Page images
PDF
EPUB

“ the unclean cannot enter there." There shall be “ difference between those who serve God, and those who serve him notk:” and the wish that ungodly men feel to be found at last in the place of those whom they now despise, is a proof that they have in their own minds some apprehension of the sentence that awaits them in another world!.] Andare not these things matters of just lamentation ?

[It is much to be regretted that men will “feed on ashes m, and seek to “ fill their belly with the east wind“," when they might "eat the bread of life," and " delight their souls with marrow and fatnesso.” And still more must we pity him, who, when there is a rest prepared, and a supper spread for him in heaven, has provoked God to swear, that he shall never enter into that restp, nor ever partake of that suppery]

But there is yet greater reason to weep, II. On account of the miseries they bring upon them

selves—

Not to mention the misery of a guilty conscience, which in many instances is so great as to render life itself a burthen

How inexpressibly dreadful are the judgments which the wicked will endure in hell!

[However men may labour to disprove it, hell must be the portion of all that forget God". And who can form any adequate conception of the torments that shall be there endured ? To spend an eternity in such a furnace as that which Nebuchadnezzar kindled for the destruction of the Hebrew youths, would be beyond measure dreadful: but what must it be to lie down in that lake of fire which the breath of the Almighty hath kindleds ?]

And can we view sinners hastening to that place of torment, and not weep over them?

[Our blessed Lord wept over Jerusalem on account of the temporal calamities that should come upon it: and shall not we weep over the eternal miseries which men are bringing on themselves? Must not our hearts be harder than adamant, if they do not melt into tears at such a sight? Can we weep at the recital of a story we know to be fictitious, and not mourn over such awful realities ?]

There is, however, yet greater reason to weep, i Rev. xxi. 27. k Mal. iii. 18. 1 Numb. xxiii. 10. m Isai. xliv. 20. n Job xv. 2.

o Isai. lv. 2. p Heb. iii. 18.

9 Luke xiv. 24. r Ps. ix. 17. s Isai. xxx. 33.

в в

VOL. VI.

III. On account of the aggravated guilt under which

they perish-Devils and heathens will have more to urge on their own behalf, than they who perish under the light of the Gospel

[The devils may say, Had the Son of God taken our nature, and died for our redemption, we would gladly have availed ourselves of such a provision for our safety; we never would have despised one that had been sent from heaven to redeem us. The heathens may say, Though there was a Saviour given, yet we were never privileged to hear his gospel : had his mercy been ever offered to us, we should “long ago have repented in dust and ashest.” But what will ungodly Christians say before God? Will they say, They had not a Saviour ? or, That his Gospel was not proclaimed to them? No: you know there is a Saviour, who bought you with his blood, and who has offered you, times without number, a full and free salvation. Your mouths therefore must be for ever shut".]

What additional reason does this give for weeping over the ungodly!

[Every offer of salvation greatly aggravates the guilt of those who reject it: and every increase of guilt will be followed by a proportionable increase of misery. How lamentable then is it, when that very gospel, which should have been a savour of life unto life, is made, through the obstinacy of man, a savour of death unto death*! How truly lamentable when Christ himself becomes an occasion of greater damnation to the very people whom he died to save! Alas! that men should ever so despise their own mercies! O that “ rivers of tears might run down our eyes!") INFER1. How little true love is there in the world!

[However strong and numerous the instances of men's carnal attachment be, there are few indeed who manifest any regard for the souls of their fellow-creatures. Instead of weeping for others, the generality would laugh at those who wept for themselves. But, if we have not this mark in our forehead, we are destined to feel the stroke of God's avenging rody.)

2. How earnest ought ministers to be in dealing with the souls of men

! [If all ought to weep for the ungodly, much more should ministers, who are sent to call them to repentance, warn them t Matt. xi. 21.

u Matt. xxii. 12. x 2 Cor. ii. 15, 16.

y Ezek. ix. 4-6.

night and day with tears?." Forgive then the earnestness, we should rather say, the want of earnestness, of him who labours among you; and pray, that he may so “declare the whole counsel of God,” as to be pure from the blood of all men."]

3. How earnest ought men to be in seeking the salvation of their own souls !

[If it be the duty of others to weep for us, how much more should we weep for ourselves! Let us then lay to heart the state of our souls, and sow in tears that we may reap in joya."] 2 Acts xx. 31.

& Ps. cxxvi. 5.

DCCXII.

