« AnteriorContinuar »
and my God. When you put your fingers, as it were, on the print of Christ's nails, and put your hands into his side, and were no longer faithless, but believing, you thought you should never be cast down any more, but now you have found yourselves mistaken; and I shall endeavor, in the prosecution of this text, to speak to all that are cast down whether before or after conversion, and then to such that were never cast down at all; and if you was never cast down before, God cast you down now.
What are persons cast down for? What are some of you disquieted within for? I have reason to believe, from the notes put up at both ends of the town, that there are many of you that have arrows of conviction stuck fast in your souls. I have taken in near two hundred at the other end of the town, within a fortnight; if this be the case, that God is thus at work, let the devil roar, and we will go on in the name of the Lord. And what are you cast down for? Some poor soul will say, with a sense of sin, the guilt of it, the enmity of it, the very aggravated circumstances that attend it, appear and set themselves as in battle array before me : once I thought I had no sin, at least I thought that sin was not so exceeding sinful; but I now find it such a burden that I could almost say with Cain, “it is greater than I can bear.” And perhaps some of you are so cast down, as in your haste to say as Colonel Gardiner, that great man of God told me himself had said when under conviction, “I believe God cannot be just, unless he damns my wicked soul.” Is this thy case? Art thou wicked, art thou so cast down, so disquieted, that thou canst not rest night nor day? Shall I send thee away without any comfort ? Shall I send thee away as the legal preachers do? As a minister some time ago did, when a man told him how wicked he had been ; 0, says he, if you are so wicked, you are damned to be sure, I shall not trouble myself with you. When a poor negro was taken up for thieving, another went to him and said, you are so bad I must turn my back to you; that is the law, but the gospel is turn thy face to God; think not that God is dealing with thee as an absolute God, a God out of Christ. I would have nothing to do, says Luther, with an absolute God: as such he is a consuming fire. Trust God in Christ, throw thyself upon him, throw thyself on the Son of God; cry with thy brother, and now thou art in that temper, thou wilt not be ashamed to call the thief thy brother ; say with him, “Lord, remember me when thou art in thy kingdom;" thou shalt yet praise him, thou shalt yet have the forgiveness of thy sins; thy pardon shall not only be sealed in heaven, but thou shalt have it in thy heart: these are only the
pangs of the new birth, the first strugglings of the soul immerging into the divine life; he shall yet be the health of thy countenance : these poor cheeks, though bedewed with tears, shall by and by have a fine blush, when a pardoning God comes with his love; it shall even make a change in thy countenance, for as a heavy heart makes a man's countenance sad, so a cheerful heart makes the countenance pleasant : thou shalt know him to be thy God, thou shalt say, my Lord, and my God. Lord Jesus, grant this may be the happy moment. Was Jesus here, was the Redeemer now in this metropolis, I am sure he would go about the streets, he would be a field preacher, he would go out into the highways and hedges, he would invite, he would run after them; Lord Jesus, take the veil from our hearts, and let us see to-night thy loving heart as the Son of God!' Trust in God, you will say, it is very easy for you to say so, but I cannot trust in God; can't you; who told you that? That is the work of God; you are not far from the kingdom of God. Who convinced thee of thy inability to believe ; do you think the devil did ? No, it was the Spirit of God procured by the blood of the Lamb, that was to come to convince the world of sin. If thou canst not trust as thou wouldst, say, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief:"stretch out thy poor hand. I am thinking of Sunday last, when I was giving the sacrament, I observed there was one blind communicant that could not see, but he thrust out his hand; I observed several lame persons, but there were enough to give it to them; I saw also a poor barrow woman, and I took particular care to give the cup to her; so I put it up to the mouth of the poor blind man : if that is the case, what love must there be in God to the poor soul !
But, methinks, I hear some poor soul say, that is not my case, I am not cast down for that, but I am cast down because after that I knew God to be my God, after I knew Jesus to be my King, and after I had mounted upon my high places, the devil and my unbelieving heart threw me down again ; would you not have me cast down? Would you not have me disquieted? A person of an Antinomian spirit would say, do not tell me of your frames, I have learned to live by faith, I do not care whether Christ manifests himself to me or no, I have the word and the promise, I am content with a promise now; so these poor creatures go on without any frame, because they will not live in it: from such Antinomianism, good God deliver me. How! how ! how ! not cast down at an absent God, nor disquieted when God withdraws ? Where are you gone? You are gone far from your father's house ; if nothing else will do, may your father whip you home again. But tender hearts
when they reflect how it was once, are cast down; David says, “My tears have been my meat day and night, for I had gone with a multitude to the house of God." Here he looks back upon his former enjoyments, his spiritual prosperity, (as Job looks back upon his temporal,) and says, Why art thou cast down, O my soul ? it is because I do not meet God in his ordinances as I used to do; poor deserted, panting soul ! poor disquieted soul ! he must be the health of thy countenance, he will yet be thy God. Who was it sought Jesus sorrowing? What would you have thought of the virgin Mary if she had said, I do not care whether I see my son or not; she sought him, and found him in the temple. God grant every poor deserted soul may find him to-night; I mean, in the temple of his heart. And in the case of Mary, she says, “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him:" if they had not taken away her Lord, Mary would have been rich: so you may say your corruptions, your backslidings, and ingratitude, have taken away your Lord. Lord grant thou mayest find him to-night. He that said, Mary, can call thee to-night, and can make thee say, my dear Lord, I come to-night; he can call thee by thy name.
