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saying, “ Him that cometh unto me, I will in you rest;" he was enabled to believe his word; no wise cast out!"
| he ventured upon his promise, made applica-
Let us observe him-
View him with regard to his understand
ing-and you will find that he has rest. He A CHECK TO PRESUMPTION.
is freed from the jealousies and uneasinesses
which arise from uncertainty of mind with Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left I regard to truth. He is no longer the sport us of entering into his rest, any of you should lof delusion : he is no longer like " a wave of seem to come short of it.—Heb. iv. 1.
the sea, driven with the wind and tossed," “ FAITHFUL are the wounds of a friend." now urged in one direction, and now in anHence, says David, “ let the righteous smite other; he no longer flounders in the mud and me; it shall be a kindness: and let him re- mire-he has found rock; he stands upon it; prove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which his goings are established. He “knows shall not break my head: for yet my prayer whom he has believed.” He knows that he also shall be in their calamities."
“ has not followed cunningly devised fables," Would you deem a man your enemy be- He knows “the doctrine" he has received cause he told you the truth ? especially if the “to be of God.”—He “has the witness in intelligence was of importance, and your ignorance of it would be ruinous ? Would you View him with regard to his conscienceblame a person, who seeing your house to be and you will find that he has rest. He is on fire, would endeavour to wake you from freed from the torment of fear, and the hora pleasing dream? Or would you say to one rors of guilt. A crucified Saviour “has rem who checked you on the brink of a precipice deemed us from the curse of the law, being -"Why did you not suffer me to go on? | made a curse for us. He bore our sins in his Why did you spoil my reverie ?” Surely own body on the tree. He gave himself for even a blow that saved you from such dread- us an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a ful jeopardy, would be esteemed an instance sweet-smelling savour.” An apprehension of friendship.
of this truth “healeth the broken in heart, But all allusions fail when we think of the land bindeth up their wounds." In proportion soul and eternity. Every thing is little and as we realize it by faith, the burden, too trifling compared with the acquisition of end- heavy for us to bear, loosens and falls off; and, less life. Here is a subject which requires, “ being justified by faith, we have peace with infinitely more than any other, fidelity in the God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." speaker; and a disposition open to conviction View him with regard to his passions and and fearful of deception, in the hearer. “Let appetites-and you will find he has rest. us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us While pride and envy, and malice, and avaof entering into his rest, any of you should rice, and sensual affections, reigned within, seem to come short of it."
often striving with each other, and always Let us consider two things. The First re-fighting against the convictions of his judggards THE BLESSING PROMISED. And the Se- ment, the man's breast was nothing but a cond, THE STATE OF MIND IN WHICH WE scene of tumult: he was “like the troubled SHOULD CONSIDER IT.
sea, when it cannot rest; whose waters cast I. The Gospel is not only a revelation, but up mire and dirt: there is no peace, saith my A PROMISE: and A PROMISE exceeding great God, unto the wicked.” But sanctifying grace and precious. It not only holds forth to our has delivered him from “the bondage of corview, but it proposes to our hope eternal life; ruption," and from the tyranny of adverse and and whatever is previously necessary to the raging lusts: it has subdued his tempers, and acquisition of it. The promise was early regulated his desires; it has restored order made, and was often renewed with enlarge- and self-government and these have restored ments. Thousands in the successive ages peace. of the world have laid hold of it, and—it is | View him once more with regard to his " left” for us. Yes, in this blessed book, we condition and circumstances"-and you will have " a promise left us of entering into his find that he has rest. He is freed from those rest."
