« FöregåendeFortsätt »
no other crime, real or pretended, they | his hoary locks, and tells me he has were seized by the hand of violence, forsaken his wicked ways; whereas they were cruelly beaten, their feet they have forsaken him. Alas, old were made fast in the stocks in the man, deceive not thy own soul. Here inner prison ; and it is midnight. What are the young, blooming, and active, do these men ? What do they? What and vigorous; and the pulse of life beats can they do? They pray to God. Well high ; and yet in the morning of life, they might. At midnight, in the inner and the bloom of youth, they spurn at prison, their feet fast in the stocks, the follies and vanities of the world, and they themselves having been cru- and say, Tempt me not. Godliness is elly beaten, they pray. Ah, my friends, profitable at the noon of life. If it but they did more than that, the re- illumine the morning, then it blesses cord says, that “at midnight Paul and the noon. Men in business-men acSilas prayed, and sang praises unto tively engaged in the world, believe God.” Did they sing? What, did that godliness is profitable. Godliness they sing in the midnight? Did they will help you in eyery thing that you sing in the inner prison? Did they have to do; it will sweeten all, and sing, with their feet in the stocks?sanctify all; and then that which is Yes, they did ; they sang praises to profitable as it illumines the morning, their God. Yes; then they were and blesses the noon, will also be prohappy : perhaps that was the happiest fitable as it gladdens and cheers the night they had ever experienced up to evening of life. I see my aged friend that period-happy to suffer in such a advanced far down the vale of yearscause, and for such a master. So that, I see the shades of night gathering you see, godliness is profitable as it around him. His heart and his flesh secures the happiness of life in every begin to fail. No matter; still God is diversified situation.
the strength of his heart, and will be Godliness is profitable in all the pe- his portion for ever. Religion can riods of the life that now is. It is pro- make a man happy when he is old, fitable in the morn of life. That is a when he bends under the pressure of pleasant, and the best part of the day. | increasing years and infirmities, and If the morning be well improved, we with the prospect of death and eternity may hope a great deal for all the sub- before him. I need not stay a moment sequent periods of the day: if the on this point; I believe we are all morning be lost the best part is gone. I agreed here. There is not an indiviMy young friends, hear this. It is dual within these walls listening to me, the morning with you—it is the plea- | old or young, male or female, who sant part of the day with you, the best will not subscribe to this, that godlipart of the day: see to it that you im- ness is profitable at the close of life. prove it, that you do not lose the “ Virtue alone has majesty in death." morning. Redeem the time. It is Call virtue genuine Christianity and it yours, by the grace of God, to have is true. The duties of our sacred proit in your power to give an example fession sometimes call us to witness of your sincerity, which those who awful, and sometimes most cheering are converted to God later in life, scenes. Will you permit me to adduce never have an opportunity of doing. two facts, one of very recent occur. Here is an old man shakes his rence, another that occurred some hoary locks, and tells me, Sir, I have years ago, which came under my own forsaken all the follies of my youth; 1 personal observation, illustrating the I have abandoned all my wicked ways. few remarks I have made. I hope this is true, that he hates the Behold an awful case-a man leavsins and follies of his youth, and that ing this world without piety, without he is truly giving his heart to God; God, without Christ, without hope : but I know it is awfully possible that and yet this man at one period of life the truth of the case may be this—that had made a profession of religion; and his wicked ways have forsaken him. as far as man can judge of man, had He is an old infirm man, tottering on walked worthy of that profession. the brink of the grave, and he cannot But that man, like many other men, run with the multitude to do evil now, became at last ensnared by the vice of as he did formerly; and therefore this drunkenness : of course he soon gave mar. puts on a grave face, and shakes up all professed regard to religion ; and then, as a sort of anodyne to his cumstances indeed was to be pitiedconscience, he tried to persuade him- a poor man, but rich in faith. When self that religion was all a cheat, and I entered the room he recognized me all a dupe. Thus he lived, not many and with a smile on his countenance, years indeed, for by and by disease said, “The Lord is good.” I talked seized fast hold of him; and I fear to him about the love of God in Jesus that disease was superinduced by his Christ : his eyes were suffused with ungodliness. If ever I saw a human tears, and looking at me, he said, Sir, being, who to all appearance was I have no fear of death-the fear of abandoned of God, and to whom God death is all taken away; my blessed had said, “He is joined to his idols, Redeemer is with me. Yes, he that let him alone-conscience, let him died and rose again, in death was realone-ministers, let him alone--good membering and blessing him. His Spirit, do not strive with him again,” breath was interrupted, but after some I think he was the man. His agonized time he breathed again, and the eyes wife begged I would call and converse that had appeared to me to be swimwith him. I did so. Never can I ming in the shades of death, were forget his look : I think I see him atenkindled with lustre; and with an this moment—the horror-the malig- elevated tone, of which I thought him nity—the despair, depicted on the incapable, he said, It is all gloryman's countenance. When I spoke glory-glory; and his spirit departed to him he replied, I want none of to glory. “Let me die the death of your advice-I want none of your the righteous, and let my latter end be prayers—I am a fallen spirit-it is like his.” Give me a religion that all over-I am lost. In vain did I makes me happy while I live, and try to talk to him about the mercy of which makes me triumphant when I God in Jesus Christ : in vain did I tell die. Godliness is profitable to all things. him that Jesus came to save the Time will not permit me to enter on chief of sinners : in vain did I speak the advantages connected with godliof the superabundant mercy and grace ness in the life which is to come. Let of God to guilty men, through Jesus me, however, remark two things. The Christ. His leave unasked, I fell down first is, if there were no positive certainty on my knees, and besought the God about a future state-if the arguments of mercy for the sake of the Mediator for and against were nearly even, to be gracious to him. He gave no surely no wise man would hesitate assent, not one Amen, to any prayer I which to choose. I have sometimes offered up. In this wretched condi- said to the Infidel, On your own tion did I leave him. His wife still showing we are on vantage ground; anxious sent for a pious neighbour, | if there be no hereafter we are none who was treated by the man in the the worse for our Christianity-if there very same way. At last, as though be, what is your condition? While his poor emaciated skeleton body, by we are in this world, if our Christianity some sort of preternatural influence, be a delusion, it is a very amiable de was wound up to an extraordinary lusion ; it makes a man happy and strength, he sprang from the bed on comfortable through life, and in death which he had been stretched, and ex- | it supports him. You will not tell me claimed, O God! I won't die,—and there is any thing in infidelity that he rushed to the door, fell down, and sweetens the bitter cup of poverty and expired. “Oh, my soul come not affliction, which can afford a single thou into their secret; and with un- drop of comfort ; you cannot extract godly and apostate men, mine honor, a drop from it, for it has not a drop be not thou united.”
in it. There is nothing in infidelity Behold another instance, the reverse that can afford any consolation to a of this; a man in humble life, who man in trying circumstances, or suphad been most distressingly afflicted | port him in the solemn agonizing with asthma, in whom I never saw hour of nature's dissolution. But any thing contrary to resignation and Christianity can sweeten the bitters of submission. One day a messenger | life ; it can support under all life's difficame and announced if I wished to culties and troubles, and can also resee him alive I must go, for he was move the fear of death, and make a dying. The man as to outward cir. | man triumphant even in death. On your own principles, and your own | tated passions—in guilty consciences showing, then, we stand on vantage in an impaired constitution—in getting ground; and if all onward be uncer- drunk-in an empty pocket? I need tain, still every wise man assuredly not go any further with these queswould prefer Christianity. How un tions. The case is decided, and is expressibly great and glorious are the just the reverse of that which we have advantages of religion-our light in been describing. It is profitable to darkness-our strength in weakness all things for both worlds. In thy -our riches in poverty—our life in case it is all loss, and no profit about death-our hope in time-our bliss in it. Turn thee from thine unprofitable eternity.
