Page images
PDF
EPUB

this very account. They look upon us as monsters, hardly worthy to be ranked among hurnan creatures.

24. Ye men of candour, say, does this ungodliness bring any real advantage to our nation? Innumerable advantages we enjoy; but might we not have them without discarding the fear of God? Might we not prosper as well, both by sea and land, if we did not set God at open defiance? if we did not so continually affront him to his face, and dare him to do his worst? If he has not left chance to govern the world, and if he is really stronger than men, will not our affairs go on better if God is our friend, than if he is our enemy? Is God an enemy to be despised? Rather, is there not reason in those words of the old warrior ?

Non me tua fervida terrent Dicta, ferox, Dii me terrent et Jupiter hostis ! [Insolent foe, your proud boasts affright me not, but the gods, and especially Jupiter,

my enemy!) We have had excellent, well-appointed fleets; we have had numerous veteran armies. And what have they done? Have we not more and more reason to make that melancholy exclamation,

Heu, nihil invitis fas quenquam fidere Divis!

(Alas, the gods unwilling, all our hopes are vain!) 25. Can you believe, that our total ignorance of God, and our general contempt of him, who, whether men will acknowledge it or no, has still all power in heaven and in earth, can be well pleasing to him? We need not care for all the fervida dicta, all the rodomontades, of France and Spain. But if the Lord of the universe is against us, ought we not to care? unless we are very sure that our fleets and armies can prevail against him! Otherwise, would it be any disgrace to humble ourselves, not to man, but to God? to use every means to secure him for our friend, now all our other friends have failed us? Then, admitting " there is no other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O God,” yet shall none be able to hurt us, but peace and every other blessing shall return both to us and to our colonies.

A WORD TO A SABBATH BREAKER.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy."

Have you forgotten who spoke these words ? Or do you set bim at defiance? Do you bid him do his worst? Have a care. You are not stronger than he. “Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth ; but wo unto the man that contendeth with his Maker. He sitteth on the circle of the heavens; and the inhabitants of the earth are as grashoppers before him!'

“Six days shalt thou do all manner of work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” It is not thine, but God's day. He claims it for his own. He always did claim it for his own, even from the beginning of the world. “In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” He hallowed it; that is, he made it holy; he reserved it for his own service. He appointed, that as long as the sun or the moon, the heavens and the earth, should endure, the children of men should spend this day in the worship of Him who'“ gave them life and breath and all things."

Shall a man then rob God? And art thou the man? Consider, think what thou art doing! Is it not God who giveth thee all thou hast ? Every day thou livest, is it not his gift? And wilt thou give him none? Nay, wilt thou deny him what is his own already? He will not, he cannot, quit his claim. This day is God's. It was so from the beginning. It will be so to the end of the world. This he cannot give to another. O "render unto God the things that are God's,” now; "today, while it is called to-day!" For whose sake does God lay claim to this day? for his sake or for thine? Doubtless, not for his own. He needeth not thee, nor any child of man. "Look unto the heavens and see, and behold the clouds which are higher than thou. If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? If thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him? If thou art righteous, what givest thou him? Or what receiveth he of thine hand ?” For thy own sake, therefore, God thy maker doeth this. For thy own sake he calleth thee to serve him. For thy own sake he demands a part of thy time to be restored to him that gave thee all. Acknowledge his love. Learn, while thou art on earth, to praise the King of Heaven. Spend this day as thou hopest to spend that day which never shall have an end.

The Lord not only hallowed the Sabbath day, but he hath also blessed it. So that you are an enemy to yourself. You throw away your own blessing, if you neglect to keep this day holy.” It is a day of special grace. The King of Heaven now sits upon his mercy seat, in a more gracious manner than on other days, to bestow blessings on those who observe it. If you love your own soul, can you then forbear laying hold on so happy an opportunity ? Awake, arise, let God give thee his blessing! Receive a token of his love! Cry to him that thou mayest find the riches of his grace and mercy in Christ Jesus! You do not know how few more of these days of salvation you may have. And how dreadful would it be, to be called hence in the abuse of his proffered mercy!

O what mercy hath God prepared for you, if you do not trample it under foot! " What mercy hath he prepared for them that fear him, even before the sons of men !” A

peace which the world cannot give; joy, that no man taketh from you; rest from doubt and fear and sorrow of heart; and love, the beginning of heaven. And are not these for you? Are they not all purchased for you by him who loved you, and gave himself for you? for you, a sinner? you, a rebel against God? you, who have so long crucified him afresh? Now “look unto him whom you have pierced !" Now say, Lord, it is enough. I have fought against thee long enough. I yield, I yield. "Jesus, Master, have mercy upon me!”

On this day, above all, cry aloud, and spare not, to the “ God who heareth prayer.” This is the day he hath set apart for the good of your soul, both in this world and that which is to come. Neyer more disVOL. VI.

23

appoint the design of his love, either by worldly business or idle diversions. Let not a little thing keep you from the house of God, either in the forenoon or afternoon. And spend as much as you can of the rest of the day, either in repeating what you have heard, or in reading the Scripture, or in private prayer, or talking of the things of God. Let his love be ever before your eyes. Let his praise be ever in your mouth. You have lived many years in folly and sin ; now, live one day unto the Lord.

Do not ask any more, “ Where is the harm, if, after church, I spend the remainder of the day in the fields, or in a public house, or in taking a little diversion ?” You know where is the harm. Your own heart tells you so plain, that you cannot but hear. It is a base mis-spending of your talent, and a barefaced contempt of God and his authority. You have heard of God's judgments, even upon earth, against the prosaners of this day.

And yet these are but as drops of that storm of " fiery indignation, which will” at last " consume his adversaries."

Glory to God who hath now given you a sense of this. You now know, this was always designed for a day of blessing. May you never again, by your idleness or profaneness, turn that blessing into a curse! What folly, what madness would that be! And in what sorrow and anguish would it end! For yet a little while, and death will close up the day of grace and mercy.' And those who despise them now, will have no more Sabbaths, or sacraments, or prayers for ever.

Then how will they wish to recover that which they now so idly cast away! But all in vain. For they will then “ find no place for repentance, though they should seek it carefully with tears."

O my friend, know the privilege you enjoy. Now “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." Your day of life and of grace is far spent. The night of death is at hand. Make haste to use the time you have ; improve the last hours of your day. Now provide “ the things which make for your peace,” that you may stand before the face of God for ever.

A WORD TO A SWEARER.

SWEAR NOT AT ALL, saith the Lord God of heaven and earth. Art thou without God in the world ? Hast thou no knowledge of God, no concern about him ? Is not God in all thy thoughts ?

Dost thou believe there is a God? Where? in heaven only? Nay, he filleth all in all ! Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him ? Do not I fill heaven and earth?

Whither wilt thou go then from his Spirit? Or whither wilt thou flee from his presence? If thou go up into heaven, God is there: If thou go down into hell, he is there also. If thou take the wings of the morning, and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea ; even there his hand shall touch thee, and his right hand shall hold thee.

God seeth thee now; his eyes are upon thee; he observes all thy thoughts ; he compasseth thy path; he counteth all thy steps; he is acquainted with all thy ways; by nim thy actions are weighed; nor is there a word in thy tongue but he knoweth it altogether.

And does not power belong unto God; yea, all power in heaven and in earth? Is he not able, even while thou readest or hearest these words, to crush thee into nothing? Can he not just now crumble thee into dust; or bid the earth open and swallow thee up? O do not set him at nought! do not provoke him thus! do not fly in his face ! Can be not, in a moment, cast forth his lightnings and tear thee; shoot out his arrows and consume thee? What hinders him from cutting thee off this instant; sending thee now, now, quick into hell ?

Would God do thee any wrong therein? What! in giving thee the request of thy own lips? What words were those thou spakest but now? Did not God hear? Why, thou didst pray to God to send thee to hell ! Thou didst ask him to damn thy soul! How, art thou in love with damnation ? Art thou in haste to dwell with everlasting burnings; to be day and night tormented in that flame, without a drop of water to cool thy tongue ?

Dost thou pray for this ? I pray God it may never be either my lot or thine. Alas, my brother! What, if God take thee at thy word ! What, if he say, Be it unto thee even as thou wilt! What, if he give thee thy wish, and let thee drop into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels !

I had rather thou shouldest go to the paradise of God. Hadst not thou? Is not heaven better than hell? Art thou not convinced of this in thy own conscience? Why, then, amend thy prayer. Cry to God : “ Save my soul, for I have sinned against thee! Seve me from all my sins. Save me from all my evil words, and evil works ; from my evil tempers, and evil desires! Make me holy as thou art holy! Let me know thee, and love thee, and serve thee, now and for ever!"

And is not God willing to do this ? Surely he is ; for God loveth thee. He gave his only Son, that thou mightest not perish, but have everlasting life. Christ died for thee; and he that believeth on him hath everlasting life. Mark that word,—he hath it. He hath it now. He hath the beginning of heaven even upon earth ; for his soul is filled with the love of God; and the love of God is heaven. He that truly believes on Jesus Christ hath a peace which earth cannot give; his mind is always calm; he hath learned in every state therewith to be content; he is always easy, quiet, well pleased ; always happy, in life and in death; for a believer is not afraid to die; he desires to be dissolved and to be with Christ; he desires to quit this house of clay, and to be carried by angels into Abraham's bosom; to hear the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God, and to see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven; to stand at his right hand, and hear that word, (which I earnestly beg of God you and I may hear,) “ Come, ye blessed, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world !"

A WORD TO A DRUNKARD.

1. Are you a man? God made you a man; but you make yourself a beast. Wherein does a man differ from a beast? Is it not chiefly in reason and understanding? But you throw away what reason you have. You strip yourself of your understanding. You do all you can to make yourself a mere beast ; not a fool, not a madman only, but a swine, a poor filthy swine. Go and wallow with them in the mire! Go, drink on, till thy nakedness be uncovered, and shameful spewing be on thy glory!

2. o how honourable is a beast of God's making, compared to one who makes himself a beast! But that is not all. You make yourself a devil. You stir up all the devilish tempers that are in you, and gain others, which perhaps were not in you; at least you heighten and increase them. You cause the fire of anger, or malice, or lust, to burn seven times hotter than before. At the same time you grieve the Spirit of God, till you drive him quite away from you; and whatever spark of good remained in your soul you drown and quench at once.

3. So you are now just fit for every work of the devil, having cast off all that is good or virtuous, and filled your heart with every thing that is bad, that is earthly, sensual, devilish. You have forced the Spirit of God to depart from you; for you would take none of his reproof; and you have given yourself up into the hands of the devil, to be led blindfold by him at his will.

4. Now, what should hinder the same thing from befalling you, which befell him who was asked, which was the greatest sin, adultery, drunkenness, or murder; and which of the three he had rather commit. He said drunkenness was the least. Soon after, he got drunk; he then met with another man's wife, and ravished her. The husband coming to help her, he murdered him. So drunkenness, adultery, and murder went together.

5. I have heard a story of a poor wild Indian, far wiser than either him or you. The English gave him a cask of strong liquor. The next morning he called his friends together, and setting it in the midst of them, said, “ These white men have given us poison. This man" (calling him by his name) " was a wise man, and would hurt none but his enemies ; but as soon as he had drunk of this, he was mad, and would have killed his own brother. We will not be poisoned.” He then broke the cask, and poured the liquor upon the sand.

6. On what motive do you thus poison yourself? only for the pleasure of doing it? What! will you make yourself a beast, or rather a devil? Will you run the hazard of committing all manner of villanies ; and this only for the poor pleasure of a few moments, while the poison is running down your throat? O never call yourself a Christian ! Never call yourself a man! You are sunk beneath the greater part of the beasts that perish.

7. Do you not rather drink for the sake of company? Do you not do it to oblige your friends ? "For company," do you say? How is this: Will you take a dose of ratsbane for company? If twenty men were to

« PreviousContinue »