« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
reason of sin, and which must soon be viler still in the corruption of the grave, shall, when raised from the dead, be made like unto his glorious body. Add to this another most desirable blessing, the constant company of the saints. Believers shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; with the prophets ; and Apostles; and with all the redeemed of every nation. But what tongue can tell, what heart can conceive, what God has prepared for them that love him?
What more can be said to engage your regard to religion, than what has been now said. Life and death, blessing and cursing, heaven and hell, have been set before you. Surely, “one thing is needful," even the care of the soul.
Is there a dreadful hell ? Well! we have been warned of the danger, and advised to fly to Jesus, the only deliverer from the wrath to come.
How great is the evil of sin, seeing that God will punish it in this dreadful manner! Is there a hell of eternal torment for sinners? Oh, then be afraid of sin, however pleasant it may be. Who would drink a glass of the most delicious liquor, however thirsty he might be, if he knew that deadly poison was mixed with it? Beware then of sin, which infallibly destroys the soul, and shun it as you would shun hell.
Is there a glorious heaven? We are invited to seek it. There is but one way to heaven, and Christ is that way. Oh, what a Saviour is Jesus! Can we who deserve hell, avoid it? Yes, glory be to him, he shed his precious blood to redeem his people from it.
His perfect righteousness is the only title to glory; and this righteousness is theirs, who believe in him. There must also be fitness for this holy state, and this is the work of the Spirit. If we are found among the redeemed, we owe it to the Father's love, the Son's salvation, and the Spirit's grace. God grant that we may so hear his word, at this, and at all times, that, mixing faith with it, we may profit thereby; and “growing up into Christ in all things," and “ looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life," we may faithfully and diligently serve him, and our generation, according to his will; enjoy his gracious presence in all the means of grace; experience the support of his Gospel in the trying hour of death; and, finally, have an " abundant entrance afforded us into his everlasting kingdom and glory.”
“Now to the God of our salvation, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be universal and everlasting praise.
EZEKIEL Xxxvi. 26.
A new Heart will I give you.
Y dear children, I hope you will mind what I
am going to say to you. I am going to read you a sermon made on purpose for children, and made so plain that I hope you will understand it all. I suppose you know that you have souls, which must live when you die, and must go to heaven or hell for ever. Now, do you not think it is right to mind your souls, so that they may not go to hell? I know that you love to play, and it is right you should play sometimes; but you should mind something else besides play. You know there is a God that lives in heaven, and it is he who gives you meat and drink, and clothes; it is he who keeps you from being sick, and from dying; and he does this that you may
have time to think of him, and pray to him. For I would have you to know that it is a terrible thing for God to be angry with you. It is a great deal worse than for your father and mother, or master, to be angry with you. Perhaps they may beat you when they are angry; but God Almighty can cast you into hell, to be burned in the fire for ever and ever.-Perhaps you will say, I hope he will not do so to me. My dear children, I hope so too; and I read this to you, that you may know how to avoid that misery, and
that you may learn the way to heaven. Now Jesus Christ is the way to heaven. He came down from heaven to save us from going to hell ; and he did this by suffering and dying for our sins, that we might not suffer for them ourselves ; just as if one of you were going to be beat, and punished for doing wrong, and another person should, in love to you, and to keep you from being hurt, be beat in your stead, and so you escape the punishment. The first thing that must be known in order to your being saved is this, that " you are sinners ;" that “
you have left undone what you ought to have done, and that
you have done the things you ought not to have done." When your parents have been angry with you for doing wrong, you have perhaps thought of it afterwards, and have been very sorry for it; and when
sorry for it, you want them to forgive you,
and you go to them and ask their pardon. You also promise to do so no more. Now, there is something in religion like this. We have all done what we should not do, and God may justly be angry with us; but “there is forgiveness with him that he may be feared." His dear Son Jesus Christ bore his anger
and he sends his servants with the Gospel, that is, Good news; telling us, that if we conse to him by Jesus Christ he will
forgive us, and be kind to us, and help us to do better for the time to come. Now the text I have read is God's kind
promise to his children. A new heart will I give you. The word heart does not signify any part of your bodies, but it means the mind, the spirit, the disposition; that God will make it new, and right, and good; so that you should love, and serve, and enjoy him, both here and hereafter. It is the same thing that is in another place called being born again. You may remember reading, in the third chapter of St. Jobn, that an aged man, named Nicodemus, came to
for us ;
Jesus Christ by night, to be taught by him; and that our Saviour said to him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except
a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. By this he meant a change of heart, which is made by the power and grace of the Spirit of God. Now, if the heart were not bad, there would be no need to change it ; but the heart of every person, of every child, is very bad, till grace alters it. We are all born in sin, and love sin, until we are born again; and then we love Christ, and every thing that is good. And you will observe, that being baptized, or christened, is not the same as being born again. Water cannot cleanse or change the heart; it is an "outward visible sign of grace, but not grace itself. The nature of this gracious change I shall now explain to you, by describing both the old heart, which God takes away, and the new heart, which God gives.
I. The heart is by nature hard; it is compared in the words after the text to a stone, that feels nothing; the heart of man by nature has no feeling ; that is, no feeling of spiritual things. A person who has no grace may be tender-hearted to his fellow-creatures,
weep with them that weep;" but yet not mind what God says to him in the Bible. The Bible says we are all lost and ruined sinners; that the wrath of God abideth on us if we believe not; that God is angry with the wicked and will turn them into hell; but how few people regard this! They eat and drink, and take their pleasure, even on the Lord's day, as if nothing were the matter. Now, is not this owing to the bardness of their hearts? If you were to see a poor wretch at the bar, condemned to die by the judge, and he was to remain unmoved, or even laugh in his face, you would think he had a very hard heart. Now this is the case of
sinner. My dear children, is it not your case ? You are “ by