« ÖncekiDevam »
you now looks into your heart ;-observes all your thoughts, and feelings, and desires. What a picture is here laid open! “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies."*_“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked—who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways.”+
Every sinner is a run-a-way from God, and from true happiness. You may fancy there are pleasures in sin; but in the end they will bite like an adder, and sting like a serpent. There is
way which seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death. Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished. Think not then that you can escape His notice, whose eyes are as a flame of fire. Can any hide himself in secret places, that I cannot see him saith the Lord ? Do not I fill heaven and earth saith the Lord ? || Whither can you go from his Spirit, or whither can you flee from his presence? If you ascend up into heaven, he is there ; if you make your bed in hell, behold he is there. If you take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall his hand lead you, and his right hand shall hold you. If you say—“Surely the darkness shall cover me!'even the night shall be light about you. Yea, the darkness hideth not from him; but the night shineth as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to him.
Jonah tried to run away from God. He rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. 'But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea to lighten it; but Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay and was fast asleep. Asleep! how could he sleep? Where was his conscience ? He had wilfully and deliberately disobeyed God ;-he then tried to flee from his presence, and now he lays himself quietly down to rest. Alas ! such are the effects of sin. It deranges the whole moral nature ; destroy's the feelings and sensibilities of the soul-leads to indifference and hardness of heart;disregard to the authority, disobedience to the will, and opposition to the government of God. One unholy feeling begets another, one unrighteous action leads to another. Like the rolling of a stone down a steep place, whose motion is increased as it descends, so sin is a downward course, and hurries its victim along till it engulph him in bottomless perdition. God pursued Jonah and punished him. Be sure your sin will find you out, and that you too will be pursued by his warnings, by his providence, and by his judgments. What if on account of your many provocations and multiplied transgressions, God should awaken the angry tempest, and arouse the furious elements of the deep, and thus bring sudden destruction upon you? With a load of guilt unremoved, and a life of sin unpardoned, how are you prepared to meet your God? There is but a step between you and death. Let but a single plank yield, or a single line break, or the ship strike on some hidden rock, and in a moment you may sink to rise no more. And oh! will you—can you live at a distance from God in whose favour is life?
* Matthew xv. 19.
+ Jeremiah xvii. 9, 10. * Proverbs xiv. 12.--xi. 21.
Psalms cxxxix. 7-12. $ Jonah i. 3-5.
An ark of safety has been graciously provided for you, into which you may enter, and remain unmoved amid all the storms and dangers of life, and even in death itself; in which alone you can be preserved from that far darker and more fearful death beyond! There is a state where the worm dieth not, where the fire is not quenched; where the smoke ascendeth for ever and ever-where there is weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Your danger is great—your immortal soul is in jeopardyescape for
life. Sail not a moment longer down the stream of time in the world's old
will soon become a wreck on the dark shores of eternity. Enter this safety-ship which Heaven has so mercifully provided to save you from death. Here you will serve a great and good captain-you will have wise and just laws-brave and cheerful companions-rich and large provisions—a safe and prosperous voyage—a joyful mooring—and a mighty prize. Need I tell you that religion is the ship—Christ the captain—the laws are the word of Godthe bible the chart—faith the compass-saints the crew-the provisions, the riches of divine grace--heaven the port-and
66 Ho! every
glory the immortal prize? What can you want beside? The whole world could never satisfy the desires of your immortal nature. God alone can do it. He offers to do it. one that thirsteth come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do you spend money for that which is not bread; and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Seek
ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near : let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.* When the eyes of the prodigal son were opened to see his guilt, and he repented, and humbled himself, and set out to return to his father's house, and to confess his sins; even when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. Sailor! such blessedness may be yours. He that confesseth and forsaketh his sins shall find mercy. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes ; cease to do evil, learn to do well. Come, now, and let us together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.t Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth from all sin. Think what an unspeakable mercy it is that you have not been cut down in the midst of your transgressions, and been cast into outer darkness; that you are spared to this hour—that God waiteth to be gracious—that salvation and everlasting life are once more offered you. But oh ! remember, that if ye repent not, ye shall surely perish. He that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. The wages of sin is death. He that believeth shall be saved-he that believeth not shall be damned. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way; when is wrath his kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
* Isaiah lv. 2, 3, 6, 7.
