« AnteriorContinuar »
appear before a righteous Judge, to give an account of the deeds done in the body. If our sins be not remitted, the Judge must condemn our souls to everlasting fire.
3. Pardon cannot be obtained without repentance. No man should expect it. We cannot see a need of pardon, if we neither see nor feel our sinfulness. We cannot reasonably indulge a hope, if we neither turn from sin, nor turn to God. “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on and are punished”
4. It must follow then that those who neglect. repentance will perish. They will perish body and soul for ever. Sinner, be alarmed! Tremble before God! He will not be mocked. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” God gives thee space to repent; but it will soon end. In a future world thou wilt find no place for repentance. Dost thou laugh at the mourning penitent? Remember, it is better to weep and mour now, than to weep and mourn in the flames of hell. The damned would give a thousand worlds for thy opportunity; but their dreadful state will soon be thine, unless thou repent.
The jews were often warned; but they slighted warning. The blood of the Galileans shed by Pilate, and the falling of the tower in Siloam, were awful em
blems of that destruction which came upon them when the Romans besieged Jerusalem. In that memorable siege, if we are to credit Josephus, their own historian, eleven hundred thousand perished ! . Their towers fell their temple was burnedtheir city was destroyed—and those who survived the dreadful scene were taken captives, to return no more to their beloved land. Their wretched descendants are still scattered over the nations ; nor will -.. they ever return without true repentance, and an acknowledgment that Jesus is the Christ. Thus in the end of the world the terrible judgments of God will overtake and overwhelm impenitent sinners. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." ' · I shall conclude in the words of Peter to his deluded countrymen: “ Repent ye there fore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the
Prayer in Affliction.
JAMES V. 13.
EVERY state and condition of life has its peculiar duty ; and, to use a common phrase, that man acts in character who pera. forms the duty which his peculiar state requires. Our text refers to a suffering state, and recommends the afflicted to engage in the duty of prayer. “Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray.”
Here are two things: first, an enquiry, “ Is any among you afflicted?” and secondly, a direction, “ Let him pray.” :
I. Is ANY AMONG YOU AFFLICTED ?
1. It is seldom that we are all afflicted. Though human life abound with trouble, yet, blessed be God, there are pleasing intervals of sweet repose ; wherein the mind is not only calm and tranquil, but inexpressibly happy. No wave of sorrow rolls over the peaceful breast. The body is free from pain, and the mind is free from all distraction. Providence smiles; and we
abound with food and raiment, and every other necessary comfort. All our affairs are, in every respect, agreeable to our wishes. Heaven and earth conspire to make us blessed. Heaven shines upon us, and all nature looks gay. We enter our habitations in peace, We go out and come in in the fear of the Lord; and all things evidently work together for our good. This state, however, may not continue long. Hence we proceed to remark,
2. That generally. some among us are af, flicted. There are but few families, cities, or religious assemblies, where we might not find some in a state of affliction. While one is rejoicing, another is mourning: one drinks the cup of consolation, and another the bitter cup of sorrow. One is racked with pain, and has appointed unto him wearisome days and nights: another is afflicted with poverty and want: another mourns the loss of a dear friend or near relation, whom his eyes shall see no more in the land of the living: another is afflicted with thoughtless and disobedient children, of whom he has no hope either as to this world or that which is to come : another is weighed down with a load of guilt, which creates dreadful fears of future punishment: another suffers by the persecuting spirit of such as should be his tompanions in the way to Zion: another
is in heaviness, through manifold temptation : another is vexed in his righteous soul at the wickedness of the wicked: and another is kept in painful bondage through the fear of death. The monarch on his throne, the honourable statesman, the wise counsellor, the valiant soldier, the upright judge, the laborious husbandman, and the poor cottager, all know by sad experience that man is born to trouble. Even pure religion does not exempt men from affliction; for, “many are the afflictions of the righteous."
When a minister of religion goes into a family, let him enquire, Is any among you afflicted ? When he mixes with company, though they may put on a cheerful countenance, let him ask, Is any among you afflicted ? When he ascends the sacred pulpit, let him look upon his numerous and mixed hearers, and put the question, Is any among you afflicted? And when he writes to the saints, as Jamés in this epistle, let him make the enquiry, Is any among you afflicted? Then let him earnestly recommend the duty of prayer.This leads to the second part of our subject: i'.
IL. LET HIM PRAY.
We must carefully guard against misa takes in explaining the holy scriptures. This passage, misunderstood, may lead to a