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the sea obey him!” Some persons if known | distress and anguish within, he can say would be abhorred; others would decline upon unto your soul, “I am thy salvation." Fear acquaintance; and where intimacy does not not. reduce our esteem, it commonly diminishes Look to him in all your trials. Surely, in our admiration. In other cases, ignorance is a storm, there ought to be a difference bethe cause of wonder: but here it is know-tween you and others. They have made no ledge; for the character is perfect, and the provision for the evil day: but you have a object infinite. The more we know of the friend, a kind friend, an almighty friend with Saviour's attributes and works and ways, the you. You have tried him. You know “whom more we shall admire and adore. And we you have believed;" and he knoweth them are told that when he has ended all our that trust in him, and will “ never leave storins, and made all things to work together them nor forsake them." for our good-then " he shall come to be glo- Have you evils in prospect? Does a disrified in his saints, and to be admired in all pensation of Heaven approach you, that, illthem that believe.” We admire him indeed stead of opening like a fine morning in Mar, now. He has already fixed and filled our seems setting in like a winter's night, minds. We already see in him such various with “dark waters and thick clouds of the and numberless excellences, that the world sky ?" has faded into nothing by the comparison. " Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; We see in him every thing to feed our
The clouds ye. so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break contemplation, every thing to encourage our
In blessings on your head. hope, every thing to excite imitation, every
" Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, thing to command attachment and praise.
But trust him for his grace; But how small a portion is known of him!
Behind a frowning Providence
He hides a smiling face." "-Nor earth, nor seas, nor sun, nor stars,
Nor heaven his full resemblance bears:
FAMINE. and the sea, has often addressed you. He has addressed you by sickness, by affliction, by
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, delivering mercy, by conscience, by friends,
that I will send a famine in the land.by ministers, by his law and by his gospel, by
Amos viii. 11. threatenings and by promises. But more in Sin is said to be “an evil and a bitter sensible, more rebellious than the wind or thing." It is evil in its nature, and bitter in the sea, you have not heard or obeyed him. its consequences. It is evil with regard to And yet you pretend to possess reason! But God, and bitter with regard to us. It “ brought wherein do you show it?“ A prudent man death into the world, and all our wo." Numforeseeth the evil and hideth himself, but the berless are the miseries to which it has resimple pass on and are punished.” And this duced individuals, families, nations, and the will be your case. You are not only his crea- whole human race. tures, but his subjects; he has not only given Among these, one of the most dreadful is you privileges, but rendered you accounta- Famine. It would not be easy even for the ble for them, and he is coming to try you imagination to do justice to a calamity so treby them. And can you be ignorant of the mendous. What must it be to view the result? “As for these mine enemies that heavens over us as brass, and the earth be would not that I should reign over them, neath us as iron!" What must it be, from bring them forth and slay them before me.” Ithe appearances of nature, to exclaim, " \S
Secondly. Let me call upon those of you not the meat cut off before our eyes, yea, joy who love the Saviour, to familiarize him to and gladness froin the house of our God! your minds as present with you in all your | The seed is rotten under the clods, the gardifficulties. You need not say, Oh! if he ners are laid desolate, the barns are broken were on earth, I would go to him, and tell | down; for the corn is withered. How do the him my griet, and ease my burdened mind. | beasts groan! the herds of cattle are pere You may do so now ; for though he is no plexed because they have no pasture; ycd, longer visible, he is still accessible; and if the flocks of sheep are made desolate." What you call, he will answer, and say, “ Here must it be to make observations like these I am.” He is a very present belp in trouble. “The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth
Look to him to tranquillize a stormy world. to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young The nations are angry--but He who stilleth children ask bread, and no man breaketh 1 the raging of the sea can also calm the tu- unto them. They that did feed delicately mults of the people.
are desolate in the streets: they that were Look to him, to pacify a troubled con- brought up in scarlet embrace dunghus science. In the midst of the most painful | They that be slain with the sword are bet
than they that be slain with hunger, for these We divide our reflections.into three parts:
yourselves thrust out.”
