Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

never dies. Instead of hope, eternal despair covers them round, and they are pressed under the wrath of a just and sovereign Judge. Before the body is conveyed to its cold lodging by surviving friends, the immortal spirit is sentenced and confined to that dismal dungeon which justice hath prepared for all the rebellious ; where are,

· Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace And rest can never dwell, hope never comes That comes to all; but torture without end

Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
· With ever-burning sulphur unconsum'd.

- Here their prison ordain'd
In utter darkness, and their portion set,
As far remov'd from God and light of Heav'n
As from the centre thrice to th' utmost pole."

Who is able to describe their misery? Who knows the power and vengeance of Almighty God? Future punisha ment is represented in scripture by the worm that never dies, by everlasting fire, by a lake of fire and brimstone, and by every thing terrible in nature. · That there will be degrees of miserý our Saviour has taught us, when he says, that it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon, for Sodom and Gomorrah, than for Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, in the day of judgment, because these enjoyed superior advantages to the others. These words also teach the fame : This is the condemnation, that light is come into tbe world, and men loved darkness rather than light. It shall be more tolerable for the heathen world, than for those under the Gospel. Wickedness indeed, grows to a greater height among the latter. Would you find the most daring and abandoned sinner? look not for him among the Indian tribes, but among profeffing Christians.-Nothing can ex

N4

ceed * Milton's Paradise Lost, Book I.

ceed the anguilh arising from the reflection of having Nighted offered mercy. This is a misery from which the devils themselves will be exempted. To them no Saviour has been revealed, nor pardon offered. Skilled in the art of torment, they will increase the anguish of our race by insulting their folly. The body having been a partner in guilt, will be reunited to the soul, and both made unspeakably miferable. Our Saviour concludes his awful representation of the day of judgment, by say. ing, Tbefe shall go away into everlasting punishment.

The character and misery of the wicked having been now set before us, surely it becomes us to make careful and serious application of these truths.

We see the unhappy condition of such, notwithstanding our political war is turned into peace. To rejoice in it, most certainly they ought, but by no means to view it as an evidence that God is pleased with them. Without repentance, they are only reserved for severer judgments. The dispensations of Providence towards laankind in this world are various, and all defigned to bring them to a sense of themselves, and an acknowledgment of the living and true God. He tries us now with affliction, and then with merey, or he mixes the cup. They who harden their necks fall suddenly be de Stroyed, and that without remedy. They, who have felt the distresses of the war, and have not wept for their sins; those who have lost their eftates, and have not made peace with God, have reason more than ever to fear. There is yet no peace to them. They are not immediately threatened, it is true, with an invading army, or called to change domestic bliss for the hurry of a camp, and jeopard their lives in the high places of the field. They no longer tremble for dear 'relatives, and figh for life, liberty and property at stake, but they lie under the

displeasure

displeasure of that Almighty Being, who disposes of them and all their concerns. He hath other ways to punish them even in this world; and they fhall not escape his righteous judgment in the world to coine. What are all the scenes of terror and confusion we can witness here, compared to that place, where shall be continual weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Is it not then of the utmost importance, that we examine whether or not we are numbered with the wicked? If ever we would obtain mercy of God in Christ, we must first be acquainted with our own condition. As fome disorders are of tbe most deadly nature, in which the patients are stupid and infenfible of pain, so a finner not knowing himself to be such, and unconcerned, affords but little ground of hope.---Are any of you living in ignorance of divine truths, seldom thinking or caring about them? Are you guilty of great immoralities, secret or open ? Do you live in the omission of positive and known duty ? How then can you hope that your state is good and safe? Your state is beyond all doubt bad and dangerous.—Believe it to be so, and labour after repentance and amendment.-Neither will a life faultless in the eyes of men, and a regular attendance on outward duties, prove you the subjects of supernatural grace. He is a Christian who is one inwardly. The seat of piety is the heart. If you believe the doctrine of man's depravity and inability, you must, in connection, believe the necessity of being created anew in Christ Jesus. As is the tree, fo is the fruit: As is the fountain, so are the streams. Have you then passed from death to life? There is no medium. Either you have been changed, or you · are at this day, in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Hear the words of Him who came down from Heaven to teach us the way of life : Verily, verily

I say unto thee, except a man be born again, be cannot see the kingdom of God. Alas, that too many, like Nicodemus, think this a strange and unintelligible doctrine. They allege, that nothing more is necessary than those endeavours and desires which are in their own power. They feel no need of the influences of the Holy Spirit. O Religion, mysterious in thy nature, giving glory to God, and debasing the creature, may we never mistake thee, our eternal concern! Blessed God, dispel the dark. ness of our minds ; give us to know thee, and what we ourselves are, and lead us in the way everlasting !

Our deceitful hearts are too apt to impose upon us, and our adverfary the devil, is ever seeking whom he may devour. The most wicked person flatters himself, that he will some time or other mend, or presumes on the mercy of God. Let us try to make a thorough work of religion, Many who were not far from the kingdom of Heaven, will never arrive there. The formalift must lose his soul after all his pains. He needs the new heart to turn his drudgery into a willing service, and make him happy for ever. The hypocrite, if chewed in the spirit of his mind, will not act the player, or assume a borrowed character ; but he will really be what he appears to be. How vain are all pretences! It is easy to deceive fellow-men ; but God, with whom we have to do, searches the heart and tries the reins. What we are in secret, when none but his eyes fees us, will determine our true character,

Sinners, of whatever description, open your eyes on your wretchedness! Flattery in your case would be poi. fon. To hide your danger, or snooth it over, would be monstrous cruelty. Do you alk, Is there no hope concerning us? None while you continue in fin. There is po such salvation in all the Scriptures. If you are re

solved

solved and permitted to go on in a course of iniquity till the end of life, you are condemned already. The wages of fin is death. Nothing but the flight union of foul and body prevents the flames of hell from kindling all around you. On this precarious tenure you hold any ease and peace you have. A few days fickness may end all your joy for ever; a sickness in which you may be insensible, and can no more attend to the salvation of the soul, than one already in the grave; nay an accident may precipitate you into everlasting burnings. You now live, and have health and reason. If you will leave your fins, there is an ample remedy provided for you in the Gospel. There is falvation for the worst of you, for all of you. O delay not, but break off your fins by righteoufnefs. Be importunate in prayer to God. Bring your polluted soul and body to the blood of Christ, which cleanseth from all hin.-Now is your day of grace ; fin it not away. The moments are on the wing.--Improve them before they are fled, and you go down to the dust.

You, my brethren, who have your peace made with God, are happy indeed. I congratulate you on the peace restored to our land; but I congratulate you much more on this. By the one, the calamities of war are removed, and days of ease and rest are come ; by the other, you have escaped calamities without end, and have found rest to your souls. By the one, you are freed from the oppressive yoke of men ; by the other, from the vilest slave. ry of fin and Satan. By the one, you have prospects of a growing and extensive empire; by the other, aflu. rance of reigning for ever and ever. You are doubly blessed. Peace without and peace within. Peace here, and peace hereafter. You must not, however, put off the harness. In your spiritual concerns, much remains yet to be done. Tnis wur'are is not over. Sin and Satan,

though

« AnteriorContinuar »