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the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment, discovers to their minds the exceeding sinfulness of despising and rejecting the Lord Jesus. It is no uncommon thing for persons to feel greatly distressed in view of this one particular sin. Their convictions are sometimes very powerful and overwhelming, but for nothing so much as for the contempt they have cast upon Christ and his Gospel.
I once knew a heathen youth from the Sandwich Islands: the providence of God brought him to a Christian land, there made him the subject of his grace, and he died in the triumphs of faith. He had been about two years in that Christian country, when God was pleased to open his eyes to his condition as a sinner, and he felt as though he was lost. One day he was found alone, and in tears; and being asked why he wept, he said, “ Because I have been so long in a Christian land and never accepted Jesus Christ.” If this poor heathen youth, dear hearers, with a mind just emerging from the midnight of pagan darkness, was overwhelmed with the thought that he had lived two short years
in rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ, what think you may be the reflections of the man born in a Christian land, whose mind has powerfully resisted the Holy Ghost, with the thought that he has been doing nothing but rejecting the Saviour all his days. Ah! believe me, the convinced and awakened sinner feels the burden of his sins. He cannot thrust the painful thought from his mind; his soul is held in intense, in anxious contemplation of his exceeding vileness ; he sees in a light which he never saw before, that in this long-continued and obstinate unbelief, he has sinned as he never supposed it possible for man to sin. Is it wonderful that he should be thrown into some anxiety? Is it wonderful that he should see, and feel, and fear? The spirit of a man may sustain his infirmity; but when that spirit itself is wounded, who can endure the burden? Sometimes you may see him with a mind tenderly and pensively affected, and sometimes inexpressibly burdened and distressed, torn with agony, almost, for a time, driven to despair. The world wonder, and impute this to enthusiasm, and, peradventure, to madness : but the madness is theirs who are never moved from their indifference by the reflection that they have sinned against God, and rejected the Son of his love. O! men are thoughtless beyond conception; they are stupid as the brutes that perish: madness is in their hearts who have no anxiety, no anxious misgiving, no distress of soul, at the thought of having rejected God's only Son.
I remark again : in view of this subject, we see the rectitude and the excel. lency of the Divine government in the future destruction of unbelievers. The consequence of rejecting Christ, if the Bible be true, is, future and eternal death : and speaking of the nature and sinfulness of unbelief, it would be treason to the commission I hold, not to develop this truth before you. “ Go into all the world,” says our divine Lord, “ and preach the Gospel to every creature: he that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned.” Jesus Christ supposes that all those who live under the Gospel deserve to perish for not believing the Gospel. Fearful and eternal as the death will be, yet it is deserved : there will be no intermission, no alleviation, no light, no hope, in that world of darkness and complete despair; yet it is all deserved. There is an inseparable connexion between sin and its desert. If every sin deserves punishment, and must ever deserve it, most certainly this
greatest of all sins must deserve it. Unbelievers must suffer from age to age from one revolving cycle of time to another; and the suffering cannot exhaust the evil or the penalty of their unbelief. And there is rectitude, dear bearers, there is moral excellence in the justice, the holy justice that condemns them. No dark cioud will rest on the divine government-no blemish will rest on the divine character, when unbelievers go away into everlasting punishment. As the Supreme of the universe, God will be worthy of the admiration and praise of all his subjects for thus supporting his wise and holy government, and promoting the security, order, and happiness of his holy empire. Dear hearers, suffer me to unbosom iny heart to you. If any of
you (God forbid that any of you should !) if
should die in unbelief, and go down from this baptismal altar and the voice that utters to you the admonitions of love, and from this sanctuary, into the world of despair, it will be right in God that you perish ; it would be wrong if you were to be saved : it will be right for the holy God to make you for ever the monument of his displeasure. I know we are all guilty men; and it would be perfectly just in God, so far as our own desert is concerned, to banish us all, believers and unbelievers, when personal merit is the only question, down to hell : and most unquestionably, if any persist in rejecting the Saviour—persist till they die-0, it yill stand forth before the universe (and God means it shall stand forth) as a most bright and glorious exhibition of the divine rectitude, to refuse you the light you reject, and to inflict upon you the death you choose. And—God forbid that the dreadful hypothesis should ever be realized !—when any of you go down to hell, my dear hearers, in my soul I believe right well, that the holy inhabitants of all worlds
“ True and righteous are thy judgments, O Lord !" When men from Britain sink to eternal burnings, what expressions of the divine justice will go through the universe! O, you know not the privileges you enjoy. You breathe an atmosphere of light and love, every where enveloped with the mercy of the redeeming Saviour. As nothing is more certain than that you will be destroyed if you reject the Gospel, so nothing will be more just : and whoever among you shall feel the weight of this dreadful judgment, shall also feel there is nothing to extenuate, but every thing to aggravate your ill deserts, and vindicate the offended Judge in inflicting sentence at last. 0, dear hearers, believe me, it will be “a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God !" When your calamity comes, he will laugh at it; and angels will say, Amen ; and saints will unite in the hallelujahs, when the smoke of your torment goes up for ever and ever!
I have only one point to add with great brevity: this subject solemnly and affectionately urges impenitent and unbelieving men to repent and believe the Gospel. Many hear of it; and many a long year, beloved hearers, have you heard of Christ and his salvation : they have been exhibited to the eye of your understanding; they have been enforced on your consciences; they have made their loudest and most affecting appeals to your heart. Had you heard of them but once, you would have been laid under an inviolable obligation to accept these great and precious promises, and have been left without excuse for being this day aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenant of promise. But reflect, I beseech you, how often, and for how long a period some of you, peradventure, have rejected the Gospel. The Saviour has called,
and you have refused; he has stretched out his hands, and you have not regarded. Divine forbearance has pitied you, and waited with unwearied longsurfering that you might accept his pardoning mercy; and waits still. Parents, ministers, and conscience, with her still small, but powerful voice, have united their instructions and counsels with all tenderness and fidelity. Ah, what anguish, what bitter anguish of heart become men who have so long heard and rejected the great salvation ! O that you could be persuaded to repent and believe the Gospel now. Now the divine clemency waits ; now, peradventure, the Spirit of grace descends ; now the Saviour knocks at the door of that flinty heart; now the voice of heaven, kindly melting as the love of Calvary proclaims, “ Repent, and believe the Gospel.” O, the unutterable anguish of that day when you are called to account at the bar of God for rejecting the blessed Saviour! What a day! What an account! It will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in that day than for you. It will be more tolerable for Chorazin and Bethsaida in that day than for you.
Dear hearers, whom I shall never see again till I see you at the bar of God, what shall I say? 0, better never to have known the Gospel than to meet such
I a doom; better never to have been boru than meet such a doom! Any thing rather than this. Better, rather, ten thousand times, have died a pagan-better hare fallen with Lucifer-better have been burnt with Sodom-better have sunk with Babylon, than have lived and died rejecting the Saviour,
GOD THE BESTOWER OF ALL GOOD GIFTS.
REV. H. STOWELL, A.M.
ST. MARY'S CHURCH, ISLINGTON, MAY 10, 1835.
"But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after
this sort ? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.”—1 CHRON. XXIX. 14.
The scene which these words introduce to our notice, is one of the most affecting and interesting that can well occupy our attention. They lead our thoughts to that venerable monarch of Israel, the son of Jesse, the sweet singer of Sion, now grown grey in the service of God; yet in his breast the fire of zeal for his divine Master burns brighter and clearer amidst the visitations of judgment. Though himself disallowed by God, because his hands were stained with blood, from building the temple for the Lord of Hosts; yet his heart longed at least to have some share in raising the blessed structure ; and, seeing he could not himself be allowed to erect it, he would provide, ere he left this world, materials for its erection. He himself offered with all his might willingly to the Lord, to an extent and an amount which is perfectly astonishing; and then asked, “Who then is willing” (addressing the rulers and the hundreds of Israel)—“ Who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?” In answer to the monarch's prayer, God was pleased to pour down 80 abundantly the spirit of love and liberality on the assembled multitude, that they gathered together a mighty store of gold, and silver, and brass, and iron, and precious stones. It would appear that at the time the words I have read to you were uttered, the monarch stood surrounded with his people, and before him the mighty accumulation of their free-will offerings : and then it was that his aged heart leaped within him for joy, and he took up the beautiful words that are before us, breaking forth in simple ascription of all the praise, and all the glory, to Him to whom alone they belong: and he said, “ Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel, our Father, for ever and ever. T'hine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven, and in the earth, is thine: thine is the kingdomn, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all ; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort ? for all things some of thee, and of thine own have we given thee."
• On behalf of the Free Church, now erecting in the parish.
These interesting words, my Christian hearers, so appropriate to the object that bespeaks our special regard this morning, will lead me, in the first place, to observe that the disposition and the ability to give to God are alike from himself: in the next place, that the disposition to give calls for profounder gratitude than even the ability to give: and, in the last place, that the ability and the disposition to give to God are never more nobly exerted than when exerted in erecting temples to the glory of his name. May his heavenly Spirit give efficacy to his own living Word !
THE ABILITY AND THE DISPOSITION TO GIVE TO GOD COMB ALIKB
That our ability to give to God comes from himself, might seem a position too obvious to need illustration : but however we may admit it in theory, we are continually tempted to deny it in fact; and if we examine our own breasts, we shall find that we are continually prone to this act of ungodliness, this atheistical act of assuming to ourselves, appropriating to ourselves, and ascribing to ourselves, what simply and solely belongs to Almighty God. If we admit the position that we came from him; that he made us, and not we ourselves ; that we are his creatures; that he formed us by his power, and fashioned us by his wisdom; that our body is curiously and wonderfully wrought by his workmanship; and that our minds and all its mysterious faculties are his inspiration; then that simple position necessarily involves our complete dependence on the bounty of the Creator. For what have we in the powers of our body, or in the faculties of our mind, that have not come from God? And if they came from God, then to God they belong: no tie can be more indefeasible, no tie can be more perpetual, than the tie that attaches the creature to the Creator; which will last as long as the Creator lasts, and which never will cease to exist: therefore, my brethren, we are the Lord's, whether we believe it or deny it.
But the ability to give comes still more from him, when we remember that he has not given (if indeed he could give) to us, or any other creature, independent existence. There can be but one independent being, as there can be but one uncaused being: and that one being must be the cause of all other beings: and that independent being must be the sustentation of all the beings he creates. So that, as truly as that we derived our existence from God, so truly we continue our existence in God. In him we live, and move, and have our being. We cannot lift an arm, or draw a breath, or tell a pulse, or think a thought, but as we are enabled, actuated, maintained in the use of our powers, and in our existence, by the same omnipotence that called us out of nothing.
Would you have this truth more simply illustrated ? I might take you in fancy to that melancholy asylum for ruined minds within no great distance from this house of prayer: I might take you through its desolate and gloomy cells; I night point you to minds in ruins, that were once more vigorous, perhaps, more clear, and more in all their activity, than yours at the present moment. Why are those minds demolished, while yours continue in their vigour and healthfulness ? Who hath made you to differ? I could take you te the graves around the walls of this house of prayer : I might point out to you many who inight have been now as strong and as active as you; but their spirits