« הקודםהמשך »
sometimes awakes and enforces reformation. One of those happy occasions, is just at hand. A crouded audience is expected here on Wednesday next A trumpet is blown in Zion; a solemn assembly is ponvoked ; a fast is proclaimed. But shall I tell you, my brethren? After excepting the small num. ber who will then afflict their righteous soul, and, no doubt, redouble their devotion ; after excepting the small number, and after examining the nature of our solemn humiliations, that I am less afraid of your sins, than of your fasts for national reform? . Before the great God ;....before the Holy One of Israel, whose love of holiness is infinite as himself, we shall appear on Wednesday next, with minds still immersed in the cares, and agitated with the plea. sures of the preceding day; we shall appear with dissipation, with a heart neither touched, nor broken, nor contrite; we shall each appear and say, I have sinned; or in other words, “ I have made my house a-scene of voluptuousness, a seat of slander, a haunt of infamy: I have trampled my brethren under my feet, and this opulence, with which God has invested me to support
, I have employed to oppress, the wretched : I have amassed exorbitant gains on the right hand, and on the left; I have sacrificed friend, pupil, widow, orphan; I have sacrificed every thing to my private interest, the only god I worship and adore.” On this great God, who discovers the most latent foldings of the heart, whose sword divides asunder the soul and spirit, the joints and marrow ; in whose presence all things, the mind and heart, the secret thoughts, the concealed crimes, the dark designs, all things are naked and manifest :....on this great God we presume to impose by the exterior, by the tinsel of devotion, by covering ourselves with sackcloth and ashes, by bowing the neck to the yoke, and afflicting the soul for a single day ; even, if we should put on sackcloth and ashes ; if we should bow the neck to the yoke, and afflictthe soul for a single day, Bat this very exterior, of which God says, Is this ille fast I have chosen ?. Callest thou this a fast; a day agreeable to the Lord 2 Isaiah Ivii. 5. This mere exi terior is not even found among us: we have only to open our eyes to admit the propriety of the charge.
Before this great God, whose power is infinite, and who seems to have displayed it of late years, solely to punish the crimes of men, and to strike all Europe with terror and death, with horror and despair zi...be. fore this God we shall presume to ask, not to be in volved in the general destruction ;-we shall presume to offer up this prayer, while each is resolved to in sult him, to devour one another, to adhere to our cri. aninal connections, to persevere in our unlawful gains. Am I then extravagant in saying, that, when I reflect on the nature of our solemn humiliations, i am less afraid of our sins, than of the fasts we cele. brate for national reform?
712 3. Not that this sort of fasts are always unavailings the mercy of God sometimes gives them effect, and endeavours in some sort to overlook our hypocrisy: When he slew them, then they sought him, and re? membered that God was their rock. Nevertheless, they did ftulter with their mouth, and they lied unta him with their tongues, for their heart was not right with him. But he being full of compassion, forgave "their iniquity, and many a time turned away his an ger, Psalm lxxviii
. 34... 38. . God has not only act. ed on these principles with regard to his ancient people, but even with regard to us. On the approach of death, when we have sought the Lord by solemn prayer, When we have remembered our rock, when we have flattered with our mouth, and lied with our tongues; promising reformation, he has had compas. sion upon us, and has retarded our destruction. On that account we still live. On that account these hear. ers are still present in this temple, and the wicked among them have not been precipitated into the gulf of Gehenna. But how long, think you, can this sort of fasts produce the effects for which they have hitherto availed? Weigh the words which follow the above quotation. When God heard this, he wus coroth, and greatly abhorred Israel : so that he forsook the tabernacle in Shitoh, the tent he had planted among men. And he delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand, verse 59, 60, 61.
