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ed with the Father in the testimony given
to the Son at his baptism, for at that time
tlie Spirit of God was seen descending like
a dove, and lighting upon him. The mira-
cles which Christ performed are expressly
ascribed to his influence * ; and on the day
of Pentecost, when not only miraculous
gifts were bestov/ed on the apostles, but
when above three thousand souls were con-
verted, the promise was fulfilled, / will pour
out of my Spirit upon all flesh ; and it shall
come to pass, that whosoever shall call on
the name of the Lord shall be saved.

These are the three that bear record in
heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Ho-
ly Ghost ; and as these three are one in na-
ture and perfections, so they agree in their
testimony. 27//.S- is the record, that God
hath given u?ito us eternal life, and this
life is in his Son.

But, besides this divine testimony, there
are other witnesses to the power and faitli-

* Matth. xii. 28.


fulness of Christ. All the saints who lived
in former times, the whole company of the
faithful, all the patriarchs and prophets, the
apostles and martyrs, bear testimony to this
interesting fact. They all died in the faith
of its comforting truth, and are nov/ be-
fore the throne, clothed in white robes, with
palms in their hands, proclaiming as with
one voice that Jesus is mighty to save.

Our fellow-Christians, likewise, in the
present day, may be produced as witnesses
to the power and faithfulness of the Re-
deemer. They live in different and distant
places ; their cases are various, and their
attainments unequal ; but they all will unite
in declaring, that ever since they were ena-
bled to commit their souls to Christ, they
have found a peace and joy to which they
were strangers before, and that not one
word of all that he hath spoken hath failed
to be accomplished.

On what a sure foundation, then, does
the faith of a believer rest ! on nothing less
than a divine testimony, confirmed by the


concurring evidence of a great cloud of wit-
nesses in e\'ery age. In this manner does
the behever attain to siich a knowledge of
the Saviour, as produces and maintains in
his soul the comibrtable persuasion express-
ed in the words of the text. But I obser-

2. That this knowledge is likewise in
part derived from the believer's own expe-

The apostle speaks here like one who had
passed through nianv dangers and trials,
and who, in all the situations in which he
had been placed, had experienced the care
and compassion of his faithful Redeemer.
Such, in some degree, is the case with all
true believers. Though at first they are in-
duced, by the report of others, to commit
then- best interests into the hands of Jesus,
yet, from what they afterwards experience
of his power and grace on their own souls,
they can say, as the men of Samaria did to
the woman who first told them of Christ,
I^ow we believe, not because of thy saying,


for we have heard him ourselves, and know
that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour
of the world.

From these sources, from experience as
Well as faith, is that knowledge derived, of
which the apostle speaks in our text. ' I

* was guilty, wretched ^ and hopeless,' may
the believer say, ' when the joyful sound of

* the gospel first brought peace to my mind.
^ I saw myself condemned by the sentence

* of God's righteous law^ and my heart me-

* ditated nothing but terror ; but the view

* of a crucified and risen Saviour removed

* my fears. I beheld the Almighty Fathet

* seated on a throne of grace, and heard

* him with infinite complacency proclaim-

* ing from the exalted glory, This is my he-

* loved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

* And I know whom I have believed, for

* still, under the alarms of new guilt, my
' soul betakes itself to this blessed refuge ;

* and I find, that nothing can pacify my

* conscience but this precious blood 4>f

* sprinkling;

y Y

354 THE SAFETY se:r. 11,

^ I was a slave to divers lusts and pas-
sions, carried captive by the devil at his
will : I Avas a daring rebel against the Ma-
jesty of heaven, and a presumptuous trans-
gressor of his holy law. But the Re-
deemer, who is mighty, released me from
this degrading bondage. In the day of
his power he broke the fetters in which
I had Jono; been held. And / know whom
I have believed ; for though, alas ! iniqui-
ties still prevail against me, though I am
daily receiving fresh proofs of my sinflil
corrupted nature, yet I trust the power of
sin is destroyed, and that I truly hate and
forsake those things in which I formerly
deliirhted. I well know to whose s:race I
am indebted for thi« happy change. I
was utterly unable of myself to perform
the duties, to endure the afflictions, or to
resist the temptations of life. But I know
whom I have believed. I know who it is
that has helped me in numberless difficul-
ties ; who it is that has strengthened me
with sino-leness of heart, thouoh with ma-
ny imperfections, to fulfd the duties of
my station ; who it is that has enabled m»


