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And his commandments are not grievous, 1 John v. 3.
I have paused, on purpose to give you time to exercise your own thoughts upon this text, before I give you mine. I believe, I could guess at what hath passed in your minds during this little interval. Will you tell me if I am right? Why, then, I believe that some of you,
when you heard me say, “His commandments are not grievous," thought within yourselves, “That, sure, is more than you can prove. I am sure I find it otherwise. It may do well enough for those who are shut.
in monastery; they may be as religious as they please: there is nobody to hinder them, and they have nothing else to do; but the case is different with me. called to mix with a great variety of company, and to engage in a great variety of business; and it is not for me to turn reformier. I must take the world as I find it, and do as others do, be it what it will; for I hate singularity. If I might be allowed to pick and choose; there are two or three of the commandments that I might perhaps consent to observe; but to keep them all, when many of them bear so hard upon flesh and blood, and are so contrary to the prevailing taste of the times, is impossible! and, say what you will of the commandments, I shall always think them grievous.'
But then, I believe, there are a few who, when you heard the text, thought within themselves, No indeed, they are not. I can speak of it from my own experience, “that his yoke is easy
and his burden light.' I am never so happy as when einployed in his service. It is meat and drink to be doing the will of my God; and I am glad the Lord
bath directed the minister to this subject; for, though I have been long convinced of this truth myself, yet hope it will now be proved to the conviction of the young people, that “wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness;” and that in keeping God's commandments there is great reward. These, perhaps, have been your private comments on this text. Now then it is my turn to speak, and tell you what I think of the commandments: and I must pronounce them holy, just, and good. Not merely reasonable, but pleasant; not only not prej. udicial, but productive of the best and happiest effects.
O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord!
Jer. xxi; 29.
What, then, are all the inhabitants of the earth dead or deaf? As if they were more stupid than the ground they trod on, the blessed God, wearied out by their provoking inattention to his repeated calls, turns from them, and addresses himself to the earth, as if that would ear him when they would not. God hath spoken once, twice have I heard this, that power belongeth unto God. Awful and angry have been the messages that we have lately received from him; and some specimens he hath given of what he can do when his wrath is kindled but a little; what then would become of us, if he should be provoked to stir up all his wrath?
THOUGHTS ON 2 COR. vii. 1.
Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthine88.
ARCHBISHOP LEIGHTON, in a sermon on these words, says, 'It is the Lord who is the Sanctifier of his people; he purges away their dross, and pours clean water upon them, according to his promises; yet doth he call us to cleanse ourselves. He puts new life into us, and causes us to act, and excites us to it, and calls it up to act in the progress of sanctification. Men are strangely inclined to a perverse construction of things. Tell them that we are to act, and work, and give diligence, then they would fancy a doing in their own strength, and be their own saviors. Again: tell them that God works all our works in us, and for us, then they would take the case for doing nothing. If they cannot have the praise of doing all, they will sit still with folded hands, and use no diligence at all: but this is the corrupt logic of the flesh; its base sophistry. The apostle reasons just.contrary: “It is God that worketh in us, both to will and to do;" (therefore, would a carnal heart say, “We need not work, or, at least, may work very carelessly;' but he infers, “Therefore, let us work out our salvation with fear and trembling;" i. e. in the more humble obedience to God, and dependence on him, not obstructing the influence of his grace, and, by sloth and negligence, provoking him to withdraw or abate it. Certainly, many in whoin there is the truth of grace, are kept very low in the growth of it, by their own slothfulness, sitting still, and not bestirring themselves, and exercising the proper actions, of that spiritual life by which it is entertained and advanced.”
ILLUSTRATION OF JONAH iv. 8.
And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God firepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than io live.
This account of the extreme heat of the climate of Nineveh, is well illustrated in the ingenious Mr. Campbell's Travels, page 130.
'It was early in the evening when the pointed turrets of the city of Mosul opened on our view, and communicated no very unpleasant sensations to my heart. I found myself on Scripture-ground, and could not help feeling some portion of the pride of the traveller, when I reflected that I was now within sight of Nineveh, renowned in holy writ. The city is seated in a very barren, sandy plain, on the banks of the river Tigris. The external view of the town is much in its favor, being encompassed with stately walls of solid stone, over which the steeples or minarets of other lofty buildings are seen with increased effect. Here I first saw a caravan encamped, halting on its march froin the Gulf of Persia to Armenia; and it certainly made a most noble appearance, filling the eye with a multitude of grand objects, all uniting to form one magnificent whole. But, though the outside be so beautiful, the inside is most detestable. The heat is so intense, that, in the middle of the day, there is no stirring out; and, even at night, the walls of the houses are so heated by the day's sun, as to produce a disagreeable heat to the body, at a foot or even a yard slistance from them. However, I entered it with spirits, because I considered it as the last stage of the worst part of my pilgrimage; but, alas! I was disappointed in my expectation, for the Tigris was dried up by the intensity of the heat, and an unusual long drought, and I was obliged to take the matter with a patient shrug, and accommodate my mind to a journey on horseback, which, though not so long as that I had already made, was likely to be equally dangerous; and which, therefore, demanded a full exertion of fortitude and resolution.
It was still the hot season of the year, and we were to travel through that country, over which the horrid wind I have before mentioned sweeps its consuming blasts. It is called, by the Turks, Samiel, is mentioned, by holy Job, under the name of the east wind, and extends its ravages all the way from the extreme end of the Gulf of Cambaya up to Mosul; it carries along with it flakes of fire like threads of silk; instantly strikes dead those that breathe it, and consumes them inwardly to ashes, the flesh soon becomes black as a coal, and dropping off the bones. Philosophers consider it as a kind of electric fire, proceeding from the sulphureous or nitrous exhalations, which are kindled by the agitation of the winds. The only possible means of escape from its fatal effects, is to fall flat on the ground, and thereby to prevent the drawing it in: to do this, how