Изображения страниц

rife alfo. He died to atone for thee: He arose to justify thee: He afcended into Heaven to prepare a place for thee: He fat down on the throne of majesty on high to be Head over all things for thy falvation. Look up to Him and perfevere. Thy labour shall not be in vain. Well done, good and faithful fervant! Thou shalt enter into the joy of thy Lord!


On the Happiness attendant on the Paths of

PROV. iii. 17.

Her Ways are Ways of Pleasantness; and all her Paths are Peace.

AMONG the internal demonftrations of

the truth of Chriftianity, the excellence of the appropriate leffons refpectively addreffed in the facred writings to different descriptions of men holds a distinguished place. To the wicked the Scripture speaks the language of indignation, tempered with offers of mercy. To the penitent it promises forgiveness. The righteous it animates with triumphant hope. To the ignorant, it holds forth inftruction; to the unwary, caution;


[ocr errors]

to the presumptuous, humility; to the feebleminded, fupport; to the wavering, perseverance; to the difpirited, encouragement; to the afflicted, confolation. Who but that Power, who difcerns every variety of the human difpofition, every winding of the human heart; could have been the author of a religion thus provided with a remedy for every corruption, a defence under every weakness? Who but that Power, whofe love to fallen man was fo immeafurably great, that He gave His own Son to die for all mankind upon the cross; to die that all who believe on Him might be redeemed from the penalty of guilt, and might attain everlasting life: who but that Father of mercies and God of all comfort would have fo graciously directed by the fuperintendence of His Spirit the facred writers of the Bible, that no individual of the human race, to whom His revealed word shall be faithfully made known, can perish for want of knowledge; nor can fail of discovering as the reward of humble and diligent enquiry the doctrine, the admonition, the reproof, the exhortation, the promise, or the counsel, precisely adapted to the fituation in which he stands?

The paffage of Scripture, which we now have before us, breathes the voice of the most



cheering encouragement. In feveral of the preceding verfes Solomon had drawn a description of religion under the appellation of wifdom. Religion is the only true wisdom: and fin is the most flagrant kind of folly. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wifdom: and to depart from evil is understanding. To the cultivation of that true wisdom the wife king invites his fon by the affurance that all things which can be defired are not to be compared unto her; that she is a tree of life to them that lay hold on her; that her ways are ways of pleasantnefs, and that all her paths are peace. The invitation, and the motives on which it is grounded, belong to us, even to all men. To the paths of religion every man is called. And the folemn declaration, that they are ways of pleasantnefs and peace, is at once an exhortation to the wicked, to fly to those tracks in which bleffedness refides; and to the righteous, to perfevere in thofe courses, in which they have already. found reft to their fouls.


I propofe in the first place to evince the truth of this declaration; and afterwards to apply it for the inftruction and improvement of those, who have not yet chofen the ways of religion, and of those who are walking in her paths.

I. The

[ocr errors]

I. The religious man is delivered, and delivered by religion, from those causes of folicitude, terror, and affliction, which are the principal fources of the miferies of mankind. And he experiences helps and confolations, to which, in proportion as men are not religious, they are strangers.

These important truths will appear manifeft, if unfolded by a confideration in detail of fome of the anxieties and fears, which religion, and religion only, removes: and of the correfponding affiftances and comforts, which religion, and religion only, beftows. 76

[ocr errors]

1. The moft grievous of all the diftreffes which weigh down the heart of man, is the fenfe of unpardoned guilt. The most terrible of all the apprehenfions which shake the foul, is the dread of the vengeance of an offended God. From this diftrefs, from this apprehenfion, the religious man is fet free. He looks up to God, through Chrift, as to a reconciled Father. Being juftified by faith, he has peace with God through our Lord Jefus (a). He no longer feels the intolerable recollection of former fins depreffing him into anguish and defpair: but in the very moments when he looks back upon them with the profoundest

[blocks in formation]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »