« ПретходнаНастави »
transgressor of the command. It may well excite an ardent and ments of God and enters into the overflowing principle of love. full meaning and consequences It may well enable the Christian of the concession, the most in. to overcome the world, and even teresting question will be, How to count, with St. Paul, all am I to be pardoned ? He that things but loss for the excellen. is once truly awake to this in. cy of the knowledge of Christ quiry, can be diverted from it Jesus his Lord. by no pressure of employments, With such a view, therefore, no sophistry of error. The dis where it is deep and abiding, will putes of divines upon abstract always be connected that total and metaphysical niceties, are to renanciation of sin and supreme him insipid ; for heaven and devotedness to God, of which it eternity are at stake. Of a mind is the origin and support. Why thus exercised, the anxieties and does God pardon my sins, but apprehensions are frequently that being released from their painful, and sometimes prolong- bondage, I may serve him with ed : yet if the Scriptures be new and universal obedience ? carefully studied, prayer assidu. “ How can they wbo are dead ously cultivated, and the ordi. to sin, live any longer therein?” pary means of instruction con. Hesitation, here, is suspicious scientiously improved, will they and unpardonable ; and if the yield at length to accurate con. doctrines of our holy religion ceptions of the method of re- are doctrines of grace, they are demption. He who thus dili. also doctrines according to god. gently uses the light he has re. liness. If there be any true ceived, and earnestly implores godliness in the world, it arises further discoveries, will, by de. from their influence. grees, find his knowledge of the The honest christian has, in. Scriptures enlarged and confirm. deed, no interest in ambiguity. ed, until he can rely with holy It forms his delight to follow the satisfaction on the atonement of example, and transcribe the char. the Son of God. Such a text as acter of his Master. this “ Who his ownself bare plaints and sorrows spring from our sins in his own body on the his deficiency in this respect. tree, that we being dead to He would be entirely holy. He sio should live unto righteous- desires to glorify God in body, ness," is balm to his wounded soul, and spirit. He aims at conscience. The view of an in. treading in the steps, imbibing carnate God, dying to redeem the spirit, and adorning the goshim, is life and consolation to his pel of his God and Savior; and mind. It loosens the bonds of whenever he falls short of this, sin. It is peace, and pardon, he falls short of his principal and deliverance. It awakens a object, and applies humbly for sacred sorrow for his past delin. fresh forgiveness and fresh sup. quencies, and produces a beniga plies of grace. There is no sin and holy humility, not far re- whatsoever which he does not de. moved from tranquillity and joy. sire to be subdued, no duty Such a view may well allay his which he does not endeavor to fears, and lighten his disquietude. perform. The perfect holiness
of his Lord is perpetually in his years. Only a seventh part of view, and he never rests till he that time is left to me now, and is assimilated in every point to of that small remnant of life I his divine pattern. This is the have no assurance. How few calling, the business, the indis. arrive at that period of life to pensable duty of the christian. which I am already come ! Al.
This imitation of his Savior, most all that were born before especially in the spirit and tem- me are now in their long home. per of his mind, is repugnant in. A very few only of the compan. deed to his corrupt nature ; but ions of my youth survive. Some it is on that very account to be of them had constitutions that more assiduously pursued. Ac. promised a longer life than mine, curacy in doctrines may be con. and disease or accident has made sistent with much warmth and an end of them. I almost won. acrimony. It is the humble, der that I am still in the land of meek, benignant, tender char- the living. If it had been said acter, who gives the best evidence by an heavenly messenger ten of a right frame of heart. It is years ago, that either my friend to be feared that we are in gener. J. S. or myself would be in the al too culpable in this respect grave before this time, it would too little careful of “putting on have been thought highly proba. as the elect of God, holy and ble that my friend was to be my beloved, bowels of mercies, kind. surviver, and that before this day, ness, humbleness of mind, meek. my eternal doom was to be pro. ness, long-suffering.” But let nounced. And what would it us contemplate the Son of God have been? I tremble at the as “meek and lowly of heart," as thought. I have all reason to “bearing the contradiction of sin. fear, that it would not have been ners against himself,” as breath- with the righteous. It is writ. ing in every action, not the an. ten, that without holiness no gry, contentious spirit of mod. man shall see the Lord. That ern polemics, but love, peace, God is of purer eyes than to be. gentleness, kindness, long-suffer. hold evil, or to look upon iniqui. ing, and grace ; 66 when he was
ty ; that light can have no com. reviled, reviling not again, when munication with darkness ; that he suffered threatening not; but righteousness can have no fel. committing himself to him that lowship with unrighteousness, judgeth righteously ;” and let
nor Christ any concord with Be. us labor to acquire in these res. lial. But I must deceive my own pects the mind which was also in soul, if I presume to rank my, Christ Jesus.
