Page images
[ocr errors]

ings and evenings have visited our windows, the shadows of a long night will begin to spread themselves over us: in that gloomy hour, conscience will review the behaviour of the days that are past, will take account of the conduct of our whole lives, and will particularly examine our labours and cares in our sacred office. Oh may we ever dread the thoughts of making bitter work for repentance in that hour, and of treasuring up terrors for a deathbed, by a careless and useless ministry !

43. We exhort and charge you, and we charge ourselves, by our gathering together before the throne of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the solemn account we must there give of the ministry with which he liath entrusted us, that we prepare, by our present zeal and labour, to render that most awful scene peaceful to our souls, and the issue of it joyful and happy. Let us look forward to that illustrious and tremendous appearance, when our Lord shall come with ten thousands of his holy angels to inquire into the conduct of men, and particularly of the ministers of his kingdom here on earth. Let us remember that we shall be examined in the light of the flames of that day, what we have done with his gospel which he gave us to preach! What we have done with his promises of rich salvation, which he sent us to offer in his


name ! What is become of the fouls committed to cur care! O that we may give up our account with joy, and not with grief, to the Judge of the living and the dead, in that glorious, that dreadful and decisive hour! Ø 44. We charge and warn you, my

dear brother, and we warn and charge ourselves, by all the terrors written in this divine book, and by all the indignation and vengeance of God, which we are sent to display before a sinful world; by all the torments and agonies of hell, which we are commissioned to denounce against impenitent sin. ners, in order to persuade men to turn to God, and receive and obey the gospel, that we take heed to our ministry that we fulfil it. This vengeance and these terrors will fall upon our souls, and that with intolerable weight, with double and immortal anguish, if we have trifled with these terrible solemnities, and made no use of these awful scenes to awaken men to lay hold of the offered grace

of the gospel. Knowing therefore the terrors of the Lord, let us persuade men, for we must all stand before the judgment feat of Christ, to receive according to our work. *

V 45. In the last place, we entreat, we exhort and charge you, by all the joys of paradise, and



og 2 Cor. v, 10, 11,

the blessings of an eternal heaven, which are our hope and support under all our labours, and which, in the name of Christ, we offer to finful, perishing inen, and invite them to partake thereof. Can we speak of such joys and glories with a sleepy heart and indolent language ? Can we invite finners, who are running headlong into hell, to return and partake of these felicities, and not be excited to the warmest forms of address, and the most lively and engaging methods of persuasion ? What scenes of brightness and delight can animate the lips and language of an orator, if the glories and the joys of the christian's heaven and our immortal hopes cannot do it? We charge and entreat you, therefore, and we charge ourselves, by the shining recompenses which are promised to faithful ministers, that we keep this glory ever in view, and awaken our dying zeal in our facred work.







§ 1. Introduction. 1. The negle&t of souls is highly

criminal. $ 2. 2. A readiness in men toexcuse themselves for it. § 3-5. 3. These excuses might be over-ruled. § 6. An apology for the author's intended closeness of address. 7. The subject ftated. 8-10. (1.) What EXCUSES may be offered for neglecting fouls. 1. That we do fomething considerable for that purpose. § 11. 2. That the care of particular perfons more properly belongs to others. Ø 12. 3. That we have much other business. \ 13. Recreation. Ø 14. Studies.

15. Pleasures of literature. $ 16. An address to young ministers. § 17. Over-artful composition of sermons. § 18, 19. That our attempts might displease our people. 20. (II.) The great EVIL of that neglect. $21. 1. The death of the Joul. 22. 2. How many souls die around us.

23. 3. The divine provison to prevent their death. $24. 4. The peculiar obligations we are under to endeavour their preservation. As christi

Ø 25. As ministers, obliged by the declarations of scripture, and, \ 26. Our personal engagement. $ 27. (III.) Application in practic cal inferences. 1. To humble ourselves deeply, while we remember our faults. Ø 28. 2. Seriously consider what methods are to be taken for the time


to come.

" IF thou forbear to deliver them that are 4.1. drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be flain : If thou fayeft, Behold, we knew it not: Doth not he that pondereth the heart, consider it? and he that keepeth thy foul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works ?” *

For the explication of these words, I would offer three plain and obvious remarks:

1. That the omiffon, which is here charged as fo displeasing to God, though immediately refer

* Prov. xxiv 11, 12,

« PreviousContinue »