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breathe after a state of greater nearness, and more free and delightful intercourse? Can you live happy without the enlightening beams of God's gracious presence ? Can this world fatisfy you, and its enjoyments content you? You are often asking, who will thew us any good ? but never enquiring, where is God our Maker?-Sarely you have no reason to consider yourselves as true Christians, whatever your pretensions may be.
Wherefore, O finners ! you, who have hitherto preferred the world and its flatteries, awake this day to choose the Lord for your God.- Is it not better for you to have God for your friend, than all the world without him? Can the world comfort you in a dying hour? Can it befriend you before the bar of God? Can it relieve you when doomed by the Divine sentence to eternal misery?
Wherefore, O finners! be persuaded this day to renounce the ways of vanity and fin; and take the God of Israel for your portion, the Sun of Righteousness for your Saviour, and the Spirit of Grace for your consolation.
And may God of his infinite mercy work this persuafion in your hearts, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
SE R. .
THE EVIL AND DANGER OF SECURITY
ALEXANDER MACWHORTER, D.D.
Matt. xxiv. 38, 39. For as in the days that were before the flood, they were
eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noab entered into the Ark : and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
THE discourse, of which these words are a part, was
1. addressed by our Lord to his disciples. The express design of it was to animate them to a steady vigilance and attention to their immortal interest - to preserve them from lloth and stupidity, the too common effects which Divine patience has upon mankind. This design is sufficiently visible in the account St Luke gives us of this discourse; but what is here related by St Matthew, puts the matter beyond all doubt :-Watch therefore, for ye know not the hour when your Lord' doth come.
Hence, the propriety and force of the words of our text, with regard to the general argument and exhortation of our Lord to vigilance, stand thus :
“. There can be no season whatsoever, in which it is proper or safe to grow secure, and neglect a daily preparation for the folemn appearance of Christ, either to fummon us before him by death, or to pour out trying and terrible judgments upon our land, or to bring on the general judgment of quick and dead : I say, there can be no season in which it can be safe to be secure and unprepared; because, there is no season in which he may not come, in one or other of these ways; and it would be shocking and irretrievable, to be surprised in an unprepared condition.”
And besides, Christ's coming both to the general judgment and to punish wicked communities, will certainly be in a time of general security, as it was in the time of the food, and destruction of Sodom. It is generally in this condition he comes, and surprises men by death. Therefore, it is greatly to be apprehended, that the season of our security and negligence about his coming, will be the very juncture in which he will come to our great surprise, and to the everlasting sorrow of many.-We ought then, always, to watch, and to be ready.
The words of our text, considered independent on their relation to the general argument, present us with the following observations.
1. We may observe the state of the old world before the flood. They were perfectly secureThey were eating and drinking, &6. They were eagerly pursuing their pleafure, each in his own way, and according to his own taste. Their attention was universally engaged in those affairs, projects and applications, that were calculated only for a
present fenfual báppiness, utterly inapprehensive both of the wrath of God, that was already enkindled against them, and of those fatal effects into which it soon burst out, and mingled them in one common destruction. They had no misgivings of heart with respect to their danger; although the justice of God is always awake, and attentive to the growth and prevalence of vice; or if some of them had any apprehensions of evil, they did not suffer them to mature into serious considerations and sincere repentance. They were seduced either by a passion to imitate the general practice and opinion; or carried away by an innate desire for sensual gratifications, or overwhelmed in the cares and business of life.
Nor was this insensibility owing to want of sufficient warning. In the fixth chapter of Genesis, God tells us with an original regard to mankind in that day, that bis Spirit should not always strive with man. This, in the strongest manner, implies, that God had remonstrated against their wickedness—used proper methods to reform them, and had given them sufficient assurance of the fatal issue of their impenitence. The Apostle Peter informs that Jesus Christ, by his Spirit, preached to them their danger, and the necessity of repentance. He acquaints us also, that Noah was employed to declare to them, in the name of God, the wickedness and danger of their practices. They had, likewise, the trongest confirmation of the truth of Noah's doctrine, for a great while before their eyes, in that long and tedious labour of his building the ark. So fingular a machine must needs have struck their attention and awakened their curiosity. The use of which, when known, we may well suppose from their temper, did not fail to be matter of pleasantry and ridicule among them. How often did they call him an oleh foolish fanatic, and wild enthusiast! How much was be
the subjects of the scoffs and sneers of the gayer fort, while the graver ones among them, who were admired as oracles by the meaner rabble, pronounced his conduct the height of frenzy and madness. Would not some say, • See the doating fool, how he toils and labours to build himfelf a machine, by which he may escape the deluge that his disordered brain suggests to him is to come.' While others reply, • Curse the old enthusiast, I wilh he was drowned ten thousand fathom deep; for he does no. thing but interrupt business, and distract the world with his reveries and nonsense.'
II. We observe, that their wickedness, insensibility and unbelief, continued to the last. The representations of the divine displeasure against them were utterly dif. regarded.God's threatnings carried no terror to their hearts, and consequently formed no prevailing argument or reason for reformation. The denunciations of general ruin, without a speedy change of heart and life, were no doubt looked upon imaginary and romantic ; fitted only to alarm weak and superstitious minds, incapable of examining such predictions by the laws of reason, and the perfections of God. We may easily conclude, that they objected to Noah's prophecies that they could not be true, because they were repugnant to the divine attributes. It was natural to blind and unbelieving finners to assert, that it was inconsistent with the mercy and goodness of the common parent of the universe, to destroy so many millions of his creatures, and that too only for indulging those very appetites with which himself had formed them. How plausible would such arguments be? How well adapted to the taste and depraved reason of licentious and presumptuous finners? How would they triumph in this reasoning, as a complete confutation of