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Note.--In the original, the third and fourth Discourses form
but one ; which, on account of its unusual, and (in relation to the rest of those selected for the present volume) its disproportionate length, the Editor has taken the liberty to divide in two, without, he trusts, any injury to the effect of the whole.
LUKE xiii. 1-5.
There were present at that season some that told him of the
Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their
sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these
Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because
they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise
perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and
slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men
that dwelt in Jerusalem ? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise
A PREACHER remarkable for a truly christian energy and for a persuasive tenderness of manner, being asked what was the feeling which predominated in his mind, whilst his imploring voice and his affectionate language penetrated every soul with an emotion so deep and so devout, replied, that he never ascended the pulpit without this pathetic idea: “ Perhaps there may be, in this temple, one who is about to hear, for the first time, the Gospel of Christ; perhaps, also, there is one who is now to hear it for the last time.” Oh, how effectually, My Brethren, would not the hearers of the Word receive it, did they never enter into our places of worship but with this thought: “ Perhaps the Word of life will be this day proclaimed to me, as it were, for the first time ;-it may be, also, that I am destined now to hear it for the last time! But, am I not told that this Word
voice of my God, that it is those • Good Tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people ? —And yet I have hitherto received it with so much coldness! Am I not told, that it is 'a weapon mighty, through God, to the bringing into captivity of every thought to the obedience of Christ ?' And yet it has produced, hitherto, so little impression upon my heart; and still I remain unchanged during so many years, that I am in the habit of reading it in the
is the very
Holy Bible, and of hearing it preached ! Perhaps, therefore, I have never yet well understood the spirit of it; perhaps, alas, I am of that unhappy number, spoken of by our Lord in the Parable of the Sower, who receive his word without effect, because they have heard it without comprehending it :-then, it may
be, that this day it will be addressed to me, in an effectual manner, for the first time. "
But, above all, My Brethren, above all, with how much efficacy would the hearers of the word receive it, could they but say to themselves: “ To-day, perhaps, for the last time, I hear the invitations of the Gospel, and the voice of God my Saviour. Soon, for me, will the scenes of this life of trial have all passed away, like the spectacle of an hour, and like a morning dream. Time flies on; the hours cease not to strike ; eternity advances; the Lord is at hand! Ah, therefore, now is, for me, the acceptable time; now, therefore, is the day of salvation.”
Hear then, My Brethren, hear with these dispositions, the word which the Saviour of the
world again addresses to you this day; and impress upon yourselves, that, if ever there was a subject to which you were bound to listen with the pious self-collectedness of a spirit which communes with itself, and which contemplates eternity, it is, assuredly, thạt which the text of this day presents to you.
These words were spoken by our Saviour at the close of a long discourse, in which he had urged the necessity of turning to profit, for the purpose of repentance, the uncertain and fleeting time during which the word of salvation is preached to us; and as, then, several persons present at this exhortation instanced to him, in confirmation of his discourse, the sudden end of certain Galileans put to death by order of Pilate, “ Suppose you,” said he to them, “ that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans? I tell you, nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
Such is the important subject proposed for our instruction this day.
After having, therefore, briefly set before you