Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

account? Or are we quite indifferent about the glory of God, if we may be but saved ? Alas ! hereby we show we are entirely under the government of selfish principles, and have no regard for God at all. Do our thoughts frequently hover and cluster about the cross with the tenderest affections ? And has the view of it melted our hearts into the most ingenuous relentings for sin, and given us such a hatred againft it, that we can never indulge it more? My brethren, put such questions as these home to your hearts, and then endeavour to come to fome just conclufion with regard to yourselves. And if the conclusion be against you, then,

4. Consider your guilt and danger-consider your ingratitude in rejecting all the love of God, and a crucified Saviour-your hardness of heart, that has not been broken by such a moving representationthe aversion of your souls to God, that have not been allured to him by the powerful attraction of the cross-and O! consider your danger : the last remedy has been tried upon you in vain : Christ's grand expedient for the salvation of finners has had no effect upon you. Had the religion of the Jews or of the heathen world failed to bring you to repentance, there might be still some hope that the preaching of Christ crucified might prevail. But, alas? when that fails, how discouraging is your case! Therefore I pray you take the alarm, and labour to get your hearts affected with this representation. O yield to the attraction of the cross : let him draw you to himfelf, whom you see lifted up on it; and do not attempt such an exploit of wickedness as to resist the allurements of such love. And 0! cry to God for his enlightening spirit. Alas! it is your blindness that renders you unaffected with this moving object. Did you but know the Lord of glory who was crucified ; did you but see the glory of the plan of falvation through his sufferings, you would immediately become the captives of his cross, conquered by the

power power of his love. And fuch, believe me, such you must be, before you can be saved.-But if the result of your examination turns out in your favour, then,

5. You may entertain the joyful hope of salvation; of salvation through one that was insulted as not able to save himself; of crowns of glory through him that wore the crown of thorns; of fulness of joy through the man of sorrows; of immortal life through one that died upon a cross; I say, you may entertain a joyful hope of all this; for in this way of salvation there is no hindrance, no objection. God will be glorified in glorifying you, the law magnified in justifying you. In short, the honour of God and his government concurs with your intereft ; and therefore if you heartily embrace this plan of salvation, you may be as sure that God will save you as that he will take care of his own glory, for they are inseparably connected. And do not your hearts, dead as they are, spring within you at the thought ? Do you not long to see your Saviour on the throne, to whose cross you are indebted for all your hopes? And O! will you not praise his name while you live, and continue the song through all eternity ? Are you not ready to anticipate the anthem of heaven, Worthy is the Lamb that was Nain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing : for thou halt redeemed us unto God by thy blood. Rev. v. 9, 12.

Finally, let me congratulate * my reverend brethren on their being made ministers of the New Testament, which reveals that glorious and delightful subject, Christ crucified, in full light, and diffuses it through all their studies and discourses. The Lamb that was flain is the theme that animates the songs of angels and faints above, and even our unhallowed lips are allowed to touch it without profanation. Let us therefore, my dear brethren, delight to dwell upon

it

* The author towards the end of the discourse writes, " At a Presbytery in Augaita, April 25, 1759;" which accounts for this particular address to ministers,

it. Let us do justice to the refined morality of the gospel : let us often explain and enforce the precepts, the graces, and the virtues of christianity; and teach men to live righteously, soberly, and godly in the world. But let us do this in an evangelical strain, as ministers of the crucified Jesus, and not as the scholars of Epictetus or Seneca. Let us labour to bring men to an hearty compliance with the method of {alvation through Christ; and then we shall find it comparatively an easier matter, a thing of course, to make them good moralists. Then a short hint of their duty to God and man will be more forcible than whole volumes of ethics, while their spirits are not cast in the gospel-mould. Thus may we be enabled to go on, till our great Mafter shall take our charge off our hands, and call us to give an account of our ftewardship!

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

2 CHRON. xxxii. 25. But Hezekiah rendered not agairt,

according to the benefit done unto him. A MONG the many vices that are at once univer A sally decried, and universally practised in the world, there is none more base or more common than ingratitude; ingratitude towards the supreme Benefactor. Ingratitude is the sin of individuals, of families, of churches, of kingdoms, and even of all mankind. The guilt of ingratitude lies heavy upon the whole race of men, though, alas! but few of them feel and

lament lament it. I have felt it of late with unusual weight; and it is the weight of it that now extorts a discourse from me upon this subject. If the plague of an ungrateful heart must cleave to us while in this world of sin and imperfection, let us at least lament it ; let us bear witness against it; let us condemn ourselves for it; and let us do all we can to suppress it in ourselves and others. I feel myself, as it were, exafperated, and full of indignation against it, and againit myself as guilty of it. And in the bitterness of my fpirit I shall endeavour to expose it to your view in its proper infernal colours, as an object of horror and indignation. · None of us can flatter ourselves that we are in little or no danger of this fin, when even so good and great a man as Hezekiah did not escape the infection. In the memoirs of his life, which are illustrious for piety, zeal for reformation, victory over his enemies, glory and importance at home and abroad, this, alas! is recorded of him, " That he rendered not again to his divine Benefactor, according to the benefit done unto him ; for his heart was lifted up, therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.”

Many had been the blessings and deliverances of this good man's life. I shall only particularize two, recorded in this chapter. The Assyrians had overrun a great part of the country, and intended to lay siege to Jerusalem. Their haughty monarch, who had carried all before him, and was grown infolent with success, fent Hezekiah a blasphemous letter, to intimidate him and his people. He profanely bullies and defies Hezekiah and his God together; and Rabshakeh, his messenger, comments upon his malter's letter in the same Ityle of impiety and infolence. But here observe the signal efficacy of prayer! Hezekiah, Isaiah, and no doubt many other pious people among the Jews, made their prayer to the God of Israel, and, as it were, complained to him of the threatenings and profane blasphemy of the Allyrian

monarch.

Serm. 25. monarch. Jehovah hears, and works a miraculous deliverance for them. He sends out an angel (one was sufficient) who destroyed in one night, as we are elsewhere told (2 Kings xix. 35.) no less than an hun. dred fourscore and five thousand men ; which extensive slaughter, a Jewish tradition tells us, was made by means of lightning; a very supposable and sufficient cause. Sennacherib, with the thin remains of his army, fled home inglorious; and his two sons aflaffinated him at an idolatrous altar. Thus Jerufalem was freed from danger, and the country rescued from slavery and the ravages of war. Nay, we find from profane history, that this dreadful blow proved fatal in the issue to the Assyrian monarchy, which had oppressed the world fo long ; for upon this the Medes, and afterwards other nations, threw off their submission ; and the empire fell to pieces. Certainly fo illustrious a deliverance as this, wrought immediately by the divine hand, was a sufficient reason for ardent gratitude.

Another deliverance followed upon this. Hezekiah was sick unto death; that is, his sickness was in its own nature mortal, and would have been unto death, had it not been for the miraculous interpofition of Providence. But, upon his prayer to God, he was recovered, and fifteen years added to his life. This also was great cause of gratitude. And we find it had this effect upon him, while the sense of his deliverance was fresh upon his mind; for in his eucharistic song upon his recovery, we find these grateful strains : The living, the living he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children fall make knoren thy truih. The Lord was ready to save me; therefore we will sing my fongs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life. But, alas! those grateful impressions wore off in fome time; and pride, that uncreaturely temper, began to rise. He began to think himself the favourite of heaven, in fome degree, on account of his own personal goodness. He indulged his

« AnteriorContinuar »