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Secondly. It is only said that he will be time of old age; forsake me not when my with you « to old age, and to hoar hairs.” strength faileth. My mouth shall show forth He will be with you all through “the thy righteousness and thy salvation all the months of vanity; and the wearisome nights day; for I know not the numbers thereof. I appointed you;" he will be with you even will go in the strength of the Lord God: I when “your heart and flesh fail you." This will make mention of thy righteousness, even is implied. But it was not necessary to of thine only. O God, thou hast taught me mention it-old age and death are so pear from my youth: and hitherto have I declared each other—they touch. This subject dis-thy wondrous works. Now also when I am plays
old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; In the First place. The patience of God. until I have showed thy strength unto this Ye aged, are you not a wonder to your generation, and thy power to every one that selves? Are you not compelled to exclaim, is to come." “ It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not Thirdly. What shall I say to the boaryconsumed, because his compassions fail not ?" headed sinner? I do not pretend to inform What a number of provocations has he had you that the world is vain: with this you to bear with from you in the course of sixty, must be already acquainted. But is it not seventy, eighty years! How soon would a strange that you continue to retain such a fellow-creature, however kind and longsuf- tenacious hold of it, “trembling at once with fering have abandoned you ! But he is God eagerness and age ?" It seems less necessary and not man. Even he has asked, “How to tell you that death is near-the young long shall I be with you? How long shall I may die, the old must. But like Ephraim, suffer you?" And his providence and grace gray hairs are here and there upon you, and have answered the question—“Even to your you perceive it not. You promise yourselves old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will time to come, when there is but a step between I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; you and death. You have lived longer than even I will carry, and will deliver you.” thousands of your fellow-creatures: but to
The subject affords Secondly, Encourage- what purpose? The longsuffering of God ment for those who are descended into the was designed to lead you to repentance. Has vale of years. Doubts may assail the mind it done so ? Look back. What a scene! of a believer to the last. And there are Time trifled and sinned away; faculties perthings that may peculiarly produce them at verted; privileges neglected and abused! this period. Such as a consciousness of guilt Nothing done for God or your generation arising from faithful reviews of life; and a Thy gray hairs are only a fool's cap.- Thou sense of unworthiness resulting from present art ripe for ruin. And would it not be rightunprofitableness. They can now no longer ac- eous in God to cut thee down instantly as a tively serve God. The loss of animal spirits cumberer of the ground? If there be an obdeprives them of those lively emotions they ject of pity on earth, thou art the man. There once enjoyed. The feeble body enervates is nothing at present that can afford thee the mind; trifles distract them; and they comfort. But thou art not excluded from easily misjudge themselves.
hope. “He yet waits to be gracious, and is But be of good comfort, ye aged servants exalted to have mercy upon you." Go to him, of God. He will not turn you out of doors heavy laden with years and sins. Late re now your labour is over. He remembers pentance is seldom true, but true repentance “ you, the kindness of your youth.” He ac- is never too late. O that I could hear you cepts of your desires and designs. He pities saying, Lord, save, I perish! your infirmities. He is “the strength of Finally. What a motive is there here to your hearts, and your portion for ever." If the induce us all to become the Lord's followers! world is weary of you, he is not. If "lover “ A friend is born for adversity :" yet very and friend have been put far from you, and little of this friendship is to be found. How your acquaintances into darkness, the eternal many who possess a warm regard in prosperGod is your refuge, and underneath are the ous and earlier life, cast us off in affliction everlasting arms.
and declining years! But he will be princiYour salvation is nearer than when you pally with us when we principally need his believed. “The night is far spent, the day aid." We may live upon him when we cannot is at hand.” You are riding at anchor off live for him. the fair havens; and the next wind or tide Here are two suppositions. will waft you in.
You may die; and you may die soon. In And cannot you trust him, after all the this case, you " will be for ever with the Lord." proofs you have had of his power, faithfulness, You may live; and live to old age. In this and love? Cannot you make this language case, he will be continually with you. “And your own? "By thee have I been holden up even to your old age I am he; and even to from the womb: thou art he that took me out hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and of my mother's bowels: my praise shall be I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver continually of thee. Cast me not off in the you."
