« AnteriorContinuar »
no man, neither found I any to comfort me,
My God, my God, look upon me: why hast of thou forsaken me, and art so far from my “ health, and the words of my complaint. I
cry in the day-time, and thou hearest not; " and in the night season also I take no rest. “ Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon “ me, for I am desolate and in misery. The sorrows of
my heart are enlarged, O bring “ thou me out of my troubles. Look upon
my adversity and misery, and forgive me all my
sin. Thine arrows stick- fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore: for nesses are gone over my head, and are like a sore burthen, too heavy for me to bear. I
am brought into so great trouble and misery, “ that I go mourning all the day long. My “ heart panteth, my strength faileth, and the “ -sight of mine
from me*.” It is hardly in the power of language to express greater agony of mind than this; and no one, surely, that reads these passages, can wish to undergo the misery there described. It is impossible for him, if he is of a sound mind, to make so wretched a bargain for himself, as
my wickedto plunge voluntarily into the crimes of the royal penitent, that he
* Ps. li. Ixix. xxv. xxxviii. &c. &c.
afterwards taste the bitter fruits of his contrition and remorse ; or (what is still worse, and what no sinner can be
secure against) that he may die without repenting at all, and rush into the unceasing torments of “ a worm that never dies, and " a fire that is never quenched.”
SE R M ON VI.
JAMES i. 27.
PURE RELIGION, AND UNDEFILED BEFORE GOD AND THE FATHER, IS THIS, TO VISIT THE FATHERLESS AND WIDOWS IN THEIR AFFLICTION, AND TO KEEP HIM
SELF UNSPOTTED FROM THE WORLD.
should seem as if Religion was here made
to consist only of two parts; CHARITY or BENEVOLENCE respecting others, and Purity or Self-GOVERNMENT respecting ourselves. The first of these, Benevolence, is characterized to us by singling out one of the strongest of our social affections, compassion towards the distressed, which, in the beautiful language of Scripture, is called visiting, that is, relieving “ the fatherless and widows in their * affliction;" a mode of expression very com
mon to the sacred writers ; especially when they are describing the virtue of Charity, which is almost constantly represented by one or other of its most striking features.
The other part of Religion, here specified Self-Government, is very distinctly marked out by the phrase of “ keeping himself unspotted “ from the world;" which plainly means a total abstinence from the immoral practices and unlawful pleasures of the world ; a strict command over our irregularappetites and passions; an abhorrence of every thing that tends to debase our nature, and contaminate our souls.
But it must immediately occur to every one, that, besides the two branches of Religion here enumerated, there is a third, of which St. James takes no notice. And it may appear, at first sight, a little extraordinary, that an Apostle of Christ, when he seems to be giving a formal definition of his Master's Religion, should omit what has ever been esteemed a most essential part of it, Piety, or the love of God. But, although this duty is not expressly mentioned, yet it is evidently implied, in the text, which recommends such Religion only as terminates ultimately in God, such as is