« AnteriorContinuar »
ers, and directly applies to their hearts ing divine truth, as that in which his and consciences. The example of peculiar excellence principally conso great a master, may well excite sisted. We give a few specimens of the enquiry whether any thing is to his manner, which will more clearly be gained by the fashionable depar- set it before our readers. ture from such a standard. well be doubted whether the truth it- which we now cannot conceive. We see
There will be that sinking of beart, of self of a proposition, is so firmly fix- bow it is with the body when in extreme ed in the minds of a common congre- pain. The nature of the body will sup gation, by the ablest course of reason- port itself for a considerable time onder ing, such for instance as our author very
great pain, so as to keep from wbol
ly sinking. There will be great struggles, could have followed, as it is by a sim- lamentable groans and panting, and it may ple exhibition of the declarations of be convulsions.
Tbese are the strog scripture, applied to the feelings and glings of nature to support itself under the experience of every hearer. In point were, a great loathness in nature to yield of impression there can certainly be to it; it cannot bear wholly to sink. no comparison. Let a line of argu But yet sometimes pain of body is so mentation be supposed so clear as
very extreme and exquisite, that the nature
of the body cannot support itself under it ; to completely overcome the implied however loath it may be to siok, yet it can doubt with which it commenced, a not bear the pain ; there are a few strug. conviction may be yielded to the gles, and throes, and pantings, and it may truth as stated in the proposition, with be a sbriek or two, and then nature yields out any distinct conception of the fact down and the body dies. This is the which this truth announces. On the death of the body. So it will be with the other hand, the simple statement of soul in bell; it will have no strength or a truth, such for instance as the de. power to deliver itself; and its torment
and horror will be so great, so mighty, se pravity of the heart, will often so
vastly disproportioned to its strength, that reach the conscience, and meet the baving no strength in the least to support experience of a sinner, as to produce itself, although it be infinitely contrary to complete conviction, without the aid ly to sink ; yet it will sink, it will utterly of any other argument whatever. and totally sink, without the least degree Some remarks which recently met of remaining comfort, or strength, or our eye, in the pages of an eloquent courage, or bope. And though it will preacher, would seem to have been ception will never be abolished; yet such
never be annibilated, its being and per. written with a direct reference to the will be the infinite depth of gloominess practice of Edwards. We can hard- that it will sink into, that it will be in a ly doubt that the writer had his eye state of death, eternal death. on this illustrious example: “It is the nature of the soul to crave and thirst
The nature of man desires happiness ; it appears a very presumptuous at- after wellbeing; and if it be under misery, tempt, on the part of a human in- it eagerly pants after relief; and tbe greater terpreter, when the object which he be misery is, the more eagerly doth it proposes, and which he erects into a holden, all strength overborn, all support
struggle for help. But if all relief be withseparate head of discussion, is lo utterly gone; then it sinks into the darkprove the assertion of the text. ness of death.--. Vol. vii, pp. 386, 387. Should not the very circumstance of Sometimes the intenseness of the its being the assertion of the text, be author's own feelings gives an unusuproof enough for you?"
al strength to bis expressions, which If the excellence of any peculiar even become figurative in a high dekind of preaching, may be estimated gree. from the character and extent of its
But what would be the effect on your effects, there can be no hesitation in soul, if you knew you must lie there enascribing an uncommon degree of ex- during that forment to the full for twentycellence to that of Edwards, and as four hours! And how much greater little we should suppose, in fixing up- endure it for a whole year; and how vaston his descriptive manner of exhibit- . ly greater still, if you know you must en.
dure it for a thousand years! O then, how were it not for the restraining hand of would your hearts siok, if you thought, if God, it would immediately burst forth upyou knew, that you must bear it for ever on you. The sovereigo pleasure of God, and ever! That there would be no end! for the present, stays his rough wind; That after millions of millions of ages, otherwise it would come with fury, and your tornent would be po nearer to an your destruction would come like a whirl. end, than ever it was; and that you nep. wind, and you would be like the chaff of er, never should be delivered!
