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made the mighty concern, the subject even of solemn conversation, nay, not even of sober reflection. Recur to your thoughts concerning it, if you have indeed had such thoughts. How few have they been, how rare, how momentary, how fruitless ! Rccur to your efforts. Can you realize that any such have been made ? Can you tell what they were ? Can you remember them? Can you find them? Recur to your prayers. When were they offered up? Can you recal the times? Can you recollect the places? When has the Bible been searched by you for the words of eternal life? When has God found you in your closets ? When has he heard you ask for mercy in his house ? When have you adopted solemn meditation, formed serious resolutions, and attempted a real amendment of your lives? When have you renounced the world, quitted your evil companions, relinquished your sins, and cast yourselves upon the mercy of God? When have you trembled at the approach of perdition, and sighed and cried for deliverance from the wrath to come ? When have
destruction and your faces towards heaven? Will not the single word Never be the true but melancholy answer to all these questions? Do not yourselves see that you are spiritually dead, dead in trespasses and sins, and, if you continue your present conduct, without a hope of returning life? Come from the four winds, O Breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live!
But it is not enough for you to review your past life. Open your eyes in solemn prospect on the scene before you. Your life will soon hasten to a close. You will soon be arrested by your last sickness and be laid upon the bed of death. Your hearts will cease to beat, your strength fail, and your eyes be closed in darkness. Your bodies will be carried to the grave, and your spirits will return to God who gave them. Think, I beseech you, think what it will be to meet your judge, to give up your account, and to enter upon your retribution. You will not there meet the helpless babe of Bethlehem, the man of sorrows, the buffeted prisoner, the victim of the cross, the tenant of the tomb. You will stand before the Judge of the quick and the dead, the blessed and only potentate, seated on the throne of the universe, from whose face the heavens and the earth will flee away, whose smile will be heaven, whose frown will be hell. Your account will be the register of your life, your trial will be final, your souls will be suspended on the process, your eternity will tremble on its issue.
Of such a life as you have actually led, what will, what must be your
account? Of the trial of such souls what must be the issue? When you have recited all your unbelief, your impenitence, your rebellion, your impiety, and all the annals of your guilt, will this glorious person subjoin to the black and dismal rehearsal, “ Well done, good and faithful servants, enter ye “ into the joy of your Lord ?” Will he take you to his arms, and present you to his father as his beloved friends and faithful disciples, who in this world have obeyed his voice and walked in all his commandments and ordinances? Will he open to you the gates of heaven, and conduct you to endless life and glory inexpressible? Does it seem even to you, partial and biassed as you are, and judging in your own case that this will be the reward of such a life as yours ? I know the answer which your consciences will give. I know that you yourselves believe the case to be hopeless. It is impossible for you seriously to imagine that beings, polluted as you are, should be admitted, thus crimsoned with guilt, into the presence of Him, in whose sight the heavens themselves are not clean. It is impossible for you to believe, that fulness of joy should reward your impiety; that pleasures for evermore should flow for your enjoyment.
All the measures which you have hitherto taken have not advanced you a single step towards eternal life. You have not yet entered the strait and narrow way which leads to that life. How can you expect to find the gates of glory which open at its termination? You have not yet begun to serve God here. How can you expect either to be willing, or permitted to serve him day and night in his eternal temple. You have not yet begun to assume the temper of angels, or the spirits of just men made perfect. How can you expect to become their companions for ever.
Alas! you have entered, you have gone far, you are now
rapidly hastening onward in the broad and crooked road which leads to destruction. In this progress you are satisfied ; stupid, gay, sportive, undisturbed by conscience, and regardless of death and the judgment. On the brink of perdition you sleep. The voice of mercy cries to you, “ Awake, O “ sleeper! and call upon thy God.” Half roused to consciousness, in the middle point between life and death, you feebly exclaim, “ Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding “ of the hands to sleep.” The voice of judgment will soon pronounce, “ He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and “ he that is filthy, let him be filthy still.” Awake, then, while it is called to-day: arise ; stand upon your feet; ply the work of your salvation ; repent, believe, escape for your lives; or the night will be upon you, in which you will sleep to wake no more.
CONSIDERATIONS IN ADVERSITY.
ECCLESIASTES VII. 14.
“ In the day of adversity consider."
By the day of adversity is undoubtedly intended, as the phrase most naturally denotes, any season of suffering and sorrow. The loss of property, health, friends, or any other truly valuable enjoyments, constitutes such a season, and calls for the duty enjoined in the text. In such a season, we are required to consider. This phrase is general in its import, and includes a great variety of particulars. Generally it intends, that we should apply our minds soberly, solemnly, and fixedly to the contemplation of such things as are naturally offered to our view by the providence of God; and, by such a contemplation, that we should make them the means of real and enduring good to our souls.
In the day of prosperity we are directed, in the preceding clause, to be joyful. It is plain, therefore, that in the sight of God a different conduct is proper for men in different seasons and circumstances; and that such different conduct is useful to us, and acceptable to Him. In adversity, it is agreeable to his will that we lay aside the cheerfulness which becomes prosperity, and endeavour to derive from our situation useful
instructions and useful impressions ; solemn, but profitable ; suited to the state of an afflicted mind, and fitted to make such a mind wiser and better. Sobriety, sorrow, and mourning are all proper states of the human mind, and are no less useful in their place than joy and gratitude. Each of these, in its own place, is fitted to produce real good to man. Prosperity naturally leads a good mind to gratitude, and also to repentance. Afflictions as naturally yield to such a mind the peaceable fruits of righteousness.
That such considerations is in such a season our duty, we know, because it is commanded. Our principal concern, then, with this subject must be to learn how to perform this duty, and to feel fully its high importance. I shall suggest, therefore, in this discourse,
I. Some of the proper subjects of consideration in a day of adversity; and
II. The Motives to a faithful performance of this duty.
I shall mention,
I. Some of the proper subjects of consideration in the day of adversity.
Among these I shall notice,
I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace or prosperity, and create evil or adversity. I, the Lord, do all these things, Isaiah xlv. 7.
Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it ? Amos ii. 6.
Affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground, Job v. 6.
The consideration that God is the source of our afflictions, furnishes us with many useful and affecting lessons. Particularly we are taught by this solemn truth, that our afflictions : are all just, proper and reasonable. In mere suffering there can be neither consolation nor profit. Suffering, inflicted with