Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

of the unbelieving Jews. But they, like their forefathers, “ hardened their hearts,' so that Jesus turned the offers of mercy from them to the Gentiles ; thus was the whole world admitted to the privilege of embracing those doctrines, which brought with them salvation, and of obtaining those arms which would enable them to withstand the cares and troubles of the world. But, let us come nearer home; we again desire to speak to you this day as to the Gospel's effect upon the human heart. And it is only by examining the state of the heart in its natural state, and then the spiritualizing effects of the Gospel, that we can arrive at the glorious operations, which it achieves. We know that the heart by nature is hard, callous, dull, impervious to the attacks which are made upon it to convert it from its torpid repose, to that active love, which shall cause it to pour out that holy zeal, those pure affections, and that contrite penitence, which secure the kingdom of heaven. We

that it is by the preaching of the Gospel principally, that the human heart

tell you,

can be moved to receive the divine influences of the Spirit. We may

We may tell you of the moving scenes, which are passing around you ; we may excite your compassion by representing to you objects for your charity; we may move your love and startle your affections, when we remind you of the endearments of your home, and the blessings, with which the Almighty hath crowned your joys. If you are parents, we can bid you look down upon your children; and that spectacle alone is sufficient to excite the love, which like a holy flame burns so vividly in your bosoms.

If are children, living under the parental roof of those, who have watched with unceasing care over your younger days; we can bid you look back to those days of fondness, when the young heart's joy, elated with happiness, knew no care; when its only object was to obey. If you be living together in that holy state, in which God himself hath united you; no human speech can sufficiently describe the evidence of your love, the sentiments of your heart, and the constant emotion excited by the companionship and

f you love, which you bear to each other. Oh! yes, by this scene we can transfuse into your hearts that glow, which will melt the hardened nature, and, as the flame ascends on high, lead it to aspire to the heaven of God! We can produce that holy fire which will pass irresistibly through your soul, and inflame it with the desire of attaining its native skies; yea, we can almost observe the starting tear, when the heart elates with those remembrances of past joys or present happiness ; when it almost pierces through the gloom of time, and anticipates the eternal future. And if we open the page of history,—if we lead you to the field of battle, and show you some veteran leading a victorious army to impede the incursions of the approaching enemy, who hazard their lives for their country's weal and for the preservation of its inhabitants, -if we tell you that these, for the most part, have left behind those, whom before God's holy altar they swore to protect, and the smiling innocents scarcely conscious of the fathers' danger; and when he noble exploits of war have been laurel

crowned, and the glorious victory gained, if we describe to you the widows'agonies and the orphans' wants, and point you to the blood-stained field of death, where lie the conqueror and the conquered; by such representations as these we can move your hearts, we can secure your attention, we can perceive you hanging upon the preacher's lips; but we will try you now by that which is no representation,—we will try you by the word of God. We will tell

you

of a disobedient race at enmity with their Father; we will assure you of a condemnation actually taking place, of man about to suffer for disobeying the commands of God; and then we will tell you of one making intercession with the Father, of one offering to die in the stead of the guilty, of one actually undergoing that misery which man was doomed to suffer. We will tell you of this one coming from heaven and taking upon himself the punishment, which God had reserved for the sinner; we will bid you observe him walking steadily amid the persecutions and insults of a cruel people, to the cross upon which

you look

he was to pour out his life in agony and torments; we will bid

up

to the cross and see Jesus dying for the sins of the whole world. Oh! where is the hero in the annals of history, who could thus give himself up as a sacrifice for his fellows, even with the prospect of victory before him! We may see him rushing to the battle, eager for the prize, but not indeed enduring the taunts of an hardened multitude, and quietly resigning his life into the hands of him who gave it, for the redemption (even were it possible) of his brethren. Where can we behold the man bearing his own instruments of torture, walking, “ like a lamb to the slaughter,” in all the innocence, but in the consciousness of his approaching trial ? Let me lead you to that mount, upon which the Son of Man expired, dragged like a common malefactor, beaten, buffetted, crowned with thorns, his side pierced, large nails driven through his hands and feet, deserted by his disciples, the point of scorn for the passers by, the derision of his enemies, the taunt of the wicked, forsaken by his closest

« ПредишнаНапред »