« AnteriorContinuar »
the one principle only, people may come you read of the Holy Ghost, by whom rein gathering multitudes to the house of God; newed in the whole desire and character of and share with eagerness in all the glow your mind, you are led to run with alacrity and bustle of a crowded attendance; and in the way of the commandments? Have have their every eye directed to the speaker; you turned to its practical use, the imporand feel a responding movement in their tant truth, that he has given to the believbosom to his many appeals and his many / ing prayers of all, who really want to be arguments; and carry a solemn and over-relieved from the power both of secret and powering impression of all the services of visible iniquity? I demand something away with them; and yet throughout the more than the homage you have rendered whole of this seemly exhibition, not one to the pleasantness of the voice that has effectual knock may have been given at the been sounding in your hearing. What I door of conscience. The other principle have now to urge upon you, is the bidding may be as profoundly asleep, as if hushed of the voice, to read, and to reform and to into the insensibility of death. There is a pray, and, in a word, to make your conspirit of deep slumber, it would appear, sistent step from the elevations of philosowhich the music of no description, even phy, to all those exercises, whether of doing though attuned to a theme so lofty as the or of believing, which mark the conduct of greatness and majesty of the Godhead, can the earnest, and the devoted, and the subever charm away. Oh! it may have been a dued, and the aspiring Christian. piece of parading insignificance altogether - This brings under our view a most deepthe minister playing on his favourite in-lly interesting exhibition of human nature, strument, and the people dissipating away which may often be witnessed among their time on the charm and idle luxury of the cultivated orders of society. When a a theatrical emotion. "
| teacher of Christianity addresses himself to · The religion of taste, is one thing. The that principle of justice within us, in virtue religion of conscience, is another. I recur of which we feel the authority of God to be to the test. What is the plain and practical a prerogative which righteously belongs to doing which ought to issue from the whole him, he is then speaking the appropriate of our argument? If one lesson come more language of religion, and is advancing its clearly or more authoritatively out of it naked and appropriate claim over the obethan another, it is the supremacy of the dience of mankind. He is then urging that Bible. If fitted to impress one movement pertinent and powerful consideration, upon rather than another, it is that movement of which alone he can ever hope to obtain a docility, in virtue of which, man, with the the ascendency of a practical influence over feeling that he has all to learn, places him- the purposes and the conduct of human self in the attitude of a little child, before beings. It is only by insisting on the moral the book of the unsearchable God, who has claim of God to a right of government over deigned to break his silence, and to trans- his creatures, that he can carry their loyal mit, even to our age of the world, a faithful subordination to the will of God. Let him record of his own communication. What keep by this single argument, and urge it progress then are you making in this move- upon the conscience, and then, without any ment? Are you, or are you not, like new- of the other accompaniments of what is born babes, desiring the sincere milk of the called christian oratory, he may bring conword, that you may grow thereby? How vincingly home upon his hearers all the are you coming on in the work of casting varieties of christian doctrine. He may down your lofty imaginations? With the establish within their minds the dominion modesty of true science, which is here at of all that is essential in the faith of the one with the humblest and most penitenti- New Testament. He may, by carrying out ary feeling which Christianity can awaken, this principle of God's authority into all its are you bending an eye of earnestness on applications, convince them of sin. He may the Bible, and appropriating its informa- lead them to compare the loftiness and tions, and moulding your every conviction spirituality of his law, with the habitual to its doctrines and its testimonies? How obstinacy of their own worldly affections. long, I beseech you, has this been your He may awaken them to the need of a Sahabitual exercise By this time do you feel viour. He may urge them to a faithful and the darkness and the insufficiency of na- submissive perusal of God's own communiture? Have you found your way to the cation. He may thence press upon them the need of an atonement ? Have you learned truth and the immutability of their Sovethe might and the efficacy which are given reign. He may work in their hearts an to the principle of faith? Have you longed impression of this emphatic saying, that with all your energies to realize it ? Have God is not to be mocked that his law must you broken loose from the obvious misdo- be upheld in all the significancy of its proings of your former history? Are you con- clamations--and that either his severities vinced of your total deficiency from the must be discharged upon the guilty, or in spiritual obedience of the affections? Havel some other way an adequate provision be
found for its outraged dignity, and its vio- bitious description; as will attach him to
be excited for an actual settlement of mind
nduct of human
hearers al the
by carrying out
of their STP
at his law mis
Creator, which must be clearly apprehend-1 And here I cannot but remark, how much ed, and manifested with power unto the effect and simplicity go together in the anconscience. We believe, that however much nals of Moravianism. The men of this truly philosophers may talk about the compara- interesting denomination, address themtive ease of forming those conceptions selves exclusively to that principle of our which are simple, they will, if in good earn- nature on which the proper influence of est after a right footing with God, soon dis-Christianity turns. Or, in other words, cover in their own minds, all that darkness they take up the subject of the gospel mesand incapacity about spiritual things, which sage, that message devised by him who knew are so broadly announced to us in the New what was in man, and who, therefore, knew Testament. And, oh! it is a deeply inter- how to make the right and the suitable apesting spectacle, to behold a man, who can plication to man.-They urge the plain Word take a masterly and commanding survey of the Testimony; and they pray for a blessover the field of some human speculation, ing from on high; and that thick impalpable who can clear his discriminated way through veil, by which the god of this world blinds all the turns and ingenuities of some human the hearts of men who believe not, lest the argument, who by the march of a mighty and light of the glorious gospel of Christ should resistless demonstration, can scale with as- enter into them that veil, which no sured footstep the sublimities of science, power of philosophy can draw aside, gives and from his firm stand on the eminence way to the demonstration of the Spirit; and he has won, can descry some wondrous thus it is, that a clear perception of scriprange of natural or intellectual truth spread tural truth, and all the freshness and perout in subordination before him ;-and yet manency of its moral influences, are to this very man may, in reference to the be met with among men who have just moral and authoritative claims of the God- emerged from the rudest and the grossest head, be in a state of utter apathy and blind barbarity.-Oh! when one looks at the ness! All his attempts, either at the spiritu-number and the greatness of their achieveal discernment, or the practical impression ments; when he thinks of the change they of this doctrine, may be arrested and baffled have made on materials so coarse and so by the weight of some great inexplicable unpromising; when he eyes the villages impotency. A man of homely talents, and they have formed, and around the whole still homelier education, may see what he of that engaging perspective by which they cannot see, and feel what he cannot feel; have chequered and relieved the grim soliand wise and prudent as he is, there may (tude of the desert, he witnesses the love, lie the barrier of an obstinate and impene- and listens to the piety of reclaiming trable conccalment, between his accomplish- savages;-who would not long to be in ed mind, and those things which are re possession of the charm by which they vealed unto babes.
have wrought this wondrous transformaBut while his mind is thus utterly devoid tion--who would not willingly exchange of what may be called the main or elemental for it all the parade of human eloquence, principle of theology, he may have a far and all the confidence of human argument quicker apprehension, and have his taste and for the wisdom of winning souls, and his feelings much more powerfully in- who is there that would not rejoice to throw terested, than the simple Christian who is the loveliness of the song, and all the inbeside him, by what may be called the cir- significancy of its passing fascinations, cumstantials of theology. He can throw a away from him? wider and more rapid glance over the mag- And yet it is right that every cavil against nitudes of creation. He can be more deli-Christianity should be met, and every argucately alive to the beauties and the sublimi- ment for it be exhibited, and all the graces ties which abound in it. He can, when the and sublimities of its doctrine be held idea of a presiding God is suggested to him, out to their merited admiration. And if it have a more kindling sense of his natural be true, as it certainly is, that throughout majesty, and be able, both in imagination the whole of this process, a man may be and in words, to surround the throne of carried rejoicingly along from the mere the Divinity by the blazonry of more great, indulgence of his taste, and the mere play and splendid, and elevating images. And and exercise of his understanding; while yet, with all those powers of conception conscience is untouched, and the supremawhich he does possess, he may not possess cy of moral claims upon the heart and the that on which practical Christianity hinges. conduct is practically disowned by himThe moral relation between him and God, it is further right that this should be advermay neither be effectively perceived, norted to; and that such a melancholy unfaithfully proceeded on. Conscience may be hingement in the constitution of man should in a state of the most entire dormancy, be fully laid open, and that he should be and the man be regaling himself with the driven out of the seductive complacency magnificence of God, while he neither loves which he is so apt to cherish, merely because God, nor believes God, nor obeys God. The delights in the loveliness of the song;
en he eyes the villages
charm by which they
and that he should be urged with the im- withheld from the exercise of loftiest talent,
found that all beyond it is a dark and With a religion so argumentable as ours, fathomless unknown. But let this modesty it may be easy to gather out of it a feast of science be carried, as in consistency it for the human understanding. With a re-ought, to the question of revelation, and ligion so magnificent as ours, it may be let all the antipathies of nature be schooled easy to gather out of it a feast for the hu- to acquiescence in the authentic testimonies man imagination. But with a religion so of the Bible. Think it not enough that you humbling, and so strict, and so spiritual, it have looked with sensibility and wonder at is not easy to mortify the pride; or to quell the representation of God throned in imthe strong enmity of nature; or to arrest mensity, yet combining with the vastness the currency of the affections; or to turn of his entire superintendence, a most thothe constitutional habits; or to pour a new rough inspection into all the minute and complexion over the moral history; or to countless diversities of existence. Think of stem the domineering influence of things your own heart as one of these diversities; seen and things sensible; or to invest faith and that he ponders all its tendencies; and with a practical supremacy; or to give its has an eye upon all its movements; and objects such a vivacity of influence as shall marks all its waywardness; and, God of overpower the near and the hourly im- judgment as he is, records its every secret, pressions, that are ever emanating upon and its every sin, in the book of his rememman from a seducing world. It is here brance. Think it not enough, that you that man feels himself treading upon the have been led to associate a grandeur with limit of his helplessness. It is here that he the salvation of the New Testament; when sees where the strength of nature ends; and made to understand that it draws upon it the power of grace must either be put forth, the regards of an arrested universe. How is or leave him to grope his darkling way, it arresting your own mind? What has been without one inch of progress towards the the earnestness of your personal regards life and the substance of Christianity. It towards it? And tell me, if all its faith, is here that a barrier rises on the contem- and all its repentance, and all its holiness plation of the inquirer--the barrier of sepa- are not disowned by you? Think it not ration between the carnal and the spiritual, enough, that you have felt a sentimental and on which he may idly waste the every charm when angels were pictured to your energy which belongs to him, in the en- fancy as beckoning you to their mansions, terprise of surmounting it. It'is here, that and anxiously looking to the every sympalter having walked the round of nature's tom of your grace and reformation. . Oh! acquisitions, and lavished upon the truth of be constrained by the power of all this tenall his ingenuities, and surveyed it in its derness, and yield yourselves up in a pracevery palpable character of grace and ma- tical obedience to the call of the Lord God jesty; he will still feel himself on a level merciful and gracious. Think it not enough with the simplest and most untutored of the that you have shared for a moment in the species. He needs the power of a living deep and busy interest of that arduous conmanifestation. He needs the anointing | flict which is now going on for a moral Which remaineth. He needs that which / ascendency over the species. Remember fixes and perpetuates a stable revolution the conflict is for each of you individually : upon the character, and in virtue of which and let this alarm you into a watchfulness he may be advanced from the state of against the power of every temptation, one who hears, and is delighted, to the and a cleaving dependence upon him state of one who hears, and is a doer. Oh! through whom alone you will be more than how strikingly is the experience even of conquerors. Above all, forget not that Vigorous and accomplished nature at one while you only hear and are delighted, you on this point with the announcements of are still under nature's powerlessness, and revelation, that to work this change, there nature's condemnation-and that the founmust be the putting forth of a peculiar dation is not laid, the mighty and essential agency; and that it is an agency, which, change is not accomplished, the transition
vould not rejoice to throw he song, and all the iti is passing fascinations
at that every caril against } be met, and every arguibited, and all the greates If its doctrine he bed d admiration. And i inly is, that throughout process, a man market y along from the mer taste, and the mere play is understanding; Wili uched, and the suprema i upon the heart and the
lly disowned by himhat this should be adier such a melancholy w
Institution of man shou!
