Page images
PDF
EPUB

Pharaoh to destroy every Hebrew male child. To avoid the execution of this decree, a Hebrew mother resolved to commit her babe to the mercy of providence, with no other protection from the elements and monsters of the Nile, than an ark of bulrushes. A stranger passed that way, the very moment the child wept. That stranger was a woman whose heart could feel for a poor, forsaken infant: a princess, the only person in Egypt, who might safely indulge this tenderness. She saved the child and adopted him as her son. How compassionate, how amiable, and noble her conduct. But little did that princess know what she was doing. Little did she think, that that weeping infant thus singularly rescued from death, was to be the minister of divine vengeance to her haughty father and his kingdom. Little did she imagine, that the Red Sea would divide at his presence, that he was to write five books of the sacred scriptures, containing the only authentick account of the creation; and be a deliverer, legislator, and guide to the church of God. It will appear as clear as noon-day, that great effects result from minute causes, if we take a view of the giant, Goliah, and the shepherd, David. How did the champion defy the armies of Israel, and strike terrour and dismay into the hearts of the men of war, and the chiet captains. At length the stripling shepherd, with faith in the Lord of hosts, using no weapons

but sling and a stone, laid prostrate before the two armies the mighty giant. Thus a common stone, useless and unnoticed perhaps for ages in the bottom of a brook, slew the champion, routed the army of the Philistines, and decided a mighty battle, on which the great interests of a nation were suspended. The beautiful and majestick temple of Jerusalem was built by the labour and wealth of a nation. Yet a single fire-brand, thrown by a common soldier of the Roman army, consumed this magnificent edifice, which had been the glory of the Jews, and the wonder of the world. How have a few licentious men

a

in Europe, corrupt in their political and religious principles, by their conduct and writings, diffused a spirit of anarchy and licentiousness amongst thousands. In several places the fire which they enkindled, has burst forth into a tremendous conflagration. Like Ætna's boiling furnaces, it has poured forth rivers of flame to mar all that was fair, and to consume all that was flourishing. On the other hand, who can estimate the vast benefit, resulting to mankind from the lives and writings of men, eminently wise, active, and faithful. The happy consequences will descend to posterity, and to the end of the world. Of the thousands, which might be noticed, let only one be named, and one part of his labours. Doctor Thomas Scott, in his life, wrote an exposition of the holy scriptures. How have thousands of divines, and tens of thousands of the lovers of truth, already been profited by his writings. And probably millions; yet unborn, will rise up and call him blessed. He needs no monument erected over his grave and mouldering dust. His memory will be wide spread, and perpetuated by individuals and nations for ever, and his monument reach the heavens. Connected as we are with our fellow-men, our conduct though apparently small or indifferent, is of vast importance. Hence we should be ever ready and encouraged to assist every laudable undertaking. Well may youth pursue useful studies with alacrity, that they may become eminently useful members of society. That knowledge which they acquire may be diffused to thousands of others. Well may instructers of youth be encouraged and rejoice, when they look forward, and consider the extensive and happy consequences, which will be the result of their labours, and of the useful knowledge, which they shall have communicated. Well may ministers of the gospel be zealously engaged to bring forth from the sacred volume, things both new and old, and patiently wait the result of their unwearied exertions, till they shall be revealed, in the last great day. Amen.

SERMON VII.

MAN ADMONISHED OF HIS DUTY, BY INFERIOUR CREATURES.

Proverbs, vi. 6. Go to the ant, thou sluggard ; consider her ways, and be

wise. MANKIND were not made for inactivity and sloth; but for activity and diligence. Still we find they need many excitements to action and industry, in order to prevent a state of indolence, and a course of prodigality. Both from observation and the word of God, we are taught that much of the precious time which is entrusted to mortals, runs to waste. Solomon, the wisest of men, beheld this, and his heart was deeply affected with the melancholy truth. He saw that many not only neglected a prudent management of their temporal concerns, but that they were also unwilling to seize the most favourable opportunity for attending to those which are eternal. He beheld the sons of men negligent and averse to spiritual duties, and eternal concerns. And as those things which have a particular reference to eternity, are of vastly greater importance, than those which may be said to end with time, he saw that folly and madness were in the heart of every one, who was not laying up a treasure for another and better state of existence. The words of the text, in a figurative manner, show the vast importance of having something laid up in store for the soul, when it forsakes its tenement of clay, to dwell in a world invisible, and to mortals unknown. And as the wise man saw that time is the only day of grace, the only space for repentance and state of preparation for eternity, he was grieved to the heart to behold his fellow mortals, loitering in sluggishness, and squandering away this precious, this invaluable season. They would not listen, they would not consider, they would not take heed to their ways, by redeeming their time, notwithstanding he gave salutary counsel and good instrúction. But Solomon seemed to hope, that, although many would not listen to his friendly admonitions, they would be led to consider their ways and be wise, if he should turn their attention to the preaching of the beasts of the field, or to creatures which have not intelligence, as man He directs them to go to the ant, an insect industrious and wise, to consider her ways and learn a lesson of wisdom. This little insect, by her worthy example, would teach them that they ought to be greatly engaged, in preparing for their future well-being. To illustrate this subject, I shall in the

First placé, Show what men need for a future day.

Secondly, Show how they may lay up a store to supply their future wants.

Thirdly, Offer some reasons to show, that they ought now to be greatly engaged, in preparing for their future well-being.

First. I am to show what men need for a future day.

1st. I would observe, they need a store of spiritual food, upon which the soul may feed after death. Animal nature must be refreshed with animal or material food. But the soul is a spirit; and when it leaves its animal frame, or earthly tabernacle, to dwell in a world of spirits, it cannot be satisfied with that food, which is designed for the body. The very nature and condition of an unbodied spirit, prevent it from being made happy by sensual enjoyments. An intelligent mind must centre in God as the fountain and source of all good, in order to the perfection and blessedness of its existence. A departure from him fills the soul with an aching void, and nothing but a return can make up the deficiency, or restore true

and lasting enjoyment. We have reason to conclude, that the Lord could not make a disobedient and unbodied spirit happy, unless he should perform a constant series of miracles in order to produce the effect. In the invisible state, there are none of the objects of time and sense to engage the attention, and gratify the mind. From what source then can it find delight, unless in the immediate enjoyment of that Being, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift? Were a finite spirit permitted to wander through the utmost bounds of the invisible state, it must be miserable indeed, unless it have the approbation and smiles of God. To be happy in the invisible and future state, mankind must have the bread of life, upon which their souls may feed ; and that drink, which is eternal life. The provisions of this life will not avail in the life to come. In this view is the command of the Saviour, Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. Hence we may see, that mankind need a store of spiritual food to be laid up, upon which their souls may feed after death.

2d. They need an atoning Saviour, and an advocate with the Father at the court of heaven. The treasure which they have been laying up, is for a place very different from that of heaven. They have been treasuring up for themselves wrath against the day of wrath. Many have been very active in preparing their souls for an awful inheritance. As a miser, who hoards up gold in treasure; or as the clouds treasure up rain to be poured forth upon the earth, so have they been laying up in store a treasure of iniquity against the revelation of the righteous judgement of God. And to such, without the presenting of the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, a holy and just God is a consuming fire. How will guilty creatures appear in the immediate presence

of their righteous and final Judge, unless they have an advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ the righteous ? When the sinner's crimes shall appear, ven

« PreviousContinue »