Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

we persist in the paths of darkness; there remaineth no more facrifice for sin; but a certain fearful looking for of judgement and fiery indignation. Therefore ihall it be more tolerable, if you persist in refusing to believe and obey the things which have been spoken; therefore shall it be more tolerable at the day of judgement for the idolatrous Heathen than for you.

SERMON III,

1S

On Proneness to disparage Religious

Characters.

Luke, vii. 31. And the Lord faid; Whereunto then shall I

liken the Men of this Generation?

TN the education of youth, parental wif

dom and kindness display themselves, riot only by the aptness, but by the diversity of the means selected for the accomplishment of the purpose in view. It is not merely that the father places ät distinct periods before his child opportunities and subjects of instruction severally fitted to the progres. five growth and expansion of the mind. He studies the character of his offspring, and labours to provide instructors specially fitted for the correction of its defects. If the appointed preceptors have expended, and expended without adequate fruit, the exertion from which, in consequence of their talents and demeanour, a successful result

a

might reasonably have been anticipated; the father looks around for others, if not more able than the former, yet so far differing from them in peculiarity of difpofition and deportment as to be better adapted to make, under existing circumstances, an impression on the understanding and the heart. If the sloth and perverseness of the pupil obstinately refift, neither subdued by principle, nor shaken by arguinent, nor awed by strictness, nor won by conciliation;' the ends of his education are defeated: but let him not charge his ruin on his parent.

The Lord of earth and heaven permits men to call Him Father. He deals with them as his children. In the successive dispensations by which he revealed himself to Adam, to Noah, to Abraham, to the people of Israel, he adapted his communications to the actual state of the human race. In his superintending intercourse with the twelve rebellious tribes, we behold him fending forth messengers distinguished from each other, and recommended to the peo- . ple, by every leading variety of qualification suited to command or to allure attention. The sublimity of Isaiah, the simplicity of Haggai, the vehemence of Ezekiel, the pathos of Jeremiah, the sententious abrupt

ness

ness of Hosea, the allegorical imagery of Joel, are equally employed to convey the voice of the Most High, to awaken the conscience of regardless and apostate man. Hear, O Heavens! Give ear, O Earth! What could have been done more to my vineyard that I bave not done in it?

In an earlier part of the chapter to which the text has guided our thoughts, our Saviour had enlarged in the highest terms of commendation concerning the character of John the Baptist : and at the fame time had reminded the Jews, that the most signal of the marks of honour by which John had been distinguished from above was his commission to prepare the way of the Messiah, His discourse he concluded with the following expoftulation.

Whereunto then mall I liken the men of this generation ? And to what are they like? They are like unto children fitting in the market-place, and calling one to another, and saying ; We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced: we have mourned unto you, and ye have not wept. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread, nor drinking. wine : and ye say, He hath a Devil,. The Son of man is come eating and drinking: and ye say, Bebold a gluttonous man and a

winebibber,

[ocr errors]

!" zinebibber, a friend of publicans and

finners.But wisdom is justified of all her :children.

I design, in the first place, to explain this passage, and afterwards to apply it to our own improvement,

I. Whereunto fall I liken the men of this generation? And to what are they like? It was the custom of our Lord to exemplify his meaning, and to render his instructions impressive, by pertinent and familiar comparisons. He now represented himself as in pursuit of a fimilitude proper to illuftrate the conduct of the Jews. Immediately he produces an exact resemblance. The men of this generation are like unto children fitting in the market-place, and calling one to the other, and saying; We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced: we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. As though he had said: “ Have you never ob“ served in the streets dissatisfied and obsti“nate children setting themselves against “ the idea of being pleased by their “ playmates, and turning their backs on " every sport proposed to them? When “ their companions offered some mirthful “ amusement; have you not seen the

6 others

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »