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welcome suggestion, that the Bible may in truth reveal, and the invisible world ere long disclose, more terrible things, than have ever been dreamed of in their philosophy.
Our first extract is from the Sermon entitled, “ Our Sins Infinite in Number and Enormity."
“If we wish to know the number of our sins, we must look first, and chiefly, at the feelings and dispositions of our hearts. And if we do thus look at them, we shall be convinced, in a moment, that our sins are numberless. Every moment of our waking existence, in which we do not love God with all our hearts, we sin; for this constant and perfect love to God his law requires. Every moment, in which we do not love our neighbor as ourselves, we sin; for this also we are commanded to do. Every moment, in which we do not exercise repentance, we sin ; for repentance is one of the first duties required of us. Every moment, in which we do not exercise faith in Christ, we sin ; for the constant exercise of faith the Gospel everywhere requires. When we do not set our affections on things above, we sin ; for on these we are required to place them. When we are not constantly influenced by the fear of God, we sin; for we are commanded to be in the fear of the Lord all the day long. When we do not rejoice in God, we sin ; for the precept is, Rejoice in the Lord always. When we are not properly affected by the contents of God's word, we sin ; for this want of feeling indicates hardness of heart, one of the worst of sins. When we do not forgive and love our enemies, we sin ; for this Christ requires of us. In a word, whenever our hearts are not in a perfectly holy frame, we are sinning; for God's language is, Be ye holy, for I am holy; be perfect, as your father in heaven is perfect. And if we thus sin, when we do not exercise right feelings, much more do we sin, when we exercise those that are wrong. When we are dissatisfied with any part of God's word, or with any of his providential dispensations; when we feel a disposition to murmur at our situation, at our disappointments and afflictions, at the weather, or the seasons, we sin; for these are the heartrisings of rebellion against God, and they render it impossible for us to say sincerely, Thy will be done. When we hate any one, we sin ; for he that hateth his brother, is a murderer. When we feel a revengeful, or unforgiving temper, we sin; for if we forgive not our enemies, God will not forgive us. When we secretly rejoice in the calamities of others, we sin ; for he that is glad at calamities, shall not go unpunished; and God is said to be displeased with those, who rejoice when their enemy falls. When we envy such as are above us, we sin; for envyings are mentioned among the sinful works of the flesh. When we covet any thing, that is our neighbor's, we sin; for this is expressly forbidden by the tenth commandment. When we love the world, we sin; for if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.But I forbear to enlarge ; for who, that knows anything of himself, will deny, that the wickedness of his heart is great, and its iniquities numberless ?”
The following extract is from a previous Sermon, but on a similar subject.
“What a disclosure is made, when, with the dissecting knife of a spiritual anatomist, we lay open the human heart, with all its dark recesses, and intricate windings, and expose the lurking abominations, which it conceals, not to the light of day, but to the light of heaven? My hearers, even in this sinful world, the spectacle which such a disclosure would exhibit could not be borne. The man, whose heart should thus be laid open to public view, would be banished from society; nay, he would himself fly from it, overwhelmed with shame and confusion. Of this every man is sensible, and, therefore, conceals his heart from all eyes with jealous care. Every man is conscious of many thoughts and feelings, which he would be ashamed to express to his most intimate friend. Even those profligate, abandoned wretches, who glory in foaming out their own shame, and whose mouths, like an open sepulchre, breathe out moral contagion, putrefaction, and death, scarcely dare utter to their own equally abandoned associates every thought and feeling which rises within them. And if this is the fact, if the heart, laid open to view, would appear thus black in this dark sinful world; who can describe or conceive of the blackness which it must exhibit, when surrounded by the dazzling whiteness of heaven, and seen in the light of God's presence, the light of his holiness and glory? How do proud, self-exalting thoughts appear, when viewed in the presence of Him, before whom all the nations of the earth are less than nothing and vanity? How do self-will, impatience, and discontent with the allotments of providence appear, when viewed as exercised before the throne of the infinite, eternal, universal Sovereign. How do angry, envious, revengeful feelings appear in the eyes of the God of love, and in those regions of love, where, since the expulsion of the rebel angels, not one such feeling has ever been exercised ? How do wanton, impure thoughts appear—but we cannot pursue the loathsome, sickening enumeration. Surely, if all the evil thoughts and wrong feelings which have passed in countless numbers through either of our hearts, were poured out in heaven, angels would stand aghast at the sight, and all their benevolence would scarcely prevent them from exclaiming in holy indignation, Away with him to the abode of his kindred spirits in the abyss ! To the omniscient God alone would the sight not be surprising. He knows, and he alone knows, what is in the heart of man; and what he knows of it he has described in brief, but in terribly expressive terms. The hearts of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their hearts. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”
From the Sermon entitled, “ Recollections of God painful to the Wicked," we give the following.
