صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

SERMON CXII.

PROSPEROUS JOURNEY.

ROMANS i. 10.

prosperous journey, by the will of God.

Many of those who have been accustomed to worship with us in this place, have left us for a season; many of you will shortly follow them. It will not be useless, before your departure, to show you what should be your aim, what your sentiments, and conduct, in order that your journey may tend to your spiritual good and everlasting welfare. For this purpose I have read to you

the words which the apostle Paul addressed to the Romans, when he expressed his desire to visit them.

My sole design in addressing you from them is to inquire,

What is necessary to render a journey, or a voyage, prosperous in the estimation of a real Christian?

Is he satisfied if by it bis temporal interests are advanced, if he enjoys worldly amusement and pleasure, if he meets with kind friends and affectionate relatives, if he be preserved from calamity, and return home with invigorated health? These are blessings which require his grateful acknowledg.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

ments to God. Feeling his unworthiness of them, he ought for their conferment to pour forth the tribute of thankfulness and praise to the Most Merciful. With these he ought to be contented, if this world were his home, or if he were preserved in life solely for the purpose of enjoying the blessings of earth. But when he remembers that heaven is his true country; that every hour as it passes shortens his journey through life; that religion is his great business, and that he is continued upon earth to glorify God, to save his own soul, and to benefit others: when he considers these things, he must feel that much more is necessary to render a journey or a voyage prosperous; and that it deserves not this title, unless it tend,

I. To give us more affecting and admiring views of the attributes of the great Creator, as displayed in his works which we behold.

II. Unless it give us a more deep and grateful sense of the goodness and care of that Providence on which we depend, and a more comprehensive survey of the general dispensations of Providence. III. Unless it deepen our conviction of the uniformity and value of real religion.

IV. Unless during it we embrace opportunities of acquiring or of doing good.

V. Unless during it we remember that our whole life is a journey, which is hastening to its close, and that we are only pilgrims and strangers upon the earth.

Where these circumstances unite, we make a prosperous journey," or voyage, "by the will of God."

I. We should seek more affecting and admiring

66

views of the attributes of the great Creator, as dis. played in his works.

In the scenes of nature, God has spread before us a brilliant and expressive picture of many of his perfections: he has endowed us with sublime faculties capable of reflecting on his works, of admiring their order and beauty, their harmony and proportion, and thus rising from nature up to nature's

5 God.” Yet how few are thus affected by creation! How few love to trace in it those perfections of the All-Wise, the Almighty, the All-Merciful, that are so strikingly impressed, that they may be visible to every eye, and obvious to every understanding. When our minds are employed upon the works of nature, it is generally only to make them subservient to our worldly interest, or to administer to our earthly gratification; and not to warm our hearts by the contemplation of that infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, which appear in the formation of them. If such conduct at all times is inexcusable and ungrateful, it is doubly so in our journeys and our voyages, in which the works of God are presented to us in such rapid succession; in which, occurring in such variety and number, they crowd in upon our sight, and solicit our observation. Christians! avoid this insensibitity; every where behold around

you the marks and tokens of your God. When on the ocean, the bounds of which you in vain attempt to discover, think of the greatness of him who “ ruleth the raging of the sea, and when the waves thereof arise, stilleth them;" who “ brake up for it his decreed place, and set bars, and said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.” When you view its numberless

inhabitants, and observe how the several species are distinguished from each other, and what diversity in the whole; how admirably their natures are contrived and adjusted to the elements in which they are placed, and what never-failing provision is made for their subsistence and preservation, cry, with the holy Psalmist," O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all; the earth is full of thy riches, so is this great and wide sea." When you raise your eyes to the heavens, and behold those vast and magnificent orbs which shine above us with so much lustre, and roll over our heads with so much order and regularity; let it not be with stupid insensibility; let it not be merely with a desire philosophically to mark their orbits, to measure their distances, and to know their proportion, but with the feelings of David when he exclaimed, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy-work." In travelling upon the land, let every thing, in like manner, lead you to the great Creator. While admiring the varied landscape, forget not its Author: behold him both in the vast and in the minute; see the footsteps of your God, not only in the towering mountain and the roaring cataract, but also in each spire of grass, and every lily of the field. Acknowledge him painting the leaf of the minutest flower, and giving lustre to the smallest insect's wing. Happy he, who thus every where discerns his God! he can call the objects of earth," the varied scenery, all his own."

"His are the mountains, and the valleys his,
And the resplendent rivers. His to enjoy
With a propriety that none can feel :
But who, with filial confidence inspired,

Can lift to heaven an unpresumptuous eye,
And smiling say, 'My Father made them all!'
Are they not his by a peculiar right,
And by an emphasis of interest his,
Whose eye they fill with tears of holy joy,
Whose heart with praise, and whose exalted mind
With worthy thoughts of that unwearied love,
That plann'd, and built, and still upholds a world,
So clothed with beauty for rebellious man ?"

But if in “ a prosperous journey," a Christian has his heart warmed by the contemplation of the works of his God, so also,

II. Does he acquire a more deep and grateful sense of the goodness and care of that Providence, on which we depend.

Though in God “ we live, and move, and have our being,” though we could not enjoy the smallest degree of felicity, or exist for a single moment without his constant support, yet the majority of mankind think but little of this guardian providence. Attend. ing only to those second causes which have been ap pointed by our heavenly Father for the promotion of our happiness or the preservation of our lives, they scarcely ever raise their thoughts to the great First Cause of all. And even Christians, when nothing occurs to interrupt the regular and uniform course of their lives, are too apt to forget, or to feel too feebly this, their dependence; but surely in our journeys and our voyages, unless we are utterly destitute of piety, we must, from the consideration of the seen and unseen dangers to which we are exposed, feel that we need each moment to be encompassed by the guardian care, and shielded by the power of God.

« السابقةمتابعة »