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called upon

man, in all, and upon all who thus

the Lord, and dedicated themselves unto him in the sincerity of their heart. At the same time we must here remark, and the observation, it is to be apprehended, may be particularly needful, and worthy the attention of no inconsiderable number of the present congregation; that the promises and vows made by their sponsors in their name at their baptism are binding upon them when arrived at years of discretion, although they may themselves never have taken an active or personal part in this really affecting and holy spectacle of the young publicly devoting themselves unto the service of their God and Saviour.

As baptized Christians, my brethren, and instructed also, if it be not our own fault, in the doctrines of our faith, we cannot release ourselves from the vows and obligations which are upon us. solemnly engaged to "deny ungodliness

We are

3 Ephes. iii. 16.

and worldly lust, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world."* This we are to do as we would have

hope in the end,” as we would not be cast off, and denied of the Lord Jesus, when the temptations and vanities of this world shall be no more, and when the truth of the word, and the stability of the promises of God shall be incontrovertibly, gloriously, and everlastingly established. Therefore, brethren, remember ye the covenant of the Lord your God, study to know it, and determine with God's grace to do it. The alternative set before

you

is most awful and momentous, “If thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.”

4 Titus ii. 12.

270

SERMON XVIII.

ABRAHAM'S INTERCESSION FOR THE

CITIES OF THE PLAIN.

GENESIS xviii. 23-25.

" And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou

also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein ? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"

THE favourable manner in which the Almighty was pleased to receive his servant Abraham's deprecation in behalf of a sinful people, of a people justly doomed and given over to destruction, is calculated, among other points, to give us a very cheering and consolatory view of the long-suffering and forbearance of our God; that “ he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.”1

Abraham, apprized through the condescension of the Lord that a decree had gone forth for the destruction of “the cities of the plain,” draws near, as in the chapter of our text, unto the footstool of the Most Holy in expostulation and prayer. He addresses himself unto the Divine Majesty in the words just now recited, and wherein, whilst he feels the tenderest pity for the frailty and the danger of his fellow men, he is evidently deeply impressed, he has the strongest conviction in his own mind of the immutable justice and consummate holiness of Him, who had alone the power to rescue, or to pardon. “Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked ?" appears to

Joel ii. 13.

have been Abraham's first thought as he contemplated the irresistible vengeance about to be launched forth against long continued, gross, and multiplied iniquity,

“ Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked ?" No, that cannot be,

“ The Lord's hand is not so shortened that it cannot save,” that it cannot discriminate, and interpose to prevent one common destruction from utterly overwhelming alike the godly and the sinner, the righteous and the wicked :-" That,” said the patriarch, “ be far from thee to do after this manner.” And not only so, but the knowledge of his Lord's goodness and forbearance towards his erring children makes the faithful Abraham yet more bold and urgent. Hesupplicates not merely for the righteous, but also for the wicked and the sinner. He beholds and shudders at the view of the immediate and horrible overthrow with which the fair and flourishing cities were to be visited ; and as this

to be a common and universal

was

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