Page images
PDF
EPUB

verns this world; that God who feedeth the fowls of heaven, and clothes the lilies of the valley, Luke xii. 24.28. that a God: so good and compassionate, can easily provide for the maintenance and encouragement of your family. . And thou, feeble mortal, lying on a sick-bed, already struggling with the king of terrors, Job! xviii. 14. in the arms of death; thou, who tremblingly complainest, I am undone ! Physicians give me over !, Friends are needless | Remedies are useless | Every application is unsuccessful | A cold Sweat covers my whole body, and announces my approaching death ! Thou art guilty of this second kind of idolatry, thou hast trusted in man, thout hast made flesh thine arm. Were God the object of thy trust, thou wouldst believe that though death, is about to separate thee from men, it is about to unite thee to God: thou wouldst preclude the slavish fear of death by thy fervent desires: thou. wouldst exult at the approach of thy Redeemer, Come Lord, come quickly 1 Amen. Rev. xxii. 20. How easy would it be, my brethren, to enlarge this article.. . Dearly beloved, flee from idolatry, I Cor. x. 14. is the exhortation of an apostle, and with this exhortation we conclude this discourse, and enforce the design of the prophet in the text. Flee from idolatry, not only from gross idolatry, but from that, which, though it may appear less-shocking, is no less repugnant to the spirit of religion. Why sayest thou, O Jacob: Why speakest thou, O Israel; My way is hid from the Lord ; my judgment is passed over from my God 3 The guardianship of you is that part of the dominion of God of which he is most jealous. His love for you is so exqusite, that he condescends to charge himself with your happiness. The happiness, which you feelin Communion with him, is intended to engage you to thim: and the noblest homage that you can return, the purest incense that you can offer, is to say to him, Whom have I in heaven but thee 2 there is none upon earth I desire besides thee. It is good for me to draw near to God, Psal. lxxiii. 25, 28. If you place your hopes upon creatures, you depend upon winds, and waves, and precarious seasons; upon the treachery, iniquity, and inconstancy of men: or to say all in one word, you depend upon death. That poor man is a self-deceiver, who like the man in the gospel, saith within himself, My soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many 3years : take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry, Luke xii. 17, 19. But I expect to find him, yes, I expect to find him at the sound of that voice, which may this very night require his soul, I expect to find him in a sick-bed. There, all pale, distorted, and dying, let him assemble his gods; let him call for his treasures, and send for his domestics, and acquaintances; in that fatal bed let him embrace his Drusillas, and Dalilahs; let him form harmoni•ous concerts, amuse himself with fashionable diversions, or feast his eyes with gaudy decorations, the vacuity and vanity of which, in spite of himself, he will be obliged to discover. O! give me more solid foundations for my hopes! May I never build my house upon the sand, endangered by every wind and wave; may the edi. fice of my felicity be superior to human vicissitudes, and like mount Sion which cannot be removed, Psal. exxv. 1. may I build upon the Rock of Ages, and be able, in public calamities, and in my private misfortunes, above all, in the agonies of death, to appropriate those precious promises, 2 Pet. i. 4. which God hath made to his church in general, and to every individual in it: The moun

tains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, Isa. liv. 10.

To this God, of whose grandeur we form such elevated notions, and upon whose promises we found such exalted hopes, be honor and glory for ever, and ever. Amen.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

To: words are connected with the two preceding verses: Ah, Lord God, behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched-out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee. Thou shewest loving-kindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them : the great the mighty God, the Lord of hosts is his name, great in counsel, and mighty in work. The text we have read to you, my brethren, and which, though very short, has doubtless already excited many grand ideas in your minds, is a homage, which the prophet Jeremiah paid to the perfections of God, when they seemed to counteract one another. To make this plain to you, we will endeavor to fix your attention on the circumstances in which our prophet was, when he pronounced the words. This is the best method of explaining the text, and with this we begin. Jeremiah was actually a martyr to his ministry, when he addressed that prayer to God, of which this text is only a part. He was reduced to the disagreeable necessity of not being able to avail himself of the rights of religion without invalidating the maxims of civil government. This is one of the most difficult straits, into which the ministers of the living God can be brought ; for, however they may be opposed, people always regard them, if not with entire submission, yet with some degree of respect, while they confine themselves to the duties of their own office, and, while content with the speaking of heavenly things, they leave the reins of government in the hands of those to whom Providence has committed them. But when religion and civil policy are so united that ministers cannot discharge their functions without becoming, in a manner, ministers of state, without determining whether it be proper to make peace, or to declare war, to enter into alliances, or to dissolve them : how extremely delicate and difficult does their ministry become 2 This was our prophet's case. Jerusalem had been besieged for the space of one year by Nebuchadnezzar's army, and it was doubtful whether the city should capitulate with that prince, or hold out against him. God himself decided this question, by the ministry of the prophet, and commanded him in his name to address the Israelites: Thus saith the Lord ; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the King of Babylon, and he shall take it. And 3edekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans ; but shall surely be deliwered into the hand of the king of Babylon . . . . though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper, ver. 3, 4, 5. A prediction so alarming was not uttered with impunity; and Jeremiah was thrown into prison for pronouncing it : but, before he could well reflect on this trial, he was exercised with another, that was more painful still. God commanded him to transact an affair, which seems at first sight more likely to sink his ministry into contempt than to

« PreviousContinue »