Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

never suffer himself to become the bat public error and vice, although it dupe, or the instrument of a faction., be at the expense of public favour, His patriot breast will disdain to har. choosing rather to fall in the support bour a spirit, that would immolate and defence of national virtue, than one half of his countrymen with the to rise on the food of national corhope of ruling and reigning with the ruption and wickedness. rest. Equally inimical will he be to “ This is a noble characteristic of a that boasted philanthropy, whose co- soldier. It is something different lossal strides to fraternize the whole from that mechanical courage that is world, are stained with the blood and acquired in a crowd, or from calcu. covered with the victims of all its lations upon chance. It is something parts. His benevolence for his kind distinct from that hardihood, which will never wage war with his affec. arises from general insensibility to tion for his kindred. His friends are evil and to good. However useful the friends of his country, and he is this kind of bravery may be under an enemy to those only, who are at the direction and management of a. war with its rights and liberties. military despot; yet it is not that The language of his heart is, and the true valour, which excites admira. same is inscribed upon every enter. tion and inspires the greatest confi. prize, “If I forget thee, O Jerusa. dence. This is a virtue that arises lem, let my right hand forget her from reflection ; from a consideration cunning. If I do not remember thee, of a greater good, than length of let my tongue cleave to the roof of days ; from a belief of an existence, my mouth."

that can neither be embittered nor “When a knowledge of the milita- destroyed by the wrath of man; from ry art is animated by a spirit of pa- the hope of a reward for noble and triotism, it will seldom fail of being virtuous actions, more sure and more accompanied with true valour. This lasting than national gratitude or popis another essential requisite in the ular favour ; from the prospect of a character of a soldier. Not that crown more honorary and glorious courage, however, which would lead a than the laurels, which the hero gath. man rasbly and unnecessarily to ex-' ers in the field of battle... inore im. pose his life to danger. Not that perishable than the marble, on which mistaken passion, which, rather than is inscribed the conqueror's fame. endure the adversities of life, tempts This godlike virtue is the offspring a man to lay violent hands upon him. of religion, and is nourished by pięty. self. Not that false, impious cour. And we have said, that these are not age, which under the influence of only consistent with the character, personal revenge, sooner than lose but are the brightest ornaments, the the pleasure of quenching the fire of most honourable insignia, the safest resentment in the blood of a fellow and most complete armour of a sol, soldier, looks to heaven, and chal. dier, lenges Omnipotence to preserve that “ With these the pious king of Ju. life, which it has challenged man to dah was adorned, and by them also destroy..... But that true bravery, he was strengthened. They gave which, in obedience to the call of its beauty to his character, and energy country, prefers the post of duty, and splendour to his actions. We although it be in the high road to admire and commend his vigilance danger and to death, to dishonoura. and activity in fortifying his cities ble fight, or dastardly obscurity. and preparing for resistance. But That active, persevering valour, that we venerate inore his humility and never sleeps when its country is in piety in trusting in the God of Israel ; danger...is never weary in vindicating and, in addition to his own exertions, her rights and defending her liber. repairing to the throne of the Most ties against the encroachments and High, and beseeching Him, in a time usurpation of avarice and ambition. of trouble and danger, to be the shield That magnanimity that cheerfully and refuge of his people. We ap. sacrifices private case and emolu. plaud his wisdom and prudence in ment to public security, to national seasonably organizing his forces and prosperity and happiness. That he- amply furnishing them with instru. roic fortitude that nobly dares to com. ments of defence. But we are charm

ed with the faith and confidence, he cause of his existence here, may be expressed, not merely in the height the cause of his existence hereafter. and strength of his walls, nor in the Or, if there is no cause, he may exist number and discipline of his troops ; without a cause, in another state, as but in the wisdom and strength of well as in this. And if his corrupt that Arm, which bringeth salvation, heart and abominable works make and getteth the victory. This was the him so unhappy here, that he had ground of encouragement to his peo. rather be anoihilated, than run the ple....the great animating motive, by hazard of a future existence, what which he roused then to resistance, hinders but that he may be unhappy and inspired them with undaunted forever! The man then is a fool, who bravery against the enemy. “For wishes there were no God, hoping there be more with us than with him: thus to be secure from future misery; with him is an arm of flesh; but for, admitting that there were no God, with us is the Lord our God to help still he may exist hereafter, as well us and to fight our battles.”

