Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

norance.

often find accurate and strong convictions | sion, influences the offerer. An old man reexerting no influence, beyond the under-gards devotion as a refuge, rather than a standing. Nothing is so certain as death; and temple; and takes hold of the horns of the * the living know that they shall die," and yet altar, not to bind his victim there, but to do they live as those who expect it? A man escape from being a victim himself. He knows that the body is nothing to the soul, only forsakes the world—when he can enjoy or time to eternity: and yet, the grand ques- it no longer; and leaves his sins when they tion with him is, not * What must I do to be leave him.-Does he present to God his saved ?" but, “ What shall I eat, and what soul? All its powers are wasted and destroyshall I drink, and wherewithal shall I be ed. Does he yield his body? It is a wornclothed ?". How many are there, who hear out instrument in the service of sin. But the Gospel, and even acquiesce in the doc- the young do not insult him with the leavtrine of the Fall, and our recovery, and yet ings of the world, the flesh, and the devil. never fall at the feet of the Recoverer, They do not put him off with the refuse of crying, “ Lord, save, I perish!" They are life; they consecrate to him the first born of Christian in their creed; and infidel in their their days, the first fruits of their reason and conduct. Religion has to do “with the affections; they give him the prime of their heart;" and a knowledge that does not reach being, and while others too are powerfully the heart, and govern the heart, is nothing: soliciting their regards. And can a ChrisKnowledge is to be viewed in the order of tian be devoid of the love of God! Can he means, and when it does not answer its end, be indifferent to efforts, by which his Divine it is considered by the sacred writers, as ig- Benefactor is so signally delighted and

Because he that does not know honoured? Can he see a soldier so early him to purpose, does not know him savingly; entering his army, a servant so early engagthey will not allow that a man knows God ing in his service, a worshipper so early apat all—who does not trust in him and love proaching his altar—and see in this soldier, him and obey him. “They that know thy this servant, this worshipper of God, his own Name, will put their trust in thee.”_" He offspring—and not glow with the sentiment, that loveth not, knoweth not God. He that “My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart saith, I know him, and keepeth not his com- shall rejoice, even mine.". mandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in 3. A principle of self-interest. We must him.” To believe these things, and to feel distinguish between self-interest and selfishthem; to know these things and to do them ness; and between a sinful self-love and a —this is to be wise in heart: and nothing righteous self-love. - Thou shalt love," says less than this is the promise of the new cove- the Law," thy neighbour as thyself.” This nant; "I will give them an heart to know clearly allows and requires a proper love to me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be ourselves; and with this the design of relimy people, and I will be their God: for they gion falls in, which is the advancement of our shall return unto me with their whole heart.” welfare. Now on this ground the piety of

II. THE CONSEQUENCE ANTICIPATED: “My children delights parents, because, son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall First. It affords them evidence of the anrejoice, even mine." Pious children afford swer of their prayers, and the success of their parents pleasure, on three principles: their endeavours. How mortifying is it to

1. A prineiple of benevolence. They re- run in vain, and labour in vain! How painful joice in the salvation of every sinner. They to see an object of peculiar solicitude and atwould rejoice to hear of the conversion of an tention baffling every effort and disappointenemy. There is no room for envy in the ing every expectation! But how pleasing is Church, for there is enough and to spare, it to sow, and then reap! to plant, and water, however multiplied the partakers: and no- and prune, and then gather the increase! thing is so remote from a Christian's disposi- How delightful to a parent to see that his intion as a wish to exclude or monopolize.In-structions have not been lost; that his tears stead of repelling, he invites: “() taste, and have not flowed in vain ; that his God has not see, that the Lord is good: come with us, and turned a deaf ear, when his big heart cried, we will do thee good, for the Lord hath “O that Ishmael might live before thee !" spoken good concerning Israel.” And can And what a blessed stimulus and encouragehe be indifferent to the spiritual welfare of ment is this to future supplication and zeal ! those to whom he is united by the ties of flesh Secondly. Because it becomes the means and blood? Does religion prohibit relative of their usefulness. It is by such children affection?: Yea, it requires, it enlivens, it parents hope to serve their generation accordsanctifies it; and causes the possessor to cry, ing to the will of God. What a pleasure " How can I endure to see the destruction is it," says the father, " that I am not sending of my kindred ?"

