, tend also deeply to humble him, under a fense of his own unworthiness. The doctrine of the cross is not more refreshing to the broken in heart, than it is abasing to the proud; for it was chosen of God for this very purpose that no felh should glory in his presence.

On the whole, my brethren, as you cannot live under the direction of a better habitual principle, fo you cannot prepare for any act of folemn worship more properly, than by deep humility. To improve

[ocr errors]

this disposition, let me intreat you to make a serious and impartial search into the fins you have been guilty of, in heart and conversation, by omiffion or commission; by neglecting your duty to God, or the ill performance of his worship, in publick, in family, or in secret ; by neglecting your duty to your neighbour, to yourselves, to your relations; or doing that which is wrong, by indulging, in any measure, the • luft of the flesh, the lust of the eye, or the pride of • life.' To conclude all, you will never have a more fatisfying evidence, that your acts of worship, ordinary or more folemn, have been acceptable to God, than if they serve to clothe you with humility, and make you adopt and relish the words of Job in the text: I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor my. Jelf, and repent in duft and asbes.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve

him day and night in his temple.

Y brethren, however great a degree of corrup


the very profession of every Christian, implies a repunciation of the world, and a fixed hope of a better ftate.

His attendance upon the ordinances of God on earth, is in order to secure the posseffion, and prepare himself for the enjoyment of the heavenly inheritance. He confefseth that he is a stranger and pilgrim in the earth; that he lives by faith, and not by fight. And, therefore, nothing can be more suitable to his character, nothing more conducive to his comfort, than frequent views of the employment and happiness of the spirits of just men made perfect.

And, surely, this is a subject highly proper for our meditation on the evening of a communion Sabbath. In this ordinance, you have had the price paid for

this glorious inheritance set before you, by fymbolical representation, that your faith in, and hope of the possession of it, might be the more confirmed. Ig the institution itself, as recorded by the apostle Paul, you find he connects the commemoration of the fufferings, and death of Christ, with his second appearance in glory, i Cor. xi. 26. 'For, as often as ye * eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the • Lord's death till he come.' Nay, our Lord him. felf seems to have had his heart and his thoughts in heaven, when he left this memorial of his presence on earth, as appears from Matth. xxvi. 29. But I * say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this • fruit of the vine, uotil that day when I drink it . new with you in my Father's kingdom.' And, iodeed, we have his own example in this first conmus Dion, wherein he himself was the administrator, for following or concluding it with a meditation on the heavenly happiness; for, before he rose from it, he begins his excellent consolatory discourse in this manner, John xiv. 1, 2. 'Let not your heart be troubled;

ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Fa• ther's house are many mansions; if it were not so, • I would have told you : I go to prepare a place for you.'

It is true, indeed, my brethren, our kpowledge of the future glory of the faints, is, at present, extreme. ly imperfect, and must be fo, for wise reasons, while we continue in the body. There are, however, fe. veral different views of it given in the word of God, highly worthy of our attention. Amonght others, this in our text, that they are before the throne of God,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

and serve him day and night in his temple. That these words are to be understood of the faints in heaven, and not of any glorious period of the church on earth, or, if of this last, manifestly in allusion to the former, I think is plain, both from what goes before, and what follows them; which I shall read in connection, as all the explication of the text that is necessary, from ver. 13. 'And one of the elders • answered, saying unto me, what are these which

are arrayed in white robes ? and whence came they? • and I said unto him, Sir, thou knowelt. And he • said to me, these are they which came out of great • tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made

them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he that fitteth on the • throne shall dwell among them; they shall hunger

no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the * fun light on them, nor any heat: for the Lamb, which • is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and • shall lead them upto living fountains of waters; and • God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.'

What I propose from this passage, at present, is, through divine affiftance, to illustrate a little to you the happiness of the saints in perpetual communion with God in his temple above; and then to make fome improvement of the subject, for your instruction and direction while you continue here below.

I. In the first place, then, I am to illustrate a little to you the happiness of the faints in perpetual communion with God in his temple above. And, here,

« PreviousContinue »