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of better things to come. He can say measure intrusted us with his glory, and upon the receipt of every mercy,—This called the world to take notice of us, as is mine, and heaven also : my God hath the persons by whom he expects to be sent me this token of his love, to support honored. O how should this fire us with and encourage me in my journey home a generous ambition to excel in holiness, ward; I shall soon be beyond the need that we may exhibit a just representation of such inferior blessings, and possess the of the Master we serve, and show that he living fountain from whence those refresh- is in truth what the Scriptures report him ing streams do flow. On the other hand, to be, “altogether lovely," and is “fairer if his present allowance be scanty, he can than the children of men!” Is it not, say, My Father knoweth what is good my brethren, matter of grief to you, that for me better than I do; blessed be his so many are to be found who “despise name, who in kindness withholds from me and reject the Saviour of mankind ?" what his wisdom foresees would prove a Would you not wish that all the world snare to my soul. He seeks my whole should know his excellence, that they heart, and he is worthy to possess it: it is night
is might admire, and love, and choose him my business to follow him; and the less for their Master ?-If you do, for the I am encumbered, the faster I shall run. Lord's sake, for your own sake, and for When I get home, I shall be comforted the sake of the many thousands to whom and satisfied to the full; famine may he still appears “without form and comelidwell in this wilderness, but is altogether ness," do not withhold the aid you can unknown in that good land to which I am give. Him they cannot see, but you are travelling: “In my Father's house there always in their eye: permit them to beis bread enough, and to spare.
To a hold his image in you. Would you not person of this temper nothing can come reckon it a high crime to blaspheme him amiss: ho knows that his lot is ordered with your mouths ? I know you would : by that God “who is wise in heart, and then do not blaspheme and reproach mighty in strength ;” and who hath ex. him by your actions! Allow me to ask pressly promised, that “all things shall you, When you go with the multitude, and work together for good to them that love live as careless sinners do, trifling away him, to them who are the called according your precious time in the giddy round of to his purpose." Distress falls with a fashionable amusements; how would you crushing and deadly weight upon the man have the world to judge ? Would you who steps aside from the road of duty; have them to believe, that such behavior but he who keeps the straight and onward is agreeable to the laws of your Master ? path, can take adversity by the cold hand, that he approves of, or even that he is but and welcome it as a friend, whose sober slightly displeased with it? What would advice will guide him in his pilgrimage you think of a minister who should preach far better than the flattering lips of pros- in that manner, and labor to persuade his perity. He can say with the prophet hearers that a careless, trifling, dissipated Habakkuk, when every earthly confort life, is perfectly consistent with true takes wing, and flieth away, “Although piety, and that any thing beyond it is unthe fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall necessary preciseness, and being “rightfruit be in the vines, the labor of the cous overmuch ?” Sure I am you would olives shall fail, and the fields shall yield look upon such a minister with contempt, no meat, the flock shall be cut off from nay, with horror: and dare you practise the fold, and there shall be no herd in the what we dare not preach ? We may, we stalls; yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I ought to say every thing that is true. will joy in the God of my salvation." We dare not preach an uncommanded But there are other motives besides these strictness; there is a curse denounced which ought to have weight, and which against those who “add unto the words will have weight with every ingenuous of this book," as well as against those heart. Let me therefore remind you, in who “take from them.” the
behavior differ widely from what 3d place, That our Lord hath in some l are bound to recommend, I again ask the
And if your
question, What judgment would you of blood-guiltiness? No, my brethren. have the world to form ?-They must They who are thus misled by you
16 shall necessarily condemn either us or you; us die in their iniquity;" but their blood," for requiring too much, or you for perform at the same time, “shall be required at ing too little : they must either conclude your hands." “ Woe unto the world, bethat we misrepresent the religion of Jesus, cause of offences; but, woe chiefly to him or that you are not the disciples of Jesus. by whom the offence cometh." HypoWill any of you be so candid as to take crites shall have the woe of everlasting our part against yourselves, and honestly punishment, even the children of God confess that you are wholly to blame ?