Page images

sincere endeavours, in their several stations, to bring others to the knowledge and obedience of his laws, and the virtue and holiness of the gospel. All such shall reign and be honoured with Christ for ever and ever!

The bare mention of these glorious designs of God for us, and the honourable part we are called to act in his creation, naturally give a solemn, serious turn to our thoughts; and therefore the recollection of them should be cherished by us, to counteract the fascination of worldly things, and prevent their taking off our attention to what is of such vast importance to us. The subject, and example before us,


very edifying and instructive. I shall propose only one or two things from it to your thoughts, leaving many to your private reflections. And,


They have been much mistaken who have imagined that it was any private enjoyment and honour peculiar to himself, which our Saviour sought from God, in requesting him to give him the glory he had designed for him. He never sought his own glory in that


sense, as on one occasion he was constrained to declare in his own defence-" I seek not mine own glory.” (John viii. 50.) He would not now seek it, much less make it a part of his prayer to Almighty God. It was beneath him to do it. His future station and condition he willingly left to God, who, he knew, would take care of it and of every thing that belonged to him :-as he himself declared in the place above, after saying that he sought not his own glory;_" There is one that seeketh and judgeth."

As he had hitherto, by the circumstances in which Providence had placed him, acquired such happy benevolent dispositions, that he lived only for the good of others, in devoting himself to bring them to the knowledge of the gospel ; now that he was going to die, and to be withdrawn from this earthly scene of things, he had no other wish or desire but that the blessing of Heaven might accompany and prosper what he had happily begun, in the labours and endeavours of his apostles and followers to the end of all things ; which he looked upon as an honour and increase of felieity to himself by the joy that he should receive in their success.

II. Hence


II. Hence then we learn that an earnest desire of the happiness of others, especially of that which consists in virtue and obedience to the will of God, and an active endeavour to promote it in all men to the utmost of our power, is one of the highest attainments of our nature, and a chief ingredient of that happiness which our kind Creator has in reserve for us hereafter.

For herein lay the perfection of our Saviour's character, that he had a most disinterested affection for all mankind, and desire to save them out of the depths of sin and wretchedness, and to bring them to holiness and eternal life; and that he uniformly and unweariedly sought their welfare, even whilst many of them opposed him, and put


strongest bars they could to his kind designs for them.

In this view his example is proposed to our imitation by the apostle to the Hebrews; (Heb. xii. 2.) “to look to Jesus, the leader and complete pattern of the faith ; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”—His joy, that which is here said to have animated and


supported him under his heavy sufferings, was not the joy of being exalted to high dominion and power, the low ends of earthly sovereignty, but the joy of having contributed unto, and being the chief instrument in bringing about, the restoration of mankind to holiness and the divine favour.

He aimed at obtaining no other happiness or reward but this, in connexion with the divine approbation of his conduct and his lovingkindness towards him.

And this benevolent disposition, which was so conspicuous and predominant in our blessed Lord, must and will insure to all that possess it an unbounded happiness in the heavenly abodes; because it will cause them to rejoice and be happy in the virtue and holiness of all whom they shall there behold, and so to share in their blius ; for, by feeling joy and pleasure in that which belongs to others we make it

our own.

· And although the happiness of the blessed in heaven will flow from other sources, of many of which we can have no idea, besides, what may arise from further knowledge of the great Creator and his works of wisdom and goodness through infinite ages past, and G 2


from being employed by him in ways unknown to promote his gracious designs : yet how vast and extensive in this one respect must be the joy and satisfaction which a good mind will feel, where all are holy, and pious, and good!

III, You will observe, that not only our Saviour's apostles and the first christians, but all his sincere followers in all times are called to partake, and entitled to the glory and happiness here promised to them.

For he prefaces this part of his prayer with saying, (ver. 20.) “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.”

And he may reasonably be supposed to comprise under this description of believers in him, not only those his first followers, who were favoured with a divine extraordinary assistance in spreading the gospel, but all others in subsequent times, those who have fore us, us that are now on the stage of life, and those who shall come afrer us, who in the ordinary methods of God's providence, and by the directions of his holy word and spirit in the scriptures, labour to bring others off


gone be

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »