Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

of God, can refuse to take this step, amongst others, evidently necessary for averting his threatened vengeance? And who that loves his Redeemer's name, but must desire that it should be adored from the rising to the setting fun? The boldness and activity of finners in spreading every fpecies of corruption, should excite an emulation in believers not to be behind hand in the service of a much better master. Have we not seen much profane zeal difcovered in support of the most pernicious and criminal amusements, which consume time, enervate the body, and pollute the mind ? And shall there not be a like concern to promote knowledge and holiness in the uncivilized parts of our own country, and to carry the glad tidings of the gospel of peace to those who now sit in darkness, and in the region and shadow of death ? Are there not many to whom the name of a Saviour is precious, “ even as b. ointment poured forth ;” who burn with desire, that the riches of divine grace, which can never be exhausted, may be more largely diffused? And will not all such chearfully and liberally contribute to extend the bounds of their Redeemer's kingdom, in the prospect of that blessed time, when the knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea ? Or of that still more glorious period, when every vessel of mercy, from the east, west, , north and south, shall be gathered together, and lit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of their Father?

I shall now conclude my discourse, by preaching this Saviour to all who hear me, and intreating you, in the most earnest manner, to believe in Jesus Christ; “ for there " is no falvation in any other.” This is far from being unnecessary or improper, even in an audience of profesiing Christians. Wherever there is a national profession of the gospel, there are always many who, though they retain the name of Christians, are strangers to real faith in Christ, or union with God through him; nay, who in their hearts are enemies to the truth in its fimplicity and purity. It is in vain to attempt, by reasoning, to bring men to an acknowlecigment of the truth of the Christian doctrine in speculation, unless we also bring them to such a personal conviction of their guilt and wretchedness, as will make them receive the information of Christ's character and work, as glad tidings to their own souls. No other converts receive any benefit themselves by the change ; nor are they of any service to Christ and his cause, except so far as they are over-ruled by the sovereign providence of that God who only can“ bring good out of evil.”

Wherefore, my beloved hearers, be persuaded, from the word of God, which you profess to believe, from the state of the world, which you may see, and of your own hearts, which you may feel, that you are by nature wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. You are so far from having such a conformity to the pure and perfect law of God, in your thoughts, words, and actions, and the principles from which they ought to flow, as can entitle you to his favor, that the imaginations of your hearts are only evil from your youth, and that continually. Whatever imaginary schemes of a virtuous character you may rest or glory in, you are wholly unable to stand the trial of God's impartial judgment. Oh! how hard is it to con vince men of fin, even while the earth groans under their guilt? Would but those who are most apt to boast of the dignity of their nature, and the perfection of their virtue, make an exact register of all the thoughts that arise in their minds; there remains still as much of the law of God writ. ten upon

their hearts, as would judge them out of their own mouths. Instead of being able to bear that such a re. cord should be exposed to public view, they could not even endure themselves to peruse it : for self-flattery is their ruling character, but felf-abhorrence would be the effect of this discovery. Ought you not therefore to be ready to acknowledge, that you are altogether as an unclean thing, and unable to stand before God if he enter into judgment? But whether you acknowledge it or not, I bear from God himself this message to you all, that whatever may be your character, formed upon worldly maxims; and animated by ambitious and worldly views, if you are not reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, if you are not clothed with the spotless robe of his righteousness, you must for ever perish.

But behold, through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of fins. There is a fulness of merit in his obedience and death to procure your pardon. There is no fin of fo deep a dye, or fo infectious a stain, but his blood is fufficient to wash it out. This is no new doctrine, or modern discovery, to gratify a curious mind. Perhaps you have heard such things so often, that you nauseate and disdain the repetition. But they are the words of eternal life, on which your souls' salvation absolutely depends; and therefore, though this call should come but once more to be rejected, it is yet again within your offer; and as “an " ambassador from Christ, as though God did beseech you “ by me, I pray you in Christ's fiead be ye reconciled unto “ God.” You have heard the danger of all who are without Christ; but I beseech you remember the aggravated guilt, and the superior danger of those who continue obstinate under the gospel. All the mercy that is shown to finners in the offer, shall inflame the charge against them in the great day, if they are found impenitent. Mercy and justice are never separated in any part of the gospel plan. They illustrate each other in the contrivance, they Thine together on the cross, and they shall be jointly manifest in the day of judgment. Shall not the blood of Christ, which is so powerful in its influence for taking away the guilt of those who trust in it, greatly add to the guilt and danger of those who despise it?

" Be wife now, “therefore, O ye kings,” and all of every rank; “ be in“ structed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with “ fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he “ be angry, and ye perish from the way, wlien his wrath “is kindled but a little : blessed are all they that put their " trust in him."*

* Plal. i. 10, 11, 12.

జలు c. 6యి 6000 3000 mos 0009 2009 1000 * on an 1000 00 000 రులు EROS 60 GOCC Coccocco Mdo 2000 C003 SOCO CASO SACO SONO COD0 'cow ance 00 0300 common co0 2000 6000000000000000

THE Trial of RELIGIOUS TRUTH BY ITS

MORAL INFLUENCE.

S E R M ON, Preached at the opening of the Synod of Glasgow and

Air, October 9th, 1759.

MATTHEW vii. 20.

Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.

Ε E

VERY one who hath any acquaintance with the

writings of infidels, must know that there is no topic on which they insist at greater length, or with more plausibility, than the innumerable fects and parties into which the Christian world is divided. With what apparent triumph do they enlarge, on the contradictory tenets, which different persons profess to found upon the fame fcriptures, their violent opposition one to another, and the great difficulty, or rather impoflibility of discovering truth, among so many, who pretend each to have the entire and exclusive poffeffion of it.

Having gone thus far, it is easy and natural to proceed one step farther, and affirin, that the great plurality of every denomination, do not embrace religion in general, or the tenets of their own sect in particular, from rational or personal conviction, but froni a blind imitation of others, or an attachment to one or a few distinguished leaders, whose authority is stronger than all other evidence what.

Thus is religion, at once, supposed true and yet destroyed; that is to say, it is at one stroke, as it were, annihilated, in almost all who profess it, their opinions, what

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ПредишнаНапред »