Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

life;" but there is but one gate, and one ready to be offered, and the time of my way, through which every living soul departure is at hand. I have fought a must rise to heaven--if to heaven he rise good fight; I have tinished my course ; at all and that is through faith in Jesus I have kept the faith; henceforth there is Christ, and through that holiness which laid up for me a crown of righteousness, follows that faith-if that faith is genuine. which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall Let all ranks, then, from the highest to the give me at that day; and not to me only, lowest, learn this precious truth from the but to all them also that love his appearBook of God. Believe in Christ, and be- ing." lieve in him with the heart unto righteous. My dear friends, if this dignified termidess. This is the effectual way to be taken nation of our earthly trials be an object by every individual wto wishes to obtain we desire to gain-if the state of our souls the diminution of the divine judgment now at death shall decide our eternal fatif ravaging our land-by every individual the hour of our departure from time shall who wishes to obtain for himself a ground be the hour of our passage to happiness of peace in the prospect of that death or misery everlasting, I put it to your unwhich its approach may bring to him, but derstanding, if you will reflect, how carewhich, at all events, must soon come to fully, how intensely, how incessantly, we him. Let it be the business of all men to should prepare for its approach. Because consider what faith is to beseech the we do not see it, we are apt to flatter our. grace of God to bestow it, and to enable selves that it is far distant. But need I them to follow after holiness, without which tell you, my mortal brethren, that you they can never please nor see God. were born to die? If, at this solemn mo

My brethren, these are the means—the ment, a heavenly messengershould descend cherishings and actings of faith—these are from the sky, and announce the time of the means by which you may make your- your departure, as to an ancient was done, selves, as I have said, instruments of good —thy sickness shall be unto death-this to the public, and by which you may make week shall be thy last week on earth, yourselves ready for the hour in which the even this night thy soul shall be required Son of Man shall come.

of thee,—who among you would be ready Now, surely, any long detail or remark for this message of terror? Alas! what is unnecessary to convince you, that for tears of affliction would run down our the hour of the Son of Man coming, the cheeks at the remembrance of our sinsmost important duty wbich a mortal bas what prayers we would give for a short to discharge, is in the command to make prolongation of our trials—what thoughts himself ready. O, my brethren, how de- would we have of those we left behindligbtful will it be to you-how delightful what solicitude would be felt to finish our will it be to the friends that may surround work of sanctification! But is an angel your dying couch, if you shall be one of from heaven necessary to tell us that we those sainted men who, having been tried are mortal—that our appointed days are with tribulation, tried to the end of your few ? As for the days that are gone, and earthly career by the world and seduction, the ages that are past, what has become of shall be ready, at the call of your God, to the multitude that filled them? Let us resign its enjoyments, and, standing on the look around in quest of those in our own verge of eternity, shall be solaced with a time-let us look around us in quest of conscience void of offence, when reflecting those whom but a few moments we saw on the past, and refreshed with the pros- with delight on the stage of life, the compect of an everlasting kingdom in the panions of our youth, the friends of our heavens? The ministers of religion are bosom, the children perhaps whom nature called to furnish consolation to the dying, designed to be props of our declining and they see them in various conditions years, whither have they gone? A voice of character and feeling. But they will from their grave pierces the heart of the tell you that eye cannot behold a more thinking soul, and calls on us all to be sublime, or more instructing, or edifying ready to follow them. Listen, then, to spectacle, than the deathbed of a good this warning voice. It accords with the man-full of humble confidence in God- dictates of universal experience-every rejoicing in the approbation of his own change in our condition reminds us of its heart-triumphing over the fears of the truth-infirmities as they draw upon us, grave-andsinging, when he thinks himself tell that the hour of our departure cometh. standing on its very verge,-"I am now In this, the day of a merciful visitation

in this our present escape from the dread-ready. No painful retrospect will disquiet ful malady, let us attend to the things that our consciences-no anxious forebodings belong to our peace-let us cherish the terrify our souls. If we lead the life of dispositions, and hopes, and habits, the the righteous, we shall die their deathremembrance of which may cheer our we shall depart like them, and be with departed spirits-let us learn lessons of them and our work shall follow us upto righteousness from the judgments of God the habitation of our heavenly Father.

let us lay up for ourselves treasures in I only add, and let all join in the prayer, heaven, and then when our Lord comes, - Do thou, O God, to whom belong the whether he come in the first watch or in issues of life do thou stand by us in our the second-wbether this day or to-mor- dying moments-support our feeble limbs row-whether in the hour of our worship in their passage through the dark valley, or in the hour of business - whether when and receive them into their everlasting we are asleep or awake-he will find us rest, for Christ's sake. Amen.

ON THE AGENCY OF GOD IN HUMAN CALAMITIES. A SERMON, PREACHED IN GEORGE-STREET CHAPEL, GLASGOW, ON THURSDAY,

220 MARCH, 1832, BEING THE DAY OF THE NATIONAL FAST.

By the Rev. RALPH WARDLAW, D. D.

Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?"-Amos iii. 6. I need hardly say, that it is not moral evill up from the land of Egypt, saying, You that is here meant. It is not sin, but suf- only have I known of all the families of fering. It is not the commission of ini- the earth: therefore I will punish you for quity, but the pressure of distress. From all your iniquities." This is the language Micah vi. 9, The Lord's voice crieth of unimpeachable equity, of ill-requited unto the city, and the man of wisdom kindness, and of injured honour. On shall see thy Name: hear ye the rod, and every ground, the threatened punishment who hath appointed it"-I not long ago was merited, and in mercy alone had the called your attention to the lights in which infliction of it been suspended. He points that prophet taught Israel, and teaches us, out the impossibility of his continuing to regard temporal calamities, namely, as with them, -ascribing it to their alienation the warning voice of God, as a manifestation of heart from him, by which they forced of the name or character of God, and as him away from them:-verse 3,-“ Cau a corrective expression of the displeasure two walk together, except they be agreed? of God; along with the grounds on which He then, by a variety of figurative allu it is our wisdom and our duty so to regard sions, expresses the reason they had for them.- The words now read from Amos alarm, and the natural connection between are part of a similar appeal. By him, as their character and his procedure toward: well as by Micah, the Lord maintains his them:-this is the general import of th controversy with Israel. By which of the figures, of which “we cannot pow speal prophets, indeed, did he not maintain it? | particularly.” (Verses 4–6.). At what period of their history did they “ Shall a trumpet be blown in the city not give occasion, by their conduct, for and the people not be afraid?"-Yo expostulation, reproof, and warning ? (Jer. can imagine--no, you hardly can-wha xxv. 4—7.)

the effect would be, if, in a city lik In the passage of which our text is a our own, there were suddenly hear part, Jehovah pleads on the ground of his “the sound of the trumpet, the alarm o peculiar dealings with Israel, by which he war”- the announcement of an approach had so highly distinguished them from ing enemy. What throbbing of heart other nations in honour, and in privilege, what violent excitement! what silen and in substantial blessing: verses 1, 2,- dread! what noisy terror! what bustli “ Hear this word that the Lord hath and confusion! what looking one upon spoken against you, O children of Israel, another! what anxious questioning! what against the whole family which I brought running together, for information, for the mutual expression of hopes and fears, of the infliction of evil, in contradistinction wishes and alarms, of animation and dis- to three things—to CHANCE, to Idols, and couragement of sources of danger and to SECOND CAUSES. means of safetyl-Now, when the voice This is a supplementary topic to those of the Lord cried unto the city, the cause discussed on the former text, from the for alarm was as real, and far greater, than prophecies of Micah; and I wish to be at the sounding of the trumpet of battle. understood, although without any very This is the sentiment expressed in verses pointed mention of them, as having refer7, 8. “ The Lord God hath spoken,ence to the distresses of our own times, who can but prophesy?” A truly be- and country, and city. nevolent spirit feels it a most painful I. We distinguish the agency of Jehorestraint, to keep back either the warn- vah from CHANCE.— Chance is a word very ing of evil, or the tidings of good. This common in the mouths of many : but it is was one at least of the impelling motives a word of the meaning of which very few in the bosom of the apostles, when they j of those who use it have ever set themsaid, “ We cannot but speak the things selves to form any definite notion. The which we have seen and heard;"—and in truth is, chance is nothing. It is a mere the bosom of Jeremiah, when, having been term for human ignorance. When we subjected to the persecuting violence of say that an event has happened by chance, his enemies, and having found all his we seldom think at all what we mean. If warnings so unavailing, he formed the we intend to say that it has had no cause, resolution of shunning farther suffering that is atheism. It is the exclusion of all by silence:“ I said, I will not make mention superintending agency. But the only of Him, nor speak any more in his Name: rational meaning of the word (if a rational but his word was in my heart as a burn- meaning it can be said to have) is, that we ing fire shut up in my bones, and I was are in ignorance of the cause or causes of weary with forbearing, and I could not the event. The poet speaks truly, when stay." (Jer. xx. 8, 9.)

he defines chance in these terms'There is a natural atheism in the human « All chance-direction, which we cannot see." heart,-a constantly prevailing tendency to forget God. This tendency (alas! for There is an atheism, directly and properly our nature!) is more powerful amidst so called, which denies the existence of a the abundance of the enjoyments of life, God altogether. There is an atheism, than under the pressure of its calamities, which admits existence, but excludes all So true is this, that adversity has many a superintendence of human or created time been made use of as a means for beings, and of their respective concerns. counterworking the pernicious influence Such of old, was the atheism of Epicurus of prosperity,—the former bringing back and his followers; which, however, had the heart which the latter had led astray. so far the merit of consistency, that it How rare is the case of a sinner brought associated the denial of providence with to repentance and serious religion by pros- the denial of proper creation. And simiperity and success in life! But the in- lar, though diversified in some particulars, stances have not been few, of persons, have been the godless systems of some “ chosen in the furnace of affliction,” moderns. But certainly we might as well subdued and reclaimed by adversity. We have no God, as a God that takes no indare not say, however, that this is the terest in his creatures, and exercises no natural effect of divine judgments operat- superintendence over them. We might as ing on human corruption. They tend well have no God as no providence. rather to fret, and provoke, and alienate. The sentiment of the text is the exact And there is, moreover, a sad propensity reverse of this,—that there is a God, and to overlook the hand of God in them al- that he directs and governs all things. together; so that men stand always in The sentiment is not to be confined to our need of having it pointed out to them, own world. It extends to all worlds. In and pressed upon their observation. It is all parts of the unmeasured creation, He to the solemn truth of the divine appoint- is "ever present, ever felt!" This is the ment of calamities, that the attention is uniform affirmation, and the pervading called, and called impressively, by the principle, of the Bible. It runs through question in the text_“Shall there be evil all its contents, with an application such in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?" as the most heedless reader can hardly

We shall consider the Lord's agency in overlook. Its maxim is—" All things are in this our present escape from the dread-ready. No painful retrospect will disquiet ful malady, let us attend to the things that our consciences-no anxious forebodings belong to our peace-let us cherish the terrify our souls. If we lead the life of dispositions, and hopes, and habits, the the righteous, we shall die their deathremembrance of which may cheer our we shall depart like them, and be with departed spirits-let us learn lessons of them and our work shall follow us up to righteousness from the judgments of God the habitation of our heavenly Father,

let us lay up for ourselves treasures in I only add, and let all join in the prayer, heaven, and then wben our Lord comes, -Do thou, O God, to whom belong the whether he come in the first watch or in issues of life-do thou stand by us in our the second-wbether this day or to-mor-dying moments-support our feeble limbs row-whether in the hour of our worship in their passage through the dark valley, or in the hour of business-whether when and receive them into their everlasting we are asleep or awake-he will find us rest, for Christ's sake. Amen.

ON THE AGENCY OF GOD IN HUMAN CALAMITIES. A SERMON, PREACHED IN GEORGE-STREET CHAPEL, GLASGOW, ON THURSDAY,

224 MARCH, 1832, BEING THE DAY OF THE NATIONAL FAST.

By the Rev. RALPH WARDLAW, D. D.

Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?"-Amos iii. 6.

I NEED hardly say, that it is not moral evill up from the land of Egypt, saying, You that is here meant. It is not sin, but suf- only have I known of all the families of fering. It is not the commission of ini- the earth: therefore I will punish you for quity, but the pressure of distress. From all your iniquities.” This is the language Micah vi. 9, « The Lord's voice crieth of unimpeachable equity, of ill-requited unto the city, and the man of wisdom kindness, and of injured honour. On shall see thy Name: hear ye the rod, and every ground, the threatened punishment who hath appointed it"-I not long ago was merited, and in mercy alone had the called your attention to the lights in which infliction of it been suspended. He points that prophet taught Israel, and teaches us, out the impossibility of his continuing to regard temporal calamities, namely, as with them,-ascribing it to their alienation the warning voice of God, as a manifestation of heart from him, by which they forced of the name or character of God, and as him away from them:-verse 3,-“ Cau a corrective expression of the displeasure two walk together, except they be agreed? of God; along with the grounds on which He then, by a variety of figurative allu it is our wisdom and our duty so to regardsions, expresses the reason they had for them.—The words now read from Amos alarm, and the natural connection between are part of a similar appeal. By him, as their character and his procedure towards well as by Micah, the Lord maintains his them :- this is the general import of thi controversy with Israel. By which of the figures, of which “ we cannot now speak propheis, indeed, did he not maintain it? particularly.” (Verses 4–6.) At what period of their history did they “ Shall a trumpet be blown in the city not give occasion, by their conduct, for and the people not be afraid?”—You expostulation, reproof, and warning ? (Jer. can imagine-no, you hardly can-what xxy. 4-7.)

