صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

one thing is needful.-It is hearing the Saviour's words, it is an attention to the soul, it is-religion. What! is nothing else necessary ?-Yes; many things ;-but compared with this, they are less than nothing and vanity. Other things are accidentally needful....this is essentially so. Other things are occasionally needful.... this is invariably so. Other things are needful in particular respects....this is universally so....needful for prosperity and adversity; needful for the body and the soul; needful for time and eternity. Some things are needful for some individuals, but not for others: but this is needful for all, needful for kings and subjects; needful for rich and poor; needful for old and young. If, indeed, we judge of it by the people of the world, we shall not think so when we look around us. The many seem to be prizing and pursuing every thing in preference to this: instead of viewing it as essential to man, they seem only to regard it as a circumstance of his being and his welfare, which may safely be dispensed with. But let us take the testimony of God. What saith the scripture ? "Wisdom is the principal "thing: therefore get wisdom: and with all thy get"ting get understanding. Let us hear the conclusion "of the whole matter: fear God, and keep his com"mandments; for this is the whole duty of man.". Yes, says the Saviour, one thing is needful. Hence we find David and Paul reducing every concern into one. ONE "thing have I desired of the Lord, that "will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of "the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beau"ty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. This "ONE thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are "before.'

[ocr errors]

Finally, it is worthy of our remark, that real godliness is not only a necessary, but a durable acquisition. Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be "taken away from her." Permanency adds bliss to

[ocr errors]

Some things are not worth preservation; but an

invaluable treasure, a thing absolutely needful, will awaken all our concern, and we shall be anxious, not only to possess it, but also to retain it.

And what a difference is there in this view, between religion, and other advantages. Nothing that we here possess can be called our own. What we acquire with so much difficulty, it is impossible to secure. If we choose honors, riches, pleasures, friendships, they will be sure to fail us, and to fail us often when we most need their aid. But the blessings we derive from godliness, are our own for ever. They are not liable to those numberless accidents which so easily deprive us of earthly possessions. No violence, no fraud, can rob us of them our joy no man taketh from us: our treasure, moth and rust cannot corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal. Even the desolations of death which strip us of every thing else, cannot touch the believers's portion : he can carry all his goods along with him into another world, where they will be for ever increasing. It is "an inheritance incorruptible and un"defiled, that fadeth not away. What fruit had ye "then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? "for the end of those things is death; but now being "made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye "have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlast"ing life."

Surely religion is wisdom-and wisdom is justified of all her children.

This review should therefore more than satisfy those, who, like Mary, have chosen this good part. Your choice will bear re-consideration. The more you examine it, the more worthy of all your regard will it appear. Be not ashamed to own it. Let religion be your boast, as well as your comfort. What is there to excite a blush? What in importance and continuance are the pursuits and acquisitions of the most admired of your fellow creatures, compared with your's?

It should also influence those who have not made it. And O! that I could induce you to decide, and to de

[blocks in formation]

cide this evening. I say this evening, because you are not sure of another season. I say this evening, because every delay adds to the difficulty of your choice. I say this evening, because there is nothing so urgent: nothing that can equally claim, or reward your attention.

Should you be induced to neglect this great salvation, what will be your reflections in a dying hour, and before the bar of God? What will you think in endless misery of those follies and vanities for which you sacrificed eternal life?" What is a man profited if he gain the "whole world, and lose his own soul; or what shall a *man give in exchange for his soul ?"

He who approved and applauded Mary's choice, is here this evening to witness your's. He sees you, he hears you he is waiting to be gracious and exalted, to have mercy upon you. You must sit at his feet as a disciple, or be made his footstool as an enemy. What is the choice you intend to make?" I call heaven and "earth to record this day against you, that I have set "before you life and death, blessing and cursing: there"fore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may "live."



Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone. Hos. iv. 17. NOTHING

seems so absurd as idolatry. How surprising is it that a man should make a figure with his own hands, and then fall down and adore it? How wonderful is it that a being endued with reason, should worship reptiles, and even vegetables! Nevertheless this was the case for ages. "They changed the glory "of the incorruptible God, into an image made like to "corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, "and creeping things they changed the truth of God "into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature "more than the Creator who is blessed for ever."

Let us rejoice that the darkness is past, and that the true light now shineth. It is our privilege to live in a land of vision; where we are informed of a Being who made all things by the word of his power; possesses unbounded excellencies; and deserves our supreme devotion. We know God; but alas! we do not glorify him as God. Why every unregenerate sinner is a little pagan world in himself: he has his gods, his temples, his altars, his sacrifices. And as the Jews of old were more criminal in their idolatry than the heathens, because they were favored with a revelation of the only living and true God-so it is with those who call themselves christians: their sin is increased by the means they possess of knowing and serving him.

What would you prove christians to be idolaters!Why not?What is idolatry? Is it not the transfer

ring to the creature, the homage due to the Creator? If therefore we love or fear any thing more than God; if we make it our portion and depend upon it for happiness, we are chargeable with idolatry.

What do you think of the man who is more ambitious to obtain the applause of dying worms, than the honor that cometh from God only?-He is an idolater.

What do you think of the man who devotes himself to the lower gratifications of sense, or the more refined dissipations of fashion, and loves pleasure more than God? -he is an idolater.

What do you think of the man whose thoughts and affections daily encircle the throne of mammon: whose earth-born soul cannot pass by a particle of shining dust without kneeling and praying; who to acquire it, rises, and grinds the faces of the poor, and transgresses the laws of God; whose highest aim, and whose only business is to amass his thousands? Why such a man, to use the words of Job, "says to gold, thou art my hope, ❝and to fine gold, thou art my confidence. His wealth, says Solomon, is his strong city, and a high wall in his "own council. He trusts, says the apostle, in uncertain "riches." The covetous man therefore is expressly called an idolater, and stands in this book excluded from the kingdom of God.


Nations who depend for their protection and prosperity upon navies, armies, commerce, and forget God; they are idolaters. And families are idolaters who suspend their subsistence and welfare upon one individual, and suppose that if he were removed, their eye could no more see good.

All this is trusting in man, and making flesh our arm; and in proportion as we do this, the heart departeth from the Lord. And this is the essence of man's apostacy; something besides God has his admiration and attachment, his hope and dependence-and whatever this be, whether an image or an angel, it is in the language of scripture, an idol.

Men may pretend to regard God and to adore their

« السابقةمتابعة »