« AnteriorContinuar »
and will be attempted here by all who know whom they have believed. The song above is, "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever:" and it should be begun below. There, they are in full possession. Here, saints of the apostle's attainments have absolute certainty of complete salvation.
Believers, you have resigned your souls to Christ. He has received them. He will be faithful to his trust. The Lord is honoured. You are happy. Your enemies are foiled, and salvation is sure. Rejoice in the Lord. Again I say rejoice. You will never find the Redeemer's kindness decrease. The creatures are fickle. You can never be certain of finding them as you left them. You will always find him full of grace and truth. He is immutable, and rests in his love. He says (and you should believe it) "with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on you: the mountains shall depart, and the hills bet removed, but my kindness shall not depart from you." His gifts and callings are without repentance. If he frowns, it is because he loves you. All things shall work together for your good. Never distrust him. Rely on his word. Faithful is he that has promised. He has given grace, and he will give glory. You should do something for him, who has done so much for you. Walk worthy of him. Submit to his will. Put no harsh constructions on his conduct. Prize his ordinances. Press after communion with him. Commend him to others. Pray without ceasing for
the prosperity of his interest. Give him no rest till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. Be strong in faith. Trust him in views of every trial, and death itself. Comfort yourselves with those words, we shall be ever with the Lord; for he is able to keep that which we have committed to him.
And what are you to do with your souls, O sinners! The Redeemer has sought them, and you have refused. He beseeches you now to be reconciled. He stands and knocks, seeking access to your hearts. Will you always oppose his gracious design? Will you always destroy yourselves? What will you do in the hour of death? How can you dwell with everlasting burnings! Satan now lulls you asleep. Continuing in your sins, he will eternally upbraid and torment you. For the Lord's sake believe. Commend your souls to Christ without delay. Take the relief the Gospel offers. Cast yourselves at the Saviour's feet, and cry for mercy. Do not delay till you are better prepared. Come as you are. However great your sins may be, he will blot them out as a thick cloud. If you still refuse, there will be a melancholy and irremediable difference between you, and such as have resigned their souls to Christ in the important and critical hour of death. You will have nothing but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation. They will gently fall asleep in Jesus, and enter into endless rest. Therefore mark, and timeously imitate the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace; but the transgressors shall be destroyed together. Sinners, think on THAT DAY!
ZECHARIAH IV. 6.
This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
THE Jews were at this time building the second temple. The work met with great opposition; but the builders were indefatigable. Constrained by love, they submitted to the greatest hardships with alacrity, and their diligence was invincible. The Lord encouraged them. He commissioned this and another prophet to speak a word in season. They assured the builders, in the name of the Lord, that the work should be finished, and that the Messiah would dignify the temple with his own personal presence. Living nearer the rising of the Sun of Righteousness, they prophesied about him with increasing perspicuity. Haggai designed him the Glory of the latter house. Zechariah pointed him out as the Branch ever green, and flourishing-able to build his temple, and defend all who would come under his shadow. This prophet had different visions. Some were directed to Joshua, and this to Zerubbabel. The great design of it is, to assure the prophet, and
by him the people, that the good work should prosper, and by the special care of Providence, and the immediate influence of Divine grace, be brought to an happy issue.
The building of the second temple is an emblem of the great work which will be carried on in the church to the end of time. Christ's spiritual temple will meet with great opposition. All the deceit and violence which Satan and his agents can exert, will be employed against it. Whoever may be for Christ, the many and the mighty will be against him. But the work shall prosper. Though those employed in it may be small and despised, the Lord stands by them. They are workers together with God, and must be successful. He can nip the designs of enemies in the bud, or blast them when fully blown. His hand is invisible, but almighty and energetic.
The design of the text is to inspire Zerubbabel with courage. If he was destitute of external might and power, the prophet assures him of unseen aid, and solaces his heart by the promise of the Spirit. This encouragement is equally applicable to all who would, at another period, engage in the Lord's work, and endeavour to promote it. It is peculiarly applicable and animating to the saints in times of backsliding and declension. Though few should engage in the Lord's work, and though they should be destitute of external aid, Jehovah is on their side, and the Holy Spirit will build the spiritual temple. Thus aided and animated, they will surmount every obstacle, and overcome every difficulty. The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper among them. David's horn
shall bud forth.
This and that man shall be born in Zion; and Christ shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied.
What we further design in this discourse, is to illustrate the method in which the Lord carries on his work as expressed in the text, specify some of the excellent purposes answered by it, and then apply the whole.
I. It was proposed to illustrate the method in which the Lord carries on his work. The text naturally divides it into two branches: it is not carried on by might and power; but by the Lord's Spirit.
The first branch is, that the Lord's work is not promoted by might and power. About this we make the following observations.
1. The Redeemer's work does not depend on legal authority. Some are of opinion that this is meant by the term power. The highest authority, without the assistance and blessing of the Lord of hosts, can never make religion prosper. Let it be enjoined by laws ever so numerous and excellent, it will not flourish without the Lord's blessing. However highly the doctrines of Christianity may be encouraged by legal establishments, they will dwindle into nothing, vanish away, or be exchanged for others different in their nature and effects, without Divine countenance. Like the Lord's peculiar people of old, the doctrines of grace have often prospered in proportion to their oppression. The powers and princes of this world have been more frequently hurtful than helpful. Igno