« السابقةمتابعة »
must know for if there be within thee any thing of this kind, thy cry of Peace,' is all a delusion.' You may think that there can be no great difficulty to find out this; but if earnest, you will find that
ever you attempt it in vigorous resolution is
I only add, commune with your hearts, 4. Rightly.
Take care that you do not judge of yourselves by a false measure. Weigh your actions and thoughts in the balance of the sanctuary: "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves but they, measuring themselves by them selves, and comparing themselves among them. selves are not wise ;"... " for not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth." (2 Cor. x. 12, 18.) It is very common for those who have communed a little with their hearts, to look abroad into the world; and, finding some who are worse than themselves, they pride themselves on their comparative goodness. But, instead of looking at others, we should examine the law and the testimony, for that will be the rule of the judg ment of God. 'O my soul, let others be as bad or as good as they may, what is that to thee, if there be but one text in the Bible that condemns thee?' Always, therefore, commune with your hearts with the Bible in your hands-I mean, always have it ready, that if any difficulty occur you may refer to it to decide; and let its decisions be final; for where the word of God is clear and positive, we need not look for any further evidence. "And as
many as walk according to this rule, Peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." al
I trust that many of you will now commune with your own hearts, and that you will do it with more regularity and success. I wish I could hope the same of all; but I must not be so sanguine: some, notwithstanding all that has been said, are strangers, and will continue strangers, to themselves. You care for none of these things. You' are not pleased with any thing so serious. are all for action, and have neither time nor inclination for sober reflection. It would make you. melancholy. Yes, that is the cause. But I am verily persuaded, that the principal reason with many, if not with most, is this, that they are afraid. If you are determined to hearken to nothing that would make you unhappy, I would advise you to keep to your resolution, and never go back from it upon any account. When Death comes, all pale and ghastly, and requires your souls at your hands, do not regard him; but calmly say to him, "Go thy way for this time, and when I have a convenient season I will send for thee." When the Archangel blows the trumpet, and calls to you in your graves, "Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment," do not regard him; but calmly say, "Yet a little more sleep, a little more slumber, a little more folding of the hands to sleep." When Christ calls to you by name, "How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship;" do not regard him; but calmly ask him, Who made thee a prince or a judge over us?'-What say ye, my friends? do
you think this will avail? You know it will not.Is it not better, then, to hear what your hearts will say now? Is it not better to set apart an hour this evening for this purpose? What if they should, as probably they may, upbraid you with your folly, for having lived twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty years. in the world, and never taken notice of them before? Fall before the censure: acknowledge and lament the melancholy fact; and call upon your souls, and all that is within you, to bless God, who has spared you and disposed you now to self-examination.-If you commune with your own hearts, God may commune also with you; and you know not to what blessed, what honourable, what divine friendships, this acquaintance with yourselves may at length introduce you." "Keep your hearts with all diligence, for out of them are the issues of life."
THE CHRISTIAN HUSBANDMAN,
PSALM CXXvi. 5.
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy,
WELL might the Apostle say, "If in this life only we had hope, we were of all men most mise rable." If this vexatious, tearful, sinful world were all we had to expect, we we might well inquire, "Wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?" If, after all our difficult and dangerous encounters in this religious war, there were no hopes of peace; if, after all our works of faith and labours of love, there were no hopes of rest; if, after all our darkness and gloom, there were no hopes of light; if, after all our pains and expence in sowing, there were no hopes of harvest; what a drudgery were human life! Who would wish to live long? especially, who would meddle with religion? who would submit to the humbling, painful precepts of Christianity? who would undertake to wrestle against flesh and blood, principalities and powers, and spiritual wickednesses in high places, if the king of terrors could rob them of the things which they had wrought, and deprive them at once of triumph and existence? If this were possible, what a gloom would it throw over the brightest scenes of life, and
what an additional horror would it give to the dark valley of the shadow of death! We should sorrow for them that are asleep, as those that have no hope. We should weep over their graves, and shudder at our own, as the dungeons wherein they and we shall perish in everlasting oblivion.-But this is not possible. Life and immortality are brought to light by the Gospel; and Christ himself is risen, the first fruits of them that sleep; and by his resurrection hath conquered death, and him that had the power of death, and given a pattern and pledge of the resurrection of all his faithful followers: so that now we can look above, and beyond, the present state of tumult and labour, to a state of divine tranquillity and joy; where they that mourn now, shall be comforted; where they shall have given them "Beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garmentof praise for the spirit of heaviness;" or, in the language of the text, where "they that sow in tears shall reap in joy."
I. I shall endeavour to illustrate the propriety of the metaphor.
II. Show whence it is that many Christians sow
III. What connection there is between sowing in tears and reaping in joy.
IV. When this joyful harvest may be expected.
I. To illustrate the metaphor.
It is certainly a metaphor of which the Scriptures make frequent use; and, indeed, there are many circumstances in which the resemblance is strong and striking. The husbandman has a great variety of work before him; every season, and every day,