Графични страници
PDF файл


ness, does as certainly bring himself and family to poverty, and end his days in a goal, as if he were, in wanton mischief, to set fire to his own house. So it is also with the affairs of the soul: neglect of that,forgetfulness of God, who only can save it, will work his ruin, as surely as a long and daring course of profligate wicked

When one has been recollecting the proper proofs of a future state of rewards and punishments, nothing methinks can give him so sensible an apprehension of the latter, or representation of it to the mind, as observing, that after the many disregarded checks, admonitions, and warnings which people meet with in the ways of vice, folly, and extravagancewarnings from their very nature--from the examples of others—from the lesser inconveniences which they bring upon themselves from the instructions of wise and good men: after these have been long despised, scorned, ridiculed-after the chief bad consequences (temporal consequences) of their follies have been delayed for a great while, at length they break in irresistibly like an armed force: repentance is too late to relieve; and can serve only to aggravate their distress, the case is become desperate; and poverty and sickness, remorse and anguish, infamy and death, the effects of their own doings, overwhelm them beyond possibility of remedy or escape. This is an account of what is in fact the general constitution of nature.

But is the forgetfulness of God so light a matter? think what ingratitude, rebellion, and atheism there is at the bottom of it! Sirs, you have a carnal heart, which is enmity against God. Do not suppose that it is only making a slight effort, and you will cease to forget him; it is your nature to forget him; it is your nature to hate him: so that nothing less than an entire change of heart and nature, will ever deliver you from this state of eninity. Our nature is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. They that are in the flesh cannot please God.* From this state, let the fearful menace in the text persuade you to arise! Need we remind you again of the dreadfulness of hell of the certainty that it shall overtake the impenitent sinner? Enough has been said; and can any of you be still so hardened, and such enemies to your soul as still to cleaye to sin? Will you still venture to continue any more in the hazard of falling into the hands of God? Alas! Who among us can dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us can lie down in everlasting burnings? Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands he strong in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the Lord have spoken it, and will do it! Observe, that men have dealt with sinners---ministers have dealt with them Apostles, prophets, and angels have dealt; at last, God will take them in hand, and deal with them! Though not so daring as to defy God, yet brethren, in all probability you put offre

* Rom. vii,7,8.

not but

pentance. Will you securely walk a little longer along the brinks of the burning furnace of the Almighty's fury? As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but one step between thee and death!* When you lie down, you know you may

be in it before the morning; and when you rise, you know not but God may say, Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee! When once the word is given to cut you down, the business is over.

You are cut off from your lying refuges, and beloved sins—from the world—from your friends from the light-from happiness-from hope, for ever! Be wise then my friends, and reasonable; give neither sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids till you have resolved on your knees before God to forget him no more. Go home and pray. Do not dare, as it were, to fly in the face of your Maker, by seeking your pleasure on his holy day: but it alarmed at this subject, as well you may, go and pray to God that you may forget him no more. It is high time to awake out of sleep. It is high time to have done with hesitation; time does not wait for you: nor will God wait till you are pleased to turn. He hath bent bis bow, and made it ready; halt no more between two opinions; hasten, tarry not in all the plain, but flee from the wrath to come. Pray for grace, without which you can do nothing. Pray for the knowledge of Christ, and of your own danger and helplessness, without which you cannot know what it is to find refuge in him. It is not our design to terrify without pointing out the means of safety. Let us then observe, that if it should have pleased God to awaken any of you to a sense of your danger, you should be ware of betaking yourselves to a refuge of lies. You are as undeserving of the favor of God after you repent, as before; your state is as dangerous if you flee not to Jesus, as those who plead for mercy only,

you are

* 1 Sam. xx, 3,

But through the mercy of God, many amongst us have found repentance unto lifehave fled for refuge to the hope set before them-have seen our danger, and fled to Jesus Christ. Think with yourselves what it is now to have escaped destruction; what it will be to hear at the last day our acquittal, when it shall be said to the others, Depart from me accursed into everlasting fire. Let the sense of the mercy of God, gild all the path of life. On the other hand, since it is they who forget God, that are to bear the weight of his wrath, let us beware brethren how we forget him, through concern about this world, or through unbelief, or through sloth. Let us be punctual in all our engagements with him.

With earnest attention and holy awe ought we to hear bis voice, cherish the sense of his presence, and perform the duties of his worship. No covenant relation, or Gospel grace can render him less holy, less jealous or majestic. Wherefore, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God with reverence, and godly fear, for our God is a consuming fire.

[merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

JEREMIAH xvii, 9. The heart is deceitful above all things. In what is hére said concerning the deceitfulness of the human heart, it is supposed that there are many other things in the world deceitful: and very little experience is sufficient to convince us that the supposition is not without grounds.

1. Men are deceivers. There is no man so wary and cautious in his dealings with his fellow creatures but has found himself at one time or other over reached. In all matters of exchange; buying and selling; lending money, and paying it; labor, and the remuneration for labor, there is generally a trial of skill on each side, which shall get the better of the other; and if their respective claims are finally adjusted, and they come to a fair agreement, it is rather because one is not an overmatch for the other, than because they wish that each should have his due. Fraud is not confined to the lower orders of men; great men also can be great deceivers. They make promises, and

« ПредишнаНапред »