as here ; and if he does exist, his corruptions and vices may render him miserable eternally, as well as fue

the present.” Sermons on various subjects,

In the second discourse, the evangelical, devotional, and subject of which is “ Enmity to practical

, adapted to the promo. Religion,” the following objection of Christian piety, famity tion is introduced, “ The gospel religion, and youthful virtue. is mysterious, but if God gives By JOSEPH LATHROP, D. D,

men a revelation, he will give Pastor of the first church in them one, which they can under

stand.” To which the Doctor West Springfield. Worcester. Isaiah Thomas, jun. 1806.

replies,

* It must be supposed, that a rer.

elation from God relating to the in. TAAT the author of these ser visible and eternal world, and to our mons is a man of genius, an ele. preparation for an entrance into it, gant writer, and a well informed will contain some things, which, tho' divine, the public are already intelligible as far as our practice is convinced by undeniable proof. and incomprehensible in many unes

concerned, may yet be mysterious Besides a large number of sin sential circumstances : for, indeed, gle discourses, three volumes of almost every thing which we see, is sermons had obtained an extensive so. Even the religion of nature concirculation, before the publica- ries, as the religion of the gospel

.

tains as great and inserutable mystetion of that under review. At the

The eternity, self-existence, omniDoctor's age an access of reputa- presence, and foreknowledge of God tion is not ordinarily to be ex are as inexplicable, as the doctrine of pected; but even in this respect and mind in man is as mysterious, as

the Trinity. The connexion of body he will lose nothing by the pres- the union of the divine and human ent work. The subjects are va natures in Christ. The influence of rious, and many of them pecul- providence in supporting our frame, iarly interesting. From the first directing our motions, and overruling sermon, “On the folly of Athe

our actions is as ynsearchable, as the

influence of the Spirit in forming us ism," we make the following ex

to the teinper, and assisting us to the tract.

duties of religion. The creation of “If it were true, that there is no the world and of the first man out of God, what evidence can the Atheist nothing, is as inconceivable to our rea. bave, that he shall not exist and be son, as the resurrection of the dead miserable after death? How came he after their bodies are mingled with to exist at all Wbatever was the dust. If, then, we reject the gospel

To a

sermon

because we find in it doctrines, which world, a much greater number of We cannot comprehend, we shall not sinners, than of saints; and it is not long retain natural religion, whose credible, that a merciful God will doctrines are quite as incomprehen. doom to misery so great a proportion sible. Every man who pretends to of his intelligent creatures.' believe any thing about religion, must “But do you seriously think, that believe the eternity, omnipresence, the number of sinners is a reason, foreknowledge and universal provi. why God will not punish any? If it dence of God; the existence and im- is, then the greater the number, the mortality of a rational mind united to stronger the reason for impunity. this mortal body; the creation of man And consequently by promoting .vice, by the immediate power of God; and you add to the general safety. I hope our continual dependence on him for you will not act on such an opinion. life and breath, and for all our abili. Though the number of sinners be ties and pleasures. Without a belief ever so great, and their combinations of these grand truths, there is no ever so strong, the wicked shall not foundation for religion. But if every go unpunished. If sin indulged in thing mysterious is, for that reason, the heart, and practised in the life, incredible, these must be discarded not only deserves punishment from with the mysteries of the gospel. The the justice of God, but tends to mis. infidel, who cavils at the latter, will ery in its own nature, then the number Aot long spare the former.”

of sinners is no security; for this will

from these neither lessen sin's demerit, nor ar. words, Thou art good and dost rest its tendency. Though thousands good ; teach me thy statutes, the should, at the same time, be afflicted author has given the following feel his own pain alleviated by the

with a painful disease, not one will title, God's goodness the hope of sufferings of the rest. Vice is the the penitent ; but no security to disorder, as well as the guilt of the the finally impenitent. In this soul ; and the disorder is the same, sermon some of the popular ar- with it. The man tormented with

whether many or few are infected guments in favour of universal envy, malice, pride, ambition, and salvation are answered with great avarice, is still tormented, though clearness and energy

thousands of others may indulge “ You should always keep it in the same passions. You may as well mind, that wickedness tends to mis expect that a general famine will sat. ery, and must, if retained, finally ter. isfy every man's hunger, as expect minate in it. The question, there that general wickedness will prevent fore, is not so much concerning God's each one's misery. Vice will operate immediate execution of punishment like itself in every one, who habitualon sinners, as concerning their bring- ly practises it; and every one must ing misery on themselves. If you bear his own burden. If numbers continue in your sins, and die in your cannot turn vice into virtue, then impenitence, “know ye, that your sins numbers can be no defence against will find you out, and your iniquities punishment. !f it be just to punish will fall upon you”_" His own ini. one sinner, it is just to punish ten, quities shall take the wicked himself; or ten thousand.

The number of he shall be holden in the cords of his sinners alters not the justice of the sins.” It is absurd to start cavils procedure. Human government may, against, and study evasions of the di. on reasons of state, sometimes spare vine threatenings, unless you can an offending multitude; but these prove, that a wicked and ungodly reasons cannot operate with the Dea life, followed with a hardened and ity. His power is as sufficient to impenitent death, is, in its nature, punish many as few. Though the consistent with glory and happiness. whole human race should rebel, his Some, I suppose, will say, “ If we are throne stands firm. He needs not the to judge of men's characters accord. services of his creatures ; and if he ing to the tenor of the gospel, there did, the same power which created is, and probably ever bas been in the bose who now exist, could supply by

[ocr errors]

a naw creation the place of all who emy came and sowed täres among the revoft."

wheat, and went his way. But when In all ages the origin of evil the blade was sprung up, and brought seems to have been a subject of forth fruit, then appeared the tares perplexing inquiry. No point, holder came and said unto him: Sir, perhaps, in philosophy or meta- didst thou not sow good seed in thy physics, has been more painfully field ? From whence then hath it tares? investigated ; but the difficulties He said to them, an enemy bath done attending it have not disappear this." In the explanation of this par

able, Jesus says, “ The field is the ed. With regard to this sub

world; the good geed are the chil. ject, God holdeth back the face of dren of the kingdom; but the tares his throne, and spreadeth a cloud are the children of the wicked one ; upon it. Dr. L. has briefly treat the enemy, that sowed them, is the ed this subject, in a discourse

devil.” In tracing the introduction of which has this title ; The sins

evil, our Lord goes no farther; and

here our inquiries must be stayed. and miseries of men, noi God's Had the householder judged it nedoings, but their own.

cessary, that his servants should know On the question of God's pos- he became so malicious, he would,

where this enemy got his seed, or how itive efficiency in the production

on so fair an occasion, have instruct. of moral evil, our author, in ed them further on the subject. He agreement with the divines of said no more upon it, because no more the synod of Dort, and a large needed to be said. With this his sermajority of those, who have been

vants were fully satisfied. It would

be well, that we should terminate our considered most orthodox, em

inquiries, where these modest serbraces the negative. He suppo vants terminated theirs." ses, that it implies no contradic The following, on a very diftion, that God should communi- ferent subject, is no common specate to man the power of origin- cimen of fine writing. ating some of his volitions. On “ Here we need the vicissitudes of this subject, we offer no opinion. day and night for labour and rest. We only express our wish that The light is sweet, and a pleasant men on both sides would be care- thing it is for the eyes to behold the sul not to misrepresent the senti- repose, is, however, a gloomy season.

The night, though favourable to ments of their opponents, and the gloom we endeavour to dispel would govern themselves and by artificial lights. But in heaven seek to influence others by fair, there is no need of a candle, for there scriptural reasoning. How va

is no night there ; and no need of the rious soever may be the senti- lighten it, and Jesus is the light

sun, for the glory of the Lord doth ments of our readers on the thereof. Here we have our seasons question, they will agree, it is of sorrow and affliction.

Our joys believed, that the discourse of

are transient. Our bright and happy which we are speaking, is writ. days are interrupted with dark and ten with caudour and ingenuity. cheerful suns are obscured by scowl.

stormy nights. Our smiling and If the Doctor cannot satisfy, he ing and angry clouds. Death is seems resolved not to offend. stalking around—we see his frightful

“On the question concerning the footsteps, we hear his hollow voice. introduction of evil, we need go no We tremble for our children and farther, and we can go no farther, friends ; we mourn the loss of breththan our Saviour has gone.

ren and companions ; we have no se“ The kingdom of heaven is likened curity for our most pleasing connes. unto a man, who sowed good seed in ions; we are doomed to suffer the his field ; and while men slept un en- anguish of their dissolution. In hear

sun.

He says,

en things will be new. All friend " It was a nipping sermon, a ship there will be the union of pure pinching sermon, a biting ser and immortal minds in disinterested benevolence to one another, and in mon, a sharp biting sermon. supreme love to the all glorious Je We know of no language more hovah.”

descriptive of the discourse unIn the sixth particular of in- der consideration. The reader struction, suggested by the story may judge by the following speof the importunate friend, p. 215, cimen : are many valuable thoughts ; but “ There is one observation more, their connexion with the subject which, though not mentioned by our is less obvious, than could be de: apostle, yet naturally arises from our

subject; sired. The close of the sermon

; namely, that this infernal

heat, which usually sets the tongue is very impressive, and calculated

on fire, and renders it very voluble to melt the backsliding Christian. and loquacious, sometimes causes a

“ Remember, my Christian friends, swell and stiffness, which is accomthe kindness of your youth, the love of panied by a sullen taciturnity. This · your espousals, when you went after symptom, though not so extensively Christ in the wilderness. Remember mischievous, as the inflammation, your former fears and distresses un which we have described, may be as der a conviction of your sins. Re- painful to the patient, and as vexatious member what earnest applications to the bystanders. We read of some, you made to your Saviour, and what who were brought, by their friends, kind answers, in due time, you re to our Saviour to be cured of their ceived. Remember what comfort dumbness. Whether this dumbness you felt, when you could call brim your was caused by the impotence of the Saviour and friend, and could appro organ, or by the wilfulness of the priate the evidences and tokens ot his mind, it is not said. *But whatever love. Remember your former zeal might be the immediate cause, there for his service, and your professed was a satanical operation at the botdedication to him. Has your zeal tom. The patients are expressly languished, and your love waxed cold? said to be “possessed of the devil,” Remember, how you have received to have a « dumb spirit." And and heard; how you have resolved “ when the devil was cast out, the and promised; and hold fast and re

dumb spake." pent."

Few author's manifest a more If sinners treat with indifference the calls and invitations of the Save productive genius, or more exiour ; yet who would expect this from

tensive theological information, you? Did yon not promise that you than Dr. L. His mind, in no would be holiness to the Lord, and that degree enervated by years, still all your works, like the first fruits, displays its rich, undiminished should be consecrated to him? What

treasures, to the improvement iniquity hare ye found in him, that

His exyour should depart from him and walk and joy of believers. after vanity ? 'I beseech you by the cellence, as an author, appears mercies of Christ, by your own expe- in his descriptive, practical, and rience of his mercies, and by the devotional performances ; rather promises, which you have made, that than in those which are controyou present yourselves living sacrifices, holy and acceptable, which is versial. Though it ought to be your reasonable service.”

acknowledged, that the sermons The twenty-first discourse is he has published against Deism entitled, “ The pernicious ef- and Atheism are potent and irrefects of an inflamed tongue.”

sistible in point of argument. The tongue is a fire, &c. James iii. 6. Bishop Latimer said of Jo

* Ste Latimer's sermon, delivered benah's message to the Ninevites, fore king Edward 6th, 1550. No. 11. Vol. II.

Uuu

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »