Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

enly love is enkindled in his soul; sovereign God; they embraced, they when the light of God's countenance rejoiced, they triumphed in the offer * lifted upon him; when his faithed Saviour. "Multitudes pressed into is invigorated ; when his hopes are the kingdom of God. Great addi. 'brightened ; w ben his penitence and tions were made to the church. The humility are increased; when his in- religion of Jesus was adorned by the dustry in religion is quickened; when blameless, tender, zealous, comfortahis zeal for the glory of God is ble, exemplary lives of his professing augmented; when his views of e. people. Most gracious God, though ternal things are rendered clear, we are most unworthy, may the glory lively, and comfortable; when his of this latter house be even greater than devotion is truly animated and his the glory of the former. Yes, dear heart enlarged; when a readiness .. brethren, for these inestimable bene... for all duty is inspired ... when, fits we are warranted to hope, if we in a word, he sees the power and glory diligently, conscientiously, purely, be. of God, in all that majesty and sweet. lievingly, and perseveringly perform ness in which they are often seen in in this place the worship and service the sanctuary. Then he rejoiceth as of our God. And that we may so do one that findeth great spoil. Yet and be blessed, and that this house even this does not fully satisfy may be truly the Lord's, by being him. His religion is a religion of be- honoured and consecrated by his own nevolence. He most tenderly feels sacred and special presence, accomfor the souls of others, as well as for pany me now to the throne of his tranhis own. He cannot, therefore, be scendent grace.” contented, till he sees those, whose We have let this discourse hearts have been obdurate, softened speak for itself

. The ample under the invitations of the gospel ; till he sees the careless become quotations made are full of pious thoughtful; the tears of contrition entertainment and instruction, flowing from the eyes which have been and prove that the performance closed against the light of life; :::: deserves high expressions of apconvictions of sin deep and lasting ; conversions to God sound and puner.

It has evangelical

probation. ous ;--when he beholds these effects fervour. It has sacred dignity in the house of God, or following from and elegance. It contains the the exercises there performed, then riches of divine truth. he bas the desire of his heart; then he knows a pleasure which disdains comparison. Look back, for an illus. tration, to the day of Pentecost, when Two sermons on the atrocity of Peter preached, and thousands, suicide, and on the causes which pricked to the heart by the energy of

lead to it. Preached at Sufthe Holy Spirit, said, Men and brethren, what shall we do? or if you think

field, on Lord's day, Feb, 24, this miraculous, and not to be expect- 1805, on occasion of a melane I now, bringthe subject nearer home. choly instance of suicide, which Look back only to a period within the

had recently occurred in that remembrance of some who are ye alive; to the period when the house,

town. By JOSEPH LATHROP, which is collegiate with this, was D. D. pastor of the first church opened and dedicated; when a White- in West-Springfield. Second field, a Tennent, a Finley were the edition, with additions and corheralds of salvation. Then, and in

rections. Springfield, Mas. that house, the preaching of the gospel was resorted to, as in deed and in

Henry Brewer. truth the word of God. In deep and The text, on this melancholy solemn attention men listened to re- occasion, is the exclamation of ceive a message for their souls. They the apostle Paul to the jailor in received it. ed; they saw themselves perishing: Philippi, Acts xvi. 26 : Do thyWhey bowed in the dust before a self no harm. A brief sketch of the preceding history, which will have much influence. When gave rise to it, forms a natural

God, as a lawgiver, prohibits any

crime, he affixes to the commission and pertinent introduction; in

of it such a penalty, as may reasona. the inspection of which, however, bly be supposed sufficient to deter two or three motes may perhaps men from it. But in the case of self. offend a microscopic eye.

Such murder, there is no room for penalty are the use of the copulative con

in this world, because the criminal

dies by his crime, and is dead before junction at the commencement cognizance can be taken of it. Cog. of periods, and even of a nev nizance can be taken only in the oth. paragraph ; the " sending" of an er world.

er world. But whaterer may be the earthquake ; and the change of cause, which induces a man to this time from the present to the

dreadful act, it first extinguishes the

belief, or at least suspends the apprc. past, in the most interesting part hension of future punishment. So of the narration. The preacher that penal laws, human or divine, proceeds to consider the text, against this sin, will rarely have an first, as an express prohibition of eilect on men’s minds, after they

have once formed the desperate resoself-murder ; and, secondly, to lution. The effect must usually be improve it as a warning not to in an earlier stage of the evil.” injure ourselves in any way. In The arguments, adduced the introductory part of the dis- against suicide, are, that it is a cussion, the following passages manifest opposition to the will of merit peculiar attention. God; that any act of sin is more

“Some ancient philosophers taught, criminal in proportion as it is and some modern infidels have adopt

more contrary to nature ; that ed the sentiment, that when the pain

the violation of a trust is, in any of existence exceeds its pleasure, every one has a right to withdraw him.

case, a crime; that this act is one self from it; and that it is a weak. of the greatest injuries, which a ness in man to complain of his bur- man can do to his friends ; that den, when it is always in his power to " the issues of death belong to throw it off. Among the Greeks and God;" that suicide is an act full Romans self-murder was often committed, not merely from philosophy, of ingratitude ; that the present or impatience of life, but often from life is our probation for future false notions of honour, liberty and and eternal happiness, and the magnanimity. Among the Britons and only probation that will be allow, the Americans it frequently proceeds ed us; that it leaves no opportu: from gloominess and dejection of mind. With such causes the senti. nity for repentance, and there. ments of infidelity usually concur: fore, while it destroys the body, it hence we find, that since the notions ruins the soul. The seventh arof fatalism, universalism and annihila. tion have been avowed, and the doc. gument, taken from the probatrine of a future retribution discard. tionary state of man, is thus ined, instances of suicide have been terestingly illustrated : multiplied beyond all former ex- “ There is no work nor device in amples.

the grave.” A guilty life and im. " The divine law has not so ex- penitent death will be followed with plicitly and particularly forbidden inisery eternal and extreme. A great this, as it has most other crimes. salvation is now offered, and may be And the reason is obvious. For be obtained ; but if we finally neglect it, fore one can bring himself to perpe. there is no escape. Death terminates trate this act, he must have prostrat. our only probation, and fixes our fu. ed all consideration of law and pen- ture condition. " As falls the tree, alty. If the law of nature within him so it lies." What rashness and prewill not restrain him, no external law sumption must it then be to contiact

ܪ

this already contracted term of life-- posed escape of his prisoners hurried to shorten this short space of trial, on the jailor to draw his sword on himself. the improvement of which depends In the “ more general” and our escape from endless misery; and monitory application of the text, our enjoyment of everlasting felicity ? What madness and infatuation to cut

the “ particular evils” mentionourselves off from all remaining op. ed, “by which men often do portunity of securing our final salva. themselves harm," are intempertion, and to run the dreadful hazard ance, idleness, a melancholy spirof falling into intolerable and inter. it, immoderate passions, irreligminable wo? However severe pres. ent sufferings may be, they cannot ious and licentious principles, justify an impatience of mind, which presumptuous sins, and living in urges to so awful a step. No man a course of sin. knows, in what ways, nor how soon, God may send him deliverance from ious and licentious principles

Under the head of “irrelig, his troubles : no man knows, what strong consolations may be imparted are the following important reto soften his adversities, and cheer marks : his desponding mind : no man knows, “ Men, who admit and entertain what blessings may result from the irreligious and licentious principles, do things, which seem to be against themselves infinite harm, and if they him. And, which is more, no man avow and diffuse such principles, knows, what a wretched exchange he they do immense injury to others. shall make, when, to throw off his “Religion is the only solid foundapresent burdens, he plunges himself tion of comfort in this world, and of into the eternal world.

