Obrazy na stronie

Have you been convicted of sin? Have you fled to Jesus, the precious Savour? Have you been converted? Are you living to God? Are you prepared for his glory? Oh! I beseech you, brethren, receive not the grace of God in vain; turn not the mercies of God into a fearful curse. "To-day, while it is called today, harden not your hearts:" but let them be softened; let them be subdued. Jesus waits for admittance, and who is it that calls? Let the voice of your speaker be sunk in the grandeur of the God whose weak and inefficient instrument he is. Who is it that calls? Yes, let it ring in your ears now; let it be the subject of your daily remembrance. Who is it that calls you to repent and turn to God? and dare you to refuse? Dare you, will you refuse, when the voice of the eternal God is heard?" Hear what the Spirit saith to the Churches." Refuse not him that speaketh from heaven.

[blocks in formation]



PROVERBS ix. 12.

If thou be wise, thou art wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it."

THE mere explanation of a proverb is necessarily brief, no matter how large the course of instruction

*This was the last sermon ever preached by this eminent man. It was delivered in St. Andrew's Church, Philadelphia, on Sunday evening, July 6, 1834, the day before he set out upon the journey from which he returned no The following interesting reference to it is taken from a periodical paper a little subsequent to his death.



"He felt that every sermon might be his last. He therefore endeavoured to make every sermon what he wished his last sermon to be. His health, during the whole course of his ministry in this city, was very frail: it taught him that his time was short; and led him to think much on his latter end. He preached emphatically as a dying man; and his theme was that which alone becomes the lips that are about to be sealed in death :-it was Christ, Christ crucified emphatically, Christ and his cross was all his theme.' Thus it was the light of eternity-the beams of glory and the flashes of perditionthat gave vigour to a failing frame, and invested his sermons with an unearthly charm. The sermon which proved his last, however, is said to have been heard, as well as given, with the conviction that it was a dying testimony. During the progress of the services, introductory to the sermon, he lay on a sofa in the vestry fanned by a friend, and panting for breath. He did not rise

which may be drawn from it. I apply the present text to the all absorbing and vitally important matter of evangelical religion. If it be necessary, as a preliminary step, to put the proverb into different language, I would venture this brief paraphrase:He that is truly wise, will find it to his own personal everlasting advantage. It is his interest as well as his duty to be made wise unto salvation; but he who scorns religion, will find his scorning eventuate infinitely to his disadvantage. In carrying out this idea, the proverb must be analyzed; and this will be one purpose of the present discourse. You will find the discussion extremely plain and practical, and such as I trust, by the help of God, may find its way to the consciences of many of my hearers, who, however wise they may be in matters which affect not the salvation of their souls, are far, very far from being wise in that which alone is valuable. My subject will be presented in the following order.


II. HE WHO ACCOMPLISHES THIS IS HIMSELF AN INFINITE GAINER-"If thou be wise, thou art wise for thyself."


till the moment arrived for him to ascend the pulpit; and when he began, his utterance was so faint that it was difficult, even for those who were near, to hear him; but gathering strength from his subject he rose, and rose, till his weakness was forgotten; and he seemed to stand triumphant above the reach of death, and speak out from the threshold of heaven a last warning to those who had declined the calls of mercy, and turned away from him that speaketh from heaven: If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.' But he had not passed the gates of death: he sank down from his unearthly height: and, unable to stand even during the doxology, he retired from his pulpit, and from his people, to be there seen as an ambassador of the Saviour of sinners no more."

GREAT SALVATION OF THE GOSPEL, IS ON THE OTHER HAND, AN INFINITE LOSER-"But if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it."

I. I need hardly say to such a congregation as this, that an entire subjection of the heart to God is throughout the whole Scripture represented as the only true wisdom. It is wisdom in the abstract, thus: "The fear of the Lord is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding." It is wisdom contrasted with every other acquisition. "This is life eternal to know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.

When I speak of religion, brethren, perhaps I may be better understood by saying, that I mean that which is summarily comprehended in the term faith in Jesus Christ. Religion is a vague term, which may be applied to that which is true, that which is false, or that which is formal. I mean, by it, that faith in Jesus Christ which is the entire submission of the heart to him, and a practical devotedness of the life to his service. That belief which takes Jesus Christ as he is set forth in the Scriptures, a Saviour, an all-sufficient, an only, an atoning, an Almighty Saviour, as "righteousness, sanctification, and redemption," which builds on the only foundation; and that which embodies the exhortation of the Apostle-"present your bodies a living sacrifice unto God, holy, acceptable in his sight;" that which exemplifies the language of Paul-"Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"-that which is connected with the repentance of the Gospel, and has learned from Christ the import of his declaration— "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be

born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." This is true wisdom in the abstract, and contrasted with all things else. But the proverb places it before us in another sense. It is not only understood in the abstract-it is not only wisdom contrasted with every thing else, but it is wisdom of a peculiar personal, individual importance. He that is wise, is wise for himself. The man who gives up his heart to Jesus Christ is an infinite gainer.

II. This may be said to be an unworthy motive. It is a matter of little importance with me what it is, so long as it is the language of Scripture. It is decidedly the language of the text. Mark, my friends, the man who being truly religious, is not a gainer by it, as by a purchase-no such thing. If a benefactor offers me a valuable present and I take it, I am a gainer by it, though without purchase. So of religion; its benefits are the purchase of the blood of Jesus Christ, and by him freely offered. He who takes them is a gainer, obviously, not by merit, but by grace. Let us see how then he is wise for himself.

1. The man who truly gives up his heart to God, accepts Jesus Christ as his Saviour, and takes him for a master, gains the possession of the elements of present happiness. It is a declaration of God himself, however it may be disputed by the ignorance and the perversity of men, "that godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life which now is, and that which is to come." He who, in his entire subjection to Jesus Christ, acquires a conscience of reconciliation with an offended God, an interest in that atoning blood which cleanseth from all sin, gains a triumph over the trials, the suf

« PoprzedniaDalej »