But, say you, I am cast down because I am wearied with temptation : not only my God is departed from me, but an evil spirit is come upon me to torment me; I am haunted with this and that evil suggestion, that I am a terror to myself
. Come, come, hear what David saith in the beginning of the Psalm, “ As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” What say you to that? If you have a mind to see the beauty of this verse, read Mr. Hervey's Theron and Aspasio, which will live when its despisers are dead, and those that have endeavored to disparage him will be obliged to own, that he was one of the greatest luminaries we ever had, and one that has laid down the doctrines of the gospel, in a manner to charm and allure the great and noble. Well, is it thy case that unbelief assails thee, go where thou wilt ? Vell, still trust in God, thou shalt yet praise him for the health of his countenance : he will command his loving kindness in the day, and his song shall be with thee in the night. Though it be night, there is some moon, blessed be God, or some stars; and if there is a fog that you cannot see, God can quiet his people in the dark, he will make the enemy
fear him not, God will comfort thee, if thou trust in him.
But, say you, I am cast down and disquieted within me; why? Because I have one affliction after another, no sooner is one trial gone, but another succeeds; now I think I shall have a
little rest, the tormenter will not come nigh me to-day, but no sooner has the christian so said, but another storm comes, and the clouds return after the rain ; then we think we must be cast down, and that we ought to be disquieted; this was David's case; what does he say? « All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me." I believe he found after that, there were more waves to come than he had yet felt: why? says a poor distressed soul, because I have been so long in Christ, and have those cursed corruptions yet within. I have thought to have been rid of them all long ago ; I thought I had no corruptions left thirtythree years ago, and that the Canaanites were all rooted out of the land, that Pharaoh and his host were all drowned in the Red Sea ; but if I find the old man is strong in me, I look upon myself to be less than the least of all saints, God knows; and you that walk near God, and have made greater advances in the divine life, if you are honest must say, O this body of sin and death, if I shut this old man out the fore door, he comes in at the back door. Come, come, come soul, trust in God, he will give power to the saint, he will give strength, and in due time deliver thee : go to God, tell him of them aj beg thy Redeemer to take his whip into his hand, either of small or large cords, and use it rather than your corruptions should get head again.
Time would fail to mention all that are cast down on these accounts, but I must mention one more ; perhaps some of you may be cast down with fear not of death only, but of judgment. I believe there are thousands of people die a thousand times, for fear of dying once. Drs. Mather and Pemberton, of New England, were always afraid of dying, but when they came to die, one or both of them said to some that were intimate with them, is this all, I can bear this very well : and I have generally found that a poor soul, that cannot act that faith on God it once did, or in old age when the body grows infirm, as they used to do, yet they go off rejoicing in God, as a good soul that was buried at the Chapel the other day said, I am going over Jordan. Therefore, O poor soul, leave this to God, he will take care of thy dying hour. If any of you are poor here, and I was to promise to give you a coffin and a shroud you would be easy ; now can you trust the word of a man, and not that of God? Well, the Lord help you to trust in him; “ having loved his own, he loves them unto the end ;" he is a faithful, unchangeable friend, that sticketh closer than a brother.
Who would not be a christian, who would but be a believer, my brethren ? See the preciousness of a believer's faith : the quacks will say, here buy this packet, which is
good for all diseases, and is really worth nothing: but this will never fail the soul. Now I wish I could make you all angry; I am a sad mischief maker ; but I will assure you, I do not want to make you angry with one another :/ some people that profess to have grace in their hearts, seem resolved to set all God's people at variance; they are like Samson's foxes with fire-brands in their tails, setting fire to all about them. Are any of you come from the Foundry, or any other place to-night ? I do not care where you come from, I pray God you may all quarrel to-night; I want you to fall out with your own hearts; if we were employed as we ought to be, we should have less time to talk about the vain things that are the subjects of conversation.. God grant your crosses may be left at the cross of the Lamb of God this night.
And if there be any of you here, (as no doubt there are many,) that are crying what nonsense he is preaching tonight, I should not wonder if they were to mimic me when they go home ; if they should say, I thank God, I was never cast down ; you take God's name in vain ; you thank God you was never cast down : the very answer you have given makes me cast down for you ; why so? Why, as the Lord liveth, I speak out of compassion, there is but one step between thee and death. Do you not know the sessions began at the Old Bailey to-day? If there were any capitally convicted, what would you think to see them playing at cards, or go on rattling, and drinking, and swearing? Would not you yourselves cry, and if it were a child of your own, would it not break your heart? But yet thou art that wretch ; I must weep for thee, my brother sinner; we had both one father and mother, Adam and Eve; this was our sad original,
Dear christians, pray for me to-night. I remember once I was preaching in Scotland, and saw ten thousand affected in a moment, some with joy, others crying I cannot believe; others, God has given me faith ; some fainting in their friends' arms : seeing two stout creatures upon a tomb stone, hardened indeed, I cried out, you rebels come down, and down they fell directly, and cried before they went away, What shall we do to be saved ? Have any of you apprentices, whom you have brought from time to time to the Tabernacle, but now will not let them come, because you think they grow worse and worse, and you will be tempted to leave off praying for them? Do not do that; who knows but this may be the happy time. Children of godly parents, apprentices of godly people, servants of people who fear the Lord, that hear gospel preachers, that are on the watch for every infirmity, that go to their fellow servants and say, these saints love good eating and drinking;