“If our hearts or consciences condemn us, it is impossible to remember God without being troubled. It will then be painful to remember that he is our Creator and Benefactor ; for the remembrance will be attended with a consciousness of base ingratitude.
It will be painful to think of him as Lawgiver ; for such thoughts will remind us, that we have broken his law. It will be painful to think of his holiness ; for if he is holy, he must hate our sins, and be angry with us, as sinners:-of his justice and truth; for these perfections make it necessary that he should fulfil his threatenings and punish us for our sins. It will be painful to think of his omniscience ; for this perfection makes him acquainted with our most secret offences, and renders it impossible to conceal them from his view :-of his omnipresence; for the constant presence of an invisible witness must be disagreeable to those, who wish to indulge their sinful propensities. It will be painful to think of his power; for it enables him to restrain or destroy, as he pleases :-of his sovereignty ; for sinners always hate to see themselves in the hands of a sovereign God :—of his eternity and immutability; for from his possessing these perfections it follows, that he will never alter the threatenings, which he has denounced against sinners, and that he will always live to execute them. It will be painful to think of him as Judge; for we shall feel, that, as sinners, we have no reason to expect a favorable sentence from his lips. It will even be painful to think of the perfect goodness and excellence of his character; for his goodness leaves us without excuse in rebelling against him, and makes our sins appear exceedingly sinful. Thus it is evident, that the consciousness of sin committed and guilt contracted must render the government, and all the perfections of God, objects of terror and anxiety to the sinner; and, of course, the recollection of them must to him be painful.”
In what follows, we have a graphic and most animating description of the conflict at present carried on between the friends of truth and of God, and the votaries of the prince of darkness.
“Before every enemy can be put under our Saviour's feet, many exertions must be made, much treasure expended, and many battles fought. Satan, the prince and god of this world, will not resign his usurped dominion without a struggle. The more clearly he perceives that his time is short, the greater will be his wrath, and the more violent his efforts. During that portion of time, which yet remains, the war which he has long waged with the Captain of our salvation, will be carried on with unexampled fury. If you would survey the progress and result of this war, cast your eyes over the world, which is to be at once the field of battle, and the prize of victory. See the earth filled with strong holds and high places, in which the prince of darkness has fortified and made himself strong against the Almighty. See all the hosts of hell, and a large proportion of the inhabitants, the power, the wealth, the talents, and influence of the world ranged under his infernal standard. See his whole artillery of falsehoods, sophistries, objections, temptations, and persecution, brought into the field, to be employed against the cause of truth. See ten thousand pens, and ten times ten thousand tongues, hurling his poisoned darts among its friends. On the other hand, see the comparatively small band of our Saviour's faithful soldiers drawn up in opposing ranks, and advancing to the assault, clothed in panoply divine, the banner waving over their heads, while in their hands they wield unsheathed the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, the only weapon which they are allowed, or wish, to employ. The charge is sounded, the assault is made, the battle is joined,-far and wide its fury rages ; over mountains and plains, over islands and continents, extends the long line of conflict; for a time, alternate victory and defeat wait on either side. Now, exulting acclamations from the Christian army proclaim the fall of some strong hold of Satan. Anon, infuriated shouts from the opposing ranks announce to the world, that the cause of Christ is losing ground, or that some Christian standard-bearer is fallen. Meanwhile, far above the noise and tumult of the battle, the Captain of our salvation sits serene, issuing his commands, directing the motions of his followers, sending seasonable aid to such as are ready to faint, and occasionally causing to be seen the lighting down of his own glorious arm, before which whole squadrons fall, or fly, or yield themselves willing captives. Feeble, and yet more feeble still, gradually becomes the opposition of his foes. Loud, and yet louder still, rise the triumphant acclamations of his friends, till at length the cry of Victory! victory! resounds from earth to heaven ; and, Victory! victory! is echoed back from heaven to earth. The warfare ceases,-the prize is won,—all enemies are put under the conquering Saviour's feet; the whole earth, with joy, receives her king; and his kingdom, which consists in righteousness, and peace, and holy joy, becomes co-extensive with the world.”
