Page images
PDF
EPUB

go forth weeping bearing precious seed, without being allowed for many years to come again rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them. Now it has become rare for a man of faith to labor where there are devoted and praying people, without being permitted to witness almost continual displays of renewing grace. The days of the apostles have in some sort returned, and the

gospel is preached with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, in measure and power like that of Pentecost. The promise of God, a reliance on which has long been the chief support of faithful pastors, is now fulfilling almost beyond the fervent hopes of the godly. How long this period of refreshing may continue—how long before this day of revivals may close—or what new embarrassments and trials may arise amidst these descending showers of converting grace, to trouble and discourage the humble and enlightened ambassadors of Christ, are all alike to be learned only from the unfolding future. Doubtless, if one class of discouragements disappears, others equally formidable will come. Every one who will be found doing his Master's work, must have something to try his faith and patience—something to press him down--something to make him feel where his strength lies—something to make him borrow his impulses and his energies from above. But yet who will not take courage from the existing aspect of Zion ! Who will not welcome these tokens of the Saviour's gracious presence, as symptoms of a still brighter day; of his still more glorious triumphs—of his approaching millennial reign?

And now, beloved hearers, what use shall we make of this subject. Although it respects the duties, difficulties, and encouragements of christian ministers, yet we all have an interest in it. The christian ministry is a grand and glorious institution, intimately associated with all that is truly desirable in time, and all that is blessed in eternity. Every one, then, is bound to give it his cordial support and encouragement. The duties connected with it, are interesting and momentous beyond description. On the manner of their performance, depend results which it is impossible seriously to contemplate without concern. And yet numerous and formidable are the circumstances that tend to embarrass its faithful performance. These duties, with their attending difficulties and discouragements, come upon me. And may not my heart breathe the anxious interrogatory-WHO IS SUFFICIENT FOR THESE THINGS ? My experience in the work of the ministry, certainly does not abate my sense of its magnitude, importance, and difficulties. Never did I'more sensibly feel their solemnity and weight. Never did I more need the sympathy and prayers

of
my

fellow christians. Shall I not continue to share them? You will fully see, my brethren, at another day, in the results of my ministry, the degree of your faithfulness in bearing me on your hearts before the throne of Mercy. And when I think of the revelations of that day, and how the results of every sermon I preach, are then to be brought to light in their whole extent, I feel as though it would be better for us all; better for you, better for my dear impenitent hearers, and better for myself, not to preach again, unless I can have a lively interest in your prayers and sympathies. O! we know but little, because we think but little, of the amazing results of the christian ministry among a people. How it is fast ripening men either for heaven or hell. We pass on from Sabbath to Sabbath, and from year to year, little heeding the awful account that is making up for the last day. We hear a sermon, and forget it. But it will then come into dreadful remembrance. We listen to the preacher, as to the tones of music, but these same tones will last, and swell into harsh and horrid thunders forever, unless we lay them to heart now. Many of you have been respectful hearers of the word; but O, you have not received it in love.

Must it be so still? Some of you may be often offended by my poor attempts to be faithful to your souls. Must it continue to be so, until you awake in the blackness of an eternal night of despair? For six years some of you have been acquiring hardness of heart, under my ministry. O, for some word to reach and melt these hearts into penitence and love.

SERMON XXV.

An awful Visitation* religiously improved.

JOB XIV. 18, 19.

SURELY THE MOUNTAIN FALLING COMETH TO NOUGHT, AND

THE ROCK IS REMOVED OUT OF HIS PLACE. THE WATERS WEAR THE STONES; THOU WASHEST AWAY THE THINGS WHICH GROW OUT OF THE DUST OF THE EARTH; AND THOU DESTROYEST THE HOPE OF MAN,

The more signal occurrences in the providence of God, which from time to time agitate and diversify this scene of things, not only teach a lesson strikingly accordant with the instructions of inspired truth, but are often most accurately described in the very language of Scripture. Nor do such providential occurrences resemble the lessons of the sacred record, less in the limited influence they have on the heart and lives of men. The word of God spreads its pages, and new and impressive leaves in the book of providence, are continually unfolding to attract and interest, but rarely do either leave a lasting salutary impression. Events, which for a season arrest and absorb the public mind with their deep felt and solemnly instructive interest, are seen to pass into dim recollection, without leaving any memorials of their beneficial sway. In the pestilence, the earthquake, the tempest, and in the sweeping scourge of overflowing torrents, Jehovah sends forth a teaching * Avalanche at the White Hills, Aug. 1826.

voice to the children of men ; but like his written word, it is misinterpreted, neglected, and forgotten. To give that voice a deeper emphasis—to make it understood and felt, by combining its solemn tones with the notes of warning, reproof, and correction which come from the bible, has appeared to me to be a duty too plain, and an object too desirable not to be attempted by the christian preacher. If contemporary events have an eloquence, a pathos, an impressiveness, which far exceed the highest efforts of human language or thought, not to give them a tongue, were to affect a wisdom beyond that which is written. For in such events the Most High himself preaches. He comes down, not indeed upon the mount that burned with fire. But he is seen to rend the heavens and come down; and while the mountains flow down at his presence, he repeats again his instructions of old, in those terrible acts of his migh which the language of his own inspiration has best described.-SURELY THE MOUNTAIN FALLING COMETH TO NOUGHT, AND THE ROCK IS REMOVED OUT OF HIS

THE STONES ; THOU

PLACE.

THE

WATERS

WEAR

WASHEST AWAY THE THINGS WHICH GROW OUT OF THE DUST OF THE EARTH ;

AND THOU DESTROYEST THE HOPE OF MAN.

This passage will be perceived to be a very correct, though compendious account of a recent providential dispensation, whose painful catastrophe touched so widely the sympathies of our community. That the mournful occurrence which has not yet ceased to occupy our minds, and to operate keenly on the common sensibilities of our nature, may not fail to leave good impressions upon our hearts, I shall introduce several desultory remarks, the common suggestions of the passage just repeated, and of the calamitous event itself. I.

One important lesson forcibly taught amidst the scene of the desolations alluded to, is THE FRAILTY OF

THE MOUNTAIN FALLING COMETH TO NOUGHT.

MAN.

« PreviousContinue »