Page images

which from the world thy Son died ?" And dost thou then love God with all thy heart? I wish it were the case with all of you. But be not too hasty in supposing it, for much depends upon it. By your fruits you are to be known. Do you feel and act towards God as you do towards any earthly object, when it has your heart? Do you take great delight in God, in access to him, in communion with him, in contemplating his works, perusing his word, engaging in his worship, making your confessions to him, offering your thanksgivings, and preferring your requests? Do you supremely dread offending him, and do you desire above all things to please him?

Keep you his commandments? all of them? for he, - than whom none ever had a deeper experimental

knowledge of divine love, St. John, says, “ This is the love of God that we keep his commandments.”

My hearers, if any of you have not these proofs, do not contend, but rather confess that you have never yet given the heart to God; and give it now. Expose your soul to the influence of the motives I have used with you. Let them act upon you. Do not resist their momentum. While the heart is not given to God, it is undutiful, it is ungrateful; it is fearfully hazardous to live so one day, one hour. Think particularly of the ingratitude of living in God and not loving him, of receiving every thing you have from him, and not giving him the only one thing he asks of you. He gives you all things without your asking ; but you will not give him one thing, though he asks it. He has even given you so many things, and given in so great abundance,

[ocr errors]

that you are content to be without him. Think of these things and mourn, and give now to God that which he asks of you—the heart; and because you are a sinner, it must be a broken and contrite heart; for the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart he will not despise. Give it, and, first, he will heal it with the blood of his Son, and then bless it evermore in the enjoyment of himself.

My son, give me thy heart. Methinks there is a special, though not an exclusive, reference to the young person in this address. It seems to contemplate the young man just engaging in the active scenes of life, and the young woman just involving herself in the cares peculiar to herself, and it says to each with a tenderness that should draw tears, “Give me—thy God, thy heart? These, that are around you, have loved the world so long, and so long denied me, that their hearts are now well nigh grown to the world; but thy affections cleave not so closely as yet. It is easier to withdraw thy heart. Come, give it me, and I will guide you, I will prosper you.” Oh! happy youths ! did they but know their good. God has a special regard for the young, and Jesus Christ a peculiar sympathy with the tender age. But, oh! my young friends, you are fast growing out of the regard of the one, and losing the sympathy of the other.

Oh! tremble for the consequences of what I have been saying, for I have been speaking of God's kindness and love; and I know it is a topic that always hardens, if it does not melt; a theme that, if it does not draw the soul nearer, drives it farther off. I

tremble because I fear that some one of you may again refuse the request, which, in the name and behalf of God, I have made of you to-day. I tremble lest that refusal should provoke God to withdraw his request for ever.

Now, in conclusion, who of us will unite in giving, for the first time, or anew, if we have given before, our hearts to God, saying, unfeignedly and from the deepest soul, “ Here, Lord, we give our hearts to thee; 'tis all that we can do." Will you? Who is holding back his heart? God sees, and marks, and frowns. It is written in heaven; but relent, and it shall be erased.

[ocr errors]


For their rock is not as our rock, even our enemies themselves

being judges.—DEUTERONOMY xxxii. 31.

There is nothing easier to prove than thať men are beside themselves. I desire no lighter task than to substantiate against them the charge of moral infatuation; to demonstrate that "madness is in the hearts of the sons of men while they live.” Take, in proof of it, this : that men do things which, at the time of doing them, they not only know they will be sorry for, but actually intend to be sorry for ; thus deliberately and designedly making work for repentance ; doing what they mean to undo; or this : that men put off to a confessedly uncertain future, that which not only is, but is by them admitted to be, of all things, the most obligatory, the most important, the most needful ; so running the risk of never doing what most needs to be done ; insuring every thing but that which is most precious and most exposed; and taking measures to be prepared against every exigency but that which is the last and greatest. Another proof of the same species of madness will be afforded in the progress of my remarks, in which it will be seen that, though sinners perceive and acknowledge the immense superiority of the condition

of Christians, they make no effort, and have no desire that it should be their own; refusing that which not only is in fact, but is seen by them to be, the better part and more desirable portion. The mere fact that men choose the worse part, is not necessarily a proof of moral infatuation ; but that they do it with their eyes open and their judgment convinced that it is the worse part. But do they act so irrationally? My object is to show that they do.“ Their rock is not as our rock, our enemies themselves being judges.”

1. I would observe that there is a difference between the people of God and others, which the latter discover; a difference of character and condition of which they are aware, and which they are sometimes forced to acknowledge. I do not say that this distinction is visible in all professors of religion. How should it be? It is not real in all. There are those who differ from others only in professing to be different from them. Nor do I say that this distinction is as manifest in all real Christians as it is in some; nor in these equally manifest at all times; but my remark is that there exists, and sinners see that there exists a class of persons in the world, who, in their spirit, and principles, and consistent acting in accordance with their principles, in their desires, aversions and aims, and in all that goes to constitute character, are different from them and from the generality of mankind; as also in their hopes, consolations, supports, and sources of enjoyment. Notwithstanding the false professions of some, and the imperfections of all, this difference is seen to exist;

« PreviousContinue »