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My dear hearers, it is to more than quietness and ease to which we invite you. We offer
consolation-comfort and joy through eternity. If you shrink back, because Christianity will cost you something, it is most evident to every Christian that you have never counted the cost; nor what it will costNot to be a Christian.
You hear, perhaps, a rude and ignorant beggar, reasoning on the education of a king's
son. Says the beggar, in his ignorance, “I choose to have my own will and my own way.
I have no notion of the confinement of a school. I would rather lie upon my dunghill.” What would you say? You would say, 66 Wretched creature! he seems to have no sense of the miserable consequences of the ignorance and brutality of his present situation, and therefore 'scorns that on which the king sets so much value, and would pay for it at a high rate to procure it for his
It is thus that beggarly minds speak of the troubles of the Christian. But, because he is a king's son, he shall have an education suited to his character and prospects.
GODLY AND WORLDLY SORROW.
2 Cor. VII, 10. For Godly Sorrow worketh Repentance unto Salvation, not to be
repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
The Wise Man tells us, that it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting.' The house of mirth is generally the house of extravagance, the house of absurdity and vanity: but the house of mourning has better lessons, better company, better consolation, and a better end : "for godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, and it is a thing “not to be repented of;" but, not the mirth only, but the sorrow of the world, worketh death,
The occasion of these words you will find in the fifth chapter of the First Epistle. Lately as Christianity had been introduced into the world, a gross scandal had crept into it: the Corinthians, instead of being humbled by it, were puffed up and careless. St. Paul wrote to them, and then they ran into another extreme. “Though I made you sorry with a letter, says the Apostle, “I repent not, though I did repent.' I rejoice not that this put you to pain: 'I rejoice not that ye were made sorry, but that you sorrowed to repentance: for godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of; but the sorrow of the world worketh death :' whatever pain, therefore, you have received from my letter, it has done you good : it has operated as a medicine: I do not rejoice at the pain ; but I rejoice at its effects.”
I shall, 1. Explain these words : and, 2. Apply them. 1. I shall EXPLAIN these words. 1. Let us consider what is to be understood by
A Christian has his peculiar sorrows and his peculiar joys: his heart knoweth its own bitterness, and a stranger intermeddleth not with his joy. If a tear fall from his eye, it falls with a consideration in his mine, like that of Job or Hezekiah, under correction. Others may think of nothing but chance, the ill-nature of man, the vexatious cross, and the circumstances that attended it: but this man's sorrow will be accompanied by a consideration, that God is to be acknowledged in his trouble.
"Not from the dust my joys or sorrows spring.' He will mourn for his own sin: he will mourn for the scandals of the church. Perhaps it is a personal affair which afflicts him; or, possibly, it is a family concern: but, still, he will see the hand of God in the affliction of persons, and in the distress of families ; and he views it with a believing eye, and with a childlike spirit, and will be ready to say with Job, “Show me wherefore thou contendest with me.'
When, therefore, God discovers to him that there is some evil, something that calls for the hand of the surgeon, this discovery will work repentance: “for godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of.'
And what will be the symptoms of this repentance ? • Behold!' says the Apostle: mark the symptoms ! No more careless levity! 'Behold—What carefulness it wrought in you; yea, what clearing of yourselves; yea, what indignation; yea, what fear; yea, what vehement desire; yea, what zeal; yea, what revenge! These were the symptoms of a godly sorlow working repentance.
'If we find Manasseh weeping, when taken among the thorns, and cast into the prison-house, it will demonstate that the tendency of his affliction is salutary and holy: there is a change of his mind and heart. It is the case of the prodigal, when brought to his right mind. There will be a renewal of grace. The man will be led to say,
66. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I learnt thy word—I was as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke'-but, turn thou me, and I shall be turned : for thou art the Lord my God. I am ashamed, ‘smiting on my thigh.'" Here is a fresh stirring up Here is a grieved spirit. “Create in me, says David, 'a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.'
Brethren! “godly sorrow, as you see, worketh repentance,' and that "unto salvation:' it is the operation of a spiritual medicine; for, frequently, till godly sorrow worketh in this manner, a man has no suspicion of his state.
Gurnal, in his “Christian Armour,” observes that the chastisements of God put us on examination. A man, who finds the top of his house let in water, goes up to repair the breach; and discovers that the whole roof, perhaps, is in a state of decay. Some particular sin
may, in like manner, give us pain: when we examine, we find that this is connected with an alarming spiritual decay; and, if we take not warning, the soul will be inevitably ruined. Thus 'godly sorrow worketh repentance unto' present salvation ;' and, of course, worketh salvation everlasting: so that Peter's weeping, the jailor's distress, the Corinthian's carefulness and zeal and revenge, were working to the salvavation which God intended, and were symptoms of spiritual health.
We notice a man going back, perhaps, from Christ; and, from charitable motives, we hint-“You are in an evil way. This thing has a bad tendency on your own soul : it will injure your family: it will bring a scandal on the Church." But the man resorts to extenuation: he offers palliatives : he may, perhaps, resent our faithfulness, and consider himself insulted. It is the direct reverse, where godly sorrow appears : when it is said to a penitent, “Thou art the man,' he will rather say, with David, 'I have sinned!' and, with the Publican, 'God be merciful to me a sinner!
The repentance spoken of in the case of Judas was but remorse—the sorrow of this world, that worketh death; contrary, therefore, to the repentance that worketh salvatoin. The repentance of which the text speaks, is a spiritual sensibility—a living man feeling, and tending to recovery. 'I have gone astray,' says the Psalmist, like a lost sheep: seek thy servant!'
My dear hearers, there is scarcely any worldly joy, but leaves a sting behind it: or, as one excellently expresses it, “What is sorrow, but the ghost of joy ?" But godly sorrow is an affectionate return to God-a renewed act of communion with him ; and must draw forth grateful thanks to Christ, the giver of this blessing; for 'him hath God exalted to give repentance and remission of sins.'
2. But, the Apostle speaks also of the SORROW or THE WORLD, as opposed to this godly sorrow.
The sorrow of the world !—There is far more of this than appears. Some of us, who have public characters, as ministers or physicians, see a vast deal more of this than other men. Sometimes, when every thing seems easy and happy around a man, he will feel his heart almost broke : and will declare himself in such a state that none can suspect. Yet such an infatuation prevails, that a man will go on for years a careless, silly, unthinking creature-he weighs nothing-tomorrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant -he wonders to find that any body should be in troublemhe has none!--just as you see that men intoxica