صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

ment of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment."

Our rulers seem to be aware of the threatening, as if the word had been spoken and judgment about to follow in proof of which our Sovereign has issued a form of prayer to be used by all her subjects to humble themselves with her before Almighty God, that His anger may be averted. That such a step is best in accordance with what we know to be the only acceptable sacrifice we can make, Scripture well assures us. Shall we Christians be less pious than the heathens of old? The King of Nineveh is an example to all the princes of the earth, that when God's judgments are threatened the people should humble themselves before Him and forsake their sins. We read that the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying-" Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee!" So Jonah arose and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord.

Now, Nineveh was an exceeding great city, of three days' journey; and Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried and said"Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" So the people of Nineveh believed in God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest of them even to the least of them; for word came unto the King of Nineveh and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him and covered him with sackcloth and sat in ashes; and he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh, by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying

"Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste

anything: let them not feed nor drink water; but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from His fierce anger that we perish not? And God saw their works that they turned from their evil way, and God repented of the evil that He had said that he would do unto them, and He did it not."

What an example is this to all the nations of the earth that they may do likewise ! God actually turned from His wrath, because the people humbled themselves as one man before Him! I shall here read the Queen's Proclamation for a general fast. (Vide, proclamation, at the time of the famine). To this order, given in such urgent times, I am sure that I need add no words of exhortation. It speaks of but too solemn and awful a visitation, which, though we see it not in its full extent, yet we are well assured it is felt as already bowing down the hearts of those rulers who behold its devastating effects. "Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings (says the Psalmist): be instructed ye judges of the earth! Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling! Kiss the Son lest He be angry, and ye perish from the right way when His wrath is kindled yea, but a little. Blessed are all they who put their trust

in Him."

Though the dreadful famine may not have reached our own doors, it may not be far off; and we shall none of us be so hardy as to say we do not deserve it. We have all felt its effects upon the lands where it has prevailed, and the consequent scarcity has

made provisions very dear in our own land of plenty. We must not murmur at this, but be very thankful for what we have; for, indeed, it has been little compared with the privations some have had to endure; but what if it should come? Oh! let us learn wisdom betimes; and, well knowing who governs in heaven and earth, let us bow before Him, that His indignation may be averted. Who can tell if he will repent and turn unto the Lord with his whole heart? I say, who can tell but that the favour of God may again return to us, and grant us a blessing instead of a curse? Our Queen says:— "That, trusting in the mercy of Almighty God, notwithstanding the sore punishment which He hath laid upon us and our people, He will, if we turn to Him with due contrition and penitence of heart, withdraw His afflicting hand." Oh, that we may all repent! Oh, that we may each feel as if our own individual sins had brought this punishment upon our land, and pray God to help us to repent and forsake them. It shall be my duty to show you on that day appointed what repentance is required of us. In the meantime, I must admonish you in the words of the pious Job-" Be ye afraid of the sword, for wrath bringeth the punishment of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment."

I do trust that the solemn fast day will be a day of piety among you, and that you will observe it as especially set apart, that you may call your sins to remembrance and justly bewail them. I am glad to find that labour is to cease on that day, and that the poor are not to be punished thereby by a privation of food. It will be no loss to any of us-believe me, brethren-it will be no loss to any of us to

cease from our own works and humble ourselves before God. Oh, my poorer brethren, let not piety fail among you, or you will perish out of the land!

Whatever may be the sins of a nation which, after thirty years of unexampled peace, has not profited by its blessing, God is the best Judge; but heavy, indeed, they have been so to provoke His displeasure and to call down His visitation. On that day, let me implore you to keep from the public-house, and to spend it in your families as one of domestic humiliation before God. Long as may be the catalogue of your sins, add not this one to it-that whilst the whole country is prostrate before God, and assembled in public worship before Him, you should be irreverently spending that time given you for improvement in drunkenness and folly. That there will be some infidels in every parish-men who ridicule everything serious and treat this solemn fastday as a farce-is only a greater argument for our observance of it. Men there are who regard neither punishment nor rewards, whom nothing but judgments can terrify. They will remain as tares among the wheat until the harvest; but, instead of being gathered into the heavenly garner, they will be gathered and bound together to be burnt. They had no fear of punishment: they laughed, as did the men of the old world, and ate and drank, and swore and blasphemed, and despised the call to repentance, whilst God was building the ark by His servant. They will say the same by us as the men of Sodom and Gomorrah said of Lot-" This fellow came in to sojourn with us, and he must needs be a judge: now will we deal with thee worse than with them." They will not mind our preaching. Who ever saw

it rain fire and brimstone? Oh let the ashes of
Sodom tell; but so will it be in the very last day of
the world. We may preach, we shall preach, the
word of exhortation-"Flee from your iniquities,
for the day of the Lord is come! Repent, for the
kingdom of heaven is at hand!" Even as it was in
Sodom and Gomorrah, even so upon man shall hail
fall out of heaven; every stone about the weight of
a talent, and men will blaspheme God because of the
plague of the hail: for the plague thereof shall be
exceeding great, and yet men will not repent. As
it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at that
time. Men will not know the Lord until they see
Him coming in flaming vengeance to execute wrath
upon them.
Oh! let it not be so amongst us ; but
let us improve the time given us, so that that day
may not take us unawares, as a thief in the night.
"Let us be afraid of the sword, for wrath bringeth
the punishment of the sword, that ye may know there
is a judgment."

Believe me, your faithful friend,

« السابقةمتابعة »