ePub 版

T'O DO IT. There can be no true happiness but in the love of God, and that love must not be forced, but must be of free choice, as any other love is unwor. thy of him. He nevertheless can, and he certainly does, use every means consistent with his attributes, to win man to his own happiness, as I have demonstrated in our second department. How feelingly does he expostulate with the rebellious and ungrateful Israelites in the fifth chapter of Isaiah.*

* In the phraseology of Isaiah, I would ask the reader, or I would rather entreat him to ask his own reason and common sense, What God could do more for him than what he has already done? “What could I do for my people that I have not done ?" Reader, O! do !! read and answer these kind in. terrogations, as you will wish you had done, when you are nailed on the bed of death, or arraigned at the bar of God, which perhaps will shortly be the case ! “What could thy best friend on earth, what could pitying angels, what could the Author of all good do for thee, that has not been done? Thy Cre. ator hath given thee reason to distinguish between good and evil; to know what is thy life, and what will seal thy ruin. He hath placed conscience in thy breast, to warn thee in the moment of thy guilt. He hath sent down to thee, Him whom he had dearest in all heaven, to give thee yet ampler instruction in the way to bliss. . And the Son condescended to come with the same willingness as the Father sent him,

« Now will I sing to my well belov. ed, a song of my beloved touching his

though with the certain knowledge, that like a patriot rising in defence of his country, his coming must cost him his life. The richest blood that ever fowed has been shed for thy worthlessness, and for such as thou art. Shame and torture have been despiser, for the sake of bringing thee to good. And wilt thou grudge to forego amittle sordid pleasure, to shew thyself grateful for all this goodness? Go with me then, to Golgotha, and insult thy suffering Saviour in his agonies. Behold there a sight, which the sun would not look upon. View with dry eyes, what made an. gels weep. Harden thy heart at an object, which rent the rocks, and brought the dead out of their graves. His arms stretched on the cursed tree, invite thee to bliss. Though now feeble and languid, they will quickly raise a world from the grave, and lay the angel of death full low. I am not describing a fanci. ed scene. The witnesses of the death and resurrection of Jesus, have sealed the truth of what they saw with their blood. But canst thou find a heart to crucify him afresh, by persisting in the crimes, which brought on him this cruel death? If thou hast been so wicked, bethink thee of thy obstinacy. If thou dost, even now repent, he has prayed for thee, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.' Behold how deadly pale his sacred countenance ! Cruel are the agonies, which tend his tender frame. His strength fails; his heart breaks ; the strong pangs of death are on him. Now he utters his last solemn words. It is finished. What is finished? The suffering part, to which his dear love for mankind ex. posed him. The rest is victory and triumph : and the salvation of a world will reward his glorious toil. But what salvation? Not of the obdurate with all their

U ?

vineyard; My well beloved hath & vineyard in a very fruitful hill. And he fenced it and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a wine. press therein : and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, 0 inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now

vices about them; but of the heart bleeding penitent, who has bid a last farewell to vice, and to every temptation, which leads to it. To such the blessed gospel speaks nothing but peace. For them it has no terrors."

I would humbly entreat the reader, before he pro. ceeds farther in the perusal of these strictures, to meditate five minutes upon the above interrogations, upon the past mercies and favours of God which he has experienced, finally, upon the solemn interroga. tion of our blessed Lord, viz. “ What will it prova man to gain the whole world, and loose his own soul ?” and then let him candidly answer each interrogation

go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard; I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up: and break down the wall thereof, and

it shall be trodden down. And I will - lay it waste; it shall not be pruned,

nor digged, but there shall come up briers and thorns ; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold op. pression; for righteousness, but behold a cry." Isai. v. 1-7.

Yet these same ungrateful Israelites attended to all the formalities of religion, as many professed Christians now do, yet alas! it is self-evident, that it was, and is the fear of hell, and not the love of God, which produced these hypocritical ceremonies.

How feelingly, how ardently did our high and mighty Redeemer, the author of all our mercies and benefits, labour for the salvation of the impla. cable Jews, who treated him with soyereign contempt. Who can read his lamentation over Jerusalem without shed. ding a tear? My heart palpitates at the recollection of it, and shudders at the dreadful accomplishment of the aw. ful prophecy, which the reader will see briefly exhibited in the first department of this performance. I will take the liberty, with the above prophecy, to subjoin the entry of Christ into Jerusalem.. When I compare the triumphant and magnificent entries of the victori. ous Roman emperors into Rome, with the simple entry of Christ into Jerusalem, the former appears like the exhi. bition of a puppet-shew.

66 And they cast their garments upon the colt,and they sat Jesus thereon. And as he went they spread their clothểs in the way. And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice, and praise God with a loud voice, for all The mighty works that they had seen; saying, Blessed be the King that com

« 上一頁繼續 »