ways. Why wilt thou die? Jesus died Would time allow us we would enter that thou mayst live. on the contemplation of the life that Secondly, Learn the inconsistency is to come, and describe that life in and folly of those who, while they its nature and circumstances, so far admit the profit of godliness, make no as we know; still let me observe, that practical effort to secure its advanin regard to the things of God, and the tages. If it be but whispered on blessings of religion, realized by the tolerable authority, that such a promost pious in this world, “Eye hath fession, or such a branch of business, not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath is very profitable, we say, I, or my entered into the heart of man to con- son, or my friend will be in that proceive, the things which God hath pre- fession, that he may reap the advanpared for them that love him." So tage; but when the most profitable with regard to that world, in a still business of all is proposed, none can higher and fuller sense, we cannot listen to it. Oh, that all were wise, conceive the bliss and felicity which that they would understand these God hath prepared for them that love things, that they would consider their him. Are then these things so ? They latter end. are, my friends. Godliness is profita Lastly, Permit me to recommend ble to all things. Life and immorta. religion to you on a principle not orlity are brought to light by the Gospel. dinarily recommended. We generally
Learn first, then, the fallacy as well recommend religion to you because of as the impiety of the sentiments and its essential beauty and loveliness. We language of those who are asking, with recommend religion to you because of their brethren, of old, “Who is the its authority coming from God. We Almighty that I should serve him?" recommend religion to you because it Who is the Almighty? He is the self- is your duty to obey it. I recommend existent being, the independent and it to you to night on the principle of exerlasting God, the Creator and pre- enlightened and true self-interest, server of all. What profit is it that I There is an unrighteous self-interest, should pray to him? Why much pro- and there is a righteous self-interest. fit-all profit, and no loss. Ask the A man is to do well for himself, and pious : they know and they can tell. it is in this sense that a man is said to But may we not retort your own lan- love his neighbour as himself; for guage on yourselves and ask, What are this implies that he is to love himself. all these divers lusts and passions that Do you, then, my dear friends, my you should serve them? Who and fellow sinners before God, hastening what is this evil world, that you to an eternal world-do you wish to should serve it? Who and what is do well for yourselves? do you wish Satan, that you should serve him? to be rich and happy for ever?-do Has he done any thing for your bene- you wish to have the true riches that fit? Can he give any thing to his will never perish, that will pass cur. servants better than he has for him. rent in eternity ? do you wish to have self? and you know what that is, pleasure pure and eternal ? Oh, then, chains, darkness, and perdition. What get religion-pursue godliness-make profit is it that you should serve sin ? it your first and principal business, Is there any profit in all the scenes of and then you will be rich and happy dissipation, in the sleepless nights, that for ever and ever. And may God in are devoted to the service of sin his mercy grant that such may be the and Satan? Is there any profit in irri- character and privilege of all of you.
(MINISTER OF CARLISLE EPISCOPAL CHAPEL, LAMBETH,) AT TRINITY CHURCH, FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE NATIONAL CHARITY AND SUNDAY
SCHOOLS OF ST. MARY, NEWINGTON, OCTOBER 10, 1830.
1 Corinthians, iv. 2.-“ Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found
The introductory words of this chapter proving, and exhorting, according to are used exclusively by the apostle the purposes of Him whose servants to show the awful and responsible we are ; not striving about words to station which is occupied by the mi- no profit, but striking at the very nisters of Christ. These are the per- root of the matter, studying to show sons whom he calls “ stewards of the ourselves approved and good workmen mysteries of God.” . But although in that need not be ashamed. the first verse he certainly had referred But if there are some duties peculiar only to one order of men, he appears to us as ministers of the sanctuary, to have taken a more high and more there are others in which both the widely extended view in the second. hearer and the preacher have a mutual Here the application is general. “More- concern. In the parable that is comaver, it is required in stewards, that a monly known as that of the Good man be found faithful.” It cannot Samaritan, why does our Lord introbe denied that we, as dispensers of the duce the Priest, and the Levite, and the bread that cometh down from heaven, dweller in Samaria-why, but to let are stewards in a sense that belongs us understand, that the duty of lightto no other portion of the human race.ening a brother's burthen was equally To have the charge of a message that binding on all? Were we to find our involves the interests of many souls- selves in the situation of the traveller, to hold forth the word of life to every wounded, desolate and forsaken, we creature that will turn and embrace it should be the first to say, This is a -to sow the very seed that is to spring truth to be practically observed. The up into trees of righteousness—this is state of feeling in our own minds too an operation so important to the Lord commonly hinges on our own actual that saves sinners, as well as to sinners situation with regard to the large mass themselves, that we cannot expect less of mankind, whether our necessities than to be called on and reckoned with, require a hand to be stretched out for for the manner in which we have us, or whether we are required to handled his weapons and done his stretch out a hand for others. work. With Ezekiel's picture before But I will no longer detain you on us of the slumbering shepherd, we the surface of the text, but enter at have just cause to take heed to our-once into the particulars : and as the selves, lest we should be found by best means of placing these in a strong God raising up buildings with un- / light, I shall attempt to show, in the tempered mortar, making the gospel | First place, that every man living is a message broader than it is, and not steward. Secondly, that to be a good rightly dividing the whole counsel of steward, he must be found faithful in God. He spared not the priests of the things committed to him. Thirdly, Israel; neither will he spare the care- that the time is at hand when the term less of the Christian priesthood. He of this stewardship will be dissolved. will make us feel that though we are Lastly, I shall apply my text to the but instruments, as instruments we particular object of this present admust not be slack in our business; dress. not dealing with the sick and dying What have we to say against the as men pleasers; but rebuking, re- | first of these propositions? No man I conceive will go the length of saying schemes and wild fancies of mankind, it is not true; but thousands act as if you might suppose that our abodes this were really their belief. They were built of iron instead of dust. It live, oh, not as man should live, who is the commonest, and it is one of the cometh up and is cut down like a most mournful things, to see an unreflower, who fleeth as it were. a shadow, flecting creature, who is within a few never continuing in one stage ; but paces of the grave, stretch out his arms like the foolish ones whose characters to hold a little longer the things he are so well drawn by the Spirit of loves—to lay plans which he afterGod, they seem to think that their wards cannot mature-to plunge headhouses are to continue for ever, and long into a sea of ungodly care, whilst their dwelling places to endure from the warrant is signing in heaven for one generation to the other. This is bringing him to trial as an unjust a dream, but it is a dream so sweet steward, transferring his stewardship that the children of this world refuse into the hands of another, to be awakened out of it. There is You call Christ Lord, and you call something heavier than lead that keeps him Master ; and so he is; but when their thoughts fixed on the dust, that have you ever consulted his interest in they neither perceive nor mourn over preference to your own? Are you fightit as the fatal barrier that cuts them off ing with Christ's enemies? Are you comfrom a holy peace and spiritual enjoy- batting with this evil world among the ment. Look at them as they buy and rest? Are you walking with Christ's sell, as they build and plant; they are friends, and seeking, on every favouramoved by one principle-more ease ble occasion, to know and to understand more gain-more happiness. Would what the will of the Lord is? You apto God I could say it was more intense pear in the house of God as a sinner; breathing after Christ—more hearty that is, you repeat the humbling lansorrow-more vehement desire to break guage of the Liturgy and of the Bible : loose from bondage. View them in but when have you done this in the possession. Do they hold themselves closet ? When have you ever said with at all accountable for the disposition the honest sincerity of David; “ Try of what they call their own? Ask me, O God, and search the ground of them. They will tell you that they my heart; prove me, and examine my are free to lay up or to expend-to thoughts?". Would not many of you be erect or to pull down-to give or to put to sad confusion, were you told to withhold. They will answer you, not name the very day, and the very hour, as responsible stewards, but as high- that you spread the account of your minded and self-confident proprietors. souls before God without partiality and I have said proprietors, but in what without hyprocrisy ? Remember I am sense? Why there is not a spot of not speaking of that act which is comground which measures as much as mon to all men, the opening the lips the foot treads upon, which of right and pouring out words that are unfelt; belongs to one of us. The pride of but I am speaking of that positive spiman leads him to talk of his own ritual communion which he who is the houses, and his own fields, as if he living branch must hold with the living held them in perpetuity. You may vine, which you and which I must carry do this, but they are no more yours on if any thing is to come out of our than those bright worlds that light up discipleship. the firmament above you. You are But, perhaps, you demand additional suffered to enjoy the comfort of the and more direct proofs that you are one, and you are permitted to enjoy stewards in this comprehensive sense ? the grandeur of the other; but God is Well, take the very regions of which the great and sole proprietor. Who is you are the inhabitants : hear what there with a fleshly body which time | the Psalmist says concerning them ; preys upon, that can lay much stress -“ The earth is the Lord's, and the on that which he seems to grasp most fulness thereof; the world, and they