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dare to do such things as you do? Is it not the very ground on which you venture so and so to gratify your lusts? Let young people examine all their secret carriage; what they do alone in the dark and in secret corners. knoweth, and your own hearts know, though men do not know. Put the question impartially to your own consciences; is not this the very thing that gives you the courage to do as you do, that you hear that God is a very merciful God, and that he often of his sovereign mercy gives repentance of great sins, and even wilful sins, and in consequence of repentance forgives? And so you hope that one day or other he will do so to you. You intend some time hereafter earnestly to seek it; and you hope you shall be awakened. And if you be very earnest, as you intend to be, you hope you shall be converted, and then you shall be forgiven, and it will be as well as if you had never committed such sins.

If this be the case consider how you boast of to-morrow, and foolishly depend on future opportunity to repent, as well as foolishly presume on the mercy of God to give you repentance, at the same time that you take a course to provoke God, forever to give you up to a sealed hardness and blindness, and to a most fearful damnation; not considering that God will glorify his revenging justice as well as his mercy; nor remembering the sad example of Esau, “who for a morsel of meat sold his birthright; and afterwards, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." Heb. xii. 16, 17.

6. Inquire whether you improve this day, as one who doth not depend upon ever having an opportunity to keep another Sabbath, or hear another sermon. It appears from what hath been already said, that you have no grounds to depend on any more such opportunities. Now the day is present, and so you are in a better capacity to determine how it is with you. It is but for you to reflect upon yourselves, to look inward, and see how it is with you now at this present time. And how is it? Are you as strict and diligent in keeping this Sabbath, watching your thoughts, and keeping your hearts, striving in duties both public and private, and improving ordinances, as might be expected of one who hath no dependence on ever enjoying such an opportunity any more; one who doth not depend on ever setting foot again within the walls of God's house?

Do you hear this sermon with that attention, and care, and desire, and endeavor to improve it for your good, as you would, if you did not depend on ever hearing another sermon; or did not depend upon it that your bodies would not be in the grave, and your souls fixed in eternity, in their unalterable state, before the next Sabbath?

7. Are you careful to see to it that the grounds of your hope are good ? A man who hath a hope of being in a state of acceptance with God, but is not sure, if he had no dependence on any other day's opportunity of making it sure than to-day; if he did not at all depend upon it, but that his hope must be tried before to-morrow, by the all-seeing, heart-searching God; would be very strict in examining himself and searching the grounds of his hope, and would not rest in an uncertainty. He would be very thorough in informing himself what might be depended on as good evidence of an interest in Christ, and what not; and would be exceedingly strict in searching his own heart, to see whether there were any thing in him that comes up to the requisites laid down in the Scriptures.

If what appears hopeful in him were dim and obscure, he would set himself very earnestly to obtain that which would be more clear and manifest, and would cry earnestly to God for it, and would apply himself to a diligent use of means in order to it. And good reason why; for he depends on no other op


portunity to make his calling and election sure, than what he hath to-day. Inquire therefore whether you are thus thorough in examining your hope. And are you thus careful effectually to see to it, that you are on a sure foundation ? If not, then you behave yourselves as those that depend on to-morrow.

II. This doctrine may be improved in a use of EXHORTATION to all, to spend every day as not depending on any other day. It is certainly most reasonable that we should do so. God hath concealed from us the day of our death, without doubt, partly for this end, that we might be excited to be always ready, and might live as those that are always waiting for the coming of their Lord, agreeably to the counsel which Christ gives us, Matt. xxiv. 42, 43, 44, and chap. xxv. 13, and Mark xiii. 32, &c.

That watchman is not faithful, who, being set to defend a house from thieves, or a city from an enemy who is at hand, will, at any hour, venture to sleep, trusting that the thief or enemy will not come. Therefore it is expected of the watchman, that he behave himself every hour of the night, as one who doth not depend upon it that the enemy will tarry until the next hour. Now, therefore, let me, in Christ's name, renew the call and counsel of Jesus Christ to you, to watch as those that know not what hour your Lord will come. Let me call upon those poor wretches who are hitherto in a natural condition, having never been born again. Depend not upon it, that you will not be in hell before to-inorrow morning. You have no reason for any such dependence ; God hath not promised to keep you from it, or to withhold his wrath so long.

