David Black.

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His meekness will dispose him to bear
with patience the injuries he may receive
from his fellow-creatures, and, as much as
in him lies, to live peaceably with all men.
His love will shew itself in acts of kindness
and humanity, according to his ability and
opportunities. If providence has blessed
him with affluence, he will not think it
enough to say to his indigent brethren, De-
part in peace ; he ye warmed, and he ye
clothed :^r-while he gives not those things
that are needful for the body. Such a con-
duct is highly injurious to our fellow-crea-
tures, and altogether inconsistent with the
character of a real Christian. His love is
not a dead unactive principle, satisfied with
prayers and wishes, but proves a constant and
powerful incitement to the practice of all
that is just, and pure, and honest, and love-
ly, and of good report. And as the Chri-

326 THE CHRISTIAiyf SER. 10.

stian's love disposes him to be liberal, gene-
rous, and tender-hearted, so the temper of
submission leads to contentment with his
lot, to the suppression of all murmuring and
repining complaints, and to the conscien-
tious improvement of those talents whatev-
er they may be, that providence hath put
into his hands.

Once more, is the Christian's language
pure and spiritual, simple and devoid of ar-
tifice, kind and inoffensive, useful and edify-
ing ? his actions will correspond M'ith his
words. He will not beguile you with fair
speeches, while deceit lurks in his heart.
He will not make professions of friendship
with his lips, while by his actions he is de-
visins: means to ensnare and to ruin you.
Nor will he administer useful and salutary
advice, without exemplifying his precepts
in his own conduct and life. No ; there
ought to be no such inconsistencies in the
Christian character. His conduct should
be uniform, and in every situation he ought
to be the same man, the same devout wor-
shipper of God, the same obedient servant

SER. 10. CHARACTErv. 22?

of the Lord Jesus Christ, the same self-deny-
ing and watchful observer of his own temper,
the same noble and generous lover of man-

Thus, Brethren, have I endeavoured to
describe the Christian character, and parti-
cularly those parts of it that are more o-
pen to the observation of our fellow-crea-
tures, and on account of which the world
will take knowledge of us that we have been
with Jesus. Do we possess this character?
Do we cherish the sentiments, feel the tem-
per, utter the language, and exemplify the
conduct which have been described ? Alas !
how rare is such a charac er ! how much
of Christian profession often exists, where
nothing of the Christian spirit is felt ! how
many in words say that they have been with
Jesus, and yet in works deny him ! But be
not ye deceived, my Brethren. It must be
acknowledged, that the very best come far
short of exhibiting that complete consisten-
cy and purity of character which inter-
course with the Saviour ought to produce ;
but it u no less certain, that something of


the spirit and conduct which I have endea-
voured to iUustrate, must be found in eve-
ry man who is a disciple of the Son of God
in deed and in truth. Examine, therefore,
your heart and hfe by this test. Guard a-
gainst seU- deception ; and pray that any
root of bitterness which springs up in your
heart may be destroyed, and that the seeds
of that faith which purifies the heart and
overcomes the world, may be implanted in
its room.

To the Friends of Jesus, I w6uld particu-
larly say, Study to attain more and more
of the Christian character, that your rela-
tion to Him, whose disciples you are, may
be more evident ; that the gospel may be
honoured by your conduct ; and that God
may be glorified in you and by you. For
this purpose be jealous over yourselves with
a godly jealousy. Watch against tempta-
tion. Prai/ without ceasing. Live by
faith. Keep the cross of your Saviour
steadily in your eye. Walk circunnipectly,
not as fools, hut as wise, redeeming the
time. Avoid unnecessary intercourse with


the world. Abstain from all appearance
of evil. And the very God of peace saiic-
tify you wholly ; and, I pray God, your
whole spirit and soul, and body be preserv-
ed blameless, unto the coming of our Lord
Jesus Christ, Amen.




