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neither is he weary? There is no searching of his understanding ;" and, again, "Who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and forgetest the Lord thy Maker that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth? Independently of the fact, that it is declared in the well-authenticated word of God, that all things were made by God, it is the dictate of reason that all things must have had their origin in the will of God. But to create is an act of Almighty It is an act implying properties in its author of which we can have no adequate conception, and it is hence said, "By faith we understand that the worlds were created by the word of God," and God, hence again would compose the minds of his people, by saying, "I, even I, am Jehovah. Yea, before the day was I am he. Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor, hath taught him?-for of him and through him, and to him are all things."
Once more; God appeals, for the confirmation of our confidence, to the works he has made. Lift up your eyes on high," is his language by a prophet," and behold who hath created these things, that hangeth out their host by number, he calleth them all by names, by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power: not one faileth." And how illustriously did he set forth to Job of old his sufficiency as it is to be discovered in his works in the heavens, upon the land, and in the sea. How impressively also did an Apostle address the heathen at Lystra and Athens, "We preach to you that you should turn to the living God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that therein is," and "left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, and seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, is not worshiped with men's hands, as though he needed anything. Seeing he giveth to all life and breath and all things.' The Saviour has directed our attention to the same subject: "Behold," said he, "the fowls of the air; consider the lilies of the field! your heavenly Father feedeth them," he said of the former, and of the latter, "Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these."
Are not these things manifest to each one of ourselves? When we contemplate the immediate evidences of might and power above and around us when we consider the air teeming with life, and the earth with that which is necessary for the support of life-when we look upon the innumerable creatures around, and find them rejoicing in the provisions made for them, and consider that we have been provided for hitherto, can we doubt that God is able to provide? What remains, then, but that we become convinced that God is willing always and adequately to provide. 2. He is willing.
What but this is to be inferred from the title of Father, which by way of eminence, he has been pleased to appropriate to himself? And he has not left us in doubt whether the reference be to the natural relation, the virtue of which, so far as our comfort is concerned, has been altogether destroyed by transgression, but he makes a direct appeal to our experience of the force of the relation among ourselves: "If ye then," is his reasoning, "being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" He does more. He appeals to the disposition of all faithful parents, notwithstanding their unwillingness to be an occasion of pain to
their children, to punish them for their faults, and thus to make their lower, bend to their higher interests; "We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence." Shall we not rather be in subjection to the Father of Spirits and live!
Again, by the plan of Redemption, we have plainly discovered to us, how his willingness is made to harmonize with his ability. We are informed that it is so harmonized, and not only so, but how this is done. Reason could not discover this. As little as reason could have framed the plan of redemption, could it discover how an inflexibly just God could show mercy to a transgressor. But the infinite wisdom thatdevised the plan has made it known. The solution of the mystery is to be found in God manifest in the flesh-the Son of God as having assumed our nature. In him mercy and truth meet, righteousness and peace kiss each other, because he has wrought out a righteousness sufficient to procure the peace of the sinner, annul the threatening, secure the fulfillment of the promise, and open the channel for the communication of blessings, wide as our wants, and lasting as our being.
Lastly, God is not only, in a general sense, willing, but he hath laid himself under a voluntary, yet necessary, obligation to bless his people; he is not only faithful, but just to forgive. Jesus Christ has founded a title to the salvation of his people-he has actually merited it-be ing the independent God, and therefore under no obligation to perform what he did, he has deserved all the blessings which are the proper consequences of his gracious interposition, and since, in addition, it is for the glory of God that his people should inherit all these consequences, it is as impossible that this effect should not follow, as that he should become divested of his infinite excellence, or that the merit of his works should be destroyed. He has superadded his own infallible declarations: "Because I live, ye shall live also ;" and an Apostle observes: "When Christ, who is your life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear in glory with him." "All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's."
Is not here everlasting, infinite consolation-consolation leaving nothing to be desired? Is not here an adequate motive for consecration to God? Is not here enough to afford permanent, everlasting peace to the child of God? The subject then lays the foundation for an exhortation to all strangers to God, to strive to acquire the privilege of addressing God as their Father. How happy does he esteem himself who can look up to a Father who is capable and ready to supply his wants! How happy do we esteem children because they are free from all the cares connected with the necessity of providing for themselves! How buoyant are their spirits! How unobstructed (provided they be possessed of the proper disposition) can they pursue the course of action which may be presented to them! Would you, my hearer, live unsolicitous with respect to the future—would you be assured of the certain supply of all your wants-would you experience a peace while passeth all understanding, and rejoice in the Lord yea, always rejoice, and in sweet present communion with God, have a cheering earnest of the unalloyed bliss of the heavenly state, then must you have God, the All-sufficient one, for your Father.
