Abbildungen der Seite

have life. Come to him, in the midst of

sins and of your sorrows, for “He will have mercy upon you, and to your God, for He will abundantly pardon."


[ocr errors]

for and unrepented of. Among whom shall we find the drunkard, the sensualist, the gambler, the prodigal, the rebel, the traitor, the murderer, the felon—and the pursuits of all these are destruction --where shall we find these, but among the neglecters of religion? In vain will they be sought for among those who love the Lord their God, and seek to do His will. To neglect religion, is to hurl down that barrier of restraint which stands between our security and ruin, to leave the natural corruptions of the heart to increase and multiply"

-to facilitate the inroads of temptation—in short, to incite to all that is likely to terminate in that death, which is not an extinction of being, but an extension of consciousness in unimaginable misery throughout illimitable duration.

How many, alas ! are cut off in the midst of their neglect! “ They are destroyed from morning to evening : they perish for ever without any regarding.” To neglect religion, is to open a vast arena for the operation of the passions; and where these are allowed so unlimited an influence, they must finally hurry us into the very jaws of peril. To neglect religion, is to give full latitude to all the basest propensities of our degraded nature, as religion offers the only certain check to them, by the hopes which it encourages to obedience, and the terrors which it threatens to rebellion: and, where our propensities are allowed to operate without control or limitation, the same result must be everywhere expected to accrue; “having sown the wind, we shall reap the whirlwind.” “Destruction and misery will be in our paths; the way


shall we not know :" we shall receive the wages of sin—and “the wages of sin is death."

The truth of these words will, indeed, be more or less confirmed by everything around us. The seal of destruction is upon the book of nature. All the accidents of life, “plague, pestilence, and famine," suicide, murder, disease induced by the indulgence of things forbidden, disgrace from improvidence, dishonour from delinquency, poverty from extravagance, destitution from idleness, violations of the law in every shape — these, and a thousand other consequences of sin, execute, either directly or indirectly, the work of destruction, and sadly realize the truth of our text, that “the wages of sin is death."

. We are now to see how it is the cause also of spiritual death. And, for this, we have only to look around us and observe how it operates upon the mind and heart." It is as a two-edged sword, slaying the souls of men.” Not only does it make the animal body its victim, but the immortal soul also is the too submissive subject of its tyranny. It binds even kings in chains, and nobles with links of iron." Its influence is comparatively little in time, but mighty in eternity. Its punishment is not here only for a season, but hereafter for ever; not a transitory pang, but everlasting agony.




“If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him

drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”

This text is very apt to be interpreted as if it conveyed a precept at once repugnant to the whole scope of Christianity, which expressly teaches that we are “ to love our enemies, to bless them that persecute us, not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, but, contrarywise, blessing.”

A question, it must be confessed, naturally arises here, how we can possibly perform this injunction in its true spirit, if we really do an enemy a service only for the purpose of bringing a punishment upon him; since this would be running directly counter to the second great commandment of the law—“ Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself;" and who would do himself a good, merely that he might be visited with evil ? The latter words of

« ZurückWeiter »