the summer threshing floor.-Vol. vii. pp. But your torment in hell will be im 494,495. mensely greater than this illustration represeals, How then will the heart of a
The bow of God's wrath is bent, and poor creature sink under it! How utterly
the arrow made ready on the string, and ioexpressible and inconceivable must the justice bends the arrow at your heart, and sinking of the soul be in such a case !
strains the bow, and it is nothing but the This is the death threatened in the law. mere pleasure of God, and that of an anThis is dying in the highest sense of the
gry God, without any promise or obligaword. This is to die sensibly; to die and
lion at all, that keeps the arrow one mo. koow it ; to be sensible of the gloon of
ment from being made drunk with your death, This is to be undone; this is
blood. worthy of the name of destruction. This Thus are all you that never passed onsinking of the soul under an infinite
der a great change of heart, by the mighty weight, which it cannot bear, is the gloom power of the Spirit of God upon your of bell. We read in scripture of the
souls; all that were never born again, and blackness of darkness; this is it, tbis is made new creatures, and raised from be. the very thing. We read in scripture of ing dead in sin, to a state of new, and be. sinners being iost, and of their losing their
fore altogetber unexperienced light and souls : This is the thing intonded; this is
life, (however you may have reformed to lose the soul ; They that are the sub your life in many things, and may have jects of this are utterly lost.-Vol. vii.
had religious affections, and may keep up a form of religion in your families and
closets, and in the houses of God, and Your wickedness makes you as it were
may be strict in it) you are thus in the heavy as lead, and to tend downwards
bands of an angry God; it is nothing but with great weight and pressure towards
bis mere pleasure tbat keeps you from be. hell, and if God should let you go, you
ing this moment swallowed up in everlastwould immediately sink and swiftly de
ing destruction.-Vol. vii. pp. 495, 496. scend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and
We can easily conceive, that the your own care and prudence, and best weight of the author's character, the cootrivance, and all your righteousness, great earnestness and solemnity of would have no more influence to uphold his manner, indicating his own conyou and keep you out of bell, than a spi viction of the truths he was uttering, der's web would have to stop a falling rock. Were it not that so is the sovereign the infinite importance of these truths, pleasure of God, the earth would not bear and the vivid descriptive manner in you one moment ; for you are a bortben
which he exhibited them, must have to it; the creation groans with you ; the creature is made subject to the bondage of
made a deep, and often a lasting imyour corruption, not willingly; the sun pression on almost any assembly. does not willingly shine upon you to give The peculiarity of President Edyou light to serve sia and Satan; the earth does not willingly yield her increase
wards' manner of preaching, on which to satisfy your lusts : nor is it willingly a
we have so long dwelt, was not con. stage for your wicknedess to be acted up.
fined to the body of his sermons, it on; the air does not willingly serve you for equally appears in their application breath to maintain the Hame of life in which is, we think, the most imporyour vitals, while you spend your lite in the service of God's enemies. God's crea.
tant part of our author's discourses, tures are good, and were made for men to the most extended, the most interest serve God with, and do not willingly sub- ing and impressive, the part on which serve to any other purpose, and groan he principally laid out his strength, #hen they are abused to purposes so di. rectly contrary to their nature and end believing it to be the most useful to And the world would spew you out, were his hearers. This portion of his serit not for the sovereigu band of him who mons, is also characterized by the hath subjected it in hope. There are the plainness with which it is addressed directly over your heads, full of the dread directly to the heart and conscience lesl storm, and big with thuodør; and of his hearers, by the minuteness with
which he takes up and applies to His plainness in one passage ap them, all the important ideas contain. proaches to personality. ed in the body of the discourse, by a
There were some who were guilty of discriminating appropriation of them
backsliding, the last time of the revival of to persons of different characters and religion among us. While the talk upon situations in life, by a particular religious subjects was generally kept alive, mention of the circumstances in which they continued to seek ; but when ibis bethey are called upon to perform par- gan to abate, and they saw others less zeal
ous than they had been, and especially ticular duties or are in danger of fall
when they saw some micarriages of proing into temptation and sin, and last- fessors,they began to grow more careless, ly by a solemn, earnest, impressive to seek less earnestly, and 10 plead these
And they are left appeal, to every feeling and active things as an excuse.
