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hence anxious fears, hence never ending movements. But how can your avarice bear to think of all the vicissitudes that may affect your fortune? In a course of Christian virtue I see an avarice well directed. The gospel promises a fortune beyond vicissitude, and directs us to a faithful correspondent, who will return us for one grain thirty, for another sixty, for another a hundred fold.
man to become an assassin, a murderer, a slanderer, a plunderer of the fortune, and a destroyer of the life of his neighbour, or, what is worse than either, a murderer of his reputation and honour. Had such a proposition been advanced, it would not be the more probable for that, and nothing ought to induce us to spare it. Monsters of nature! who, after you have taken pains to eradicate from your hearts such fibres of nature as sin seems to have left, would you attempt to exculpate yourselves? you who, after you have rendered yourselves in every instance unlike God, would carry your madness so far as to render God like yourselves by accusing him of creating you with dispositions, which oblige you to dip your hands in innocent blood, to build your houses with the spoils of widows and orphans, and to commit crimes subversive of society? Cease to affirm, these are natural dispositions. No, they are acquired dispositions. That part of "Oreligion which prohibits your excesses, is practicable by you without the supernatural aid necessary to a thorough conversion.
2. When we speak of natural depravity, we confound the pure virtue that religion inspires with other virtues, which constitution, education, and motives of worldly honour, are sufficient to enable us to practise. I grant, you cannot practise such virtues as have the love of God for their principle, order for their motives, and perfection for their end: but you may at least acknowledge your natural depravity, and exclaim, "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" You may at least exclaim with the magician mentioned by a poet, I see and approve of the best things, though I practise the worst. You may do more, you may practise some superficial virtues, which the very heathens, not in covenant with God, exemplified. You may be cautious like Ulysses, temperate like Scipio, chaste like Polemon, wise like Socrates. If then you neglect this sort of virtue, and if your negligence ruin you, "your destruction is of yourselves."
3. When we speak of natural depravity, we confound that of a man born a pagan with only the light of reason with that of a Christian, born and educated among Christians, and amidst all the advantages of revelation. This vague way of talking is a consequence of the miserable custom of taking detached passages of Scripture, considering them only in themselves without any regard to connexion of time, place, or circumstance, and applying them indiscriminately to their own imaginations and systems. The inspired writers give us dreadful descriptions of the state of believers before their being called to Christianity: they call this state "a night, a death, a nothing,” in regard to the practice of virtue, and certainly the state of a man now living without religion under the gospel economy may be properly described in the same manner: but I affirm, that these expressions must be taken in a very different sense. "This night, this death, this nothing," if I may be allowed to speak so, have different degrees. The degrees in regard to a native pagan are greater than those in regard to a native Christian. What then, my brethren, do you reckon for nothing all the care
You are voluptuous, and you refine sensual enjoyments, tickle your appetite, and sleep in a bed of down! I see in a course of virtue a "joy unspeakable and full of glory, a peace that passeth all understanding," pleasures boundless in prospect, and delicious in enjoyment, pleasures greater than the liveliest imagination can conceive, and more beautiful than the most eloquent lips can describe.
Such is religion, my brethren. What a fund of stupidity, negligence, and corruption, must a man have to resist it? Is this the religion we must oppose in order to be damned? Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself."
III. Well, well, we grant, say you, we are stupid not to avail ourselves of such advantages as religion sets before us, we are negligent, we are depraved: but all this depravity, negligence, and stupidity, are natural to us; we bring these dispositions into the world with us, we did not make ourselves; in a word, we are naturally inclined to evil, and incapable of doing good. This religion teaches, of this we are convinced by our own feelings, and the experience of all mankind confirms it.
This is the third difficulty concerning the proposition in the text, and it is taken from the condition of human nature. In answer to this, I say, that the objection implies four vague notions of human depravity, each erroneous, and all removable by a clear explication of the subject.
1. When we speak of our natural impotence to practise virtue, we confound it with an insurmountable necessity to commit the greatest crimes. We may be in the first case without being in the second. We may be sick, and incapable of procuring medicines to restore health, without being invincibly impelled to aggravate our condition by taking poison for food, and a dagger for physic. A man may be in a pit without ability to get out, and yet not be invincibly compelled to throw himself into a chasm beneath him, deeper and darker, and more terrible still. In like manner, we may .be so enslaved by depravity as not to be able to part with any thing to relieve the poor, and yet not so as to be absolutely compelled to rob them of the alms bestowed on them by others, and so of the rest.
It seems to me, my brethren, that this distinction has not been attended to in discourses of human depravity. Let people allege this impotence to exculpate themselves for not practising virtue, with all my heart: but to allege it in excuse of odious crimes practised every day freely, willingly, and of set purpose, is to form such an idea of natural depravity as no divine has ever given, and such as can never be given with the least appearance of truth. No sermon, no body of divinity, no council, no synod ever said that human depravity was so great as absolutely to force a
taken of you in your infancy, all the instructions given you in your childhood by your pious fathers and mothers, all the lessons they procured others to give you, all the tutors who have given you information! What! agreeable books put into your hands, exhortations, directions, and sermons, addressed to you, you reckon all these things for nothing! What! you make no account of the visits of your pastors, when you thought yourselves dying, of the proper discourses they directed to you concerning your past negligence, of your own resolutions and vows! I ask, do you reckon all this for nothing? All these efforts have been attended with no good effect: but you are as ambitious, as worldly, as envious, as covetous, as eager in pursuit of lasciviousness, as ever the heathens were, and you never blush, nor ever feel remorse, and all under pretence that the gospel teaches us we are frail, and can do nothing without the assistance of God!
4. In fine, my brethren, when we speak of the depravity of nature, we confine the condition of a man, to whom God has given only exterior revelation, with the condition of him to whom God offers supernatural aid to assist him against his natural frailty, which prevents his living up to external revelation. Does he not offer you this assistance? Does not the holy Scripture teach you in a hundred places that it is your own fault if you be deprived
Recollect only the famous words of St. James, which were lately explained to you in this pulpit with the greatest clearness, and pressed home with the utmost pathos. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraid-yoke than that of Pharaoh, in a furnace more Slaves of sin! Captives under a heavier eth not, and it shall be given him." God gives cruel than that of Egypt! Behold your Delito all men liberally, to all without exception, verer! He comes to-day to break your bonds and they who are deprived of this wisdom and set you free. The assistance of grace is ought to blame none but themselves, not God, set before you. What am I saying? An who gives to all men liberally, and upbraids not. abundant measure is already communicated to True, to obtain it, we must ask with a de- you. Already you know your misery. Alsign to profit by it; we must ask it "nothing ready you are seeking relief from it. Avail wavering," that is, not divided between the yourselves of this. Ask for this succour, hope and the fear of obtaining it: we must not if it be refused you, ask again, and never be like those "double-minded men, who are unstable in all their ways," who seem by askcease asking till you have obtained it. ing wisdom to esteem virtue, but who discover by the abuse they make of that wisdom they have, that virtue is supremely hateful to them. We must not resemble the "waves of the sea" which seem to offer the spectator on a shore a treasure, but which presently drown him in gulfs from which he cannot possibly free himself. Did God set this wisdom before us at a price too high? Ought we to find fault with him for refusing to bestow it, while we refuse to apply it to that moral use which justice requires? Can we desire God to bestow his grace on such as ask for it only to insult him?
O! that we were properly affected with the greatness of our depravity, and the shame of our slavery! But our condition, all scandalous and horrible as it is, seems to us all full of charms.