DAVID'S DESIRE TO SERVE GOD. Ps. cxix. 145–148. I cried with my whole heart; Hear me,

O Lord: I will keep thy statutes. I cried unto thee ; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies. I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried : I hoped in thy word. Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

IN reading the Psalms of David, we are of necessity led to contemplate the constant spirituality of his mind, and the extraordinary fervour of his devotions: but we are apt to overlook, or to notice only superficially, one of the most lovely features in his character, namely, his ardent desire to fulfil the whole will of God. If we were to read the psalm before us in this particular view, we should be surprised, that we had not been more forcibly struck with this sentiment before. He begins the psalm by declaring those persons pre-eminently blessed, who are most distinguished by their obedience to the laws of God In this way alone had he any hope of avoiding shame and disappointment in the last dayb; and therefore he prayed with all imaginable earnestness, that he might be kept from ever deviating from the path of duty', and be enabled to “ run the way of God's commandments with an enlarged heart d.” The words which we have just read do not, on a superficial view, convey this idea very strongly to our minds : but on a closer inspection of them, we shall see, that a desire to serve and honour God was the primary object in a ver. 1, 2.

c ver. 10, 19, 20. d ver. 32.

b ver. 6.

his petitions, and that even salvation itself was chiefly sought by him on account of the sanctifying and transforming efficacy with which it would be accompanied. Bearing this in mind, we will notice, I. The object of his desires

There is no reason to suppose that David alludes to any particular distress or difficulty in these petitions: he seems rather to refer to the whole work of grace and salvation, which he wished to have forwarded in his soul : and he does not merely engage to make a practical improvement of the grace that shall be given him, but rather expresses the satisfaction he felt in looking forward to its effects. Had he merely prayed to God for the salvation of his soul, we should not have disapproved his petitions ; because it is proper and necessary for every man to seek above all things the salvation of his soul. But the having such respect to holiness, and the desiring of salvation itself chiefly in reference to that, is a higher style of piety; as we propose more distinctly under this head to shew. 1. It argues a nobler disposition

[A desire after salvation does not of necessity imply any real love to God. A slave may wish to escape the lash of his master, and yet have no delight in his service: and we also may seek deliverance from condemnation, without any ingenuous feelings towards God. Simon Magus desired the intercessions of Peter and John in his behalf; but he was actuated by no better motive than a fear of the judgments denounced against him But when a person desires to attain the Divine image, and makes the glorifying of God, by a holy conversation, the main object of his pursuit, he shews a nobility of mind, and an enlargement of heart, which none but God can bestow. A man by the mere force of natural selfishness may long for pardon; but no man without supernatural grace, can pant after real holiness.]

2. It shews juster views of the nature and source of true happiness

[If a man were pardoned, he could not be happy, if he were not holy: for sin would ever eat as a canker, and destroy

Even heaven itself would be no heaven to one who was not possessed of heavenly dispositions : for what

his peace

e Acts viii. 24.

sure.

communion could he have with the glorified saints and angels, all of whom are holy as God is holy, and perfect as God is perfect? The angels are represented as ever" fulfilling God's will, and hearkening to the voice of his word,” with an ardent desire to follow the very first intimations of the Divine plea

The saints also " rest not day nor night, singing" with all their powers the praises of their most adorable Redeemer. But how would such an occupation suit those who have no preparation of heart for it? But a disposition to execute the will of God will make a person happy in every situation. If he be bereft of all outward comforts, he will “enjoy the testimony of a good conscience:" so that the person who desires holiness in the first place, proves that his judgment is well informed; and that he justly appreciates that important saying, “ The work of righteousness is peace, and the effect of righteousness is quietness and assurance for ever.")

3. It most corresponds with the ends which the Governor of the universe proposes to himself in all his dispensations

[God, in creating all things, formed them for his own glory; as it is said, “For thy glory they are, and were created.” În all the works of his providence also he has designed to bind men to himself in a way of uniform and unreserved obedience. This was especially his end in all that he did for the Israelites in the wilderness; he did it, “ that they might keep his statutes and observe his laws!” In the great work of redemption he had the same blessed object in view, namely, “ that we might serve him without fear, in righteousness and holiness before him all the days of our life." " This people have I formed for myself, that they may shew forth my praise.” Now in desiring salvation for holiness sake, and in praying for deliverance from all the bonds of sin, in order to "run with more enlarged hearts the way

of God's commands,” we forward the everlasting counsels of the Deity, and prove ourselves, in the most important of all concerns, like-minded with God.)

The worthiness of his object was justly marked by, II. The ardour of his pursuit

This blessed object he sought,
1. In fervent and continual prayer--

[Observe his own account: “I cried, I cried, I cried;" I cried “ with my heart," with “my whole heart.” What can we conceive more expressive than such language as this? Yet we are sure he did not exaggerate, or state any thing that was not strictly true. Moreover, so ardent was his mind in these holy f Ps. cv. 45.

& Luke i. 74, 75.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »