« PreviousContinue »
profit by the loss I have now described ; and hold
of the devil as a terror to the spectators, to the family, and to the whole church.
Would you know, my dear brethren, which is the way to prevent such great calamities? Which is really the time to implore forgiveness, and to derive the Holy Spirit into your heart? It is this moment, it is now. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found. Yes, he may be found to-day; he may be found in this assembly; he may be found under the word we are now speaking; he may be found under the exhortations we give in his name: he may be found in the remorse, the anguish, the emotions, excited in your hearts, and which say, on bis behalf, seek ye my face. He may be found to your closets, where he offers to converse with you in the most tender and familiar manner: he may be found
be found among the poor, among the sick, among those dying carcases, among those living images of death, and the tornb, which solicit your compassion; and which open to you the way of charity that leads to God, who is charity itself. He may be found to-day, but perhaps, tomorrow, he will be found no more. Perhaps, tomorrow, you inay seek in vain; perhaps, to-morrow, your measure may be full; perhaps, to-inorrow, grace may be forever withdrawn; perhaps, to-morrow, the sentence which decides your destiny shall be pronounced!
Ah! who can estimate a moment so precious! Ah! who can compare his situation with the unhappy victims, which the divine vengeance has immolated in hell, and for whom time is no longer! Who can, on withdrawing froin this temple ; refraini ng cle;
from so much vain conversation and criminal dissipation, who can forbear to prostrate himself at the footstool of the Divine Majesty; weeping for the past, reforming the present, and taking salutary precautions for the future. Who would not say with his heart, as well as bis mouth, Slay with me, Lord; I will not let thee go, until thou hast blessed me. Gen. xxxii. 20. until thou hast vanquished my corruption, and given me the earnest of my salvation. The time of my visitation is almost expired; I see it, I know it, I feel it; my conversion requires a mira
I ask this miracle of thee, and am resolved to obtain it of thy compassion.
My brethren, my dear brethren, we have no expressions sufficiently tender, no emotions sufficiently pathetic, no prayers sufficiently fervent, to draw you to this duty. Let your zeal supply our weak
If we have brandished before your eyes the sword of divine vengeance, it is not to destroy but to save; it is not to drive you to despair, but to induce you to sorrow after a godly sort, and with a repentance not to be repented of. 2 Cor. ii. 10. It is incumbent on each of you who hear, and regard what I say, to participate in these advantages. May you, from the present moment, form a resolution to profit by an opportunity so precious. May the hour of your death, corresponding with the sincerity of your resolutions, and with the holiness of your lives, open to you the gates of heaven; and enable you to find in glory that God, whom you might have found inerciful in this church. God grant you grace so to do. To Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be honour and glory for ever. Amen:
On the Delay of Conversion.
Isaiah lv. 6.
him nhile he is near.
(THE SUBJECT CONCLUDED.]
EXPERIENCE, my brethren, is a great teacher ; it is a professor which adduces the inost clear, solid, and indisputable proofs. Reason is an admirable endowment, given us for a guide in our researches after truth. Revelation has been happily added, to correct and conduct it; but both have their difficulties. Reason is circumscribed, its views are confined, its deviations frequent; and the false inferences we perceive it deduces, render doubtful its most clear and evident conclusions. Revelation, however venerable its tribunal, however infallible its decisions, is foolishness, says the apostle, to the natural man ; it is exposed to the erroneous glosses of critics, to the difficulties of heretics, and the contradiction of infidels. But experience is without exception; it speaks to the heart, to the senses, and the understanding ; it neither reasons nor debates, but carries conviction and proof. It so captivates the consent of the Chris
tian, the philosopher, and even the atheist, that nothing but mental derangement can induce a man to combat its decisions.
This is the grand instructor who shall preach today in this pulpit. In illustrating the words of the text, it is not sufficient that we have demonstrated, in our preceding discourses, from reason and Scripture, the folly of the sinner, who delays bis conversion; it is not sufficient that philosophy and religion have both concurred to prove, that in order to labour successfully at the work of salvation, we must begin in early life, in the time of health, and in the days of youth. We will prove it by experience; we will demonstrate it by sad tests and instances of the truths we have delivered; we will produce to you awful declarations of the the wrath of heaven, which cry to you with a strong and tender voice, Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.
These witnesses, these tests, these cases, shall be adduced from persons, who were once placed in your present situation; acquainted with the will of God, warned by his servants, and living, as St. Peter expresses himself, at a period, in which the long suffering of God anaited them. 1 Pet. iji. 20. even you, Christians, will one day become what they now are, awful examples of the wrath of God; eternal monuments of his indignation and vengeance ; unless your eyes, opened by so much light, unless your hearts, impressed by so many motives, unless your consciences, alarmed by the dreadful judgments of God, shall take measures to prevent the