Page images
PDF
EPUB

him, as far as may be in our power -in all our thoughts, words, and actions ;—and in short, by laying aside the old man and putting on the Lord Jesus Christ.

SERMON XVIII.

A FAST SERMON.

JEREMIAH vi. 8.

Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart

from thee.

“ JEHOVAH (saith the divine Psalmist) looketh down from heaven, he beholdeth all the sons of men—from the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth, and considereth all their works." He looketh then upon all the inhabitants of this land. He considereth all their works. But when thus he looketh, what doth he behold ?

He beholdeth a great people, much degenerated, and more and more degenerating from that noble simplicity and manly integrity, which characterized the manners of their venerable ancestorsdepraving their minds by the adoption of bad principles-enfeebling their bodies by vice and effeminacy-squandering their fortunes at the gaming table, and then by an act of violence, in the rage and fury of despair, rushing forth to meet their Judge.--He beholdeth that virtue which constitutes the excellency and dignity of the other sex--which is to it protection and ornament-a robe and a diadem--in danger of being totally laid aside, while the courts are crowded with trials for conjugal infidelity.—He beholdeth an enormous and senseless luxury, still increasing with the distresses of the times, accompanied by a dissipation, depriving its votaries of attention to all that is wise and great and good. He beholdeth his ordinances neglected his sabbaths profaned—his sacraments disparaged-his temples forsaken-his ministers despised-his religion torn in pieces by contending sects, while there seems to be scarce enough of it for each of them to take a little the infidel openly reviling, or covertly mockingthe faith once delivered to the saints deserted for the dregs of Socinianisma set of men wantoning in the paradoxical absurdities of scepticism, leaving us between them, neither matter nor spirit ---neither body nor soul-and doing their best endeavours, in their lives and after their deaths, to render us a nation, literally “without God in the world.”

Such, my brethren, are the forcible words in which a distinguished prelate' of our Church describes the state of society in this land just half a century ago—and he then goes on to ask, “ Is it matter of wonder—is it matter of offence, that a day should be appointed by royal proclamation for a general fast and humiliation before Almighty God, to be observed in the most solemn manner, by sending up our prayers and supplications to the divine majesty for obtaining pardon for our sins, and for

Bp. Horne.

averting those heavy judgments which our manifold provocations have so justly deserved ?"

And may we not in our time, ask the same question, my brethren, and plead the same necessity for humbling ourselves and falling down before the Lord with reverence and godly fear ?-Surely you could not have failed to recognise the minute fidelity with which the passage I have quoted depicts the leading sins and vices of the present day. You could not but have imagined, that the sketch was taken from the life, as we now see it-not borrowed from the lineaments of an age departed. For what unsightly feature can we remove ?-Can we say that we behold no longer a people degenerated from noble simplicity and manly integrity ?-Can we deny that men's minds are any longer depraved by bad principles or their bodies enfeebled by effeminacy and excess ?-Is that ruinous vice more rare which saps fame and fortune in this world, and perils soul and body in the next, too often

« EelmineJätka »