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in your childhood by your pious fathers and mothers, all the lessons they procured others to give you, all the tutors who have given you information! What! agreeable books put into your hands, exhortations, directions, and sermons addressed to you, you reckon all these things for nothing ! What! you make no account of the visits of your pastors, when you thought yourselves dying, of the proper discourses they directed to you concerning your past negligence, of your own resolutions and vows! I ask, do you reckon all this for nothing? All these efforts have been attended with no good effect : but you are as ambitious, as worldly, as envious, as covetous, as eager in pursuit of lasciviousness, as ever the heathens were, and you never blush, nor ever feel remorse, and all under pretence that the gospel teaches us we are frail, and can do nothing without the assistance of God!
4. In fine, my brethren, when we speak of the depravity of nature, we confound the condition of a man, to whom God hath given only exterior revelation, with the condition of him to whom God offers supernatural aid to assist him against his natural frailty, which prevents his living up to external revelation, Doth he not offer you this assistance? Doth not the holy scripture teach you in a hundred places that it is your own fault if you be deprived of it?
Recollect only the famous words of St. James, which were lately explained to you in this pulpit with the greatest clearness and pressed home with the utmost pathos. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him. God giveth to all men liberally, to all without exception, and they who are deprived of this wisdom ought to blame none but themselves, not God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not.
True, to obtain it we must ask it with a design to profit by it; we must ask it nothing wavering, that is, not divided between the hope and the fear of obtaining it, we must not be like those double minded men, who are unstable in all their ways, who seem by asking wisdom to esteem virtue, but who discover by the abuse they make of what wisdom they have that virtue is supremely hateful to them. We must not resemble the waves of the sea, which seem to offer the spectator on shore a treasure, but which presently drown him in gulphs from which he cannot possibly free himself. Doth God set this wisdom before us at a price too high? Ought we to find fault with him for res fusing to bestow it, while we refuse to apply it to that moral use which justice requires ? Can we desire God to bestow his grace on such as ask for it only to insult him?
(! That we were properly affected with the greatness of our depravity, and the shame of our slavery But our condition, all scandalous and horrible as it is, seems to us all full of charms.
When we are told that sin hath subverted nature, infected the air, confounded in a manner cold with heat, heat with cold, wet with dry, dry with wet, and disconcerted the beautiful order of creation, which constituted the happiness of creatures; when we cast our eyes on the maladies caused by sin, the vicissitudes occasioned by it, the dominion of death over all creatures, which it hath established; when we see ourselves stretched on a sick bed, cold, pale, dying amidst sorrows and tears, fears and pains, waiting to be torn from a world we idolize; then we detest sin, and groan under the weight of its chains. Should that spirit, who knocks to day at the door of our hearts, say to us, open, sinner, I will restore nature to its beauty, the air shall be serene, and all the elements in harmony, I will confirm your health, reanimate your enfeebled frame, lengthen your life, and banish for ever from your houses death, that death which stains all your rooms with blood : Ah! every heart would burn with ardour to possess this assistance, and every one of my
hearers would make these walls echo with, come holy spirit, come and dry up our tears by putting an end to our maladies.
But when we are told, that sin hath degraded us from our natural dignity; that it hath loaded us with chains of depravity ; that man, a creature formed on the model of the divine perfections, and required to receive no other laws than those of order, is become the sport of unworthy passions, which move him as they please, which say to him go and he goeth, come and he cometh, which debase and villify him at pleasure, we are not affected with these mortifying truths, but we glory in our shame!
Slaves of sin ! Captives under a heavier yoke than that of Pharaoh, in a furnace more cruel than that of Egypt ! Behold your deliverer !. He comes to day to break your
bonds you free. The assistance of grace is set before
you. What ain I saying? An abundant measure is alrearly communicated to you. Already you know your inisery. Al
ready you are seeking relief from it. Avail yourself of this. Ask for this succour, and if it be refused you ask again, and never cease asking till you have obtained it.
Recollect, that the truths we have been preaching are the most mortifying of religion, and the most proper to humble us. It was voluntarily, that we so often rebelled against God. Freely, alas ! Freely, and without compulsion we have some of us denied the truths of religion, and others given mortal wounds to the majesty of its laws. Ah! Are there any tears too bitter, is there any remorse too cutting, any cavern in the earth too deep to expiate the guilt of such a frightful character !
Remember, the truths we have been teaching are full of consolation. This part of my text, ( Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, is connected with the other part but in ine is thine help. God yet intreats us not to destroy ourselves, God hath not yet given us up. He doth not know, pardon this cxpression, he is a stranger to that point of honour, which often engages us to turn away for ever from those who have treated us with contempt. He, he himself, the great, the Mighty God doth not think it beneath him, not unworthy of his glorious majesty yet to intreat us to return to him and be happy. O mercy, that reacheth to the heavens! () faithfulness reaching unto the clouds! What consolations flow from you to a soul afraid of having ex
Above all, think, think, my brethren, that the truth we have been preaching will become one of the most cruel tor ments in the damned. Devouring flame, kindled by divine vengeance in hell, I have no need of your light; smoke ascending up for ever and ever, I have no need to be struck with your blackness; chains of darkness, that weigh down the damned, I have no need to know your weight, to enable me to form lamentable ideas of the punishments of the reprobate, the truth in my text is sufficient to make me conceive your horror. Being lợst, it will be remembered that there was a time when destruction might have been prevented. One of you will recollect the education God gave you, another the sermon he addressed to you, a third the sickness he sent to reform you: conscience will be obliged to do homage to an avenging God, it will be forced to allow, that the aid of the Spirit of God was mighty, the motives of the gospel powerful, and the duties of it practicable. It will be compelled to acquiesce in this terrible
truth, thou hast destroyed thyself. A condemned soul will incessantly be its own tormentor, and will continually say, I am the author of my own punishment, I might have been saved, I opened and entered this horrible gulf of myself.
Inculcate all these great truths, christianis, let them affect you, let them persuade you, let them compel you. God grant you the grace! To him be bonour and glory for ever, Amen.
THE GRÍEF OF THE RIGHTEOUS FOR THE MIS :
CONDUCT OF THE WICKED.
PSALM cxix. 136.
Rivers of waters run down mine eyes: becarise they keep
not thy law.
LEW people are such novices in religion as not to know,
I' that sinners ought to be troubled for their own sins : but it is but here and there a man, who enters so much into the spirit of religion as to understand how far the sins of others ought to trouble us. David was a model of both these kinds of penitential grief.
Repentance for his own sins is immortalized in his penitential psalms : and would to God, instead of that fatal security, and that unmeaning levity, which most of us discover, even after we have grossly offended God, would to God, we had the sentiments of this penitent! His sin was always before him, and.imbittered all the pleasures of life. You know the language of his grief. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak, my bones are vexed. Mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord. I acknowledge my transgression, and my sin is ever before me. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, that the bones, which thou hast broken, may rejoice.
But as David gives us such proper models of penitential expressions of grief for our own sins, so he furnisheth us with others as just for lamenting the sins of others. You have heard the text, rivers of waters run down mine eyes, Vol. V. Nn