Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

changes of misery, if all collected together, and appointed to befall thy wretched self in one moment of time, would not furnish thee with an adequate idea of that future and everlasting ruin, in which (if thy speedy repentance prevent not) thou must, ere long, lift up thy ghastly eyes, begging in vain for a drop of water to cool thy tongue, because thou wilt be tormented in that flame. And then, Eternity! Eternity! ah, to spend a never-ending cternity in such anguish! To be “ ages and ages, and succeeding still new ages," in ihat lake of fire, burning with brimstone, and after millions of ages are past and gone, still to have the wretched confolation of knowing that thy misery is no nearer an end, but all, as it were, to begin again! Ah! who can bear even to think of this! The very thought of such woe is enough to make one's blood run chill, and fill one's roul with horror! It is enough to make one's head giddy with fear, to look down that dark and fiery pic into which poor finners are perpetually plunging, blinded and insensible, till the penetrating fire makes them feel, and the glaring flames of tophet open their eyes to behold themselves undone for ever!

4. Ah! Alee, finner ! fee from this, wrath to come!-Bui ftay, and first falling down on thy knees, solemnly praise God, that it is not yet too late. Thank him from thy inmost soul, that he has not yet cut thee down, and assigned thee thy portion in this place of torment! But oh! dare not, at the peril of thy soul, tempt his long-suffer. ing any longer ! —Do not persift to provoke that fierce and almighty wrath which thy fins have already kindled against thec, and which (had not the precious blood of Christ been poured upon the Aame) would long, ere now, have utterly con. sumed thy unholy soul, and made thee a monument of vengeance to others! Do not, I say,

perfift

ary! Cthy hopeindignatis Chrifto. 35

OF THE WICKED.

155 perlift to provoke an holy God, left Chrift should cease to interpose, and fiery indignation should, in an inftant, blast all thy hopes, and devour thee as his adversary! Confider how many years he has already interceded for thy barren soul, “Let him alone this year also." But alas ! hitherto he has prevailed in vain for thy reprieve, for to this day thou hast borne no good fruit. Still, still thou art only a cumberer of the ground! And who knows whether he has not already put up the last prayer for thee, and commissioned me, by these terrors of the almighty, to dig for the last time about thy roots !-If thou bear fruit, it is well, but if not, if even this earthquake of God's judgments do not shake thee; if after this Christ come seeking fruit on thee and find none, what remains, but that he say, “Let no fruit grow on thee from henceforth and for ever," or, “Cut it down, why cumberesh it the ground ?"

5. Therefore, delay no longer, but while thy glass of time is not yet run out; while the sun of divine Love is not yet gone down upon thee; while the long-suffering of God the Father still waits to be gracious; while the compassionate friend of finners still intercedes for thee; while the ever-blessed Spirit is not yet provoked to bid thee an eternal adieu, but still continues to strive with thee ;-in short, while there is yet any hope concerning thee among the blessed inhabitants of Heaven, that thou mayest, after all, be saved ; or any fear concerning thee, among the fiends of Hell, left after all thou shouldest escape that place of torment; before the door of salvation is for ever shut against thee, before yawning Tophet has devoured, and closed its mouth upon thee.-Flee, finner ; flee; at the peril of thy foul, flee!- But whence and whither shalt thou fee? Flee from thy fons, thy lukewarmness, thy unbelief; flee to Calvary, to the Cross, to Jesus, to the Fountain

G 6

opened

opened in his side, to the Blood and Water which issue thence, “ and arise, wash away thy fins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Apply by faith his blood, his merits, to thy guilty conscience ; receive by faith the sanctifying graces of his Spirit. Embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life. Let thy conversation be as becometh the Gospel of Christ. Thus believe and Thew thy faith by thy works, and as sure as he is the resurrection and the life, so sure, tho thou wert dead, yet shalt thou live, and living and be lieving in him, shalt not die eternally.

SERMON

SERMON VIII.

ON

ON

THE WISDOM OF WINNING SOULS,

PREACHED AT THE

CONFERENCE HELD AT LEEDS, JULY 17939

And published at the desire of the PREACHERS.

PROV. XI. 30.

.« He that winneth Souls is Wife.”

1. THIS is a book of Proverbs, or of wise and

1 weighty Sayings, many of which, altho' containing self-evident truths, and such as only need to be known, that they may be approved, are nevertheless as surprizing as they are instructive and important. Altho' some of them might have been in use among the more wife and civilized parts of mankind for many generations, even from the time that men began to multiply upon the face of the carth, yet it is evident that most of them were first spoken by Solomon. For God had given him, “ Wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea-shore : and his wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the East, and all the wisdom of Egypt :" infómuch that “all the earth sought unto him to hear his wisdom ; for his fame was in all

nations."

nations. *" Now, it seems, he expressed his wifdom chiefly in uttering Apophthegms or Proverbs; for, according to the sacred hiftorian, he spake three thousand Proverbs: These, some have thought, were collected and committed to writing by his Servants who attended him and heard his wisdom. But those contained in this book, which are, I believe, not quite a thousand, and might probably be a selection from the rest, were undoubtedly written by Solomon himself, and that, at the motion and under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

2. Indeed they are worthy of him, the Spirit of Truth, of Wisdom, and of Grace, as their Author, and are all of the nature of the fountain from whence they flow; nor can we easily drink of these pure and transparent streams, without being at once enlightened and refreshed. These Proverbs of Solomon conrain the water of life, as well as other parts of the sacred Volume ; and with one peculiar advantage; we need not dig deep to arrive at it. Their sense is, in general, obvious to the meanest capacity, and that at the first sight, and yet is not the less useful and important for being so easily apprehended. Add to this, that they have a commanding influence over the mind and heart; and while they challenge the assent of the Understanding, subdue the will, and win the affections. This perhaps may be intimated in the original term here translated Proverbs : For it is derived from a word that signifies to rule, or have dominion.

3. The world, indeed, as a pious and judicious Writer observes, is governed by Proverbs, “ As faith the Proverb of the Ancients, t” or, in the language of the Vulgar, “ As the old saying is," has much influence with most people. But there are * Kings iv. 29, and X. 24 + Sam. xxxiv. 13.

Proverbs

« VorigeDoorgaan »