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“ Yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” *
“ Be watchful, therefore, and strengthen the things which remain, and are ready to die ! Remember how
have received and heard : and HOLD FAST and REPENT.” of
* See Heb. x.
* See Rev. iii. 2, 3.
ACTS XIV. PART OF THE 15TH VERSE.
“ We preach unto you, that ye should turn unto the living
1...WHEN, my brethren, we were last together, attempt was made at the illustration of the subject of the natural depravity of man, by bringing to your notice a supposititious case, in which the moral disorder which we all inherit, had been allowed to proceed unrestrained, until it had to such an extent infected the soul, as, by its corruption, to have deadened all the moral perception of man, and to have overshadowed the mind in the thick darkness of one “strong delusion.”
“ Because they received not the love of truth, that they might be saved,” says the apostle, “ God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a LIE : that they all might be DAMNED, who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
II...By consequence of our very frailty, we require startling instances of the results of the indulgence of that frailty, to attract the attention of our besotted and elusive understandings. On which account, an extreme case, and not an instance of criminal life in its earliest manifestations, was supposed for contemplation.
To the reflecting mind, it is a question, whether the results of vice be not as distinctly seen in the character of the wayward youth, as in that of the aged and hardened sinner. But the multitude cannot be said to be given to reflection. A lame boy attracts the notice and pity of few in the passing crowd—it is the exposed wound, and the creature with every limb amputated, round which the numbers throng. And prodigies and monsters of iniquity, in their crowns of woe and vests of shame, must be set up on high, as beacons for the multitude.
III... If attention be gained only, much may be said to be done. In calling men to their God, we might speak of life's miseries, under which we pine-of the afflictions, under which we need consolations—of bereavements, under which we need hope. But, for the present, we neglect this particular part of our subject, under the idea of the few who require to be reminded that human life is full of trouble. *
* 2 Thess. ii. 10-12.
My chief object now is, by representing to you the nature of human depravity, to induce you to undertake, with the humility, the earnestness, and the determination which the subject demands, the commencement of religious reflection, in asking yourselves the question, Is there no remedy for man's moral corruption ?
IV... When we contemplate such an example, as, when we were last together, allusion was made to, in the character of one, who is blind to the moral differences of actions — who cannot see any distinction between virtue and vice; who has lost all faculty of discriminating good from bad, noble from mean, kindness from brutishness; who “ being past feeling,” of as the apostle expresses it, has “ given himself over” to work all iniquity with greediness, and with darkened understanding seeks to
* See Appendix H. † Eph. iv. 19.
slake, as it appears, a thirst of wickedness in injury of man and insult of his God;—when we contemplate such an instance of human depravity, and possibly in the same individual discern mental ability, talent, learning, and acuteness of perception, on all other but moral questions; when, in the person of the merchant, the soldier, the statesman, or the poet, we see all but the “ one thing needful ;" and when we observe, that neither affluence, success unbroken, power, or fame, can supply the place of what has been laid aside, or unsought for ; but that, surrounded with wealth unlimited, or spoils and trophies, clothed in the robes of state authority, or wreathed with the laurels of literary eminence -man, without the knowledge, which is easiest of attainment, and which is placed on the surface of things,* is a more miserable being than language can tell : when we look around, and perceive, that through all nature, there is a calm completeness, (if such an expression may be used) which the human mind, without the knowledge alluded to,t does not enjoy; but which, possessing that knowledge, it peculiarly
* See the books of Solomon; James iii. 17; Psalm cxlv. 9 ; cxix. 130.
* See 1 Cor. xv. 34.