the effect would be, if, in a city likt In the passage of which our text is a our own, there were suddenly heard part, Jehovah pleads on the ground of his “the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of peculiar dealings with Israel, by which he war”- the announcement of an approach had so highly distinguished them from ing enemy. What throbbing of heart other nations in honour, and in privilege, what violent excitement! what silent and in substantial blessing: verses 1, 2,- dread! what noisy terror! what bustk “Hear this word that the Lord hath and confusion! what looking one upon spoken against you, O children of Israel, another! what anxious questioning! what against the whole family which I brought running together, for information, for the mutual expression of hopes and fears, of the infliction of evil, in contradistinction wishes and alarms, of animation and dis- to three things—to CHANCE, to IDOLS, and couragement of sources of danger and to Second CAUSES. means of safety !-Now, when the voice This is a supplementary topic to those of the Lord cried unto the city, the cause discussed on the former text, from the for alarm was as real, and far greater, than prophecies of Micah; and I wish to be at the sounding of the trumpet of battle. understood, although without any very This is the sentiment expressed in verses pointed mention of them, as having refer7, 8. “ The Lord God bath spoken, ence to the distresses of our own times, who can but prophesy?" A truly be- and country, and city. nevolent spirit feels it a most painful I. We distinguish the agency of Jehorestraint, to keep back either the warn-vah from CHANCE.- Chance is a word very ing of evil, or the tidings of good. This common in the mouths of many : but it is was one at least of the impelling motives a word of the meaning of which very few in the bosom of the apostles, when they of those who use it have ever set themsaid, “ We cannot but speak the things selves to form any definite notion. The which we have seen and heard;"-and in truth is, chance is nothing. It is a mere the bosom of Jeremiah, when, having been term for human ignorance. When we subjected to the persecuting violence of say that an event has happened by chance, his enemies, and having found all his we seldom think at all what we mean. If warnings so unavailing, he formed the we intend to say that it has had no cause, resolution of shunning farther suffering that is atheism. It is the exclusion of all by silence:“ I said, I will not make mention superintending agency. But the only of Him, nor speak any more in his Name: rational meaning of the word (if a rational but his word was in my heart as a burn meaning it can be said to have) is, that we ing fire shut up in my bones, and I was are in ignorance of the cause or causes of weary with forbearing, and I could not the event. The poet speaks truly, when stay.” (Jer. xx. 8, 9.)

he defines chance in these termsThere is a natural atheism in the human

" All chance-direction, which we cannot see." heart,-a constantly prevailing tendency to forget God. This tendency (alas! for There is an atheism, directly and properly our nature!) is more powerful amidst so called, which denies the existence of a the abundance of the enjoyments of life, God altogether. There is an atheism, than under the pressure of its calamities. which admits existence, but excludes all So true is this, that adversity has many a superintendence of human or created time been made use of as a means for beings, and of their respective concerns. counterworking the pernicious influence Such of old, was the atheism of Epicurus of prosperity,-the former bringing back and his followers; wbich, however, had the heart which the latter had led astray. so far the merit of consistency, that it How rare is the case of a sinner brought associated the denial of providence with to repentance and serious religion by pros- the denial of proper creation. And simiperity and success in life! But the in- lar, though diversified in some particulars, stances have not been few, of persons have been the godless systems of some “ chosen in the furnace of affliction,” moderns. But certainly we might as well subdued and reclaimed by adversity. We have no God, as a God that takes po indare not say, however, that this is the terest in his creatures, and exercises no natural effect of divine judgments operat- superintendence over them. We might as ing on human corruption. They tend well have no God as no providence. rather to fret, and provoke, and alienate. The sentiment of the text is the exact And there is, moreover, a sad propensity reverse of this,—that there is a God, and to overlook the hand of God in them al. that he directs and governs all things. together; so that men stand always in The sentiment is not to be confined to our need of having it pointed out to them, own world. It extends to all worlds. In and pressed upon their observation. It is all parts of the unmeasured creation, He to the solemn truth of the divine appoint- is "ever present, ever felt!" This is the ment of calamities, that the attention is uniform affirmation, and the pervading called, and called impressively, by the principle, of the Bible. It runs through question in the text-"Shall there be evil all its contents, with an application such in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?" as the most heedless reader can hardly

We shall consider the Lord's agency in overlook. Its maxim is—" All things are

« ForrigeFortsett »