anxieties and disquietudes which devour But what is this rest?-We may view it others who make the world their portion, and as it is begun upon earth, or completed in have no confidence in God. But the world is heaven. Even while the believer is upon not his portion; he has not laid up his treaearth, this rest is not only ensured, but begun. sure on earth. His inheritance is “ incorrupt. Hence, says the Apostle, “ We which have ible and undefiled, and fadeth not away, rebelieved do enter into rest.” Before he knew served in heaven for him.” He is nobly suthe Saviour, he was a stranger to rest ; but perior to events. Nothing that occurs can Jesus had said, “Come unto me, all ye that materially affect him; he is therefore easy labour and are heavy laden, and I will give and composed. He has also a confidence in God which wonderfully calms the mind with rested after the toils of the wilderness; and regard to present occurrences. He knows the other from the Sabbath, on which Chris. that the God who loves him, reigns over all; tians rest after the perplexities of the week. that all his dispensations are righteous, and Ah! ye glorified saints, you can tell us wise, and kind; that he will not forsake him, what this blessed rest is. You have traversed but “ make all things," however contrary in the wilderness—where you “wandered in a their appearance and tendency, to "work to solitary way; where you found no city to gether for his good.” Hence he feels a holy dwell in:" where, “ hungry and thirsty, your indifference, a blessed resignation to the will souls fainted in you." But you have left the of Providence; and committing all his con- desert! you have passed the river Jordan; cerns to his Heavenly Father, he learns “in and have entered “ the land flowing with whatsoever state he is, therewith to be con- milk and honey"-you are “come unto the tent:" according to the language of the Pro- rest which the Lord your God giveth you." phet and the Apostle: “ Thou wilt keep him Your week days, your worldly days are in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on now over, and you have begun your Sabbath. thee: because he trusteth in thee." “ Be Here you loved the Sabbath: but here the careful for nothing; but in every thing by Sabbath was soon over, and the things of the prayer and supplication with thanksgiving world again deprived you of the fine feelings let your requests be made known unto God. it produced. You sometimes passed silent And the peace of God, which passeth all un- Sabbaths, and mourned the loss of sanctuary derstanding, shall keep your hearts and minds privileges. You always spent imperfect ones: through Christ Jesus.”
you could not do the things that you would; But, excellent as his present condition is, and soon grew weary in the service of God, compared with his former state, it is nothing though not of it. But now your "strength is compared with bis future. With all his ad- perfectly renewed." You are “for ever with vantages here, a voice perpetually cries in the Lord.” You “serve him day and night his ears, “ Arise and depart; for this is not in his temple; and shall go no more out"your rest.” However favourable the voyage, you have the keeping of the Sabbath which they are now on the boisterous, treacherous remains for the people of God.” ocean; they are looking out for their native Such is the blessing. Let us consider, IJ. shore; and by-and-by they will enter the har- THE STATE OF MIND IN WHICH WE SHOULD bour-"then are they glad because they are REGARD IT Let us therefore “fear, lest, a quiet; so he bringeth them into their desired promise being left us of entering into his rest, haven." At death we are told the righteous any of you should seem to come short of it." and the merciful enter into rest. And this But what is this fear? rest is pure, undisturbed, and everlasting. It is not the fear of the sluggard dismayed
They shall rest from “ their labours.” by difficulties, and crying, “ There is a lion Though all activity, they shall be incapable in the way, I shall be slain in the streets." of fatigue and languor, for their powers will Such a man will be sure to come short. The be fully equal to their work. “Repentance fearful are to have “their part in the lake shall be hid from their eyes.” Their praying that burneth with fire and brimstone, which days will be all over. It shall never more be is the second death." said to them, “Be patient in tribulation;" or Nor is it the fear of the unbeliever, who “ fight the good fight of faith." Without were suspects that the promise shall not be accomfightings, and within were fears: but they plished; for there is not the least ground for are for ever ended. Darkness no longer strug- such an apprehension: because “faithful is gles with light; or faith with unbelief. “The he that hath promised, who also will do it.” flesh no longer lusteth against the Spirit, nor | This fear prevailed in the Jews, and excluded the Spirit against the flesh.” They are deli- them from the land of Canaan. They thought vered from all the temptations which were God had undertaken more than he could perso often ensnaring or distressing them here. form: they asked, “Can he furnish a table in “ There the wicked cease from troubling, and the wilderness?" they said, “The people are there the weary are at rest.” “And there too strong for us:" and thus despairing, they shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor murmured to return. Let us guard against orying, neither shall there be any more pain, this fear, and be fully persuaded that what for the former things are passed away." And God has promised he is able to perform; and nothing remains of their trials, but a grateful that, difficult, or even impossible as it may remembrance of the hand that sustained them appear in our eyes to bring a guilty, depraved, under all their difficulties, and delivered them helpless sinner to glory--if he has undertaken from all their grief.
