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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
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 be. ments 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. Oye he fears it. It does not announce to that are created and redeemed to imhis 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. I less 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
DELIVERED BY THE REV. T. DALE,
AT ST. SEPULCHRE'S CHURCH, MARCH 6, 1831.
Genesis, xlii. 28.-" Their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying, What is
this that God hath done unto us?"
The influence of true religion is indi- | pearance, no pious child or servant to rect as well as immediate, general as awaken a hope that his labour is not well as personal, in its operation. So in vain in the Lord. But, perhaps, at far from being limited and confined to the very time when he was beginning the man by whom it is felt and acknow- to despond, nay, when he might be ledged, it extends, in a measure, to almost tempted to despair, circummost, if not all of those with whom stances have occurred in the course of he is habitually conversant. How Divine Providence, which have tended often, in the world around us, is a to educe and elicit the latent seedwhole family observed to take its cha- to awaken and enkindle the dormant racter and complexion from a single spark. Suffering, or sickness, or disapmember, especially if he be the one pointment, seizes, it may be, upon that whose peculiar relation assigns to him very individual of whom the fewest the highest place—the father, for ex- and faintest hopes were entertained, ample-or the master of the house. and it is proved that the work of How does his very presence diffuse grace was advancing in his heart when around, so to speak, an atmosphere of it was wholly unsuspected by others, purity, in which even those of habi- and unknown in a great measure even tually corrupt minds and conversation to himself. do not venture, openly at least, to Instances of this kind are, at least, breathe anything calculated to defile. sufficiently numerous, I say not only to And how frequently may we suppose, forbid despair, but to teach steadfastnay, rather may it be said, how fre- ness in duty, if not to kindle and to quently do we know, are the spirit cherish hope. And it is probable they and example of such an individual would be greatly increased, if men found conducive, though perhaps at a could only be taught to seek for the late period, to the conviction and con- workings of Divine Providence in what version of others. Many a Christian are called the common occurrences of master of a family, it is more than life; and remembering that all things probable, who has been himself are of God, to ask themselves, whenbrought by the grace of God to a ever His guiding hand is made pecusaving knowledge of the truth as it is liarly visible in the bestowment or in Jesus, and whose most diligent and withdrawal, either of evil or of good, zealous exertions have been subse- "What is this that God hath done to quently directed to communicate the us? What is the purpose for which same benefit to the various members we may presume that he has done it? of his household, has laboured among What is the end which it is designed them perhaps for years without pro- and adapted to produce ?" ducing any perceptible effect on a Though no prophecy of Scripture is single individual-there is, to all ap- of private interpretation, and conse
quently we are not only authorized, right. Then he combines with his but required to draw from every pas- mother to deceive the blind and aged sage such instruction as may suit the father ; so that Isaac, contrary to his exigencies of our own peculiar case, intention and desire, may bestow on we are yet to bear in mind that the him the blessing designed for Esau. word of God teaches by example as Even when the celestial Vision meets well as by precept. Thus St. Paul, him on his fight, and he is assured when detailing the transgressions and of Jehovah's continued protection, a the consequent sufferings of Israel in spirit which we may well term mercethe wilderness, affirms “ all these nary and sordid, enters even into his things happened unto them for en compact with God. And the means samples, and they are written for our which he afterwards took to inadmonition, upon whom the ends of crease his own substance by impair. the world are come.” Let us, there. ing Laban's, however they might be fore, follow up the Apostle's sug- provoked and palliated by the selfish gestion, by considering, not without and iniquitous conduct of his emearnest prayers for that guidance of the ployer, can hardly be reconciled with Holy Spirit, without which even his the principles of integrity and consisuggestions can lead to no permanently deration for our neighbour, that are profitable result;
inculcated throughout the whole of In the FIRST PLACE, THE PARTICU- Scripture. As a husband, he was un
duly and undeservedly partial ; and THE SONS OF Jacob. And SecondLY, when he had been appropriately puITS GENERAL APPLICATION TO CHris- nished for his fault, by the loss of his TIANS, AND CONSEQUENTLY TO OUR- beloved Rachael, he seems to have
transferred his inordinate and unreaThere is scarcely a character in the sonable preference to her children. Old Testament in whom the influence Here, too, the chastisement, with of true religion is more gradually and which his fault was visited, whether progressively, we might indeed say, considered as to its own nature, or as to more slowly developed than in Jacob, those who were the instruments of its the father of the persons by whom the infliction, bare an exact and memo. question of our text was proposed. rable relation to the fault itself. The Himself the son of an amiable and child of his misjudging fondness was indulgent-perhaps too indulgent fa- viewed with extreme, though not unther ; and of a mother, whose subse- founded jealousy, by those who naquent conduct proves her notions of turally felt themselves neglected and religion to have been the very reverse aggrieved ; and, regardless of the deep of consistent or correct, Jacob is first wound which the loss of his beloved presented to us by the simple and Joseph would inflict on their aged candid narrative of Scripture (a sim- father, they sold their brother into plicity and candour, be it observed, Egypt — all, indeed, unconsciously which speak more forcibly and satis- working the secret will of God, but factorily in confirmation of its truth than none the less criminal on that aca thousand arguments), under a very count: Jacob, equally to be censured questionable, not to say culpable and for his undiscriminating partiality; his censurable aspect. First, he meanly sons equally to be condemned for their takes advantage of his brother's ex- cruelty to their brother, when “they treme necessity to seduce him into the saw the anguish of his soul, and he besin and folly of parting with his birth. sought them and they would not hear."