Near the close of the volume we find a Sermon, in which the author endeavors to prove that the saints in heaven will be made equal to the angels. Towards the conclusion of the discourse, the audience are addressed as follows:
“My brethren, consider what is the language of your profession, what you say to the world, when you approach the table of your Lord, or perform any other act which indicates that you consider yourselves as the disciples of Jesus Christ. On every such occasion, you do in effect say, I profess to be one of those, to whom all the promises of the Gospel are made; one of those who are styled children and heirs of God. As one of this number, I expect soon to be called to mingle with the angels, and to be made, in every respect, their equal. When I shall be exalted to this state is uncertain. It may be to-morrow. It may be the next hour; for there is but a step between me and death, and, consequently, but a step between me and an angel's seat. Such, 0 professed disciples of Christ, is the lofty, and, as it must appear to the world, assuming language of your profession. And can you utter such language, will shame allow you to utter it, without attempting to live in a corresponding manner ! If you do indeed look for such things, what manner of persons ought you to be, in all holy conversation and godliness! How far ought you to live above the world! How dead should you be to all earthly objects and pursuits! What spirituality of temper, what heavenly mindedness, should you feel and exhibit! What can be more obvious, more undeniable, than the conclusion, that, if you hope to be made equal to the angels hereafter, you ought to imitate, so far as is practicable, angels now. That you may be induced to imitate them, and to climb with greater diligence and alacrity the steep ascent before you, let me persuade you to fix your eyes upon its summit. A dense impenetrable cloud appears, indeed, to conceal it from mortal eyes; but inspiration speaks, and the cloud is dissipated ; faith presents her glass, and the sun-bright summit is seen. On him, who sits enthroned upon it, you cannot indeed gaze. His glories, though you shall see them unveiled hereafter, are too insufferably dazzling for mortal eyes to sustain. But contemplate the resplendent forms, which float around him in an atmosphere of pure celestial light. See their bodies, resembling sun-beams seren times refined. See their countenances, beaming with intelligence, purity, benevolence and felicity. Through their transparent bodies look in, and contemplate the souls which inhabit them, expanded to the full dimensions of angelic minds, bearing the perfect image of their God, and reflecting his glories, as the polished mirror reflects the glories of the noonday sun. This, O Christian, is what thou shalt hereafter be. These dazzling forms were once sinful dust and ashes, like thyself. But grace, free, rich, sovereign, almighty grace, has made them what they now are. It has washed, and justified, and sanctified, and brought them to glory. And to the same glory, O Christian, it is bringing thee. And canst thou then sleep, canst thou slumber, canst thou be slothful, canst thou complain of the difficulties which attend, of the obstacles which oppose, thy ascent to such glory and felicity as this? O let gratitude, let duty, let shame, if nothing else, forbid. Lift up, ye embryo angels, lift up the heads which hang down, and let the drooping spirit revive. Read, hear, meditate with prayer, deny yourselves, mortify sin but a little longer, and you shall mount up, not on eagles', but on angels' wings, and know what is meant by being made equal to resplendent intelligences.
“To impenitent sinners this subject, taken in connexion with other parts of revelation, is a subject of most solemn and awful import.
They too possess faculties, which render them capable of being made equal to the angels; but these faculties will only serve, if they remain impenitent and unholy, to sink them down to a dreadful equality with the fallen angels, the spirits of disobedience, for whom the fires of hell are prepared, and to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness and eternal despair. And are these things so? Is it true, that, before a century shall have passed away, all the souls, who now fill this house, will be angels or demons, and fixed forerer in heaven or hell ? Yes, my hearers, it is true. It is as certain, as that there is a God; as certain, as that we are here. O, then, in what language can we describe, how can we adequately conceive of, the folly, the madness, of sinners, of those who neglect the great salvation. In less than a century, and, with respect to most of them, in much less than half that time, the question, which of the two opposite states shall be theirs, is to be decided. Yes, my immortal hearers, in a few years will be forever decided the question, whether your vast and almost boundless capacities shall be filled with happiness, or with misery; whether the noble faculties, which