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sicians is called in, it is their business to study all the symptoms of the malady, and, if they are able, to get at the radical cause; if they can make that out and correct or remove it, it may be presumed to be an important step to the cure, and that other symptoms will die away, according as the influence of that decreases. If they are able to take the poisonous qualities (the virus) out of the spring, the poison will no longer spread itself into the streams. Now the same is observable in matters of a spiritual nature, yea even of spiritual wickedness. It is said that human nature is corrupt, and all that is said of it is too true. Our blessed Lord characterising the human heart describes it in general as so vile, that out of it, as its native produce, proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witnesses, blasphemies, yea all things which can debase and dishonour the man, and render him obnoxious to infinite purity, Matt. xv. 18. He does not admit, nor do his words imply, that naturally there is any good quality whatever in it, but insists that all that comes out of it is in every respect unclean, loathsome and wicked. The tree must first of all be made good before the fruit can be good. But may we not descend more intimately into the workings of the human mind, and come at the root of the evil in my text?
The Apostle James in a strain which in any other author (more especially an Heathen sage) would be pronounced philosophical, relates one particular way, in which the evil heart finds vent for its malignity-a way indeed which, as he describes it, is most fearful; it quickly overflows and makes itself a passage by the tongue; on which account the Apostle declares that if any man seem to be religious and bridleth not his tongue, he deceiveth his own heart, and this
man's religion is vain, false and unavailing; he merely seemeth to be religious, in fact he is not so.
There are many symptoms of this disorder that I shall have occasion to touch upon as I proceed; they are all summed up in my text, and the deepest root, and radical source of the whole, I conceive to be most aptly and awfully expressed in the last clause, that the tongue is set on fire of Hell. What I propose therefore in endeavouring to illustrate the words will be,
I. To explain this clause, that it (meaning the tongue) is set on fire of hell.
II. The fruits and effects of this calamity, that it is a fire, a world of iniquity among our members, defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; from whence,
III. By the divine direction we shall be able to point out from whence the cure must come, and how be administered.
1. I am to endeavour to explain what is meant by the tongue being set on fire of hell. Now it is say ing nothing, or to no purpose to observe here, that to be set on fire of hell, imports that some persons are so full of hell, and so much resemble the Devil, that they may be said to have him working in them to do evil; this is universally true of all unconverted per sons; and there is a reason why even the Devil is set on mischief, which eggs him on and stirs him up without ceasing, to seek whom he may devour. He is stiled a roaring lion, 1 Pet. v. 8. and this points out the latent cause of his walking about, however speciously, with that view. As the lion roars for food when he is hungry (roars from the pain he feels) so the pain and horror and despair which Satan feels within his own breast agonize him with rage; that as he has no happiness or even hope of it for himself, he strives to do all
science? We frequently observe, that not only does the scripture speak of wrath, of fire and brimstone, of body and soul destroyed, of a burning lake, of outer darkness, a bottomless pit, and of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, but every man in his sins has an hell in his own mind even while he now lives; that every man has it in his own breast, until God subdue it, take it away, and speak peace to the 'soul. For what is conscience? It is God's voice in the soul-the voice of God's law, for instance, under the energy of his own influence, which declares the Lord to be most holy, his law most righteous, and the man himself to be a sinner; which declares also that there is vengeance due for sin, that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, and is ready to burst upon all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men. Now, every man hath this sad malady within himself, unless he have been made a partaker of the peace of God and the enjoyment of his favour. For to have peace with God is not to be dull and stupid, to think seldom of him and but little about him; no, it is daily and uniformly to derive our principal satisfaction from him, and to de
the mischief he can to others, and to make them equally miserable. For this reason he so assiduously lays his snares, and tempts men to sin; and he is in the greater rage because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. Rev. xii. 12. Now, where the tongue is set on fire of hell, we are to understand by it the very same reason, in a measure at least, as that which influences the Devil so earnestly to do, and to be what he is and does-so maliciously to delight to do mischief. Do we not all know, that if a man be in any respect thoroughly happy-suppose, for instance, that a great sum of money has unexpectedly fallen to him; he is for the time as happy as so much money can make him; and if so, how will he prove it? How will his behaviour discover it? Will he not be pleasant and good natured, placid and friendly, agreeable to all about him? He will think no evil of, do no evil to, any one. Correspondent to the joy of his heart will be the frankness of his countenance the affability of his words, and the kinduess of his general demeanor also. On the contrary, suppose a man to be in his mind unhappy, and you behold him, unless great caution cover or disguise it, fretful and discontented, cross and cap-light and be happy in him. If then tious to every one about him-re- a man be not happy in the Lord luctant to do good-if provoked his God, he hath no peace from he is full of wrath at those who he God, but is restless and uneasy; imagines have injured him, and if an unhappy conscience, the mens he can return the injury tenfold he conscia mali makes him miserable; is the better pleased; and he is and though he try all methods to glad also if he can see other peo- avert or to drive away the pain, ple revenge him, and wishes them yet like a ghost the wretched specas miserable as himself. The tem- tre returns again upon him, and fills per of his mind drives him to him with dismay. "What man dares all these and similar extravagan- I dare; take any shape but that, and cies; and the aforecited recollec- I'll meet thee," is the language of tions will help to explain what I his obstinate heart! But who can have to suggest about the tongue dwell with the devouring fire; who set on fire of hell, viz. that the can dwell with the everlasting whole soul is set on fire of hell; burnings? "Tis a degree of hell in and if it be enquired, What is that the conscience; the whole course of fire? I answer, What can it be but nature, the whole soul is poisoned the wrath of God in a guilty con- by the guilt of unpardoned sin.
