Page images
PDF
EPUB

Review of Books.

Be

SERMONS BY THE LATE REV. THOMAS SCOTT, M. A. Rector of Wappenham, Northamptonshire, and formerly Incumbent of Gawcót, Bucks, with a Brief Memoir of his Life. Edited by the Rev. SAMUEL KING,

M. A. Rector of Latimer, Bucks. 8vo. Pp. xxiv. and 382. Seeleys. The late venerable Rector of Aston with all the powers of their minds Sandford was indeed blessed and to the duties of their sacred office, a blessing. Though never emi- have each in their several spheres nently popular as a preacher, he walked with God, promoted his was yet extensively useful. Many glory, and entered into the rest who have been honoured as the which remaineth for the people of instruments of enlarged usefulness, God; each might at a dying hour derived from his discourses those

say, ye followers of me, as I sacred truths which they have am of Christ ;” and may well sti. proclaimed in various parts of the mulate us to be imitators of “ those world; while the numbers who who through faith and patience appear to have been savingly con- inherit the promises." verted under his own ministrations These remarks have arisen in were far greater than could have our mind while contemplating the been anticipated from the slender volume before us. The three sons congregations to whom he usually of Mr. Scott laboured in distant officiated. Yet his grand usefulness places, were each highly valued in no doubt arose from the divine bles- their own circles, were each resing on those writings which he was moved at what must be regarded enabled to produce. His Commen- as an early age, and their executors tary is still, and we doubt not will or surviving relatives and friends long continue a standard work, have selected from the MSS, of each extensively circulated, carefully a yolume of Posthumous Sermons, read, and affording a copious sup- two of which have already been ply of sound principles and holy widely circulated, and the third precepts for the assistance of un- which is now before us, is every numbered ministers in every part

way deserving of, and will exceed of the world, where the English ingly repay a careful perusal. tongue is known. The value and The Rev. Thomas Scott, the sethe usefulness of such a work is cond of the commentator's sons was beyond calculation ;-“ by it, he perhaps less generally known than being dead, yet speaketh ;” and either of his brothers. He married in the hands of our heavenly early, and settled at the retired Father, is still an honoured instru- Hamlet of Gawcot, and engaged in ment in turning many to righteous- the arduous and laborous task of

instructing pupils. He was thereBut Mr. Scott was not merely fore, comparatively speaking little a blessing to the church and the known as a preacher, though his world, he was blessed and a bless- talents

a high order. ing in his own family. Several of He combined all the elements his children died in their infancy,

first rate

preacher. His and were thus translated to the person, voice, and manner paradise of God; all who sur- interesting and commanding. His vived, embraced and adorned their discourses were copious, judicious, father's principles. Three sons,

evangelical and highly practical ; each engaging in the work of the many of them abound in original ministry, and devoting themselves and striking thoughts; and though

ness.

were of

of a

were

We

6. In thy

written in so plain a style, as The fifth Sermon in the present to be intelligible to poor labour- volume, is on the Happiness of ers and lacemakers, they were never the Heavenly State, from Psalm low, grovelling, or vulgar. xvi. 11. “ In thy presence is fultherefore exceedingly rejoiced when ness of joy. After a suitable introwe heard a volume of his dis- duction, Mr. S. proceeds to obcourses was in the press, and we serve, that the joys of heaven are earnestly recommend it to the at- holy, they are satisfying, they are tention of the pnblic, and espe- eternal. The second observation is cially to the diligent study of young

thus enlarged upon. ministers and students preparing for

II. THE PLEASURES OF HEAthe work of the ministry. They VEN ARE SATISFYING. cannot adopt a more admirable

presence there is FULNESS OF JOY,” model for their own discourses than that which is here exhibited.

This too, my brethren, is what we have

little or no conception of. In the world The present volume contains men have their joys, but there is no fullTwenty-one Sermons, to which is ness of joy, no complete satisfaction in prefixed a brief Memoir of the them. It is very rare to hear a person Author, by his brother-in-law, the

say—' that matter afforded me all the

satisfaction I looked for from it; 1 was Rev. Samuel King, the substance better pleased than I expected.' This of which appeared in the Chris- language is uncommon, the general comtian Observer, shortly after Mr. plaint is, 'I have been disappointed; I Scott's decease. Mr. King ob

expected much, but found little. Some

times the fault is in the thing, or in the serves in his preface, that Mr.

