Imagini ale paginilor

to profit by the truth, than to quarrel with the person who tells it.

But, when the advice is good, what right have we to suppose that it is given with a bad intention? Can we read the hearts of men? or is it not from their actions only, that we can judge of their inclinations towards us? If we were hungry, or sick, or naked; and if our present adviser had given us raiment, food, or medicine; would it have been just, or wise, or grateful, to cry out, that he had only helped us out of hypocrisy, or out of pride? He has now given us, what may, perhaps, be far more valuable than either medicine, clothing, or food; and can we, dare we, speak of him with harshness or unthankfulness? Throw pearls before swine; and they tread them under feet, and turn again, and rend you; but let it not be said, that men, that Christians, receive the pearl of good counsel, with the heedlessness and savage brutality of the beasts which perish! O ye, who are in error, and who are warned of the evil and danger of your ways, - whether that warning has proceeded from a minister of the Gospel, from a parent, a friend, a kind neighbour, or a compassionate and pious stranger, if ye will not hear the advice, yet at least be thankful to the adviser: lest ye be found in the number of those, who despise and persecute the messengers

of God; and who, like Ahab, account his servants among those who "trouble Israel!"

The true and only cure, for this hatred of reproof and godly counsel, is a serious recollection of the great importance of the interests concerned; and the dreadful danger, to which a neglect of such warnings may expose us. To be wakened suddenly from sleep is always disagreeable and, like all other disagreeable sensations, produces too frequently, in the first place, anger against the person, who has thus disturbed us. But if we found our house on fire, - if we found that the flames were climbing our staircase, and that the wreaths of suffocating smoke already filled our chamber, how soon would our anger be turned into blessings on the preserver who called us to a sense of the approaching calamity, and to those exertions by which only our bodies were to be snatched from the burning! We are fallen asleep in our sins ; the mouth of hell is gaping wide to devour us; on our awaking now, and on the endeavours of the present moment, the happiness or misery of eternal ages may depend. And are we angry with that blessed roughness, which disturbs our fatal security? and do we prefer to sleep on, though we should thus awake at length in everlasting torments?

O Father of mercies, suffer not thy children

to perish but call us, LORD, by the voice of Thy ministers; send to our warning the counsel and reproof of friends; and send, at the same time, Thy powerful and penetrating Spirit of Grace, that we may so hear the reproof, and love the charitable reprover, that, with him, we may enter into that land, where the voice of chiding shall be heard no more: and where virtue, and wisdom, and love, and joy, shall encircle our steps eternally.



1 KINGS, xxi. 25.

But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.

THE name of Ahab, son of Omri, king of Israel, is conspicuous above all the rulers of that unhappy and rebellious nation, for the weight of sin imputed to him, in Scripture; and for the miserable ruin, which those unrepented transgressions brought down upon himself and his family." There was none"- we are told in the words, which I have chosen for my text, — "there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.”—And, as were his crimes, such also was his punishment. He perished himself, by an untimely end, in a lost and hopeless battle; his wife, his children, his brethren, and kindred, fell the victims of successful rebellions; and in few, very few years from the event recorded in the First Lesson

in this morning's service, the family of Ahab had, as utterly and as violently, been swept away from the face of the earth; as the former evil race of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin, and as the house of Baasha, the son of Ahijah.

It may perhaps be no unprofitable exercise to examine into the leading features of a character so severely reprobated by God's Spirit; and which received a punishment so exemplary : and most happy will it be for our souls, if we are enabled, on such inquiry, to amend in ourselves any lurking point of likeness, which we may there discover, to the wretched husband of Jezebel.

Of all the kings of Israel the besetting sin was idolatry; a crime against which the Almighty had levelled his severest censures; and to correct the advances of which he had sent, in each successive generation, a succession of inspired and holy men, as prophets and teachers of His word; whose miracles and judgements were sufficient, as may be thought, to enforce, even on the most obstinate offenders, a knowledge of their duty, and a sense of their danger. In spite of all, however, the kings, and people, of Israel persevered in the error of their ways; till their total departure from the true faith and acceptable worship of God was punished by the utter overthrow of their crown and country, and the transportation of all who

« ÎnapoiContinuă »