Though, however, Jacob had, pos- | Cain, as if there was a mark upon his sibly, neglected to give his sons good brow, at once the symbol of his guilt precepts, and, certainly, had failed in and the emblem of his punishment; setting them a good example, we are and if their crime were hidden from all by no means to run into the opposite men, not excepting their indulgent conclusion, and infer, that his pre- father, they would know and feel that cepts, or his example, were invariably, it could not be concealed from the heartor even generally, the reverse of good. searching God.” All things were naked In him, as it has been already ob- and open to the eyes of Him with served, the work of grace was pro- whom they had to do.” He set their gressive ; and if he had not, even at misdeeds before Him, their secret sids the time of our text, become perfect, in the light of his countenance. he was, doubtless, then pressing to the mark-drawing nearer to the stand. Hence, it appears, they were in per
petual expectation of some palpable ård—emulating more clearly the ex- and signal indication of the divine ample of his father Abraham, from displeasure. As their crime had hitherwhom he inherited the promise. A to drawn down no appropriate penalty, severe blow had been struck to his (though they must have been aware overweening affection by the bereave- that the sword of divine judgment was ment of Rachael; it had been renew. ever hanging over their heads) they ed and repeated in the loss of Joseph; were afraid of punishment where they and the axe was, as it were, about to had been guilty of no offence-wherebe laid to the root of his unjust pre- ever they walked, conscience prodilections by his reluctant separation claimed, “There is a lion in the from Benjamin. Doubtless, however, path,” and they feared lest he should though, in his first anguish, he ex- spring upon them and rend them. In claimed, “ All these things are against proof of this, it may be observed, nome," he could afterwards say, “ It thing could be more harmless, natural, is good for me that I have been af- and unexceptionable, than their conAlicted; before I was afflicted I went duct on the present occasion. Here astray, but now I have kept thy word;" | at least they had nothing with which -and hence, probably, his instruc- to reproach themselves. Constrained tions to his sons would become more by famine, and in obedience to their faspiritual in themselves, and would be ther's command, they had come into more effectually seconded by example. Egypt to buy food—they conducted Their hearts would thus become more themselves in that strange country insusceptible; and being conscious that offensively and like true men- —they they had struck a dagger into the brought down sufficient of the simple breast of their aged parent, the resig- coin of the age to pay for all that nation, which he doubtless would con- they could purchase ; yet, with al} tinually express to the will of Jehovah, their consciousness of innocence and would be to them the severest reproach. integrity, no sooner does a slight imEvery allusion to the lost Joseph would pediment present itself in the stern awaken in them the anguish of bitter and suspicious address of the Ruler, remorse, and dispose them to antici- than their thoughts return to their pate the anger of an offended God, for brother. And when they were libetheir sin against the ties of natural rated and permitted to depart, no affection, and still more, against the sooner do they discover the money, fundamental laws of their divine Crea- which they had paid for the corn, detor, of which they could not be igno-posited in the mouth of the sack, than rant. Each of them would feel like a l they recognise, at once, the super