+ Txaiah i. 16, 17.
“ Cold, darkness, and solitude," was the despairing cry of a benighted wanderer on the Alps. A light suddenly gleamed in the distance. He approached it—there was a guide with a lanthorn—“ Follow me!” said he, to the lost man. He followed. They drew near a precipice. The guide hastened to its verge—threw the lanthorn, which from its buoyancy, floated slowly down the declivity. The traveller seeing only the light, which deepened the general gloom, stepped blindly from the precipice and fell dead at its base. There the banditti, for whom this guide acted as the decoy, plundered and concealed the corpse.
Satan has his decoys, who throw the “ fatal light,” and the blind world follow it. Pleasure, fame, wealth, is that light, and thousands who know not the false from the true-whose hearts are not illumined by the “ Sun of Righteousness" follow it and fall. “ There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Who are these decoys ?
The wicked ship-mate is one of them. I hear him say to you, "follow me.” Let us go ashore—to the theatre—the gin palace -the billiard room—come lads, come away.
For ever on board ! I can't endure it. I must have a fare up. Ship and cargo to the winds for once.--Hoist sail for a land trip.” The boat is ready I see the jolly comrades moving towards the shore. They reach it, and in a moment toil, danger, life, are forgotten. I dare not follow them. I tremble to anticipate the history of the next hour. Reason overcome—passion ragingmoney lost-life destroyed—these are the dreadful topics of that history! “ If sinners entice thee, consent thou not.”
The crimp is one of these decoys. He bids you follow him. These are his promises,—“ I will provide you a home whilst you remain in port. Whatever shall conduce to your comfort on shore, or be required for the coming voyage, shall be furnished on the most reasonable terms. In a word, consider me your friend, give yourself no care — I will consult for you.” All this, with a pot of beer to give the last assurance of sincerity, wins your confidence.-(Alas that you will not trust those who love you better!) You resign yourself into his hands—sign away your wages in the hour of intoxication-are led to the long
entire dependence upon the Holy Spirit for renewal and sanctification. “ He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”—“ Ye must be born again.”—“The Spirit giveth life.” He that follows Christ has the temper of Christ ;--is benevolent, patient, obedient. His life is one of prayer and faith. He feels that he cannot do without Christ, and would not if he could.
Peter and Andrew were called to follow Christ at a period when Jesus was called an impostor, and a price was laid upon his head. To be his disciple was, in view of the world, the height of folly and madness. To be a christian then, was to be subject to the malice and opposition of the learned and the great. You may expect the scorn of some, and the opposition of others. Your names may be “cast out as evil,” the “ lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God," may scorn and tempt, but they cannot hurt you. All are conquered enemies. If then you would be happy and safe--happy in losses and afflictions—safe in temptations on land, and in dangers on the sea—if you would serve a skilful captain, one who knows all the rocks and quicksands of life's voyage—FOLLOW Christ. If you love your souls, and desire to pursue the path of usefulness and honour on earth, and to enter at last the fair haven on high
Cry to him as Peter did—“Lord save me." Jesus once slumbered under the sails of a fishing boat, and there heard a sailor's prayer. He will hear it again. Soon the frail bark in which
your soul moves on the sea of life, will be shattered. What will become of the precious cargo then ? Already the storm of sin is beating upon it. Oh! keep an eye on the lifeboat. Enter it at once. It
may pass by, and then lost! “ Follow me,” says Jesus. “Come unto me and I will give
Jesus 1-full of truth and love!
We thy gracious word obey :
Take our load of guilt away!
Cast on thee our every care ;
Find our lasting quiet there !