Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

thou art neither cold nor hot; so then because thou art lukewarm and art neither cold nor hot; I will spue thee out of my mouth. The religion of hea.. ven gives no toleration to spiritual sluggishness. The direction is Awake thou that sleepest, and call upon thy God. - Can you who have had your hearts warmed by divine grace, be cold and inactive ? Can you who by the distinguishing mercy of God, have been led to see something of the value of that salva. tion which is brought to light in the gospel, be always silent on this sublime, this interesting theme? Can you who expect at the close of this short life to re. ceive a crown of glory, neglect to run with patience the race set before you ! Can you, who have dedicated yourselves unreservedly to God, sink back into the beggarly elements of the world, and give the wicked occasion to say, that religion is but an empty name ! Brethren, shut the mouth of the wicked by your holy lives and conversation. Let your light so shine before men, that they, seeing your good works, may glorify your father who is in heaven.

3dly. We infer from the subject, that it is the du. ty of christians, seriously to consider, whether they live in character : for each individual, to often put the inquiry to his own heart, do I more than others ?

Am I any more exemplary and circumspect in my outward walk ? Do I pay a more strict observance to the sabbath, to public worship, to prayer? Am I more faithful in my family, in instructing my chil. dren and in training them up for God? And farther ; do I differ from others in the exercises of my heart ? Am I more meek, more humble, more submissive to the dispensations of providence? Do I hate sin, as it tends to dishonor God, and is a thing which his soul hateth? Or rather ; am I not buried in the vain, triAing, wicked pursuits of the world ? Am I not ready to lay aside the character of the christian and to join with the wicked, in trifling, in vain jest.

ing, in sinful amusements, and thus extinguish the light which I ever ought to hold up? When I hear others treating serious things with ridicule and derision, am I not found joining with them, rather than reproving them for their impiety and presumption ? After having solemnly covenanted in the presence of Almighty God, angles and men, that I would live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present évil world, that I would walk in all the ordinances and innstitutions of the Lord blameless; and that I would keep myself unspotted from the world, what account shall I have to give to my God, in the great day, when the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed ! Will not those of my fellow mortals, who by my wicked and unholy life have been emboldened to sin, and induced to walk in the broad way to ruin, rise up as swift witnesses against me in the day of final retribution? How awfully wretched will be our eternal existence, if while we have by solemn profession engaged under Christ, we shall all our life time have been in the service of Satan, and finally be rejected of God with this solemn denunciation, Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels."

THE APPROPRIATE DUTY AND ORNAMENT OF

THE FEMALE SEX.

A SERMON

BY

SAMUEL MILLER, D. D.

ONE OF THE PASTORS OF THE UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCHEB,

IN THE CITY OF NEW-YORK:

Acts ix. V'er. 36. Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which, by interpretation, is called Dorcas : this woman was fall of good works and alms-deeds which she did.

37. And it came to pass in those days that she was sick, and died : whom, when they had washed, they laid heç in an upper chamber.

38. And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they fent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.

39. Then Peter arose, and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber ; and all the widows Rood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made while she was with them.

40. But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down and prayed ; and turning him to the body, faid, Tabitha, arise. And the opened ber eyes ; and when she saw Peter The fat up.

41. And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive.

SACRED history differs from profane, in a varie. ty of important particulars. The latter is chiefly employed in exhibiting the struggles of ambition, the triumphs of power, and the glare of blood-stained honours ; the former dwells more on the duties of private life, and especially on the meek, humble, and retiring graces of the Christian. The one presents a splendid, but not always faithful picture, which is calculated to indulge curiosity, and to flatter pride ;

the other unfolds the heart; displays its character in all the simplicity and correctness of truth; and sets before us examples proper for the imitation of every age and sex, and condition of mankind.

The portion of sacred history before us comprises, within a very small compass, much matter for reflection. It exhibits a character, and a train of circumstances, from which we may at all times learn a variety of important lessons.

There was residing at Foppa, a sea-port town on the Mediterranean, about thirty-four miles northwest from Jerusalem, a certain woman named Tabitha, which by interpretation, is called Dorcas. The former of these names is a Syriac word, signifying a roc or fawn : the latter a Greek word, of the same import. This woman was a disciple. That is, she had embraced the gospel, and lived under its power. Her religion did not consist merely in calling Christ Lord, Lord. She testified the sincerity of her faith by a ho. ly life and conversation. She was full of good works, und of alms-deeds which she did.

But the most sincere and exemplary picty is no defence against the attacks of disease and death. All die, because all have sinned. It canc to pass, there. fore, in those days, that is, when the apostle Peter was preaching in Lydda, a neighboring town, that Dorcas was taken sick and died. Immediately after her death, the pious widows, and other disciples, who had attended her during her illness, having taken a decent and respectful care of the corpse, dispatched messengers to the apostle, entreating him to come to them without delay. Whether they anticipated his raising their departed friend from the dead, or only expected him to attend the funeral, and to comfort them under their bereavement, we have scarcely ground even to conjecture. At any rate, in sending for the apostle, they manifested at once, their attachment and respect for the deceased, and a taste for his evangelical instruction and conversation

I know scarcely any thing in this world, more de, sirable, or more gratifying, than the friendship, the consolations, and the kind offices of the pious; and especially in the day of trial, and at the hour of death, At seasons of this kind, the gay and the worldly are apt to fly from us. But even if they give us their presence, what will it'avail ? Alas! miserable comfort. ers are they all! What can they tell us of that Gos. pel which hath poured eternal day on the night of the grave;" or of that Blood which cleanseth froni all sin? What can they tell us of the exceeding great and precious promises-of everlasting consola: tion=and of a good hope through grace? When my last hour is come, let pious friends surround my bed! Let those who fear God, and have an interest at the throne of grace, direct my trembling aspirations to Jesus, the friend of sinners! Let pious hands close my eyes! And let devout men carry me, like Stephen, to my burial !

The holy apostle on receiving the summons, entered immediately into the spirit of that pious friendship which had called him, and followed the messengers without delay. When he came to the dwelling which had been lately adorned with the piety and the active beneficence of Dorcas, he found her lifeless remains lying in an upper chamber, and surrounded with mourning widows. On his entering the apartment, they gathered about him, weeping and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas bad made while she was with them. It is probable from the tenor of the nårrative; that these pious widows had been them. selves, the objects of her alms-deeds; and that the coats and other garments with which they were then clothed, had been made by the hands, and bestowed by the bounty of their deceased benefactor. These they showed to the apostle, as testimonies of her be. nevolent character, and as causes for lamenting het Separture. Simple, but touching and elegant eulo,

« VorigeDoorgaan »