« AnteriorContinuar »
our eyes; and to write them on the posts of our "houses, and on our gates." This can imply nothing less than an open profession that we are the worshippers of God, and the disciples of Christ; that we believe the scriptures, embrace the gospel, and make the commandments of the Lord the rule of our conduct. These things should be clearly understood by our friends and connexions, that when they enter our houses they may say, God is worshipped in this family;' that they may be restrained from evil in our presence by the consideration of our character and profession, and be prepared to hear from us such pious reflections as may occur in the course of con
We shall rejoice at the last day to have our faith and piety made known before the assembled world: what then can induce us to conceal them at present, but fear of ridicule or reproach? We should recollect that an intrepid profession of the truth, without ambiguity or prevarication, is expressly required by the Lord Jesus from all his disciples; that this is one grand means of promoting his cause in the world; that the scorn, to which it may expose us, is a clear demonstration of the great contempt in which the divine Saviour is held, even among his professed disciples; and that this is evidently a cross to be borne for his sake, "who "bare our sins in his own body on the tree." Let us then,
III. Consider the reasonableness of such a conduct.
Should a liberal and honoured benefactor ear
nestly demand our attention to a message he had sent us; we should doubtless examine it with studious accuracy, and explicitly comply with his desires. Should a friend bequeath us a legacy, we should not be wanting in examining the favourable clause of his testament, and availing ourselves to the utmost of his kind remembrance. But the message of God, in all respects, is far more entitled to our strictest regard. He who made us, and against whom we all have sinned, condescends to teach us how we may escape eternal misery and obtain eternal happiness! Is it not then most reasonable, that we should diligently observe his instructions, and recommend them with our whole influence? The world is against us; the broad road to destruction is thronged; false religion unites with impiety in rendering our situation most perilous; God himself condescends to guide us in the safe and happy path; and shall we reject his counsels? Our own hearts are deceitful; the powers of darkness unwearied in their subtle efforts to delude us and shall we not use every means of escaping their wiles, and warning others to elude their devices? New forms of delusion start up every day; shall we not then bestow pains to distinguish the truths of revelation from "damn"able heresies?" Surely it is most reasonable, both to study the scriptures, and to pray without ceasing for the teaching of the holy Spirit; that we may be "kept from the ways of the destroyer," established in the pure principles of Christianity, preserved from innumerable dangers, find unfailing resources of support and comfort in trying cir
cumstances, be rendered useful in our respective stations, meet death with joyful hope, and leave the world in full assurance of everlasting felicity.
The knowledge and wisdom, which may be derived from a careful investigation of the scriptures, will be found of the utmost importance, even in conducting our temporal concerns. We shall thus learn the best discretion in estimating characters, and judging of men's pretensions and professions; be directed how to act even in respect of their prejudices and mistakes: and learn to accommodate ourselves to varying circumstances, without countenancing evil by improper compliances, or preventing our own success by violent opposition, where gentleness might have obviated the difficulty. But the subject is too copious to be fully discussed on this occasion. It must suffice to observe, that the advantages of earnest diligence in the grand concerns of our holy religion far more than counter-balance the self-denial that it requires. For what is it, but bestowing pains to be happy and useful? to live and die in comfort? and to use proper means of rendering our children and relatives happy? that they too may "their generation according to the will of God," leave the world with joyful hope, and meet us in heaven. And are not these objects well deserving of our utmost diligence and unwearied attention?
Let me then conclude with the observation which introduced the subject: If religion be any thing it is every thing.' It must be our business in this world, if we would enjoy a warranted hope of felicity in the world to come: yea, it must be our element here, in order to a "meetness for the
"inheritance of the saints in light." Every man's own conscience must decide, how far this is his character and experience; and every one must be left to apply the subject to his own case, for conviction, admonition, or encouragement. And may the Lord himself enable us to attend to these things, according to their immense and eternal importance; and teach us so to "number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wis"dom." Amen.
ISAIAH. VI. 5-8.
Then said I, Wo is me, for I am undone! because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.-Then flew one of the Seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar; and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo this hath touched thy lips, and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I, send me.
WHEN Isaiah had already been employed a considerable time in the prophetical office, he was greatly disconcerted by a remarkable vision, which he records in the chapter before us. We ought not to imagine that things outwardly exist, as they appeared to the minds of the prophets, when their senses were closed during the visions of the Almighty; but that they were impressed with such representations, as were suited to convey the intended instruction. The scene of the present emblematic discoveries was laid at the temple; every intervening veil was apparently removed; the most holy place was made manifest; and JEHOVAH was seen in glory above the mercy-seat, as