| morally or judicially incapable of improveAnd yet there is a famine infinitely more ment by the institutions of religion, even dreadful than all this: and to keep you no should they be continued among them. When longer from our subject, it is the very judg- a man can no longer use food, or turn it into ment here denounced: “ Behold, the days nourishment, it is the same with regard to come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a himself as if all provision was denied himfamine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor death must be the consequence. The case a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of many who have long been favoured with of the Lord. And they shall wander from the Gospel, is, according to this view of the sea to sea, and from the north even to the subject, alarming. Much has been said, very east; they shall run to and fro to seek the incautiously, of the termination of a day of word of the Lord, and shall not find it."—We grace. In a sense every day is a day of need not inquire to what periods the prophecy grace; and “God is longsuffering to us-ward, immediately refers. It was to be accom- not willing that any should perish, but that plished at different times, and in various de- all should come to repentance." While grees.
therefore there is life, there is hope. But
surely this hope diminishes, as impenitency rant of its worth, tramples it under foot? Do becomes inveterate. Surely favourable op- we cease to admire Handel because some have portunities may elapse and return no more. no ears for his harmony and melody, or may Surely convictions may be stifled, and im- choose to be perverse and fastidious ?-But pressions worn off never to be renewed. what do we? We disregard ignorance and Surely, by unsanctified attendance, year after prejudice, and seek after a proper standard by year, the most important truths may become which we may obtain the decisions of truth. so familiar as to lose all their effect. Surely, Let us apply the same rule to the subject beby incessant trifling with divine things, God i fore us. To know the dreadfulness of this may be provoked to recall his influence from judgment, let us, his ordinances—and thus will be fulfilled the First; dwell upon the advantages derivaprophecy of Esaias, who saith, “ Hearing ye ble from the preaching of the gospel. The shall hear, and shall not understand ; and see- generality of those that are called by divine ing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: for grace are saved by this instrumentalitythis people's heart is waxed gross, and their “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they the word of God.” And the usefulness of it have closed ; lest at any time they should see continues through the whole of the Christian with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and life. “He gave some, apostles; and some, should understand with their heart, and should prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, be converted, and I should heal them.” pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the
We may consider this famine as doctrinal. saints, for the work of the ministry, for the It may then be occasioned by the removal of edifying of the body of Christ : till we all faithful ministers, and the succession of others come, in the unity of the faith, and of the of different principles. This is sure to cause knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect a declension in the number and in the zeal man, unto the measure of the stature of the of the members of churches. For the gracefulness of Christ." Some are unable to read, and the truth of God always go together. and many have little time to search the And in this case the gospel is really taken Scriptures. Particular errors and vices are away, and something is made a substitute continually arising and prevailing, that rethat will be found ineffectual for all the pur- quire the application of particular doctrines, poses of conversion and consolation. As light and the inculcation of particular duties : and recedes, darkness in the same proportion fol- a minister will study these in the choice and lows. Every system has some parts in it that in the discussion of his subjects. How often are essential. When the leading doctrines in his palaces have some of you found God for of the gospel are denied or concealed, the a refuge! How often have your perplexities gospel is withdrawn; and when this is with been solved, your fears banished, your hearts drawn, “ Ichabod” may be inscribed upon the filled with all joy and peace in believing ! walls of the building.--" The glory is de-Could you be reconciled to the thought of parted."
| losing all the pleasure and profit you have This famine may be considered as literal. found by experience to be connected with This is the case when a people are deprived the means of grace? of the very institutions of religion, and are Secondly; let us think of the importance forbidden the assembling of themselves to of the soul and eternity. The body is the gether according to their convictions. This meanest part of our nature; and time is the may be done by the inroads and oppression of shortest portion of our duration, by a decree an enemy; by the encroachments of tyranny; no less than infinite. The chief question by the loss of liberty of conscience. Our therefore should never be, “What shall I eat, forefathers could explain this.
