« ÎnapoiContinuați »
in comparison with the infinite multitude of creatures in the compass of nature, as a grain of sand to all the sands upon the sea shore, or as a mote to the vast globe of earth. And yet he, that has the care of the whole universe, takes particular notice of you—you who are but trifles, compared with your fellow creatures ; and who, if you were annihilated, would hardly leave a blank in the creation.. Consider this, and wonder at the condescension of God; consider this, and acknowledge your own meanness; you are but nothing, not only compared with God, but you are as nothing in the system of creation.
I shall add but this one natural reflection : If it be so great a happiness to have the great God for our patron, then what is it to be out of his favor ? to be disregarded by him ? methinks an universal tremor may seize this assembly at the very supposition. And is there a creature in the universe in this wretched condition ? methinks all the creation besides must pity him. Where is the wretched being to be found ? must we descend to hell to find him ? No, alas! there are many such on this earth! nay, I must come nearer you still, there are many such probably in this assembly : all among you are such who are not poor and contrite in spirit, and do not tremble at the word of the Lord. And art thou not one of the miserable number, O man ? What ! disregarded by the God that made thee! not favored with one look of love by the Author of all happiness! He looks on thee indeed, but it is with eyes of indignation, marking thee out for vengeance ; and canst thou be easy in such a case? wilt thou not labor to impoverish thyself, and have thy heart broken, that thou mayest become the object of his gracious regard ?
THE NATURE AND DANGER OF MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST
Matt. xii. 5—But they made light of it.
There is not one of us in this assembly that has heard anything, but what has heard of Christ and salvation: there is not one of us but has had the rich blessings of the gospel freely and repeatedly offered to us: there is not one of us but stands in the most absolute need of these blessings, and must perish for ever without them; I wish I could add, there is not one of us but has cheerfully accepted them according to the offer of the gospel. But, alas ! such an assembly is not to be expected on earth! Multitudes will make light of Christ and the invitations of the gospel, as the Jews did.
This parable represents the great God under the majestic idea of a king.
He is represented as making a marriage feast for his Son; that is, God in the gospel offers his Son Jesus Christ as a Savior to the guilty sons of men, and, upon their acceptance of him, the most intimate and endearing union, and the tenderest mutual affection take place between Christ and them ; which may properly be represented by the marriage relation. And God has provided for them a rich variety of blessings, pardon, holiness, and everlasting felicity, which may be signified by a royal nuptial feast, verse 2.
These blessings were first offered to the Jews, who were bidden to the wedding by Moses and the prophets, whose great business it was to prepare them to receive the Messiah, verse 3.
The servants that were sent to call them, that were thus bidden, were the apostles and seventy disciples, whom Christ sent out to preach that the gospel kingdom was just at hand, verse 3.
When the Jews rejected this call, he sent forth other servants, namely, the apostles, after his ascension, who were to be more urgent in their invitations, and to tell them that, in consequence of Christ's death, all things were now ready, verse 4.
It is seldom that invitations to a royal feast are rejected; but alas ! the Jews rejected the invitation of the gospel, and would not accept of its important blessings. They made light of Christ and his blessings: they were careless to them, and turned their attention to other things.
These things were not peculiar to the Jews, but belong to us sinners of the Gentiles in these ends of the earth. Christ is still proposed to us; to the same blessings we are invited ; and I have the honor, my dear brethren, of appearing among you as a servant of the heavenly King, sent out to urge you to embrace the offer.
I doubt not but sundry of you have complied; and you are enriched and made for ever.
But alas ! must I not entertain a godly jealousy over some of you? Have you not made light of Christ and salvation, to which you have been invited for so many years successively?
Your case is really lamentable, as I hope you will see before I have done ; and I most sincerely compassionate you from
my heart. I now rise up in this solemn place with the design to address you with the most awful seriousness, and the most compassionate concern: and did you know how much your happiness may depend upon it, and how anxious I am lest I should fail in the attempt, I am sure you could not but pray for me, and pity me. If ever you regarded a man in the most serious temper and address, I beg you would now regard what I am going to say to you.
You cannot receive any benefit from this, or indeed any other subject, till you apply it to yourselves. And therefore, in order to reform you of the sin of making light of Christ and the gospel, I must first inquire who are guilty of it. For this purpose let us consider,
What is it to make light of Christ and the invitations of the gospel ?
I can think of no plainer way to discover this, than to inquire how we treat those things that we highly esteem; and also by way of contrast, how we treat those things which we make light of ; and hence we may discover whether Christ and the gospel may be ranked among the things we esteem, or those we disregard.
I. Men are apt to remember and affectionately think of the things that they highly esteem; but as for those which they disregard, they can easily forget them, and live from day to day without a single thought about them.
Now do you often affectionately remember the Lord Jesus Christ, and do your thoughts affectionately go after him ? do they pay him early visits in the morning ? do they make frequent excursions to him through the day? and do you lie down with him in your hearts at night? Is not the contrary evident as to many of you ? Can you not live from day to day thoughtless of Jesus, and your everlasting salvation Recollect now, how many affectionate thoughts have you had of these things through the week past, or in this sacred morning. And can you indeed highly esteem those things which you hardly ever think of? Follow your own hearts, Sirs, observe which way they most naturally and freely run, and then judge whether you make light of the gospel or not. Alas! we cannot persuade men to one hour's serious consideration what they should do for an interest in Christ ; we cannot persuade them so much as to afford him only their thoughts, which are such cheap things; and yet they will not be convinced that they make light of Christ. And here lies the infatuation of sin; it blinds and befools men, so that they do not know what they think of, what they love, or what they intend, much less do they know the habitual bent of their souls. They often imagine themselves free from those sins to which they are most enslaved, and particularly they think themselves innocent of the crime of making light of the gospel, when this is the very crime that is likely to destroy them for ever.
II. The things that men value, if of such a nature as to admit of publication, will be the frequent subjects of their discourse : the thoughts will command the tongue, and furnish materials for conversation. But those things that they forget and disregard they will not talk of.
Do not they therefore make light of Christ and salvation, who have no delight in conversing about them, and hardly ever mention the name of Christ but in a trifling
or profane manner ? They do not like the company where divine things are discoursed of, but think it precise and troublesome. They had much rather be entertained with humorous tales and idle stories, or talk about the affairs of the world. They are of the world, says St. John, therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them, 1 John iv. 5. They are in their element in such conversation. Or others may talk about religion; but it is only about the circumstances of it, as, "How such a man preached; it was a very good or a bad ser. mon,” &c., but they care not to enter into the spirit and substance of divine things; and if they speak of Christ and experimental religion, it is in a heartless and insipid
And do not such make light of the gospel ? and is not this the character of many of
III. Men make light of those things, if they are of a practical nature, which they only talk about, but do not reduce into practice.
Christianity was intended not to furnish matter for empty talkers, but to govern the heart and practice. But are there not some that only employ their tongues about it, especially when their spirits are raised with liquor, and then a torrent of noisy religion breaks from them. Watch their lives, and you will see little appearance of Christianity there. And do not these evidently make light of Christ, who make him the theme of their drunken conversation, or who seem to think that God sent his Son from heaven just to set the world a talking about him? There is nothing in nature that seems to me more abominable than this.
IV. We take the utmost pains and labor to secure the things we value, and cannot be easy while our property in them is uncertain ; but those things that we think lightly of we care but little whether they be ours or not.
Therefore, have not such of you made light of Christ and salvation, who have lived twenty or thirty years uncertain whether you have interest in him, and yet have been easy and contented, and take no method to be resolved ? Are all that hear me this day determined in this important question, “What shall become of me when I die?” Are you all certain upon good grounds, and after a thorough trial, that you shall be saved ? Oh