-- shall have the woe of sharp rebuke and will you go to your carnal neighbors, and chastisement. It is dreadful to think that tell them that what you do is utterly in the souls of any should perish eternally, consistent with your holy profession; that and we be the cause of it: surely “it were the Lord, whose name you bear, acted in better for that man, that a mill-stone were a different manner himself, and gave you hanged about his neck, and that he were laws of a quite different nature and ten- drowned in the depth of the sea." Do dency? I suspect you will hardly con- you then love your neighbor in sin sent to this proposal; and yet justice de- cerity ? O teach him by your example to mands it; nay, unless you either do some- .follow the Lord fully. Remember “ that thing of this kind, or alter your course of lie who converteth a sinner from the error life, and follow the Lord fully, you are of his way shall save a soul fron death, criminal in the highest degree; you slan- and shall hide a multitude of sins;” and der your Master, you bear false witness may hope to be crowned with distinagainst him, and are chargeable with dis. guished honors in that day, “when they honesty, with perjury, nay, with blas- that be wise shall shine as the brightness phemy itself. And this suggests
of the firmament, and they that turn A 4th motive, which I beg you may many to righteousness as the stars for attend to. I am now going to plead with ever and ever.” you from love to your neighbors. This The 5th and last motive with which I is a principle you profess to honor; nay, shall press this important duty, is the reif I mistake not, the desire of obliging ward that awaits those who follow the others, and of rendering yourselves agree Lord fully. They shall possess that good able to them, is your common apology for land of promise, whereof the earthly Caconforming to their manners, and avoiding naan was only an emblem or type. the offensive singularity of following the them who by patient continuance in wellLord fully. This, my brethren, is a false doing seek for glory, honor, and immorexpression of love; nevertheless, it dis- tality, Christ shall render eternal life.” covers such a regard to others, as fur- “ Blessed are they that do his commandnishes me with a handle to take hold of ments, that they may have right to the tree the true principle, and to plead it in sup- of life, and may enter in through the gates port of the duty I am recommending into the city." There shall they see AbraSurely it is no office of love to deceive ham, and Isaac, and Jacob, who shine with another to his hurt, or to suffer him to such lustre in the sacred records : there continue in a pleasing mistake, which un- shall they see Moses, and Aaron, and avoidably must, and which may very Caleb, and Joshua, with all the holy prospeedily end in his ruin; such " tender phets and apostles of our Lord. Nay, in mercies” would indeed be "cruelty.” In heaven they shall behold, and delightfully the common affairs of life this maxim is converse with, “Jesus the Mediator of universally acknowledged : and is it less the new covenant,” who, with the price of cruel to deceive your neighbors in mat- his own blood, obtained for them a right ters of infinitely higher importance ? If, to that undefiled inheritance, and sent by the freedom you take, others are em forth his Spirit to prepare them for the boldened to sin against God, will the pre- enjoyment of it. And shall not the prostence of good-nature or courtesy be pect of such exalted felicity aniniate us in sustained as a defence against the charge our Christian course, and powerfully in
cite us to be the followers of them who David wrote this Psalm under the heavy through faith and patience inherit the pressure of affliction; which may induce promises?” Can we suppose that any of some to think, that what he saith in my the saints who surround the throne of text is no other than the natural language God, do now repent of their self-denial of a dispirited man, whose mind was unand mortification, or repine because they hinged and broken by adversity; but if we were despised and persecuted while on attend to what is written, (Chron. xxix. earth? No, my friends; they would not | 15.) we shall find him using the same lanpart with the feeblest ray of their present guage in the height of his prosperity : glory, for the everlasting possession of allWe are strangers,” said he, the honors and pleasures that this earth thee, and sojourners, as were all our facan afford. What shall I say more ? Ithers; our days on earth are as a shadow, have urged the most weighty motives that and there is none abiding.” Never did occurred to me; and could I think of any the Jewish nation appear to be more at thing still more persuasive, I should add home than at that time: As for David, it with pleasure. But without the divine his happiness was so complete, that, inblessing, no arguments will prevail. All stead of asking any additional favors, he therefore that remains is, to turn my could hardly find words to express his pleadings with you into prayers to God, gratitude for those he had already received. that he may bestow upon you another Yet, amidst all his affluence, when he spirit, and enable you by his grace so to possessed every outward comfort his heart follow him while here, that hereafter, in could wish, still he called himself a stranthe heavenly world, you may fully enjoy ger and a sojourner before God. him, through all the growing ages of a We must therefore consider the words happy eternity. Amen.
of my text, as expressing the fixed and habitual sentiments of David's heart. In his most prosperous condition, he did not look upon this earth as his home; but ex
tended his views to the heavenly world, SERMON XVII.
that glorious and permanent inheritance of the saints, which is "incorruptible and undefiled, and which fadeth not away.'