' to bear sharp, and long-continued afflic-
' tions with chearfulness and composure ;
' who it is that has fortified m}'^ mind a-
' gamst the various snares and temptations

* incident to my situation in hie, the least
' of which, I am conscious, must have prov-
^ ed too powerful, without his gracious aid ;
' and therefore, weak and inconstant as I

* feel myself to be, I bless him I can say,
' that, bi/ the grace of God I am uliat I
^ am,'

In this manner does the believer, by his
own experience, attain a kno^vledge of the
Redeemer's power and faithfulness- Rea-
soning from the past to the future, he is en-
couraged to put an unhmited confidence in
Him who hath delivered, and doth deliver,
and in whom he trusts that lie will yet de-
liver ; being persuaded that he is able to
keep that zi'hich he has committed irnto Jiim
against that day.

Thus have I endeavoured to illustrate
and confirm the proposition contained in
the text, That every true believer who has

356 THE SAFETY SER. 11-,

committed his eternal interests into the
hands of Christ, may rest assured that he
will keep that which is committed unto him
against that day, by shewing you, — I. Upon
what ground this comfortable persuasion is
built ; and, II. In what manner it is produced
and promoted in the souls of true believers.

It now only remains, that I conclude this
discourse with a few practical reflections
from what has been said.

1. How much are they to be pitied, who
have no interest in the Saviour, who have
never been thoroughly convinced of their
wretched and helpless condition as sinners,
and who, consequently, have not committed
the infinitely momentous concerns of their
souls into the hands of Christ.

Alas! how many are in this situation,
living without God, and without hope in
the world ! How many seem to be satisfied
with their part and portion in the present
life ! Let them only enjoy health and ease,
wealth and honour, and they sit down coo-

SEll. 11. OP BELIEVERS. 35?

tented, saying to themselves, as the rich
fool in the parable, aSom/, thou hast much
goods laid up for many i/ears, take thine
ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But how
«oon must this enchantment be dissolved !
how soon must the eyes of these unhappy
men be opened to perceive, that what they
blindly consider as substantial good, is on-
ly the shadow of happiness ; whilst the
things which they were accustomed to con-
sider as the chimeras of a gloomy imagina-
tion, are found to be great and awful rea-
lities ! What shall they do, or how shall
they appear in that day, when the secrets
of all hearts shall be manifest, and every
man shall receive according to the deeds
done in the body, whether they have been
good or bad ; when the Judge shall ascend
the throne, and summon all the quick and
the dead to appear before him, to answer
for the improvement which they have made
of their several talents ? Then, and not till
then, will it be known of what importance
it is to have the interests of our souls safe-
Jy lodged in the hands of the Almighty Sa-
viour. ,0 that sinners would think of this

358 THE SAFETY SETl. 11.

whilst it may avail them, and not sacrifice
concerns of such infinite importance, to the
vain pursuits of a perishing world !

But merely to be convinced of the im-
portance of this subject, and to entertain
some serious thoughts about salvation, is
not sufficient, unless we have actually com-
mitted our interests to the Saviour, and are
looking for the mercy of God, through him,
ti72fo eternal life. Men may be convinced
of their danger, and seriously concerned a-
bout their souls, and yet be far from ob-
taining eternal life, if they are deceiving
themselves with a false hope, with a hope
that rests on any other foundation than the
finished work of Christ. Let us take good
heed unto ourselves, therefore, lest our
hopes fail us in the day of the Lord. That
day zvill try every mans work of what sort
it is. O that our hope may be such as will
stand the test ! a hope built upon the Rock
of ages, which will never make us ashamed ;
a hope that will support us through all the
changing circumstances of life, yield us so-
lid comfort at the hour of death, and ena-f


ble us to lift up our heads with joy at the
eventful period, when assembled worlds
shall receive their final and everlasting

2. That we may abound more and more
in this hope, through the power of the Ho-
ly Ghost, let us study to grow in grace, and
in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ^

