Imágenes de páginas

He will point the dejected penitent to the parables of the lost sheep, and of the prodigal son, and will ask him whether the joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth," and the compagsion of the father of the prodigal, when he “ saw him a grcat way off, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him," do not slow the unspeakable love of God.

The sufficiency of the death and intercession of the Saviour is, also, a topic calculated to relieve this particular case.

What can exceed the merits of our Incarnate Lord? What surpass the virtue of His sacrilice? Who can condemn those whom he justifies? Is he not God as well as man? Is not Ilis death a “propitiation for the sins of the whole world ?" Did he not die the just for thc unjust?' Was not the law fulfilled by Him, the moral government of God iionored, justice appeased, truth satisfied, and the demands of holiness answered? Is not Christ now in heaven as our Intercessor; and “can He not save to the uttermost, all that come un'o God by him?" Shall a man presume to say, that his sins in particular, are too great to be expiated by the blood of the Redeemer? Docs not this savor more of self-importance than humility?

The free and unlimited invitation to sinners, to approach this adorable Saviour, is likewise an appropriate mcans of relief here. “ Whosocver will, let him come.” “Jesus stood and cried, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” 6 Come unto me all ye that are wcary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 6. Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” Let the dejected inquirer listen to these accents of mercy. Let him acknowledge the misery and disappointment which attend bis efforts to become really holy on his present plan. Let him venture confidently on the grace of Christ. A free and full salvation through the sacrifice of the cross, is offered to him. He is a miserably weak and wretched being: for such a fallen crcature to purchase heaven, or to change his own heart, or practice the duties of Christianity of himself, is impossible. He can do nothing that is free from sin, even although deliverance from ctcrnal ruin were to be the consequence. Let him, then, with bis anxious and horror-struck mind, cast himself at the foot of his Saviour, for free justification and effectual help, humbly imploring the Divine Spirit to give him the peace and consolation arising from a sense of the pardon of his sins by the death of Christ, and the strength to obey bin in newness of life.

But in the case of dejection of mind arising from some course of sin, which has been secretiy or openly committed, the minister of God's word must adopt another method. The grace and privileges of the Gospel are not the right topics to be employed, at least in the first instance. The conscience must, rather, be awakened to do its office. The whole state of the heart and conduct must be searched into; for the only effcctual remedy that can be applied, under the Divine blessing, in such a case, is to eradicale the cause of the mischief. If prayer in sccret has been neglected; if habits unfavorable to growth in religion have been indulged; if a lax and remiss walk with God has been admitted; if lust, or covetousness, or pride, or pleasure, or wrath, or intemperance, or sclishness, have gradually got possession of our hearts, the advice to be givea is obvious. We must renounce our sins, or our religion. Any one habitual transgression wilfully committed, must exclude us from heaven. “ Let no man deceive

you with vain words, for because of such things the wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedicnce.” “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, bis scrvants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto rightcousness?" True, the passion or the practice which you indulge, may be dear to you as a right hand, or a right eye—but dcar as it is, you must renounce it, or perish. To persist in it, to excuse it, to hide it, will only aggravate your iransgression. Your depression will increase, and so it ought. Your very conversion to God must become a question, and perhaps is even now questionable; and it certainly can only be resolved by your humbly returning to a holy, consistent, watchful obcdicncc. Beg of God, then, to give you his Holy Spirit; and begin at once this necessary duly. Be seriously attentive to all the means of grace. Set apart a portion of time, if possible, for fasting and prayer. It is one degree of cffort which will preserve a man from falling into a pit; but an effort much more powerful is necessary to raise him out of a pit when he is oncc fallen. Extraordinary care, and study, and diligence are necdful for you. But if you employ them in bumility and faith, with penitence and prayer, you need not despair; God will help you. Though you have so far departed from him, "yet return now unto him and he will heal your backslidings.” “Repent and do your first works." Thus will the privileges and mercics of the Gospel be once more yours, and God will “ restore to you the joys of his salvation."

