« AnteriorContinuar »
ter conclusion in going to the House of Mourning than to the House of Mirth.
I speak more particularly to young persons on this point, because, of all people, they seem least acquainted with it. I would say to such, Fear not this doctrine: Fear not the truth of God. It will always do you good: you will be ruined in opposing or neglecting it. Be not, therefore, afraid of the truth. A poor lunatic, in the midst of his gaiety and vanity, if his physician should offer him a bitter medicine, might hate the man because he brought the medicine, and the medicine because it was bitter and would spoil his sport, while its tendency was to enable him to enjoy life and perfect rationality-Such is the man who hates truth or its teachers! All that you can possibly wish for or imagine here, how many thousands have attained ! And where are they now !--they have passed, in a long procession, one after another, down to
Follow the bier of any one of them : the corpse would shock you—it is covered up--hid from your eyes—put into the ground-soon forgotten-and, now, where is all that House of Mirth in which the man once shone, and was amused, and was admired by others, and most of all by himself ? While you see this most evidently before your eyes, remember that this is no mystical doctrine, no difficult controversial point, but the history of every day.
Let us take heed, then, whatever else we forget, that we do not forget the remedy which God has set before our eyes.
You have heard many a sermon from a weak man, like yourselves--a man of like passions with you: but, perhaps, your own family God has made a House of Mourning: he brings home what you have heard: he sets it before your eyes, and wrings your feelings with it: and are you as vain and trifling now, as if he had not taken pains with you? Is all this care thrown away? Do you need another stroke? I assure you, that though, as ministers, we
cannot avoid feeling sympathy with those who have lost a friend or relative; yet a preacher cannot but recollect that this is the sound of his Master's feet behind him: and, while he laments your sufferings, he knows that his admonitions would have little effect in many cases, were not truth brought home thus painfully to your business and bosom.
Again, it is better to go to the House of Mourning than to the House of Feasting, because however dark the house may be ; though it may resemble a prison with its bars, so that a man may be ready to say, 1 am shut up: I cannot get forth :' yet there is no House of Mourning but what admits a ray of the sun, and that beam is a beam of immortality. Christ says to the inhabitants of the House of Mourning, “ Look out! Is thy consolation small? Is thy prospect to be despised?' Is there nothing to be said in this case, that may rouse thy attention, comfort thy heart, and excite a hope full of immortality, when this vision of the moment is gone?")—and how soon will it be gone with every one of us !
There is not a house in which any one of lives, which will not soon be a House of Mourning on his account. “ He is dead!”-“ He hath been dead these four days !”—“ My father is dead !”—“My mother is dead!"_" The desire of my eyes is taken away at a stroke!—My dear child is gone!"
Remember, then, that, in that house, whatever is gone, one thing is left—the promise of a faithful God : I am the resurrection and the life: he, that believeth in me, shall never die.' There is a one thing needful : a better part: a voice of instruction, at that very time saying to you, “ Take hold of my hand, as you descend to the grave: hold fast my hand, as your refuge set before you. Pray to God with David, “Remember me with the favour which thou bearest to thy people: visit me with thy salvation : that I may see the good of thy chosen; that I may rejoice in the glad
ness of thy nation ; that I may glory with thine inheritance. Remember the word unto thy servant, on which thou hast caused me to hope.”
Whatever remedies others may propose on this occasion, there is no effectual remedy but the Gospel. Imagination even cannot suppose comfort in death, but from the voice of God calling to look forward to immortality and security. Let us, therefore, while in the House of Mourning, not lose the grand truth which is so strongly set forth in it—I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were
dead yet shall he live; and he, that liveth and believeth in me, shall never die.' That you and I may take firm hold of that privilege, may God grant, for Jesus Christ's sake!
TIE VANITY OF HUMAN IMAGINATIONS.
JEREMIAH, XXIII, 28, 29. The prophet, that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he, that
hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully: what is the chati' to the wheat? saith the Lord. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord : and like a hammer, that breaketh the rock in pieces ? ERROR consists in following the reveries of human imagination, instead of the plain dictates of the Word of God. This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light:' it suits their natural concupiscence: this therefore is the condemnation, the root of their errors both of heart and head, that they lean to their human understandings and inclinations, instead of the plain directions given them in God's Word.
Against this we find the Prophet entering a solemn protest. “My heart within me,' says he, 'is broken, because of the prophets : all my bones shake: I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome; because of the Lord, and because of the words of his holiness. They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace: and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you— I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets, that prophesy lies ? which think to cause my people to forget my name, by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour— The prophet,
that hath a dream, let him tell a dream :' if these men have dreamed something in their own minds that God hath · laid no foundation, let them tell it as a dream: it is but a dream : but let them not call it the Word of God: let them not lay it down as a foundation of truth! such a prophet as has thus dreamed, let him tell his dream : but let him tell it as a dream. But 'he, that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully:' let him simply deliver my message: neither adding to it, nor detracting from it: 'let lim speak my word faithfully: for what is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord' the dreams of these false prophets are but chaff at the best; and what is all This chaff to the purpose ? it is not to be compared to the wheat, which is solid, substantial, and nourishing : 6 what is the chaff to the wheat ? saith the Lord :' for 'Is not my word like as a fire ? saith the Lord: and like a hammer, that breaketh the rock in pieces? Is it not efficient? Will it not accomplish that for which I sent it?
This passage discovers, therefore, to us, 1. The VANITY OF ALL HUMAN IMAGINATIONS IN
2. The ENERGY OF SCRIPTURAL TRUTH.
1. Let us consider the VANITY OF ALL HUMAN IMAGINATIONS IN RELIGION.
If a man has a dream, let him tell it as a dream : but let him not bring it forward as any foundation for faith and practice.
In considering this subject, we are to reflect that man is an active being: he must be employed: but, however active he may be, if, in setting forward in a project, he neglect some given standard, to which that project should be brought to try its truth and validity; if he proceed, leaning to his imagination and his own understanding; he resembles a traveller, who sets out perhaps with great energy, and travels at a vast rate : but, so far is he from coming to his point,