How can you reasonably be easy or quiet for one day, or one night, in such a condition, when you know not but that your Lord will come this night, and what hour of the night you know not? And if you should then be found as you now are, unregenerate, how unprepared would you be for his coming, and how fearful would be the consequence! Be exhorted therefore, for your own sakes, immediately to awake out of sleep, and sleep no more, but watch henceforward, and improve the remainder of this day, and each of your days henceforward, if you shall live to see any more days, as not depending on any other day.

Let me exhort every one, of whatever character, to have no dependence on any future time; to keep every Sabbath as having no dependence on the opportunity to enjoy another Sabbath; to hear every sermon, as if it were the last that you shall ever hear. And when you go into your closets, and address yourselves to your Father who seeth in secret, do it in no dependence on any future opportunity to perform the same duty. When any of you that are young go into company for your amusement and diversion, consider that that may be the last opportunity of the like nature that ever you may have. In all your dealings with your neighbors, act as if you were never to make another bargain. Behave in your families every day, as though you depended on no other, than to take your final leave of them before another day. Here I shall offer you two motives.

1. Consider, if you will hearken to this counsel, how much it will tend to your safety and peace in life and death. It is the way really and truly to be ready for death; yea, to be fit to live or fit to die; to be ready for affliction and adversity, and for whatever God in his providence shall bring upon you. It is the way to be in, not only an habitual, but actual preparedness for all changes, and particularly for your last change.

It is the way to possess your souls in a serene and undisturbed peace, and to enable you to go on with an immovable fortitude of soul, to meet the most frightful changes, to encounter the most formidable enemies, and to be ready

with unshaken confidence to triumph over death whenever you meet him ; to have your hearts fixed, trusting in God, as one that stands on a firm foundation, and hath for his habitation the munition of rocks, that is not afraid of evil tidings, but laughs at the fear of the enemy. It will be the way for you to possess that quietness and assurance spoken of, Isai. xxxii

. 17, “ The work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.”

The servant who always stands watching, will not be at all surprised at the news that his Lord is coming. This will be the way for you to live above the fear of death. Yea, if heaven and earth should shake, you may stand firm and unshaken, being settled on a rock, which cannot be removed, but abideth forever. O how happy are such persons, who have such safety and peace! What a blessed peace is that which arises from such a constant preparation for death! How happy therefore is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing!

2. What dismal calamities and miseries mankin: are subject to for want of this, for want of behaving themselves every day as not depending on any future day! The way of the world is, one day foolishly to depend on another, yea, on many others. And what is the consequence? Why, the consequence with respect to the bigger part of the world is, that they live all their days without any true peace or rest of soul. They are all their lifetime subject to bondage through fear of death. And when death sensibly approaches they are put into a terrible fright. They have a dismal view of their past lives; the ill improvement of their time, and the sins they have been guilty of, stand staring them in the face, and are more frightful than so many devils. And when they look forward into that eternity whither they are going, how dismal is the prospect! O how do their hearts shrink at the thought of it! They go before the judgment seat of God, as those that are dragged thither, while they would gladly, if they could, hide themselves in the caves and dens of the earth.

And what is worse yet than all the disquietude and terror of conscience in this world; the consequence of a contrary behavior, with respect to the bulk of mankind, is their eternal perdition. They flatter themselves, that they shall see another day, and then another, and trust to that, until finally most of them are swallowed up in hell, to lament their folly to all eternity, in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone.

Consider how it was with all the foolish virgins who trusted to the delay of the bridegroom's coming ; when he came they were surprised, and found unprepared, having no oil in their lamps at that time, and while they went to buy, those who were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut against them, and they came afterwards crying in vain, Lord, Lord, open to us.

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Acts iv. 11.—This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders.

In the foregoing chapters we have an account of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the apostles at Pentecost, and of the extraordinary effects of it, in their speaking boldly in the name of Jesus, and speaking many strange languages, and so being made the instruments of the sudden conversion of vast multitudes. And in the chapter immediately preceding there is an account how Peter and John miraculously healed a man who had been a cripple from his birth ; which, together with the word which they spake to the people that flocked together on the occasion, was the means of a new accession to the church; so that the nuinber of them that heard the word and believed, as we are told in the fourth verse of this chapter, was about five thousand.

