Images de page
PDF
ePub

the stormy wind and tempest? Is he the star that shines on your path in the darkest night? Is he the sun that creates your day? Is it the sacred attraction of his cross that draws you? When weary and exhausted, do you repose beneath the shadow of that "Rock of Ages;" when oppressed with hunger, do you partake of the fruit of that "Tree of Life;" when famished with thirst, do you drink of that "Fountain of living water?" Is the race you are running the "way of holiness?" Does it begin with Christ and end with Christ? Does it lead you to a conformity to his will; and as it conducts you forward, does it make you more meet for heaven? Have you learned to lean on the Spirit of all grace, to lead and illuminate, to strengthen, sanctify and comfort you in all your course? Rest not satisfied without the evidence and enjoyment of these things. The want of them will becloud your prospects; cause darkness and doubt, and fear to encircle your path; give power to your invisible enemies, and lead to painful despondency, or unholy presumption. Let us learn from our subject,

2. That those who are running in this race, have no cause for discouragement. We overrate the difficulties. and dangers of the course, if we look at these alone. We make too high an estimate of enemies, and too low an estimate of friends, if we forget that God is for us. Looking merely at the course, and ourselves, we might well be in a state of despondency; but looking upward, there is no place left for discouragement. The sailor who stands upon the topsail-yard, in a storm, becomes dizzy if he does not look aloft. And so the Christian must be always looking-not downward to the deep sea, but aloft and toward high heaven. The Saviour

66

rebuked his disciples in the storm, because they were of "a fearful heart." My grace shall be sufficient for thee." "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms!" As sure as that grace which drew you from the pit is faithful, a few more struggles, a little longer watchfulness, and you will have measured over the ocean of human life, and reached the promised land. Let us learn, then, from our subject,

3. So to run, that we may obtain the immortal prize. How great does the infatuation of those appear, who run the race for any mere earthly good! Men there are, who do this. They do it to obtain a corruptible crown; we an incorruptible. How vast the difference! Happiness is forbidden to man here below. No man who runs for it will ever obtain the prize he seeks. He is pursuing the shadow only. He has but the show of joy. His heart is empty. His wealth, his fame, his power, his pleasures, distract, weary, confound, and trouble him, and leave him at last poor, unknown, powerless, and miserable. The soul was formed for something more than this. It flutters around created good, but cannot fix itself on anything beneath the Seek durable riches and righteousness. Lay up your treasure in heaven, where moth and rust cannot corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal. Seek the honor that cometh from God only. Seek it where it is to be found, and where it will endure. Seek to reign forever with the Son of God, and to sit down. with him on his throne. And if it is pleasure that you are seeking, seek it where there is fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore. Lay aside every weight, and run this heavenly race.

sun.

Sloth and indifference will

You

not gain the prize. "So run that ye may obtain." From friends and foes, through evil report and good report, start for the celestial goal. Nor wait till the gates of heaven are closed. All may be lost by a little delay. Now the gates are unlocked, and the arms of mercy are open. Multitudes have gone before you, and multitudes are going now. Nor will they fail of obtaining the prize. Strive, then, to enter in. Take up the cross, and follow your Divine Leader. "can do all things, through Christ strengthening you." And when you have gained the prize; when you receive the crown; it will be no grief of heart to you, that you ran the race. O how will the difficulties and self-denial of the course appear, when you come to look back upon them from the rewards of victory? And if there are any of you that shrink from the effort, and will not encounter the difficulties that lie in your path, then must you make up your mind to encounter all the sorrows of a lost soul, and all the woes of an undone eternity. But why do I say this? Think rather of the prize the crown-the opening heavens and Jesus standing at the right hand of God-and in view of these, and stimulated by your Great Leader's voice, so run that you may obtain !"

66

SERMON XIV.

AGGRAVATIONS OF SIN.

LUKE Xii. 48. And that servant which knew his Lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.

THERE is no man in the world, who thinks himself so great a sinner as he truly is in the sight of God. One reason for this is, that there is no man who has so clear and lively a sense of the aggravations of his sin as he ought to have. Sin is not a material substance, that can be measured, and weighed, and the quantity and weight of which never varies; it is the property, the acts, the disposition, the state of mind of a spiritual being, and which varies in its aggravations and enormity at different times, under different circumstances, and in different persons. It may not be unprofitable for us, in this discourse, to take a view of some of the different aggravations of sin.

I. In the first place, some sins are more aggravated than others, from their nature.

All sin has some common properties; while every distinct sin has properties peculiar to itself. Sins that are committed against God, are distinguished from sins committed against men. The worship of idols, for example, is a sin of a different nature, from the sin of discontentment. Blasphemy is a sin of a different

nature from the sin of disobedience to parents; and Sabbath-breaking is in its nature, different from the sin of dishonesty. Some sins therefore are more aggravated than others, from their very nature. They violate greater and stronger obligations; they arise from a more corrupt and base motive; they express a more wicked spirit; and they indicate a more determined, and more rash and desperate purpose, to do wickedly. The sins that are committed directly against God, are more aggravated than the sins committed against our fellow-men. So of the sins committed more immediately against our fellow-men, there is a difference in their intrinsic turpitude. Murder is more criminal than fraud; fraud is more criminal than covetousness; and cruelty is a greater sin than unkindness. So profane swearing is a greater sin, thar. light and trifling conversation; injury to a man's person is a greater sin, than injury to his property; and injury to his reputation and influence a greater sin, than injury either to his property or person. One sin is not greater than another from the mere arbitrary appointment of the Deity; it is so in itself. Every sin is an unreasonable and wicked thing; but some sins are far more unreasonable and wicked than others. Every sin is a transgression of the divine law; but there is in some sins an energy, a malignity of disobedience, which is the origin of every other species of moral turpitude, in relation either to God or man.

II. In the second place, some sins are more aggravated than others, from the persons who commit them.

The same sin committed by one man, may be vastly greater than when committed by another. Other

« PrécédentContinuer »