behind still; they are to this day in a misprinciple of our nature, if by any erable condemned state, in danger of the means he may arouse to consideration devouring fire, and of everlasting burn. and persuade to immediate decision ings; in twice so dangerous a state as they and action. He counsels, exhorts, God only knows'wbat will become of
were in before they were awakened; and warps, expostulates, as if he were de- them. And as it was then, so we dread it termined not to suffer his hearers to will be now.-Vol. viii. p. 175. depart, until they were convinced of their duty and persuaded to choose it
We give the following specimen of We have made a large selection of closeness of application to the con
science. passages to illustrate each of these qualities, as they appear in this part
How is your doing, as you do, consistof his discourses, and we look them ent with loving God above all? If you over with regret that we cannot en have not a spirit to love God above your rich our pages with them all, and in dearest earthly friends, and your most
pleasant earthly enjoyments; the Scrip. a state of indecision which to select.
tures are very plain, and full in it, tbat The following exhibits the first qual you are not true Christians. But if you ity, which we mentioned, viz. plain
had indeed such a spirit, would you thus ness, and at the same time is an in grow weary of the practice of drawing stance of the graphic descriptions of averse to it, as in a great measure to cast
near to him, and become habitually so revealed truth, very common in his off so plain a duty, which is so much the discourses.
life of a child ot God? It is the nature of
love to be averse to absence, and to love You sinners who are here present, you a near access to those whom we love. We are the very persons spoken of in the text; love to be with them; we delight to come you are the sinners in Zion. How many often to them, and to have much converof these people of God's wrath are there sation with them. But when a person sitting bere and there in the seals of this who hath heretofore been wont to conhouse at this time? You have often been verse freely with another, by degrees for exhorted to fly from the wrath to come. sukes bim, grows strange, and converses This devouring fire, these everlasting bur. with him but little, and that although the nings, of which we have been speaking, other be importunate with him for the are the wrath to come. You hear to day continuance of their former intimaey; tbis of this fire, of these burnings, and of that plainly shows the coldness of his heart 10fearfulness which will seize and surprize wards him. sinners in Zion hereafier; and what Your thus restraining prayer before God reason have you of thankfulness that you is not only inconsistent with (be love, but only hear of them, that you do not as yet also with the fear of God. It is an argufeel tbem, and that they have not already ment that you cast off fear, as is manifest taken hold of you! They are, as it were, by that text, Job sv. 4. “ Yea, thou castest following you, and coming nearer and off fear, and restrainest prayer before nearer every day. Those fierce flames God." Whilst you thus live in tbe trans. are, as it were, already kindled in the gression of so plain a command of God, wrath of God; yea, the fierceness and you evidently show, that there is no fear wratb of Almighty God burn against you ; of God before your eyes.--Vol. viii. pp. 217, it is ready for you: Thal pit is prepared 218. for you, with fire and much wood, and the breath of the Lord, as stream of brim.
How is a life, in a great measure pray. stone, doib kindle it.- Vol. viii. pp. 171, erless, consistent with an boly life? To 172.