Should, however, long continued afflictions bc thc principal cause of depression of mind, the Christian minister will, with the Psalmist, endeavor to take off the sufferer's view from his own particular calamities, and direct it to God's general dealings with his servants. In the text, the Inspired writer resolves to “ remember the years of the right hand of the Host High," apparently as the best method of healing the distemper of his mind. He accordingly first recounts God's ancient dealings with his church. He then breaks out into a celebration of Ilis holiness and glory

-“ Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary;" “ who is so great a God as our God?” He next commemorates the works of God in the deliverance of his people from Egypt, when he “ redeemed them by his own arın,” when the waters saw Him and they were afraid, the depths also were troubled;" when the descending storm, and the fearful lightnings, and carthquakes joined in discomfiting the enemy—“The clouds poured out water, the skies sent out a sound; thinc arrows went abroad; the voice of thy thunder was in the heavens, the lightnings lightened the world, the carth trembled and shook.” Ile thence concludes that God's ways are unscarchable, and that he has purposes of mercy in vicw, cven in the most trying, and apparently discouraging dispensations, with which his servants are visited—“ Thy way is in the sca, and Thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known; and yet thou leddest thy people like a flock, by the land of Moscs and Aaron.” Follow, then, distressed sufferer, the Psalmist's example. “The same afflictions are accomplished in thy brethren which are in the world." The redemption by the Red sca, and the greater redemption of the mount of Calvary, of which it was a figure, encourage thy hopes. The storm may rage; but the Saviour is in the vessel. God's “footsteps may not be known,” but we know his promise and his love, his faithfulness and his power. Then “why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquicted within me? Hope, thou, in God, for thou shalt yet praise him.”

Lastly, in the case of descrtion, and, indeed, in all the preceding cases, the important suggestion is to be made, that rcsig:


nation to God's holy will must be added to the humble use of all the means of grace. For, “ wherefore should a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? God's ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts our thoughts.” To reach heaven at last, though under whatever dejection, is infinitely better than a soothing and casy path to hell. Salvation is a blessing incatimably precious. The sorrows of the way to glory, if you be duly cxercised by them, and patience has in you its perfect work, will heighten the joy of that incffable happiness. You are thus preparing for “the inheritance of the saints in light.” God by his inflictions, may perhaps be humbling you, and fitting you for more important services on carth. Only raise your heart to God, and fix your love and bumble trust on your Saviour.

* All things shall work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose." It was the lot even of the Apostles of our Lord, “through much tribulation to enter into thh kingdom of heaven.” Wherefore "hold up the hands that hang down and confirm the feeble knces." For what saith Jehovah to bis people? “ Fcar thou not, for I ain with thee; be not dismayed for I am thy God; I will strengthen thec, yca, I will help thec, yca, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."

In conclusion, allow mc to observe to irreligious persons,

That, though they may amuse themselves and others with the dejection which sincere Christians may cndure, yet they have little reason to boast. They are free from religious fcars, because they are without religion. The scars of a pious man are frequently ungrounded, but those of an ungodly one, though now they may be repressed, will overtake him at the last with ten fold force. A careless life must Icad to a wretched de:th. To be without occasional depression to which the truc Christian is liable, might be well. But to be without his repentance, his faith, his love, his hope of heaven, his union with God, indicates a state of extreme and urgent peril. If there is a reasonable fear in the world, the inconverted man bas cause to indulge it. His day of punishing is fast approaching; his impenitence and unbelief must be infinitely morc displeasing to God than the infirmitics and cxccssive apprchen-ions of his truc servants. Let then, the thoughtless person be awakencd from his stupidity, and seek after God. Let him fly for mercy to a Saviour. Then, and then only, will he be able to judge aright of the religious dejection of those, whom he now perhaps despises and contemns.





Rector of Walton.

1 THESSALONIANS, iv. 13, 14. But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which

are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so, them also which sleep in Jesus wili God bring with him.

Death is the grand terror of all men really awakened to a sense of their truc state, and duly conscious of their sinsulness, but without that comfort which the Gospel of Christ sets before us.

And “as it is appointed to men once to dic and after death the judgment;" as death makes the greatest of all changes in a man, and fixes his state for ever; and, if duly prepared for, it may be to us a real blessing, a gain and privilege, every wisc and thoughtful mind will feel that it is unspeakably important to us to be ready for it.

This is the more needsul, also, as we are perfectly ignorant when we may be summoned by deaih into the presence of the great God; no man can assuredly say, I shall not dic this week, this day, this hour; and this event can only be passed through once by us. If a mistake be made, so that we are unprepared, it is an irretricvable inistake.

But though our own dcath can occur but once, the death of such as are dear to us is continually recurring. To have, then, an adequate support and comfort in the prospect, and in the


« AnteriorContinuar »