Imágenes de páginas

** It clearly was never intended that in the "present state of the world we "should ob"serve these rules. At least it is very evi"dent that we need not be at all strict as ** to the observance of them." He proceeds in the, fame manner wish respect to doctrines: and such as do not satisfy his preconceptions, and coincide with his theories, he makes no scruple os neglecting, nor of explaining away, nor even of openly denying. Now one part of the character of a good man, as it is delineated in the Scriptures, is to walk humbly with his God. Do such persons walk humbly with their God? Is not their conduct the counter* part of that ofNaaman, while his mind was enslaved by pride? A part of the measures necessary for his cure he was willing to adopt. He did not hesitate to undertake a journeyeven as far as Samaria tothe prophet. But when he was directed to proceed to the river Jordan, and wash himself in the stream; he immediately rebelled. He thought the direction unreasonable, absurd, and degrading ; and refused to pay any regard to it. My brethren! Be assured thatthe whole of the Scriptures is the word of God, If it is your duty to obey one part, it is your duty to obey every part And those persons who presumptuously take upon themselves to separate those things which God has R 4 joined joined together; tp..4etach 4P-.4 select from the sacred writings some doctrines, and some precepts, as proper to he received, and to reject others as unworthy pf God and- not designed to' be binding upon man; are in the utmost danger of sinding themselves. at the day of judgement as fatally disappointed of salvation, as Naarnan would have found himself disappointed of a cure, if he had persevered in refusing to. depart and dip himself seven times irt Jordan. ,

3. Receive instruction, in the next place, from the unfeigned repentance, and pious gratitude of Naarnan, He came in haste from the river, and presented himself before the prophet. He openly acknowledged that there was no God but the God of Israel. He solemnly renounced the idolatrous worstiip to which he had been accustomed; and declared that from that moment he would adore the true God and Him only. He who had so lately regarded with contempt all the waters of Canaan; now .humbly requested permission to carry back with him into his own country two mules' burthen of earth from the land of Israel, that he might raise with it in Syria an altar tojehovah. You have inherited a corrupt nature, infected with a disease far more loathsome, far rnpre dangerous, than


that of Naaman: infected with1 $n, trie Te

'; Ml, K jf'.l, j "I,1"

prosy of the heart. How may you be preserved from the mortal effects of your malady? By one method only: by a method analogous to that by which Naaman was healed: by flying for help to die great prophet of Israel, Jesus Christ the Lord. He has opened in his gospel a fountain for the waihmg away of guilt. He has;made atonement for sin by the fliedcIUig of his own blood. He promises pardon to every, penitent.' Tie promises to his followers .the aid of all-sufficient grace. He invites^ he exhorts you to accept deliverance, to be cleansed, to be made whole. Have you hitherto despised the call? Naaman gave ear to the counsel of his servants. We are ourselves your servants for ye/as's fake. Now then wears apibajfadors for Cbriji, as though God did beseech you' by us. We pray you in Chris s fead; be' ye'reconciled to God (c). Or do you profess that you have already listened to your Saviour's voice, and known the riches of his redeeming love? We beseech you then that ye receive not the grace of God in vain {d\ The change in Naaman was total. And what faith the apostle? .f any mem be in Chris, Jie is a new creature. Old things are pa fed away: behold

(c) 2 Cor. iv. 5. v. 2c. (./) z Car. vi. I.

all all things are become new (e). Art thou, like Naaman, purified from unbelief, from pride> from hardness of heart? Hast thou renounced, like Naaman, thy former idols? Like Naaman,, hast thou dedicated thyself to the living God? Like Naaman, dost thou respect and love those objects, which heretofore thou contemnedst; the commands of God, the ordinances of God, the altar of God, the servants of God? If thou wouldest know thy real state, turn not away from searching questions. Does conscience constrain thee to silence? Does thy heart secretly delight in the pursuits of the old Adam? This Syrian shall rife up in the day of judgement and shall condemn thee. The leprosy still cleaveth unto thee. Fly to the fountain of living ivaters, the fountain that is opened for fin and uncUannefs, the fountain that cometh forth of the house of the Lord (/'); lest thy leprosy cleave unto thee for ever.

4. Finally, let Naaman admonish you to tenderness of conscience. In this thing the Lord pardon thy servant ; that 'when my mas er goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and /.' bow myself in the house of Rimmon; when I bow

(e) 2 Cor. v. 17. (/) Jcr. ii. 13. Joel, iii. 18.

Zech. xiii. :.


doivn myself in the house os' Rimmon, the Lord pardon thyservant in this thing. - .

It is not a little singular, that these words of Naaman, which originated in i.. scrupulous desire to avoid every degree of offence against God, should have been interpreted into an application for a license, to commit .idolatry. It is still more extraordinary that the reply of Elisha, Go in peace, should have been regarded as an assent to such a request. As though the Syrian convert, who in the preceding moment had solemnly declared that he knew that there was no God in all the earth but in Israel; who had spontaneously averred that he would thenceforth offer neither burnt-offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto Jehovah alone ; would instantly solicit permission to worship an idol! As though the prophet of the Most High would have been seduced from his allegiance by a worldly fear of dealing too strictly with so recent and so dignified a proselyte, to countenance and sanction a crime which it was the object of his life to oppose {g)! As though he would not instantly have replied: 7by heart is not right in the fight of God.

. (g) See in particular the indignant boldness with which he reproved his own idolatrous sovereign. 2 Kings, iii. I. 3. '3> '4

. What

« AnteriorContinuar »