it, he will perfect that which concerneth us. The Apostle therefore, to express heaven, But the fear here enjoined is a fear of cauoften uses the word rest. And it is observa- tion; of vigilance; of scrutiny; a fear which ble that he employs two allusions to enable leads us to examine ourselves; and allows us us to conceive of it the more clearly: the in this awful concern to be satisfied with noone taken from Canaan, in which the Jews thing less than evidence: a fear that induces
us to question and therefore to inquire whe-, ed of “that fulness of joy"-of that “crown ther we are the subjects of divine grace; of life”-of that “everlasting kingdom which whether we are the “heirs of promise;" God hath promised to them that love him?" whether we have a title to heaven, and are What would it be to lose your business, your in a fair way to obtain this blessedness. health, your friends, compared with the loss
Now the thought of missing this rest is of the soul ? surely enough to awaken in you this pecu-! And remember, there is no medium beliar concern—especially when you consider tween heaven and hell—if you miss the one, two things: the possibility of your coming the other is unavoidable. short; and the consequence of your coming |
| And remember, also, the aggravations short.
which will attend the misery of those who First. To excite in you this fear, remem | perish in your circumstances. There is nober the possibility of your coming short. And thing so healing, so soothing, as the expectahere let me mention a fact which should make tion of hope; and of course there is nothing you tremble. It is this out of six hundred so tormenting as the disappointment of it, esthousand Israelites, who came out of Egypt pecially where the object is vastly important. to possess the land of Canaan, two only en What then can equal the regrets and horrors tered But what is this to us? Hear how those will feel who shall come short of eterthe Apostle applies it. “Moreover, brethren, nal life! What will be their reflections I would not that ye should be ignorant, how when they see that the blessing was attainathat all our fathers were under the cloud, and ble, but that their own folly had deprived all passed through the sea; and were all bap- them of it! And when they discover their tized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; mistake, but, alas, too late to rectify the error! and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and -A timely fear would have prevented all did all drink the same spiritual drink: for this. they drank of that spiritual rock that followed Yea, remember also, that you will not only them: and that rock was Christ. But with be disappointed in coming short-but you many of them God was not well pleased: for will be punished for it. Your perdition will they were overthrown in the wilderness. be your greatest sin. You could not be lost. Now these things were our examples”-adds without contemning the authority of God, the Apostle. They are emblems and warn- who commanded you to believe on the name of ings to us. We here behold persons, under a his Son Jesus Christ, and trampling under foot dispensation of peculiar privileges, considered | his mercy and his grace. You offend him as the people of God, delivered from their even more by your unbelief than by your inienemies by the most wonderful displays of quity. The Gospel has its threatenings, as Divine power; clothed in garments unim- well as the Law; and after the one has conpaired by wearing, or by time; and whose demned you for transgressing its commands, meat and drink were not only miraculous, the other will condemn you for the rejection but sacramental—and, after all this, we see of its remedy. Thus, as the Apostle says, them perishing under the wrath of Heaven. the word you hear will prove the savour of “Wherefore," says the Apostle again, “let death unto death.” How then can you eshim that thinketh he standeth" high in the cape if you neglect so great salvation? If Divine favour, and is perfectly secure, “take you could even elude the curse of the law, heed lest he fall.” Let him not depend on you would have to encounter the damnation external privileges; on gifts; on being bap- of the Gospel. What then think you of both ? tized in his infancy; on his partaking of the “Can thy heart endure, or thy hand be strong, memorials of the Saviour's death—or a thou- when he shall deal with thee?"_" Let us sand other things, which are no certain proofs therefore fear.” of salvation. Persons may go far, but not far And observe, how far the Apostle extends enough; they may be convinced, but not con- | the admonition—"Let us fear, lest any of verted; like Saul, they may have another you seem to come short of it.” We see that heart, and not a new one. And indeed no he applies it to all: deeming none below the thing is more common than delusions of this benefit of caution, and none above the nekind. Oh! how many there are who say, “I cessity of it-lest "any of you.” And he apam rich, and increased with goods, and have plies it to all in the greatest degree. Lest need of nothing; and know not that they are any of you—what! should come short? No wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, -but seem to come short. He not only forand naked!" Oh! how many are there who bids us to go back-but even to look back. entertain confident hopes of heaven, that will He would have as not only avoid the reality never see it! They are pillowed up on the —but the appearance of evil. He would bed of carnal security-die like lambs-and have us not only possess religion, but "adorn awake with the devil and his angels! “ Let the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." us therefore fear."
