« AnteriorContinuar »
dience. “Then shall we know, if we follow on to s know the Lord : his going forth is prepared as the 56 morning: and he shall come unto us as the rain, as 66 the latter and the former 'rain upon the earth.” “ He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, " he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall cbe loved of my Father, and I will love him, and $6 manifest myself to him.”
Thirdly. There are some of you, in whose hearts the Holy Ghost has shed abroad the love of God. By a display of infinite benevolence, he has slain the enmity of your minds, enlightened your understandings, and renewed your dispositions. It is now your chief aim to please and to enjoy him. And your language is, “whom have I in heaven but thee, and there 6 is none upon earth that I desire beside thee, The “Lord is my portion, faith my soul, THEREFORE WILL 56 I HOPE IN Him. " Yes; and you have reason to do so. Let the exercise of this hope be constant and increasing. Though you have much in poffeffion, you have infinitely more in reversion. In whatever sense you are poor, in one you are certainly richHope. From the emptiness of the creature you can turn to the fullness of the Word, and say “ Thy testi“ monies have I taken as my heritage for ever, for " they are the rejoicing of my heart.” You have now supplies, and in a little while you will be “ Lord 66 of all.” Give vigour and scope to this principle in all the circumstances which can awaken thy concern. Hope for strength equal to thy day. Hope for fuccour in trouble; for assistance in duty; for help in death. Hope for a joyful resurrection, a blessed immortality, a crown of glory that fadeth not away. “ Now THE GOD OF HOPE FILL YOU WITH ALL “ JOY AND PEACE IN BELIEVING, THAT YOU MAY “ ABOUND IN HOPE, THROUGH THE POWER OF THE “ Holy Ghost.”
THE PARABLE OF THE TWO SONS.
Matt. xxi. 28. 38.
What think ye? A certain man had two fons; and he
came to the first, and said, Son, go work to-day in my vineyard, he answered and said, I will not; but afa terward be repented and went. And he came to the second, and faid likewise. And he answered, and said, I go, Sir; and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father ; they say unto him, the first.
M y Brethren, it is no very easy thing to lodge an obnoxious truth in a mind armed with prejudice. “Lovers of themselves," men are averse to the knowledge of their imperfections, and remain “ willingly ignorant” of discoveries which would interrupt their pursuits, or disturb their slumbers. Hence the wife have contrived a species of instruction by which they conceal their design, till the sentiment they wish to convey has taken poffeffion of the mind. Then they strip off the disguise, and exhibit their meaning, and the man finds to his surprise and con. fufion, that he has admitted a conclufion which criminates himself, and that out of his own mouth he is condemned. He is led on unconsciously step by step, till he finds his retreat cut off, and he is compelled to surrender.
He who “fpake as never man spake," excelled in this as well as in every other mode of tuition. A memorable instance is now before us. His adversaries had asked our Saviour, by what authority he had commenced reformer, and had purified the temple. He engages to satisfy them, provided they will answer him one question, namely, Whence John derived his authority to preach and baptize? They found themfelves equally in a dilemma, whether they acknowledged the origin to be human or divine. “If we shall " say, from Heaven; he will say unto us, why then (s did ye not believe him? But if we shall say, of “ men ; we fear the people ; for all hold John as a “prophet.” Hence they affect ignorance, and remain filent. Our Saviour perceiving their perverse. ness, refuses their inquiry ; and by a familiar representation induces them to pass judgment on themselves. “But what think ye? A certain man hiad 6 two sons ; and he came to the first, and said, Son, “go work to-day in my vineyard. He answered. 66 and said, I will not ; but afterward he repented, and « went. And he came to the second, and said like" wife. And he answered, and said, I go, Sir; and " went not. Whether of them twain did the wilt of “his father ? they say unto him, the first.”,. ..
The parable, has a particular application, which may be thus explained. John preached to the Jews. His audience consisted of two classes; the profane,
and the pretending. Some among his hearers were profligate. Such were publicans and harlots. These made no profession of religion ; they never spake of the Messiah, or hoped for his kingdom. But when they heard John, they received his doctrine ; were humbled by it ; and obtained repentance and remisfion of sins. Others were fanctimonious. Such were the Scribes and Pharifees. They assumed extraordia nary appearances of devotion, observed every punctilio of the law, wore a peculiar dress, used a singular gait, crucified their countenances, made long prayers and frequent fasts, gave tithes of all their possessions, and pretended a high regard for the writings of Moses and the prophets, who all testified of Christ. But when his forerunner came and announced his fpeedy approach, they inconsistently rejected his ministry. Thus far we cannot be mistaken, for we follow an infallible Guide" Jesus faith unto them, Verily, I say “ unto you, that the publicans and harlots go into the
kingdom of God before you. For John came un. « to you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed ( him not; but the publicans and harlots believed “ him. And ye, when ye had seen; repented not af66 terward, that ye might believe him."
By a more extensive allusion, it applies to the Jews and the Gentiles. The Gentiles were the children of disobedience; they had lived without God in the world, and the way of peace had they not known; but when the Gospel was published among them they “ obeyed from the heart the form of doctrine which < was delivered to them: and being made free from de fin, they became the servants of righteousness."