When we are told that sin has subverted nature, infected the air, confounded in a man
ner cold with heat, heat with cold, wet with [SER. LXVII. dry, dry with wet, and disconcerted the beautiful order' of creation, which constituted the happiness of creatures; when we cast our eyes on the maladies caused by sin, the vicissitudes occasioned by it, the dominion of death over all creatures, which it has established; when we see ourselves stretched on a sick bed, cold, pale, dying, amidst sorrows and tears, fears and pains, waiting to be torn from a world we idolize; then we detest sin, and groan under the weight of its chains. Should that Spirit, who knocks to-day at the door of our hearts, say to us, open, sinner, I will restore nature to its beauty, the air shall be serene, and all the elereanimate your enfeebled frame, lengthen your ments in harmony, I will confirm your health, life, and banish for ever from your houses death, that death which stains all your rooms with blood: Ah! every heart would burn with ardour hearers would make these walls echo with, to possess this assistance, and every one of my Come, Holy Spirit, come and dry up our tears by putting an end to our maladies.
us from our natural dignity; that it has loaded But when we are told, that sin has degraded us with chains of depravity; that man, a creature formed on the model of the divine perfections, and required to receive no other laws than those of order, is become the sport of unworthy passions, which move him as they please, which say to him, go and he goeth, him at pleasure, we are not affected with come and he cometh, which debase and vilify these mortifying truths, but we glory in our shame!
*This remark indicates a generous temper in Saurin, to speak handsomely of his colleagues.
preaching are the most mortifying of religion, Recollect, that the truths we have been and the most proper to humble us. voluntarily, that we so often rebelled against It was God. Freely, alas! freely, and without compulsion we have, some of us, denied the truths of religion, and others given mortal wounds to the majesty of its laws. Ah! Are there any tears too bitter, is there any remorse too cutting, any cavern in the earth too deep, to expiate the guilt of such a frightful character!
ing are full of consolation. This part of my Remember, the truths we have been teachis connected with the other part, "but in me text, "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself," is thine help." God yet entreats us not to destroy ourselves. God has not yet given us up. He does not know, pardon this expression, he often engages us to turn away for ever from is a stranger to that point of honour, which those who have treated us with contempt. He, he himself, the great, the mighty God does not think it beneath him, not unworthy of his glorious majesty, yet to entreat us to return
to him and be happy. O "mercy," that Lord. I acknowledge my transgression, and reacheth to the heavens!" O "faithfulness, my sin is ever before me. Deliver me from eaching unto the clouds!" What consolations blood-guiltiness, O God, thou God of my sallow from you to a soul afraid of having ex-vation. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvanausted you! tion, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice." But as David gives us such proper models of penitential expressions of grief for our own sins, so he furnishes us with others as just for lamenting the sins of others. You have heard the text, "rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law." Read the psalm from which the text is taken, and you will find that our prophet shed three sorts of tears for the sins of others. The first were tears of zeal: the second flowed from love: the third from self-interest. This is a kind of penitence, which I propose to-day to your emulation.
Above all, think, think, my brethren, that the truth we have been preaching will become one of the most cruel torments of the damned. Devouring flame, kindled by divine vengeance in hell, I have no need of your light; smoke ascending up for ever and ever, I have no need to be struck with your blackness; chains of darkness that weigh down the damned, I have no need to know your weight, to enable me to form lamentable ideas of the punishments of the reprobate, the truth in my text is sufficient to make me conceive your horror. Being lost, it will be remembered that there was a time when destruction might have been prevented. One of you will recol- In the first place, I will describe the insults lect the education God gave you, another the which a sinner offers to God, and will endeasermon he addressed to you, third the sick-vour to show you, that it is impossible for a ness he sent to reform you: conscience will be good man to see his God affronted in this manobliged to do homage to an avenging God, it ner without being extremely grieved, and will be forced to allow, that the aid of the shedding tears of zeal. Spirit of God was mighty, the motives of the gospel powerful, and the duties of it practicable. It will be compelled to acquiesce in this terrible truth, "thou hast destroyed thyself." A condemned soul will incessantly be its own tormentor, and will continually say, I am the author of my own punishment, I might have been saved, I opened and entered this horrible gulf of myself.