from death unto life is not undergone, the hearer of the word and not a doer, he is saving faith is not formed, nor the passage like unto a man beholding his natural face taken from darkness to the marvellous light in a glass : for he beholdeth himself, and of the gospel, till you are both hearers of goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth the word and doers also. “For if any be alwhat manner of man he was."
The writer of these Discourses has drawn up the following compilation of passages from Scripture, as serving to illustrate or to confirm the leading arguments which have been employed in each separate division of his subject. DISCOURSE I.
The Lord that made heaven and earth, bless
thee out of Zion. Psalm cxxxiv. 3. In the beginning God created the heaven and Which made heaven and earth, the sea, and all the earth. Gen. 1, 1.
that therein is. Psalm cxlvi. 6. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; and all the host of them. Gen. ii. 1.
by understanding hath he established the heavens. Behold the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, Prov, iii. 19. is the Lord's thy God, the earth also, with all that Who hath measured the waters in the hollow therein is. Deut. x, 14.
of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a meawho rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in sure, and weighed the mountains in a scale, and his excellency on the sky. Deut. xxxiii. 26. the hills in a balance. Isa. xl. 12.
"And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, said, O Lord God of Israel, which dwellest be- and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers ; tween the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou that stretcheth out the heaven as a curtain, and alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in. Isa. xl. 22. made heaven and earth. 2 Kings xix. 15.
Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the For all the gods of the people are idols; but the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread Lord made the heavens. 1 Chronicles xvi. 26. forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it;
Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their spirit to them that walk therein. Isa. xlii. 5. host, the earth and all things that are therein, the Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, and he seas and all that is therein; and thou preservest that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord them all; and the host of heaven worship thee. that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the Nehemiah ix. 6.
heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and myself. Isa. xliv. 24 . treadeth upon the waves of the sea; which ma- I have made the earth, and created man upon it; keth Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, chambers of the south. Job ix. 8, 9.
and all their host have I commanded. Isa. xlv, 12. He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, For thus saith the Lord that created the heaand hangeth the earth upon nothing. Job xxvi. 7. vens, God himself that formed the earth and made
By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens. it, he hath established it, he created it not in vain, Job xxvi. 13.
he formed it to be inhabited. Isa. xlv. 18. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the firmament showeth his handy-work. Psalm xix. 1. earth, and my right hand hath spanned the hea
By the word of the Lord were the heavens vens; when I call unto them, they stand up tomade; and all the host of them by the breath of his gether. Isa. xlviii. 13. mouth. Psalm xxxiii. 6.
He hath made the earth by his power, he hath Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the established the world by his wisdom, and hath earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands. stretched out the heavens by his discretion. Jer. Psalm cii. 25.
x. 12. Who coverest thyself with light as with a gar- Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heament; who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain. ven and the earth by thy great power and stretchPsalm civ. 2.
ed out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee. He appointed the moon for seasons; the sun Jer. xxxii. 17. knoweth his going down. . Psalm civ. 19.
He hath made the earth by his power, he hath You are blessed of the Lord which made heaven established the world by his wisdom, and hath and earth. The heaven, even the heavens, are the stretched out the heaven by his understanding. Lord's, but the earth hath he given to the children Jer. li. 15. of meri. Psalm cxv. 15, 16.
It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, My help cometh from the Lord, which made and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that heaven and earth. Psalm cxxi. 2.
calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made out upon the face of the earth, The Lord is his heaven and earth. Psalm cxxiv. 8.
name. Amos ix, 6.