« PreviousContinue »
which, without God's assistance, will overcome us; and must, therefore, seek for the aid of the Holy Spirit by prayer and supplication. And, lastly, we must all be "new creatures," regenerated and restored to the image of God before we die, or lose the chance of that salvation, which cannot be obtained without deep repentance, firm faith, and steady obedience to the divine law, shewn forth in a righteous, and honest, and moral life. Let us then, my brethren, learn a lesson of wisdom and prudence from the unjust steward, and imitate that foresight which he shewed in worldly affairs, in the important business of religion and salvation; praying to GOD, (in the words of the Collect for the day,) that He would "grant to "us the Spirit to think and to do always "such things as be rightful; that we, who "cannot do any thing that is good without "Him, may by Him be enabled to live ac"cording to His will, through JESUS 6. our LORD. Amen."
[For the Tenth Sunday after Trinity.]
LUKE xix. 41-44.
And when he was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now, they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side; and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another, because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
HE terrible events predicted by our Saviour in the passage which I have just read to you, came to pass: (as is well known) exactly as CHRIST foretold. Thus, within the space of forty years after his crucifixion, the Romans besieged Jerusalem so closely, that not a man could escape;
and after the inhabitants had endured the most dreadful sufferings that were ever heard of, these powerful enemies entered the city, destroying all before them, and literally "not leaving one stone upon
"another," of one of the finest cities and temples in the world.
Our blessed LORD foresaw that this would certainly come to pass; and he wept, because he likewise saw, that the people would not be persuaded to prevent this great evil by a timely repentance. He knew this was their day of grace; and he saw they despised or disregarded it, and that it must end in their destruction. Our compassionate Saviour, therefore, bewailed, with tears, the misery they were bringing on themselves, and upon their posterity. This example should teach all christians how to behave themselves, when the sins of men are likely to bring down destruction on them.
should teach them not to laugh at, and be amused by, the wickedness of those around them; (as is too common;) but rather to lament and bewail the blindness of sinners who will not know or see the judgments they are preparing for themselves. It should
teach them to beg of GOD to open the eyes of the guilty, that they may become sensible of their sad condition; and by
sincere repentance, and a change of conduct, may endeavour to work out their salvation, before "the night cometh, when no man can work."
It is, indeed, melancholy to see people who have no abiding-place here, yet setting up their rest on earth, as if they were sure never to leave it. To see christians, who are bound to love one another, rejoicing and taking pleasure in the misery and ruin of each other;-to hear people beg of GoD to forgive them their trespasses, as they are ready to forgive others; and, at the same time, living in open enmity with some of their fellow-creatures;-to see the rich oppressing the poor; and the poor endeavouring to deceive and take advantage of their superiors; as if neither were accountable to Gon, or expected a world beyond the present; to see parents educating their children after such a manner, as if they intended their eternal ruin; teaching them to love the world, instead of renouncing it; gratifying them in every thing that is vain and sinful, and suffering them to content themselves with a mere outward form of religion, without knowing any thing of its power, or of that holiness, without which no man can see the LORD. In one word, to see so many, who call themselves christians, live
without faith, without hope, without cha rity, without fear; that is, without the least trace of true religion: Can any christjan see this, and consider where, at the last, it must end, without being moved by sorrow and compassion, (as our LORD was,) for the eternal miseries which such thoughtless persons are bringing upon themselves? Can they forbear to mourn in secret, and beg of GOD to pity and cure the blindness of sinners, who do not see the danger of neglecting the time of visitation, and the day of grace?
To-day," (saith the Psalmist,) "to-day "if ye will hear his voice, harden not your "hearts." "Behold, now," saith the Apostle, is the accepted time; now, is "the day of salvation." And again, " Ex"hort one another while it is called to-day:" that is, while the time of trial lasts.
My brethren, we are all gone astray from GOD; He has appointed us a time, in which we may return to Him, but which, if we allow ourselves to lose it, we are certainly undone. But our merciful GOD wills not that any of us should perish; He therefore calls upon us to return to our duty." He "speaks to us once, yea twice," though we perceive it not.
He speaks to us by his word, and by his ministers; He speaks to us by his mercies, and