« AnteriorContinuar »
humble; I love sincerity, inward and outward, and hate guile. When I think what God has done for me, how often he has pruned me, and dug about me, and when I think how little I have done for God, it makes me weep if possible, tears of blood; it makes me cry, O my leanness, my leanness, as I expressed myself with my friend to-day. This makes me long, if my strength of body would permit, to begin to be in earnest for my Lord. What say you, my dear friends, have all of you the same temper? Have you made the progress you ought to have done ? O London ! London ! highly favored London! what would some people give for thy privileges ? What would the people I was called to preach to but this
day se'ennight? A good, a right honorable lady, about three and twenty miles off, has brought the gospel there. The people that I preached to, longed and thirsted after the same message; they said, they thought they never heard the truth before. You have the manna poured out round the camp, and I am afraid you are calling it light bread; at least, I am afraid you have had a bad digestion. Consider of it, and for Jesus Christ's sake tremble for fear God should remove his candlestick from among you. Laborers are sick; those that did once labor are almost worn out, and others only bring themselves into a narrow sphere, and so confine their usefulness. There are few that like to go out into the fields : broken heads and dead cats are no more the ornaments of a Methodist, but silk scarves. Those honorable badges are now no more; the languor has got from the ministers to the people, and if you do not take care, we shall all fall dead together. The Lord Jesus rouse us—the Son of God rouse us all. Ye should show the world the way, and ye that have been Methodists of many years standing, show the young ones that have not the cross to bear as we once had, what ancient Methodism was.
As for you who are quite negligent about the prosperity of your souls; who only mind your bodies; who are more afraid of a pimple in your faces, than the rottenness of your hearts; that will say, 0 give me a good bottle and a fowl, and keep the prosperity of your souls to yourselves. You had better take care what you say, for fear God should take you at your word. I know some tradesmen and farmers, and one had a wife, perhaps with a fortune too, who prayed they might be excused; they never came to the supper, and God sent them to hell for it too. This may be
your case. told to-day of a young woman that was very well on Sunday, when she left her friends, when she came home was racked with pain-had an inflamation in her bowels, and is now a
breathless corpse. Another that I heard of, a Christless preacher, that always minded his body, when he was near death, said to his wife, “ I see hell opened for me—I see the damned tormented—I see such a one in hell that I debauched.” In the midst of his agony he said, “ I am coming to thee-I am coming-I must be damned—God will damn
my soul,” and died. Take care of jesting with God: there is room enough in hell
, and if you neglect the prosperity of your souls, what will become of you? What will you give for a grain of hope when God requires your souls ? Awake thou that sleepest! Hark! hark! hark! hear the word of the Lord, the living God. Help me, O ye children of God: I am come with a warrant from Jesus of Nazareth to-night. Ye ministers of Christ that are here, help me with your prayers. Ye servants of the living God, help me with your prayers, 0 with what success did I preach in Moorfields when I had ten thousand of God's people praying for me. Pray to God to strengthen my body : do not be afraid I shall hurt myself tonight: I do not care what hurt I may do to myself if God may bless it : I can preach but little, but may God bless that little. I weep and cry, and humble myself before my God daily, for being laid aside: I would not give others the trouble if I could preach myself. You have had the first of me, and you will have the last of me. The angels of God waited for your conversion, and are now ady to take care of the soul when it leaves the rotten carcass. The worst creature under heaven, that has not a penny in the world, may be welcome unto God. However it has been with us in times past, may our souls prosper in time to come; which God grant of his infinite mercy. Amen.
PSALM xliii. 5.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul ? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
I have often told you in my plain way of speaking, that grace is very frequently grafted on a crab-stock; that the Lord Jesus picks out persons of the most peevish, churlish
disposition, and imparts to them the largest measure of grace, but for want of a better natural temper, a great deal of grace does not shine so bright in them, as a small degree in those that are constitutionally good natured. You will hear them always complaining something or other is the matter. What a pity it is we cannot all agree in one thing, to leave off chiding others to chide our own selves, till we can find nothing in ourselves to chide for ; this we shall find will be a good way to grow in the divine life, when, by constant application to the Lamb of God, we get a mastery over those things which hitherto have had the mastery over us.
But are these the only people that complain? Are people of a melancholy disposition only subject to a disquietude of heart? I will venture to affirm, that the greatest, the dearest children of God, have their complaining, and their dreary hours. Those who have been favored with large measures of grace, even those that have been wrapped up as it were, to the third heavens, basking on the mount, in the sunshine of redeeming grace, and in raptures of love crying out, It is good for us to be here; even these must go down to Gethsemane; and if they would not be scorched with a strong burning fever from the sun of prosperity, shall find clouds from time to time overshadowing them, not to burn, but to keep them low. It is on this account, that you see good men in different frames at different times; our Lord "himself was so; he rejoiced sometimes in spirit, but at other times you find him, especially near the last, crying out, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death tarry you here and watch. And I am going to tell you of one to-night, who had the honor of being called the man after God's own heart; and who, though an Old Testament saint, was greatly blessed with a New Testament spirit, and had the honor of composing Psalms, which in all past ages of the church have been, and in future ones will be, a rich magazine and store-house of spiritual experience, from which the children of God may draw spiritual armor for fighting the good fight of faith, until God shall call them to life eternal : may this be your happy lot. What frame was this good man in, when he composed this forty-second Psalm ? The Psalm itself can best tell. It seems composed when he was either persecuted by Saul, or driven from his own court by his fondling, beloved son, Absalom: then David appeared truly great. I honor him when I see him yonder, attending a few sheep; but I admire the young stripling, when I see him come out with his sling and stone, and aiming it at the head of Goliath, the enemy of God; or, when exalted and filling the seat of justice; but to me he never appears greater, than when he is bowed
down in low circumstances, beset on every side, struggling between sense and faith; and as the sun, after an eclipse, breaking forth with greater luster to all the spectators. In this view we must consider this great, this good man, David, when he cries out, Why art thou cast down, O my soul ? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God.
Supposing you understand the words as a question, Why art thou cast down, O my soul, though thou art in such circumstances ? Pray now what is the cause of thy being so dejected? The word implies, that he was sinking under the weight of his present burden, like a person stooping under a load that lies upon his shoulders; and the consequence of this pressure without, was disquietude, uneasiness, and anxiety within; for say what you will to the contrary, there is such a connection between soul and body, that when one is disordered, the other must sympathize with its ever loving friend.
Or, you may understand it as chiding himself, Why art thou cast down, O my soul, why art thou disquieted within me, how foolish it is to be thus drooping and dejected; how improper for one favored of God with so many providences, and special particular privileges, for such a one as thou art, thus to stoop, and be made subject to every temptation ; why dost thou give thy enemies such room to find fault with thy religion on account of thy gloomy looks, and the disquietude of thy heart ? A yoke which thou wilt find to be lined with love, and God will keep it from galling thy shoulders. You see he speaks not to others, but to himself; would to God we did thus learn that charity begins at home. Then he goes to God with his case, O my God, says he, my soul is cast down within me. O that we could learn, when in these moods, to go more to God, and less to man, we should find more relief, and religion would be less dishonored. But see how faith triumphs in the midst of all; no sooner does unbelief lift up its head, but faith immediately puts it down. A never failing maxim is here proposed, hope thou in God, trust in God, believe in God; for I am sure, and all of you that know Jesus Christ are persuaded of it too, that all our troubles arise from our unbelief. O unbelief, injurious bar to comfort, force of tormenting fear! on the contrary, faith bears every thing. Put thy trust in God, as in the old translation; hope in God, as in the new, I shall now praise him. The devil tells me my trouble is so great, I shall never lift up my head again ; but unbelief and the devil are liars ; I shall yet praise him ; my God will carry me through all; I shall yet praise him, even for casting me down; I shall praise him even for that which is the cause of all my disquietude; he will be the
health of my countenance ; though my afflictions have now made my body low, suck up my spirits and hurt my animal frame, he will be the health of my countenance; I shall by and by see him again, and be favored with those transforming views, which my God has favored me with in times past : he is the health of my countenance, and my God: though the devil tempts me, and my evil neighbors say, where is now thy God? Dost thou think thou art a child of God, and thy father suffers thee to be cast down? I tell thee, O Satan, that God who I have been so vilely tempted as to believe has forsaken me, will come over the mountains of my guilt, will forgive my backslidings against himself, my unbelief shall not inake his promises of none effect; I shall praise him even while I live, I shall praise him before I die, I shall praise him for ever in heaven, where he will be after death, the health of my countenance, and my God; thus faith will get the better in a saint. David was sometimes left to say, in effect, all things are against me; yet, still in most of the Psalms, in this, the text, the 113th, and many of the rest, he triumphs in God; and he composed but very few without praising at the end, though he complains at the beginning. God help us thus to do!
But it is time to leave off speaking, particularly of David, and to turn to you to whom these words, I pray God, may prove salutary and useful. I have had a great struggle in my mind this afternoon what I should preach from; I have been praying and looking up to God, and could not preach
life on any other text, which has often been the case before, and whenever it was, some poor soul has been comforted and raised up; and among such a mixed multitude, there are some, no doubt, come to this poor despised place, cast down and disquieted within; I shall endeavor to inquire what you are cast down for, and then I shall propose a great cure for you, namely, trust in God; and I pray that what was David's comfort may be yours. Why should we not expect an answer, when we pray that God before you go home may make you, whether you will or no, leave your burdens behind you? And God keep you from taking them up as you
Probably, there may be some of you that are real believers; perhaps I ought to ask your pardon : where am I preaching ? In the Tabernacle, the most despised place in London; so scandalous a place, that many of the children of God would rather
go elsewhere! God help us to keep up our scandal ! But yet I believe there are many king's daughters here; many of you whom God enabled in this place first to say, My Lord,