lead an holy life is to lead a lise deroted
10 God; a life of worshipping and serving penitent sinners, mingled with arguGod; a life consecrated to the service of
ments and answers to objections, all God. But how doth be lead such a life wbo doth not so much as maintain the
fitted to convince them that God duly of prayer? How can such a man be would be just in executing upon them said to walk by the Spirit, and to be a
a the threatenings of the law. ' His end servant of the Most High God? An boly is to produce conviction of sin, as a life is a life of faith. The life that true Christians live in the world, they live by means, by the grace of God, of prothe faith of the Son of God. But who can ducing repentance for sin, and faith believe that that man lives by faith who in the Saviour of sinners. We do lives without prayer, wbich is the natural expression of faiib? Prayer is as natural
not envy the state of that man's heart, an espression of faith as breathing is of who can read it through, unmoved, life; and to say a man lives a life of faith, or without a desire to reperuse it. and yet lives a prayerless life, is every whit as inconsistent and incredible, as to Therefore, for your conviction, be direcsay that a man lives without breathing. A led to look over you past life : Inquire at prayerless life is so far from being an holy the mouth of conscience, and bear what life, that it is a profane life : He ibat lives that has to testify concerning it. Considso, lives like an Heathen, who calleth not er wbat you are, what light you have had, on God's name; he that lives a prayerless and what means you have lived under; life, lives without God in the world. and yet how have you behaved yonrself! If you live in the neglect of secret pray.
What have those many days and nights, er, you show your good will to neglect that you have lived, been filled up with all the worship of God. He tbat prays How have those years, that have rolled only when he prays with others, would over your heads, one after another, been not pray at all, were it not tbat the eyes spent? What has the sun shone upon of oibers are upon him. He that will not you for, from day to day, while you have pray where none but God seeth bim, man- improved his light to serve Satan by it? ifestly doib not pray at all out of respect to What has God kept your breath in your God, or regard to his all-seeing eye, and nostrils for, and given you meat and drink, therefore doth in effect cast off all prayer.
from day to day for, that you have spent And be that casts off prayer, in effect casts your life and strength that have been supoff all the worsbip of God, of which pray. ported by them, in opposing God and reer is the principal duty. Now, what a bellion against him ? miserable saint is he who is no worship How many sorts of wickedness have per of God! He that casts off the worship you been guilty of? How manifold have of God, in effect casts off God himselt: He been tbe abominations of your life? What refuses to own him, or to be conversant profaneness and contempt of God has been with bim as his God. For the way in exercised by you? How little regard which men own God, and are conversant have you had to the scriptures, to the with him as their God, is by worshipping
word preached, to sabbaths, 'and sacrahim.-Vol. viii. pp. 218, 219.
ments? How profanely have you talked,
many of you about those things that are We omit all our other intended ex- boly? After what manner bave many of tracts, to turn our attention particular you kept God's holy day, not regarding ly to the sermon entitled “The Justice ibe holiness of the time, not caring what of God in the damnation of sidney's." you thought of in it? Yea, you bave not
only spent the time in worldly, vain, and It is perhaps the most finished dis
unprofitable thougbis, but in immoral course which the author has publish- thoughts; pleasing yourseli with the reed, and a favourable specimen of his flection of past acts of wickedness, and peculiar manner. His text is that
in contriving new acts.-Vol vii. pp. 338,
339. every mouth may be stopped." After attending to its meaning in his usu
And how have you behaved yourself in
the time of family prayer! and what a al manner, in connexion with the con
trade have many of you made of absenting text, he derives the doctrine, “It is yourselves from the worship of the famijust with God, eternally to cast off lies you belong to, for the sake of rain and destroy sinners." This he illus company! And bow bave you continued
in the neglect of secret prayer! Wberein trates and proves in few words, and
wilfully living in a known sin, going proceeds to the application," which abreast against as plain a command as any is more than half of the whole dis in the Bible! Have you not been one course, and is a direct appeal to the
that has cast off fear, and restrained prayer
before God? conscience, an application to it of the
What wicked carriage have some of doctrine, an expostulation with im- you been guilty of towards your parents ?