Among the various subjects of inquiry PSALM XXXIX. 12.—“For I am a stranger with thee, that might readily occur to us upon read. and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.” ing this passage, the two following appear
to me the most interesting and profitable.. Had these words been spoken by one of First. Whence is it that holy men the Rechabites, who were commanded by consider themselves as strangers and satheir father Jonadab, " That they should journers upon earth? And, drink no wine, neither build houses, nor Secondly. What manner of life is most sow seed, nor plant vineyards, nor have expressive of this character, and best suitany, but that they should dwell in tents alled to the condition of strangers and sotheir days," we might perhaps have con-journers? To these, therefore, I shall sidered them as pointing merely at the pe- confine myself in the following discourse
. culiarities of that sequestered tribe, by I BEGIN with inquiring, Whence it is which they were distinguished from the that holy men, while they live upon earth, rest of mankind; but as they are the consider themselves as strangers and sowords of David, who himself was a king, journers with God? And to account one of the lords of this earth, who had for this, one might declaim at great length every inducement to magnify his office, and upon the unsatisfying nature, and precarito make his importance appear in its ut- ous duration, of every thing below the most extent, they can lie under no sus- sun. I might remind you, that as we picion of partiality; and therefore challenge came but lately into this world, so we the greatest regard.
must shortly go out of it, and leave all It must indeed be acknowledged, that our possessions to be enjoyed by others;
STRANGER AND SOJOURNER WITH GOD.
who, in their turn, likewise shall die, and distance from their native country. Every part with them. I might descend to the thing tends naturally to the place of its various calamities that embitter human original; and grace, which came down life, from which none of mankind are alto- from heaven, leads the soul upward to gether exempted; and to these I might heaven from whence it came. 6 Whatsoadd the peculiar sufferings of the right- ever is born of God," saith the apostle eous, those sharp and painful trials to John, “overcometh the world.” The dry which the best of men are most frequently and empty husks of earthly enjoyments exposed in this state of discipline : But cannot satisfy the desires of a heaven-born I am unwilling to enlarge upon topics of spirit: upon these the renewed man looks this nature; because I would not have it down with a holy disdain, and then lifts thought, that the godly consider them. his longing eyes to that celestial country, selves as strangers and sojourners, solely, where is fulness of joy, and pleasures or even principally, for such reasons as for evermore.” There he knows his inthese. They renounce the world, not be- heritance lies; there dwells his kindred, cause it is unfriendly to them, but be- to whom he stands in the dearest and cause it is unsuitable : they would despise most intimate relation; “God the Judge its smiles no less than its frowns; they of all, Jesus the Mediator of the new are not violently thrust out of it, but covenant, an innumerable company of anvoluntarily resign it, and leave it to those gels, and the spirits of just men made perwho have nothing else for their portion. fect.' And there also he is to make his Accordingly you may observe that David everlasting abode. Here he sojourns for styles himself not only a stranger but a a while, till he is rendered meet for entersojourner. Every man is a stranger, who ing into the purchased possession;" and is not a native of the place where he re- when the appointed season comes, he sides : but a sojourner is one who maketh gladly removes to his father's house, to only a passing visit to a place, with a dwell with his God for ever and ever. resolution to leave it again, and to proceed Upon these accounts, my brethren, the on his journey. Now, this last is the dis- children of God, while they live upon tinguishing character of the saints. Wick- earth, consider themselves as sojourners in ed men must leave this earth, they know a strange land. Their sentiments in this they must, and wish it were otherwise with matter are not the effects of disappointall their heart; and as they have no pros- ment and vexation, but the conclusions of pect of going to a better world, they do an enlightened and renewed mind: they all they can to banish the thoughts of are willing to leave this world, because their removal from this, that they may they have a home to go to, where their relish their present enjoyments with as natures shall be perfected, and all their little alloy as possible.
