« PreviousContinue »
poor; less purity in the young, less rational piety in the aged. What does such a state of things demand ?
Repentance-deep, sincere, universal repentance : repentance of the very soul ;-a real change (without which, indeed, it were no repentance)—a real change of principle and practice,~“a new heart and a new spirit.” “Turn not to me with weeping and praying; sanctify no fast, call no solemn assembly," while “ ye do wrong and defraud, and that your brethren,” or “assemble yourselves in troops in the harlots' houses.” “Sit not before me as my people, and hear my words, while ye do them not,” nor “ show much love with your mouths, while your heart goeth after your covetousness,” -the insatiable desire of power, of gain, or of pleasure—that restless covetousness of a worldly temper, which makes you the children of disobedience, and “ twofold more the children of” reprobation.
Are any inclined to say, Let our superiors begin the work of reformation ; let statesmen and senators, peers and prelates, become “pure, peaceable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy,” and their inferiors will follow the example.—No one is to
his evil way,
wait for examples :-Every human being, whatever be his rank in society, is to look to himself. Repentance is necessary to every man, whether he be rich or poor; for every man is a sinner; and every sinner, unless he repent and turn from
“shall surely perish.” Indeed, with respect to this fearful visitation, which is now suspended over us, the poor have more cause to deprecate the judgments of Heaven than those of higher station : Their danger is most imminent. The want of comforts, and of cleanliness in their dwellings and persons, and, above all, their habits of intemperance, and their strong and ruinous propensity to indulge in the poisonous juices of the distillery (that powerful engine of every vice and incitement to every mischief)-render the lower orders far more liable to infection, and, when once infected, afford them little prospect of recovery.
But it is never to be forgotten that the chastisements of Heaven, however terrible to flesh and blood, are not so much inflictions of justice, as acts of mercy; for they are the most awakening call to those “ who know not God, and obey not the Gospel.” They rouse us " to flee from the wrath to come.” And what
are all the sufferings of war, and famine, and pestilence, in comparison of that unspeakable misery which awaits the guilty soul, on its separation from the dissolving body? Think, and think perpetually, on the most impressive and awful warning of the Saviour and Judge ;the all-sufficient, everlasting Saviour of those humble believers, who turn to Him with a contrite spirit—the inexorable Judge of those infidels in heart, who slight his promises, reject his mediation, violate his laws, and die,-obstinately die, in their sins;—Think on his fearful yet most affectionate admonition, “Be not afraid of them that can kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do; but I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear Him, who, after He hath killed, hath power to cast into Hell-yea, I say unto you,
Fear Him." Brethren! partakers with me in one common mortal, one common corrupt nature, and, 0!(if we turn not away from the proffered, the inestimable blessing,)—partakers of one common salvation,-ponder, I conjure you, ponder these things. If
believe that the issues of life and death are in the hands of the great Creator, repair to the throne of grace, through the one
Mediator, imploring his mercy in the hour of peril, that “this cup may pass from us. believe in a future retribution, and know that He will judge the world in righteousness, let us all,—let every one of us,—without looking to others, or waiting for others to begin, let every living soul, “ cast aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset him,"—" put away the evil of his doings” from before the eyes "of Him who seeth in secret,”_" cease to do evil, , learn to do well.”
Remember there is a time, when repentance will be too late. Lo, these many years," with long-tried gentleness and forbearance, the Lord of this vineyard cometh, (this pleasant garden of England) “ seeking fruit” from the plant He hath watered and cherished. “ If it bear fruit, well,”—but if He still find none, the irreversible, the tremendous decree will at last be pronounced,—“Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground ?"
Rev. CHAP. XVII. VER. 5.
“ And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery"
The sacred historian, in his account of the production of the earth, informs us that, among the other stupendous acts of almighty wisdom, God "made two great lights,"—the one to rule the day, the other the night, of nature,--at least, of that part of nature which is our allotted habitation,-and “set them in the firmament of heaven, to give light upon the earth.” Thus, likewise, hath his goodness afforded two great lights in the moral and intellectual world, to shed truth and knowledge on the human mind,REASON and
These are the “gifts of God to man,”-and no less requisite to his spiritual well