Images de page

and may well be compared to a sea of glass, because it discovers every spot or wrinkle, both in body and soul; and so you would have said, if you had looked through it, as Paul, Daniel, and Job, did. The first was struck blind; the second had all his comeliness turned to corruption; and the last abhorred himself, and repented in dust and ashes.

[ocr errors]

'Are there truths revealed which are the wis'dom of God, and power of God unto salvation? ' And shall we not be desirous to know, embrace them, and feel the energy of them working in ' us?'

The gospel, which testifies of Christ, who is the wisdom of God, and the power of God to salvation, is certainly revealed; but you will never desire to feel the energy of it working in you with a holy desire, until you are quickened by the Holy Ghost to feel the need of it. The dead, unawakened, unalarmed sinner, bids God depart from him, and tells him he desires not the knowledge of his ways. I cannot conceive how a man cau be a minister of Christ, if he never experimentally knew, nor was ever quickened to feel, this energetic power of truth working in him. Can a man be a minister of the gospel who never embraced it? Can he be a minister of the Spirit without being endued with power from on high, by receiving the Holy Ghost? Does a desire to know, embrace, and feel this energy, make an Evangelist? I suppose not. I suppose not. It is not a desire

after these things that makes a minister of Christ, or a member of Christ: it is the desire accomplished that is sweet to the soul; and it is that sweetness that makes a man both a member and a minister. He must eat Ezekiel's roll before he can handle the law lawfully, Ezek. iii. 1; and digest John's little book, Rev. x. 9, before he can preach the gospel evangelically. Without knowing, embracing, and feeling this energy, a preacher is no more than a mere impostor; and a member is no better than a withered branch, or an active hypocrite.

'Are there those who hold the truth in un'righteousness, believe a lie, and receive the gospel of the grace of God in vain, and shall not we 'take heed to ourselves, lest we fall into so awful 'a condemnation? Are there any of you, brethren, ' either with respect to principle or practice, sinking into lukewarmness and indifference? Suffer 'us to sound an alarm amongst you. How long 'halt ye betwixt two opinions? If the Lord be 'God, follow him; but if Baal, follow him.'

[ocr errors]

If a man holds the truth in unrighteousness, or receives the gospel notionally into his judgment, while he remains in an unjustified state, the father of lies has certainly the possession of his heart; yet it is the truth, not a lie, that he is said to hold: nor will a hypocrite's taking heed prevent this awful end. Some are before of old ordained to this condemnation, Special grace and

[ocr errors]

good heed always go together: it is the gracious man that takes heed to his ways.

'Are there any of you, brethren, either with respect to principle or practice, sinking into 'lukewarmness and indifference? Suffer us to 'sound an alarm amongst you. How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, 'follow him; but if Baal, follow him.'

Are lukewarmness and indifference two opinions? Can either of these be called opinions or sentiments? And can any man be persuaded in his mind that either of these your opinions is God? Are not lukewarmness and indifference one and the same thing? And are they not rather fleshly and devilish sensations than opinions? And which of these two opinions is God? If lukewarmness be God, we are to follow that; but if indifference be God, we must follow that. Lukewarmness and indifference are neither God nor Baal. These might as well be called carnal ease or sloth as opinions, and sensations instead of principles; and as to people's holding lukewarmness in practice, they rather hold it in death; for such souls, with respect to religion, are motionless. Away with Morpheus! and away with Baal! God never slumbers nor sleeps; nor is Satan ever idle. You have sounded an alarm, indeed! and an uncertain sound it is; and who shall prepare for the battle? For you have not told us which of these opinions is God, nor which we are to follow; and therefore

we must go halting on, until you sound a second alarm, which, it is to be hoped, will be more clear, and give a more sure warning. I perceive there is a deal of difference between divinity distilled at a seminary, and that which is drawn from the alembic of an experienced, savoury, unctuous heart. But we must go on,

'Surely it is high time for us all, ministers and 'people, to awake out of sleep, to contend ear'nestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, 'to hold fast the form of sound words in a spirit 'of gospel meekness and love, to become valiant ' for the truth, and to direct our constant, warmest 'zeal, to the promotion of truth and holiness. Is 'not the enemy busy sowing tares? And shall we 'sleep? Shall we be less zealous in sowing good 'seed?'

It is certainly high time to awake out of sleep, when the alarm has been sounded; and it is absolutely necessary to tell the people which of your opinions is God, that they may know which to follow when they have bestirred themselves; and whether this imaginary deity be talking, and must be attended to; or pursuing, and must be joined with; or on a journey, and must be waited for; or peradventure in a sleep, and need an alarm to wake him, as well as the people. You have alarmed them, and called them forth to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints; but have not told them which of your opinions is the object of faith; nor have you given any ac

count of the Spint of fat. de icetines of fat, are grace of faith, towing mater of ticse pinions. They are nicut fast the form of sound wirris; which we must look a little farther fr far as get we have found but few sound words, less wuad divinity, and but me sound sense. Sound voris are like nails fastened by the Mister of assemblies, given forth fom one Shepherd; and they must come to the heart in power, in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance, to make a wond divine. Such wult and caly such will hold the form of wond words, or keep the good thing committed to them by the Holy Ghost, which doslleth in them. Telling people to be villant for the truth, and to direct their warmest zeal in the promotion of truth and holiness, without sending them to the Lord Jesus for strength, armour, and fortitude, and for mercy and grace to help them in every time of need, is acting like an Egyptian taskmaster demanding brick without straw; and telling them to direct their warmest zeal, without sending them to the altar of fire, and pointing out that wisdom and arm of power that has promised to direct their work in truth, and hold them up in their goings, is only setting them to beat the air. You should, Sir, have set the Saviour before them, who is the truth, and made of God sanctification to his people; and enforce the necessity of the Spirit of truth, who sanctifies the elect, and makes them meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. 'Is not the

« PrécédentContinuer »