What remains ?-Let the best of all masters more strikingly awful and improving than have the most dutiful of all servants. As he that of Gehazi. is never weary in doing us good, may we Let us enter a little into the history, and never be weary in well-doing. * But be stead- see what instructions it will afford. fast, unmoveable, always abounding in the It is supposed that Gehazi had lived with work of the Lord, and, bringing forth fruit in Elijah, and that at the translation of his masold age, be fat and flourishing, to show that ter, he was taken into the service of his sucthe Lord is upright. He is my rock, and censor. However this may be, we know that there is no unrighteousness in him.” he was the servant of Elisha, who it is pro
bable had been hitherto ignorant of his real character. For the prophetical spirit was
given him by measure, and the exercise of it DISCOURSE LXXI. was limited by the will of God; and till this
event occurred, the true character of the man
was not developed. GEHAZI.
A person may go a long time before he
meets with his own proper trial, intended to But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of show what “manner of man he is.” Indeed God, said, Behold, my master hath spared | none of us know much of ourselves till we Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his
are tried. While the water is calm and hands that which he brought : but, as the clear, we are not aware how much mud there Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take
is at the bottom; but the winds and waves somewhat of him. So Gehazi followed after the
throw up the mire and dirt. If the weather Naaman. And when Naaman saw him
be unfavourable the ants are invisible, but running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well ?
I let the sun shine forth and they appear. UnAnd he said, All is well. My master hath
i disturbed, we see nothing of them; but resent me, saying, Behold, even now there be
move the stone, and stir the brood only with
a straw, and swarms are in motion and all come to me from Mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets : give them, I
alive. When our prophet had predicted the pray thee, a talent of silver, and troo changes future vil
future vileness of Hazael, Hazael shocked at of garments. And Naamun said. Be con. the intelligence exclaimed, “Is thy servant tent, take two talents. And he urged him,
a dog, that he should do this thing?" He was and bound two talents of silver in two bags, | probably at the time sincere ; but he knew with two changes of garments, and laid not how differently he should feel in new them upon two of his servants; and they and untried circumstances; he knew not the bare them before him. And when he came seducing corrupting power of wealth and to the tower, he took them from their hand, dignity upon the human heart. Hence he and bestowed them in the house: and he let the soon became the monster he had abhorred. men go, and they departed. But he went in, These things had not even budded in winter; and stood before his master. And Elisha said but spring soon calleth them forth; summer unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi ? saw the blossoms turned into fruit: and And he said, Thy servant went no whither. autumn ripened them. And it is probable And he said unto him, Went not mine heart that had all this wickedness of Gehazi been with thee, when the man turned again from foretold a few months or weeks before, he his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to re-would have been equally surprised. Pray ceive money, and to receive garments, and we, therefore, as directed by Him who knows olive yards, and vineyards, and sheep, and what is in man, “ Lead us not into temptation, oren, and menservants, and maidservants? | but deliver us from evil.” The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall
Elisha had healed Naaman, and Naaman cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever.
in his gratitude for the blessing pressed the And he went out from his presence a leper
man of God to receive a present. “But he as white as snow.—2 Kings v. 20—27.
said, As the Lord liveth, before whom I stand, As the sun in nature enlightens valleys as I will receive none. And he urged him to well as hills, and so diffuses its influence that take it; but he refused.” Not that be deemnothing is hid from the heat thereof-so it is ed the gold of the Syrian impure; or did not with the Scripture, the luminary of the moral stand in need of assistance, for he was poor; world. It does not confine its attention to or supposed it unlawful to take a gratuity : the great; but gives directions to all ranks he thankfully accepted the hospitality of the and degrees of men. It describes not only shunamite, who furnished him with a room, the excellences and defects of kings but of with a table, a stool, and a candlestick. But subjects. It represents not only the virtues he spared his purse in love to his soul; he and vices of masters but of servants. It gives would teach this new convert that true godus instances of good servants, such as Elea- liness can find its reward in its work. He zar, Joseph, Obadiah. And it gives us exam- would teach us to do good for its own sake; ples of bad ones-of which number none is to use discretion in what is allowable; to dis2 K
tinguish times and cases; to know when to only that he was privy to this base action, but adhere to general rules, and when to deviate that he knew the very thoughts and purposes from them. In all this, " wisdom is profitable of his heart. Gehazi had already in imaginato direct."
