Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

a

advice has been the cause of the greatest evils. The erection of a sacerdotal priesthood within the Church, what is it but an impatient distrust of the HighPriesthood of Christ? What is the vast hierarchy of saints and angels, whose merits and intercessions are supposed to be accessible to the prayers of the faithful, but an unwillingness to rest in the boundless merit of Christ's righteousness, or to wait patiently for the full effect of His intercession whom the Father heareth always? What are the ambitious efforts of philosophers to solve the mysteries of faith, but the result of an indisposition to rest in God's Word and to wait patiently for its own vindication? The cause of the fierceness of many theological controversies has been a hasty wish to take God's responsibilities upon our little, overburdened shoulders, instead of casting our burden on the Lord. Too often it has arisen from confidence in a dogma rather than in the Master Himself, and from a vain endeavour to hurry with restless eagerness out of the regions of faith, into those of deduction, demonstration, and sight.

III. In what has hitherto been advanced, I have spoken of rest in God as a preliminary or needful stimulus of faith. I have now briefly to allude to a third form of this great duty and privilege-the rest of victory which flows out of deep faith; that peace with God which Jesus gives, which passes all understanding. Here patience has her perfect work, and is entire, wanting nothing. “The Lord is herd,” says the holy Psalmist, “I shall want nothing;"

my Shep

make a poor

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” This is delighting in God; this is entering into God's rest; this is the calm and holy confidence which can remove mountains, and can

child of the dust into an heir of all the promises of God.

If we heartily accept all that is ministered to the soul's health, renewal, and salvation in the brotherhood, the sacrifice, the covenanted love of Christ, and find out that “God, willing to shew more abundantly unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, has confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us in the gospel;" if we have made these discoveries, we have found also that our difficulties have vanished, that mysterious disappointments have resolved themselves into mercy, and that there is a God-like ending to all God's providence; at evening time a light, in death a victory, in heaven a sure reward. Mysteries in the future there must be to all finite intelligence. Days and hours are known only to the Father. Angels in heaven wait patiently for the full revelation; the Son Himself on His mediatorial throne waits, expecting until His enemies be made His footstool. The whole creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. The future life must be wrapt in obscurity. If we knew much more about it we might find it still more difficult to wait, but the victory that we gain by faith is a victory of waiting patiently for the Lord's own triumph over all the obstacles which unbelief and sin have put even in His way. The senses may provoke our impatience, the flesh may sting us into angry reproachfulness, the devil may accuse and attempt to deceive us, but by resting in the Lord we shall gain

, the victory. The world of ambition, of business, of Christless joys, of perishable attractions, and delusive treasures, may never leave us unmolested; but “this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

Let us wait patiently for Him who waited long for us, and may we who have learned to wait patiently in the vestibule of the temple, wait before the throne, and rest for ever in the bosom of our God !

[ocr errors]

SERMON VIII.

CONSECRATION OF WORD AND THOUGHT.

PSALM XIX. 14.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be accept

able in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

As this Psalm is in all probability the production of David, and as modern criticism has not put its authorship in question, it reveals in a surprising way the sense which the great minstrel entertained of the majesty, beauty, comprehensiveness, and value of the law of God. He was a child of nature, a man whose mind had long pondered the mystery and majesty of creation. He had watched the stars, and waited for the dawn, while keeping his sheep in the fields of Bethlehem. He, like every other Oriental, must at times have “felt his heart secretly enticed, when he saw the moon walking in her brightness" over the star-strewn plains of space. He must have heard from every side of him, echoes of the proud titles and sounding praise offered to the sun, and could hardly free himself from the thought

[ocr errors]

of the personality of that great hero of the sky, who rejoiced as a strong man to run his race: yet through the high training of the law of God and the blessed inspirations of the Almighty, David could dare, high priest and poet of nature as he was, to laugh to scorn the pantheism of Egypt, the sunworship of Elam, the adoration of the sky which formed the basis of the worship of all the Aryan tribes, and the mad rites of Baal and Ashtaroth, and to exclaim, “ The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handywork ;” “In them hast Thou set a tabernacle for the sun.'

· The Heavens,' those gods of the nations; "the Sun,' whose praises were sung in awful strains, whose favour was being propitiated by varied sacrifices, from the mountains of India to the wilds of Thrace, from the Euphrates to the cataracts of the Nile, were felt by the shepherd-boy and by the minstrel king to be but the creatures, the messengers, and the ministers of Jehovah.

How much was involved in this language we must go back to the age of David fitly to apprehend. Yet great, and dazzling, and sublime as were these manifestations of God, they were as nothing compared with another display of the character of Jehovah, which he then proceeds to celebrate. The Psalmist declares the law of God to be more perfect than the half-deified sun; the statutes of God to be brighter than the stars; and the judgments of God from their righteousness and truth to be his own most

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »