תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

it would not appear like dissimulation, even kind and friendly. In some cases, where it will probably be received as it is meant, you may profess the good will you bear them; but, at the same time, (that it may not be thought to proceed from fear, or any wrong inclination,) professing your intrepidity, and inflexible resolution to oppose and punish vice to the üttermost.

V. l. It remains only to make some Application of what has been said ; partly to you who are already engaged in this work; partly to all that fear God; and more especially to them that love as well as fear him.

With regard to you who are already engaged in this work, the first advice I would give you is, Calmıly and deeply to consider the nature of your undertaking. Know what you are about ; be thoroughly acquainted with what you have in band; : consider the objections which are made to the whole of your undertaking'; and, before you proceed, be satisfied that those objections have no real weight: Then may every man act as he is fully persuaded in his own mind.

2. I advise you, secondly, Be not in haste to increase your nuniber : and, in adding thereto, regard not wealth, rank, or any outward circumstance; only regard the qualifications above described. Inquire diligently, whether the person proposed be of an unblameable carriage, and whether he be a man of faith, courage, patience, steadiness? Whether he be a lover of God and man? If so, he will add to your strength, as well as number : if not, you will lose by him more than you gain ; for you will displease God. And be not afraid to purge out from among you any who do not answer the preceding character. By thus lessening your number, you will increase your strength: you will be “ vessels meet for your Master's use."

3. I would, thirdly, advise you, Narrowly to observe from what motive you at any time act or speak. Beware that your intention be not stained with any regard either to profit or praise.. Whatever you do, “ do it to the Lord;” as the servants of Christ. Do not aim at pleasing yourself in any point; but pleasing Him whose you are, and whom you serve. Let your eye be single, from first to last; eye God alone in every word and work.

4. I advise you, in the fourth place, See that you do every thing in a right temper; with lowliness and meekness, with patience and gentleness, worthy the Gospel of Christ. Take eyery step, trusting in God, and in the most tender, loving

spirit you are able. Meantime, watch always against all hurry and dissipation of spirit; and pray always, with all earvestness and perseverance, that your faith fail not. And let nothing interrupt that spirit of sacrifice, which you make of all you have and are, of all you suffer and do, that it may be an offering of a sweet smelling savour to God, through Jesus Christ!

5. As to the manner of acting and speaking, I advise you to do it with all innocence and simplicity, prudence and seriousness. Add to these, all possible calmness and mildness; nay, all the tenderness which the case will bear. You are not to behare as butchers, or hangmen ; but as surgeons rather, who put the patient to no more pain than is nccessary in order to the cure. For this purpose, each of you, likewise, has need of “a lady's band with a lion's heart.” So shall many, even of them you are constrained to punish, “glorify God in the day of visitation."

6. I exhort all of you who fear God, as crer you hope to find merey at his hands, as you dread being found (though you knew it not) “even to fight against God;” do not, on any account, rcason, or pretence whatsoever, either directly or indirectly, oppose or hinder so mcrcitul a design, and one so conducive to His glory. But this is not all: If you are lovers of mankind, if you long to lessen the sins and miseries of your fellow-creatures ; can you satisfy yourselves, can you be clcar before God, by barely not opposing it ? Are not you also bound, by thic most sacred ties, “ as you have opportunity, to do good to all men ?” And is not here an opportunity of doing good to many, cren good of the highest kind? In the name of God, then, embrace the opportunity! Assist in doing this good, is no otherwise, yet by your carnest prayers for them who are immediately employed therein! Assist them, according to your ability, to defray the expense which necessarily attends it, and which, without the assistance of charit. able persons, would be a burden they could not bear! Assist them, if you can without inconvenience, by quarterly or yearly subscriptions! At least, assist them now; use the present hour, doing what God puts into your heart! Let it not be said, that you saw your brethren labouring for God, and would not help them with one of your fingers! In this way, however, “ come to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighly!”