How far have you been from paying that there not some here who have debased honor to them that God has required! themselves below the dignity of human Have you not even harbored ill will and nature, by wallowing in sensual filthiness. malice towards them? And when they-Vol. vii. pp. 340, 341. bave displeased you, have wished evil to thea? Yea and shown your vile spirit in If God should forever cast you of, it your behaviour ? And it is well if you would be exactly agreeable to your treathave not mocked them behind their ment of him. That you may be sensible backs; and like the cursed Ham and Ca- of this, consider, that you never have es. naan, derided your parents' nakedness in- ercised tbe least degree of love to God; stead of covering it, and hiding your eyes and therefore it would be agreeable to from it. Have not some of you often dis- your treatment of him if he should never obeyed your parents, yea, and refused to express any love to you. When God conbe subject to them? It is a wonder of verts and saves a sioner, it is a wonderful mercy and forbearance, that that has not and unspeakable manifestation of dirine before now been accomplished on you, love. When a poor lost soul is brought Prov. Ixxi. 17. “ The eye that mocketh home to Christ, and has all bis sins forgivat his father, and refuseth to obey his moth- en him, and is made a child of God, er, the ravens of the valley shall pick it will take up a whole eternity to express out and the young eagles shall eat it. and declare the greatness of that love.
What revenge and malice bave you And why should God be obliged to espress been guilty of iowards your neighbours ? such wonderful love to you, who never How have you indulged this spirit of the exercised the least degree of love to him devil, bating others, and wishing evil to in all your life?. You never have loved them, rejoicing when evil besel them, and God, who is infinitely glorious and lovely; grieving at others' prosperity, and lived in and why then is God uuder obligation to sucb a way for a long time! Have not lore you who are all deformed and loath. some of you allowed a passionate, furious some as a filthy worm, or rather a hateful spirit, and bebaved yourselves in your an. viper? You have no benevolence in your ger, more like wild beasts than like chris- beart towards God; you never rejoiced lians!
in God's happiness; il he bad been miser. What covelousness has been in many of able, and that had been possible, you you? Sucb bas been your inordinate love would bave liked it as well as if he bad of the world, and care about the things been happy; you would not have cared of it, that it has laken up your heart; you how miserable he was, nor mourned for have allowed no room for God and reli- it, any more than you now do for the de gron; you have minded the world more vil's being miserable. And why then than your eternal salvation. For the van should God be looked upon as obliged to ities of the world you have neglected read. take so much care for your happiness, as ing, praying and meditation: For the to do such great things for it, as be doth things of the world, you have broken the for those that are saved? Or why should sabbath : For the world you have spent God be called hard, in case he should not a great deal of your time in quarrelling: be careful to save you from misery? You For the world you have envied and hated care not wba: becomes of God's glory; your neighbour : For the world you have you are not distressed how much soever cast God, and Christ, and heaven, behind bis honor seems to suffer in the world: your back For the world you bavo sold And why should God care any more for your own soul: You bave, as it were, your welfare? Has it not been so, that if drowned yonr soul in worldly cares and de- you could but promote your private intersires : You bave been a mere earthworm, ests, and gratify your own lusts, you cared that is never in its element but when grov. not how much the glory of God suffered? elling and buried in the earth.-- Vol. vii. And why may not God advance his owa pp. 340, 341.
glory in the ruin of your welfare, not car.
ing how much your interest suffers by it? How much of a spirit of pride bas ap. You never so much as stirred one step, peared in you, wbieb is in a peculiar man. sincerely making the glory of God your ner the spirit and condemnation of the end, or acting from real respect to fim : devil! How have some of you vaunted And why then is it hard if God do not do yoorselves in your appare!! Otbers in such great things for you as the changing ibeir riches! Others in their knowledge of your nature, raising you from spiritual and abilities! How bas it galled you to death to life, conquering the powers of see others above you! How much has it darkness for you, translating you out of gone against the grain for you to give oib. the kingdom of darkness, into the king. ers their true bonor! And bow have you dom of his dear Son, delivering you from shown your pride by setting up your wills, eternal misery, and bestowing eternal and in opposing others and stirring up and glory upon you? You do not choose to promoting division, and a party spirit in be willing to deny yourself for God; you public affairs !
never cared to put yourself out of your How sensual bave you beea! Are way for Chrisi: W benever any thing