and what shall I drink, and wherewithal II. Let us pass from the nature of this shall I be clothed ?"_but “ What must I do judgment, to examine THE DREADFULNESS OF to be saved ?" The chief care ought to be, IT. To some men indeed this famine would to gain spiritual wealth, spiritual honour, be a very little grievance. Probably it would spiritual food for these regard man in his prove a pleasure rather than a pain. If the | most essential claims and necessities. Every gospel was removed, they would be less in thing should be considered as good or evil, commoded and alarmed. They would rather according to its connexion with the soul and have no prophets, unless they would " pro- eternity: and from this principle, which a phesy smooth things.” Of a Micaiah they child can understand, we infer, that, beyond exclaim, “ I hate hiin; for he doth not pro- all comparison, the famine most to be dreadphesy good concerning me, but evil.” “Yea, ed is that which regards not the body, but they say,"—how dreadful are actions put into the soul; not time, but eternity. words,—" yea, they say unto God, Depart. Thirdly; observe the design of such a disfrom us; we desire not the knowledge of thy pensation. Some judgments, though painful, ways." But do we take the value of learn-are still profitable. They remove the human ing from the opinion of a fool ? Do we esti- arm; but it is to lead us to a dependence on mate the jewel from the swine, that, igno- the Divine. They take away the desires of our eyes; but it is that we may ask, “Where l III. We have to reflect on THE EXECUTION is God my Maker, that giveth songs in the OF THIS SENTENCE. For some may be ready night ?" How blessed was the humiliation to say, How can such a thing be? It is very that reduced Manasseh from the throne into improbable; and, considering the divine proa i rison, where he sought and found the Lord mise, it seems to be impossible. For has he God of his fathers ! How kind was the famine not said—“ This is my covenant with them, that drove the prodigal to his father's house! saith the Lord ; my Spirit that is upon thee, ") God, chastise me, but do not abandon and my words which I have put in thy mouth, me. Try me as thou pleasest, but do not shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of withdraw from me the proofs and the me- the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth diurns of thy grace. Say any thing but this of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from hence
He is joined to idols, let him alone.'" forth and for ever. Upon this rock will I Other judgments are in mercy, but this is in build my church, and the gates of hell shall wrath. Other judgments are parental, but not prevail against it.” But a distinction inthis is penal. Other judgments may urge us stantly removes this difficulty. God has eninto heaven; but this is the way to hell, gaged to establish his church · universally; “ going down to the chambers of death." but this does not regard any particular body
Fourthly. In estimating this curse, let us of professors. He has engaged that the gosappeal to the sentiments of the righteous. pel shall never be removed from the world ; Their conviction, in a case like this, far out- but this does not hinder the withdrawment weighs the opinion of the politicians and phi- l of it from particular places. If after all you losophers of the age. The question is a re-are slow of heart to believe; if you are still ligious one, and the spiritual judgeth all thinking that such language as this never things, though he himself is judged of no can, or never will be accomplished with reman." In what terms does David deplore gard to us; let me ask you, the loss of divine assemblies? “When I re- First. Is not He who utters this threatening member these things, I pour out my soul in almighty, and so able to fulfil it? If he has me: for I had gone with the multitude, I infinite resources, from which he can bless yent with them to the house of God, with the his friends, he has the same power, the same voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that dominion to furnish him with arms against kept holy day. O God, thou art my God; his enemies. He can never be at a loss for carly will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for instruments to do his pleasure ; nor can these thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a thirsty instruments, however weak in themselves, land, where no water is; to see thy power prove feeble in the hand of Omnipotence. and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the Secondly. Is not He who utters this sanctuary." Take those who are confined threatening just, and so disposed to fulfil it ? from the ordinances of God by disease or ac- Men may draw God as they please ; they cident-though God does not leave them may imagine him all patience and pity ; but comfortless, neither are they unsubmissive, they will find themselves mistaken. “A God yet with the recovering Hezekiah they are all mercy is a God unjust.” He is an equitaasking, “What is the sign that I shall go up ble Governor, as well as a tender Father. to the house of the Lord ?"
He is holy in all his ways, and righteous in We can rise but one step higher, and there all his works. If sin is the abominable thing we meet with God himself. His people may that he hates if it be aggravated by light err: but his understanding is infinite; he and knowledge if the servant that knew his cannot be deceived. What does he think of Lord's will and did it not shall be beaten this judgment? You may infer it from his with many stripes—if the abuse of the greatbenediction; “Blessed are the people that est privilege be the greatest guilt-can God know the joyful sound." You may infer it see all this without concern, without provofrom his promise; I will give them pastors cation? If at an infinite experrse he has sent after my own heart, that shall feed them the gospel among us, and we make light of with knowledge and understanding. Though it; refuse to read or to hear it; or make the the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and hearing of it a matter of mere curiosity or the water of affliction, yet shall not thy entertainment; applying it to no one purteachers be removed into a corner any more, dose for which it was given, or turning it into but thine eyes shall see thy teachers : and licentiousness-is it conceivable that we can thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, do this with impunity? Can God connive saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when at such wickedness? Must he not prove ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn that he is “ of purer eyes than to behold into the left." You may infer it from his iquity?" Mercy sent forth the messengers threatening; “Behold, the days come, saith to invite to the marriage-feast: but what said the Lord God, that I will send a famine in Justice of those that refused ? “None of the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst the men that were bidden shall taste of my for water, but of hearing the words of the supper." Lord.”
Thirdly. Is not he that utters this threat
ening, faithful, and so bound to fulfil it? Even light, lest darkness come upon you: for he a Balaam could say, “The Lord is not a man that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither that he should lie, or the son of man that he he goeth. While ye have the light, believe should repent. Hath he said, and shall he in the light, that ye may be the children of not do it? Hath he spoken, and shall he not the light." With gospel means, be concerned make it good ?"—He has evinced his truth to obtain gospel grace; and earnestly pray in his denunciations as well as his promises. that the ministry of the word may become If Joseph found his word true, so did Pharaoh; the ministration of the Spirit. “Be ye doers and Saul was constrained to believe it as well of the word, and not bearers only, deceiving as David.
your own selves. For if any be a hearer of Fourthly. Has not he who utters this the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a threatening fulfilled it already in various in- man beholding his natural face in a glass : for stances? Here we appeal from principles to he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and facts. The gospel has been removed from a straightway forgetteth what manner of man country ; a people have been unchurched. | he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect The Jews are an eminent example. While law of liberty, and continueth therein, he bethey enjoyed their ceremonial services, they ing not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the had the gospel in type; and when the Saviour work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." was among them, they had the gospel in re-l Finally. As it is so dreadful to be destiality: but the kingdom of God was taken from tute of the gospel, think how many of your them, and given to a people “bringing forth fellow-creatures are found in this deplorable fruit in its season.” When we consider the condition. They would be glad with the names by which they were called; the mira- crumbs that fall from your table. They never cles, the ordinances, the privileges that distin-hear of a Saviour. They feel depraved proguished them; and see this garden of the Lord pensities, but know nothing of that grace laid waste, this people a reproach and a by- which can create in us a clean heart, and reword-with what force comes the admonition | new in us a right spirit. They feel guilty of the apostle: "If he spared not the natural fears, but know nothing of that blood which branches, take heed also lest he spare not cleanses us from all sin. Pray that the thee." What became of the Church of Rome, | Scriptures, and that missionaries may speedily so famous as to be “ spoken of throughout the reach them. Pray that the Sun of righteouswhole world ?" It was made “a cage for ness may arise, with healing under his wings every unclean bird.” Where are the seven and comfort them with the knowledge of sal. churches of Asia ? The places that once vation. “God be merciful unto us, and bless knew them, know them no more for ever. us; and cause his face to shine upon us. That The blasphemies of the Koran sound where thy way may be known upon earth, thy sa. once the name of Jesus was as ointment ving health among all nations. Let the peo poured forth; and the banners of an infamous ple praise thee, O God; Jet all the people impostor wave where once was erected the praise thee. O let the nations be glad and standard of the Cross, to draw all men into it. sing for joy : for thou shalt judge the people All these had a time wherein to know the righteously, and govern the nations upon things that belonged to their peace-and then earth." they were hid from their eyes. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
.DISCOURSE LVI. The subject demands gratitude. We have reason to bless God that we have not had a famine of bread; that he has crowned the
CONVERSION. year with his goodness; and fed us with the Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, finest of the wheat. But still less has he visited
and become as little children, ye shall not is with a famine of hearing the words of the enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matt Lord. Why did the gospel reach us at such
xviii. 3. an early period? Why, when it was denied | The disciples were such dull scholars, to so many, was it imparted to os? Why, that after all the education our Lord and sasince it has been withdrawn from numbers viour had given them, they were yet imaginonce favoured with it, is the blessing yet con- ling that his kingdom" was of this world." tinued to us—and in such purity and plenty? They supposed that he would deliver them -"Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto from the Roman yoke; advance them as thy Name give glory, for thy mercy and for nation to the high places of the earth; and thy truth's sake."
| lead them forth conquering and to conquer. Again. Let us be concerned to improve In this secular empire they believed there it while we possess it. It is our Saviour's would be degrees of power and glory, as in application of the same doctrine. “Then Je- any other; and expecting that these places gus said unto them, Yet a little while is the would be filled by some of their own body, light with you. Walk while ye have the l after a dispute among themselves, they w