« PreviousContinue »
gestions had been wicked, you would, perhaps, have immediately rejected them with abhorrence: but since they appear good, you are inclined to bid them welcome. It is probable that if you were immediately to attend to that supposed duty to which your thoughts would now lead you, you would find yourselves as indisposed for that as for what you are ready to leave: for the deceitfulness of the heart would make us seem fit for any service, but for that in which we are at present engaged. If you be satisfied that what you are attending to is your duty, no temptation to entice you away, should be listened to, upon the most specious pretences. Upon the whole,
Let the consideration of the numerous imperfections of our duties humble us, and prevent us from resting in them.
It is a proof of the blindness and degeneracy of our minds, if we do not perceive the defilement which is caused by wandering thoughts; and if we think that there is worthiness enough in those distracted services to give us any title to the kingdom of Heaven. Alas! did we see our duties as God beholds them, we should blush rather than boast; and though we should have done ten thousand times more than we have, we should, with the deepest humility, acknowledge ourselves to be unprofitable servants.
To conclude, let us adore the grace which assists uis, and which accepts such weak and worthless performances.
Though we may not rest in our best duties, yet we may hope in God for the acceptance of our meanest. He has kindly promised his Spirit to help purinfirmities, and to kindle holy affections; and has
engaged, that we shall have Christ for our highpriest, to present our sincere, though imperfect duties with acceptance. ()! how sweetly and how swiftly will our feeble prayers and praises ascend in the incense of this angel of the covenant! Our services, though deformed and polluted when offered by us, will be presented to God by our great Intercessor, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.
OX BLASPHEMOUS THOUGHTS.
MATTHEW xv. 19.
Out of the heart of man proceed-blasphemies.
I SHALL now address you on the subject of blasphemous thoughts. It is strange that there should be any occasion for delivering a discourse upon blasphemy, not only to the openly profane, but to truly humble and serious Christians. Sin must be deeply rooted in our nature, and its poison must be malignant indeed, when blasphemous thoughts are found even in those hearts in which its power is broken, and its pollution in a great measure removed. But I need not aggravate it to you, Christians; the very mention of it fills your souls with confusion and hor
I should not have made your wounds bleed afresh but with a design of pouring wine and oil into them; and in hopes that the great Physician will prescribe something, which shall mitigate, if not perfectly remove, this most painful and threatening complaint. A blasphemous thought is a sinful motion or conceit of the mind, by which a person thinks that of God which is inconsistent with him; or denies that of God which ought to be believed.
Sometimes it is directed against his being : “ The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” Sonie
times blasphemous thoughts refer to his nature; as if he were not such a being as he has been represented. Sometimes they oppose the name and attributes of God. Such was the language of those to whom David refers ; “ How doth God know?” say they: "and is there knowledge in the Most High?” So some are mentioned by Ezekiel, who said, “ The way of the Lord is not equal.” Blasphemous thoughts sometimes relate to the word of God, or some of the most important truths of religion. They oppose the corruption of human nature, the efficacy of grace, the glory of Christ, the opérations of the Spirit, and question the reality of judgment, heaven, or hell. Such kind of thoughts have troubled the best of God's children. But I need not describe them more particularly; they are too fresh in some of your minds to need any remembrance.
I was going to proceed in my subject, when, me. thought, I heard some one thus excusing himself:
Surely, I was never accounted a blasphemer; and I have never been guilty of blasphemy. I believe that there is a God; and I have no doubt of the truth of the scriptures.". It may be so; but say, do you not live in some allowed sin? Why then, you have a thousand and a thousand times blasphemed God; for doing abominable works, is joined with saying in the heart,“ There is no God.” Would you dare sin so boldly, if you truly apprehended and believed God to be as omniscient, just, and jealous, as the scriptures represent him ? Denial of God in works, overthrows the profession of God in words. Again, do you make conscience of prayer? No. Then yoni are a blasphemer; you do not believe that God is,
and that he is a rewarder of them who diligently seek him; or that you will derive any profit from praying to him; and is not that blasphemy? Therefore, casting off fear, and restraining prayer, are joined together by Job. Ah! sinner, thy heart and life have been little better than a constant seat and course of blasphemy. And thou too, O believer, from whom better things might be expected, didst thou never fret thyself because of evil doers? Wast thou never envious against the workers of iniquity, because they were not in trouble, like other men, and had every thing which their heart could wish, while thou wert destitute, afflicted and tormented? Didst thou never say, “Verily, I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency; for all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning?" That was blasphemy. At another time, when thou wast left to walk in darkness, and thy soul refused to be comforted; when thou rememberedst God, and wast troubled! when thou peevishly saidst, “Will the Lord cast off for ever, and will he be favourable no more! Is his mercy clean gone for ever? Doth his promise fail for evermore?” This, to give a soft name to such hard thoughts of God, this, Christian, is thine infirmity. No; there is not one of us, saints or sinners, who can lay his hand upon his heart, and safely say, “I am pure from sin.” Better he ingenuous, as the apostlePaul was. Before his conversion, be thought as well of himself as any of us can do of ourselves : he was, as touching the righteousness which is of the law, blameless; but when grace enlightened his understanding, he saw, and he confessed, that he had been a blasphemer.