Whereas the desires satisfied to the full. Let us now godly, who are made citizens of the hea- inquire, in the venly Jerusalem, can look forward without Second place, What manner of behavior dismay to the time of their departure from is most expressive of this temper, and best this strange land, knowing, that when suited to the condition of strangers and the earthly house of this tabernacle shall sojourners !--This branch of the subject be dissolved, they have a building of God, opens a wide field of practical instruction, an house not made with hands, eternal in and will lead me to recommend to you the heavens." They would not choose to some of the most important and difficult live here always: they are strangers in duties of the Christian life. affection, as well as in condition; their If we look upou this earth as a hearts are elsewhere; they desire, they strange country, through which we are even long, to be at home with God. only passing to our native home, it ought
The saints justly account themselves certainly to be our care, that we receive strangers upon earth, because they are as little hurt in our passage as possible. regenerated by the Spirit of God; they This is a maxim of common prudence that
born from above," and therefore can nobody will dispute. Now the greatest find no place of rest while they live at a hurt the world can do us, is to make us
forget the place of our destination, or things," I need not inform you which of loiter too much by the way: and therefore these two are the strangers and sojourn. its smiles are more to be dreaded than its ers. Let it be our care, my brethren, frowus. “The prosperity of fools," saith who claim this character, " to grow in Solomon, “ destroyeth them.” It is diffi- grace," and to bring forth “ those fruits cult to possess much, and not to overlove of righteousness, which are, by Jesus it: Hence that caution of the Psalmist, Christ, unto the glory and praise of God." “If riches increase, set not your heart Every advance in holiness is a step that upon them.” When our situation is so leadeth upward to the heavenly felicity; agreeable, that we find ourselves disposed for what is glory but grace in maturity? to say, “Soul, take thine ease ; " then in they differ only in degree; they are the deed it is high time to look warily around same in kind, and the one grows up and us; the hook is not so curiously baited ripens into the other. Our riches and for no end. I do not mean to disparage honors, though they should accompany us the bounty of Providence; if it hath to the last period of life, must leave us at pleased God to distinguish any of you by death. “ Naked we came into the world, riches or honors; or to crown your honest and naked we must return; but holiness industry with uncommon affluence; it is shall pass with us beyond the grave, and certainly your duty to be thankful to that attend us home to our Father's house, kind Benefactor, who “hath covered your there to shine with increasing brightness table, and made your cup to run over. " through all the ages of eternity. Do we I only mean to execute that order which then aspire to the heavenly state ? let us was given to Timothy,“ Charge them that endeavor to enjoy as much of heaven as are rich in this world, that they be not we can, even while we sojourn in this high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, "house of our pilgrimage." Surely "every but in the living God, who giveth us richly man that hath this hope in him,”-the all things to enjoy." I would only exhort hope of being thoroughly changed into the you as Paul did the Corinthians, « To re- “likeness of his Lord, when he shall see joice as though you rejoiced not; to buy him as he is” at his second appearance, as though you possessed not; and to use must, by this hope, be excited to purify this world so as not to abuse it; because the “ himself even as he is pure." Let us then time is short, and the fashion of this world hearken to that affectionate exhortation of passeth away.” My sole aim is to remind the apostle Peter, “ Dearly beloved, I beyou, that the more you have, the greater seech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abneed there will be to keep a strict and stain from fleshly lusts, which war against jealous guard upon your hearts, lest they the soul.” Let us add to our faith, virbe debauched by those pleasing enjoy. tue; and to our virtue, knowledge; and ments, and alienated from God, who alone to knowledge, temperance; and to temhath a right to them. But it is not perance, patience; and to patience, godlienough that we receive no hurt in our ness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; journey through this strange land; it and to brotherly kindness, charity. For ought likewise to be our care, in the so an entrance shall be ministered unto us
zd place, To make all the provision we abundantly into the everlasting kingdom can for that better country to which we of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." are travelling The Holy Scriptures 3dly. It becomes strangers and sojourspeak of " a meetness for the inheritance ners to endure with patience and fortitude of the saints in light;"_of“ making to our any hardships they may meet with on selves friends of the mammon of unright- their journey homeward. We ought, ineousness ; "-of “providing bags which deed, my brethren, to lay our account with wax not old, a treasure in the heavens inconveniences by the way: our Master, that faileth not.” In opposition to all this, who was a man of sorrows," hath told we read of some, "who make provision us expressly, that " in the world we shall for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof;" have tribulation." “Ye know," said he, “whose God is their belly, and whose" that the world hated me, before it hated glory is in their shame, who mind earthly you. If ye were of the world, the world