Imágenes de página

of the heart than in outward offices, yet our Saviour most congruously produces in judgment the conspicuous effects of love to them, the supplying their wants, allaying their sorrows, owning them when obscured and depressed by afflictions, and injuriously treated by others. This love of service that is directed and exercised towards the saints for the image of God shining in them, because they are the children of God, and members of Christ, and therefore extended to all in whom the reason of that love appears, shall be gloriously rewarded; for he interprets what is done upon his account to those who are his own by so many dear titles, as done to himself. And what is more becoming his excellent goodness, than to reward the works of mercy with saying mercy? But those who when Christ presents himself to them in his poor distressed members, and solicits their assistance, to protect them from injuries, to refresh their sorrows, to support them in their exigencies; those that have ability, but want affection to do them good, and incompassionately neglect the suffering saints, shall be sentenced to be tormented with the apostate angels for ever. What indignity is it to the Son of God, that those for whom he shed his most precious blood, should be in less value and regard with many, than the dogs and horses maintained for their pleasure? And if those on the left hand shall be condemned to eternal fire for the coldness of their love; how terrible will the judgment be of those that from the heat of their enmity outrageously persecute the servants of Christ for his sake, in their persons, estates, reputations, that with a worse than barbarous inhumanity seek their ruin? Is there any sin of a more mortal guilt? The infernal furnace is seven-fold heated for the punishing such wickedness.

To conclude this argument; let us observe the command of our Saviour, “ To watch and pray always, that we may be counted worthy to stand before the Son of Man.” These are duties of universal influence into our lives, the one prevents carelessness, the other vain confidence in ourselves : and the consideration of judgment to come, is the greatest motive to them, and the first principle of holiness. This should work more powerful in us, considering the day of death is equivalent to the day of judgment to every person ; for then a particular sentence decisive and irrevocable passes, that shall be published at the last

[ocr errors]

day. Methinks the terrors of the Lord should engage our souls and senses to a continual preparation for his coming. It is represented so as to affect the eye, and keep it vigilant, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all,” Jude 15. Behold, he comes in the clouds, and every eye shall see him," Rev. 1. 9. And to call the ear, and make it attentive; “ The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.” 1 Thess. 4. 16. How circumspect should we be in all our ways, since every action shall be reviewed by our Judge ? St. Peter strongly infers from the dissolution of the world, as a most cogent argument, that we should be exactly and universally holy: “Seeing then all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness?” 1 Pet. 3. 11, 12. But the consideration of the eternal judginent immediately succeeding the destruction of the world; O how powerful should it be upon conscience and the affections, to regulate the whole course of our lives with a final respect to God's tribunal !

In short, that which we read of the success of the apostles preaching to the Athenians upon the present subject, the immortality of the soul, comprised in the resurrection of the body and future judgment, is the same in all times and places. “And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; and others said, we will hear thee again of this matter ; and

: others believed.” Acts 17. 32, 34. There are three differences of the hearers of this doctrine of so great inportance: some deride it as an extravagant fancy; some believe it, and yield up themselves entirely in obedience to it; others do not absolutely reject it as the first, nor accept it as the second, but have a con.. jecture, or slight superficial opinion of it, or a speculative assent as to a history of things that do not concern them, and defer the serious consideration and applying of it to themselves. And of this third sort (O grief!) are the most of those who are christians in name. They delay till death the solemn reflecting upon the final judgment, and the inevitable consequence of it, a blessed or miserable estate for ever. And whereas the apostle, who had infallible assurance of God's love, did with a holy severity and self-denial abstain from all carnal complacencies that might hazard the never-fading crown ; “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest by any means when I have preached to others, I should be a cast-away.” I Cor. 19. 27. * Yet the most live and die in a secure state, without a preparation to appear before the presence of his glory.

* Væ miseris nobis qui de electione nostra nullam adhuc dei vocem cognovimus, & jam in otio quasi de securitate torpemus. Greg. lib. 29. Moral.


Psal. xvi. 11.

Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fuloess of joy, at

thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.



The Saviour of men was before and under the law by various predictions

and types described, to prepare the world for his reception with faith and obedience. In this psalm, a mixture of history and prophecy. The words of the text applied by the apostle to Christ's resurrection and ascension, and glory in heaven. The divine presence is the supreme and eternal felicity of the saints in heaven. The glory of the place considered, The happiness of heaven illustrated by sensible representations.

THE divine wisdom and goodness was pleased, before and during the legal dispensation, by various predictions and types to delineate the person of our Redeemer, and the work of redemption, to prepare the minds of men for his reception at his coming into the world. All the evangelical prophecies recorded in the Old Testament, as dispersed rays, are conspicuously united in him, “the Sun of Righteousness;" and as in a curious piece of Mosaic work, each stone according to its natural vein and colour is so exactly disposed, and with that proportion joined to another, that the lively figure of the human body results from the composure; so by variety of types, the entire image of our Saviour's life is represented from his first appearing on earth, to his ascending to heaven. VOL. III,

A a

Now the due comparing and observing the harmonious agreement between the prophecies and types of the Old Testament, and the history of the New, is a powerful means to produce and establish a true lively faith in the blessed Jesus as the promised Messiah : for it is an infallible argument of the divine providence, in disposing times and things so, as the oracle should be verified in the event, and the mysterious figures substantially exhibited in the manifestation of the Son of God. It is true, his miracles raised admiration, and argued the concurrence of power truly divine: for the exercise of an absolute dominion over the order of nature, is a royalty reserved to God; but that his miraculous operations were foretold, added more authority to his person, and efficacy to his doctrine. Therefore our Saviour himself, in answer to the public question sent from John the baptist, whether he were the expected Saviour of the world, commanded the messengers to tell him what they heard and saw, “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up,” Matt. Il. Which healing miracles were foretold by the prophet Isaiah, Isa. 35. as the clear and distinguishing characters of the Alessiah from all seducers, when he should come. The fulfilling God's word by the works of Christ, of which there was sensible evidence, was an irrefutable testimony that his miracles were true, and performed for the confirmation of the truth.

Now of all the chosen saints that foretold the coming of Christ, the new law of grace, and the new kingdom of glory, that he should reveal and establish: * of all that represented him in various particularities, concerning his person and offices, there was not a more illustrious type than David, that by prophetical words, and by prophetical actions did so clearly describe him.

In this psalm composed by him, there is a mixture of history and prophecy; some things in the literal and immediate sense referring to David: “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Our being at God's right hand, implies the highest honour; his being at our right hand, implies present and sure protection and defence. And of this David had the infallible promise of God to

* Illorum homioum non tantum lingua sed & vita prophetica fuit. Aug.

« AnteriorContinuar »