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while thou art on earth, to praise the King of heaven. Spend this day, as thou hopest to spend that day which never shall have an end.
The Lord not only hallowed the Sabbath-day, but he hath also blessed it. So that you are an enemy to yourself. You throw away your own blessing, if you neglect to keep this day holy. It is a day of special grace. The King of heaven now sits upon his mercy-seat, in a more gracious manner than on other days, to bestow blessings on those that observe it. If you love your own soul, can you forbear laying hold on so happy an opportunity ? Awake, arise, let God give thee his blessing ! Receive a token of his love : cry to him that thou mayest sing the riches of his grace and mercy in Christ Jesus! You do not know how few more of these days of salvation you may have. And how dreadful would it be, to be hurried hence in the abuse of his proffered mercy!
O whať mercy hath God prepared for you, if you do not trample it under foot! What mercy hath he prepared for them that fear him, even before the sons of men ! A peace which the world can, not give; joy that no man taketh from you ; rest from doubt and fear, and sorrow of heart: and love, the beginning of heaven. And are not these for you? Are not they all purchased for you, by him who loved you, and gave himself for you! For you a sinner! You a rebel against God? You who have so long crucified him afresh! Now look unto him whom you have pierced. Now say, Lord, it is enough. I have fought against thee long enough. I yield, Jesus, Master, have mercy upon me! On this day, above all, cry aloud, and spare not, to the God who beareth prayer. This is the day he hath set apart for the good of your soul, both in this world, and that which is to come. Never more disappoint the design of his love, either by worldly business or idle diversions. Let not a little thing keep you from the house of God, either in the forenoon or afternoon. And spend as much as you can of the rest of the day, either in repeating what you have heard, or in reading the Scriptures, or in private prayer, or talking of the things of God. Let his love be ever before your eyes. Let his praise be ever in your mouth. You have lived many years in folly and sin. Now live one day unto the Lord.
Do not ask any more, “Where is the harm, if after Church I spend the remainder of the day in the fields, or in a public house, or in taking a little diversion ?" You know where is the harm. Your own heart tells you so plainly, that you cannot but hear. base mis-spending your talent, and a barefaced contempt of God and his authority. You have heard of God's judgments even upon earth against the profaners of this day. And yet these are but as drops of that storm of fiery indignation, which will at last consume his adversaries. Glory be to God, who hath now given you a sense of this. You now know, this was always designed for a day of blessing. May you never again by your idleness or profaneness, turn that blessing into a curse! What folly, what madness would that be. And in what sorrow and anguish would it end! And yet
It is a
a little while and death will close up the day of grace and mercy. And those who despise them now, will have no more Sabbaths, or Sacraments, or Prayers, for ever! Then they will wish to recover that which they now idly cast away! But all in vain. For they will then find no place for repentance, though they should seek it carefully with tears.
O my friend, know the privilege you enjoy. Now remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy. Your day of life and of grace is far spent. The night of death is at hand. Make haste to use the time you have : improve the last hours of your day. Now provide the things which make for your peace, that you may stand before the face of God for ever.
A WORD TO A SWEARER.
Swear not at all, saith the LORD God of heaven and earth. ART thou without God in the world? Hast thou no knowledge of God? No concern about him ? Is not God in all thy thoughts!
Dost thou believe there is a God? Where? In heaven only! Nay, he filleth all in all. “Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him ? Do not I fill heaven and earth ?"
Whither wilt thou go then from his Spirit? Or whither wilt thou flee from his presence? If thou go up into heaven, God is there. If thou go into hell, he is there also. If thou take the wings of the morning, and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there his hand shall touch thee, and God's right hand shall hold thee.
GOD seeth thee now: his eyes are upon thee: he observes all thy thoughts: he compasseth thy path: he counteth all thy steps : he is acquainted with all thy ways: by him actions are weighed : nor is there a word in thy tongue but he knoweth it altogether.
And does not power belong unto Gov? Yea, all power in beaven and in earth? Is he not able, even while thou readest or hearest these words, to crush thee into nothing? Can he not just now crumble thee into dust? Or bid the earth open and swallow thee up? O do not set him at naught! Do not provoke him thus ! Do not fly in his face! Can he not in a moment cast forth his lightnings and tear thee? Shoot forth his arrows and consume thee ? What hinders him from cutting thee off this instant ? Sending thee now, now, quick into hell !
Would God do thee any wrong therein? What! in giving theç the request of thy own lips? What words were those thou spakest but now? Did not God hear? Why, thou didst pray to God to send thee to hell. Thou didst ask him to damn thy soul. How! art thou in love with damnation ? Art thou in haste to dwell with
everlasting burnings? To be day and night tormented in that flame, without a drop of water to cool thy tongue ?
I had rather thou shouldest go to the Paradise of God. Hadst not thou? Is not heaven better than hell ? Art thou not convinced of this in thy own conscience? Why then, amend thy prayer: cry to God, “ Save my soul, for I have sinned against thee! save me from all
my sins. Save me from all my evil tempers and evil desires ! Make me holy as thou art holy! Let me know thee, and love thee, and serve thee, now and for ever!”
And is not God willing to do this ? Surely he is, for God loveth thee. He gave his only Son, that thou mightest not perish, but have everlasting life. Christ died for thee. And he that believeth on him hath everlasting life. Mark that word: he hath it. He hath it now. He hath the beginning of heaven even upon earth; for his soul is filled with the love of God; and the love of God is heaven. He that truly believes on Jesus Christ, hath a peace which earth cannot give; his mind is always calm : he hath learned in every state therewith to be content; he is always easy, quiet, well-pleased; always happy in life and in death. For a believer is not afraid to die; he desires to be dissolved and to be with Christ; he desires to quit this house of clay, and to be carried by angels into Abraham's bosom; to hear the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God, and to see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven; to stand at his right hand, and hear that word, (which I earnestly beg of God you and I may hear,) “ Come, ye blessed, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world !"
