Page images

Were we to judge by external appearances, this passage would be difficult to ex- . plain. “The wicked flourish like the green bay-tree.” They are merry, they laugh, they sing, they dance; but there is a worm within which preys upon their vitals. We must form our judgment of men rather by their inward feelings than their outward shew.

1. Woes are pronounced against them by the God of heaven, at whose word hell quakes and devils tremble. Woe to them in prosperity! God is against them. Their pleasures are mingled with poison: their riches are a snare and temptation; and their honours lead to disgrace. Woe to them in adversity! God and men forsake them. To whom will they turn in days of darkness and distress? Woe to them when they reflect! They cannot bear their own reflections. Conscience, which should be a guide, becomes a plague. Woe to them when the judgments of God are abroad! They cannot escape. “They are cast down as in a moment, and are consumed with terror.” Woe to them in the hour of death! They turn their pale faces to the · wall, and die without hope. A heavy burden of guilt weighs them down, and they sink like lead in deep waters. to them in the next world; for “ the labour of their hands thall be given them.” They


have laboured in the work of iniquity, and their reward shall be given in full weight and measure. Their works. shall follow and overtake them in a future world.

2. Recollect the character of God who pronounces these woes. “ God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth, the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies." He bears long, and is not willing that any should perish; but when he ariseth in judgment, we shall find “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” But is there no hope? ' Is there no remedy? Yes, blessed be God, who waiteth to be gracious! It is in the power of man to prevent these woes. He may obtain mercy. There is a friend in heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ, who pleads for guilty man.

Hear his call: “ Look unto me, all the ends of the earth, and be ye saved; for I am the Lord.”

The time will come when there will be no remedy. “He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." Secure, then, the present moment, Return to your God. Humble yourselves before him, and he will enable you to say, “ O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.

Nevertheless, let the messengers of God be faithful in pronouncing these sacred truths! Comfort the people of God, and hold up their heads. Let them be dear to you. One qualification necessary in a bishop, or óne who oversees the church of Christ, is, that he be “a lover of good men.

Shew your love by helping them on the way. Be not afraid of the wicked. Whether they will hear or forbear, pronounce God's word! They may curse; but God will bless. They may frown; but God will smile. They may threaten; but God will guard you on evex ;

side. They may charge you with ignorance, rudeness, and cruelty; but you are only accountable to God; and while he approves, you will prosper. Thus when your mission ends, when your work is finished, you will hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servants, enter ye into the joy of your Lord." Amen.

David's Advice to Solomon.



1 CHRON. xxviii. 9. And thou Solomon my son, know thou the God of

thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind.

THE dying advice of parents should be seriously regarded by their children. David was deeply pious, and his advice to Solomon, in the fast hours of his life, may be followed with peculiar advantage by all our youth. The life of David had been a life of danger and difficulty; but the knowledge and service of God had been his support. Solomon was about to succeed David in the throne of Israel; and he earnestly exhorted him to know and serve his God.

“ And thou Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart, and with a wil

ling mind.”

This passage contains two things: first, we should know the God of David: secondly, we should serve him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind.



The gentile world had many gods; but they were all idols of abomination. The God of David was “ the living God, which made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein." The pious mind of David could not be satisfied without an enjoyment of this living God, in the ordinances of religion. Hence he cries out, “My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God!” But how should we know the God of David?

1. IVe should know his eristence. The being of a God is the foundation of religion. “He that cometh to God must believe that he is.” God has written his being, in legible characters, upon every human heart; and he who turns his eyes inward, may

both read and understand. The works of creation teach the being of a God. “ For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead."

2. IVe should know his perfections. Wrong views of Gọd necessarily lead to errors in religion. The Athenians were famous for learning, eloquence, and politeness ; but they were deeply plunged in idolatry and

« PreviousContinue »