If the mind and conscience be | law, and the distracting reflection defiled by the guilty consciousness of being hopelessly and for ever of iniquity unforgiven there; if un- condemned, and reserved to blackeasiness and anguish be a most ness of darkness for ever. If a prominent feature of the disease; man have any degree of this guilty tis also the bitter root, the foun- conscience prevalent in his own tain from whence every evil issues mind now, it is the same in a dein the life, as was observed by one gree that the damned feel; 'tis the of the greatest philosophers that condemnation of sin within him, ever informed this earth, an ex- the wrath of God burning in his perimental philosopher too, who soul, and which is a sort of forewith infinite skill hath anatomized taste of hell, a fearful looking for the human mind, and with exqui- of judgment and fiery indignation site accuracy developed the phe- to devour the adversaries; and it nomena of its secret operations, proves that God (now provoked laying it down as an incontestible and irritated by sin) is in all his and invariable maxim that unto dispensations a consuming fire,even them that are defiled nothing is a jealous God; and I do not wonpure, nor have they a taste for der that people strive by a variety purity, the main cause of which is of methods to drive it away, to that their conscience is defiled, and drown or stupify it, or by intense apthereby the whole of the powers, plication to lose sight of and not atfaculties and inclinations of their tend to it, for it is, as it were the fire minds are polluted and perverted, of hell in the soul, the worm that Tit. ii. 15. and they are to every dieth not, the fire that is not to be good work reprobate. This is, by quenched; and whereby a man, if a concise and unerring method, to he had all the gaities, the divercome at the radix at once. The sions, the pleasures, gratifications primum mobile or lowest cause is and profits of this world poured the conscience defiled with guilt; into his lap, he cannot be at rest; that defiled conscience pollutes perfect peace, sweet serenity and the active powers of the soul; and composure of soul is no part of his I leave you to judge from this sim- enjoyment; for then he would seek ple deduction, what must be the it in Jehovah, and by his quenchleading bent of his temper and ing the fire of hell in the soul. But chosen practice, "till God's own where that preliminary is not obSon with skill divine, the inward tained, there is no satisfaction in fire assuage;" the leading bent of the Lord; and where can a creahis temper under that predominat- ture have true satisfaction but in ing influence. Trace the effects him who made him? Therefore if to their cause and then determine, not happy in the Lord he is not bearing this remark in your me- happy any where. To say the best mory, that you are yourselves prin- of him, he is in an ignorant, dark, cipally concerned; and by that (by stupid, listless frame of mind; and your own) decision you must stand having no true felicity, he discovers or fall. his uneasiness by a thousand shifts: "Who will shew us any good?" By fretfulness, by discontent, by covetousness and carking cares; by repining at the ways of providence, or that the allwise disposer has not made their lot more pleasing to their senses; by self-seeking and ambition; and as the tongue is one of the most prominent and
We have all sinned we know, and come short of the glory of God; the law of God is so strict, that cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, Gal. iii. 10. What makes hell so dreadful, and the Devil so full of horror? The sad thought of having offend ed God, and the sad feeling of his displeasure; the curse of his holy
the sea of Galilee with his disciples, intending to be at Jerusalem during the time of the feast. The miraculous cures which he had wrought in that city excited general interest, and induced a vast multitude of persons to follow him, ver. 2. and the additional circumstance of the feast of the Passover being at hand, would still further augment the number of his followers.
familiar vehicles of expressing the inward feelings of the mind-a method also by which the heart can give vent to its feelings in the most extensive manner; when the heart is set on fire of hell, the tongue is the combustible that quickly catches fire, and spreads the desolation far and wide; yea so large and extensive is the devastation, as in the language of my text to prove it a fire, a world of iniquity that defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; an untameable, unruly evil, full of deadly poison, vér. 8. that rages all the world over, and from one generation to another. It is often remarked that the use of the tongue, and the faculty of speech is that which particularly marks the distinction between man and the beasts; that by it we can with facility convey our thoughts one to another; and hence the more evil and vile is sin, which has abased that noble faculty; which when it is perverted, is also the most hurtful and does more mischief than all the other powers of our bodies. Corruptio optimi est pessima, was an adage well known to the sages"He began to teach them many of antiquity, and to this day it remains uncontradicted.
[To be concluded in our next.]
THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, THE
Having crossed the sea of Tiberias our Lord did not immediately proceed on his way to Jerusalem, but ascended a mountain which was situated in the vicinity of the place where he and his disciples had landed. As he sat there, surrounded by his select few, he lifted up his eyes, and from the eminence on which he was, beheld an immense concourse of people flocking towards him out of the adjacent cities (Mark vi. 33.) attracted by the wonderful cures which he had performed upon the sick and infirm in their neighbourhood. Here therefore Jesus continued, probably, two or three days;' and as the Evangelist Mark has it,
things." ch. vi. 34. It was the custom in those countries, says Dr. Macknight (Harmony. Sect. 60.) to have two or three days provision with them when they travelled; but their stock was now exhausted, and therefore the disciples, perA View of John vi. 48--51. ceiving that evening was drawing THERE is much valuable in- on, entreated their Divine Master struction to be gained by a careful to dismiss the multitude and send attention to many apparently mi- them away, that they might go into nute incidents in the life and minis- the towns and villages around try of the Son of God, which is them, and buy themselves bread, altogether lost by a superficial or victuals. But Christ, who had reading of the Evangelical history. it in contemplation now to give This observation is remarkably them a divine attestation of his verified in the chapter before us Messiahship, by performing a stu(John vi.) The Passover, one of pendous miracle, replied to his the Jewish festivals, was approach-disciples, "It is not necessary to ing, ver. 4. and Jesus, who had send them away on that accountbeen for some time discharging Give them to eat of what ye have." the duties of his public ministry in They seem to have been surprised the city of Capernaum, crossed at this answer, and immediately
remark to him, that the multitude multitude; so that it continued to swell and enlarge itself, not merely so as to create a sufficiency for satisfying the hunger of this mul. titude; but, after they had all eaten and were filled, the frag ments that remained were more in quantity than the original loaves and fishes! This stupendous miracle, which was conspicuous, not to the disciples only, who carrying each his basket in his hand, had an incontestible demonstration of its truth; but to every individual guest also at this divine feast, who had all felt themselves delighted, filled, refreshed, and strengthened by the food of which they had now partaken.
was immense; that two hundred penny-worth of bread was inadequate to the supply, so that every one of them might take a little. One of them added that there was indeed a lad in the company who had five barley loaves and two small fishes, but what was this among so many persons? Jesus, however, instructed them to make the men sit down in ranks by hundreds, and by fifties, according as the ground would best admit of their being regularly disposed. Luke ix. 14. with Mark vi. 40. The members of each company appear to have been placed in two rows-the one row with their faces towards those of the other, as if a long table had been placed between them. The first company being thus set down, the second was to be placed beside it in a similar manner, and the third by the second till all were set down, the direction of the ranks being up the side of the hill.
We cannot, therefore, be surprised that such a manifestation of divine power, as was displayed by the Son of the Highest, on this occasion, should have excited the admiration of the people. They recollected that Moses, after de livering their fathers out of Egypt, had done something like this, when Having thus disposed his guests, he fed them with Manna in the Jesus, who stood below at the bot-wilderness-and the inference they tom of the ranks, was full in the view of all the company; and calling for the loaves and the fishes, he "looked up to heaven" and thanks to his heavenly Father, for his boundless beneficence in furnishing food for all flesh. He then brake the bread and the fishes, distributing a piece of each to one of his disciples, who delivered it to the first person in the rank; when this individual had broken off what was sufficient for himself he delivered the food to the second who did the same, and he to the Meeting with him, however, third, and so on, until the whole again, upon a subsequent day, we company, consisting of five thou-find the multitude eagerly expresssand men, had all eaten and were satified.
But how great must have been the astonishment of this multitude, when they beheld the food expanding its dimensions before their eyes, both in the hands of the Lord Jesus, and also of the
drew from the present miracle was, that he who could thus feed five thousand people with five loaves and two fishes must surely be able to deliver them from the Roman yoke! In the height of their transport, therefore, they proposed to "take Jesus by force and make him a king." But, he, perceiving that the carnality of their hearts had led them to make a perverse use of this miracle, withdrew from them into a retired place and so frustrated their intention.
ing their congratulations at seeing him, and a most interesting con. versation now ensued between them. Jesus, throughout the whole of his discourse, endeavours to lead them to make the proper improvement of the miracle which they had witnessed-corrects their