happiness in the next. This, em“They, who in the exercise of rea. braced in the heart, banishes envy son, (if reason, in such a case, can be and malice, impatience and discon. said to be in exercise,) have taken this tent, anxiety and fear; inspires with tremendous step, have generally been benevolent affections, calm resignaurged to it by worldly disappoint- tion and cheerful hope ; and gives a ments, by the distresses of poverty, sure title to glory and immortality. by blasted ambition, by the appre. The man, who renounces religion, hension of disgrace, by the fear of abandons all his rational comforts punishment for some infamous crime, and future prospects. He makes or by the horrors of a guilty despair. himself a prey to temptation, vice ing conscience. The motives prompt. and fear. He becomes a creature ing them to it are criminal in their exposed, defenceless and forlorn. If nature, or in their cause ; for they he should see his condition, he would have their existence in the vices and be a terror to himself. If others corruptions of the mind ; in pride, im. should see his heart, he would be a patience, avarice, or some previous terror to all about him. If all men wickedness. Saul, in the haughti. were like him, he would have no se. ness of his spirit, fell on his own curity from the violence of his neighsword, lest he should become the bours. He has now no security from sport and mockery of his insolent and the violence of his own hands ; nor victorious enemies. Abitophel, by have others any security from this (lisappointed ambition, was urged to violence, but the laws of society. hang himself, when he found, that There is in him no principle to rethe counsel of another was preferred strain him from any outrage, which to his own, and that his political his passions may dictate, whether scheme would be utterly frustrated against himself or mankind." To the like fatal act was Judas driven Dr. L. then notices those by the horror of guilt and the frenzy free thinkers, “ who view this of despair, when he reflected, that he had betrayed innocent blood, and life as the only term of human perceived that the cruel and perfidi. existence ;" those, “who, though ous action could not be recalled. they profess to believe a future The fear of punishment for tho sup- existence, yet deny all future punishment, and persuade them- be annihilated at death, we may act selves, that a God of infinite as if we were to be annihilated. If

there is [be] no divine moral gov. ggodness will make all his crea

ernment, we may act, as if there was tures happy at last, and will in- [were] none, and may live as if we flict punishment on none, what- were not accountable. If we are ever may be their charac- under the power of an uncontrollable ter;" and those, “who imagine, this fate : we need not consult our

fate, we may give ourselves up to that every man's destiny is reason, but may implicitly follow eveternally fixed, and every man's ery impulse of passion. And if we conduct immutably determined may act in this manner, so may our by an absolute fatality.” The neighbours, and so may all mankind. awful tendency of such princi. The world would be a Babel : It

And what would be the consequence ? ples, it is justly observed, is would be an Aceldema. Let the inmanifest from their effects. fidel bring forth his strong reasons,

“Since they have prevailed, in and this appeal to practice will at stances of murder and suicide, and once confound them all.” of duelling, which involves in it both The sermons are concluded murder and suicide, have become with the following reflections, 'much more frequent than they were formerly.

each of which is usefully illus“Only consider what is the natural trated. 1. It is a great mercy tendency and the frequent operation to be protected from ourselves. of the principles, which have been 2. We have reason to pray for mentioned. Inquire whether a man divine restraints. 3. We have possessing and acting upon them, would be safe to himself and wheth great cause to be thankful, if we er his family, his friends, his neigh- have been kept back from prebours would be safe in connexion with sumptuous sins. 4. What numhim, if he was (were ) unrestrained by bers will at last be found guilty the laws of society. Inquire wheth.

of self-murder ? er a society, actuated hy such princi. ples, could protect its members, or

From this specimen of the could itself subsist. Inquire wheth- plan and execution of these diser any rational, free, and efficient courses, a judgment may be government could ever be maintained formed of their merit.

They do on these principles.... Answer these inquiries, and you will have a full, not, in our opinion, discredit the practical demonstration, that the pen of their venerable author, principles are absolutely false. No whose writings are pre-eminentsentiments are true, which cannot ly distinguished for simplicity safely be applied to practice. These, and justness of thought; for applied to practice, would dissolve families, disband societies, annihilate richness and variety of senti. government, and destroy mankind. ment; for correctness of ineth

“One of the surest ways to prove od and perspicuity of style ; and whether opinions are [be] true, is to for a uniform tendency to probring them to the test of practice, mote evangelical truth and enand examine what would be their consequence. We may always act in lightened piety. conformity to truth. If we are all to

Religious Intelligence.

DOMESTIC. The Editors earnestly invite the the Panoplist to the following intere serious attention of the readers of esting communication :

PROPAGATION OF THE GOSPEL.

Philadelphia, Peb. 4th, 1806. To all who love the prosperity of Zion, and are disposed to aid in propagat

ing the Gospel among the Heathen. The subscriber lately returned eternal life contained in the holy Scrip from a voyage to the East-Indies, tures, without any gloss or comment touched in Europe, and was in Lon- whatsoever. If this can be exten. don in August last, where he received sively effected, the happiest conse. from the Baptist Missionary Society quences may be expected to follow ; in England for propagating the Gos- since the natives of India, unlike pel among the heathen, one thousand most other pagans, are many of them guineas, to be sent in the spring to the able to read, and still more of them Missionaries in Bengal, for the pur. are disposed earnestly to listen to pose of printing the sacred scriptures what the Bible contains. Even the in one of the languages of that coun- melioration of their condition in this try. There are seven languages that life, by a knowledge and belief of the the Missionaries there aim to trans- scriptures, would be an event calculate and publish the scriptures in. lated to produce a lively joy, in every They have made such progress in mind influenced by humanity: For three of them that it is expected that their horrible superstition subjects the above sum will enable them to them unceasingly to the most dread. complete the work. The money is ful torments, and annually deprives a now in the hands of Robert Rac. large number even of life itself. But ston, Esquire, of Philadelphia, who in addition to this, how interesting will forward it in due time. Should must be the thought to every truly pi. any individual, society, or congrega.

ous mind, that many of these misera. tion of people in the United States of ble creatures, by having a Bible in America, be disposed to contribute to their hands, may not only better their this good work, Mr. Ralston will glad. worldly condition, but become truly ly receive whatever may be sent to converted unto God, and through the him for that purpose, and add to it merits of the Saviour, be raised to the above sum, to be forwarded to the eternal happiness and glory. Among Missionaries at Serampore near Cal. the many objects which we know are

now soliciting the patronage of the (Signed) BENJAMIN WICKES, Sen. pious and the liberal, throughout our Philadelphia, Nov. 4, 1805. country, we cannot but think, that this

deserves a marked attention. Nor WE whose names are underwritten, çan we forbear to add, that we have Ministers of the Gospel in the city of good reason to believe, that donations Philadelphia, do hereby certify that from the inhabitants of the United we are fully ascertained that the state. States, for the promotion of the dement made by Capt. Wickes, in the sign which has here been specified, foregoing advertisement, is perfectly would greatly animate and encourage correct. We also take the liberty the worthy men who are engaged in respectfully to recommend to the pi. the translation of the scriptures, by ous and the liberal of all denominations giving them a striking proof that of Christians, in the United States, their arduous work interests the feel. an attention to the important objects ings, and is accompanied by the good which this advertisement holds up to wishes of Christians, in every region their view. Nothing, it appears to to which the knowledge of it has exus, can be more interesting to a truly tended. benevolent mind. The design con- Some other important considera: templated, is not to disseminate the tions, which it is hoped will as much favourite tenets of any particular encourage the liberality of the public, scct of Christians. It is to print and as they animate the hopes and labours propagate, among a race of heathen, of the Missionaries in India, ought to who are sunk and degraded by the be briefly stated. At Serampore, the vilest and cruelest system of super.

immediate seat of the Mission, there stition and idolatry, the pure word of are a type foundery and printing

cutta.

« AnteriorContinua »