Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

ments is pleasant to his spirit, (he hias cursed them rather as the cause of his undoing :) but because he dreads that awful presence into which he must soon be hurried ; because he would rather the hills should fall on him and the mountains cover him, than stand before the bar of God's tribunal when he comes to judgment.

This is the sting of death, and this is sin's doing. This end, terrible as it is, is, with various modifications, the fate of all who live without God in the world. This is the haven to which Satan conducts his victims; this is the goal of their hopes—this the reward of their services. One would think indeed that so awful an end of guilt, might be sufficient to alarm the fears even of the most careless and indifferent; and to impress upon every soul, a deep and anxious desire to escape from such terrors, and to come before the Saviour's throne, with the hope, at least, of mercy and forgiveness. And yet there are many, I fear, amongst us, who would indeed, like Balaam, be willing to die the death of the righteons, but who refuse, like him, to embrace the only means by which they may attain such peace at the last. We would receive the prize without running the race; we would wear the crown of victory without mingling in the perils of the fight. But this may not be; we must enter the vineyard ere the hour of reckoning comes; we must traffic with the talent committed to our care, ere the master return to claim his own again.

But to what cause is to be attributed, that so many neglect the offers of salvation until it is too late to embrace them? Why do men so eagerly crowd to the ways of sin, which will lead them only to the gates of everlasting misery? Is God less careful to call us into his own paths of pleasantness, than Satan to lead us astray from them? Are the joys therein set before us, less intense or less enduring than the pleasures which the tempter offers? Is the happiness even we can enjoy on earth, less soothing when it is the gift of religion, than when it flows from the polluted fountains of guilty disobedience? You have seen the end of the sinner's career; is it such as you desire to make your own! You have beheld his despair, you have heard the agony of his vain and frantic supplications ; do you wish your last hours to be so visited and so employed? Or would you rather, instead of thus trembling at death, thus shrinking with anxiety and terror when the gates of the grave are unbarred before you, receive the summons to enter them without dismay, and triumph even in the pangs of dissolution? By some, by many, I trust, amongst you, this sacred wish is by God's blessing deeply and sincerely cherished; ye do desire that the pillow of your last mortal slum

bers may be watched by hosts of rejoicing angels, and soothed by the hope of sins forgiven and mercy promised. Know, then, my brethren, to your own comfort and your own joy, that this end of the righteous, this hope in death, will be the blessed portion of all who are the children of God's adoption; and it will be theirs, not because they have deserved it or attained it by their own merits, but because Christ has bought it for them with his own blood. Yes, my brethren, in this hour of peril, as in every time besides, it is to Jesus our eyes must look, our hearts must turn. In life or death he is present with us still. Are we in prosperity, he will sanctify it to our hearts ; are we in affliction, his name will strengthen us, his Spirit will bear us up. Sin seizes upon our souls, its accursed fetters bind us in bonds which we cannot break. But one word from the Saviour's lips and the chains fall, and the captive is set free. Death comes, disease and suffering precede his approach; he comes but he affrights not; for Jesus has conquered him and crushed the sinews of his strength. He has destroyed this our latest enemy, and has made bim the passport to the Christian's rest. And he has done all this for you. Miserable sinners though you are, he is still ready to receive, still willing to bless you,

if
you
call
upon

him in penitence and faith. Come then within his sacred fold, and

whilst the unconverted sinner goes on still in wickedness, may ye be purified by the Spirit of Christ ruling in your hearts; and so will

ye

find at last, when the day of trial and of danger comes, that he hath indeed snatched the victory from the grave, and robbed death of his sting.

SERMON II.

MATTHEW XVII, Part of 4th VERSE.

Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is

good for us to be here.

To a mind duly impressed with the sentiments of religion, duly sensible of its importance beyond all other objects of human enquiry, every point connected with the life and ministry of our blessed Saviour, becomes deeply interesting and instructive. The ways of God are often, indeed, inscrutable to man, and it ill becomes bis frail and erring creatures, to attempt to scan too minutely the mysteries of his dispensations. But the pious heart derives comfort and delight, in meditating upon those blessed events connected with the great scheme of our redemption; in tracing their origin to the same bounteous hand; in discovering how they all tend to promote the merciful object in view, and display the goodness

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »