Page images
PDF
EPUB

same

which shall be revealed in us. I am thirst for his kingdom. We can obabsent from the body-I am present tain a crown without carrying the acwith the Lord. Nor count I my life tual cross to our tragic end. But we dear unto myself, so that I might fi- must carry a cross, and a painful one nish my course with joy. For me too. For little does that man know 'tis true to live is Christ ; but still, of his Saviour's religion, who expects for me to die is gain.” Here let it be to gain the immortal prize without impressed upon your hearts, that such many a conflict and many a suffering. a triumphan thope of blissful futurity | Yet, be it remembered, that whether is not compatible with an earthly they are sharper or less severe, the mind. It belongs not to the world— me God who supported the earliest it is not carnal-it is not sensual—it champions of the faith, will support his is of heavenly origin,-it is wholly servants in every age. He will never spiritual-it is purely the gift of the suffer us, if we serve Him, to be grace of God, merited for his people brought into distress or persecution by the sufferings of his Son, and ob- without giving us from the same Divine tained for them, by the all-prevailing fountain a sufficient portion of strength prayers of Christ in their behalf. These and comfort to bear our trials and af. owe their holiness, their happiness, fictions with constancy and resignatheir hopes, their all, to the supplicat- tion. “If we suffer, we shall reign with ing intercession of the Prince of Peace. | Him." And the transcendent gift of his Holy In his own good time, and for this Spirit which he promised under the name gracious scheme, He will, as a pious of the Comforter, has been ever found writer well observes, either lighter sufficient, and never forsook the people our burden or add to our strength. He of God. The Spirit was so plentifully will either mitigate our pain or inpoured out both upon the Apostles in crease our patience. He will either the first ages of Christianity, the Peters', give us power and victory to triumph the James', and the Stephens', and over the world, the flesh and the upon the martyrs which suffered at devil, or He will, in greater mercy, rethe glorious reformation, such as move us from their snares and temBilney, and Hooper, and Ridley, that pests to a land of safety and repose, when they were tortured they would where we shall see and adore the glo. not accept of deliverance because they rious Trinity through everlasting ages. knew they should obtain a better re- “ Blessed are the dead which die in the surrection. This is religion, worthy Lord. They rest from their labours, the exalted name and character of and their works do follow them." Christianity. Would to God, that O, how delightful, how full of peace more of such a spirit lived in the is the doctrine of our Apostle in almost world; that we were more ready, every page of his letters upon this point. not only to talk of the grace of To give one instance more ; “God," God and his wonderful love to us in saith he, “ is faithful, who will not sufChrist Jesus, but to do something for fer you to be tempted above what ye are religion by labouring and living for able to bear, but will, with the temptaChrist, by sufferings and self-denials tion, also make a way to escape, that ye for his sake and the Gospel’s. Im- may be able to bear it.” With what mortal praise to God! we live not in satisfaction, therefore, with what sinan age when it is necessary for us to cerity may we deposit our lives, our bleed, and be burnt for the confes- fortunes, our faithful wives, our beloved sion of our love for Christ, and our children, and all that remains to us

[ocr errors]

into the hands of Providence,-that Why, then, with such a cloud of good and generous Parent, whose witnesses before us, I would fearlessly merciful care hath, from our birth, so ask the blindest sceptic, or the proudest tenderly preserved us, and whose in materialist, why should the children of exhaustible bounty still rises with us the world be so surprised, that Addievery morning. We are his creatures son should send for his friend to see how -his children he hath called us. a Christian could die, and venerable Did any of his children, since the Latimer should say to his fellow-marworld began, ever serve God and re- tyr, when on his way to the scaffold, pent of his obedience? Did one sanc- where the faggots were piled for his tified man ever trust in his Maker and burning, “Brother Ridley, we shall fall short of grace and glory? It might to-day light up a candle in Christendom, be further asked of the saints in hea. which shall never be extinguished.” ven, if, in their presence, we were It was not human strength, it was standing–Did any disciple, did any not the stoicism of philosophy, that martyr ever die with Christ, and not carried these Christian heroes conlive with Christ, or suffer and not quering through-it was the spirit of reign with him? Did the Omnipotent GOD. And why should the earthforsake Daniel in the den of lions, or born votaries of time and sense be so Shadrach and his companions in the surprised, that a genuine Christian fiery furnace? Was a bone of the thus enlightened, thus strengthened former broken, or a hair of the latters' by the Comforter, can bear afflic. head so much as singed? Or did the tions with composure, and close his pious Psalmist in vain encourage him. eyes upon the world, when it is the self in the Lord his God, when he was will of God who