Holland ! Holland ! here is the sentence of thy des. tiny. God, after regarding our humiliations for a cer. tain time, after remembering that we are but flesh, after enduring the prayers of deceitful tongues, and the promises of feigned lips, he will finally hear the cry of our sins, he will abhor Israel, he will abandon his pavilion in Shiloh, and this sacred temple in which he deigns to dwell with men. -1. My brethren, are we yet spared to sound the alarm, to thunder ? And shall we not adopt a new mode of celebrating this fast, and endeavour to execute it ! ". ,And you, our senators and governors ! who have appointed this solemnity, let us apprize you also of its appropriate duties. Come on Wednesday next: like modern: Jehoshaphats, prostrate at the footstool of God's throne, the dignities with which you are invested ; and for which you must give so solemn an account. Come, and let all your glory 'consist in humiliation and repentance. Come, and surrender -into his omnipotent hands, the reins of this republic, and swear that you will henceforth govern it by no maxims but his laws. And may God grant, may God grant you, indeed, to set so laudable an example before his church ; and having inspired you with the noble resolution, may he crown it with effect !
Ministers of Jesus Christ, whom Providence calls on Wednesday next, to administer the word, your task is obviously great. With what a charge are you entrusted ! On you principally devolves the duty of alarming and abasing the wicked. On you princi. pally devolves the duty of stopping the torrent of iniquity, which is followed by these awful calamities. On you principally devolves the duty of quenching the Aames of celestial vengeance, enkindled against our sins. Whe, is sufficient for these things ? Bu
use your efforts, and expect the rest from the blessing of God. Speak-as ministers ought to speak on the like occasions. Cry aloud, lift up yourvoice like a trumpet, show Jacob his transgressions, and Israel his sins. If you testify the truth; what matter if they murmur against your discourses. And may God, on this solemn occasion, teachour hands to war,andour fingers to fight. May God inspire you with magnanimity of mind, correspondent to the mission with which you are invested.
And you, christian people, what will you do on Wednesday next? It is not only your presence in this temple....it is not only hymns and prayers, supt plications and tears, which we solicita fast should be signalized by more distinguished marks of conversion and repentance : these are restitution, these are mutual reconciliation, these are a profusion of charities, these are a diligent search for the indigent, who are expiring as much through shame as iwant. Here, here, my dear brethren, is what we require. And let me obtain this request! Let me even expire in this pulpit, in endeavouring to add some de. gree of energy to your devotion, and effect to your fast! Our prayers shall supply our weakness. :: 0 Almighty God! 0 God! who makest judgment thy strange work, let our prayers appease thy indignation! Resist not a concourse of people, assembled to besiege the throne of thy grace, and to move thy bowels of paternal compassion! When our nobles, our pastors, our heads of houses, our children, when all our people, when all shall be assembled on Wednesday next in this house, with eyes bathed in tears, with hearts rent, for having offended so good and gracious a God; when each shall cry from the ashes of our repentance, Have mercy upon me, according to the multitude of thy tender mercies,and blot out my transgres. sions. Deign thou also to be present, Ogreat God, and Holy One of Israel. Deign thou also to be present with the goodness, the love, the bowels of compas. sion, which thou hast for poor penitent sinners ! Hear, O Lord, hear, O Lord, and pardon! Amen:
ON THE NATURE OF THE UNPARDONABLE SIN,
; HEBREWS yi. 4, 5, 6.
H is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have
tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come; if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance.
How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. On a different occasion, there would have been nothing surprising in the fears of Jacob. Had God rëvealed himself to this patriarch in the awful glory of avenging wrath, and surrounded with devouring fire, with darkness and with tempest; it would not have been surprising that a man, that a sinner, and a believer of the earlier ages of the church, should have been vanquished at the sight. But, at a period, when God approached him with the tenderest marks of love ; when he erected a miraculous ladder between heaven and earth, causing the angels to ascend and descend for the protection of his servant: when he addressed him in these consolatory words, Behold I am with thee, I will keep thee in all pluces whither thou goest, and I will bring thee again into this land ; for I will not leave thee; that Jacob should tremble in such a moment, is what we cannot conceive without astonishment. What! is the gate of heaven dreadful; and is the house of God an object calculated to strike terror into the mind?