person on whom we depended for satisScott very

seldom wrote out at faction, but more commonly in ourselves. length the application of his dis- I have often been struck with marking the courses; having explained and

countenances of those who are flocking to illustrated his topic, he usually

some place where amusement and plea

sure is expected ; and then comparing preferred an extemporary applica- them with the same persons on their retion, especially adapted to the turn. When going, life and animation and character and circumstance of his

cheerful expectancy are expressed in their

looks, but how changed on their return, congregation, This we conceive

almost every face seems to denote disapwill be found a very useful way of pointment, weariness, dissatisfaction. The preaching, combining at once the difference is much the same as that which accuracy of a written discourse, exists between the cheerful countenance and the vividness of an extempo

of youth, and the dull and weary expres

sion of age. And what does all this mean? rary address. Mr. Scott found

Why all this anxious inquiry “ who will great pleasure in writing, and car- show us any good ?Why this perpetual ried on a very extensive and in- call for something new-for some fresh

It is

pleasure-some new amusement ? structive correspondence, while he

that man has forsaken the fountain :' has left behind him a very consi

it is that our cisterns are all broken; it is derable number of Sermons.

that we are seeking the living among In perusing the volume before the dead;" it is that we are putting the us, we have felt at no small loss to creature in the place of the Creator. select from the numerous passages

Yes, my friends, this is the source of all

your disappointments. The world and the which presented themselves to our things of it would answer every purpose notice, such extracts as might they were intended to answer ; but you afford a fair specimen of our au

look to them for what they cannot afford. thor's style. How far indeed we

You put them in the wrong place, and

therefore you have so much to complain have succeeded, must be left to the

of. Would you but return to God the decision of those by whom the fountain of living water : would you but whole volume is perused. The attend to his word, and hearken to his following passages, however, ap

advice, you would not be unhappy as you

The Christian has joys which satisfy pear to us especially deserving of

as well as sanctify the mind to a certain attention.

extent. He is not, it is true, fully satisfied

are.

with the degree of his enjoyment, but he Christ has made an atonement for us, and wishes for no change in the nature and through his blood we may rise from the source of it. He knows he is come to the ruins of the fall; as our Redeemer, he spring of living water, though he some- has purchased for us the inheritance we times feels as though the well were deep had forfeited, and is now ready to restore and he had nothing to draw with ; but he it to us; all is offered freely without does not therefore return to his broken

money and without price. To what then cisterns; he waits—he prays—he uses all is it owing that we can look forward with the means of grace, and at length he draws so little comfort ? Why with joy from the wells of salvation. But

So low our hopes of joys above, so few affecin heaven this living water of life flows in

tions there? a broad and open stream, where it may be enjoyed to full satisfaction without la

alas! my brethren, is it not because our bour and without fear of exhausting its

consciences reveal a painful truth to us. mighty current. “In thy presence is

We know that these treasures are laid up fulness of joy." There the blissful spirit

in heaven, but we do not know that they of the redeemed sinner shall have un

are laid up for us. We know that the mingled happiness shed upon him without

faithful servant shall enter into the joy of measure from his God and Saviour. There,

his Lord, but he must be a faithful sernot one want shall ever be felt-not one

vant, and alas ! we dare not presume to desire that shall not be perfectly satisfied.

take that title to ourselves. Our hearts Oh what a change from a world where

misgive us while we make the attempt. everything is hollow and deceitful-where

Our activity and zeal in the service of God every gratification carries with it disap.

are so small that we can hardly hope that pointment, and every flower has a thorn;

they will be accepted at all by him who for a world where all is solid and substan.

demands our whole heart-our whole tial joy—where there is no fear of ex

soul; our faith is at so low an ebb-it haustion--no dread of change; where

does so little in overcoming the worldevery power shall find full employment

so little in purifying our hearts--it works every passion its corresponding gratifica

so little by love, that our hope must necestion-every faculty an object on which it sarily be very low also, and low as it is we can fix with full delight, and yet never be

must fear that even the portion we have, satiated, never be wearied with enjoy

may be presumptuous. Hence it is that ment.

we feel so little encouraged by meditating But this, brethren, is above our

on such a passage as that now before us; thoughts ! it is so unlike anything we have

this is the reason why the fear of death is ever experienced that we cannot realize it.

so little overcome'; why we have so little

appearance of happiness to comfort us in The discourse is thus closed.

the prospect of departing hence. We have thus, my brethren, taken a

And shall we be contented to let things slight glance at those glorious prospects

remain so? Shall we willingly pass on which the word of God presents to our

toward the awful hour of dissolution, notice. The view I have led you to, is, I

without any thing to cheer us? Shall we know, very confined; and I have thrown

be satisfied to go down to the grave withbut little light upon it, yet we have seen

out knowing whether we are about to enough to lead us to make one inquiry enter upon everlasting joy or endless woe? that is most interesting and important to

No, my brethren ! let us arouse ourselves us all. Since such are the prospects which

from this state of stupid insensibility. open to us beyond the grave, how is it

There are cordials provided for us in this that we feel such repugnance, such chill

melancholy vale. There are supports to ing horror at the thought of death? Since

be had under all our troubles. The valley we know there is no real happiness in

of the shadow of death may be made light this world, while in “His presence there

about us.

