Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

But remember to whom you say this ; a Being, whose eyes are as a flame of fire, and who desireth truth in the inward parts. Thou art not lying unto man, but unto God. I go, Sir! But remember that the vows of God are upon you ; that you have raised the expectation of your friends and foes; that heaven; earth, and hell are looking for a practice which will verify your pretensions; and will you tell them all, “ I am « only—a liar—a hypocrite?” I go, Sir ! But remember that your doom will be determined not by “ fair • speeches” and a “ show of godliness,” but by your actions and your lives. “ Not every one that faith < unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom ss of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father

which is in heaven.” Igo, Sir! But remember nothing is so dangerous to the foul as false dealing with God, that no character is fo rarely converted as a false professor ; that no state is fo tremendous as the end of an apostate. I go, Sir! But remember, it .. is the language of God, “ if any man draw back, my 6 foul shall have no pleasure in him.” “ For it is im" poffible for those who were once enlightened, and 6s have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made par. “ takers of the Holy Ghost, and have tåsted of the « good word, and the powers of the world to come, is if they lhiall fall away, to renew them again unto re< pentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son " of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. But, * Beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, s and things that accompany falvation, though we thus speak."

RR

... SERMON XVI.

CHRISTIAN DILIGENCE.

2 Pet. i. 5-7. And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith ... virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge.; and to knowledge,

teniperance ; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness'; and to godliness, brotherly kindness ; and to brotherly kindness, charity. .

· M y Brethren, it is a very easy and it is a very difficult thing to be a Christian. It is a very easy thing to be a nominal Christian ; but it is a very difficult thing to be a real one. It is a very easy thing to be a modern Christian ; but it is a very difficult thing to be a scriptural one. Do not imagine that we mean to trifle, or advance a paradox to awaken your attention at the beginning of a discourse. We speak " the words of truth and soberness.” It is undeniable that we have many Christians among us who are strangers even to common decency and morality, “ being abominable, and disobedient, and to every “ good work reprobate.” Others make a much stricter profession ; but, alas ! their Christianity leaves them as it finds them, and in their lives there is very

little difference discernible between them and the people of the world. Their tempers are unsubdued ; their tongues are unbridled ; “ they mind earthly 6 things ;" they make no facrifices, no exertions. Their hope is a lifeless expectation. Their faith is a scheme of do&rine which they have laid asleep in the mind, and which never disturbs or stimulates them.

But is this the religion of the New Testament ? Search the Scriptures. Observe the delineations of the Gospel, and compare yourselves with them. In these a profession is found to mean a practical dissent from the spirit and manners of the world. The hope which maketh not ashamed is held forth as purifying the poffeffor from the love of fin and the dominion of sense; and the faith by which we are justified and faved, is distinguished as a vital and a vigorous principle, drawing after it a train of graces and good works. Witness the language of our apostle. “ And 6 besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith “ virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge ; and to knowl66 edge, temperance; and to temperance, patience ; " and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, broth“ erly kindness ; and to brotherly kindness, charity.” Christians, these words specify, I. The additions which you are to make to your faith. And, II. Prescribe the means by which you are to make them.

I. The apostle does not exhort Christians to seek after faith. This he supposes them to possess already. He addresses them as believers, and calls upon them to pursue a course worthy of their faith, corresponding with their faith, and to which their faith binds them. “ Remember Christians, the worthy name by " which you are called. Consider the tendency of " the principles you profess to believe. You have

embraced the Gospel ; it lays an obligation upon cs you to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and “ to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the pref- ent world. You say you have faith ; but faith “ without works is dead, being alone. Faith resem“ bles a foundation, of high importance in case of a “ building, but useless if no superstructure be reared. “ It is only a beginning, which is nothing without 6 progress. What are clear notions unless they influ" ence ; or proper motives unless they impel ? Abra. 6 ham had faith, and he offered up Isaac ; Moses had

faith, and he esteemed the reproach of Christ great

er riches than the treasures of Egypt. Abel and 66 Noah had faith, but it was belief alive, and in mo« tion; it led the one to sacrifice, and the other to c build. If you know these things, happy are ye if

ye do them. You have received the truth, now 66 walk by it. You are found in doctrine, be fo now “ in practice. You are orthodox, now be holy, de“ fraud no man, speak evil of no man. You have 6 faith, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, “ knowledge ; and to knowledge, temperance ; and “ to temperance, patience; and to patience, brother“ ly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity.” Such is the meaning of the apostle ; and thus we conceive he would have explained himself, had he been living in our day, and called to address some of our audiences. * The first addition which he requires of you as be

OW

. xvi

lievers is VIRTUE. But it does not here fignify good. ness in general ; it is immediately distinguished from the various excellencies included in the common acceptation of the word. It therefore expresses some particular quality ; and by referring to the Greek and Latin writers, we can soon determine what it is. They mean by it Fortitude, Courage. My Brethren, this principle in the whole of your Christian course will be found indispensably necessary. You live in a world unfriendly to religion. You are called to vari: ous duties, in the discharge of which you will meet with oppofitions and discouragements the most painful and trying. It will be found no easy thing to deny yourselves, and take up your cross ; to pluck out a right eye, and to cut off a right hand ; being both the patients and the agents too. It will be found no very easy thing to encounter opinion ; to incur the frowns of connections, the scorn of fuperiors, the ridicule of the multitude ; to feel yourselves in a small and despised minority ; to have your designs suspected, your actions misrepresented, your very vir 3s transformed into vices, and where you have deserved best of your fellow-creatures to be most condeinned by them.

Some of these difficulties indeed might be avoided if you were only to be religious and not to APPEAR $0. But not to observe that it is impossible to conceal religion in numberless instances when it is fairly reduced to practice, we wish you to remember that you are required to be open and explicit ; you are commanded to " let your light shine before men ;” to “ confefs with “the mouth,” as well as to “believe with the heart;" to" hold fast,” not your faith, but the profession of

« AnteriorContinuar »