Imágenes de páginas

still the same rough, irregular, unpolished pieces, with human nature, unfanctified in its present degenerate state? Then you may be sure you are not built upon this foundation.

I think I may pronounce these few queries fully decisive in this case. And what discoveries do they now make among you? Where now appears to be the foundation of your hope? Have not some of you rejected the chief corner-stone which God has appointed, and built upon a quicksand ? If so, even a friendly tongue cannot but denounce some terrible things to you.

While you are not founded upon Christ, you shall, you must unavoidably, sink for ever. There is nothing that can support you. Build your hopes ever fo high, the fabric will fall, and bury you in its ruins. Nay, this only foundation of hope and happiness will be to you a stone of itumbling and a rock of of. fence, the occasion of your more aggravated guilt, and more dreadful destruction. There are a few texts of scripture which I would ring like peals of alarming thunder in your ears. The same Lord of hosts who shall be for a sanctuary to his people, shall be for a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence, for a gin and a snare; and many shall stumble and fall, and be broken, and snared, and taken. Isaiah viii. 14. Unto you that believe, says St. Peter, he is precious ; but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to them that stumble at the word. i Peter ii. 7, 8. If this stone be not made by you the foundation of your hopes, it will fall upon you and crush you in pieces. Remember the deciaration of Christ himself, Whosoever mall fall upon this stone fall be broken ; that is, whosoever ihall reject him while in a humble forin in the days of his flesh, shall perish, but on whomsoever this sione sall fall, it shall grind him to powder; that is, whosoever shall reject him in his state of exaltation, shall perish in a still more terrible manner. And will not all these


word. Pand a rock of the is precious

alarming confiderations have weight with you, to persuade you to make him your only foundation ?

If you have already made him so, then be assured you are safe and immoveable for ever. Let storms of private or public calamity rise and beat upon you; let your fears and doubts rise to ever so high a deluge; let temptations make ever so severe attacks upon you, still the foundation on which you stand abides firm and unshaken. Nay, let all nature go to wreck, and seas and land, and heaven and earth be blended together, still this foundation ftands firm, and the living temple built upon it will remain immoveable for ever. You that believe, need not make hafte, you need not be struck into consternation upon the appearance of danger, nor fly to unlawful means of deliverance, your all is safe, and therfore you may be serene and calm. Is the burden of your guilt intolerable, and are you ready to sink under it? Or are you finking under a load of sorrow? Whatever be the burden, cast it upon the Lord, and he will sustain you. This foundation is able to bear you up, however great the pressure. Come ye that are weary and heavy laden, come, and build your hopes, and place your rest here. O! what joyful tidings are these ! I hope they will prove a word in season to some soul that is weary. .

What now remains but that I should more explicitly point out this precious stone to you all, by illustrating the emphatical word behold, prefixt to the text.

Behold, ye poor finking souls, behold with wonder and gratitude: here is a fure foundation for you ; cast your whole weight, venture your eternal all upon it, and it will support you. Say no more, · Alas! I must sink for ever under this mountain of guilt ;' but turn to Jefus, with sinking Peter, and cry, Help, Lord, I perish ; and he will bear you up. Yes, whatever storms may blow, whatever convulsions may shake the world, you are safe.

Behold, Behold, ye joyful believers. See here the foundation of all your joys and hopes. Do you stand firm like Mount Zion ? See, here is the rock that supports you. Gratefully acknowledge it, and inscribe this precious stone with your praises. Point it out to others as the only ground of hope for perishing fouls.

Behold, ye wretched felf-righteous Pharisees, the only rock on which you must build if you expect to itand. Your proud self-confident virtue, your boasted philosophic morality, is but a loose tottering foundation. Virtue and morality are neceffary to complete and adorn the superstructure ; but when they are laid at the bottom of all, they will prove but a quicksand.

Behold, ye despisers, and wonder and perish! perish you must if you fet at nought this precious stone. To you this only foundation is like to prove a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence. To you the nature of things is inverted : the only ground of hope will heighten your despair; and the Saviour of men will be your destroyer.

Behold, ye glorious angels, behold the firm foundation divine love has laid for the salvation of guilty worms. It is as firm as that on which you stand. Are the affairs of mortals beneath your notice? No, we are concerned with Jesus too who is your head; and our connection with him must give us an importance in your view. Therefore join with us in celebrating the praises of this foundation. This precious stone appears to you in all its fplendors : its brilliancy dazzles your admiring eyes. We also admire it as far as we know it; but to us it is like a foundation laid deep under ground, that supports us though we see it not. When shall we be placed in your advantageous situation, the heights of the heavenly Zion, where it will appear full to our view, and be the object of our delightful contemplation for ever and ever!,






1 TIMOTHY V. 8. But if any provide not for his own,

and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

THE great Author of our nature, who has made

1 us fociable creatures, has instituted various focieties among mankind, both civil and religious, and joined them together by the various bonds of relation. The first and radical society is that of a family, which is the nursery of the church and state. This was the society instituted in Paradise in the state of innocence, when the indulgent Creator, finding that it was not good for man, a sociable creature, to be alone, formed an help meet for him, and united them in the endearing bonds of the conjugal relation. From thence the human race was propagated; and when multiplied, it was formed into civil governa ments and ecclefiaftical assemblies. Without these afsociations the worship of God could not be pub. licly and socially performed, and liberty and property could not be secured. Without these, men would turn savages and roam at large, deftitute of religion, infenfible of the human paflions, and regardless of each other's welfare. Civil and religious societies are therefore wisely continued in the world, and we enjoy the numerous advantages of them. But these do not exclude, but presuppose domestic societies, which are the meterials of which they are composed; and as churches and kingdoms are formed out of families, they will be such as the meterials of which


they consist. It is therefore of the greatest importance to religion and civil society that families be under proper regulations, that they may produce proper plants for church and state, and especially for the eternal world, in which all the temporary associations of mortals in this world finally terminate, and to which they ultimately refer.

Now in families, as well as in all governments, there are superiors and inferiors; and as it is the place of the latter to obey, so it belongs to the former both to rule and to provide. The heads of families are obliged not only to exercise their authority over their dependents, but also to provide for them a competency of the neceffaries of life; and indeed their right to rule is but a power to provide for themselves and their domestics.

This is implied in my text, where the apostle makes the omission of this duty utterly inconsistent with Christianity; and a crime so unnatural, that even infidels are free from it. If any man provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he bath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

The apostle, among other things, in this chapter is giving directions how widows should be treated in the church. If they were widows indeed ; that is, widowed and entirely deftitute of relations to sup. port them; then he advises to maintain them at the public expences of the church. (ver. 3, 9, 10.) But if they were such widows as had children or nephews, then he orders that they should be maintained by these their relatives, and that the charge should not fall upon the church. (ver. 4, 16.)

He supposes that the relatives of some of them might be unwilling to put themselves to this expence : and to engage such to their duty, he in the text exposes the unnatural wickednefs of neglecting it. If any man provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

he apostle faith, and for those


« AnteriorContinuar »