« AnteriorContinuar »
"shall we escape if we neglect so great salu vation, which at the first began to be spo"ken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us "by them that heard them?" In parables, and in explicit predictions, the guilt and the punishment of those who reject the Gospel are declared, and u a fearful looking for of "judgment" awaits them!
In this volume, also, we read of the vengeance that overtook the enemies of the Lord. I mention two instances: they are most memorable and awful, and affecting; but how different was the issue! The infamous Judas, who betrayed his master, died in horror and despair. The furious bigot Paul is arrested in his way to Damascus, while breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples: he is struck down, he is humbled, he exclaims u Lord! what "wouldst thou have me to do?" and becomes a preacher of the faith he persecuted.
The Lord awfully fulfilled the predicted desolation and ruin of Jerusalem. Comparing the history with the prophecy, we naturally adopt the words of the apostle, in his
epistle epistle to the Hebrews, " It is a fearful thing "to fall into the hands of the living God," and are constrained to say, flee from the wrath of the Lamb. God is "the same yes"terday to-day and for ever:" Similar guilt, therefore, will be followed by similar visitations of the displeasure of heaven.
4. Maranatha—the Lord cometh: For cherishing your horror for the enemies of revelation, look forward to the future world.
Our regards, Christians! are chiefly turned on the things that are not seen: "we "walk by faith :—our conversation is in "heaven:—we look and long for the com'* ing of the Lord." The coming of the Lord is often present to your thoughts: for, it is the day of his completed glory and triumph: "He cometh with ten thousand of 4' his saints, in the glory of his Father:" It is the day of complete redemption, and salvation. But, whom shall he raise to glory, honour and immortality, and present unto his Father with "exceeding joy?" Have they any hopes of his approbation, who have blasphemed his name, thwarted his purpose,
C c and and striven against their Maker, and their Judge? When you think of the "shame "and everlasting contempt," to which his enemies shall be raised, I need not ask you, Can they be esteemed now, can they but be regarded with horror? Let them be Anathema.
Attend to these considerations separately: unite them together: What is the result? The enemies of God, the enemies of men, marked as the peculiar objects of his displeasure, to be loaded with shame and everlasting contempt They are an Anathema: Let them be Anathema Maranatha.
In conclusion, let us consider in what manner this abhorrence, which we have endeavoured to justify and to cherish, ought to be manifested: Let us consider the character of a Christian, in relation to the active enemies and opposers of the Gospel.
We mark this character, and shew how your abhorrence of irreligion ought to be manifested, in suggesting the following advices.
Be on your guard against every thing that would lessen this abhorrence: Shun their company, counteract their zeal and exertions, who disseminate irreligious sentiments, and undermine the faith of Christ, by every method in your power.
It is not for us to reckon up every thing that lessens, or endangers the lessening, abhorrence for infidelity and irreligion. I have glanced at the style, the wit, the ingenuity, the learning, of the enemies of revelation, as adding to their guilt and pernicious- influence; and, therefore, as justly increasing, so far from diminishing, the abhorrence of Christians: but, if any are in danger of being dazzled with such qualities, they were reminded that, in acuteness, research, learning, and in wit itself, no superiority is admitted over the friends ot revelation. I can conceive other qualities, however, from which diminished abhorrence may be more naturally suspected: If they are inoffensive in their manners: if they are amiable: if they are friendly: or, if irreligious men are represented, or believed to be, inoffensive and amiable, and friendly; some may say their C c 2 prinprinciples cannot be pernicious; they are, themselves, not to be regarded with horror.
But, are they more inoffensive, more amiable, more excellent and distinguished by worthy qualities than true Christians? do their principles so uniformly, so permanently, so universally support worth, as the faith in Christ? Are they amiable and inoffensive whose systems are so ruinous of the peace, the safety, the salvation of men? I will not say with the poet, curse on their virtues, for the semblance of virtue is respectable; and, if a very wicked man feeds the poor, and clothes the naked, we rejoice in the alleviation or the removal or human misery; but it is much to be regretted that any are so dazzled with qualities and characters, whatever they are, as to overlook the odiousnefs and detestablenets of opposition to the Gospel. Remember, Christians, what the apostle said of false apostles and deceitful workers, in his time: „ they transformed themselves into the apostles of Christ. And, " no marvel," says he, "for Satan himself is transformed into an V angel of light: therefore it is no great