Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

dead, for he is almighty: and he will raise them, for he has promised to do so."

"There shall then be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust." All men shall be raised. But O, in what a different manner, and to what different destinations! Hear how Christ himself describes it:—" Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." How important is our present state and conduct! We shall come forth from our graves such as we enter in: and how soon may we enter! What then is our present state? Are we convinced of sin? Humbled for sin? Have we believed in Jesus, and fled for refuge to him? Does our faith work by love so that We do good? This is the proper fruit and evidence of faith, and what will be called over at the judgment-day. O that then we may be "found in Christ," justified by his righteousness! while our faith in that righteousness is justified by its good and holy fruits!

The Lord is risen! Blessed and delightful truth! The Lord is risen indeed! Then we may say with Job, "I know that my Redeemer liveth;" and, because he liveth, I shall live also. He is the resurrection and the life. Believing in him, though I were dead, yet shall I live; and now, living and believing in him, I shall never die. John xi. 26. What have I to fear? God is reconciled; he is the God of peace, who raised up Jesus from the dead. Justice is satisfied; for the debt is discharged, and the prisoner released. If any accusation is made, I have "the answer of a good conscience, by the resurrection of Christ from the dead;" for "who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died; yea, rather, that is risen again."

And if we are thus "risen with Christ, through the faith of the operation of God," let us "seek those tilings which are above: let us set our affections on things above, not on things on the earth." Are we united to Christ? He is in Heaven preparing places for us; let us follow him in the affections and desires of our hearts. This world is not our rest and portion:—" We are dead" to it, by profession and obligation; "and our life is hid with Christ in God." The life of grace is a secret life, of which Christ is the author and the keeper; and, "when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory."— When he who began, who supports, and will complete this spiritual life in us, shall appear as the Judge of the world in all his glory, then shall our mortal bodies be quickened by his Spirit which dwelleth in us, and resemble his own glorious body; then shall the creature itself (the animal frame) be delivered from the bondage of corruption, and be introduced into the glorious tiberty of the sons of God. "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"

"With joy, like Christ's, shall every saint

His empty tomb survey;
Then rise, with his ascending Lord,

To realms of endless day."

SERMON XLVII.

ACTS II. 4.

And they were filled with the Holy Ghost.

AMONG the ancient predictions of gospel-times and gospel-blessings, the prophecy of Joel is none of the least: "It shall come to pass in the last days," saith God, " I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh," &c. St. Peter, under the immediate influences of that Spirit, assures us in this chapter, verse 16, that the promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost:—" This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel." John the Baptist, the harbinger of Christ, had also said to his disciples, " I indeed baptize you with water; but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." Our Lord himself comforted his disciples with a fresh promise of this great blessing; "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth; who shall teach you all things; who shall be.in you, and abide with you for ever." John xiv. 16, 17, 26. Our risen Saviour, when just about to ascend up to glory, tenewed the promise, assuring them it should be fulfilled in a few days, and commanded them to abide in Jerusalem till it was accomplished. In dependance upon his word, and expectation of the blessing, "they all continued, with one accord, in prayer and supplication." The joyful day arrived—it was the Lord's Day; it was also the day of Pentecost: a day observed by the Jews, in memory of giving the law at Mount Sinai about 1500 years before. On this day they presented

VOL. IV. I

the first fruits of their harvest to God. How highly was this day honoured! A new sanction was given to the observation of the first day in the week as the Christian Sabbath; the law of faith was first published from Mount Sion; and the first fruits of a glorious harvest of saved sinners were presented to God: and thus our Lord who had been crucified at the Passoverfeast, fifty days before, was glorified at the Feast of Weeks ; upon both which occasions, there was a vast assemblage of people at Jerusalem. "The day of Pentecost was fully come.'" The disciples, obedient to their Master's order, were assembled together, with unanimous affection, in the same place; waiting for the promised Comforter; when "suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind; and it filled all the house where they were sitting." This was not only to engage their attention, but to serve as an emblem of the powerful influences of the Holy Spirit on the minds of men; for by the energy of his sacred operations the whole world was to be shaken. Our Lord had made use of the emblem of wind, or air in regeneration :—" The wind bloweth where it listeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit." As the wind, or air, is the food of natural life, so is the Holy Spirit the beginner and supporter of spiritual life. Thus Jesus after his resurrection, "breathed upon the apostles, saying, Receive ye the Holy Ghost." John xx. 22. Perhaps he alluded to the creation of man at first, when "the Lord God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (or lives) and man became a living soul." Gen. ii. 7. As the vital air is necessary to our existence in the body, so the Spirit of God is necessary to our spiritual existence, or living to God. There was a striking emblem of the same kind in the parable of the dry bones, Ezek. xxxvii. When Ezekiel, according to God's command, prophesied to them, "there was a noise, and a shaking; the bones came together; the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them; but there was

wo breath in them:"—then the Lord said, Prophesy to the wind, and say, " Come from the four winds, O breath of the Lord, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live." This parable, or vision, fitly represents, not only the political state of the Jews and their recovery, but also the deplorable condition of men, dead iu trespasses and in sins, and their revival to spiritual life, by the word and Spirit of Christ; and it shows there may be a lifeless form of godliness, but that the power and life is from the Holy Ghost; "for if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." This great truth seems to have been intimated by "the mighty rushing wind."

Another very remarkable sign accompanied the descent of the Spirit on the disciples :—" There appeared unto ihemcloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of. them:"—a bright appearance over the head of each, resembling a tongue, terminating in several points,—a very suitable emblem of the "gift of tongues," which was then granted to them; for, at that moment, "they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance." The intention of this miracle was to enable them at once to speak the language of every country to which they might be sent to preach the gospel; and this ability was attained, not in the ordinary and slow way of learning a foreign tongue, as we do, but in a moment, as an attestation of the truth of the gospel. The dividing of tongues at Babel proved the unhappy means of losing the true knowledge of the true God ; but by this new division of tongues the knowledge of God in Christ was restored, and readily communicated to men of every nation. A specimen of this was immediately afforded; for, as this happened at the time of a great festival, there were then in Jerusalem devout Jews, who did not usually reside there, but sojourned there, having visited the temple from all parts of the known world; and when upon the report

« AnteriorContinuar »