He would not have us remit our caution and But, Secondly. Consider the consequence our zeal in the smallest degree, so as to renof coming short. Is it not dreadful to be depriv- der our adherence to the truth suspicious, or
our declension from the ways of God proba- | truth of the promise—but only makes a man ble. He would not have you to leave your anxious to ascertain whether he has any part eternal state in the least uncertainty; or live or lot in the matter. so as to awaken doubts in others, and to lead And should this be carelessly decided ! the people of the world to say—“Ah! they Can a man in such a case be too safe or too are yielding by little and little; they cannot certain? Is it not much better to be even throw off every thing at once-they will soon needlessly distressed for a time, than to be join us again." We are, like the patriarchs, deceived for ever? Is it not better to have a to “declare plainly that we seek a country's troubled conscience than a seared one? « To -and not puzzle our neighbours to deter- this man, says God, will I look, even to him mine whether to consider us at home, or only that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and that as strangers and pilgrims upon earth. We trembleth at my word.” “ Pass the time of are not to be doubtful characters, so that no your sojourning here in fear. Be not highreader can make any thing of us, or say minded, but fear. Work out your salvation whose hand the writing is; but we are “to with fear and trembling." be manifestly the epistles of Jesus Christ, ! Indeed, this fear seems to be unavoidable known and read of all men.” “Let us there from the very nature of the case. Whoever fore fear, lest, a promise being left us of en- attends to the workings of his own mind, well tering into his rest, any of you should seem knows that the proposal of any great or unexto come short of it."
pected benefit always produces a variety of To conclude. Let us observe, first, how emotions. Wonder is the first : this is inthankful we should be for such a promise left stantly succeeded by joy--but there is anus of entering into his rest! For surely we other feeling which also immediately seizes could not have reasonably expected it. Had the mind and works very powerfully-and we been informed that God was about to give this is solicitude-care to attain and secure us a revelation from heaven, our guilty minds it-fear, lest after all we should not realize would have foreboded nothing but tribulation the possession of it. And this is what our and wrath, vexation and anguish, upon every Saviour means when he says, “The kingdom soul of man that doeth evil. This we deserved of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field: --but behold, he speaks—and his “thoughts the which when a man hath found, he hideth, are thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all that bring us to an expected end." The address he hath, and buyeth that field.” This hiding is to tell us of a remedy for our disease; a is not in order to secresy, but safety : for as refuge from the storm; a passage from this by hiding things we commonly secure themworld of misery into a better, even “ a hear the one is put for the other; and this explanavenly country."
tion accords with the experience of every o what welcome intelligence is this ! awakened soul. For in proportion as you How much did we stand in need of such a prize salvation, and desire it, and apprehend discovery, such an assurance as this! Our it to be necessary–will be your fear of comearth is a vale of tears; creatures are broken ing short of it. Indifference does not generreeds and empty cisterns: our mortifications ate fear-No-but conviction does, and so are frequent; our pains numerous; our en- | does attachment. joyments unsatisfying! « Surely man walk- Lastly. What are we to say of those of eth in a vain show !"-But he is not com- you who know nothing of this salutary conpelled to walk so now. There are realities cern? Perhaps, if some of you were to speak attainable; there is satisfaction; there is rest. what you feel, you would say, That the loss “He hath showed thee, O man ! what is good. of this rest was the least of all your fears. It Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at never disturbs your repose by night, nor empeace, thereby good shall come unto thee." bitters your enjoyments by day. Whenever Do not, do not resemble the Jews of old : “ to the thought enters, you consider it as an inwhom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye truder and soon expel it. All your fear is may cause the weary to rest, and this is the limited to the world and the present life. refreshing :-yet they would not hear.” You fear for your health, and are alarmed
Let us, secondly, see how necessary it is when any unfavourable symptoms appear. in religion to avoid passing from one extreme You fear for your business; your fortune; into another. The Gospel encourages our your estate, and cannot deem yourselves too hope: but then it enlightens it, and guards it. secure. “ You ask, what shall I eat, and what It tells us not to refuse to be comforted;" but shall I drink, and wherewithal shall I be it teaches us to blend a holy jealousy with clothed ?" But you never inquire, " What our confidence, and “to rejoice with trem- must I do to be saved ?" bling." Some people seem to consider the And yet what is every other interest to fear of which we have been speaking, as le- this!— And do you imagine that this greatest gality and unbelief-whereas it is promoted of all concerns can be managed or secured by an evangelical frame of mind, and is the without attention or care? Do you think cffspring of faith. It does not question the that leaving the boat to the stream will bring you safe while you are asleep, or at play? | which was lost. He was delivered for our -This may do if you wish to sail down with offences, and was raised again for our justifithe stream and be carried into the gulf be- cation. “All things are now ready." But low. But the course to heaven lies against you are to be made ready too. Hence the the steam-and helm and oars and labour dispensation of the Gospel, and all the adand diligence are indispensably necessary. vantages with which you have been indulged. "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being By these, I mean your having been born in left us of entering into his rest, any of you a land of vision where the Saviour of the should seem to come short of it." Amen. world is known. I mean, your having en
joyed the blessings of the Reformation, which
gave each of you the Scriptures in your mo· DISCOURSE XXX.