tion laid out the substance he had so unjustly But the servant had not looked upon the acquired; such things he would purchase; offered treasure like his master. If Elisha in such a style he would live; he would imdispensed with it, so would not Gehazi. He prove and enlarge his means, till rising from therefore resolves by some means to obtain a a private to a splendid station, he could comshare. “Behold," says he,“ my master hath mand the homage he had been accustomed spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving to pay. at his hands that which he brought: but, as But punishment follows detection ; " The the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave somewhat of him."--Naaman seeing him run- unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And ning, stops, descends from his chariot, and he went out from his presence a leper as meets him with a question that shows he was white as snow.”—The punishment had three fearful some evil had happened to his friend characters. and benefactor; “Is all well? And he said, First. It was extensive: and took in his All is well. My master hath sent me, say- family as well as himself. He derived from ing, Behold, even now there be come to me his offspring probably, one of the motives that from Mount Ephraim, two young men of the produced this fatal action; he would " lay sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, up for the children; but instead of entailing a talent of silver and two changes of gar- a large estate, he has entailed a loathsome ments." What a falsehood was here!-It disease from generation to generation. If he was not the effect of surprise, but framed de had any affection for his offspring, how must liberately for the purpose!
he have been cut to the heart to see these inThe disposition of this Syrian was as noble nocent objects the victims of his vice! as his rank. He was delighted to comply Secondly. It was scandalous and obvious. with this supposed desire, and to leave some- He was thus excluded from the tabernacle, thing behind him. “And Naaman said, Be and carried with him marks of his fraud and content, take two talents. And he urged sacrilege: wherever he went, his sin was him, and bound two talents of silver in two read in his face and family. bags, with two changes of garments, and laid Thirdly. It was immediate: and seizing them upon two of his servants; and they bare him in a moment, without any previous sympthem before him. Thus he exceeds the de- toms or tendencies, proved that it was inflictmand; and makes some of his own train por- ed not by revenge, but by a supernatural ters to Gehazi.
impulse. But where did he lodge the treasure ? At İt is hoped that in due time Naaman was “the tower” says the common translation; disabused, and informed of the vileness of the “ the secret place," says the margin; some man, and the generosity of the master. But place separated from the dwelling-house of | let us hasten to derive a few general and the man of God, and into which he could useful reflections from the whole narrative. enter without being seen. Here he dismisses I. PERSONS MAY BE VERY WICKED UNDER the two Syrian attendants, hides the load, and RELIGIOUS ADVANTAGES. The means of grace, blesses his good fortune; and looking demure- and the grace of the means are very disly, “ he went in and stood before his master.” tinguishable from each other, and are fre
Elisha does not throw himself into a pas-quently found separate. Of the four portions sion, but calmly convinces, and righteously of ground sowed with the same seed, by punishes him." Gehazi,” says he, “whence the same hand, and at the same season, one comest thou?" We are required to condemn only was productive soil. Children trained the guilty“-yet who does not pity the crimi- up in the nurture and admcnition of the nal in the hour of detection - What a me- Lord,” have been known to turn aside into lancholy spectacle he exhibits-deprived of " the paths of the destroyer," and to bring his innocency-his courage failing him-his down a parent's gray hairs with sorrow to the countenance changing—incapable of defence grave." - and the lies he made his refuge leaving him There are servants who see good example, speechless!— Thy servant went no whither. hear daily instruction, attend morning and Then said he unto him, went not my heart evening worship, yet have no fear of God with thee, when the man turned again from before their eyes; yea they can return from his chariot to meet thee?” Did he meet these exercises and treat them with contempt, thee no where? Did he speak to thee no and become ten-fold more the children of hell where?" Is this a time to receive money, than others! Thus we here find a bad ser. and garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, vant living with a godly master. Some of and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and those who resided at a distance from the man maidservants !"
of God honoured him, and derived advantage By this question Elisha convinced hiin, not from him, while one that stood continually before him, and heard his wisdom, and saw / none. Neither does “a man's life consist in his miracles, and witnessed his holy life, the abundance of the things that he posseems to have been only corrupted and hard-sesseth." But oh! the moral hazards—the ened by them!
