« PreviousContinue »
Thus I have shown you that drinking hinders your soul from coming to God. It throws you into all sorts of bad company. It ruins the understanding; and it ruins the health. If you do not take the right way to be cured, you will go on longing for drink more and more, till it ruins you for ever. The Bible tells us all this very plainly: it describes the very words that drunkards use: "Come ye, say they, we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant."
Still, there is salvation offered to you. Is any thing too hard for the Lord? With man, this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Jesus the Saviour reigns; and around his throne in heaven there are some now singing his praises, who once on earth had been for a time drunkards: but, by his grace, they repented, and sought a new heart, in an acceptable time. Stop now-stop, ere you be ruined-stop at once! Now, now, now is your accepted time; now is your day of salvation! Come then, immediately come to Christ!
O thou God of infinite mercy, look down with pity on all the sons and daughters of intemperance, who lie wallowing in their brutish sins, and seem to be given up to work all uncleanness with greediness! Thou, O God, canst do every thing; have compassion upon them, and help and save them. Vain is the help of man! Thy grace alone can
redeem them from sin and death. And hast thou not magnified thy name in former times, by bringing many, that once were drunkards, to sit at the feet of Jesus, sober, and in their right mind? Hast thou not pardoned them, through the blood of Jesus; and sanctified them through his Spirit? Are there not some now in heaven, who once on earth had been drnnkards, but were saved, ere it was too late, and plucked as brands out of the burning?
Lord! we would plead with thee on behalf of those who are so mad after their lusts, that they do not pray for themselves. Give them not over to the dominion and curse of their violent passions. Soften their hearts betimes. Let them not die the death of drunken Nabal, whose heart became within him like a stone. Take away the heart of stone, and give them an heart of flesh. Enable them to lift up the voice of prayer, for their own salvation. Strengthen them, to resist temptation, to deny the cravings of the flesh, and to fly from enticing company. Cast out the foul and fierce spirit of intemperance from their hearts, and bid it enter no more
O purify the souls of sinners, and fill them with thy Holy Spirit! Let the joys of thy salvation, and the praises of the Redeemer, be sweeter to them than all the mirth they ever knew in the days of sin and folly. And thus, O Lord, grant to us purity and peace throughout our land, amid our families, and in our hearts; so that we may be fitted for the enjoyment of thy kingdom above; into
which nothing shall enter that defileth; but where there are streams of living water, to refresh thy saints with pleasures that are everlasting.t
We ask these great mercies, even for the chie of sinners, through Him that loved us, and gave himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord.
WANDERING SINNERS SOUGHT OUT, AND SAVED BY CHRIST.
ISAIAH liii. 3-6.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid, as it were, our faces fron him he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruisel for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
THESE words describe the lost state of men by sin; and the pity of Jesus Christ, that Good Shepherd of the sheep, who came to seek and to save that which was lost, and who even laid down his life for the sheep.
Nothing can more truly picture our state, than this word, "We are wanderers." We all wander from the fold: we are like lost sheep, which break through the fence, and then go carelessly grazing
through the fields and lanes, the valleys and the mountains; till at length the wolf catches them; or they fall into some pit; or the stormy night comes on, and they have no shelter. Neither have they the least thought how they came to wander, or how far they have wandered, or which is the way back. In this miserable state they perish, unless the shepherd follows after them, and catches them with his crook, and leads them back to the fold; weary, ragged, frightened, and half dead, as they are.
This is the picture of sinners; that is, of all men. "All we, like sheep, have gone astray." Have we not all departed from God, and forgotten our resting-place? Have we not all set out to follow the ways of the world, and to keep company with sinners, and to taste of these pastures, instead of keeping within the good pastures of God's commandments and promises? We shall understand this better, if we notice another part of this picture; for it is said also, "We have turned every one to his own way."
So it is with sinners: though all are alike in wandering from God, all are not exactly alike 'in their particular sins. Some follow one kind, some another although most men practise many kinds of sin; for sins seldom go alone. Thus, some give themselves up to the lusts of the flesh: the adulterer, the fornicator, the unclean, the drunkard, the glutton, the sluggard, these are all lovers of pleasures, more than lovers of God; and they turn every one to his own way." Others give them
selves up to the lusts of the spirit-to pride and malice, and hatred, and envy; to money-getting, and covetousness, and selfishness; or to discontentedness, and hatred of religion, and blasphemy : these also turn " every one to his own way." But, generally, several of these sins go together. Besides, some sins are practised in the life, while others are indulged in the heart; so that men are altogether sinful; "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good; no, not one.'
Think, then, what an immense multitude of sins have been committed in the world, since the first sin of Adam in Paradise! How has God been dishonoured! and how is he provoked every day! Our sins of thought, word, and deed, have reached unto heaven-the sins of millions of men, women, and children; all born in sin, all living some time in sin, and multitudes of them dying in their sins!
But I entreat you to think chiefly of your own sins; for "every one of us shall give an account of himself to God." Think, which way you have wandered. Many, many ways, no doubt, have you sinned. I do not wish you to confess your sins to me; but, to God. Indeed, some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment. They have the mark of punishment in their bodies, and in their tempers, even in this life: you and I have seen many such characters. And think, whether sin has not left some mark of pain and sorrow upon you, such as makes you tremble to think what you