Inculcate all these great truths, Christians, let them affect you, let them persuade you, let them compel you. God grant you the grace! To him be honour and glory for ever. Amen.
THE GRIEF OF THE RIGHTEOUS FOR
PSALM CXIX. 36.
Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.
FEW people are such novices in religion as not to know, that sinners ought not to be troubled for their own sins; but it is but here and there a man, who enters so much into the spirit of religion as to understand how far the sins of others ought to trouble us. David was a model of both these kinds of penitential grief.
Repentance for his own sins is immortalized in his penitential psalms: and would to God, instead of that fatal security, and that unmeaning levity, which most of us discover, even after we have grossly offended God, would to God, we had the sentiments of this penitent! His sin was always before him, and imbittered all the pleasures of life. You know the language of his grief. "Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak, my bones are vexed. Mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O VOL. II.-16
In the second place, I will enumerate the miseries, into which a sinner plunges himself by his obstinate perseverance in sin, and I will endeavour to convince you, that it is impossible for a good man to see this without shedding tears of pity and love.
In the third place, I shall show you, if I perceive your attention continue, the disorders which sinners cause in society, in our cities and families, and you will perceive, that it is impossible for a good man to see the prosperity of society every day endangered and damaged by its enemies without shedding tears of self
Almighty God, whose "tender mercies are over all thy works," but whose adorable Providence condemns us to wander in a valley of tears; O condescend, "to put our tears into thy bottle," and to gather us in due time to that happy society in which conformity to thy laws is the highest happiness and glory! Amen.
I. David shed over sinners of his time, tears of zeal. Thus he expresses himself in the psalm from which we have taken the text, 'My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words." But what is zeal? How many people, to exculpate themselves for not feeling this sacred flame, ridicule it as a phantom, the mark of an enthusiast? However, there is no disposition more real and sensible. The word zeal is vague and metaphorical, it signifies fire, heat, warmth, and applied to intelligent beings, it means the activity and vehemence of their desires, hence, in common style, it is attributed to all the passions indifferently, good and bad: but it is most commonly applied to religion, and there has two meanings, the one vague, the other precise.
In a vague sense, zeal is put less for a particular virtue, than for a general vigour and vivacity pervading all the powers of the soul of a zealous man. Zeal is opposed to lukewarmness, and lukewarmness is not a particular vice, but a dulness, an indolence that accompanies and enfeebles all the exercises of
the religion of a lukewarm man. On the contrary, zeal is a fire animating all the emotions of the piety of the man who has it, and giving them all the worth and weight of vehemence.
But as the most noble exercises of religion are such as have God for their object, and as the virtue of virtues, or, as Jesus Christ expresses it, "the first and great commandment" is that of divine love, zeal is particularly taken (and this is the precise meaning of the word,) for loving God, not for a love limited and moderate, such as that which we ought to have for creatures, even creatures the most worthy of esteem, but a love boundless and beyond moderation, so to speak, like that of glorified spirits to the Supreme Intelligence, whose perfections have no limits, whose beauties are infinite.
The idea thus fixed, it is easy to comprehend, that a soul animated with zeal, cannot see without the deepest sorrow, the insults of fered by sinners to his God. What object is it that kindles Aames of zeal in an ingenuous soul? It is the union of three attributes: an attribute of magnificence, an attribute of holiness, and an attribute of communication. This union can be found only in God, and for this reason God only is worthy of supreme love. Every being in whom any one of these three attributes is wanting, yea, any being in whom any degree is wanting, is not, cannot be an object of supreme love.
In vain would God possess attributes of charitable communication, if he did not possess attributes of magnificence. His attributes of communication would indeed inspire me with sentiments of gratitude: but what benefit should I derive from his inclination to make me happy, if he had not power sufficient to do so, and if he were not himself the happy God, that is, the origin, the source of all felicity, or, as an inspired writer speaks, "the parent of every good and every perfect gift?" James i. 17. In this case he would reach a feeble hand to help me, he would shed unavailing tears over my miseries, and I could not say to him, my supreme "good is to draw near to thee; whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee," Ps. lxxiii.
In vain would God possess attributes of holiness, if he did not possess attributes of communication. In this case he would indeed be an object of my admiration, but he could not be the ground of my hope. I should be struck with the contemplation of a virtue always pure, always firm, and always alike: but in regard to me, it would be only an abstract and metaphysical virtue, which could have no influence over my happiness. Follow this reasoning in regard to the other attributes, and you will perceive that nothing but a union of these three can render an object supremely lovely; and as this union can be found only in God, it is God only who can be the object of zeal, or, what is the same thing, expressed in other words, God alone is worthy of supreme love.
like his, with flames of divine zeal? Then you can finish the first part of my discourse, for you know by experience this disposition of mind, "my zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words. Rivers of waters run down mine eyes because they keep not thy law."
Sinners, I do not mean such as sin through infirmity and surprise, the text does not speak of them, I mean such as sin openly, freely, and deliberately, these sinners attack the perfections of God, either his attributes of magnificence, or those of holiness, or those of communication, and sometimes all three together. They endeavour to disconcert the beautiful harmony of the divine perfections, and so to rob us of all we adore, the only worthy object of our esteem.
As we make a progress in our meditation, and in proportion as we acquire a just notion of true zeal, we shall enter into the spirit and meaning of the words of our psalmist. Do you love God as he did? Does your heart burn
They attack the magnificence of God. Such are those madmen who employ all the depths of their erudition, all the acuteness of their genius, and all the fire of their fancy to obscure the eternity of the first cause, the infinity of his power, the infallibility of his wisdom, and every other perfection that makes a part of that complexure, or combination of excellences, which we call magnificence.— Such, again, are those abominable characters, who supply the want of genius with the depravity of their hearts, and the blasphemies of their mouths, and who, not being able to attack him with specious reasons and plausible sophisms, endeavour to stir up his subjects to rebel, defying his power, and trying whether it be possible to deprive him of the empire of the world.
Some sinners attack the attributes of holiness in the perfect God. Such are those detestable men, who presume to tax him with falsehood and deceit, who deny the truth of his promises, who accuse his laws of injustice, and his conduct of prevarication, who would persuade us, that the reins of the universe would be held much more wisely by their impure hands than by those of the judge of all the earth.
Some sinners attack the attributes of communication. Such, in the first instance, are those ungrateful persons, who, while they breathe only his air, and live only on his aliments, while only his earth bears, and only his sun illuminates them, while they neither live, nor move, nor have a being, but what they derive from him, while he opens to them the path to supreme happiness, I mean the road to faith and obedience, pretend that he is wanting in goodness, charge him with all the miseries into which they have the madness to plunge themselves, dare to accuse him with taking pleasure in tormenting his creatures, and in the sufferings of the unfortunate; who wish the goodness of the Supreme Being were regulated by their caprice, or rather by their madness, and will never consent to worship him as good, except he allows them with impunity to gratify their most absurd and guilty passions.
Observe too, people may be profane by ac tion as well as by system and reasoning. If sinners attack the attributes of God directly, it is equally true, they make an indirect attack upon the same perfections.
Here I wish, my brethren, each of us had accustomed himself to derive his morality from evangelical sources, to hear the language of inspired writers, and to judge of his own actions, not by such flattering portraits as his own prejudices produce, but by the essential properties of morality as it is described in the word of God.
For example, what is a man who coolly puts himself under the protection of another man without taking any thought about the guardianship of God? He is a profane wretch, who declares war against God, and attacks his attributes of magnificence by attributing more power to the patron, under whose wing he creeps and thinks himself secure, than to that God who takes the title of King of kings. What I say of confidence in a king, I affirm of confidence in all other creatures, whoever or whatever they be. On this principle the psalmist grounded this exhortation, put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth, in that very day his thoughts perish." On this principle is this other declaration of a prophet founded, "cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm." And it is on this principle that sacred history imputes so great a crime to Asa, because when he fell sick, and saw himself reduced to extremity, "he sought to the physicians, and not to the Lord."