difficulties in the way of salvation attending But wherever such awful characters are it! This is the most dissuasive view we can found, let them remember that they cannot take of it. “How hardly shall they that have sin so cheap as others; they will be left riches enter into the kingdom of God!" without excuse; they will have to answer Again I say, take heed, and beware of this for abused privileges; their guilt will be in insinuating, this detestable, this destructive proportion to their advantages, and their passion. Meet every temptation to it with punishment in proportion to their guilt. For the question of our Saviour; “ What is a
to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth man profited if he gain the whole world, and it not, to him it is sin.” “And that servant lose his own soul; or what shall a man give which knew his Lord's will, and prepared not in exchange for his soul ?" himself, neither did according to his will, III. SEE THE ENCROACHMENTS AND PROshall be beaten with many stripes. But he GRESS OF SIN, AND LEARN HOW DANGEROUS IT that knew not, and did commit things worthy IS TO GIVE WAY TO ANY EVIL PROPENSITY. of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. Here is avarice leading on to lying, and For unto whomsoever much is given, of him one lie followed up by two more. One transshall be much required: and to whom men gression breaks down the fence, and then have committed much, of him they will ask others like cattle go in more easily, and by a the more."
kind of licence. One sin often renders IL. HERE IS A WARNING AGAINST THE LOVE another necessary to its execution; one sin OF MONEY. “Take heed and beware of often renders another necessary to its concovetousness."
cealment. The obligation the sinner lays What did Gehazi acquire by his wealth ? | himself under, in order to proceed in an evil His gain was loss. He lost his health. He course, is frequently endless; while every lost his honour. He lost his peace. He lost step of the progress he makes, blinds and his place. And without repentance, he lost hardens him still more. When a child leaves his soul for ever. Was he not much happier his house clean in his apparel, he is afraid to before? He has indeed increased his subsoil even his feet; but the first stain he constance; but he enjoys it with the abhorrence tracts makes him less regardless of the second, of God; the scorn of men; disease of body; and the second of the third; till he thinks the affliction of his family; the scourges of himself so bad, that caution is needless, and his conscience; the foretastes of hell. The treads any where.
What a commentary is the history of this Thus we read that men “ proceed from man, and of Balaam, and Achan, and Judas, evil to evil;" that “they wax worse and and Demas, and full one half of the modern worse;" that these "things eat as do a canprofessors of religion on the following pas- ker;" that when “lust hath conceived, it sages of Scripture! " The getting of trea- | bringeth forth sin, and sin, when it is finishsures by a lying tongue, is a vanity tossed to ed, bringeth forth death." and fro of them that seek death.” “In the And is it only in the Scripture that this fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits: truth is asserted ? Do we not see it confirmevery hand of the wicked shall come upon ed in actual instances every day? Over him. When he is about to fill his belly, God how many of late years have we had to shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, and mourn! But which of these unhappy characshall rain it upon him while he is eating. ters became either infidel or vicious at once ? He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the They endured evil company, and then chose bow of steel shall strike him through." “ But it. They trifled with the Sabbath, and then they that will be rich fall into temptation and profaned it. One thing after another was a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful given up, till they " said unto God, Depart lusts, which drown men in destruction and from us; we desire not the knowledge of thy perdition. For the love of money is the root ways." of all evil: which while some coveted after, Can we then be too early in our precauthey have erred from the faith, and pierced tions? Can we be too much afraid of our bethemselves through with many sorrows." ginnings? Is it not better to crush the egg
“ Let your conversation therefore be with before it breaks förth into a fiery flying serout covetousness. Be content with such pent? things as you have.” For, God has said, “I IV. HOW ABSURD IS IT TO SIN WITH AN will never leave thee nor forsake thee. You EXPECTATION OF SECRECY! “ There is no brought nothing with you into the world, and darkness nor shadow of death where the it is certain you can carry nothing out." workers of iniquity can hide themselves.” Man wants but little here below,
When going forth to commit iniquity, goes Nor wants that little long."
