Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the gospel are accompanied with the special influences of the holy Spirit, then it becomes the power of God in the conversion of the sinner. Hence, the reading and preaching of the word is ap. pointed by God, as the means by which he conveys light and truth, and divine communications to the heart. And it is probable, this efficacy of the Spirit attending the word, is the idea the Apostle would communicate, when he calls it the “sincere “ milk” thereof. The word sets spiritual objects before the mind, and the Spirit in the word influences the heart to exercises and acțions correspondent to these views. Thus it is abundantly afirmed in the sacred pages, that the word is instrumental or employed as a mean in this business. This is one reason why it is spread, and strict orders given why it should be preached to every creature. Besides the plain declaration in our text, we are informed, that christians are “born again, not of corruptible 6 seed, but of incorruptible by the word of God which liveth and 6 abideth forever." And elsewhere, “ Of his own will begat he “ us by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits " of his creatures." And our Saviour says, “ Sanctify them by “tly truth, for thy word is truth.". Thus it appears, in what manner the word is instrumental in the conversion and sanctification of the soul. Regeneration, when accurately and distinctly considered, is a spiritual principle-conversion is a spiritual motion, or this principle in exercise. In regeneration, a power to turn to God is given in conversion, there is an actual turning to

But it is time I should close the subject with a few arguments or motives to induce us to becomie converted.

Arguments here may be drawn from every consideration of duty and interest, from heaven and hell, from compleat joy and perfect misery, from time and from eternity.

Those who have never attended to, or experienced this matter, you tlus concious, you know you must perish. Those who

turn not, eternai death must be their portion. The certainty of this issue you have heard demonstrated both from the nature of things, and the immutable constitution of heaven. Will you then, O sinners, venture upon foreseen destruction, and boldly leap into the burning furnace ? Be entreated for God's sake to pause, and advise with yourselves upon an affair of such tremendous consequence. If you will proceed on against the light of your understandings, the convictions of your own judgments, and the warnings and remonstrances of heaven, will you not be altogether inexcusable ? Must not your mouths be forever stopt? You must eternally take complaint upon yourselves, and in the depths of the keenest torment, acquit the throne of God.

Surely it is a great duty to turn from sin to God. Reason, revelation, and your own consciences, declare it to be your indispensable duty. And are you so determinately obstinate as to ra sist all this mighty force ? Your interest, your highest interest ; the interest, the salvation of your immortal souls, demand this of you. If you turn, if you become converted, you shall live, greatly live, in the blissful regions of eternal felicity. Remember what our Lord says in regard to the value of the never dying soul, “ What is a man profited if he should gain the whole world "and lose his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for * his soul?"

The acquisition of heaven, and the avoidance of hell, are ar. guments of the weightiest consideration. But these have been so often urged upon you, that your minds are become quite ca.lous, so that they pass away like the ship that furrows the ocean, and leaves not a trace behind. But remember, O my fellow mortals, however lightly you esteem them, they are awful realities. Remember that perfect and interininable joy attends your turning ; and if you turn not, compleat, endless, and unremitting misery will be your destiny. Would you have real and substantial comfort in this life, supporting hope in deatli, and ever

lasting felicity in a future state of existence, it is absolutely necessary you shonld become converted. The old adage is, you must turn or burn forever. All these motives ought to fall with a combined and irresistable force upon every mind ? Will the most powerful addresses, and pressing exhortations, produce no effect?

Consider, my hearers, all heaven and hell are engaged about your souls. God, and Christ, and the holy Angels for the salvation of them; Belzebub, with all his infernal aids, for their destruction. And shall man, thoughtless man, the most deeply interested of any, be the most indifferent and unconcerned ? 0 foolish and stupid man, when wilt thou awake to consideration? God is calling upon you by his word and by his providence ;Christ is standing at the door of your hearts crying, “ Behold I a stand at the door and knock, if any man hear my voice, and « open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him and he “ with me.” The Holy Ghost is calling upon you, Angels are calling upon you, all the church in heaven, and all the church on earth, are calling upon you. “The Spirit and the bride say, 4 come, and let him that heareth say, come, and let him that is " a thirst come, and whoever will, let him take the water of life “ freely.” Must not the heart be harder than the nether millstone, that can resist all this tenderness, compassion, and love of heaven. The subject I leave with you, in this one cemmandment of the precious Saviour, “ Awake thou that sleepest and

arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.”

SERMON XXV.

THE PUTTING OFF THE OLD MAN,

mai:

EPHESIANS Iv. 22.

That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.

THE whole system of doctrine, taught us in the bible, taken. in one collective view, appears perfectly calculated to promote holiness, and destroy sin ; to advance the declarative glory of God, and reclaim a revolted world. It reveals the plan of consistency in the divine perfections, government and laws, in the recovery of lost man, his sanctification, pardon, justification, and restoration to the favor and enjoyinent of his God. This is plainiy manifested throughout the whole in every precept, direction, warning, rebuke, counsel and exhortation. It is without blemish or deficiency, all glorious, excellent, and perfect. Any one, unable to see the holy harmony and consistency of all the parts, may be assured, it arises from no imperfection in the oracles of eternal life, but from his own ignorance, the darkness of his understanding, the blindness of his mind, and the moral corruption of his heart. The whole is one perfectly regular and glorious scheme, exhibiting the infinite wisdom, mercy, and wonders of its author, so that every line is beautiful, and every text shines with a divine lustre.

Among the various distributions of the whole, this epistle dise plays peculiar splendor. The city Ephesus, the metropolis of the proconsular Asia, was reinarkable for one of the wonders of the world, the place of the celebrated temple of Diana. The inhabitants, at this time, were famed throughout the world, for wise dom, learning and philosophy-yet their infamy for magical arts, lasciviousness and idolatry, was of equal extent. Yet, among a people of such a strange, unpromising, and inconsistent character, sovereign grace raised a church, by the ministry of our Apostle. After this, St. Paul became a prisoner at Rome, from whence he wrote this epistle to them, to warn them against backsliding into their former heathenish customs, to guard them against the infection of evil seducers, and to confirm them in the faith which he had preached, and they had received. . In this chapter, he exhorts to love, unity and concord, to purity of heart, and holiness of life, as the best adapted means for the conversion of the heathen, and to check the progress of the Gnosticks, a new fangled sect of christians, just sprung up, not to convert the Pagans, but pervert the christians from the doctrines and ordinances of the Apostles. The doctrine of these new teachers was, to relinquish the Apostles, the forms and principles taught by them, assume a new cloak, put on another profession, and become their followers. But our Apostle steadily exhorts the christians to seek after more converting grace, and to be diligent in making progress in holiness. Hence, does he say, in contravention of wicked men, and deluded proselyting christians, “Put off concerning the former conversation, the old "mian which is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts.” As if he had said, return not to paganism, beware of these straggling, party making christians, but do you press after greater degrees of gospel purity, and greater measures of an holy conversation.

It may be here objected, as it undoubtedly was by the pagans and false christians, that this counsel was vain, impertinent, and inconsistent ; had they not put off the eld was, when they were

« AnteriorContinuar »