« PreviousContinue »
He loves the Church and the King just alike. For indeed he loves neither one nor the other.
Obeware, you who truly love the Church, and therefore cannot but love the King : beware of dividing the King and the Church, any inore than the King and Country. Let' others do as they will, what is that to you ? Act you as an honest man, a loyal subject, a true Englishman, a lover of the country, a lover of the Church ; in one word, A Christian ! One that fears nothing but Sin, that seeks nothing but Heaven, and that desires nothing but God. Nothing but glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men !
X. A WORD IN SEASON; OR, ADVICE TO A SOLDIER.
Fight the good fight of faith : Lay hold of eternal life ! Are you to die? Must you leave this world, and carry nothing of it away
? Naked as you came out of your mother's womb, naked shall you return. And are you never to come back into this world ? Have you no more place under the sun ? When you leave these houses and fields, this flesh and blood, do you part with them for ever? Are you sure of this ? Must all men die ? Can none at all escape death? Do rich men likewise die, and leave their riches for others? Do Princes also fall and die like one of their people ? Can you then escape it? You do not think so. You know death is as sure as if you felt it already; as if you were now gasping for life, sweating and trembling in those last pangs, till the soul started off from the quivering lips, into the boundless ocean of eternity.
And are you to be judged? How is this to be? Why " the Son of God shall come in his glory, and all his holy angels with him, and then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. And before him shall he gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." “ Behold, he cometh with clouds ! and every eye shall see him, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty! And I saw (wilt thou also say) a great white throne, and him that sat thereon, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and they were judged every man according to his works." And shalt thou also be judged according to thy works ? All thy works, whether they be good or evil? Yea, and for every idle word which thou shalt speak, thou shalt give an account in the day of judgment. But this is not all. The Lord, the Judge, searcheth the heart, and trieth the reins. He understandeth all thy thoughts; and for all these likewise he shall bring thee into judgment. Supposest thou, it is enough to be outwardly good? What! though thy inward
parts are very wickedness? And are they not? Is not thy soul fallen short of the glory (the glorious image) of God! Look into thy breast. Art thou not a fallen spirit? Dost thou not know and feel how very far thou art gone from original righteousness? How desperately full thou art of all evil, and destitute of all good? Is there not in thee an earthly, sensual, devilish mind ? A mind that is enmity against God? It is plain there is. For thou dost not lo God. Thou dost not delight in him. He is not the desire of thy eyes, or the joy of thy heart. Thou lovest the creature more than the Creator. Thou art a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God. O how wilt thou stand in the judgment !
Are you then to go to heaven or hell ? It must be either one or the other. I pray to God
you may not go to bell! For who can dwell with everlasting burnings ? Who can bear the fierceness of the fame, without even a drop of water to cool his tongue ? Yea, and that without end; for as the worm dieth not, so the fire is not quenched. No, whoever is cast into that lake of fire, shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. O Eternity, Eternity ! Who can tell the length of Eternity ? I warn thee now, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, that thou come not into that place of torment!
But, alas! is not hell now begun in thy soul ? Does thy conscience never awake? Hast thou no remorse at any time? No sense of guilt ? No dread of the wrath of God? Why, these (if thou art not saved from them in this life) are the worm that never dieth. And Ise is thy carnal mind? Thy enmity against God? Thy foolish and hurtful lusts? Thy inordinate affections? What are pride, envy, malice, revenge? Are they not vipers gnawing thy heart? May they not well be called, The dogs of hell? Canst thou be out of hell, whilst they are in thy soul? While they are tearing it in pieces, and there is none to help thee ? Indeed they are not sully let loose upon thee. And while thou seest the light of the sun, the things of the world that surround thee, or the pleasures of sense divert thy thoughts from them. But when thou canst eat and drink no more, when the earth, with the works thereof, is burnt up, when the sun is fallen from heaven, and thou art shut up in utter darkness, what a state wilt thou be in then! Mayest thou never try: seek thou a better habitation, a house of God eternal in the heavens.
“ There the wicked cease from troubling, there the weary are at rest: For God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying ; neither shall there be any more pain, but everlasting joy upon their heads." But this joy our ears have not heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man to conceive. Yet a little of it the children of God can conceive, from what they already enjoy. For the kingdom of heaven is within them. God has given them eternal life; the life which is hid with Christ in God. They have heaven upon earth ; righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Their souls are renewed in the image of God. They love God with all their
hearts. They are happy in him. And they love their neighbour (that is every man) as themselves, as their own souls. Being justified by faith, they have peace with God, yea, a peace which passeth all understanding. And they rejoice evermore, knowing their sins are blotted out; that they are accepted in the Beloved, and that they are going to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.
Will you reply to all this, “But I am a soldier, and have therefore nothing to do with these things?” Hold! Have soldiers nothing to do with death ? How so? Do soldiers never die ? Can you fight death away ? No, my friend : he will not regard all your big words and looks, nor all the weapons of your warfare. You can neither conquer nor escape him. Your profession may excuse you from many other things, but there is no excusing yourself from death. Are you less sure of this than other men are ? No. There is one lot for all. Are you farther from it than they? Nay, rather nearer. You live in the very jaws of death. Why, then, a soldier (if there be any difference) has more to do with death than other men. It is not far from every one of us; but to him it is just at the door.