into the neighbourhood and the nation a num2. A principle of piety. God is peculiarly ber of mischiefs and curses, children that are pleased and glorified by the sacrifices of early corrupters, such as will lead many to wish religion, in which choice, and not compul- ) that the wretch who had begot them had

66

been childless; but such as will attach the rantee them against the influence of beauty or purest honour to my name, and lead numbers talent or wealth or honour; and induce them to say, as they witness the amiableness and to look after godliness as the one thing needbeneficence of my offspring, Blessed is the ful? womb that bare thee, and the paps which Such is the nature of their condition in thou hast sucked.'”

the world. A parent cannot be insensible to Thirdly. Because it insures the proper the temporal estate of his children, whether returns of duty. It is natural for a parent to they be regarded or despised ; rich or poor ; wish for reverence and affection ; for grati- comfortably provided for, or struggling with tude and obedience; for assistance and com- the hardships of life. But this can comfort fort; especially when they feel the infirmities him, in all circumstances" My child is only of nature, or meet with the afflictions of life. a stranger and pilgrim upon earth. He has Who does not say, “ Hearken unto thy father a better country. God is his portion and his that begat thee, and despise not thy mother guide. He possesses that grace which, if he when she is old !” Who does not tremble at prospers, will preserve him ; or, if he be af. the threatening, “The eye that mocketh at Aicted, will support him. He has the wishis father, and despiseth to obey his mother, dom which is from above, and knows how to the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and be abased, and how to abound; and can do the young eagles shall eat it." But pious all things through Christ, who strengthens principle is the best security for moral prac- him!" tice. He who fears God and confides in him Such is their being bereaved of their dear. is the only one that will feel the authority of est relatives. How often are parents disthe command and the truth of the promise; tressed at the thought of leaving their off“ Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy spring behind them, especially as the hour days may be long in the land which the Lord of their dissolution draws near! “ Ah! soon thy God giveth thee.” And, my young friends, their guardian and comforter will be removed be assured of this, there can be no piety, far from them, and they may become a prey where morality is wanting. An undutiful to cunning or oppression. Soon their cries, child can never be a partaker of divine grace. if injured, will not reach my ears; or the

Fourthly. Because it will free them from news, if well treated, gladden my heart. a thousand bitter anxieties. Here let me What a world I am leaving them in? What suppose a few of the cases in which children errors, what vices, what examples, will assail peculiarly interest the feelings and fears of them! •Holy Father, keep, through thy their parents; and in which nothing but a own name, those whom thou hast given me.*** hope of their piety can set their hearts at If, in the midst of all this, he knows that they rest.

have chosen God as “the guide of their Such is their removal from home. Chil- youth,” and hears God saying, “ Leave thy dren, in common, are soon sent to school, or fatherless children, I will preserve them articled to business ; or, in humbler life, alive," the shadow of death is turned into the placed abroad as servants. When this is the morning. “I shall not leave them orphans case, they are no longer under the eye and He will take them up; and more than supply the wing of their parents; and frequently the place of every creature." their intercourse with them is very slender. But let us suppose another case. In the Some places and situations are more danger- order of nature, parents die before their chilous than others; but none are free from moral dren: but this order is sometimes reversed; hazards to youth: and what can relieve the and parents are called to close the eyes of anxiety of a parent, but a confidence in the those on whom they relied to close their own religious principles and dispositions of his But who can imagine the anguish of a father child ; that these, when he has no other wit- or mother, at the death of an ungodly child! ness, will remind him of an omnipresent In- Whose heart does not bleed for David ! spector, “the Judge of all;" and lead him to " And the king was much moved, and went exclaim, “How can I do this great wicked up to the chamber over the gate, and wept; ness, and sin against God ?"