not your own conscience with you ? Goes Money implies no excellence, and confers not the eye of God with you? Does not He
see all, and record all, and with a view to l I hated instruction, and my heart despised bring all into judgment? But even with re-l reproof!--Proverbs v. 11, 12. gard to others it may generally be said, “ Bel RELIGION has one undeniable advantage to sure your sin will find you out." There are recommend it-whatever it calls us to sacrioften eye and ear witnesses of whom you fice, or to suffer, it always ends well. “ Mark have no suspicion. Strange circumstances the perfect man,” says David, “and behold frequently occur to awaken inquiry, and lead the upright: for the end of that man is peace." to detection. You may divulge your iniquity | And even Balaam exclaims, “Let me die the by inadvertency in conversation ; by dreams death of the righteous, and let my last end be when asleep; by delirium when distracted. I like his !" You may be compelled to acknowledge it by On the other hand, sin has one undeniable the anguish of a guilty mind. Men have evil to excite our aversion and horror. Whatsometimes turned their own accusers long ever sensual pleasures and imaginary profit after the fact, and when no suspicion attach- attend its course, it always ends dreadfully. ed to them, and have sought shelter in a We are far from allowing that the sinner has legal death.
present happiness; for Scripture and history, Lastly. ABHOR AND FORSAKE LYING. It observation and experience, unite to prove is in common peculiarly easy to detect false- that “ the way of transgressors is hard." But hood. Hence it is said that every liar should if it were not so if it were easy and smooth have a good memory. And what an odious and Aowerv.
is and flowery-yet, who would walk in itcharacter is a liar! How shunned and de- since " the end of these things is death." tested when discovered! To every mortal | Behold the representation of a sinner clos. upon earth, the appellation of a liar is the ling his sad career.--. He mourns at the last. most detestable. A liar is the emblem of when
of when his flesh and his body are consumed, “the devil, who was a liar from the begin- land says. How have I hated instruction, and ning, and abode not in the truth."
| my heart despised reproof!" Let us consiGod, of such importance is it that we should der. speak the truth one to another, has sometimes Í. The SUBJECT of these regrets.-II. The remarkably interposed, not only to detect, but | PERIOD of these regrets.-II. The NATURE to punish lying. Did Ananias and Sapphira of these regrets. escape? Did Gehazı? The mouth of them I. The SUBJECT of these regrets. It is a that speak lies shall be stopped. Lies may man who has disregarded through life the be their refuge now. But “all liars, it is means employed to preserve or reclaim him: said, shall have their portion in the lake that it is one who has is hated instruction, and burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the whose heart has despised reproof."-What second death.” For “ without are dogs, and
s, and instructers and reprovers has man! I mean, sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, la man living in a country like this; I mean, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and a man possessing advantages like ours. These maketh a lie.”
instructers and reprovers may be ranked in Do not say of such a discourse as this, it six classes. is not evangelical. We know the main thing! In the First, we place your connexions m is to make you acquainted with the Lord I life. You reside in a family, the head of Jesus Christ, and to bring you to him. But which, like Joshua, has said, “ As for me and there are various truths which we are re- my house, we will serve the Lord :" and of quired to lay open; and which we find in the whom God has testified, as he did of Abrabook of God for this purpose; they are written ham, “I know him that he will command his for our admonition, and are to be improved. household and his children after him, and And nothing can be done till men are con- | they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do vinced of sin. But by instances of sin, we l justice and judgment." _You have had a may be led to a sinful course; from a sinful | pious father, who has often with tears said, life, to a sinful nature and so feel the neces- 1My son, if thou be wise, my heart shall re sity of an application to him, whose name is joice, even mine” -perhaps, after an exam Jesus, because he saves his people from their ple the most powerful, with his dying breath sins; and is raised up to “ bless us, by turn- l he said, “ I go the way of all the earth: and ing every one of us away from our ini
thou, Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and a willing mind; for if thou seek
| him he will be found of thee, but if thou for DISCOURSE LXXII. sake him he will cast thee off for ever."
Has not she who bore thee sometimes taken thee aside; and in eloquence, such as can
only come from the heart of a woman and a DYING REGRETS.
mother, addressed every feeling of thy nature! And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and What, my son! and the son of my womb!
thy body are consumed, and say, How have and the son of my vows!”—If parents have