A WORD TO A DRUNKARD.
ARE you a man? God made you a man, but you make yourself a beast. Wherein does a man differ from a beast? Is it not chiefly in reason, in understanding ? But
reason you have. You strip yourself of your understanding. You do all you can to make yourself a mere beast : not a fool, not a madman only, but a swine, a poor filthy swine.
O how honourable is a beast of God's making, compared to one that makes himself a beast? But that is not all. You make yourself a devil. You stir up all the devilish tempers that are in you ; you heighten and increase them. You cause the fire of anger, or malice, or lust, to burn seven times hotter than before. At the same time you grieve the Spirit of God, till you drive him quite away from you. And whatever spark of good remained in your soul, you drown and quench at once.
So you are now just fit for every work of the Devil; having cast off all that is good or virtuous, and filled your heart with every thing that is bad, that is earthly, sensual, base, and devilish. You have
forced the Spirit of God to depart from you ; for you would take none of his reproof: and you have given yourself up into the hands of the Devil, to be led blindfold by him at his will.
Now, what shall hinder the same thing from befalling you, which befell him who was asked, which was the greatest sin; adultery, drunkenness, or murder ? He said, Drunkenness was the least. Soon after, he got drunk : he then met with another man's wife, and ravished her; the husband coming to help her, he murdered him.So drunkenness, adultery, and murder, went together.
I have heard a story of a poor wild Indian, far wiser than either him or you. The Englishman gave him a cask of strong liquor. The next morning he called for his friends together, and setting it in the midst of them, said, “ These white men have given us poison. The man who gave me this was a wise man, and would hurt none but his enemies. But as soon as he had drunk of this, he was mad, and would have killed his own brother. We will not be poisoned.” He then broke the cask, and poured the liquor upon the sand.
On what motive do you thus poison yourself? Only for the pleasure of doing it? What, will you make yourself a beast, or rather a Devil ? Will you run the hazard of committing all manner of villanies; and this only for the poor pleasure of a few moments, while the poison is running down your throat? O never call yourself a Christian! Never call yourself a man! You are sunk beneath the greater part of the beasts that perish.
But you say, “ You drink for the sake of company. You do it to oblige your friends.” For company, do you say? How is this? Will you take a dose of ratsbane for company? If twenty men were to do so before you, would you not desire to be excused ? How much more may you desire to be excused from going to hell for company? But, “to oblige your friends ?” What manner of friends are they, who would be obliged by your destroying yourself, who would suffer, nay entice you so to do. They are villains. They are your worst enemies. They are just such friends, as a man that would smile in your face, and stab you to the heart.
O do not aim at any excuse. Say not, as many do, “ I am no one's enemy but my own.' If it were so, what a poor saying is this, “I give none but my own soul to the Devil !” Alas! is not that too much? Why shouldest thou give him thy own soul? Do it not: rather give it to God.
But it is not so. You are an enemy to your King, whom you rob thereby of an useful subject. You are an enemy to your country, which you defraud of the service you might do, either as a mau or a Christian. You are an enemy to every man that sees you in your sin ; for your example may move him to do the same. A Irunkard is a public enemy. I should not wonder at all if (like Cain of old) you were afraid, that “every man who meeteth you should slay you.'
Above all, you are an enemy to God; the great God of heaven
and earth : to him who surrounds you on every side, and can just now send you quick into hell. Him you are continually affronting to his face. You are setting bim at open defiance. O do not provoke him thus any more. Fear the great GOD.
You are an enemy to Christ, to the Lord that bought you. You fly in the face of his authority. You set at naught both his sovereign power and tender love. You crucify him afresh. And when you call him your Saviour, what is it less than to “betray him with a kiss ?”
O repent ! See and feel what a wretch you are ! Pray to God to convince you in your inmost soul, how often you have crucified him afresh, and put him to open shame. Pray that you may know yourself to be (inwardly and outwardly) all sin, all guilt, all helplessness. Then cry out, “ Thou Son of David have mercy on me. Thou Lamb of God, take away my sins :-Grant me thy peace :Justify the ungodly :-O bring me the blood of sprinkling, that I may go and sin no more :--that I may love much, having had so much forgiven!”
WHITHER are you going? To heaven or hell? Do you not know? Do you never think about it? Why do you not? Are you never to die? Nay, it is appointed for all men to die. And what comes after ? Only heaven or hell. Will the not thinking of death, put it farther off! No; not a day; not one hour. Or will your not thinking of hell, save you from it! O no: you know better. And you know every moment you are nearer hell whether you are thinking of it or not : that is, if you are not nearer heaven. You must be nearer one or the other.
I entreat you think a little on that plain question, Are you going toward heaven or hell? To which of the two does this way lead ? Is it possible you should be ignorant ? Did you never hear, that Deither adulterers nor fornicators, shall inherit the kingdom ?That fornicators and adulterers God will judge ? And how dreadful will be their sentence: “Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels ?"
Surely you do not mock at the Word of God! You are not yet sunk so low as this. Consider, then, that awful word, “ Know ye not, that ye are the temples of God ?” Were not you designed for the Spirit of God to dwell in ? Were not you devoted to God in baptism? But if any man defile the temple of God, bim shall God destroy. O do not provoke him to it any longer. Tremble before the great, the holy God!
Know you not, that your body is, or ought to be, the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you? Know you not, that you are not