But would you have God for your Father, you must by the cheerful
consecration of yourself, become a child of God. This is the title to and the preparation for the enjoyment of the blessings of a Father in heaven. And would you become a child, you must first learn that you are not a child, that the favor of the natural relation of a Father to you on the part of God by creation, has been destroyed by your apostasy from God that the author of your existence and your happiness, has now become your enemy, and views you with a displeasure equal to the benevolence with which he regarded you by creation. You must, moreover, realize that while God is displeased with you, he is justly displeased; in other words, that the glory is and must be his, and the shame properly belongs to you. You must then seek to cherish proper shame for your sins, and while you avail yourself of the means God has afforded you of becoming acquainted with your guilt, it must be borne in mind by you, that every good disposition comes from God, that it is to be sought of him, and that he is willing to bestow it. He holds up to you his Son, as a Saviour through whom you may come and attain to the relation of a child. He once satisfied Divine justice, and is now exalted to give repentance as well as remission of sins. Your encouragements to seek are equal to the duty and necessity of seeking, how awful will be your guilt, how horrible your condition, if you be at last found in your natural state of enmity and of consequent misery. How blessed, on the other hand, will you be, if you have returned to God! What blessings will you have in present possession-what precious manifestations will you experience as to the body and this world-what precious manifestations as to your soul! Above all, what rich blessings will you have in reserve!
Child of God, be of good comfort! God, Almighty God, is your FATHER. All things are yours. Be only concerned always to be found cherishing the spirit proper to a child of God. By habitual repentance and faith seek to maintain yourself in an abiding state of reconciliation with God, and thus living and walking, pleasing God, you will find God walking with you, guiding you, and providing for you, and preserving you to his heavenly kingdom.-AMEN.
"Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee."-PSALM IV. 22.
THE language of the Psalmist here is general: it embraces any and every man-any and every burden; whatever be its source, . or its nature, or its degree. Cast thy burden, whosoever thou art, whatever it be cast thy burden upon the Lord, and the promise is, and he shall sustain thee.
The text implies that every man has a burden, and a burden too heavy to be borne alone; a burden so felt by him as to call for Divine support. And this is but too true. Wherever there is sin, there the burden is laid on, and is felt to be heavy, and the soul is often ready to faint under it.
There is an endless variety of burdens which afflict our sinful and dying nature-burdens of care and toil, burdens of trial and affliction, burdens of weakness and dejection, burdens of want and fear, burdens of duty and endurance-and for all there is one relief, and only one" Cast thy burden"-thy burden-for there is the emphasis to be laid every one of us has his own burden, personal, peculiar, often a secret sorrow or grief, known only to God and his own soul: "cast thy burden upon the Lord," and he will not leave thee to bear it alone, or to sink under it: and he shall sustain thee.
Let us notice some of the burdens which most commonly afflict mankind. I will classify them under four heads: Burdens of the flesh, burdens of the mind, burdens of the heart, and burdens of the conscience; or, if you please, physical burdens, mental burdens, social burdens, and spiritual burdens.
I. Burdens of the FLESH. These are numerous, varied, and at times most distressing. The curse has not spared the body, but has fallen upon it with crushing power. Not only is the principle of immortality destroyed, and the seeds of decay and death implanted in it, but all its powers are weakened, all its functions deranged; and it is the seat of low passions and grovelling desires; it is indeed " of the earth earthy." It is a clog to the soul. It is so weak and feeble as to be "crushed before the moth." The spirit would be free: would watch with the suffering Saviour: would aspire to great and holy things: but the body will not let it. There is a burden of natural weakness, or of corruption, or of suffering laid upon it, and it is crushed or unfitted for any service.
The burden of natural weakness we have all felt. How little physical strength have we! How quickly is it expended! What a trifling thing will upset us, and destroy life itself! How helpless we are and dependent in our feebleness! Contrasted with the untiring and exhaustless energies of the mind within, what a feeble piece of worthless clay is the body.
We have all felt the burden of sickness, pain, suffering, some more and some less, but none of us are free from it. It is hard to bear patiently and submissively the ills and miseries consequent on sickness, bodily pain and weariness, and especially when these are prolonged through months and years. Bodily pains and weaknesses so try the temper, so depress the spirits, so exhausts life's ambition and energies, as to constitute a burden heavy to be borne. When "wearisome days and nights are appointed" to us; when languor and disease bring us down to our bed, and cut us off from life's activities and enjoyments, or make the wheels of life roll heavily along, and duty and exertion of any kind painful, oh how much we need the sustaining hand of the Lord! Human nature alone is not able to bear the burden. It will quickly sink under it, faint and die.
But there are other burdens of the flesh more grievous still. The burdens of sensual desires, of corrupt affections, of a noble nature grovelling in the dust, imbruted by sin, and subject to the raging fever of ungratified or unsatisfied appetites and passions. Of all the burdens of the flesh this tries the Christian most. This galls and chafes while it oppresses. Simple pain can be borne ; but when the fire of corrupt nature burns in all our bones and makes our very flesh to quiver and crisp; when the tumult and strife of fleshy lusts disturb the mind's peace and cloud the soul in darkness and plant thorns in our pathway, oh, then, we feel most like sinking. This burden constrained the great apostle to the Gentiles, who seems to us at times superior to all earthly weakness to cry out in bitter agony, "O wretched man, who shall deliver me from the body of this death." It was a thorn in the flesh, some bodily infirmity, that drove him to God in soul-burdened supplications, and made him to persevere in prayer for deliverance