« PoprzedniaDalej »
Thus he was may study or neglect as they pleased to “shew the exceeding choose. The gospel proceeds riches of his grace, in his kind. from God, and is enforced by ness towards us by Christ Jesus.” his authority. This is the ad. These displays of divine love, dress of the wisdom of God, “To are addressed to the ingenuous you, O men, I call; and my feelings of human nature ; and voice is to the sons of men.” while they call our attention to
“God who at sundry times, our true interests, they are at and in divers manners, spake unthe same time calculated to en. to the fathers by the prophets, gage the confidence, and excite hath in these last days spoken to the gratitude of those who know us by his Son." He hath said the grace of God in truth.— The " they will reverence my Son." work of redemption furnishes And he hath testified by a voice the subject of profound research from the excellent glory, saying, to the highest orders of intelligent “This is my beloved Son in whom beings; and opens to them I am well pleased; hear ye
him." sources of the noblest delight. It is “his commandment that we
Angels desire to look into should believe on the name of these things ; the principali. his Son Jesus Christ.” Hence ties and powers of heaven learn it becomes our duty to attend from the church the manifold with the most serious regard to wisdom of God.” Shall we then the grounds and objects of faith. refuse to attend to the heavenly This duty no man is at liberty doctrines revealed in the gospel? to decline. Inattention to the We, the children of men, for doctrines of Revelation indicates whose benefit the wondrous plan a persuasion that the gospel is of redeeming grace was formed ! either untrue, or insignificant; We, for whom the Son of God it is nothing less than to arraign came down to earth, took part the wisdom of God, to reject his of our nature, and died on the testimony, and to make him a li. cross! The conduct of thought. On so obvious a point it is less sinners betrays, unquestion. unnecessary to multiply words. ably, a worse than brutish stu. Know then, o inconsiderate pidity and ingratitude. To them man, that thy conduct too plain. is strongly applicable that affect-' ly manifests a presumptuous oping charge, which God, by the position to divine authority, an prophet Isaiah, advances against insulting contempt of the Majhis ancient people ;
esty of heaven. knoweth his owner, and the ass Inconsideration discovers an his master's crib ; but Israel entire disregard of our true and doth not know, my people doth noblest interests.-Such is the not consider."*
degeneracy of human nature, Inconsideration implies that there are many individuals criminal opposition to divine on whose minds the considera. authority. The doctrines of the tions of reason and duty, howgospel are not like the subjects ever forcible, produce no im. of human science, which men pression.
But med are gener
ally governed by a regard to * Isaiah i. 3.
their interest. In this respect, VOL. II. New Series.
66 the ox
the children of this world are rational self-love, and of that wise in their generation. They prudence, which leads a man to grudge not the attention that is choose, according to their rela. necessary to form their schemes, tive importance, the objects of to balance interfering interests, his pursuit. and to choose the means that But what are the specific advail. seem best adapted to accomplish tages which christianity sets be. the object of their wishes. This fore us ? To men, guilty and con. prudent foresight is generally re. demned, it holds out the promise warded with success in life, and of forgiveness of sins and peace with the applause of the world; with God? To men, depraved, for 6 men shall praise thee when polluted, and enslaved by sin, thou doest well for thyself.” it tenders that renewing grace, Whereas the imprudent thought. by which they may be raised to less man, who pays no attention all the purity, and dignity, and to his affairs, but allows them liberty of his children.
To men through his own negligence, to whose connexion with the world run into confusion, is regarded is soon to be dissolved, and who as a contemptible character, and are advancing apace to an etersuffers, un pitied, the consequen- nal state, it gives the assurance ces of his folly.
of deliverance from the wrath to should not the same principle in- come, and opens to them the duce men to attend to the ever- hope of heavenly blessedness and lasting gospel; and to attend to glory. Are benefits such as it with an earnestness, suited to these, to be despised ? Are they the incomparable value of the so obviously insignificant, that blessings which it brings? Is it it is not worth while to employ consistent with prudence to re. one hour in seriously weighing gard only inferior interests, and their value and importance ? Or to neglect those of superior im. is it possible to conceive bless, portance? Are the objects which ings more adapted to the situa. the generality of men pursue tion and necessities of those to with so much ardor, at all to be whom they are proposed ? Precompared with those which the tend not any more, inconsider. gospel presents. Is it wise, to ate sinner, to wisdom and pru. care only for the body, which is dence. Thy way is folly in the
to return to its kindred sight of God. It is folly alto. dust; to seek the enjoyments of gether unparalleled. The apa. this world, the fashion whereof thy of brutes, unqualified by na. passeth quickly away ; or to ture to apprehend religious truth provide for the flesh in order to bears no resemblance to it. The fulfil its baser lusts; and at the case of the maniac is pitiable insame time to despise altogether deed; but it is unaccompanied the welfare of the soul ;-the with, moral blame. Criminal soul which was originally form- and absurd, it undoubtedly is in ed after the image of God, which a high degree, to reject christian. is still capable of alliance with ity without inquiry; but it is him, and which is destined to a gradation of guilt and absurd. live for ever? Can this conduct ity beyond this, to admit its truth be justified on the principles of and yet to undervalue its bless
ings; to profess the faith of the thereby naturally suggested ; gospel, and yet never to reflect and finally, the Holy Spirit, on its design; to call Christ concurring with any of these Lord, and yet neither to do the circumstances, separately things which he says, nor even to combined, or without any such desire to share in his great salva. medium, may bring to rememtion.
brance the word of truth, and by Inconsideration can scarcely his gentle, or awful applications continue to the end of life ; or, to the conscience, lead the most if it should, it will certainly ter- obdurate sinner to serious reminate in the loss of the soul.- flection, and anxious concern Were it possible for men to about the welfare of his soul. avoid reflection through every On a bed of sickness, especially, period of tneir existence, and to the ear is open to discipline. suffer no loss from doing so, the And a bed of sickness may soon necessity or propriety of press. become a dying bed. The lan. ing on their attention the truths guage, the looks, and solicitude of religion, it must be admit. of surrounding friends betray ted, would be greatly dimin. their apprehensions; and the ished. But experience shews, sensible decline of all the vital that, though the habit of incon.
powers, compels the man, how. sideration may have been long ever unwilling, to admit the indulged, it is not always possi. probability of approaching disble for men to persevere in it to solution. Wilt thou then, o the end of life. Conscience, man, who now livest despising though overborne, is not destroy the gospel and neglecting so ed. It only sleeps for a while ; great salvation, wilt thou be but many circumstances may yet able to shut out those recollecrouse it from its slumber ; and tions, which shall, like a mighty then it will speak to the sinner torrent, rush upon thy soul; with an authority which he will recollections of multiplied trans. be able to disregard no more. gressions, unpardoned and un. Seasons of leisure and retirement, forsaken ; of precious opportuin which unwelcome recollec. nities misimproved ; of days of tions and prospects may obtrude salvation past, never to return ? upon the mind, frequently occur Wilt thou still be fascinated by a to the busiest and gayest of men. world, whose vanity thou must The prosperous, but especially' now feel, and which is receding the adverse vicissitudes of life; swiftly from thy view? Wilt the counsels of pious friends ;
thou be able to repress all the occasional perusal of the alarm, when the throne of judgScriptures, or other serious ment, before which thou art writings; the earnest expostula. about to stand, is opening to thy tions of the ministers of the gos. sight !-- Yes : All this may happel ; the exemplary life, and pen. The man, forsaken of God, the comfortable death of sincere given over to a reprobate miod, and lively Christians; the death blinded by Satan, and hardened of wicked men, and the visible through the deceitfulness of sin, judgments of God; advancing may die as he lived ; may go y ears, and the anticipations down to the grave with a lie in
his right hand. But no farther what is the result? Wilt thou than this can the refuge of lies throw them aside with disdain, avail him. His soul quits the and return with greater ardor body, and is alive at once to all to the accustomed round of busi. the realities and horrors of his
or pleasure?--No;' let condition. He feels how (fear. some hitherto thoughtless soul ful a thing it is to fall into the be induced to say ; 'I have been hands of the living God.” He
too long inconsiderate and fool. looks with dismay to the once
I will be so compassionate, neglected Savior, What must I do to be saved ? but now the righteous and inex. The salvation of my soul shall orable Judge. The period of henceforth be the great concern inconsideration is for ever past. of my life. I will take no rest But reflection has come too late. till I find it in Him who is able The gnawings are already felt, of to save to the uttermost; who the worm that never dies; and that has declared that he will cast remorse has commenced, which out none who come to him; and is to last throughout eternity. who will keep what I now com.
one say, that this is mit to Him, till that great deci, the language of enthusiasm and sive day.'
Rel. Men. rant, that these scenes are the mere creature of fancy, the overcolored picture of a heated im. agination. Many, who at the INCONSISTENCIES OF PROFESSED commencement of the preceding year, would have laughed to scorn the officious monitor, who Very frequently have the vi. presumed to interrupt their olent and ungovernable tempers pleasure, by drawing their at- manifested by some professors tention to prospects so gloomy of religion been made the suband terrific, have, before its con- jects of animadversion, and their clusion, found them awfully re. inconsistency with the meek, alized.' This year also is doubt. lowly, and peaceable spirit of less pregnant with the fate of the gospel been ably pointed out, thousands. To the humble, The frequency of such com. watchful, diligent Christian, the plaints, however, only proves intimation will give no alarm.
the wide extent of the evil: and “Amen,” will he say,
indeed this is pretty apparent. come Lord Jesus." But there No one who looks with
de. are some, perhaps many, who gree of attention upon the body have indulged without restraint of those who aspire to be thought in the festivities of the season, religious, can deny that the ma. who before its return, shall be jority of its members are much numbered with the dead. more taken up with the specula. that they were wise, that they tive part of religion, than ia understood this, that they would bringing their tem pers to a con. consider their latter end." Some formity with the standard of the individual, who has been led to
gospel, or aiming at that exalted look over these pages, may be degree of holiness which the gos. inclưded in the number. And pel requires.
Now for an effect so generally only one which by some is at prevalent, there must be an ade- all attended to. Thegreat duties quate cause; and I am afraid of self-examination, watchful. that this is to be found in the ness over our own hearts, jealousy conduct of some popular preach. of ourselves, &c. &c. are seldom
The principal object of made the prominent features of their fear seems to be self-right
Practical subjects eousness, and therefore their are rarely brought forward, and principal aim is to guard against when they are it is often in such it. For this purpose they are a manner as prevents, in a great continually bringing forward measure, their good effect. the grea: doctrines of the gospel; The bad consequences flowing and upon these they perpetually from all this are evident. The enlarge almost to the utter exclu. hearers of sermons not being sion of practical topics. By sufficiently warned of the danthis conduct, I fear, that they gers to which they are exposed, have, in a considerable degree, nor sufficiently stirred been at least accessary to that diligence and exertion, grow decline in
practical religion careless and lax in their walk which we must acknowledge to and conversation. They are led have taken place. Here I would to think that right doctrinal not be misunderstood. I am sentiments are every thing in re. so far from wishing to exclude: ligion, and that, these once 05. doctrinal subjects from the pul. tained, sanctification must fol. pit, that I think a clear and lu. low of course. They seem enminous display of them of the tirely to forget that the truth is most indispensable importance. often received in unrighteous. Without it the heart will for ev. ness, and that we never can as. er remain unaffected and suredly know that we are interchanged, and consequently there ested in the benefits which the can be no radical reform in the gospel conveys, but as we are character. But however essen. conformed to the iniage of Jesus tially necessary the doctrines of Christ, and as we endeavor, un. christianity may be, they should der the influence of the Holy by no means be dwelt upon to Spirit to adorn the doctrine of the exclusion of other topics. God our Savior in all things, Would any sober builder con- and to live worthy of God, who tent himself with only laying a has called us to his kingdom and foundation ? Having finished glory. Heaven is not for those this, will he not proceed to the who sit still. It suffereth vio. superstructure ? In like manner lence, and the violent take it by doctrines should be urged to force. It is a prize worthy of their proper improvement, and all our endeavors, and which dethe practical lessons which flow mands and must have them. "If from them should be properly any man will come after me,” deduced. Scripture is profita. says our Lord and Savior, 6 let ble, not only for doctrine, but him deny himself, and take up for reproof, for correction, and his cross and follow me." We for instruction in righteousness. are to cut off a right hand, to But of these, doctrine seems the pluck out a right eye, yea, to