Page images

what it is in his power to learn, what he is invited to study, with the means of knowledge placed before him, will fall under this accusation, that “light is come into the world, and that he hath chosen darkness rather than light, because his deeds were evilt."

David may teach us by his own fatal experience, that the heart will wax gross, from the eager pursuit of an evil inclination, that the ears will become dull of hearing, and the eyes will be closed, till the soul falls as it were into a deep sleep,

from which it may not be wakened, till some startling truth is at length forced upon us, and we see how far we have departed from that path which leadeth unto everlasting life.

David may also teach us how we ought to receive reproof, when it is offered to us by those whose duty it is to convey it. “ Let the righteous smite me,” he has said, " it shall be a kindness; and let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my heads.” And so it was when the prophet Nathan went to

f John iii. 19.

& Psalm cxli. 5.

[ocr errors]

him.' Did he turn from him in anger, as if the discharge of the prophet's duty was an affront to his king? Did he make any empty excuses to ward off his guilt ? Did he dwell on the strength of the temptation? Did he urge that others had gone astray as well as he ? No. 6 David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord.” Like the publican in the parable", he threw himself upon the loving-kindness of his Maker, by confessing his sin, and humbling himself before an offended God. And what was the consequence ? 66 Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin ; thou shalt not die;"! So true it is, my brethren, that a sincere and heart-felt confession of sin is the surest way to obtain forgiveness : for have we not a Saviour to plead our cause, if we will cast away all trust in ourselves, all thoughts of our own worthiness, and fly to him for pardon?

If any fail of making their peace with God, it is because they either ask not for pardon, or ask amiss-ask carelessly, languidly, and without faith—because their heart is not in what they say; and the prayer falls feebly from the lips, while the heart is thinking, not of God, but of the world.

h Luke xviii. 13.

Let each then, when the preacher is addressing to his hearers the words of eternal life from the pulpit, apply what is said to himself; let him ask his own heart whether the truths he hears do not set before him some duty which he has either neglected altogether, or performed coldly and irregularly. If he listens to the minister of the Gospel with this view, with an earnest desire to know himself as he really is, and with an anxious wish for spiritual improvement, he will be prepared to say to himself, (without needing a Nathan to speak for him,) “ Thou art the man.” This will be followed by a humble confession that " he has sinned, in this instance, against the Lord ;” and then he may humbly trust, through the merits of a crucified Saviour, that God will “put away his sin."



Matt. xiii. 24, 25. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying,

The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man

which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed

tares among the wheat, and went his way. THE parable here presented to us has the advantage of being explained, in all its parts, by the great Teacher who delivered it. We go therefore here on sure ground; no room is left for doubt and conjecture, but the whole subject is placed before us in the clearest light.

When the Son of God has been pleased to take such pains for our instruction, what less can we do than listen to his words with respectful attention, and strive to profit by them? Hear then the parable,

« PreviousContinue »