2 TiM.i. 12.

I know whom I have believed ; and I am
persuaded that he is able to keep that
which I have committed unto him a"
gainst that day,

At the time when Paul wrote this second'
epistle to Timothy, he was a prisoner at
Rome, under Nero the Roman emperor, by
whose unjust sentence he was soon after-
wards beheaded. This eminent apostle,
who had aU alone: been so remarkable for
his intre})idity and 2eal, seems on this try-
ing occasion to rise abo\'e himself, and dis-
plays in no common degree, those great andv

SER. 11. THE SAFETY,T&C. 331

noble virtues, which, at such seasons, support
and adorn the Christian hero. He betrays
no symptoms of uneasiness ; he expresses
no anxious concern respecting the death
which he knew awaited him ; but speaks of
his approaching dissolution with a dignified
composure, like one who was certain of tir-
ture happiness. For I am 7iow ready to be.
offered, and the time of my departure is at
hand ; I have fought a good fight, I have
finished 7ny course, I have kept the faith.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crou^fi
of righteousness, which th^ Lord, the righ-
teous judge shall give me at that day ; and
not to me only, hut unto all them also that
love his appearing.

The mind is struck with the display of
such magnanimity in circumstances of so
much outward distress, and is naturally led
to enquire, what were the grounds of this
holy confidence and triumph ? The apostle
himself informs us, in the words of the text,
For the which cause, i. e. for the sake of the
gospel, / suffer these things. Nevertheless
J am not ashamed, for I knozv whom Z


have believed, * My persecutors may de-
stroy this mortal flesh. They may deprive
me of the poor remains of a hfe which has
already exhibited a scene of suffering and
distress : but my best, my immortal in-
terests are safely lodged in the hands of
an almighty Friend. These they cannot
possibly injure, for I know whom I have
believed, and I am well assured, that none
is able to pluck me out of his hands. He
will not disappoint my expectations, but
will keep that which I have committed
unto him against the great day of his ap-
pearing, when he shall present me fault-
less before the presence of his glory with
exceodmg joy, and make it appear with
divine evidence, that the light afflictions
which I now suffer, are not worthy to be
compared with the glory that shall then
be revealed.'

What the apostle here says of himself, is
equally applicable to every true believer.
It directs our attention to the proper foun-
dation of our faith and hope as Christians,
to that which alone is fitted to support the

6ER. 11. OF BELIEVERS. 333

mind under the changing circumstances of
life, and in the near prospect of death and

In farther discoursing on these words, I
propose, through the divine assistance, to
confirm and illustrate the doctrine contain-
ed in the text, viz. That every true behev-
er, who has committed his eternal interests
into the hands of Christ, may rest assured,
that He will keep that which is committed
unto him against the great day of his ap-

With this general view, I shall consider,

I. The grounds upon which this comfort-
able persuasion is built. And,

II. The manner in which it is produced
and promoted in the souls of true believers.

I. Let us enquire, what are the grounds
of the comfortable persuasion expressed in
the text?

334 THE SAFETY 5ETI. 11,

Our faith, if it be genuine, is built upon
knowledge. Let the Athenians rear their
altars to The Unknow7i God, we cannot,
we dare not commit the interests of our im-
mortal souls into the hands of an unknown
Saviour. The meanest, and least informed
Christian can say with the apostle, I know
7Dhom I have believed. He may not un-
derstand all mysteries and all knowledge,
but he knows as much of the Saviour as
eniiaoes his trust and confidence, and ena-
bles him to give a reason of the hope that
is in him with meekness and fear.

In illustrating these grounds of hope and
confidence, we may consider the personal
qualifications of Christ as- a Saviour, and his
special character and commission as ap-
pointed by the Father to that important of-

With regard to the personal qualifications
of Christ, I observe,

1. He is infinitely powerful. This per-
fection belongs to him as the true and eter-


nal God, the equal of the Father, of whom,
and to whom, and through whom are all
thino's. He is the Maker and ruler of the
universe. Bi/ him were all things created
that are in heaven, and that are on earth ;
whether they he thrones, or dominions, or
principalities or powers : all things were
created hy him and for hi?n. And he is
before all things, and by him all things
consist. There is no creature that is not
subject to his controul ; nor is there any
power in heaven, or earth, or hell that can
resist his omnipotent arm. He is the Migh-
ty God, and all, in one w?.y or another,
must bow to his sceptre. This the believer
knows, and therefore, with the most perfect
confidence, he commits his eternal interests
into the hands of this almighty Saviour,
persuaded that he is, able to keep that which
is committed unto him against that day.
He knows that the same power which form-
ed him at first, is able to create him anew
after the divine image — that there is no ini-
quity so strong, which the power of God
cannot subdue — no duty so difficult which
the arm of omnipotence cannot enable- hkir

336 THE SAFETY SEll. 11.

to perform. Should all the wicked on earth,
or all the devils in hell conspire to ruin his
soul, he knows that he is safe under the
protection of Him who rules the universe.
Satan himself is a chained enemy, who
tempts only by permission^ and who can
proceed no farther against any of the saints
than He who is the great Shepherd of the
sheep is pleased to allow. In short, if God
he for us, who can be against us ? if Omni-
potence be engaged on our side, what is
there within us or around us, that can en-
danger our happiness ? To this all-powerful
Redeemer, therefore, we may safely commit
our eternal interests.

2. He is infinitely wise. He knows the
most secret devices of the enemies of our
salvation. Hell is open before him, and in
his sight destruction hath no covering. He
can confound the policy of the powers of
darkness, and overturn their best laid
schemes ; nay, he can render the devices of
his enemies subservient to the accomplish-
ment of his own gracious purposes, and
bring glory to himself, and comfort to his

skii. 11. OF riEtiEvtRg. 337

people dut of those very circumstances ,
■^vhich, in their own nature, seem to have
the most opposite tendency. And as he
thus confounds the wisdom of his enemies,
so his own desio-n^ are formed with unerring-
skill. All things are naked and open to his
eyes ; and, in ways the least perceivable by
us, he often fulfils the purposes of his grace.
He knows how to deliver the godly out of
every temptation^ and to preserve them safe
to his heavenly kingdom.

With what joyful corifidehce, then, may
the believer, who is persuaded that the Re-=
deemer is God only zvise^ commit his eter-
nal interests mto his hands. He who ba-
lances the clouds, and guides the stars in
their courses, who rules in the hearts, and
manages the counsels of men, v.hose eye
pervades the deepest recesses of darkness,
and the most subtle policy of hell, this in-
finitely \\ise and all-perfect Being is surely
able to manage the concerns of our precious
nnd immortal souls. No artifice can elude
his search. No circumstance, the smallest
dr most inconsiderable, can escape his ob-



servation ; and if he but undertake to save
our guilt}' souls, ha will certainly perfect
that which concerneth us. His unsearcha-
ble wisdom therefore qualifies him to be a
Saviour to blind and ignorant creatures,
such as we acknowledge ourselves to be.

S. His love and compassion are equal to
his wisdom and power. Though this is not
expressed, it is evidently imphed in the
text. For Avith what confidence could the
apostle commit his immortal interests into
the hands of Christ, unless he had been
persuaded of his care and compassion, as
well as of his ability to keep that which was
committed unto him. Blessed be his name,
we have the fullest and most satisfying evi-
dence of this delightful and encouraging
truth. The whole of his undertaking to
save sinners, is a convincing proof of his love
and compassion to the souls of men. For
what but this could move the Son of God
to veil his glory in a human form, and sub-
mit to such unexampled sufferings for our
sakes. Hi,s love was stronger than death.
Many waters of aliliction could not quench


it ; neither could the floods of death drown
it. It brought him from heaven to earth ;-
it made him wilhng to submit to pain and
poverty, to contempt and reproach, to envy,
persecution, and all the thousand nameless
ills which fall to the lot of mortality. Nay,
it reconciled him to that bitterest of all the
ingredients in his cup of suifering, the hid-
ings of his Father's face. Every wound
which he felt in his sacred body, every pang
which affected his holy and innocent soul,
the nails which fastened his hands and
feet to the accursed tree, the spear which
pierced his side, his bitter agonies and dy-
ing groans, all proclaim, as with ten thou-
sand tongues, the strength and tenderness
of his love to men. And now that he is
gone to heaven, as he said, can we once en-
tertain the thought that his love and com-
passion are less than when he trode Geth-
semane, or bowed his head on Calvary?
Far be such unworthy thoughts from our
minds. Our great High Priest m his exalt-
ed state, retains the same lovinu; and crra-
cious heart, as in the days of his deepest a-
basement. He liveth to make intercession


for all who come to the Father by him. He
invites the weary, the worthless, and wretch-
ed to take shelter from the wrath to come,
under the covert of his Avings. He assures
them all, without exception, of the most
hearty welcome, and even beseeches them
to be reconciled to God, and to become
partakers of the unsearchable riches of his
grace. With what assured trust and con-
iidence then may the believer commit his
eternal interests into the hands of this lov-
ing and compassionate Saviour ! He is not
only infinitely wise and powerful to manage
the momentous concerns of our souls, but
infinitely condescending and gracious to
undertake this solemn charge. And there-
fore may the believer say, ' I can safely in-
' trust him with my best and most import-

* ant interests. Though my guilt be ex-
' ceedingly great, I know there is virtue in
^ the blood of Christ to atone for it all,
' Though my corruptions be many and

* strong, His grace is sufiicient for me, and
' his strength is made perfect in weakness.

* His love and compassion are equal to his

* power. He will not therefore forsake th^


^ work of his own hands, nor suffer me to be
' ashamed of the hope and confidence which
' I repose in him/ Once more,

4. He is unchangeably faithful. His
name is the Amen, the Faithful and True
Witness. His gifts and calling are without
repentance, and therefore he t^ests in his
love, and keeps his people by his mighty
power through faith unto salvation. If we
believe not, yet lie ahideth faithful : he
cannot demj himself. In the hour of dark-
ness and despondency, Zion may say. The
Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath
forgotten me : l^ut can a woman foro^et
her sucJcing child, that she should not have
compassion on the son of her womb f Yea^
they may forget, yet zcill I not forget tliee^
saith the Lord. Behold, I have graven
thee upon the palms of my hands ; thy
zvalls are continually before me. Fie is
ever mindful of the interests of his people.
His eye is continually upon them for good,
and his ear is ever open to their cry. Be-
cause he lives, they shall live also. Their
life is hid ziith Christ in God ; and when

S42 THE SAFETY SEll. 11.

Christ who is their life shall appear, they
also shall appear with him in glory.

Where then can our immortal interests
be so safely lodged, as in the hands of this
faithful Saviour ? With what confidence may
the believer commit all that is deajr to him
to the keeping of this unchangeable Friend i
This God is our God Jor ever and ever, he
will he our guide even unto death. ' Crea-

* tures may change, but the Saviour in
' whom I trust,' n)ay the believer say, * liv-
' eth and changeth not. He is the same
*■ yesterday, to-day, and for ever ; the same

* in his wisdom and power, the same in his
' compassion and love, who will never leave

* nor forsake the soul that trusts in him.
' On him, therefore I cast all my care, and

* though an host should encamp against me,
' I will not fear ; though w'ar should arise
' against we, in this zcill I he confident, for
' the Lord is my light and my salvation,
' he is the strength of my heart, and my
' portion for ever.*


These, then, my Brethren, are some of
the personal quahtications of Christ, which
render him every way fit to perform the of-
fice of a Saviour. But I mentioned, as

A Second ground of this comfortable
persuasion — the special appointment and
commission of Christ to the office of Me-

This our Saviour often mentions, when
speaking of the commandment which he
had received from his Father. This is the
Father s will zMch hath sent jne, that of
all which he hath given me I should lose
nothing, hut should raise it up again at the
last day. For this purpose all pozi)er in
heaven and in earth is committed to him ;
and he is said to be the Head over all
things to the church, which is his body, the^
fulness of him that fillet h all in all. As
no creature was equal to the arduous task
of saving a guilty world, God was pleased
to lay our help upon one who was mighty
to save. He committed the charge of our
immortal interests into the hands of his own


beloved Soil, who, having freely undertaken,*
fully accomplished, the work that was giveii
him to do.

Here, then, is the firmest ground for the
faith and confidence of believers. The Sa-
viour in whom they trust is not only pos-
sessed of the highest personal qualifications^
but was likewise expressly commissioned and
appointed hy the Father to employ these
for the salvation of sinners. Christ and the
Father, who arc one in nature and perfec-
tions, are united in this glorious design.
Hence the words of our Lord himself, I give
unto my sheep eternal life, and they shall
never perish^ neither shall any pluck tJiem
out of my hands. My Father whicJi gave
them me is greater than all, and none is
able to pluck them out of my Father's hand^
I and my Father are one.

Convinced, then, that the Concerns of our
souls are infinitely important, where should
we lodiie them but in his hands to whon:i
the Father hath conmiitted them. ' I
* know/ may the belie\'er say, ' that the


' Father hath committed all judgment to
' the Son. He is the only Mediator be-
' tween God and man ; the Way, the Truth,
' and the Life, by whom alone we can have

* access to the Father. And shall I not

* choose him for my guardian, with whom
' the Father has entrusted the care of all
' his chosen .^ Shall I not confide in him as

* my Saviour, who is so dear in the sight of

* his heavenly Father, as well as every way

* qualified in himself for discharging this
^ high and honourable office ?'

Thus it appears, from the special charac-
ter and commission of Christ, as well as
from his personal qualifications, how admi-
rably fitted he is for the office which he

I come now^, as was proposed,

II. To point out the manner in which this
persuasion is produced and promoted in the
souls of true believers.


346 JrilE SAFETY SER. 11,

It will occur to every person who reads
the words of the text with attention, that
they are the words of a confirmed, esta-
blished believer ; of one who has tasted
that the Lord is gracious, and who, under
the effectual teaching of the Spirit of God,
is brought to a settled, and comfortable per-
suasion of his own personal interest in the
blessings of salvation. Upon what grounds
this persuasion is built, has been illustrated
under tlte former head of discourse. We
shall now consider how, or in what manner
the believer arrives at such a knowledge of
Christ, as is sufficient to produce and pro-
mote this happy persuasion. And here I
would observe, that this knowledge is de-
rived, partly from testimony, and partly
from experience.

1. The knowledge of Christ, which is ne-
cessary to produce and promote the com-
fortable persuasion expressed in the text, is
partly derived from testimony.

This, properly, is what we call faith ; a
principle whidi becomes more firm and cer-


tain, in proportion to the number and cha-
racter of the witnesses on whose testimonjr
it rests. Now the witnesses to the power
and faithfulness of Christ are so numerous
and so credible, that the faith of a Christi-
an is built on the most solid and rational
grounds. Let us shortly consider who these
witnesses are, and what their testimony is.

God the Father has in all ao-es borne
Avitness to the power and faithfulness of his
own beloved Son, our blessed Saviour. This
he did of old time by visions and voices,
hy prophecies and typical ordinances. It
is of Jesus and of his power and grace to
save, that God hath spoken hij the mouths
of his holy prophets^ which zvere since the
zvorld began. He was the person describ-
ed to our first parents, as the seed of the
woman who should bruise the head of the
serpent. He was the Son promised to A-
braham, in whom all the families of the
earth were to be blessed ; the Prophet like
unto Moses, whom God was to raise up
from among his brethren ; the Man of sor-
rows, and the Mighty God, foretold by I-


saiiih ; the Righteous branch, the Kino; of
Israel, the Desire of all nations, the Sun of
righteousness, celebrated in such rapturous
strains by the other prophets, who were
successively raised up to bear witness to his
excellence and glory.

The typical institutions under the Old
Testament dispensation prefigured his fu-
ture incarnation. The sacrifices under the
law pointed to his great atonement ; the
ark and the mercy-iseat, the tabernacle of
testimony, and the temple of Solomon, the
molten sea and the golden altar, were so
many different embkms of the fulness of
that salvation which he came to accom-
plish o

Accordingly, when the fulness of time
was come, God the Father bore testimony
to his Son, by sending a heavenly host to
announce his birth, by kindling a star in
the east, wliich conducted the \\ise men to
the manger at Bethlehem, and by reviving-
the spirit of prophecy in Simeon and Anna,
who hailed him as a light to Ughten the


Gentiles^ and the glory of his people Israel,
At his baptism, also, and afterwards at his
transfiguration, a solemn, and pubhc attes-
tation was given to his character and office,
when the Father declared, by an audible
voice from heaven, This is my beloved Son,
in whom I am well pleased.

Christ himself, likewise, thus testifies con-
cerning his own power and readiness to save,
Come unto we, all ye that labour and are
heavy laden, and I will give you rest ; and
whosoever cometh unto 7ne, him I will in
no wise cast out. All the predictions re-
specting the Messiah were accomplished in
him ; the doctrines which he taught, the
life which he led, and the miracles which
he wrouo'ht, ail united in conhrmino; and
proving the truth of his mission, and, conse-
quently, of his ability and v^^ilhngness to

Nor must the testimony of the Holy Spi-
rit be forgotten. It is the Spirit that bear^
elk witness, because the Spirit is truth. He
dwelt in Jesus without measure. He unit-

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Online LibraryDavid BlackSermons on important subjects → online text (page 16 of 23)