網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

to all the fiery darts of the wicked; he can meet the King of terrors without dismay, and with a noble confidence look forwards to that crown of glory, which is prepared for the faithful soldiers of Christ.

But now, view the wicked man in the same circumstances of distress. If calamities or sick. ness befall him, and every man will some time or other have his share of them, in what can he place his comfort or dependence? Will he fly for help to his possessions, or trust in the multitude of his riches ? Alas! all his possessions are unable to stop the unerring arrows' of the Almighty, neither can his riches profit in the day of wrath. “Will God hear his cry,” says holy Job, “ when trouble cometh upon him? “ Will he delight himself in the Almighty? “ Will he always call upon God?” Alas! for what has he a right to call upon God, unless it be for vengeance upon his unrepented sins, and for his having so long and often slighted the mercies offered to him ? Will he place his hopes in death, as the last refuge from misfortune, and a deliverance from trouble ? Alas! 10 the righteous death may be a welcome friend and guide, appointed by the Almighty to conduct them to the promised land of eternal happiness, but to him he must be the dreadful and alarming

- king

: king of terrors. The scripture tells us, the " righteous hath hope in his death;" but the wicked can have nothing but dismay and amazés ment of heart. For the prospect of eternity, which to the righteous is the fountain of joy and immortality, to him is the beginning of sorrows, and the blackness of darkness for evermore.

Thus different is the situation of the righteous and the wicked in every circumstance of life and death; thus profitable is godliness for all things; having, as we see; the promise both of the life that now is, and also of that which is to come! :

· And now, my brethren, having thus explained to you the words of the Apostle, it only remains for me to intreat you to consider what has been said with that seriousness which the importance of the subject demands : to consider it, not as intended to please the fancy or amuse the ear, but to reform and correct the heart: not as the customary professional harangue of the preacher, but as the pure and unchangeable word of God: for his ainbassadors and ministers we are, and in his name it is that we intreat

[ocr errors]

Nor

Nor is it any trifling or common errand upon which I now bespeak your attention. For as, on the one hand, it is not the riches of the world, the pleasures of a moment, or an earthly inheritance, which I have to offer; but it is an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled in the heavens; it is a kingdom that fadeth not away, and those pleasures which flow at God's right hand for evermore: so, on the other hand, it is not a momentary pain, the torment of an hour, anguish of body or temporal death, which I have to denounce against the sinner; but it is a death eternal, it is a torment of the soul, it is the worm that never dieth, and the fire that cannot be quenched.

And now then, life and death are before ye; chuse ye which ye will. But do not vainly imagine, that this choice will always be in your power. The gate of mercy is now indeed open; God now. invites you by his ministers, by, his word, by the checks of conscience and the silent impulses of his holy spirit : but how long ye will enjoy these advantages, is known only to liim from whom no secrets are hid. Yet surely ye have all of you seen enough of human life, to know by how precarious a bond you hold them. Or if ye are still ignorant of this, look back tơ the generations of old, and learn of VOL. II.

them.

them. Ye who have ever lost the friend of your bosom, or have been witnesses to the expiring groan of the child ye loved, go to their silent tombs, and from them learn wisdom: like you, they probably rejoiced in the strength of youth, and vainly imagined they had many years to work out their salvation. Like you, they trode the flowery paths of pleasure, or were immersed in the busy persuits of life, regardless of the God who gave them life. Like you, they deferred the work of repentance from day to day; like you they hoped, that the forbearance of God would always prolong their time of grace. But ah! their mouldering ashes now too plainly. declare, how vain and fruitless were all their expectations.

And which of us can pretend to say, that we are more certain of life than they were ? However vainly we may trust in them, it is not strength, youth, or beauty which can save us from death : the undistinguishing grave receives alike the bloom of infancy and the tottering steps of decrepid age. Nay, in the very inidst of life itself we are in death: the very breath that we are now drawing is carrying away a part of our being, and bringing us nearer to the confines of the grave, and the hour of judgment.

[ocr errors][merged small]

The hour of judgment! Oh! horrible sound to those who are unprepared for its coming! Oh 'words of terrible import, which contain in them all the miseries which guilt can fear or human nature suffer! an exclusion from heaven, a separation from God, and ages of eternity spent in utter darkness, amidst unutter, able torments.

· And what then, my brethren, can hide these things from your eyes ? What charm is it that hinders you from seeing your eternal welfare and being wise unto salvation? Had ye all the enjoy. ments the world can afford, nay, had ye the world itself in possession, with all its empires and kingdoms, yet, when compared with the kingdom of heaven, it would appear but as the dust of the balance; and therefore it would be madness to hesitate which ye should chuse. And is it not then the height of madness to prefer the painful enjoyments of sin; when ye have a religion offered to you, which cannot only insure that heavenly kingdom, but also the only true happiness which the present state of trial affords; a religion which has not only the promises of the life to come, but also of that which now is.

Come then, Religion,' daughter of heaven, parent of happiness, possess our hearts with thy .. v %

divine

« 上一頁繼續 »