This sudden and extraordinary progress of the gospel greatly alarmed the priests and scribes, and other chief men among the Jews; so that they laid hands on Peter and John and put them in hold, and the next day brought them forth to appear before them, and called them to an account for what they had done They asked them particularly by what power, or by what name they had wrought the miracle on the impotent man. Upon which Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, makes answer,“ Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought by you builders, which is become the head of the corner.” In the verse of the text the apostle mentions to them as now fulfilled, that in the 118th Psalm verse 22, “ The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner." This text, in that psalm, the apostle applies to them:

1. By telling them, This is the stone, i. e., this person of whom he had spoken in the foregoing verse, viz., Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom they had crucified, and whoin God had raised from the dead.

2. By telling them, that they were the builders spoken of. They before whom the apostle then was, and to whom he was speaking, were rulers and elders and scribes of the people, the high priest and other priests. They, as they were set to be rulers and teachers among God's people, by their office, were called to be builders of the church of God.

3. By telling them, that they had set this stone at nought. They had so done by refusing to accept of him. Christ came to his own, and his own received him not; and not only so, but they had openly manifested the greatest contempt of him. They had mocked him, scourged and spit upon him, and in derision crowned him with a crown of thorns, and arrayed him in a mock robe, and then had put him to a most ignominious death.

4. By telling them, that notwithstanding this, he was become the head of the corner

. In spite of all that they could do, he had obtained the chief place in the building. God had made him the main foundation of it, by raising him from the dead, and so putting great honor upon him, and by pouring out his Spirit, and enduing his disciples with extraordinary gifts, and by suddenly converting VOL. IV.


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so many thousands to be the followers of Christ. They put him to death that he might have no followers, concluding that that would utterly put an end to his interest in Judea. But they were greatly disappointed; for the gospel had incomparably greater success after Christ's death than before. God had accomplished that very thing which they endeavored to prevent by Christ's crucifixion, viz., Christ's being believed in and submitted to, as the great Prophet of God and Prince of his people.

Unbelievers set nothing by all the glory and excellency in Christ.

I. They set nothing by the excellency of his person. Christ is a great and glorious person, a person of infinite worthiness, on which account he is infinitely esteemed and loved of the Father, and is continually adored by the angels, But unbelievers have no esteem at all of him on that account. They have no value at all of him on account of his being the Son of God. He is not set the higher in their esteem on the account of his standing in so near and honorable a relation to God the Father. He is not valued at all the more for his being a divine person, or one that is God. By his having the divine nature, he is infinitely exalted above all created beings. But he is not at all exalted by it in their esteem. They set nothing by his infinite Majesty. His glorious brightness and greatness excite not any true respect or reverence in them.

Christ is the holy one of God: he is so holy that the heavens are not pure in his sight. He is possessed of all that holiness which is the infinite beauty and loveliness of the divine nature. But an unbeliever sets nothing by the holiness of Christ. Christ is the wisdom of God and the power of God, as he is called, I Cor. i. 24. But an unbeliever sets nothing by his power and wisdom. The Lord Jesus Christ is full of grace and mercy; the mercy and love of God appear nowhere else so brightly and gloriously as they do in the face of Jesus Christ. But an unbeliever sets no value at all upon the infinite grace of Christ.

Neither do unbelievers set any thing by those excellent virtues which appeared in Christ's human nature when he was upon earth. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners; he was meek and lowly of heart; he was patient under afflictions and injuries; when he was reviled, he reviled not again. But unbelievers set nothing by these things in Jesus Christ. They very often hear how excellent and glorious a person Christ is; they are told of his holiness, and grace, and condescension, and meekness, and have the excellencies of Christ plainly set forth to them; yet they set all at nought.

II. They set nothing by his excellency in his work and office. They are told how glorious and complete a Mediator he is, how sufficient to answer all our necessities, and to save sinners to the uttermost; but they make light of it all; yea, they make nothing of it. They hear of the wonderful wisdom of God in contriving such a way of salvation by Christ, they have the manifold wisdom of God set forth to them; but they set nothing by this wisdom, nor do they make any account of the excellency of this way of salvation.

The unbeliever hears what a wonderful thing it was, that he who was in the form of Gud, and esteemed it no robbery to be equal with God, should take upon him the human nature, and come and live in this world in a mean and low condition ; but he makes nothing of this. He hears much of the dying love of Christ to sinners, how wonderful it was that so glorious a person, who is infinitely above the angels, should so set his love on such worms of the dust, so

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