« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
ears, for they hear*. You now know your true interest; the fear of the Lord is implanted in your heart, and your eyes are directed heaven-wards. You are experimentally acquainted with the pleasure which religion brings, and see that you have exchanged your tinsel for gold; your shadows for the most valuable substance; the momentary blaze and crackling of thornst, for the steady light, and influence, and glory of the sun, which is Shining inore and more till the perfect duyf.
Let me invite you to the most cheerful acknowledgments of the riches of divine grace to you,
Bless God for the new nature he hath given you, for that heart of flesh into which the rock is transformed by a new creating power; for those new hopes which he hath opened upon you. Bless him, that you are now sheltered from the storms of divine wrath, and that, instead of looking forward to the judgment day, with the horrors of a malefactor, who is then to be condemned and executed, you are rather lifting up your heads to meet the prospect with triumph, as knowing that your complete salvation will then be manifested, and your redemption be perfectedll. 3. We may farther infer, from what we have now been hearing,
that the gospel of the blessed Jesus gives us very great advantages for reclaiming young persons from the snares of sensuality and ruin.
The text abundantly intimates the importance of those considerations, which are taken from the final judgment. Now it is certain, the gospel discovers this in the strongest light. Therein is The wrath of God revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of mens, and some more awful views of judgment are given, than even the language of the prophets, emphatical as it is, can furnish out. In the gospel, we are not only told in general, that God will judge the world in righteousness, but particularly assured, that he will do it, by that man whom he hath appointed**, even The Lord Jesus Christ, who for that purpose shall descend from heaven in his own glory, and the glory of the Father, and all the holy angels with him tt; that The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised 1 ; that small and great shall stand before God fß; while in the mean time the world is in flames around them, The sun being darkened, and the moon not giving her light||I, the stars falling 41, The heda
* Mat, xüj. 16.
Rev. xx. 12,
+ Eccles. vii. 6.
Prov, iv. 18.
I Rom. i, 18.
Mat. xxiv, 29.
vens passing away with a great noise, the elements melting with fervent heat, the earth with all things in it being burnt up*, and departing out of its placet. And can any thing be more awakening and awful than all this pomp of horror, this confiagration and confusion of nature ? Yes, Sirs, there is one thing yet more awakening; and it is that which the gospel cxpressly pronounces, that, in consequence of all, The wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into life eternalt. Eternity, eternity, my brethren, is the declaration of the gospel. Nature might lead us to suspect it, the law might give some intimation of it, but the gospel alone asserts it; and not only asserts it, but describes it too. It lends to our faith that perspective by which we descry the paradise of God, and it lays hell open before us, so that destruction hath no coverings. The christian preacher may then say it, with an energy beyond what Solomon could conceive, merely on the principles of the Jewish revelation, Rejoice, Oh young man, in thy youth, &c. but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.
Nor must I by any means omit that grand advantage which the gospel gives us in these addresses, the discovery of the blessed Jesus under the character of a Saviour. It displays him as the Chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely; as inviting, as waiting, as pleading, as weeping over sinners, yea, as bleeding and dying for them; as describing the terrors of judgment, that he may awaken them to flee from it, and may gather them, As a hen gathers her chickens under her compassionate protecting wings|l. But is this a simile that we may use, when speaking of him who is to appear under the character of “ the worthy judge eternal?” Yes, my friends, low as it may seem, it is a simile that he himself uses, and perhaps uses it in part because it is so low, that the language itself may be a specimen of that condescension which it is intended to express.
Such is that wonderful contrast of what is most awful, and most engaging, in the gospel; and this gospel, Sirs, do you daily hear. To you is the word of this salvation sents; to you is the whole counsel of God declared. May you never be left to Reject it against yourselves**, may divine grace render it A Saviour of life unto lifett! Once more;
1 2 Pet, iii, 10.
of Rev. xx. 11.
Acts xiii, 26,
| Mat, xxv. 46.
9 Job xxvi. 6.
4. We may farther infer, that the serious thoughts of death must
be very useful to young persons, since judgment is so nearly connected with it.
It is appointed unto all men once to die, and after death the judgment *; and though the final solemnity of that judgment may be delayed to distant ages, the state of the soul is in a moment unalterably fixed; and, in this sense, As the tree falls, so it must liet, for There is no device, nor working in the graves.
Now as this is generally acknowledged, we may naturally conclude that those, who remember death, will not forget judgment. Let me therefore, my young friends, call down your thoughts to the grave; and methinks, among so many monuments of mortality, it should not be difficult to do it.
Recollect, I beseech you, what of that kind you have seen the year past. How many of you have attended the funerals of youth like yourselves, of children much younger than yourselves! They have given up the ghost, and where are they? What a change hath death made! Where are they? Why, perhaps, what remains of them, within the walls of this place, under the feet of some of you. Could your eye penetrate a few feet of earth, you would see them; but oh, what spectacles of horror would you discover! yet perhaps a year ago they were in the number of the most amiable objects of your sight. And such is your bloom, such is your vigour : And will you presume upon it
, presume so far as to continue exposed to all the terrors of divine judy ment, in a vain dependance that some years hence you sball consider and escape it?
Oh that you were wise, that you understood this, that you would consider your latter end|| ! Oh that you would be willing to converse with the dying, and with the dead! You will, no doubt, soon have renewed opportunities of doing it. Some will probably be called away for lessons to the rest ; and before the year rolls round, you may perhaps see some pious youth going with joy and triumph to glory, or some careless or incorrigible creature dying in terror, or, which is yet more dreadful, in a stupid insensibility of soul. Reflect, my brethren, on what of this kind you
attend to what
farther see; and remember that the house of mourning may prove a school of the most useful discipline, if the living will lay it to heart1.
• Heb. ix. 27.
Job. xiv. 10.
+ Eccles. xi. 3.
Eccles. ix. 10.
But why do I mention the house of mourning? You are perhaps going to that of feasting *. The leisure of the season invites to it; and custom bath established it into a law, to close the old year and begin the new with some peculiar vanities, in some more than ordinary forgetfulness of all the important purposes for which time and the opportunities of it are given. Such is our wisdom, such is our gratitude, such is our consistence with the name we bear, and the profession we make!
You are perhaps some of you impressed with what you have heard; but I am much afraid, there are those that within twelve days, or even twelve hours will have lost the impression, and be as unconcerned about this great judgment, as if God's own hand had sent them a discharge from appearing at it. It is a discouraging case, and it makes us your ministers almost dread this season, cheerful as it is thought, as that in which former convictions will be worn off, and the heart of unthinking youth will be steeled against those that might otherwise be made ; as the season, in which we do, as it were, see the infernal lion bearing away the lambs of our flock, even before our faces.
But we will at least cry out for their deliverance, we will lift up our voice like a trumpet t; and may hope, that some of you will take the warning, and hide the word of God in your hearts. Sinners will no doubt be enticing you to walk as they do In the way of the heart, and according to the sight of the eyes; but consent notş to the solicitation, if you would not be destroyed with them, in that day, when they shall appear, as they have now been represented, unable To stand in the judgment|l, and shall perish from this unhappy way which they have taken ; and that in a moment, when the wrath of him, whom they now despise sball but begin to be kindled against them: For it shall be kindled with such terrors, that they shall say to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand**? The Lord grant, that you may all find mercy of the Lord in that day tt! Amen.
* N. B. This sermon was preached at Northampton, December 25, 1735. + Isa. Iviii. 1.
1 Psal. cxix. 11. $ Prov. i. 10. # Psal. i. 5. Psal. ii. 12. ** Rev. vi, 16, 17.
1 Tim. i. 18.
POWER AND GRACE OF CHRIST,
AND ON THE
EVIDENCES OF HIS GLORIOUS GOSPEL;
Μη φώναις μονον, και ρηματων ψόφους Χρισον γεραιρομεν, αλλα και παση διαθεσει ψυχης" ας και αυτης τρολιμαν της εαυλων ζωης την εις αυτον μαρτυριαν.
Euseb. Histor. Eccles. Lib. l. cap. 3.