and as he went, thus he said, O my son Åben Such is their taking any important step in salom, my son, my son Absalom ! would God life. Nothing awakens the concern of pa- I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my rents more than the settlement of their chil- son!” But the bitterness of death is past, dren in marriage: and nothing can delight when the pious father, as he views his earthly them more than to find them disposed to hope closing in the grave, can say, “Well, “marry in the Lord;" for such a connexion thou art hastening away from the evil to only can secure the discharge of all mutual come. My loss is thy eternal gain. Thon duty, and draw down the blessing of God; hast not been born in vain, nor in vain have enable them to "walk together as heirs of been my labour and expense in rearing thee. the grace of life, that their prayers be not Thou art an immortal now. Thou art equal hindered ;” and “ seek a godly seed.” But to the angels. Our separation is but short. what, except the power of religion, can gua- Soon shall I overtake thee, and we shall be for ever with the Lord !'”. No; that parent | deeply shouldest thou humble thyself, and reis not half so much to be pitied who has buried pent in dust and ashes, under a consciousness a young saint, as he that is mourning over a of thy guilt! Hast thou a parent yet alive, living sinner. Pointing to the grave, in to whom thou hast been only a trial and a which he had just lodged the remains of a torment? Oh! hasten to make what atonepious youth, a father was one day heard to ment thou canst, by confession and amendsay, though with a quivering lip I do not ment, and become the consolation of those weep for that dear child-he was my comfort who are saying, “My son, if thy heart be and is my comfort—but for him, who is still wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.” alive, and is bringing down my gray hairs And here allow me the liberty of introducing with sorrow to the grave.'”

two anecdotes: the one, to awaken your fear; Let me conclude:

the other, to operate, if you have any, upon First. By addressing those who, instead your tenderness. of being a joy to their parents, are only their A pious father, in writing to his friend, grief. And with what vile ingratitude are says, “ I lately dreamed that the day of judgyou chargeable! Need I tell you what claims ment was come. I saw the Judge on his your parents have upon you? With what great white throne, and all nations were gatenderness did they treat you in your in- thered before him. I and my wife were on fancy! What nights of watching, what days the right hand—but I could not see my chilof confinement, what instances of self-denial, dren. I said, 'I cannot bear this, I must go have they passed through in training you up and seek them. I went to the left hand of to youth! What pains and cost have they the Judge, and there found them all, standing incurred in furnishing you with food and rai- in the utmost despair. As soon as they saw ment; and affording you an education which, me they caught hold of me, and cried, — Oh, perhaps, their circumstances with difficulty father, we will never part!' I said, “My allowed! And do you thus requite them?- dear children, I am come to try, if possible, You may one day have children of your own; to get you out of this awful situation. So Í and “with the same measure ye mete, it took them all with me; but when we were may be measured to you again!" Undutiful come near the Judge, I thought he cast an children commonly meet with undutiful chil- angry look, and said, "What do thy children dren. “I knew,” says Dr. Doddridge, “a with thee now? They would not take thy son; in his passion he struck his father down, warning when on earth, and they shall not and dragged him by the hair of his head. share thy happiness in heaven. Depart, ye When he had drawn him a certain distance, cursed.' . At these words I awoke in agony he cried out, Drag me no further-for here and horror.” I let my father go when I dragged him !" But you say, “this was only a dream.” For this reason, oh! young man, never Admitted. But a reality, equally dreadful, choose for a wife a daughter that has been a will be exemplified in many. Oh! what disrespectful daughter. And, oh! young wo- cruel separations will the last day witness. man, never choose for thy husband a son who It was but a dream ; yet the relation of it has been a disobedient son. Bad behaviour was the means of impressing serious conin a private condition is a preparation for bad viction on the minds of several of the chilbehaviour in a public one; and the curse of dren. God is likely to attend such disreputable com- A minister from England, happening, some panions.

time since, to be at Ed—bgh, he was acWe read of murderers of fathers, and mur-costed by a young man in the street, with an derers of mothers! a charge at which you re-apology for the liberty he was taking: “I volt; a crime that makes you shudder. But, think, Sir, said he, I have heard you at remember, there are more ways of destroying Chapel.” “ You probably may, Sir; for 1 & parent than by poison, or a blow! You have sometimes ministered there.” “ Do you may destroy their reputation; you may break remember, said he, a note, put up by an aftheir peace of mind; you may undermine ficted widow, begging the prayers of the their frame, and bring on premature decays, congregation, for the conversion of an unby the corrosions of anxiety and fear. We godly son ?” “ I do very well remember such lately read in a foreign journal of an advo- a circumstance." “Šir," said he, “ I am cate who was desired to undertake the de- the very person; and, wonderful to tell, the fence of a young man, charged with a serious prayer was effectual. Going, with some other crime. He went to his prison to obtain docu- abandoned young men, one Sunday, through ments-and-in the criminal he instantly and passing by the chapel, I was recognized—his own son, of whom he had struck with its appearance. We agreed to not heard for a length of time! The sight go in and mingle with the crowd, and stop upset his reason; and he went home, and put for a few minutes, to laugh and mock at the an end to his existence. Hast thou a father preacher and the people. We had just enor mother in the grave, whose heart was tered, when you, Sir, read the note, requestbroken by thy vice and disobedience? Howing the prayers of the congregation for an