7. I have an higher demand upon you who love as well as

fear God. He whom you fear, whom you love, has qualified you for promoting his work in a more excellent way. Because you love God, you love your brother also: you love, not only your friends, but your enemies ; not only the friends, but even the enemies, of God. You have “put on, as the elect of God, lowliness, gentleness, longsuffering." You have faith in God, and in Jesus Christ whom he hath sent; faith which overcometh the world : and hereby you conquer both evil shame, and that “fear of man which bringeth a snare;” so that you can stand with boldness before them that despise you, and make no account of your labours. Qualified then as you are, and armed for the fight, will you be like the children of Ephraim, “ who, being harnessed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle :” Will you leave a few of your brethren to stand alone, against all the hosts of the aliens ? O say not, “This is too heavy a cross; I have not strength or courage to bear it!' True; not of yourself : but you that believe, “can do all things through Christ strengthening you." “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to hin that believeth.” No cross is too heavy for him to bear; knowing that they that “ suffer with Him, shall reign with Him.” Say not, 'Nay, but I cannot bear to be singular.' Then you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. No one enters there but through the narrow way; and all that walk in this, are singular. Say not, But I cannot endure the reproach, thc odious name of an Informer. And did any man ever save his soul, that was not a by-word, and a proverb of reproach? Neither canst thou ever save thine, unless thou art willing that men should say all manner of evil of thee. Say not, " But if I am active in this work, I shall lose, not only my reputation, but my friends, my customers, my business, my livelihood; so that I shall be brought to poverty. Thou shalt not : thou canst not: it is absolutely impossible; unless God bimself chooseth it: for His “ kingdom ruleth over all," and "the very hairs of thy head are all numbered.” But if the wise, the gracious God choose it for thee, wilt thou murmur or complain ? Wilt thou not rather say, “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" If you “ suffer for Christ, happy are you; the Spirit of glory and of God (sball] rest upon you.” Say not, I would suffer all things, but my wife will not consent to it; and, certainly, a man ought to leave father, and mother, and all, and cleave to his wife.' True; all but God; all but Christ : but he ought not to leave llim for liis wife! He is not to leave any chaty undone, for the dearest relativc. Our Lord himself bath said in this very sense, “ If any man loveth father, or mother, or wife, or children, more than me, he is not worthy of me.” Say not, *Well, I would forsake all for Christ; but one duty must not hinder another; and this would frequently hinder my attending public worship.' Sometimes it probably would. “Go, then, and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice.” And, whatever is lost by showing this mercy, God will repay scren-fold into thy bosom. Say not, ‘But I shall hurt my own soul. I am a young man; and by taking up loose women I should expose myself to temptation. Yes, if you did this in your own strength, or for your own pleasure. But that is not the case. You trust in God; and you aim at pleasing Him only. And if he should call you even into the midst of a burning fiery furnace, “though thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned ; ncither shall the flames kindle upon thee.” “True, if He called me into the furnace; but I do not see that I am called to this. Perhaps thou art not willing to see it. However, if thou wast not called before, I call thee now, in the name of Christ : Take up thy cross, and follow him! Reason no more with fiesh and blood, but now resolve to cast in thy lot with the most despised, the most infamous of his followers, the filth and offscouring of the world! I call thee in particular, who didst once strengthen their hands, but since art drawn back. Take courage! Be strong! Fulộl their joy, by returning with heart and hand! Let it appear, thou “departedst for a season, that they might receive thee again for ever." O be “not disobedient to the heavenly calling!” Aud, as for all of you who know whereunto ye are called, count ye all things loss, so ye may save one soul, for whichi Christ died! And therein “ take no thought for the morrow,” but “ cast all your care on Him that careth for you!” Commit your souls, bodies, substance, all, to Him, “as unto a merciful and faithful Creator!”

N. B. After this Societylınd subsisted several years, and doue unspeakable good, it was wholly destroyed by a verdict given against it in the King's Bench, with three hundred pounds damages. I doubt a severe account remains for the witnesses, te jury, and all who were concerned io ti i Treadful affair!

SERMON LIII.

ON THE DEATH OF THE REV. MR. GEORGE

WHITEFIELD:

Preached at the Chapel in Tottenham-Court-Road, and at the Tabernacle near

Moorfields, on Sunday, November 18, 1770.

« Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be

like his !Num. xxiii. 10.

1. “LET my last end be like his !” How many of you join io tbis wish? Perhaps there are few of you who do not, even in this numerous congregation! And, o that this wish may rest upon your minds !-that it may not die away, till your souls also are lodged “where the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary are at rest!”

2. An elaborate exposition of the text will not be expected on this occasion. It would detain you too long from the sadlypleasing thought of your beloved Brother, Friend, and Pastor ; yea, and Father too: for how many are here whom he hath “ begotten in the Lord ? " Will it not then be more suitable to your inclinations, as well as to this solemnity, directly to speak of this man of God, whom you have so often heard speaking in this place ?--the end of whose conversation ye know, “ Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." And may we not,

I. Observe a few particulars of his Life and Death ?
II. Take some view of bis Character? And,

II, Inquire how we may improve this awful Providence, his sudden removal from us?

J. ). We may, in the first place, observe a few particulars of his Life and Death. He was born at Gloucester, in Decem

ber, 1714, and put to a Grammar-School there, when about · twelve years old. When he was seventeen, he began to be

seriously religious, and served God to the best of his know

ledge. About eighteen he removed to the University, and was , admitted at Pembroke College in Oxford ; and about a year

« הקודםהמשך »