Page images
PDF
EPUB

It is the compassionate and omniscient Saviour, who in the text bids you be ready for the end of mortal life. Did he not know what he said ? Did he not know that a certain, sudden, and dreadful death awaits the impenitent? Think you he did not know, that unless you heed his warning, and prepare to die, the day of your death will bring to your departing spirits overwhelming evidence that you are ruined forever? Yes, he knew all this. And will you go on to make the dreadful experiment, and try whether these things are true? Is it a small thing to give up all hope of heaven? Is it a triling thing to renounce all dependence on Christ ? Is it a little matter to challenge God to spend the fierceness of his wrath upon you? If not, how can you venture yet to treat with contemptuous neglect, the kind warnings and invitations of Immanuel? You are, perhaps, emboldened by a hope of a prolonged life and late repentance. But can such an expectation be reasonable? It may be safely averred, that no man ever yet found such a hope resting on a good foundation. They who cherish it, " keep in store"

“One disappointment sure to crown the rest;

“ The disappointment of a proinised hour.” To hope for this with a present neglect of known, and most reasonable, and urgent duty, is emphatically not only to hope against hope, but to hope against reason, experience, and the word of God. Such a hope is built on the spider's web, on the vanishing vapor, on the fleeting shadow, on the passing wind! But you are young, are in health, are strangers to disease; and so for a season were more than half of those whose remains are sleeping in yonder place of sepulchres. There is no such thing really as a long life in this dying world. Man that is born of a woman is of few days. A late repentance and preparation for death, are of a distressingly questionable character, and, in nearly every instance, may be pronounced no repentance--no preparation ! O that those of you, dear hearers, who are emboldened in sin by the hope of long life and late repentance, could have one view of those thousands and millions, who trifled with their convictions and made light of the calls of the gospel, until these calls and convictions became the occasion of aggravating their condemnation, and of ministering fuel to their tormenting flames! The view might not, indeed, induce you to BE READY for the coming of the Lord, but it would show you what must become of

you,

if
you

continue to act the same inconsiderate part. It would show you, that your present course must bring you into the same place of torment. But there is a place of torment where delaying and trifling sinners have their endless abode. Will you continue to speed your course thither? Will you allow yourselves to be any longer deluded with the vain hope of lengthened days and late preparation for eternity ? It is a vain hope.

« Death is not at a distance.—No, he has been on you,
And given sure earnest of his final blow--there is but
A moment and the world's blown up to you ;

The sun is darkness, and the stars are dust.” Be persuaded, then, as you value your souls, to give now all diligence to be READY for a dying hour. Flee to the only refuge. Plant your souls, your hopes, your all for eternity on the Rock of ages. You will then be ready to live, and ready to die and live with God.

But the admonition in the text is applicable to believers. Christians who have their hopes safely fixed, are not always in a right frame to meet the event of death. The wise and the foolish are sometimes in seasons of darkness, sleeping together. But it ought not so to be. They should watch and be ready. They should keep their souls in a posture to depart at a moment's warning. By frequent selfinquiry they should have the great concern between God and their souls in readiness. They should be habitually in view of the opening scenes of the coming world. They should be

to save.

always deriving grace to help, and mercy to pardon them through the blood of Jesus, from him who is mighty

Is this our case, my brethren? Then we need not shudder at the approach of death. We may view the king of terrors without terror. We

We may lift up our souls in holy joy amidst all the horrors of a consuming world. We may even desire to speed the final advent of our Redeemer to remove us hence—and daily pray- Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!

SERMON XVI.

True Wisdom its own Reward.

PROVERBS IX. 12.

IF THOU BE WISE, THOU SHALT BE WISE FOR THYSELF ; BUT

IF THOU SCORNEST, THOU ALONE SHALT BEAR IT.

No means are left unemployed in the scripture to persuade men to become wise unto salvation. It is addressed alike to our hopes and our fears. It urges us to be truly wise alike by the terrors and the mercies of God. Throughout its sacred pages, are combined in the most felicitous manner, and in the most perfect proportion, an exhibition of the privileges, and an enforcement of the duties of our religion. While obedience to the divine requirements, is imperatively enjoined as a duty growing out of the very condition and relations of dependant creatures, the personal benefits of piety, are presented as no unallowed motive to such obedience. If to obey God, were not in the most direct way possible to contribute to a man's best good, it would not affect the duty and the obligation of his obedience. But revelation teaches us, that the gracious economy of the divine government under which we are placed in the present world, always connects a man's happiness with his obedience to his Maker's precepts. So that he cannot contemplate separately his duty and his interests ; nor discharge the one without securing the other. In the light of scripture, the overtures of the gospel are seen presented to our acceptance, not as a mere arbitrary demand upon us, in complying with which we shall rather confer, than receive a favor ; but as a proffer of an infinite good by accepting which, we shall chiefly and eternally benefit ourselves, and by rejecting which, we shall ourselves be the principal and everlasting sufferers. This is what the text asserts.

IF THOU BE WISE, THOU SHALT BE WISE FOR THYSELF; BUT IF THOU SCORNEST, THOU ALONE SHALT BEAR IT.

The bible is full of the most impressive exhortations, entreaties, calls, and commands urging men to seek true wisdom. And yet the world, even that part of it where the scripture is circulated, read, and preached, is full of those who scornfully decline the

requisite pursuit of the wisdom which is from above. The price is put into their hands to get it, but they spend it for that which is only profitless and ruinous. They convert the means of attaining it, into the occasions of weakening their desires, and abating their pursuit of it. Because these means are so abundant and perpetual, they encourage themselves in delay, thinking that tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant, “till wisdom is pushed out of life," and they become wise too late.

A secret consideration with some which serves to perpetuate a guilty and destructive inattention to the solicitations of divine mercy in the gospel, and against the influence of which the text is especially designed to guard men, is that by attending with the requisite earnestness and interest to these things, they shall confer a favor on the Most High, at the expense of their own present ease and guilt. That infinite Being, who so graciously condescends to invite men to secure the salvation of their souls, has, indeed, no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Every thing in his word and providence, shows that he desires and seeks to effect the conversion of sinners to himself. Were it not so, his

« PreviousContinue »