Faith, we have seen, is built upon know-*
ledge, and the more knowledge any Chri-
stian possesses, the more confirmed and es-
tablished will his faith be ; and consequent-
ly, the more will his hope and joy in the
Lord increase. What is the reason that
many Christians are so subject to doubt and
despondency, that every change in the state
of their minds shakes the ground of their
spiritual confidence, so that they are often
alarmed, and tremble as if all was lost ? Is it
not, in a great measure, owing to the im-
perfection of their knowledge, to their want
of clear and comprehensive views of divine
truth, and to their laying an unwarrantable
stress on sudden and warm affections, hi-


stead of applying their minds to the soUd
and permanent grounds of Christian faith ?
There can be no abiding joy that does not
spring from faith, and there can be no true
faith that is not built upon knowledge. It
was the knowletlge of the Redeemer's power
and faithfulness to save, that raised the
apostle to the blessed assurance which he
expresses in the text. It was for this most
excellent knowledge that he counted all
things but loss. And if we would wish, my
Brethren, to rise to the same exalted tri-
umphs of faith and hope, we must be deter-
mined to know nothino; so much as Jesus
Christ and him crucified ; we must study
daily to acquire a fuller and more impres-
sive acquaintance with the power and wis-
dom^ the faithfulness and compassion of the
great Redeemer.

Above all, let us seek after an increasing-
experimental knowledge of the Saviour. Ex-
perience is the best of all knowledge, and
that which will most certainly yield us the
greatest comfort in the season of distress,
and at the hour of death. To promote



tills, let us converse much with Christ in
meditation and prayer, by secret and hour-
ly addresses to him, and frequent pious
breathings towards him. Let us daily ex-
amine what influence the work and power
of grace has on our own hearts, in the per-
formance of duties and the resistance of
temptation, and take heed that we lose not
those things whicli we have gained, guard-
ing against the first beginnings of declen-
sion, and pressing towards the mark jor
tlie prize of the; high calling of God in
Christ Jesus. Thus shall we become esta-
blished in the ways of God. Our faith will
rise to a blessed assurance, and our hopes
be full of immortality.

3. Have we committed our mimortal in -
te rests into the hands of Christ, and shall
we not trust him with all our lesser con-
cerns ?

Do we rely oh this Saviour for life eter-
nal, and shallwe not also rely on him for
the supply of our temporal wants? Is he
able to keep that which we have committed

z z

562 THE Safety ser. 11,

unto him against that day, and is he not
able hkewise to make all things, that can
happen to us in the present life, to work to-
gether for our good ? Why should we in-
dulge immoderate anxiety and worldly
cares? He w^ho hath undertaken to save us
at the end of our journey, hath likewise en-
gaged to provide for us by the way. He
who hath not withheld from us the highest
expression of his love, will not deny any
meaner gift that he sees to be truly good for
us. He feeds the fowls of the air, and will he
not feed his people with food convenient for
them ? He clothes the lilies of the field ^ and
shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of
little faith ? Therefore, Christians, learn to
trust in him. In the way of duty and di-
ligence cast all your care on God, who car-
eth for you. Commit the management of
your lot to him with whom you have en-
trusted concerns of infinitely greater mo-
ment, and be content with such things as
ye have ; for he hath said, I zcill never
leave thee nor forsake thee.


4. Let us look forward with believing ex-
pectation to the day when it will appear
with divine evidence, how faithfully Jesus
has kept all that has been committed unto

Behold he corneth with clouds, and eve-
ry eye shall see him. He comes in his own
glory, in the glory of his Father, and of
his holy angels. He comes, to pass the
grand decisive sentence, which \\\\\ deter-
mine the everlasting state of every indi-
vidual, to execute vengeance on his ene-
mies, but to reward, to bless, to render e-
ternally and completely happy his ransom-
ed ones, who have committed their everlast-
ins: all into his faithful hands. Then shall
their sleeping dust awake, and obey his al-
mighty summons ; the bodies of the saints,
fashioned like unto his glorious body, shall
be re-united to their glorified spirits, and
both soul and body shall be put in posses-
sion of all the happiness of which their
enlarged and ennobled natures shall be ren-
dered capable.

36*4 THE SAFETY SER. 11.