Ch. Ob. solf with those who are cleansed
from their filthiness. FORMALIST It would be presumptuous to
pass sentence against any one of
my departed friends. But is it On this day I am no less than not to be feared, that some of sixty years of age, and surely it them are gone to the world of is more than time for me now to torment ? For many, in whose awake out of sleep. The days company I once took pleasure, of man are threescore and ten were, I had reason to think, as
REFLECTIONS OF A
ON HIS BIRTH DAY.
careless about their own souls this time have been a devil, re. as I have hitherto been ; and no moved beyond the hope of sal. signs of amendment appeared in vation by Christ. I should them before they went down to have gone down to the grave
with the grave. A change might pass my bones full of the sins of my upon them unknown to me, or youth, which would have lain there might be some good thing down with me in the dust, and I in them with which I was unac. should have risen with them at the quainted. God forbid that I last day, to be exposed to the view should deal damnation amongst of the whole world in all their either the living or the dead. horrible deformity. My business is with myself. I What has not been may be. am well convinced by late re- I have no assurance of my life flections on my own conduct, for a single moment. Should I that if I had met with the fate of at this time breathe my last, those of my friends who died in what would become of me? a late epidemical fever, or of one must I not sink down into endless who died by a fall from his horse, perdition with those sinners who I must have been in a place which have gone before me. Some of I cannot name without horror. my friends, it is to be feared, God be thanked that I am yet would meet me there, and load in the land of the living. I have me with grievous curses for the read of a nobleman who was encouragement I gave them to condemped to die for offences hold on in these evil against government, and felt which led them to the place of such terror in his soul at the torment. They would tell me, thoughts of an eternal world, that if they had seen me more that he cried out, О for some careful of my salvation, they more days, though I should live might have been awakened by in a mouse hole! But the poor mine example to consider their wretch was chased out of the ways ; that if I had reproved world, in all appearance with them for their drunkenness, their his sins cleaving fast to him, profane words, their neglect of and pressing him down to the pit divine ordinances, they might of destruction. I am sure that have repented and prevented I hare infinite reason to bless those eternal horrors, from which God that I am still alive, al. there is now no escape for them. though I were compelled to spend
How shall I hear their execra. all the rest of my time on earth tions against me for endless ages, in a dungeon, or to drag them when I find it so difficult to en. out in incessant toil on board a dure an unjust reproach, which galley. I have been sometimes is over in a moment, and forgot. tempted to envy some of my tep in a few days. neighbors, because they were
But in that world I will prob. more prosperous than myself; ably find, that some of my friends but henceforth I will compare once not better than myself, have my condition, not with those escaped that misery to which I who are alive, but with the dead. am doomed. The Bible spoke Had I been with them in the of a rich man in hell, who lifted land of forgetfulness, I must by up his eyes and saw Abraham
afar off, and a poor beggar, who into the place of torment, must once lay at his door full of sores. not my tortures be dreadfully What if I too should see some aggravated by the reflection, that whom I pitied on earth, crown. my conscience frequently sounded with endless felicity, whilst I ed an alarm to no purpose, and am for ever confined to the re- that I neglected the great salva. gions of unmingled misery, with tion which was often preached in the devils that deceived me, and mine cars. with my companions in sin, who I stood in fear of my state must hate me with a perfect ha. from the earliest times that I can tred ; and whom I too would remember, and I durst not neg. hate and curse, because we nev. lect daily prayer and weekly ater did any thing to hinder one tendance upon the public minis. another from coming to the place trations of the word of God. I of torment, althoogh we were shudder at the thoughts of my often warned of our danger. stupidity in reading and hearing I am filled with horror at the
so many things in vain! Will thought of my own stupidity : I not the sermons I have heard, might have been at this moment and every book of the Bible, all involved in all that misery which of which I have read more than is felt by so many millions, who once, be like coals of juoiper in were once as I now am, if divine my conscience for ever and ever, patience had not prolonged my if I die in my present condition ? days to this time, whilst I was I often thought after reading doing all that lay in my power or hearing of the danger of un. to provoke the Omnipotent to converted sinners, that I should do his worst against me.
It is soon take a convenient time, and true I was not an adulterer, nor make diligent search by cop. a thief, nor a murderer, in the versing with mine heart eyes of men; but was I not told concerning my prospects. Not by the Bible, that the law is only years, but almost my
whole spiritual ; that he who lusteth life-time has passed away since I after a man's wife hath already formed this purpose : yet noth. committed adultery with her in ing has been done to any good his heart; that he who hateth purpose ;
for the greater part his brother in his heart is a mur- of that time I entertained a hope, derer ; that if any man love not that although I was conscious of our Lord Jesus Christ, he must much imperfection, yet I was be anathema maranatha ; that not worse than a great part of except a man be born again he those who have a good charac. cannot see the kingdom of God. ter in the church. I fattered
My conscience was not seared myself that little or nothing as with a hot iron. I some- might be wanting to insure my times trembled at the thought of eternal felicity, although I was death : I sometimes rejoiced at frequently troubled with misgiv. hearing that there was a Savior ing apprehensions that my works infinitely kind and powerful, would not be found perfect be. who would reject none that came fore God. But of late I have unto him for the life of their thought more deeply than for. souls. But if I should be cast merly on the subject, and am
persuaded that all my feeble hopes doned sinner. I thank God that were delusive, and that without I am not yet become the object a complete change I am undone. of general detestation. I have
In consequence of some seri. not been left to the commission ous admonitions which I heard of those gross iniquities which concerning the right way of using might have made me the object the scripture, it has become my of public scorn. But the fash. custom to bestow some thoughts ion of this world passeth away. on every chapter which I read, At the day of judgment, persons and to consider what the mind and things will appear very dif. of God is to myself in these por. ferent from what they are at tions of his word. This I could present. Then many adulterers, not long do, till I found my fornicators, and drunkards, comheart smitten with the convic. pared with whom I was account. tion that not only imperfection ed a saint, will not appear to adhered to my best works, but have been worse men than I, that they all wanted what was when my secret iniquities are essentially necessary for their disclosed. Unbelief, hypocrisy, acceptance with God. I have formality in the divine worship, prayed, but my prayers were will then appear to have been as pot true prayers, for I did not loathsome to God, as the vile offer up sincere desires to God gratifications of lust, which are for things agreeable to his will. detested, and cannot be too Although I earnestly desired the greatly detested by men. Or, if blessings of divine Providence, these enormities, perpetrated by I did not hunger and thirst after men who bear the christian name, righteousness. If desires shall be found to expose the doafter holiness had been more ar- ers of them to a more dreadful dent than after the good things condemnation than their fellow of this life, I would not have sinners, who, through the knowl. given that indulgence which I am edge of the gospel, escaped the now sensible I have done to my pollution of the world through sinful propensities.
I have lust, yet of this I am assured, sung portions of the psalms in that I must (if I continue impen. public and private worship, itent) be found a viler creature, but I have been utterly des. than the most abominable sinner titute of that joy in the Lord of the heathen world. My stu. that reverence and high admira- pidity, my neglect of the salva. tion of his name, without which tion purchased by the Son of the singing of psalms is no more God, my preference of the pleasan act of holy worship, than the ures of vile lusts to the pleasures sounding of a flute.
of holiness, will be found more But why should I specify par. inexcusable, and will put me to ticulars. My heart is deeply more shame before the assembled impressed with a sense of innu. world, all of whom will then merable evils, all of which will view things in their proper light, be brought forth against me at than the sins of Sodom and Go. the day of judgment, to my ut. morrah would have done, if my ter confusion, if I still remain light had been no clearer than what I am at present, an unpar. theirs. But God forbid that I Vol. II. Nero Series.