« PredošláPokračovať »
believes that God knows all his thoughts; and though he trembles, his malice is unrelenting, and his assiduity in sinning is unremitting! Though he knows that God sees him every moment, he never, for the shortest space, desists from sinning-no, not though his chains hourly put him in mind that he will be called to an account, and receive everlasting punishment! Sinners are of their father the devil. Possessed of the same image, and actuated by the same spirit, they do his works. Ah sin, what a thing art thou! Will neither the inspecting eye of Jehovah, nor his mighty arm lifted up in his threatenings, nor hell fire, and chains of darkness, stop thy mad career, and deter thee from rushing on the thick bosses of God's buckler? Will nothing stop thy rapid torrent or change thy wandering course? Nothing-but the grace and love of that Redeemer whom Judas betrayed.
6. On this occasion the Redeemer exercised and displayed infinite patience. We can never enough admire his long-suffering in allowing such a perfidious wretch and monster of iniquity to sit at the table with him and his disciples, and warn him with such mildness of his treacherous design. To think that the Saviour, within a few hours of his condemnation and being crucified in the room of sinners, should allow the traitor to sit and eat with him at a sacred feast, fills the heart with astonishment! But such is his patience that we have similar wonders every day. Christ has now died. Christ has now died. He is set forth a
propitiation in his blood. All his merit is made over to sinners in the Gospel. Though invited and urged to receive him, sinners always reject, and often betray him. In this aggravated conduct, Christ is as really present with them as he was with Judas. As the God in whom they live, he supports them in the very act of refusing him. How shall we account for such long-suffering and patience? and patience? While the whole creation could give no satisfying answer to this question, the Redeemer himself has done it in the following words, "I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, for I am GoD and not man, the Holy One in the midst of thee. For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye the sons of Jacob are not consumed." Indeed the conduct of hypocrites and other sinners would soon exhaust any patience, but that which is DIVINE. It too has a period. The Lord will neither bear, nor strive always with his enemies, and when his long-suffering is exhausted and comes to an end, his wrath will begin to burn! And when will this burning come to an END!
Having already, as you will recollect, applied this subject at considerable length, we shall only subjoin a very few sentences.
What has been offered from this text shows us that we are in great danger of deception. Whether Judas deceived himself or not, he deceived such as knew him. To be deceived in matters of eternal moment is awful beyond expression. We should compare ourselves frequently and habitually with the Lord's
word. The law and the testimony are the true criterion. There we have the character and conversation of the saints. If we have an account of their failures, their repentance is also recorded. The genuine operations of the new man are marked with infinite wisdom and propriety. They are written for our learning. We should search the Scriptures, and compare our hearts and lives with them.
Aiming at searching ourselves with the strictest scrutiny, we should put the work into God's hand. He has promised to work all our works in and for us. With David the saints have often employed him to search their hearts, saying, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." God cannot be deceived, and he will not deceive us. Above all, we
should close with Christ by faith. Doing this at first is the radical cure of hypocrisy, and the renewed actings of faith prevent its increase, and gradually banish it from the heart.
I persuade myself you would not wish to come to Judas's end. Beware of his beginning. Consider all the steps which led him on, and avoid them. Enter not into the way of the wicked. Their way goes down to the chambers of death, and leads to hell beneath.
You who have communicated for the first time should not be strangers to your own hearts. You have been already warned, that if professors are
hypocritical at their entry, and give not Christ their hearts, it is an hundred to one if ever they do it. Remember Judas. I know you were in some measure diligent before communicating. Continue. There could not be a worse sign than if you slackened your diligence after it. You should all consider. I have spoken to your ears. God alone can speak to your hearts; and to his grace and mercy I commend you.
MALACHI III. 17.
And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.
THE Lord has always had a special people distinguished from the rest of the world, and he considers them as his peculiar treasure. They seldom have any thing about them to catch the attention, or raise the admiration of the men of the world; but there is something in their maxims and practice which, though unjustly, provokes their contempt and malevolence. While despised by the men of the world, they are dear in God's esteem. He loved them with an everlasting love, and he loves them to the end. He loves both in word and deed. So great is his love that words cannot be found to express it. It passes all knowledge, and has a breadth and length, a depth and height, which are incomprehensible. To declare his love, the Lord uses names expressive of the most tender and endearing affection, and heaps them upon one another. He calls them spouse, friends, children, brethren, and peculiar treasure. He loves also in deed. He performs many actions to and for his people, which evidence that his love is