afflicted widow's profligate son. I heard it fection, endeared by grace as well as nature, with a sensation I cannot express. I was rising up and calling them blessed ! struck to the heart: and though I had no idea Parents! God grant you this heaven, till that I was the very individual meant, I felt you are removed to another-wbere, presentthat it expressed the bitterness of a widow's ing yourselves at his throne, you will say, heart, who had a child so wicked as I felt BEHOLD, I AND THE CHILDREN THOU HAST myself to be. My mind was instantly so- GIVEN ME!" Amen. lemnized. I could not laugh: my attention was riveted on the preacher.-I heard his prayer and sermon with an impression very DISCOURSE LXXXIV. different from that which had carried me into the place. From that moment, the truths of the Gospel penetrated my heart; I joined the

THE LOVE OF CHRIST. congregation; cried to God in Christ for mercy, and found peace in believing; became And to know the love of Christ, which passeth my mother's comfort, as I had been her heavy

knowledge, that ye might be filled with all cross, and, through grace, have ever since

the fulness of God.-Ephes. iii. 19. continued in the good ways of the Lord. An As the minister addresses the people on opening having lately been inade for an ad- the behalf of God, so he addresses God on the vantageous settlement in my own country, I behalf of the people. Preaching and prayer came hither with my excellent mother, and are parts of his office, equally indispensable; for some years past, have endeavoured to dry and there is an encouraging relation between up the widow's tears, which I had so often them. The one is the resource of the other. caused to flow, and to be the comfort and For a good minister of Jesus Christ does not support of her age, as I had been the torment look for success, as the consequence of his and affliction of her days."

own reasoning or eloquence or energy; he is Secondly. Let me address parents. Per- convinced of the depravity of human nature, haps here are some who are strangers to the and has observed how often the most powerpleasure of which we have been speaking. ful instruments have, failed. What then Will you allow me to ask-Whether your animates bim? Why this He knows that affliction has not been your fault? Have you the means are of Divine appointment; that discharged your duty towards your children, God giveth the increase; that nothing is tos I will not say perfectly, but conscientiously? | hard for him. He, therefore, invokes his God works by means. And do men gather aid, and pleads the promise; “For as the rain grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? It cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and would be little less than a moral miracle, if returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, the children of some professors of religion and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it were pious—such inconsistencies are they may give seed to the sower, and bread to the called to witness, which, in their influence, eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth are worse than absolute neglect.

out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me But if, in simplicity and godly sincerity, void, but it shall accomplish that which I not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of please, and it shall prosper in the thing God, you have had your conversation in the whereto I sent it.”—Paul is here praying for world, and more abundantly to them-ward,” the Ephesians, in language the most sublime and your "house is not so with God” as you and significant. “For this cause I bow my desire,-yield not to despair. Never cease knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus to pray and to admonish. Some shower of Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven rain may cause the seed which has long been and earth is named, that he would grant you, buried under the dryness of the soil, to strike according to the riches of his glory, to be root, and spring up. Manasseh had a pious strengthened with might by his Špirit in the education, and yet went great lengths in trans- inner man; that Christ may dwell in your gression : but in his affliction he sought the hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and Lord God of his fathers, and he was found of grounded in love, may be able to comprehend him.—“Blessed are ye that sow beside all with all saints what is the breadth, and length, waters, that send forth thither the feet of the and depth, and height; and to know the love ox and the ass.

of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye But all hail, ye highly favoured of the might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Lord, who enjoy this felicity! What satis- In the words which we have selected for faction can equal that which a parent feels our present improvement, three things doin seeing his children growing up intelligent mand our attention. and amiable, and pious and useful; approved I. AN INTERESTING SUBJECT.-It is the love of God, and acceptable to man! If there be of Christ. II. A DESIRABLE ATTAINMENT.— a sight on earth sufficient to detain an angel it is to know it. III. A BLESSED CONSEin his passage, it is a father and mother sur-QUENCE.-It is " to be filled with all the fulpounded with the pledges of their mutual af- I ness of God."

