« ÎnapoiContinuați »
then are ye
to such a notion St. Paul reasons, when he
“if ye be without chastisement, then are ye bastards and not sons:” as though the Apostle had said, then are ye children of wrath rather than children of grace;
children of the evil one rather than children of God. The language of our text, however, is amply sufficient to assure us that though misfortunes, and sudden and premature death, frequently befall those who are comparatively innocent, yet do sinners oftentimes suffer, and sooner or later will they always suffer the just punishment of their offences: " Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
In conclusion, therefore, it may be observed, that the
ways of God, and his dealings with the children of men, are always just, though they may not be, and though they frequently are not always comprehensible to human weakness. Inasmuch, brethren, as all, even the best of us, are more or less sinful, we are all of us liable to suffer for our offences. And for such a reason does it so frequently happen that we witness distress and afflictions, and premature death, among the best of mortals. The best of mortals, in truth, too frequently err; and too seldom and too inconstantly by prayer, and by other means of grace which are placed at their disposal, resist those sins which, though few, and, humanly speaking, comparatively trifling, are nevertheless sins, and must be treated as such. Too seldom, I fear, do those whom we are pleased to designate good men, reflect that people will hereafter he judged, and even now, to some extent, are judged by God, not according to what they have not, but according to what they have; that some possess five, others two, and others only one talent! “ Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear?”.
INDUSTRY, AS OPPOSED TO LUKEWARMNESS,
NECESSARY TO SECURE HEAVEN.
ST. LUKE, xiii. 23, 24.
“ Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that
be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate : for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."
When we consider the infinite disparity which exists between God and man, between the creature and the Creator, we must at once perceive that many are the facts with which the human mind must be altogether unacquainted. Of one thing, however, we may feel ourselves well assured, and this is, that whatever may be the fate of the faithless and the disobedient, those who do good, those who perform the commands of Christ, as explained and made known to us in the Gospel of Christ, will hereafter inherit those inconceivable blessings which at present can only be experienced and comprehended by the angels in heaven.
Notwithstanding, however, so self-evident a fact, notwithstanding this undoubted and most invaluable truth, which the Sacred Volume of God's Word almost everywhere presents to our notice, there are some persons who would pry into mysteries, an acquaintance with which, as it is evident, must be altogether incompatible with that state of probation which is incident to mortality. In fact, I think I should scarcely surpass the limits of truth were I to assert that there are few persons of reflection, by whom the question has not been suggested either to themselves or others :-“ What will hereafter become of those hoards of human beings, whether within or without the pale of Christ's church, who have omitted to make a proper and becoming use of the talents entrusted to them?” To suppose that such will be saved, would be to do violence to the precepts of the Bible, and to the express assurance of our catholic and apostolic church, which declares that they who do good shall go
into life everlasting, and they who do evil shall go into everlasting fire. To pronounce positively, on the other hand, that all such are condemned to eternal misery, and that, without doubt, they will perish everlastingly; to do this, I mean, with any feeling of certainty in respect of the individuals who will be happy or miserable hereafter, would be to do an act which, though not incompatible with faith and charity, the first and the last of the three cardinal virtues mentioned by St. Paul, would certainly be at variance with “hope,' the intermediate one of the three enumerated by this Apostle; which hope can mean nothing, if it
do not mean that, however desperate the case of any individual or any number of individuals might be, still may we at least indulge a hope in their behalf, when we reflect that Christ is “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world,” and that his is the “ blood which cleanseth from all sin." Still, hope is but hope ; and it is a feeling, or a principle, or whatever else it may be termed, very different from the feeling, or the principle of faith, which assures us that temporal and eternal life are two objects altogether distinct from and independent of each other. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Hope, therefore, fluctuating as it does between faith on the one hand, and a brotherly and Christian feeling of love and compassion for even the most abandoned of our fellow creatures, even charity, which “thinketh no evil,” which hopeth all things, which believeth all things; hope, I say, fluctuating between these apparently adverse, though essentially and intrinsically reconcileable principles, must be akin to the feeling which prompted the interrogator of our Saviour to propose the question contained in the text: “Lord,” said he, “are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, strive to enter in at the strait : many
I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”
In respect therefore of the future destiny of them who neglect to comply with those conditions of salvation which are particularized in the Gospel of Christ,