Page images
PDF
EPUB

upon his divine character. The scriptural doctrines, of the depravity of man, the malignity of sin, the eternal power and Godhead of the Saviour, the necessity and efficacy of his mediation, and the inevitable, extreme, and endless misery, of those who finally re- > ject him, are so closely connected, that if the first be rightly understood, it will open the mind to the reception of the rest. But till the first be known and felt, the importance and certainty of the others will be suspected, if not openly denied.

Though the doctrines I have enumerated, are, in these sceptical days, too generally disputed and contradicted, I am fully confident, that it is impossible to demonstrate them to be false. Upon the lowest supposition, therefore, they possibly may be true; and the consequences, depending upon them, if they should be found true at last, are so vastly momentous, that even the peradventure, the possibility of their truth, render them deserving of your most serious consideration. Trifle with yourselves no longer. If they be truths, they are the truths of God. Upon the fame authority stands the truth of that gracious promise, that he will give his holy F f 4 Spirit Spirit to them that ask him. Let me entreat you to make the experiment. This is the proper point to begin with. Instead of indulging reasonings and speculations, humble yourselves before the Lord, and pray for the light and influence, which, he has said, he will afford to them who are willing to be taught. Read the scripture with deliberation, and do not labour to fortify yourselves against conviction. Break off from those practices, which your own consciences admonish you, cannot be pleasing, to him, who, is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, *then Jhall you know, if you will Jincerely follow on, to know the Lord *. But if not, if you will, in a spirit of levity, presume to decide upon points, which you will not allow yourselves seriously to examine, should you, at last, perish in your obstinacy and unbelief, your ruin will be of yourselves. You have been faithfully warned, and we fhajl be clear of your blood,

* Hos. vi. 3.

[ocr errors]

SERMON L.

THE UNIVERSAL CHORUS.

Rev. v. 13.

[And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I, saying,"] Blesfing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.

ME N, have generally agreed, to dignify their presumptuous and arrogant disquisitions on the works and ways of God, with the name of wisdom j though the principles upon which they proceed, and the conclusions which they draw from them, are, for the most part, evident proofs of their depravity and folly; Instead of admiring the

effetfs effects of his wisdom and power in the creation, they have rashly endeavoured to investigate the manner of its production-. A variety of hypotheses have been invented, to account for the formation of the world, and to state the laws by which the frame of nature is governed; and these different and inconsistent accounts/have been defended, with a magisterial tone of certainty, and an air of demonstration, by their respective authors, as though they had been by-standers and spectators, when God spoke all things into being, and produced order out of confusion, by the word of bis. power. They have, however, been much more successful in (hewing the absurdity of the schemes proposed by others, than in reconciling their own, to the sober dictates of plain, common fense.

But, if by indulging their speculations on the creation of the world, the causes of the deluge, and similar subjects, their employment has been no better, than weaving spiders iaebs-x the result of their reasoning on morals, has been much worse. Here they have, with much industry, hatched cockatrice eggs *; and their labours have been not only * Isa.lix. 3.

fal'lft fallacious, but mischievous. Their metaphysical researches, while they refuse the guidance of revelation, if pursued to their just consequences, will always lead into the labyrinths of scepticism, weaken the sense of moral obligation, rob the mind' of the most powerful motives of right conduct, and of the only consolations, which, can afford it solid support, in an hour of trouble. One insuperable difficulty which they will undertake to solve, though it does not properly lie in their way, is concerning the origin of evil. That evil is in the world, is felt and confessed universally. The gospel points out an effectual method of deliverance from it j but, alas, the simple and infallible remedy is neglected, and men weary themselves with vain enquiries,

And find no end, in wand'ring mazes lost.

The more they reason, the more they involve themselves in uncertainty and error, till at last they make lies their refuge, and adopt, with implicit credulity, as so many undoubted axioms, opinions, which are equally dishonourable to God, and contradictory to truth and experience *. Thus much

* a 1-hes. ii. ix.

« PreviousContinue »