Death may be made gain. We is fulness of joy, and at his right hand are

may rise to a state in which we may be pleasures for evermore,” how is it that we

always confident. We may fix our minds, are not ready to 'hail the sharpest pangs

on the joys above, with an assurance that of death, that break our way to God?'

they are all our own. But it will not be This inquiry brings with it many painful

attained by dull inactivity, or by stiff forreflections. It is not because these holy,

mality in religious duties. It must be by satisfying, and enduring pleasures are

careful keeping of the heart-by steady out of our reach. No, they are the joy

watchfulness against sin-by constant set before us ; they form the conqueror's

faith in the Lord Jesus Christ-by abound. crown held out to us ; they are the joy of

ing in love-by “holding fast the beginthe Lord, into which the faithful servant ning of our confidence steadfast to the shall enter.

It is not because we have sinned and come short of glory of God.” Such indeed is our case, but the gospel

The ninth Sermon is on that brings us a remedy for this our misery. difficult subject, Divine and Human

end.

ners.

Agency in the work of Salvation, But, my brethren, when we have refrom Phil. ii. 12, 13.

course to our Bibles, to learn how we may

be saved, we may perhaps be struck with The text presents three subjects for our consideration.

a seeming contradiction between the man. I. THE DUTY which it enforces.

ner in which the text speaks upon the II. THE DISCOURAGEMENTS to the per

subject and the tenor of other passages, formance of this duty.

We are continually taught, that it is to III. THE ENCOURAGEMENTs to persevere.

Christ alone that we are to look, and that

he alone can save us; that our salvation In enlarging on the first head,

is alt “ of grace through faith; that “it Mr. Scott remarks

is the gift of God, not of works lest any The word of God assures us that there man should boast;" while here we are is no difference, for all have sinned and commanded to “ work out our own salvacome short of the glory of God'-all, all tion.” There seeins therefore to be a comof us, the whole human race, have so plete contradiction; but I trust we shall sinned as to forfeit heaven, and entail see that it is only in appearance and not in upon ourselves the inheritance of ever- reality that St. Paul thus contradicts lasting woe.

himself. Hence then arises our need of salvation In the first place, the anguage of Scripand a Saviour; of one who can deliver us ture is too plain to be mistaken, that the from the dreadful danger to which our only meritorious cause of salvation is sins have justly exposed us. My dear what the Lord Jesus did, and suffered, friends, let me beg every one of you to when he came into the world to save sin. consider me as if speaking to you indivi

“ This is a faithful saying and dually. In many particulars I am aware worthy of all acceptation, that Christ you differ much from each other; but Jesus came into the world to save sinners.': here is a point, and that the most impor

" Other foundation can no man lay than tant one imaginable, in which you are all that is laid, which is Christ Jesus.” By alike. You are all sinners, all condemned, his sufferings and death, he made a full, all in danger of eternal misery, and there. perfect, and sufficient atonement and safore you all need salvation; and unless tisfaction for our sins; by his perfect obeyou seek so as to find it, you will die in dience “ he hath brought in everlasting your sins and perish for ever.

righteousness. And since God SO Here you must allow me to use great loved the world, that he gave his only plainness of speech. You must not be begotten Son,” thus to suffer and die for offended if I utter the full conviction of us; and since nothing that we had done my heart, and say, that there is not one or could do, could deserve such a gift as person in this congregation-no, nor in this : the blessings that flow to us through all the world, who is not so great a sin- him are all of grace, of free undeserved ner, that he will assuredly perish, if he do mercy; and therefore leave man nothing not seek and find salvation. This then whatever to boast of. And since these should be the first and grand business of blessings, thus bestowed upon us through every man's life; this is that wisdom of Christ, are given only to those who bewhich Solomon speaks,“ Get wisdom, lieve in, trust upon, and apply to Christ get understanding. Forsake her not, and as the Saviour, it is said that we are saved she shall preserve thee; love her and she by faith, or by believing on the Son of shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal

God. thing, therefore get wisdom; and with all Thus it is made most plain, that our salthy getting get understanding." The vation is not effected by works of “rigbtwisdom of the world passeth away, but eousness that we have done,” but only this endureth for ever, and “ giveth life,” " by grace through faith, and that not of eternal life,“ to him that hath it." Let us ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of then give our hearts to this one thing, to works, lest any man should boast." But obtain the knowledge of salvation; to while we humbly acknowledge that all our know what we as sinners “must do to be doings are nothing worth, still there is saved."

clearly a work which man has to do; a The attempt to search for this heavenly work which must be done earnestly and wisdom and knowledge, elsewhere than in perseveringly, or he will not obtain that the Word of God, will be utterly vain. It salvation which he needs. This is what is that inspired and holy book which St. Paul refers into the text when he says teaches us at once our disease and our “ work out your own salvation;"-if the remedy-our danger and our means of whole were to be wrought by our own deliverance. St. Paul therefore reminds power and might, and we were to depend Timothy of his high privilege,

on ourselves for salvation, stronger words thou,” he says, “ from a child hast known could scarcely be used. Nor are they only the holy Scriptures, which are able to to be found in this place, many other pasmake thee wise unto salvation, through sages of Scripture speak in the same manfaith which is in Christ Jesus.”

ner, Strive to enter in at the strait

[ocr errors]

" that

[ocr errors]

ever.

gate.” And our Lord strikingly puts the But no sooner does a convinced sinner two together, Labour not for the meat attempt to perform this necessary work, that perisheth, but for that meat which than he feels himself baffled. Something endureth unto everlasting life, which the is required of him which it seems utterly Son of man shall give you."

This ever

impossible that he should ever achieve. during nourishment of the soul is the gift, Are sins to be broken off ? are new duties the free gift of God, and therefore it is all to be performed? He immediately finds of grace; yet we are commanded to labour that the temptations of the world, the for it, as a poor man labours and eats his flesh, and the Devil, are too strong for bread, as the reward of his honest industry. him, and he is hurried away into those

To a man then, earnestly inquiring what very sins which he wished to renounce, he must do to be saved, the direction is, When he fain would weep over his transthat he must believe on the Son of God, gressions, it seems as if his heart was who will grant salvation to him without become harder and more unfeeling than money and without price; while at the

When he would believe in the Sa. same time, he receives commands, some of viour and renounce every hope but that which lay upon him duties of a very diffi- which springs from faith in him, he cancult nature, requiring much exertion and not bring his proud spirit humbly to acmuch self-denial.

cept the offers of mercy-he cannot lay The prophet Isaiah says to him who is hold on the hope set before him. asking after deliverance,“ Let the wicked Hence then result new duties, new exforsake his way and the unrighteous man ertions to be made in working out our salhis thoughts, and let him return unto the vation. God knows our weakness—he Lord and he will have mercy upon him, knows the power of temptation-he is and to our God, for he will abundantly acquainted with the evil of our hearts : pardon.” This is a declaration of God's in- and in his boundless mercy he has apfinite mercy, and readiness to grant salva- pointed means whereby these difficulties tion to the perishing sinner; but still there are to be overcome. He has given us his is a work for the sinner to perform ; sin holy word, and he bids us to study it, and must be given up, neglected duties must apply it to our own state-to bring home be fulfilled ; and this must be set about its exhortations, its commands, its threatat once. Not one step is taken in the way enings, its promises to ourselves, in order to heaven, till the sinner is willing to to stir us up to more diligence in the purgive up his sins, or in other words is con- suit of salvation. He has given us the verted, and manifests a change of feeling public ordinances of religion that we and of character.

should attend on them and walk in them Again, we read that repentance is ne- blamelessly, and so find our strength recessary to salvation ; there is not a word newed. He has set before us the throne in scripture which gives any hope of hea- of grace and bids us come boldly thither ven to the sinner till he repents and " that we may find mercy, and grace to mourns over his sins. The proclamation help in time of need.” Now, brethren, if of mercy is “ repent and be converted, we are working out our own salvation, that your sins may be blotted out.“God these means, which the infinite goodness now commandeth all men everywhere to of God has provided for us, will be dilirepent.” Here then is a work to be done, gently and constantly made use of by us; absolutely necessary, and till the com- while at the same time we shall come out mand is obeyed, and the work is begun, from the world and be separate from it, the impenitent sinner remains still in the lest its alluring snares should draw us broad road that leadeth to destruction. away from the great object, of escaping And, once more, the call of the gospel, is the wrath to come. to believe in the Son of God.

Believe

Thus in the command to work out our in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt own salvation, we see that all which con. be saved." And when our Lord was dis- stitutes a religious life, in the most encoursing with the Jews, and they asked larged meaning of the word, is required of him what they must do that they might

US,

In a world like this, we cannot thus work the works of God, he replied, “This serve God, without much labour and is the work of God, that ye believe on him watchfulness; we shall have a daily strug. whom he hath sent. Here then, is a com- gle to maintain, while our treacherous mand to be obeyed, and a work to be done hearts will be always giving way, and de. before a man can be said to have come to · ceiving us. Hence the language used by the Saviour.

our Lord, “Strive to enter in at the strait Thus we see that there is a scriptural gate. “ Labour for the meat that ensense in which faith, repentance, conver- dureth unto everlasting life." And hence sion, and a holy and renewed life, are all St. Paul, when speaking of himself and his a part of that great work which we have brethren, says,

“ Wherefore we labour, to do in securing for ourselves that salva- that whether present or absent we may be tion, which is nevertheless all of God's accepted of him." And hence the pecu. free mercy and grace.

Jiar expression of the text, Work out

« EelmineJätka »