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became of them? What wisdom had they? Can you conceive of men more beguiled of Satan than these men ? The world may praise them: but what does God say of them? Let us hear his account, and listen to what we hear: If our Gospel be 'hid, it is hid to them that are lost !
Am I speaking to any who are yet sleeping, though so glorious a light is risen upon the earth? I would say to such, What! does this light shine, that you may determine to sit in darkness, and pour contempt on it? What will you plead in the Great Day? You cannot say, like the benighted Chinese or Indian, “ We were brought up in the darkness of idolatry. The light that was in us, was darkness.”. You must give account of these truths : and then you will find them to be a savour of death unto death.
3. If True Wisdom is here marked out and set before us, and recommended to our attention by the God of all wisdom, WHAT A BLESSED THING IT IS to be REALLY WISE-a truly godly man, enlightened and enlivened by this light !
For there is one Spirit, one light, one real character in all true Christians. Were these lights, which are shining round us to-night, to be multiplied into ten thousand times their number, they wonld be all of the same nature. So the grace of God, whether it work in Abraham, in Lazarus, or in any sinner at this day, is of the same nature still.
My Dear Hearers, let the world think of these things as they may. These Wise Men were treated, doubtless, with the utmost contempt in Jerusalem, when they came, enquiring, Where is he, that is born King of the Jews? And when they set out from their own country, it is probable they were regarded as madmen : the following of à star must have been accounted by their coun: trymen, as one of the wildest projects that ever entered the head of man. And when they fell down before the child, and offered gold and frankincense, whoever stood round and were not under the same gracious influence, would regard it as the most egregious trifling to pour out such gifts before a poor child, in the lap of a poor virgin, and in the meanest situation, under the idea that they were led by a star to pay that adoration.
You see now the opinions of the men of the world. Nothing can be gathered from them. Let us follow our rule, and leave consequences, as these Wise Men did. And how will these very men rise up in judgment against the curious tra- . veller, the wise politician, the learned, the scorners and scoffers of every day, who pour contempt on our treasure-the most glorious object that God ever shewed to man—while they bring forward their little trifles—their shells and their pebblesand summon the world to the admiration of them!
I call on you, therefore, to seek True Wisdom; that you may be of the number of those whom God calls wise, and will prove to have been such in the face of these scorners: for, They, that be wise, shall shine as the stars for ever and ever. Let us be candidates for that glory; and let us remember, that no man ever sought in vain that honour which cometh of God.
SIGNS OF THE TIMES.
MATT. XVI. 1, 2, 3.
The Pharisees also, with the Sadducees, came: and, tempting, de
sired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, it will be fair weather; for the sky is red: and, in the morning, it will be foul weather to-day; for the sky is red and lowering. Oye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky, but can ye not discern the signs of the times ?
HE Pharisees and Sadducees were the formalists and infidels of that day. They came in a curious, unbelieving spirit,-a spirit never likely to receive any instruction: but they came in this spirit, desiring to see a sign, or miracle. Our Lord reproved this spirit: for he looked at the hearts of these men. He seems to have reproved them in this sentiment:-“ Ye are observant in natural things: ye know how to read the face of the sky; but how is it that ye are so blind in moral considerations, that ye seem to know nothing at all of the signs of the times?”—or, as St. Luke expresses it, in the twelfth chapter of his Gospel, “ How is it that ye do not discern this time? Why do not ye understand your dispensation? Why, like children, do ye want to see something that shall meet your curiosity, in this idle and unbelieving spirit? You see enough, if you
could read what you see. Why do you not perceive that the kingdom of God is among you ?-that Christ, the Son of God is come and hath eternal life. Having eyes, ye see not! You look at the skies, and learn to read them; and why do you not read the signs and tokens of your times?"
We are here taught, therefore, that a conscientious man will endeavour, so far as he is able, to read the Signs of his Time.
I shall endeavour to point out, 1. THE SIGNS OF OUR TIMES. 2. WHAT THESE SIGNS SUGGEST IN REGARD TO
I. Let us enquire, WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF OUR TIMES.
1. As they proceed from GOD.
He hath afforded us a singular Dispensation of Grace. He hath put us in a capacity of being delivered from our sins, in their guilt and power. He hath set before us a refuge : that we, being delivered from our enemies, onight serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness all the days of our lives. He hath set forth a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us : by this way we have access to God.