Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

hearts and found by painful experience, that their hearts and nothing but their hearts were the only obstacles in the way of embracing the gospel & enjoying the happiness of heaven, which it promises to all, that love God. Sinners often live upon their doubts, as others do upon their hopes. According to God's usual dispensations of grace, he removes the doubts of sinners, by showing them their hearts; and he shows them their hearts, by showing them his true character and the nature of heavenly enjoyments and employments. Careless sinners and merely awakened sinners, pay but little attention to the nature of the salvation, which they think they really desire. But their desires after mere happiness are unholy and unacceptable to God; and they can never obtain holy happiness without holy desires after holiness. It becomes them to inquire, what manner of spirit they are of and what is the supreme object of their desires, whether holiness, or mere happiness. As soon as they justly determine this point, they will have no doubt, that they are in the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity.

7. This subject teaches all real Christians, that they have no just ground to doubt of their good estate. They often see what they imagine are unjust causes of their doubting ; but if they would critically and impara tially examine their own hearts, they would find that in them, which would remove their doubts. They would find supreme love to God, sincere desires after holiness and the enjoyment of God on earth and in heaven. Such views and feelings all have, who have passed from death unto life, and turned from sin to boliness. And such views and desires are positive evidence, that their hearts are right, notwithstanding all the contrary views and desires, which they too often experience. Though Paul found great moral imperfections cleaving to him, yet he could confidently say, “ I delight in the law of God, aster the inward man.” And Peter, after he had denied his Master and lamented his conduct with tears, could appeal to Christ and say, “ Lord, thou knowest all things, thou know

est that I love thee." Let Christians carry their hearts to heaven, and there they will find an infallible standard, by which they may safely determine, that they are friends of God and prepared to be with him and with all the pure spirits in heaven, to see his glory and praise him forever.

But after all, there may be a question in the minds of sinners, which they wish to have answered. And though it has been often answered, yet they still desire to have it answered again. If it be so, that we have no desire to go to heaven, because we have no desire to be there ; What shall we do? The answer is short and plain. Renounce your enmity against God, which you have felt and expressed without a cause and lore him supremely. And then you may rely upon his promise ; “I love them, that love me ; and they, that seek me early, shall find me."

SERMON XX.

EDELEOFIQX3 CF GINNERS IN HEIL.

LUKE, XVI, 25.--But Abraham said, Son, re. member that thou, in't y life time, receivedst thy good things ano" Lazarus evil things ; but now he is comforted and thou art tormented.

Since all men must soon exchange their present probationary state for another, that is future, fixed and eternal ; it deeply concerns them frequently to carry their thoughts into that invisible world, where they know they must take up their everlasting residence. Christ, therefore, who came into the world to prepare men for their future and final destination, said more about what is to be enjoyed and what is to be suffered, in a future state, than any of the inspired teachers sent before him. Though he often preached and discoursed about future happiness and misery ; yet he never gave such a clear, visible and affecting representation of the deplorable condition of the damned, as he gives in the parable that contains the text. By this parable, he leads us to look into the world of spirits, to see a poor, miserable, hopeless creature and hear him describe his views, his feelings and forlorn condition, in his own language. Hear the parable, though you have often heard and read it before. "There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine liven and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who was laid at his gite, full of sores and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table : moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass that the beggar died and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried : and in bell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments and seeth Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom : and he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus, that he may cip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue ; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember, that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good things and likewise Lazarus evil things ; but now be is comforted and thou art tormented.” Though this parable suggests a great many things of solemn importance, yet that, which I would take particular notice of in the present discourse, is this ;

That those, who abuse their present probationary state and are finally damned, will have most bitter and tormenting reflections.

This is a serious subject indeed. It fills the mind with terror. But it becomes every one, who is a probationer for a happy, or miserable eternity to contemplate it before it is too late. Unbar your mind and give it leave to take a clear and affecting view of that gulph over which it hangs, into which it may fall and from which it is of infinite importance to escape. The damned will have most bitter & tormenting reilections. This may be illustrated, by showing, in the first place, that they will have r'eilections ; and, in the second place, by taking a particular view of their reflectioris

1. We have reason to believe, that the damned will have reflections. It is true, the miseries, which men feel in this life, are sometimes so great, as almost to prevent any regular and consistent thoughts. The mind is overwhelmed with such keen sensations of pain in body and mind, as leave but little room for the exercise of any of the rational powers and faculties. But though the damned may suffer severer pains and torments than can be endured in the present state ; yet God can give them strength to endure all that he sees fit to inflict upon them, and make them capable of reflecting upon what is past and of anticipating what is future. For,

1. Their natural powers and faculties will not only be continued, but vastly strengthened and enlarged. The fallen angels, we know, retain all their intellectual powers ; which they have undoubtedly vastly improved, by all they have seen and heard and thought, while passing through various and important scenes, in the course of nearly six thousand years. And it is rea. sonable to suppose, that the spirits of wicked men made miserable will retain all their mental faculties and find them greatly invigorated by passing out of time into eternity. And of course, they will be able to think, to reflect and to anticipate incessantly and intensely.

2. They will not meet with the same obstructions to mental exercises, that they met with here in their present state of probation. Here their cares, their troubles, their employments and various amusements dissi. pate their thoughts and obstruct reflection. But there such objects will be entirely removed from their reach and pursuit. T'he prison of hell is a place of confinement, but not of employment. Those, who are confined there, will have nothing to do but to think through interminable ages. Had men no employments, nor diversions to pursue ; and had their bodies no occasion for sleep and repose, they would find much time in this short life for thinking about, reflecting upon and anticipating ten thousand different objects and subjects. The damned rest not day, nor night. Their eyes are never closed. Their minds are always awake.' Contemplation on things past, present and future is their sole and perpetual employment. Besides,

3. God will continually exbibit before their view such things, as will excite the most painful reflections and anticipations. He will set their sins in order hefore them, in their nature, magnitude, and peculiar aggravations, so that they cannot obliterate them from their minds. He will exhibit all his great, amiable and terrible attributes of power, holiness, justice and sovereignty before them, and give them a constant and realizing sense of his awful presence and displeasure. He will give them clear and extensive views of the

« AnteriorContinuar »