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you see how they act: and we are compelled continually to adopt the prophet's exclamation,' Who hath believed our report?
But, while you have now heard the taste and song and sentiment of angels, let us consider that angels know the worth of an immortal soul; and what it is for such a soul to be redeemed, and that in harmony with the glory of God. Angels know the vanity of this dying and wretched world. Angels know the misery of hell: they know the worm that never dies, and the fire that never will be quenched. Angels know the glory, and taste, and song, and sentiment of heaven: and therefore it was impossible, if an angel was to express his sentiments on this subject, that it should be in any other language than that of the text.
This is the mind of heaven--the mind of God! Consider, then, what is the state of that mind, which opposes or neglects these glad tidings. You cannot appeal to such a mind: the man is blind, and miserable, and stripped of all that can be called excellent. Should any such person be present, I can only say, Awake from thy sleep-thy death! Awake from these dreams of comfort or happiness in the world! It is impossible you should be under a greater infatuation, than to seek the living among the dead.
2. We learn from the song of these angels, that no
GOOD-WILL FROM HEAVEN CAN BE COMMUNICATED TO MAN, NOR ANY PEACE ON EARTH, BUT WHAT IS CONSISTENT WITH THE GLORY OF GOD,
For they sung, 'Glory to God in the highest :' then, peace on earth, good will toward men.' That must be in Christ-in submitting to the Gospel : for there is no good-will to men nor peace on earth, but in a way honourable to God, and consistent with his glory.
A sinner cares not for the honour and glory of God, nor heeds what outrages are committed on the Divine Government : "Only,” says he," let me have peace and enjoy good!" "What! in defiance of the Just
Governor of Heaven and Earth ?--But mercy and truth must meet together: they do meet together in redemption. Righteousness and peace must kiss each other : they do kiss each other in this scheme of redemption; but on no other scheme: so that St. Paul might well say, “If an angel from heaven preach any other gospel, let him be accursed. Christ came to make peace in a way honourable to God: be bought that peace: be bequeaths it: he gives it freely. Let then the sinner wage war no longer against God and conscience, but thankfully accept the inestimable gift.
You, who, at present, stand at a distance beholding these blessings with indifference, or trying to kindle some sparks of enjoyment—something to render you happy without Christ and redemption without God's peace and good-will towards men--remember, that, while God meets your condition and stoops to your necessities, is manifest in flesh, stands at the door and knocks, and says, 'Ho! every one, that thirsteth, come ye to the waters—while he does this, do you think that your trampling on these blessings and neg. lecting so great salvation, will not meet its due reward? Do you suppose there is no justice or truth in the government of God?—that all order will be destroyed, that you may be excused ?
I would call on you this night, in compassion. God invites all that thirst to come to the waters. I pray that the Holy Spirit may open the eyes of your understanding, that you may no longer judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life : for, while you linger, Satan is gaining his grand point: and God is perhaps about to say in his wrath, They shall never enter into my rest.'
3. It appears from the language and song of the angels, that HEREIN ARE AFFORDED SUFFICIENT ENCOURAGEMENT AND DIRECTION TO EVERY BELIEV
Here are the premises : what is the inference? If a multitude of angels descend, and sing, 'Glory to God in the highest; peace on earth, and goodwill toward men: if they come, and declare on God's authority, that there is glory brought to God in the highest by the redemption of Christ, a proclamation of peace on earth, and the utmost expression of good-will to men: what is the inference? that a man should go home, saying, “I know not how I can be saved! My sins are like crimson, therefore there is no such thing as washing them away! I believe that only the elect will be saved!” and so—just as Satan would have it, they are turning the counsel of God against themselves. But, brethren, here is a plain passage of Scripture before us to-night, which implies sufficient direction and encouragement to every humble and believing heart.
Now, while this was singing in the field, and the shepherds were following the instructions of the angels, what was the spirit prevailing at Jerusalem, and the traffic carried on there? The busy crowds were regarding only their own affairs-how far the Roman power would be prejudicial to them in the end-the best means to guard against it--and how to erect themselves into a people of consequence as they had once been: the Scribes and Pharisees were studying how their notions were to be supported: the men of business were rising early, sitting up late, and thinking that the one thing needful was gain: the men of pleasure and delicacy were saying,
Let the common people expect the Messiah: let us retire to our enjoyments.
Was this the case with Jerusalem ? Is it not a picture of London also ?
In the mean time, the humble shepherds were receiving the visits of angels, and the Gospel was preached to the poor. They accepted the Gospel : it spread from one to another, and from nation to nation, till it
covered the greatest part of the earth: it hath withstood all the power of hell : it withstands it at this hour: yet London goes on just as it did!
What should each of us say to this, but, “O God deliver me from the spirit of a carnal and unbelieving worldly generation ! O Lord, grant that I may escape thy wrath, and tread the narrow way that leads to eternal life!!
Is there in the congregation an humble Christian, who has still some doubts on his mind, whether the way is open to him, to enter as a candidate for eternal life? I ask, “Has God made you willing to be saved ? Wilt thou be made whole?" Or, are you saying, “O Lord, I desire to be good, but not now ?? Do you desire to partake of the graces of God's Spirit? Do you desire the privileges of his house ? to be enabled to glorify God-to have an experimental taste of his peace, and to know that it is the greatest expression of God's good will to man?
Then hear the proclamation uttered as in your ears by the angels : and, if you cannot trust angels, hear what Christ says :Whoso cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.' Take heed how you refuse him that speaketh from heaven, and who has positively declared, whosoever comes to him shall be saved. That you and I may put our trust in him that speaketh. may God grant, for his infinite mercy's sake!
JOHN, IV, 10. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God;
and who it is that saith to thee, give me to drink; thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. In condescension to our weakness, our Blessed Master has not only taught us by positive Precepts and Declarations, but he has suffered us to hear his CONVERSATions, and to be acquainted with his REMARKS; so that his conduct in life brings a kind of collateral evidence to the truths which he uttered.
We may gather from the statement of one particular case, how Christ would have spoken and acted in any other case of the kind.
For instance, our Lord came “to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. - Jesus, therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw. water : Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink: for his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat. Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, asketh drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria ? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her—without taking notice at all of the schism that was between the Samaritans and the Jews, but coming at once to the grand point of instruction