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ing diligence suitably to repair them? The body and soul of man were together ruined by transgression. When they had been ordained to bear the image, and shew forth the glory of their Creator, the powers of hell got the mastery of them, and held them a while under subjection. In these last times, however, the Lord hath signally “ turned their captivity.” By “ His dear Son” Jesus Christ, He hath sent to redeem our souls from “ the bondage of cor“ ruption,” and to instruct us, since we have been so wonderfully set at liberty, in the duty of cleansing and restoring our bodies from their naturally polluted state, that they may be rendered fit for His use and service. Are we properly sensible of this great deliverance, and thereupon rendering our hearts, and all our mem“bers as instruments of righteousness unto “ Him?”—or, are we still chiefly intent on our own worldly convenience, and on gratifying the desires of the flesh and of the mind ? Assuredly, if any be thus living unto themselves more than unto their Creator and Redeemer, they have reason to expect, not prosperity and success, but vexations and hinderances, perplexity and confusion, in their course. The God of their salvation, whom they ungratefully slight, will probably set His face against them, and presently deliver them over again
into the will of their spiritual adversaries, to be led captive, and cruelly handled by them as they please; or if hitherto, many (unlike the Israelities) be seeming to thrive by ungodly courses, no doubt, a day is coming in the which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will overthrow and consume them as in a moment, unless they shall have previously repented. Finally, therefore, my brethren, be induced by the awful prospect of that day, and by all which at this time has been set before you, habitually to consider your ways, and to fear, and confess yourselves before God, whereinsoever by the light of His word they shall appear to have been unworthy of your profession: and desire of Him to stir up your spirits, by His Spirit sent down from heaven, that you may be “ fitly framed, “ and grow, and be builded together as a holy
temple or habitation of his excellency.” (Eph. ii. 21, 22.) For unto every man who thus honoureth the Divine Majesty,“not doing his own
ways, nor finding his own pleasure, nor speak
ing his own words,”—unto him the promise is given," then shalt thou delight thyself in the “ Lord;" yea," and the pleasure of the Lord “ shall prosper in his hand.” (Isaiah lviii. 13, 14; liii. 10.)
LUKE xvii. 37.
They answered and said unto Him, Where, Lord ?
And He said unto them, Wheresoever the body is,
thither will the eagles be gathered together. THE contents of this chapter, especially of the latter part of it, to which my text belongs, are of the most solemn and alarming kind. A question put to Jesus by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come was the immediate occasion of such His discourse. He began with telling them, that the kingdom, about which they had asked Him, should not presently come with observation, i. e. in a manner to be gazed at, and admired, and shewn, as it were with the finger, to inquirers, but rather in the hidden man of the heart; and then He forewarned His disciples of much to be suffered, both by Himself and them, and of many terrible things which must intervene, previous to the establishment of it in power and glory. Days resembling those of Noah, and of Lot--days of sudden and sweeping vengeance-should first, He gave them to know, be experienced. The ungodly and sinners should be visited with so swift a destruction, that the righteous should be “ scarcely saved.” He would allow time, in that fearful crisis, for nothing else but flight. If one would stay to collect his worldly goods, he should probably perish with them. If one would look back, after the example of Lot's wife, he should probably forfeit thereby his opportunity to escape. If one would attempt to preserve his life from the impending danger, by denying his profession, or by any unworthy means, he should certainly lose it both temporally and eternally, without remedy; the only true security should be found, in setting at naught this life, and keeping a fast hold on the next. After these awful forewarnings, Jesus proceeded to declare, that of two persons in the same place, or about the same occupation, one should be taken, or fall a prey to the calamity, and the other be left, or permitted to go free from it: and when, at the conclusion of His discourse, the disciples “ answered and said unto Him, Where, Lord ?” His reply to them only was,—“ Wheresoever “ the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered “ together."
I design, now, my brethren, first, to explain the verse proposed, agreeably with the foregoing introduction; and, secondly, to apply it, as written for our admonition, and for all unto whom at any time it shall come.
First then; “Where, Lord?” the disciples asked of Jesus, when He had brought His prophetic words to a close. This information they desired of Him, respecting, probably, the whole which He had stated to them. Having heard at His mouth of events and circumstances in store, the sound of which might justly make their ears to tingle, a natural wish possessed them to ascertain the place wherein such predictions were to be fulfilled. So, they endeavoured by a precise inquiry to draw it forth from Him; Where, Lord, they demanded, where shall all these things, which Thou hast foretold, come to pass ?
But, Jesus could not be thus induced to make known more particulars than He had seen good. He never thought well to satisfy the vain curiosity of those around Him,—not even of His own beloved disciples ; nor would He subjoin anything in the present instance which might prevent men of all countries and places from feeling themselves interested in what He had been saying. Accordingly, to their unwise question—Where?--Jesus replied, not here, in this region, or there, in that, but, in terms of a somewhat mysterious, and general import.