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Sermons for the Times   By: (1819-1875)

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Transcribed by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk

SERMONS FOR THE TIMES

Contents: Fathers and Children Salvation A Good Conscience Names Sponsorship Justification by Faith Duty and Superstition Sonship The Lord's Prayer The Doxology Ahab and Naboth The Light of God Providence England's Strength The Life of God God's Offspring Death in Life Shame Forgiveness The True Gentleman Toleration Public Spirit

SERMON I. 'FATHERS AND CHILDREN'

Malachi iv. 5, 6. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

These words are especially solemn words. They stand in an especially solemn and important part of the Bible. They are the last words of the Old Testament. I cannot but think that it was God's will that they should stand where they are, and nowhere else. Malachi, the prophet who wrote them, did not know perhaps that he was the last of the Old Testament prophets. He did not know that no prophet would arise among the Jews for 400 years, till the time when John the Baptist came preaching repentance. But God knew. And by God's ordinance these words stand at the end of the Old Testament, to make us understand the beginning of the New Testament. For the Old Testament ends by saying that God would send to the Jews Elijah the prophet. And the New Testament begins by telling us of John the Baptist's coming as a prophet, in the spirit and power of Elias; and how the Lord Jesus himself declared plainly that John the Baptist was Elijah who was to come; that is, the Elijah of whom Malachi prophesies in my text.

Therefore, we may be certain that this text tells us what John the Baptist's work was; that John the Baptist came to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers; lest the Lord should come and smite the land with a curse.

Some may be ready to answer to this, 'Of course John the Baptist came to warn parents of behaving wrongly to their children, if they were careless or cruel; and children to their parents, if they were disobedient or ungrateful. Of course he would tell bad parents and children to repent, just as he came to tell all other kinds of sinners to repent. But that was only a part of John the Baptist's work. He came to be the forerunner of the Messiah, the Saviour, the Redeemer.'

Be it so, my friends. I only hope that you really do believe that John the Baptist did come to proclaim that a Saviour was born into the world provided only that you remember all the while who that Saviour was. John the Baptist tells you who He was. If you will only remember that, and get the thought of it into your hearts, you will not be inclined to put any words of your own in place of the prophet Malachi's, or to fancy that you can describe better than Malachi what John the Baptist's work was to be; and that turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, was only a small part of John the Baptist's work, instead of being, as Malachi says it was, his principal work, his very work, the work which must be done, lest the Lord, instead of saving the land, should come and smite it with a curse.

Yes you must remember who it was that John the Baptist came to bear record of, and to manifest or show to the Jews. The Angels on the first Christmas Eve told us they said it was The Lord , 'Unto you,' they said, 'is born a Saviour, who is Christ, The Lord .'

John the Baptist told you and all mankind who it was that it was The Lord. 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord !'

The Lord . What Lord Which Lord? John the Baptist knew. Simeon, Anna, Nathaniel, all righteous and faithful hearts who waited for the salvation of the Lord, knew... Continue reading book >>




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