ther tongue;- in the original, the Bible would have been no more to you than a fine
well of water covered by a rock, which you REVIEW OF LIFE.
could not move, or as so many beautiful pic(LAST DAY OF THE YEAR.)
tures hung up in a dark room; but now the
stone is rolled away from the well's mouth, And God requireth that which is past.
and these pictures are placed in open day. Eccl. iii. 15.
I mean, your having had the word of life, not With God, nothing is past; nothing is fu- only to read, but also to hear. I mean, your ture. I AM is his name, and this is his "me- having had ministers to call you to repentance, morial in all generations.” “One day with to warn you of your danger, to beseech you the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thou- in Christ's stead to be reconciled unto God. sand years are as one day.”
I mean, the various ordinances of the sancThe very reverse of this is the case with tuary, and all the helps to seriousness and deus. For with us, nothing is presenti all is votion which the goodness of God has afforded future, or past. Thus a man stands by the you. These means of grace are unspeakably side of a river, and sees something swimming important, and you have had them in rich down the stream-now it is above him—and profusion: you have had “line upon line, and now it is below him—but it never abides precept upon precept." During the past year before him-0 of all the things that befall only you have to account for fifty-two sabus in this world, to use the language of the baths, and perhaps more than one hundred poet,
sermons ! What influence have all these " Wecan never say, they 're here,
had upon your minds ? Are you crucified But only say, they 're past."
to the world? Are you denying yourselves, But when they are gone by, we have not | and taking up your cross, and following the entirely done with them. Some conse- Saviour ? Are your affections more spiritual, quences do remain, and others ought to re- your principles more powerful, your minds main—" And God requireth that which is more enlightened ? Must we address you as past." He demands an account of the past our Lord did his disciples, “ Are ye also yet --and this we shall have to render hereaf- without understanding ?" or as the apostle ter: he demands an improvement of the past did the Hebrews, “When for the time ye -and this we must attend to now.
ought to be teachers, ye have need that one Let us then apply this to a review of our teach you again which be the first principles MEANS-to a review of our MERCIES—to a of the oracles of God; and are become such review of our SORROWS-and to a review of as have need of milk, and not of strong our sins. We cannot have a better opportu- meat ?". nity for this exercise, than the present season, Oh ! let me call upon you to review all when we are closing another period of our your opportunities and means of instruction short and fleeting time. While therefore the and improvement, and compare yourselves few remaining sands of the year are running with them. See whether the end of them out, let us remember, that God requires “that has been answered at all; and whether your which is past"
proficiency has been proportioned in any deI A REVIEW OF OUR PAST MEANS AND gree to the number and value of your priviPRIVILEGES. God judges of things as they leges. Do not think your concern with them are: he knows that the body is nothing to the is all over—“God requireth that which is soul, or time to eternity. He has therefore past.” What is become of these advantages ? graciously provided for our spiritual and ever- To what purposes have you applied them ? lasting welfare. He remembered us in our Where are the fruits of them ?- They were low estate, and devised a way in which his given you as talents to improve ; and if they mercy could be exercised in harmony with have been useless, be assured they will prove his justice. This purpose of grace, formed injurious. If they do not save, they will conbefore the foundation of the world, was ac- demn; and if they are not the "savour of life eomplished in the fulness of time. The friend unto life,” they are the “ savour of death of sinners came to seek and to save that unto death."