Изображения страниц

itself a state of Rest, and compared with that of other people very decidedly so. Call to mind the Legacy which Christ bequeathed to his people. Peace I leave with you: my Peace I give unto you." Remember his words to his disciples, “In the world ye shall have tribulation ; but I have spoken these things unto you, that in me ye might have peace.' And does not St. Paul speak of a “Peace of God, which passeth all understanding*,” and which keeps and rules in the hearts of the People of God ? Surely these texts represent the state of true Christians in this world as a state of Rest. Nor is there any thing really contradictory in these seemingly opposite representations. It is not meant that Christians have any peculiar exemption from the troubles and tribulations, from the trials and temptations, to which other persons are subject. They neither possess nor plead any exemption of this kind. But they have an inward source of peace and consolation, which is peculiarly their own; and which, in the midst of every storm, abates its violence, and disarms its power. The conscious hope, that they belong to Jesus Christ, and are interested in every thing which He has done for sinners, and has promised to them : this hope, as the anchor of their soul, keeps them sure and stedfast, and baffles all the fury of the

winds and waves. The tempest may rage around, and may threaten to overwhelm them: but they rest in safety and security. Though outwardly tossed and agitated, they have inwardly no fear; for they know the strength and faithfulness of Him, in whom they trust; and are “persuaded that He is able to keep that which they have committed to Him.” Thus “ their minds are kept in perfect peace, because they are stayed on Him."

“ When they are in heaviness, they think upon God." They think upon His Love in having given Himself for them, and on His Grace, in having called them to the knowledge of the Truth. They think upon his past dealings with them, and on their future expectations from Him. They think on His Power and Faithfulness, on His Word, and Promises and these thoughts allay their fears, and diffuse a tranquil serenity in their hearts. Are they at times discomposed by the suddenness or violence of temptation? The clouds soon pass away. Recovering from its short anxiety, the Soul “returns unto its Rest;" its own, its proper, its peculiar Rest, the love of God in Christ; and with renewed complacency and devotion exclaims, “Whom have I in Heaven but Thee; and there is none upon earth that I desire in comparison of Thee.”

This is the Rest of which I speak, that


Rest on earth into which the sinner enters, whensoever with the heart he hears and obeys the gracious call of the Gospel. This is the Rest, which at his birth the heavenly host proclaimed, when they sung, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace ; good-will to man. This is the Rest, into which you are all invited to enter; for it is that Rest, of which the promise is left to you; which is is preached to you in the Gospel; and an entrance into which here is indispensably necessary, in order to your entrance into Heaven hereafter. No man will ever enter into that Rest, which Christ has prepared for his people above, who does not make Him their Rest, their only, their exclusive Rest on earth. Let us see then,

II. What is the Reason, why any to whom the Gospel is preached come short of this Rest. That some come short of it, is plain. When reminded of the promise, that if they enter in they shall have Rest, they enter not. And what is the Reason? The same Reason which prevented the Israelites from entering into Canaan, and from enjoying the Rest in. tended for them in that glorious land ; and which the Apostle states in the verse before the text. “They entered not in because of unbelief;" or as he adds in the verse following the text; “ The word preached did not profit, not being mixed with faith in them that


did not believe the word and promises of God. They did not believe His accounts of the Promised Land; they did not believe in His power and faithfulness to bring them into it. Though they had seen so many works, and had so often witnessed His interposition in their behalf; yet when commanded by Him to go in and take possession of the country, they refused to advance.

“ They despised the pleasant land; they believed not His word.”_But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord. Therefore He lifted up his hand, against them, to overthrow them in the wilder

This was the fruit of their sin. They entered not in because of unbelief.” And such is the Reason why many of those to whom the Gospel is preached, enter not in. It is because of their unbelief. They hear the word, but it is not mixed with faith in their hearts. They receive the call of the Gospel ; they hear the Saviour saying unto them in the Scriptures, “ Come, and I will give you Rest;" but they give no credence to his word. They profess perhaps to believe; but they do not really believe. There is no faith in them. God announces to them

in His word, the certain and everlasting misery which awaits the unbelieving and impenitent. He expressly says, that they will be cast into Hell. He “ reveals his wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness

of men.” He concludes all under sin, and pronounces the whole world to be guilty before Him. He proclaims pardon and peace to every soul that will confess its guilt, and will flee for refuge to that Saviour whom he has provided as a propitiation for sin. He declares that His Son Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life: that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life: that no sinner, who knocks at the door of mercy, shall be shut out; but that it shall be opened to him, and that by it he shall enter into Rest, present, future, everlasting Rest; a Rest, here and hereafter; such as the world cannot give or

or take away; such as no tongue can describe, no heart can conceive; a Rest, which passeth all understanding; which will never satiate, never tire; and will be productive of increas, ing happiness for ever and ever.

Such are the declarations and promises of God. But how are they received? What credit, what faith is given to them? Alas! many believe them not. They hear this Gospel, but it is not mixed with faith in their hearts. They regard not the threatenings ; they despise the mercies of the Lord. When He bids them come to Him for Rest, they hear with a stupid indifference: they ask with a presumptuous temerity, "What

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »