Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

claim? If not, how can we wonder, that He hears our prayers no more, when His former loving kindness has been so unthankfully received by us?

And, now, to return to the immediate occasion of the present sermon. I have shown you, my brethren, that it is to God's hand and His immediate providence, that we are taught by Scripture to ascribe all the blessings and calamities, of what kind soever, which befal us in the present world: - that, of the sorrows which He lays on us, our sins are the righteous cause; and that for all these afflictions sent by Him, repentance and prayer are the proper and most certain remedy.

As, then, I have placed before your eyes, both the cause and the cure of the calamities which, at present, threaten us, let us beware how we, on the one hand, despise the chastisement of the Lord; or, on the other, lest we faint, when we are rebuked of Him. On the one hand, as a due sense of His justice, His power, and His present visible displeasure (a displeasure written in letters of darkness on the face of heaven, and proclaimed aloud to the nations of the earth, in the sound of His waterspouts, and in the voice of His thunder), a due sense of His anger and our danger, should move us to fly from the wrath to come, and to endeavour, like the men of Nineveh, to turn

as

away by prayer the fierceness of His wrath; and, like the objects of our Saviour's mercy on earth, to sin no more, lest a still worse misfortune come to us; so a recollection of the merciful purpose, for which He sends afflictions into the world, may preserve us from despair, and encourage us to persevere in the path which leads to safety. He chasteneth us, indeed, for sin; but He chasteneth, as a loving father chasteneth his children; to the intent, that we may return in time from the error of our ways; and that our souls may be delivered from those far worse sufferings which are the lot of impenitent sinners. The affliction is sent, to lead us to repentance. Repent, then, and it will be taken away. He sent thunder and rain into the harvest of the Israelites; - but He sent them, only that those Israelites might know that their wickedness was great which they had done before Him. Let us also perceive our errors; let us also cry unto the Lord; and who knows but we, like those Israelites, may receive a speedy and a joyful deliverance?

True it is that our national offences require a national repentance; and the obscurity of our stations, and the smallness of our numbers may seem to deprive us of all hope, that our prayers or amendment of life can influence those storms, which are sent for the common chastisement of Britain. Yet who knows, from how small begin

nings the reformation of the multitude may arise; who knows, how much the earnest prayers of two or three assembled in Christ's name may avail for the welfare of their brethren;- who knows, how far the general calamity may be lightened in our particular case, and the destroying angel be instructed to lay his hand more gently on the fields of those whose hearts are right before Him? All this who knows? who can know? But this we know (for God Himself has told us), that the present world, its joys and sorrows, its plenty and its want, are the least, the very least portion of a Christian's hopes or fears; and that, however our Heavenly Father may dispose of the approaching earthly harvest, it is at least in our power, by faith and prayer, to make good our portion in the last great harvest of Eternity, in which Angels will be the reapers, and God, the husbandman; and where the wheat will be gathered into the stores of Him who has sowed His seed in our hearts; and the weeds and thorns and brambles of the world, burnt up with fire unquenchable.

Pray then, my friends, with me, that God, who, in His justice, has threatened us this second year with a plague of rain and waters, may, on our true repentance, send us such weather, as that we may receive the fruits of the earth in due season; but pray, still more earnestly, that whatever share, whether small or great, He

allows to us of the bread which perisheth, He will not shut us out from the marriage supper of His Son, and from that happy land and golden city, where we shall neither hunger, nor thirst any more; where there "shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for God shall wipe away all tears from all eyes."1

1 Revelation, xxi. 4.

SERMON XXXVI.

FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY.

ST. LUKE, X. 42.

But one thing is needful.

In every pursuit of life, and under every possible chain of circumstances, a wise man will pay most regard to that, which most concerns the object, which he has in view. Some one such object every man must always have, which is the end and aim of his exertions and labour ; and which, whether the part, which he has chosen, be wise, or foolish, is the main object of his attention, and the point, upon which he supposes, whether truly or otherwise, his happiness or comfort will depend. Thus, the man, who desires to be rich, will make riches the constant subjects of his thoughts; he will rise early, and late take rest; he will lose no opportunity of a profitable bargain; and will give up many of his comforts, for the sake of saving money, and of bringing himself, by all possible means, nearer to the fortune on which he has fixed his hopes. Other thoughts may, perhaps, enter into his

« ÎnapoiContinuă »