O the unknown transports of that day,
when the ever-blessed Redeemer shall de-
liver up his charge to his heavenly Father,
saying, Behold, O Father, here am /, and
the children whom thou hast given me !
Those whom thou hast given 7ne I have
kept,- and not one of them is lost. With
what inconceivable complacency will the
Father receive the solemn charge from the
hands of his beloved Son; while the Saviour
himself sees of the travail of his soul, and
is satisfied, saying with looks full of love.
Come, ye blessed of mij Father, inherit the
kingdom prepared for you from the foun-
dation of tlie world. ' Behold, all is
' safe which ye have committed to my
' charge. I now, before assembled worlds,
' acknowledge you as mine, and welcome
' you' to all the glory which I have purchas-
* ed and prepared/ O the melody of these
heavenly words ! What language can ex-
press the transports of joy which will then fill
the souls of the redeemed, while every one
vies with another who shall extol in loudest
strains the praises of the matchless Saviour,
saying, * My best-beloved, and most faith-


' ful Redeemer, thou hast indeed kept that

* which I committed unto thee a2:ainst this
' day. Amidst many danf];ers arid much
' weakness, thou hast graciously preserved

* me ; and now thou hast brought me safe

* into thy Father's house, thine be the glo-
^ ry for ever and ever/

O the glories of that day ! the high rap-
turous praises of the Redeemer and his
grace, that shall then sound sweet from e-
very string ! Even faith is astonished at the
delightful, though distant, prospect, and is
ready to cry out. Win/ is his chariot so long
in coming .^ Why tarri/ the wheels of his
chariot 9 Amen. Even so, come Lord Je-
sus. Amen,



Luke xii. 32.

Fear not, little fock ; for it is your Fa-.
thers good pleasure to give you the king-

J HE disciples, to whom these words were
originally addressed, were few in number,
and exposed to peculiar dangers, like sheep
in the midst of wolves, and other beasts of
prey. But their gracious Master, in the
most winning language, desires them not to
be afraid. He appears like an affectionate
parent looking round on his children with
an air of inexpressible tenderness, and per-

SER. 12. Christ's, &c. 367

ceiving marks of sorrow and anxiety in their
countenances, instantly suggesting subjects
of consolation, calculated to soothe their
griefs and dispel their fears.

The encouraging words of the text, how-
ever, were designed to comfort, not only
the first disciples of the Lord, but all, in e-
very succeeding age, who rely on his grace.
Chrisi's flock, is still a httle flock. They
bear but a small proportion to the multi-
tude around them, who are evidently walk-
ing in the broad way that leadeth to de-
struction. They seldom possess any distin-
guished station in the world, and are some-
times despised, reviled, and persecuted by
ungodly men. Danger surrounds them.
Enemies watch for their halting^. Their
own hearts, too, their evil and deceitful
hearts, occasion them much annoyance.
But the good Shepherd, who laid down his
life for the sheep, continually watches over
them, and if they are only enabled by faith
to realise the precious truths which he sets
before them, they m ill dismiss their fears.

.36'S chuist's s£r. 12.

and be exceeding joy fnl in all their tribu-

To assist you, in this interesting duty, I
shall endeavour to explain and illustrate the
different grounds of consolation suggested
in the text, and then improve and apply the

1. The //;".s^ ground of consolation which
the words of the text suggest to the people
of Christ, is their relation to him.

They are his flogk, his little Jtock, sepa*
rated from the rest of the world by his di-
stinguishing grace, iiud brought into a, pe*
cuiiarly near and endearing relation to him>
They were as sheep going astray^ but are
now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop
of souls. In dift'erent parts of scripture, our
Lord Jesus Christ is described under the
emblem of a Shepherd, a tender and inter-
estmg image, which presents many pleasing
and deliiihtful ideas to the mind. He is
called the Good Shepherd, the Chief Shep-


herd, and the Great Shepherd of the

As a shepherd he guides his flock. When
he putteth forth his sheep, he goeth before
them, and the sheep follow him. He guides
them by his counsel, pointing out the road
that leads to happiness on high. As their
forerunner, he hath entered for them into
the holy place not made with hands. He
guides them by his example ; having illus -
trated in his own life the duty which he re-
quires and expects of them. There is no
path of obedience or of suffering in which
they cannot trace his footsteps. He guides
them by his providence, choosing for them
the lot of their inheritance, appointing the
place and the sphere of their usefulness, and
making their way plain before them. And
finally, he guides them by his Spirit, open-
ing their understandings to understand the
scriptures, and inclining their hearts to com-
ply with all his will.

As a shepherd he guards his flock.
Formidable are the adversaries which they

370 chuist's ser. 13,

have to encounter. The subtiky of the
serpent, and the strength of the hon are but
faint representations of their craft and
power. But the Lord is the protector of
his people. Jehovah is their Shepherd, and
having laid down his life to redeem them,
he will not lose the purchase of his blood,
nor suffer their enemies to prevail against

Agam, as a shepherd he feeds them. He
.shall feed his flock like a shepherd. He
brings them into green pastures, and leads
them beside the still waters. These pas-
tures are his word and ordinances, by means
of which he communicates to them of his
own fulness ; for, in strict propriety of lan-
guage, he himself is their food. / am the
bread of life, says he, the living bread which
came down from heaven. If any man eat
of this bread, he shall live for ever. And
the bread that I will give is my flesh, which
I will give for the life of the world. Ve-
rily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat
the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of
Man., ye have no life in you. JVhoso eat^


€th my jlesh and drinketh my blood, hath
eternal life, and. I will raise him up at the
last day.

These words appear to many hard say-
ings, as they did to some of Christ's pro-
fessed followers in the days of his flesh ; but
they are his own words, and when under-
stood in a spiritual sense, (as he intended
that they should), they are full of instruc-
tion and comfort. In consequence of the
analogy which God hath established be-
twixt the natural and spiritual life, the ac-
tions and enjoyments of the one, are employ-
ed to illustrate the actions and enjoyments
of the other. Truth is to the soul what
food is to the body ; and since the doc-
trine of Christ, particularly that which re-
lates to his person, character, office, suffer-
ings, and death, is designed to strengthen
and invigorate the mind in the same way
as bread supports and nourishes the body :
«o they who feed upon Christ in their hearts
by faith, find that his flesh is meat indeed^
and his blood is drink indeed.


372 Christ's ser. 13,

Finally, As the Shepherd of his chosien
flock, our Lord Jesus Christ seeks that
which was lost, brings again that which was
driven a\^ay, binds up that which was bro-
ken, and heals that which was sick ; and
having safely conducted his people through
lile, his rod and his staff will comfort them at
death. He will be with them when called
to pass through the dark valley that leads
to the heavenly fold, where they shall hun'
^er no more^ neither thirst any more, and
where Me Larnb which is in ike midst of
the throne shall feed them, and lead them
unto living fountains of water.

Such is the character of the Shepherd of
Israel. Happy they who can truly say, JVe
are his people and the sheep of his pasture,

A sheep is a feeble and defenceless crea-
ture, unable to protect and to provide for
itself, and wholly dependent kjw the care
of its shepherd. No animal is more apt to
go astray, nor less able by its own sagaci-
ty to find its way back to the place from
which it has wandered. In these respects


it is a striking emblem of the state and cha-
racter of man. All we like sheep have
gone astray^ we have turned every one to
his own way ; and having once wandered
from the right path, we never could have
retraced our steps, nor found the way back
to God and happiness, had not the good
shepherd mercifully interposed for our re-
covery. He came, as he himself informs
us, to seek and to ^nve that which was lout.
In one respect, indeed, the emblem fails.
A strayed sheep is an innocent, harmless
creature, an object of pity, rather than of
blame. But man is not only a ruined, but
a sinful creature. He has become guiJty
through his own choice, and therefore mi-
serable by his own fault. There was every
thing in our case to move the just indigna-
tion of our offended Sovereign ; nothing to
conciliate his favour or regard. But such
was the love of God, that even when we
ze)ere yet sinners, Christ died for us ; and
all for whom the good Shepherd laid down
his life, he effectually calls bv his grace.
He knows them while they know liim not.
He has his eye upon them for good, even at

574f Christ's ser. 12,

the very time when they are running at the
farthest distance from him, and in his own
appointed time he brings them to the know-
ledge of himseh', and reclaims them from
their sinful wanderings. He discovers to
them their hopeless and miserable condi-
tion, and M ith the most melting condescen-
sion, reveals his love to their souls. Thus
they become his^ocA'.

This expression implies, their relation,

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