« FöregåendeFortsätt »
You might be induced to examine other parts of worldly dissipation. You might begin to watch their effects upon your minds; and when you found that you were getting “hurt or hindrance'' from them, the same fear of danger which influenced you in one case might influence you
in all; till you had learned to renounce sinful pleasure through all its gradations, and in all its kinds ;- all the works of the Devil - all the pomps and vanities of the world—and all the sinful lusts of the flesh. If you were in earnest, you would soon feel the need of following the Apostle's exhortation ;-you would desire to “put on the whole armour of God;" —you would perceive the indispensable necessity of being truly sincere and universally conscientious ;—you would feel the want of that strength and support which only the free Gospel of Jesus Christ can impart; you would seek after clearer knowledge, and a right and realizing faith, and the hope that maketh not ashamed. You would make the Bible your counsellor ;- you would search it in order to be able to give an answer to every temptation, and to be directed in every doubtful and difficult case ;-you would pray for grace, and guidance, and strength;—you would enlist under the banner of Christ, and fight manfully in his cause ;you would withstand in the evil day. And when Satan and his angels, and his instruments, and his victims, shall all go away into the place of
torment prepared for them,-you would hear the glad word, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” It is in this course that I would lead you. It is to this glorious end that I would bring you. And as a first step,—but only as a first step,—renounce all known sin, and avoid all known danger.Begin with the Theatre. Begin from this day.Take the text as your directory.–Follow it faithfully and fully.- Follow it in the strength of the Lord, and “in the power of his might;" and should earth and hell combine, you need not fear. Nothing can harm you. All the evil, which the craft and subtilty of the Devil or man worketh against you, will be brought to nought.
“ Blessed is the man that walketh not in the coun
sel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
It is a general direction of St. Peter, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God;a direction which applies to the manner, no less than to the matter of religious instruction. Now the Bible, in addressing itself to us, urges upon our consideration all the various arguments by which we are likely to be influenced. It employs command-promise-- threatening-invitationencouragement-warning. It enforces the obligations of duty. It persuades by the terrors of the Lord. It beseeches by the mercies of God. And it does this, that by all means it might turn men from sin to holiness, and save their souls from death.
These various arguments I have employed, from year to year, for the purpose of preserving or of
withdrawing you from that scene and source of wickedness, that snare and tool of Satan—the Theatre.
There is, however, a very powerful argument suggested by my text, which I would urge at this time, which is peculiarly calculated to waken and win attention; and which places in a striking point of view the ruinous tendencies of Theatrical Amusements, and the folly and infatuation of those who frequent them. The text speaks of the “blessed man;" and shows us to whom the character belongs. And I think, my dear Brethren, the consideration of this passage cannot fail to convince every reasonable and reflecting mind, that a delight in Theatrical Amusements is utterly incompatible with the enjoyment of true blessedness; and that an attendance upon Theatrical Amusements is likely to prove a sure hindrance to the attainment of true blessedness. But, in addressing you upon this subject, I would myself bear in mind, and I would put you in remembrance, that the understanding and the heart of the natural man are so fast closed against the truth, that the most powerful and persuasive arguments will be entirely ineffectual, without the inward working of God's Holy Spirit, to carry them home to the conscience, and impress them upon the soul. May you hear, and may I preach, in the influential belief of this truth; with entire dependence upon divine aid, and with earnest prayer for the divine blessing!
The two subjects to which I would call your attention, are, First, The nature of the blessedness spoken of in the text; and secondly, The character of the persons to whom this blessedness belongs.
First, the nature of the blessedness spoken of in the text. This is more particularly described in the subsequent verses of the Psalm.
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season ; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." This language is figurative, but the meaning is plain. We have here the most beautiful and striking image which the vegetable world could supply, of a progressively happy, holy, and useful life. The person here described, has the favour and blessing of God continually abiding upon him. He receives from above uninterrupted communications of light, and grace, and spiritual strength. He daily advances in the knowledge and practice of God's will. All things belonging to the Spirit live and grow in him. He glorifies God by answering the end of his creation. He makes his profiting to appear. His principles exhibit themselves in corresponding actions and habits. He is fruitful in every good word and work. He is blessed in himself, and is a blessing to all around him. “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,