Or do you fancy a soldier has nothing to do with judgment ! Will you say then (as poor Captain Uratz did, when asked a few minutes before his death, If he had made his peace with God ?) “] hope God will deal with me like a gentleman.” But God said unto him, “ Thou fool! I will deal with thee as with all mankind. There is no respect of persons with me. I reward every man according to his works.” Thou also shalt receive of the righteous Judge according to the things which thou hast done in the body. Death levels all; it mingles into one dust the gentleman, soldier, clown, and beggar. It makes all these distinctions void. When life ends, so do they. Holy or unholy, is the one question then. Lo! the books are opened, that all the dead may be judged, according to the things that are written therein! O may thy name be found written in the Book of Life!
Or have soldiers nothing to do with hell? Why then is it so often in thy mouth ? Dost thou think God does not hear thy prayer? And how often hast thou prayed to him to damn thy soul? Is his ear waxed heavy that it cannot hear? I fear thou wilt find it otherwise. Was not he a soldier too, (and a terrible one,) to whom God said of old, “ Hell from beneath is moved for thee, to meet thee at thy coming ?” And what marvel ? For sin is the high road to hell. And have soldiers nothing to do with sin? Alas! How many of you wallow therein; yea, and glory in your shame! How do you labour to work out your own damnation ! O poor work, for poor wages ! The wages of sin is death; the wages of cursing, of taking the name of God in vain, of sabbath-breaking, drunkenness, revenge, of fornication, adultery, and all uncleanness. Now art thou clear of these? Does not thine own heart smite thee ? Art thou not condemned already? What voice is that which sounds in thine ears! Is it not the voice of God? “Shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord ? Shall not my soul be avenged on such a sinner as this?" It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God! Be very sure that thou art stronger than He, before thou fliest in his face. Do not defy God, unless thou canst overcome Him. But canst thou indeed! O no. Do not try : do not dare him to do his worst, Why should be destroy both thy body and soul in hell? Why shouldst thou be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power?
But if there were no other hell, thou hast hell within thee. An awakened conscience is hell. Pride, envy, wrath, hatred, malice, revenge, what are these? Hell upon earth. And how often art thou tormented in these flames? Flames of lust, envy, or proud wrath? Are not these to thy soul, when blown up to the height, as it were a lake of fire, burning with brimstone? Flee away before the great gulf is fixed : Escape, escape for thy life! If thou hast not strength, cry to God, and thou shalt receive power from on high : and He, whose name is rightly called Jesus, shall save thee from thy sins.
And why should he not? Has a soldier nothing to do with heaven? God forbid that you should think so! Heaven was designed jor you also. God so loved your soul, that He gave his only begotten son, that you, believing in Him, might not perish, but have everlasting life. Receive then the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world! This, this is the time to make it sure ; this short, uncertain day of life! Have you then an hour to spare ! No, not a moment: Arise, and call upon thy God. Call upon the Lamb, who taketh away the sins of the world, to take away thy sins. Surely he hath borne thy griefs, and carried thy sorrows! He was wounded for thy transgressions, and bruised for thy iniquities. He hath paid the ransom for thy soul. Believe in Him, and thou shalt be saved. Art thou a sinner? He came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Art thou a lost, undone sinner? He came to seek and to save that which was lost. May he that gave himself for thee, give thee ears to hear, and a heart to understand his love! So shalt thou also say, “ The life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God.” So shall the love of God be shed abroad in thy heart, and thou shalt rejoice with joy unspeakable. Thou shalt have the mind that was in Christ, and thou shalt so walk as He also walked: till having fought the good fight, and finished thy course, thou receive the crown that fadeth not away!
OCCASIONED BY THE LATE
EARTHQUAKE AT LISBON.
Tua res agitur, paries quum proximus ardet.
THINKING men generally allow that the greater part of moderli Christians are not more virtuous than the ancient Heathens : perhaps less so; since public spirit, love of our country, generous honesty, and simple truth, are scarce any where to be found. On the contrary, covetousness, ambition, various injustice, luxury, and falsehood in every kind, have infected every rank and denomination of people, the clergy themselves not excepted. Now they who believe there is a God are apt to believe, he is not well pleased with this. Nay, they think, he has intimated it very plainly, in many parts of the Christian world. How many hundreds of thousands of men have been swept away by war, in Europe only, within hali a century! How many thousands, within little more than this, hath the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up! Numbers sunk at Port-Royal and rose no more. Many thousands went quick into the pit at Lima. The whole city of Catanea, in Sicily, and every inhabitant of it perished together. Nothing but heaps of ashes and cinders show where it stood. Not so much as one Lot escaped out of Sodom!
And what shall we say of the late accounts from Portugal ? That some thousands of houses, and many thousands of persons are no more! That a fair city is now in ruinous heaps. Is there indeed a God that judges the world? And is he now making inquisition for blood ? If so, it is not surprising, he should begin there, where so much blood has been poured on the ground like water? many brave men have been murdered, in the most base and cowardly, as well as barbarous manner, almost every day, as well as every night, while none regarded or laid it to heart. Let them hunt and destroy the precious life, so we may secure our stores* of gold and precious stones.” How long has their blood been crying from the earth? Yea, how long has that bloody house of mercy,† the scandal not only of all religion, but even of human nature, stood to insult both heaven and carth? “ And shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord ? Shall not my soul be avenged of such a city as this ?”
Merchants who have lived in Portugal inform us, that the king had a large building filled with diamonds : and more gold stored up, coined and uncoined, than all the other princes of Europe together.
Tae title which the Inquisilion of Portugal (if not in other countries also) takes to itself