תמונות בעמוד

recourse under the pressure of your woes and the burden of your guilt? Why, why then will


still neglect him, and die?

2. Let us imitate the example of our Redeemer, and, like him, regard with sympathy and love the penitent and the feeble, the bruised reed and the smoking flax. Wo to that man, who regards with contempt those trembling spirits who are peculiarly under the guardianship of Immanuel! Let us bear with their weaknesses; let us compassionate their sorrows; let us endeavour to lead them to that fountain of consolation, the efficacy of which we have experienced, if we have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

3. Finally: in concluding this discourse, let me again call upon the bruised reeds and the smoking flax; the mourning, the faint, and the weak, to look “ to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world;" to believe his promises, and rejoice in his grace. Let not Satan blot your evidences, or make you think unworthily of the mercy of Christ. Compare your groaņing, your self-abasements, your desires, your complaints, your sense of sin, and feeling of helplessness, with the office of the Redeemer to the penitent and the weak, and the promises he has made to them; and reject not the comforts of Jesus ; refuse not thine own mercy. Cast yourselves into the arms of Jesus, resolved, if you perish, to perish there : He will speak peace to your souls, and “ give you the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness,



PSALM X. 13.

Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God?

Was there ever a more afflictive or discouraging commission than that which was given to Jeremiah? “ Thou shalt speak unto the people,” thus God addressed this prophet, “ thou shalt speak unto the people, but they will not hearken unto thee; thou shalt call unto them, but they will not answer.” I ask again, was there ever a more afflictive or discouraging commission ? To be obliged to present to sinners the truths of religion, and at the same time to be fully persuaded that these truths will be rejected with contempt; to declare to them the laws of God, and at the same time to be perfectly assured that they will not submit to these laws; to point to them the road to heaven, and at the same time to be able to predict that they will continue in that which leads to perdition : how painful, how disheartening an employment to a feeling soul! I am not surprised that Jeremiah shrunk from these duties, that he entered upon them with trembling, that

he discharged them with weeping eyes, and a bleeding heart.

But, my brethren, distressing as was this situation of the prophet, it is that in which the ministers of the gospel are generally placed. When we see so many sinners slumbering on the brink of eternal despair, we cannot, without betraying our duty, and hazarding our souls, neglect to cry unto you, “ Awake, ye that sleep, and arise from the dead! Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die?" Yet what fruit is produced by these admonitions ? Are we not almost always constrained to take up that sad lamentation : “ Who hath believed our report, and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed ? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, that they cannot hearken. Behold, the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach, and they have no delight in it.” (Is. liii. 1. Jer. v. 10.)

Shall I say it, my brethren, I expect that this will in a peculiar manner be my situation to-day. If you have fully assented to the declarations of scripture, when I have preached to you from this sacred desk the more mild and consolatory tenets of religion, yet now that I have to announce to you the deep pollution of your souls, I expect to “ spend my strength for nought,”. I expect that my words will have no other effect upon the greater part of my hearers than to serve for their condemnation at the judgment-day. Yet, notwithstanding these distressing fears, it is a duty from which I cannot be released, to show to you your iniquity, and to lift up a warning voice. Who knows but that God may be better to us than our fears? Who can tell but that he may accompany this discourse, and bring some careless sinners to a conviction of their guilt? O God, our only hope! let thy truth thus triumph; let it thus penetrate the hearts of the secure and presumptuous; and to thy powerful grace shall be ascribed the glory. Amen.

" Why doth the wicked contemn God?” In discoursing from this text we shall confine ourselves to a proof and illustration of the following proposition :

The wicked contemn God; they scorn and despise this glorious Being

And I beseech you carefully to remark, that when I use this expression, the wicked, I do not mean mere. ly those who, by the most atrocious and abominable crimes, have brought down on their heads both the wrath of God and the indignation of mankind; I do not mean merely those Cains who have slain their brethren; those Naboths who have oppressed the innocent; those Rabshekahs who have yomited forth their blasphemies against the God of heaven; those Judases who, under the mask of a disciple, have betrayed the Saviour: such monsters as these do, we grant, manifest their contempt of God in a more marked and decided manner: but yet these are not the only persons of whom we speak, when we say, The wicked contemn God. We speak also of those Gallios who, with a decent external deportment,

care for none of these things;" of those Felixes, who tremble at the solemn doctrines of religion, and stifle their convictions; of those Agrippas who are “ almost persuaded to be Christians;" of those who, like the young ruler that came to Christ, possess many moral virtues, and amiable qualities, which secure our love, but who cannot resolve, though they have some imperfect desires to be pious, to make those sacrifices which piety demands; of those who, whilst they have “ the form of godliness," and are diligent in their attendance upon the ordinances of

religion, have never cordially assented to the gospel method of salvation, nor made an act of holy selfresignation to God. In one word, we speak of every child of Adam that is in his natural state ; of every individual in this assembly, whether rich or poor, young or old, who has not been regenerated by the Blessed Spirit. Of all such, without a single exception, we assert that they contemn God, that they despise and scorn him.

I well know, sinners, that your hearts revolt against this charge. I well know that you are ready to exclaim, .This is not our character; these are not our sentiments; you wrong us by such odious suppositions. We acknowledge that we often violate the laws of God; we acknowledge that we do not love and serve him as much as we ought to do: but still we respect and venerate him. No, no: though we are guilty, we have not yet sunk to such an excess of guilt.' My brethren, if this matter were to be decided by bold and confident assertions, this plea would acquit you: but you have to do with a God who disregards all assertions that do not accord with the emotions of the heart, which he reads, and the actions of the life, which he observes. Let us then examine our hearts, our lives, and the scriptures of truth. Let us be impartial in this examination: false conclusions may nourish a carnal security, and destroy us; but they cannot deceive God. Let us be solemn; for the eternal destinies of our souls are involved in this matter.

What proof of the assertion in the text will be satisfactory to you? What evidence would you require in a similar case? If you had a servant, (favour me with your attention to this remark,) if you had a servant, who permitted his mind to be ever running on the

« הקודםהמשך »