ページの画像
PDF
ePub

and fatigue themselves, and seize every favourable opportunity to lay up a treasure upon earth, which must shortly fail them! But wisdom crieth aloud, she uttereth her voice in the streets; and, in view of a heavenly treasure, she says to every one, Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might: The compassionate Redeemer, who well knew what is the true interest and wisdom of men, says, Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which shall endure unto eternal life. They, who shall so run as to obtain, will be put in possession of an unspeakable prize; but they who loiter by the way and refuse to work, will meet with a loss which will be matter of unspeakable regret and endless lamentation. Then let men be immediately and greatly engaged, in working out their own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is a business of their highest concern.

4th. Men ought immediately to engage in laying up a heavenly treasure, for they have but one short space in which to perform this work. This present state, is the only day of grace; the only seed-time for mortals to prepare for a great and glorious harvest. And doubtless, with many the day is far spent, and the night is at hand. Doubtless, with many to-morrow will be for ever too late, to lay in store a good treasure, by sowing to the spirit, that they may reap everlasting life. And how melancholy, how deplorable indeed the state of those who in vain lament, The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. But will men still turn a deaf ear to all the calls of God? When the thunders of Sinai roar around them, will they not be moved? Are they so stupid and sluggish as not to be aroused notwithstanding all that the Lord has said and done? Solomon exhorts those who will not hear the voice of God, nor of his servants, calling upon them to go to the ant, one of the little and prudent creatures which God has made, to observe her ways; and, by awaking frourtheir stupidity, to learn a lesson of wisdom. Go to the ant thou sluggard, consider her ways, and be wise : Which, having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, 0 sluggard ! when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep. So shall thy poverty come, as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man. Of how much greater consequence is the soul-important work, in which men are called to engage, than that of the ants, whose only concern is to provide for the winter! And doubtless the time of many will be much shorter to lay up a treasure for heaven, than that of the ants to prepare for their future day. But shall it be, that the ants, guided by instinct, lay in a store in due season, and give all diligence to have a supply for their future wants, while men, who have intelligent powers, loiter and slumber, when eternal concerns press upon them? Let men observe the proprie ety and wisdom of the insects of the earth, and be admonished from their ways to learn a lesson of heavenly wisdom, lest in the book of divine providence, at the last great day, they appear in judgement against them.*

IMPROVEMENT.

1st. Are men admonished not only by the word of God, but by the ants to be laying up a treasure in heaven? Then it cannot be owing to the want of knowledge, that they neglect this work. In the word of God, the pathway of life is clearly pointed out; and all nature urges men not to delay the work of preparing for the future. The beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and inse; the earth, reprove men of their unmindfulness and ingratitude towards their Creator and most bountiful Benefactor. How active are the various tribes of irrational creatures, in showing forth the praises of their Maker! Their language to the sons of men is, 0 come join with us : in an intelligent, and more noble way, declare his praise. But hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken : I have nourished and brought up children, but they have rebelled against me. My hearers, look to your domestick animals. Are they as unmindful of you, as you are of your God? Do they treat you with the neglect with which you treat your heavenly Parent? But remember this truth, To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

2d. Then the only reason why men neglect the duties of religion, rind concerns of their souls, must be their extreme and criminal aversion to them. Surely the motives are sufficiently great to excite the most sluggish into activity and diligence, unless they have unfeeling, obdurate hearts. if any plead their blindness, they virtually plead guilty; for the voluntary opposition of the heart to the light and duties of the gospel, induces men to stop their ears, shut their eyes, and blind their minds. But who for this is to be blamed ? Sinners, in gospel lands, see and confess that the great concerns of religion and their souls, are of unspeakably greater importance than any or all of the pursuits and enjoyments of this present world. But if they confess these things, what makes them sleep in awful security, when the torments of hell should alarm, and the joys of heaven allure the most stupid sinner. This kind of blindness discovers great wickedness ; for it discovers a willingness to treat the ever blessed God with continued contempt, and to be the murderers of their own souls, when they are convinced they ought to take heed. The ants assist each other in laying up a store for the future; but how unwilling are men to do any thing for their own salvation or that of others. They mutually agree to lay up treasures upon earth; yet how do they fold their hands together and say, Yet a little sleep, a little slumber; when the thought of encouraging each other to walk in the straight and narrow way,comes to

their view. Then mankind are not only to be pitied but blamed, for their moral stupidity and blindness.

3d. From this subject we see, that as natural sloth tends to poverty, so spiritual sloth proves ruinous to the soul. If impenitent sinners were truly awake, and not in a state of despair, they would be much excited to do something in order to escape the wrath to come. Perhaps some are ready to wonder why the Lord does not give them a new heart, and pardon their sins; because he appears in behalf of others, and shows mercy. But were they not criminally stupid and blind, they would wonder why a holy and just God has so long spared their forfeited lives, and not cut them off in their sins as cumberers of his ground. How many thousands have acted the part of the sluggard, sleeping in their sins, till they have opened their eyes in torment. And is it not now as dangerous to say, Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep? Says Solomon to every one of this description, Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways, and be wise.

4th. Let all take the alarm, and awake to righteousness, lest the wrath of God come upon them to the utmost. Let saints arise and trim their lamps. They should ever be greatly engaged in laying up a treasure in heaven, that they may reap a rich harvest, a great and glorious reward. Their redemption is now nearer, than when they first believed; hence, they should give all diligence to make their calling and election sure. The present, especially calls for extraordinary exertions and zeal in the cause of the Redeemer. The Lord Jesus is doing great and wonderful things for Zion. In a very special manner is he blessing the exertions of his people, and enlarging the borders of his glorious kingdom. And is this a time for his people to sleep? Let them awake, be up and doing, and not tarry to make excuses, but prepare to meet the bridegroom. Let impenitent sinnens awake, and speedily flee to the mountain of safety. Have they not folded their hands together long enough, crying, Yet a little sleep, a little slumber. It is now almost impossible to awake some, and will they yet sleep? Are they determined not to awake, till the light of eternity opens their eyes ? Yonder, methinks I see the Saviour with very solemn but cheerful looks. What heart-felt expression flows from his lips? Rise, sinner; he calleth thee. Come, O come to Jesus. The Spirit and the Bride say, come. Let him that heareth, say come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.

any will yet sleep, it must be to their own cost. But awake, thou that sleepest, arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee life. Awake to righteousness; lay up for yourself a treasure in heaven, that your soul may live, and for ever feast and rejoice with that innumerable company at the great marriage supper of the Lamb. Amen.

If

« 前へ次へ »