What is a man who gives up his heart to idolize any particular object? What is a man who follows certain sympathies, a certain secret influence, certain charms omnipotent to him, because he chooses to yield to their omnipotence? He is a profane wretch, who declares war against God, and who attacks his attributes of communication; he is a man, who attests by his conduct that there is more pleasure in his union to his idol than there can be in communion with God; he is a man, who maintains by his actions that this creature to whom he gives himself up without reserve, merits more love, and knows how to return love with more delicacy and constancy than that God, who is the only model of perfect love; he is a man who resists this invitation of eternal wisdom, "my son, give me thine heart," and who disputes a truth, that ought to be considered as a first principle in a system of love, "in thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore," Ps. xvi. 11.
Let us abridge this part of our discourse, and let us return to the chief end proposed. A sinner, who sins openly, freely, of set purpose, attacks the attributes of God, either his attributes of greatness, or his attributes of communication, or his attributes of holiness, sometimes all the three together. A good man, who sincerely loves God, can he look with indifference on such insults offered to the object of his love? And in which of the saints whom the inspired writers have proposed as examples to you, have you discovered this guilty indifference?
feast in honour of their idol, and he replies to Joshua, who thought it was a war shout, "Ah! no, it is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome, but the noise of them that sing do I hear," Exod. xxxii. 18. Convinced by his own eyes, he trembles at the sight, breaks the tables of the law, on which God had engraven with his own adorable hand the clauses of the covenant which this people were now violating, he runs to the "gate of the camp," and cries, "who is on the Lord's side? Let him come unto me!" And when "all the sons of Levi gathered themselves unto him, he said unto them, put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate, throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour," ver. 26, 27. See Phinehas. He perceives Moses and Aaron
weeping at the door of the tabernacle," because the people had forsaken the worship of God, and gone over to that of Baal-peor; touched with their grief he "rises up," quits the congregation, "takes a javelin in his hand" and stabs an Israelite (with the immodest Midianite,) who had enticed the people, into this abominable idolatry. Behold Elijah. "I am very jealous," says he, "for the Lord God of hosts, for the children of Israel have forsaken his covenant, thrown down his altars, and slain his prophets with the sword," 1 Kings xix. 10. Remark St. Paul. "His spirit was stirred in him, to see a nation, in other respects the most learned and polite, rendering to "an unknown God" such homage as was due to none but the Most High, whose "glory the Heavens declare, and whose handy work the firmament showeth." Behold the royal prophet, "Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? And am I not grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred, I count them mine enemies," Ps. cxxxix. 21, 22. "My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words. Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law." "Rivers of tears," tears of which my zeal for thy glory is the first cause.
II. Although the sinner be hateful as a sinner, yet as an unhappy person he is an object of pity, and it is possible he may preclude future ills by repentance. As to love God with all the heart is the first and great commandment, so "the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Sin is a source of misery to a sinner, and it is impossible for a good man to see, without shedding tears of love and pity, the depths of wo into which people united to him by bonds of affection plunge themselves by their obstinacy in sin.
Every thing favours this subject. In regard to the present life, a man living according to laws of virtue is incomparably more happy than he who gives himself up to vice. So the Holy Spirit has declared, "godliness hath promise of the life that now is," 1 Tim. iv. 8. Though this general rule has some exceptions, yet they cannot regard the serenity of mind, the peace of conscience, the calm of the passions, the confidence of good men, their steadiness in the calamities of life, and their intrepidity at the approach of death. All these
Behold Moses! He comes down from the holy mountain, he hears the acclamations of those madmen who were celebrating a foolish