« AnteriorContinua »
Never then be disposed to think that he who administers among you the word of God, though he should chance to touch upon some failings of which you know yourselves to be guilty, is therefore to be looked upon as an enemy, or even as not so indulgent to human failings, as one frail being should be to another; for indulgence in this case is quite out of the question. The law of God is a law of general and constant obligation, as binding upon the preacher, as upon him who is to be admonished. And, in fact, if instead of weighing and considering the truths that are told you, you bend your thoughts rather to the mode in which they are delivered ; if, instead of asking for the “old palbs,” as the Prophet directs, " that ye may walk
therein, and find rest to your souls, you determine to receive him as your enemy, who in obedience to the spirit of God, stands forth in contradiction to your sins, as “ an example to you in word, in conversation, “ in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity,” perhaps you will never find the remedy you pretend to be seeking : for though St. Paul,
with great justice, made it a part of his serm. apostolic character, to become “ all things “ to all men,” that in propagating the Gos-. pel of Christ, he might, as he tells us himself, “ gain the more ;" yet this must be understood with limitations, and referred only to things indifferent. St. Paul did not become a sinner himself, to gain sinners-he did not transgress God's laws to gain other transgressors. Therefore, neither must you expect that those who minister to you, are at liberty to condescend to such infirmities; but it is your part to distinguish between their hatred of your sins, and their regard for you. God's word cannot be administered otherwise; for how justly would you be offended to be reproved and corrected for your own sins by as base a sinner as yourselves? whereas, it is but probable that he who would recommend to you, either by precept or example, the first duties of life, may appear unfriendly, in that he may seem too severe, or too particular; too temperate for the glutton and drunkard, too chaste and regular for the adulterer, toojust and honest for the extor
SERM. tioner, too pious for the reprobate ; never
theless, these are they who must most need the wholesome corrections of God's righteous laws, and so long as they suffer their unruly passions so to get the better of their reason, as to lead them to fancy those who tell them the truth, to be their enemies, how are they to be amended ?-Receive
then the word of God always with fear and reverence, and let no personal, private, or worldly considerations move you, to turn from the truth, when it is properly placed before you. It may be, that he who reproves and warns you, though he is but discharging a duty of his own in doing so, may sincerely, and from his
very heart, be intrinsically your friend; but at all events be sure that, inasmuch as he only claims, to guide and direct your steps in the way of righteousness and true holiness, he cannot be your “ Enemy."
S E R M ON 11.
ON THE GOOD EFFECTS OF RELIGION.
ISAIAH X1. 9.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy
mountain ; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
This is part of a prophecy which, in a serm. great degree, remains to be fulfilled. Those who have applied themselves to the study of the prophetic parts of the Holy Scriptures, have been long agreed, that there is a future state of peace and happiness foretold, which is to take place upon
very earth we inhabit, through the prevalence of the Christian religion. There is nothing mysterious in the prophecy, except inasmuch as it must seem to require the particular interposition of Providence; so little at present are men agreed to give full effect to the Gospel of our Saviour. There
SERM. is no mystery in the consequences foretold,
if men would but embrace the Gospel as they should do; for sure enough no true Christian could hurt or destroy, or do any violence to his neighbour, or in any way interrupt the peace and harmony of the world, so long as he held himself bound to be governed by the laws of his Redeemer. For the Gospel of Christ is peace and love -peace with our Maker, and peace with man.-By the Gospel of Christ alone we are to be reconciled to our heavenly Father; and we are not to be entitled to the benefits of this most glorious covenant, but upon the condition that we love our neighbour as ourselves.—True enough we must confess that this world has so long interfered with the concerns of religion, that perhaps there is no command in the whole Scriptures more generally infringed than this very one of loving our neighbour as ourselves. It is difficult to say how this great and grievous error first got to such a head as it has done, and perhaps it is more difficult to say,
how we are to apply à remedý. Now-a-days, a man is not willing to act by