Imágenes de páginas

imagination, and have no foundation in reason nor in the scripture of truth. The gospel was sent into this world for the purpose of reforming mankind, and reconciling the nations to God. It was needed here, because it is here that men are sinners. If it could be proved that the next state of existence is one subject to these moral infirmities, what reason can there be offered that their remedy will not be found in that state as well as in this. We have physicians and medicine in this mortal state, and it is thought by some that there are medicines in every climate sufficient for the disorders of that climate. Now if the next state be incident to sickness and disorders, what reason can there be offered that there will not be physicians and suitable medicines in that state to cure those disorders ?When the great physician of souls was here on earth, he was never known to shun a place because sickness or wickedness was there. He, no doubt, knew that legions possessed the man in the country of the Gadarines, yet he went there, and there he cast out the devils; and if on the other side of death legions of demons possess men no doubt Jesus will in due time cast them out.

The hearer is cautioned against supposing that we allow that the next state will be subject to sickness or to sin; we distinctly say that the evidence of this is wanting both in scripture and reason.

As the inconveniences of sickness and disorder are sufficient to induce the patient to apply to a physician, so the painful infelicities of sin are the proper inducements to apply to the spiritual physician, whose doctrine is amply efficacious in removing our sins from us. The supposition that has taken the lead of the minds of religious people, that it would be desirable to live in sin in this world, if it were not that it is so offensive to God, that he will punish them forever hereafter to show his resentment, is one of the most pernicious deceptions

that ever darkened the understanding of mankind. This deception is the means of continuing people in the love of sin. They long to live in it, and would without restraint, were it not for this system of fear. But it has been fully proved that this terror is no real security to a virtuous life. Those who are the strongest advocates for this doctrine of tormenting men in another world, because they have been sinners here, are, in general, as wicked men as any other class. It is true they endeavour to be more secret in the practice of vice, but this only adds the wickedness of hypocrisy to the rest of their sins. These remarks are by no means directed against any particular denomination, they are designed for general application. The fact is, if men are really virtuous, they are so from the love they have for the moral principles of our common nature; and we are happy to find some of this desscription among all denominations and in every class of citizens.

It would be most glaringly absurd for one to tell a sick man languishing with distressing pain, that as there is no penal law by which any punishment can be inflicted on him for being sick, he had better not send for a physician, nor give himself any trouble about recovering his health. A patient who should be treated with such communication would surely think himself trifled with. If one who knew the situation of the woman, who pressed through the crowd to reach the garment of Jesus, had told her, that no punishment would be inflicted on her if she did not go to him, and therefore she might indulge in the pleasures of her disorder, would she have supposed the person serious? But this would have been no more absurd than it is to tell sinners, that if there be no everlasting damnation in the eternal world for their sins in this, they may indulge in all the pleasures of sin. As sin is a disorder it certainly deprives of happiness, and plunges the sinner

into misery; and if there be any propriety in urging those who are sick to apply to a physician, there certainly is the same propriety in urging sinners to come to Christ, that is, to come to his doctrine, to his truth, to his spirit. And the language of the Redeemer's invitation is most reasonable; "Come unto me all ye who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'

[ocr errors]

The motives which influenced the multitude, who thronged Jesus as he went to the house of Jairus, were no doubt various. Some probably, saw Jesus now for the first time, and were highly incited with the hope of seeing a miracle wrought. Perhaps others were his bitter enemies, and were on the look out to discover some fraud or deception in the man. Some went in the crowd because others were going, and they went for the sake of the company. Some no doubt went from the laudable motive of giving their countenance and support to the divine teacher in whom they most sincerely believed. Some very likely were there who had experienced the healing power of the Redeemer, and were rejoiced to have an opportunity of seeing a miracle of mercy again performed. But among the whole there was one distressed woman whose mind was far from speculative contemplations. She was impelled to press through the crowd that she might be healed of her own infirmity.

As it was with the multitude, who, on various occasions thronged our Saviour in the days of his ministry on earth, when some for one motive and some for another joined those vast assemblies, so, no doubt, it is with those who now assemble where the healing doctrine of Jesus is preached. Some from curiosity, some from habit, some from fashion, some to keep the company of others, some we hope go because they love the words of everlasting life, and now and then one, perhaps, who feeling the infirmity of their own sinful heart, go with a

determination to press through every obstacle and come to Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life; who is the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness.

While delivering this course of lectures your servant has often thought of the possible motives which occasioned such uncommon assemblies to crowd every part of this house, and a hope has been entertained that among the many, a few, at least, were striving to find him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write. A fervent desire has been exercised that the doctrine of our blessed Redeemer might be held up to the view of the hearers, that they might reach forth the hand of faith and lay hold on the hope which is set before them.

Being taught by the Saviour, we did not indulge in an expectation that the word of truth would be received and kept by all who heard it. Jesus represented the success of his own preaching by the instructive parable of the sower, who went forth to sow; "and as he sowed some seeds fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them up. Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth; and forthwith they sprang up, because they had no deepness of earth, and when the sun was up they were scorched; and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold." If such has been the success of those feeble efforts made to propagate the gospel of the kingdom in this place, surely we have reason to be thankful to the Lord of the vineyard. If while the enemies of the word have, like the birds in the parable, taken away that which was sown in the heart, if while the spirit of persecution agitating the tongue of censure has caused many to shrink


from a steady perseverance in what they gladly received, if while the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things have, like thorns, sprang up and choked the word in some, others have received it in good and honest hearts, have retained the precious grain, and brought forth fruit to the honour of God, our labours have not been in vain, our exertions are amply rewarded.

This last, of the course of lectures proposed for publication, in its conclusion, will call on all who hear, to form the resolution which enabled the woman to press through the crowd and come to Jesus, and come to him likewise. That is, that you strive to the utmost of your well directed abilities and means to come to the knowledge of the Saviour's doctrine.

Is it not the case with many, as it was with the woman, have you not spent much and suffered many things of those "physicians of no value," who have endeavoured to heal you with the doctrines and commandments of men? and do you not find that after all you are none the better? Have you found peace in believing that our heavenly Father has elected some to everlasting life, and reprobated the rest to endless woe? Have you found that all your plague is healed by fancying that you are elected unto life eternal, while your companions and children may be devoted to everlasting sorrow? Can such medicine as this make you perfectly whole. No, but in the bitterness of your souls, when you look on your little ones, and believe that they are exposed to endless ruin, you cry out as Abraham did, "O that Ishmael might live before the Lord." Come then, my friends, to the peaceful doctrine of Jesus, who took little children in his arms and blessed them, and said, " of such is the kingdom of heaven." O the peace there is in be

« AnteriorContinuar »