Imatges de pÓgina
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pray with your family? If you stand in need of assistance, why not avail yourselves of the many excellent forms of prayer which are so easily obtained, rather than that the duty itself should be entirely omitted ? But no man, I am persuaded, who is in earnest about his own salvation, will find himself unable to solicit, in the presence of his family, those blessings which he is accustomed to solicit for them in secret. Wherever religion gains possession of the heart, all these seeming difficul. ties, as experience provés, will instantly vanish: Nay, where serious conviction of guilt and of danger is entertained, either for ourselves or for the obu jects of our dearest affections, we forget at once our inability and diffidence, and pour out the desires of our hearts in ejaculatory prayer, even in the presence of a stranger. Is it not evident, then, that the true reason why these excuses are urged is, that the heart is not right with God ; that we are willing to be deceived, and are labouring only to quiet the remonstrances of conscience, and to speak peace to ourselves, when there is no peace ? Hence we find, that the prophet Jeremiah makes no distinction between those who acknowledge no God, and those who live as if there were none. Pour out thy fury upon the heathen, and upon

the families that call not upon thy name.

And now, brethren, we have delivered our message. We have shewn you what profit there is in praying unto God, and what danger there is in neglecting it. Say not, with the careless and

thoughtless man, · When I am in heaviness I will think upon God.' O think of him now, ere the terrors of death compass you about. Seek him while he may be found. Now, when thou art in health, when thou art rejoicing with the wife of thy youth, when thy children are as olive plants around thy table, think how soon sickness, disease and death, may enter thy dwelling; may nip the tender plant in its bud, and convert the house of feasting into the house of mourning. Watch for their souls, as those who must give account of yourselves and of them unto God. Pray always with all manner of prayer and supplication. To labour in word and doctrine among a praying people, to think that you are mindful of us, and to feel, as we trust we do, the benefit of your prayers, is a happiness and a privilege to which nothing that the world can give can be compared. O that we could say of all of

of all of you, as we confidently may of many, may the Lord return your prayers for us tenfold into your own bosomis !

SERMON X.

ON THE TERROR OF THE LORD.

2 CORINTHIANS, v. 11. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we

persuade men.

THERE is both in the letters and in the conduct of the apostle Paul, such an unreserved pouring out of his soul, and such simplicity and godly sincerity; so much tenderness for the feelings of others, with so little connivance at their faults, so much human prudence, with so much of the wisdom that is from above-as it would be difficult to find in any other human character. .

He knew well with how much difficulty men are brought to acquiesce in the humiliating representations which it behoved him to make, of the natural alienation of their hearts from God; and, therefore, he varied his method of inculcating this necessary and fundamental truth; whilst in each of the varied methods which he adopted, he has shewn us that no false delicacy or mistaken tenderness should prevent us from endeavouring, in dependence upon the Spirit of God, to bring home the charge to the consciences of those whom we address.

Your eternal happiness, my dear friends, is the main object which we should ever have in view; and, therefore, no methods are to be left untried that have a tendency to promote this end of all our labours, in subserviency to the glory of God. We are supplied with arguments calculated to work both upon your hopes and fears. Their nature is such, as none who understands them but must perceive that they are mighty, through God, to the pulling down of the strong holds of sin and Satan; their clearness is such, that none who hears them can be at a loss to understand them; the manner of enforcing them such, as all who know themselves must cordially approve. The gentler methods of persuasion are to be tried; but when these prove ineffectual, when men will not be drawn with the cords of love, we must endeavour to persuade them by the terrors of the Lord-his terrors not merely in this life, but in that which is to come.

In both of these methods we have Paul and all the apostles of Christ for our examples. They were instant in season and out of season ; they reproved, rebuked, exhorted, and watched for the souls of men as those who had an account to give of them to God. They travailed as in birth until Christ was formed in their hearts; and urged every argument and motive which could be deduced either from the attractives of the divine mercy, or the terrors of the divine wrath. We hear them at one time beseeching men by the mercies of God, to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy mand acceptable to him, which is their reasonable service. At other times they denounce, with awful solemnity, the wrath of God which is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. Nor do they hesitate to declare, that, without repentance and forgiveness through the blood of Christ, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, shall be the portion of every soul that doth evil. And in the words of the text, the apostle Paul enforces a due regard to the great concerns of religion, by an argument drawn from the solemn proceedings of the day of judgment, of which he speaks in the preceding verse. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. This is the terror to which he alludes : not as an ancient tradition, a doubtful conjecture, or an event that may probably happen; but as a certain and infallible truth. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.

In the further prosecution of the subject, I shall consider,

1. The argument which the apostle here employs to persuade men-the terror of the Lord.

II. Its suitableness to the great and important end which he has in view—to persuade men to attend to their spiritual and eternal interests.

I. The argument which the apostle here makes use of to persuade men is the terror of the Lord.

In the scriptures we find a mixture of the highest clemency and the greatest severity, the most

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