I. A VERY INTERESTING SUBJECT.—It is Christian will readily acknowledge that he the “ love of Christ.The love of Christ had done nothing to recommend himself; that would furnish us with a thousand sources of he had done every thing to provoke and reflection; but we shall confine ourselves to justify the Divine displeasure ; that he was one view of it only. It is the incomprehensi- | not only miserable, but guilty, and criminal bility of this love. This is the view of it even in his distress. Oh! this magnifies the which the apostle himself here takes. He love of Christ-it was entirely self-moved ! tells us it “passeth knowledge." This is the Love, among creatures, originates from some noblest commendation he could have pro- excellency, real or imaginary. In our alms nounced; and it would be easy to prove, that we look after something that seems to deserve it is as just as it is glorious.

what we profess to give. Mere want and Witness the number of its objects. It is wretchedness are not sufficient for our combut a few that the bounty of a human bene- passion, without some plea. Persons, therefactor reaches and relieves. We pity an in- fore, endeavour to convince us that they have dividual. We take up a family. We ex- been unfortunate rather than criminal; they plore a neighbourhood. The liberality of a know that more is won from us by extenua-, THORNTON flows in various channels, through tion than confession. We wait for applicadifferent parts of a country. The compassion tion. We refuse till the suppliant owns his of a HOWARD visits the miserable in other dependence, and feels our consequence. lands, after weeping over the dungeoned There is little—little, indeed, of true charity victims of his own. But a “multitude, which among men! But “ He is found of them that no man can number, out of every nation, and sought him not." He awakens our attention. people, and tongue, and kindred,” will for He presses us to receive. *Scarcely for a ever adore the riches of the Redeemer's love. righteous man will one die, yet, peradvenWe shall hereafter see that his love has not ture, for a good man some would even dare been circumscribed by the piety of our fears, to die." But we were ungodly. We were by the uncharitableness of our censures, or enemies by wicked works--yet“ for the the mistakes of our creed. “All nations vilest of the vile he dies!" shall be blessed in him, all generations shall Witness the expensiveness of its sacrifices. call him blessed. . As the stars of heaven, The only quality in the love of many is its and as the sand on the sea shore, so shall his cheapness. It will endure no kind of selfseed be.”

This is indeed Christ, the Saviour denial. If they embrace an opportunity of of the world.

doing good, they will never seek one. They Witness the value of its benefits. You may dip their hand into a full purse, and give feel your obligation to some of your fellow-a trifle of what they are convinced they cancreatures, and let them not be forgotten : not expend upon themselves; but they shun they have pleaded for your reputation ; they the trouble of inquiry, and the pain of sympahave befriended your business; they have re- thy: they will not visit the fatherless and the lieved your distress; they have preserved widows in their affliction. Few resemble your life: but which of them has restored you the poor woman in the Gospel, who, while to the favour of God? Which of them has others gave of their abundance, and could go obtained eternal redemption for you? It is home to a well-spread table afterward, gave impossible, while we are here, sufficiently to all that she had, even all her living for the estimate the effects of his love. We know day; determined that her charity should be but imperfectly the evils from which he has sure, however uncertain her subsistence. But delivered us. What do we know of the His love drew him from heaven to earth. He vileness of sin, the sting of death, the curse who was rich, for our sakes became poor; a of the Law, the wrath of God! We know man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.but imperfectly the contents of those exceed- Trace him in the humiliation of his life. Being great and precious promises, to which he hold him in his agony in the garden. See has entitled us. We know but imperfectly his soul exceedingly. sorrowful, even unto the import of the hope “ laid up for us in hea- death. See him nailed to the cross, exclaimven;" the meaning of " a crown of glory that ing, “ My God, my God, why hast thou forfadeth not away;” of “beholding his face in saken me!" righteousness;" of “awaking up after his

“Bee from his head, his hands, his feet, likeness;” of “a glorious body like his own.”

Sorrow and love flow mingled down." “ Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor entered into the heart of man, the things Saviour Jesus ! never was sorrow like thine; which God hath prepared for them that love and, therefore, never was love like thine! It him." “Oh how great is thy goodness, “passeth knowledge.” which thou hast laid up for them that fear Witness the perpetuity of its attachment. thee; which thou hast wrought for them that How rare is a friend that loveth at all times. trust in thee before the sons of men !" How many fail, especially in the day of trou

Witness the unworthiness of the partakers. ble. Who has not leaned on a broken reed, Whatever others may think of themselves, a and bled for his dependence? Who has not

« ZurückWeiter »