gave

that spirit, falsely accused unto Saul of conspiracy without a tear of lamentation or a and treason, and when afterwards rebel- sigh of regret? Why? It is because lion in his family and his kingdom drove those men of the world, who have him weeping into the wilderness? Were never been born again, never been enthe bitterest curses of Shemei, or the gaged in the spirit of their minds, are slyest counsels of Ahithophdel suffered | ignorant of the supports and peacefulto prevail against him? No, my fellow- ness of religion. They have not been Christians, see the believing monarch taught of God, therefore they know after he had mourned for his favour. not the Gospel of his grace, nor hath ite—“O Absalom, my son, my son, the Holy Ghost ever taken up his would to God I had died for thee”-dry dwelling within their hearts. They up his tears and say, with a patience never drank at the sweet refreshing and fortitude which the blessed Spi- fountain from which spring the waters rit could only give him in such a sea- of life-life which only really begins son of tribulation. “Let the enemy when the soul escapes from its earthly persecute my soul and take it; let him tabernacle of sin and sorrow. tread my life down to the ground. also firmly believed, that when they Thou wilt not leave, O Lord, my soul should pass through the gates of the in hell, but thou wilt awake up for me grave, they would change this temto judge the people, when the wicked- poral, miserable existence for a subliness of the wicked shall come to an mer state of happiness and joy, and end, but the just shall be established. meet with a reward of their sufferings, Therefore, my defence is of God, who through their Redeemer's merits, saveth the upright and will not suffer greater in weight and duration than them to go down in silence to the dust." their mind is yet capable of conceiving

If they -surely, in such a case, their view | impiety or profaneness, which man, of every thing would be proportionally from the depravity of his nature, is caenlarged and felicitated according to pable of committing, more offensive in the degree of their superior light and the sight of God than the sin of denying holiness. Time and eternity, life and his Son. It is, indeed, flying in the death would all wear a different face. face of the Eternal Spirit, and resisting And from that hour they would be the light of revelation-the last offer so resigned to the will of God, and so of Divine mercy. “Surely, they will satisfied with all his dispensations, so reverence my Son when they see him.” stablished in the “truth as it is in And when a person hath arrived at Jesus," and so preserved by his mighty this extremity of pride and arrogance, power through faith unto salvation, he is represented in Scripture as not that they would sit loose, as it were, having life, as being dead in tres. to the world, and be so on the wing passes and sins, removed beyond the for eternity, that whenever their Hea- reach of grace and the possibility of venly Parent should see fit to call them pardon. from this vale of suffering, they would Happily for religion and human not only bid adieu to the earth with happiness, proportionally small is the composure, but would even have a de number of those who formally deny sire to depart that they might be in that Jesus Christ is the Son of God heaven with Christ and with his angels. and the Saviour of the world. For his I think, then, it has been made divinity and atonement are so plainly clearly to appear, as well from the proved in the Bible, that they have light of reason and the Providence of almost disarmed presumption, and siGod, as from the testimony of revela- lenced unbelief as to the person of our tion, that the advantages of morti- Lord. But great, very great is the fication and suffering in the cause of number of those thoughtless, hardened Christ are unquestionable.

men, who deny the Lord Jesus in their We now come, SECONDLY, to con- life and conversation, and even crucify sider a saying which is equally faithful, Him afresh with their sinful lusts. but not so pleasing to contemplate- And what must be the destiny of THE FEARFUL END OF THE WICKED, such profane characters ? If the WHO FORGET THE SAVIOUR-GOD. If righteous be scarely saved, where, the we deny him he also will deny us.” Scripture asks, shall the sinner and

Dreadful truth! It seems as if de ungodly appear at the last day, when nunciation could not reach farther. they will be judged every man acIt is enough to overwhelm the impe-cording to their works?” The words of nitent sinner, and drive him to dis- the text are not to be misunderstood. traction and despondency. But not to It reveals this everlasting truth, that dwell, for time forbids, upon the awful because they have denied the Son of threatenings of the Gospel, which God in this world before men, He will might convince the transgressor of deny them in the next before his Fa. what he forfeits by his ingratitude and ther. And if God the Son shall deny incurs by his guilt, it may be safely them—if He who alone can justify asserted, that the sin denounced in them from their sins, and sanctify our text is one of the most flagrant them by His spirit—if He who alone and excessive among the darts of the can reconcile them to the Almighty, evil-one. I will go farther. If that sin and deliver them from the infernal deagainst the Holy Ghost, never to be stroyer, be not their peacemaker, their forgiven, may beexcepted, there is not an Saviour, but forsake and despise

[ocr errors]

them as reprobate and wilfully lost, world's censure which keeps so many their doom will be fixed and cannot be souls out of the kingdom of heaven. changed-cannot be lessened-a doom But what of this ? the world is not the so black and wretched, that light and friend of God, the world is not the hope can never dawn upon it.

friend of man.

One other fatal truth I have but a moment in which to lies at the door of every one, who loves put a question or two upon this mat- the world better than he loves the Reter to some souls in this congregation deemer who came to save it. In this who have never followed Christ, and he denies the Son of God, and when therefore cannot have an interest in he does, he has nothing to hope for his atonement and intercession. On beyond the grave, nothing to look forreason you rely, by reason then for ward to in heaven. Things present, once you shall be judged. Say, what and things to come, eternity and can weigh at all in the balance against judgment, the Creator, the Saviour, eternal happiness? What can be any the Comforter, are all against him. To compensation for everlasting misery? | what rock, then, shall he flee for safety, If ye can bring nothing to set against or in what mountain shall he shelter these things, why do ye leap with your from wrath? Where is the friend that eyes open, for your boast is the march will plead his cause, when conscience of light, down the precipice of certain rises up, or where the power which irremediable destruction? Why deli- can make his peace, when the Omnipo. berately prepare yourselves for the tent whets his sword ? worm that dieth not, the fire that shall O, if ye would know something of not be quenched. What! is happi- the misery, something of the fears of ness bitter that ye so cordially hate the unprepared sinner, when he is sum. and reject it? Is misery sweet, that moned away, visit him, where I bave ye so anxiously seek and court it? seen him, upon the bed of sickness and Care ye not whether ye live hereafter of death : and only stay to hear him with those you love in Paradise, or curse the follies which have brought are driven from them into the nether him to that state of mourning and of region ? whether you rise again to see Listen to his confession, when your pious friends in Abraham's bo- truth can gain an hearing at last. If, som, or join your guilty companions O my soul, even in this life,

my punishin the furnace of wrath ?

ment is too heavy for me to bear, what Alas, for you, if such be your choice! will it become in the next. Ah! when the warnings of ministers may be too a few moments more are past, all my late, and the stings of conscience itself projects, my hopes, my dreams of this in vain. But while we have a voice poor passing world will be gone. But to proclaim your guilt, and breath to not so the things of eternity-not so admonish you of your ruin, we will, the concerns of my precious soul. They as affectionately as boldly, entreat you are all lost, and I have found nothing to hold no longer such absurd opinions in their stead. I would give ten thouas you have hitherto done against your sand worlds if I had them, for one year best, your dearest interests.

to repent, one hour

to make my Quit, О quit, without a moment's peace. But it cannot be. Lord hesitation, the maxims and habits, Jesus have mercy on me, and when I the fashions and follies of a world come to the place of torment. O! grant which lieth in wickedness ; nor care me one drop of water to cool my what that busy, meddling, ill-judging tongue, one ray of hope to still my anworld shall say or think of you. It is guish. the fear of the world's opinion, the But I must hasten to a close. And

woe.

now behold once more a brighter, hap- soon shall embrace you in another and pier scene, in which you yourselves, a better life, if with piety and patience if you confess Christ, and live with you serve your gracious God, and trust him, and die with him, may be the in your adorable Redeemer. Thus, full principal actors.--Behold the last mo- of hope, both lives and dies the bements of a dying disciple, who, hav- lieving Christian. He suffered with ing served his Saviour and suffered in Christ, and therefore he knows that he his cause, looks forward to a blissful shall reign with him. immortality. He serenely shuts his Let me then conclude by exhorting eyes upon this earth, and calmly meets you never more to prefer the hard eternity. And wherefore? because bondage of sin to the easy yoke of death, which is so terrible to the virtue, nor risk, for the sake of all the wicked, is to him a messenger of peace. world contains, the refined satisfacThe more he thinks of dying, the less tions and felicities of heaven. O ye he fears it. It does not announce to that are created and redeemed to im. his conscience chains and darkness, mortal life, animate yourselves to a but deliverance and freedom. It generous and holy conduct. Set loose calls him from a life of sorrow and your hearts from all that is earthly, trials to a better and more perfect and fix them upon things above, where life—where pain and grief are strangers, Christ is reigning at the right hand of a life replete with gladness and with God. Transport yourselves by freglory. Why should the Christian re- quent meditations into the realms of gret to make a change so much to his eternal day; there walk and talk with advantage? Why hesitate to follow God, maintaining in all things a heaa Saviour's call to rest and honour? venly frame of mind, and regulating Why linger to pass over Jordan, when your whole behaviour by the hopes the city of God is on the other side ? and interests of a future world. Shew No fear nor doubt disturbs his breast, to mankind that you are children of forevery reflection is peaceful, and every light, who look not so much at the prospect is joyous. He is already on things which are seen, as at the things the threshold of heaven : the gates of which are not seen. Do honour to the new Jerusalem are now opening the religion which you profess by a before him. Therefore the nearer his steady and cheerful course of honourend approaches, the more his coun- able and charitable deeds. And take tenance brightens, and his heart is fast hold on the hope of everlasting cheered. And though he sometimes | life, which God hath given you in his for a moment feels a wish to stay on Son Jesus Christ. earth with his attached family, yet he O, this will support you in the fiercest hastens to the place of his destination, trials--this will console you in the and addresses his sorrowing friends heavest afflictions. It is a peace, a with this consoling assurance. Weep hope, a triumph, which will not leave not for me, nor wish to keep me you even in death ; but will, after the from my Saviour, whose arms of strictest judgments attend you, fearmercy are open to receive me. Iless and rejoicing, into the kingdom of know your affection for me,I trust your Lord. In which blessed region I have deserved it. And kind you of light and life, that we all may one are in thinking that my departure day meet together and be separated will be your loss. Forget not, how- no more, may God of his infinite mercy ever,

that it will be my gain. Think grant for the sake of Jesus Christ. not we shall long be separate. I

« PreviousContinue »