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tęd have no notion of the troubles of the world. But, when you
look into life, you see it full of trouble. Every one must have seen what distress an ungodly man has frequently found, in the view of loss, disappointment, or pain. Raging, he teareth himself in his anger:' he will hear of nothing to pacify him : he will listen to no reason : he throws out implacable speeches against persons, who seem to have had no hand in his troubles. Thus doth the sorrow of the world work death.
Ahithophel was a wise man. He spake--and was reckoned as an oracle. But he is disappointed and chagrined: he cannot carry his point. What is his refuge ?— And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and—hanged himself!
Ahab was a king; and had large domains, many subjects, great riches. “I must have a garden of herbs." And he spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs. And when Naboth said to Ahab, the Lord forbid it me that I should give the inheritance of my
fathers unto thee,' what is his resource ?—Ahab came to his house, heavy and displeased—and laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread! He cannot have the little portion! He must be sick, and throw himself on his bed, and have no comfort from any of his possessions! This is the sorrow of the world.?
Haman enjoys whatever he can desire: for every thing which the king possesses is at his command. But Mordecai will not bow to him, as he enters the gate; his heart is torn asunder, because this poor Jew will not yield him obeisance. "The sorrow of the world worketh death! and nothing better: no amendment; no improvement; no wisdom !
Get me,” says Saul, “a cunning woman-a woman of a familiar spirit.' I despair with respect to help from God, and now I will go to the Infernal Spirit for advice.” And when he had taken this step, the next was to call on his armour-bearer, “ Draw thy sword, and thrust me through !!
“Here,” says Judas, “ take this silver which I have had of you! I have betrayed the innocent blood !"
What is that to us ?'— The very spirit of the world! • See thou to that!' " Take the money !" says “take it! take it! I have betrayed the innocent blood !” And what was his one resource ?-He cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and depart- , ed, and went, and hanged himself!
Brethren! I am speaking of what is passing every day of our lives. You meet with these things in almost every newspaper you take up. What is the meaning of such an one having broke his heart ?• The sorrow of the world hath worked death! Such an one is pining himself into a consumption! Why? * The sorrow of the world is working death! A rich man has shot himself!-For what reason ?- The sorrow of the world worketh death!'
These accounts are continually before our eyes : but, let us remember, that we do not meet with a thousandth part of the facts, which prove that the sorrow of this world worketh death.
And what tends to a present death—the impenitent state of such persons—we find, with the Bible in our hands, tends also to eternal death! So true it is, then, that, while 'godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of, the sorrow of the world worketh death.'
II. I will make a few REFLECTIONS from what has been said.
1. We may hence learn the MALIGNANT NATURE
In prosperity sin leads the sinner to madness, to
extravagance, to ignorance of himself to ruin ! He is a most pitiable creature! In prosperity he is delirious.
He falls into trouble: then, surely, there is something like amendment, because recollection must be produced. No! no such thing! "The sorrow of the world worketh death. Friends may hope; but, alas! sin has even poisoned his sorrows ! Satan has a device with Judas'in his despair; as well as when entrusted with the bag, to teach him to steal from it. Satan will teach a man to presume, to grasp, to run on carelessly: then he will teach him to despair; and will bring him a knife, a pistol, a halter; and will tell him—“That is the only cure !" So that sorrow, well as joy, is poisoned by sin.
Every thing is wrong, when the heart is wrong. • The strong man armed seeks to keep his goods in peace;' and, if any thing tries to disturb him, he will forge fetters of another kind.
Ěxamine yourselves. Labour to know your state, in this respect. What is your dispensation? Does Satan seek to poison your sorrow? Does it do you no good, that you live in trouble ? Are you as far from God as before? Have you not at all learned to look upward, and to beg of God to bring you to himself, and to give you a right mind? Under losses, do you still want to find a friend ? and have you no desire for the only one that can support you? Have you no ear to hear God speaking in your affliction ? no prayer that God would look down, and make these things work together for your good? Alas! you remind me of that expression of the Wise Man, ‘Bray a fool in a mortar, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.' Learn, then, that sin is such a poison, that if God does not deliver you, even your sorrows will work your death: for affliction and pain will not, of themselves, save a man; although, in God's hand, they have done mighty things. Godly sorrow worketh
repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of; but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
2. Let us remember, on this subject, WHAT A BLESSED MEDICINE TRUE RELIGION is, though sorrow should be intimately mingled in the dispensation.
For you see, that, if sin grow up with worldly sorrow; yet godly repentance, like the fabled philosopher's stone, will turn all to gold. That will bless a man in prosperity, like Abraham; and it will bless a man in adversity, like Job. Where Christ is the physician, all shall work together for good. Whether lancets, or bitters, or caustics be in the physician's hand, he shall do good wherever he coines. Godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of.
'It is good for me,' says David, that I have been afflicted.' I was going astray before, but godly sorrow wrought salvation for me."
So that, properly speaking, a skilful persona man who has travailed in religion himself, and learnt the benefit of God's corrections—will frequently in his mind congratulate his friend while he feels for him, when passing through an operation. During the operation, he may feel most keenly; yet, when he sees the benefit produced, he will thank God for the affliction. Either in his own case, or in that of any friend, health is his object.
My dear hearers, let us adopt the maxim of Luther: “Burn, Lord! cut-do any thing-only save !" Whatever be the means, only, if by any means, be saved !
3. Since godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, you see that THE CHURCH IS A VINEYARD,
CLOUDY DAYS THAN ON SUNSHINE, for its growth and improvement.
I must confess, that my own experience and observation lead me to prefer, in the preaching of the Gospel, the sun shining on the wall to nourish the fruit; VOL. 11.
yet, we see among us persons of a heady and obstinate disposition, calling for continual cordials. They think that they obtain no benefit from a sermon, unless they get comfort. “I did not profit,”
“I did not profit,” say such persons: “I got no good by the sermon:" when it was, perhaps, the design of God to set before them their plain duty, and the nature of their trials; and to show them how to glorify him in their trials, and to escape the snares that are laid for their feet: but they got no comfort, therefore no good!
What sort of a patient would that be, who would say to a physician, “ Your medicine was not pleasant. There was a bitterness in it. I cannot take a medicine which is not cheering to my spirits ?”. What sort of a patient is such an one?
Let us remember, therefore, that the Church depends on its cloudy and rainy days, as well as on its days of sunshine.
Suppose a man had looked at the church of Corinth. “What indignation!” says he: “what fear. Is this a flourishing church?” “Yes," says the Apostle, “it is: these are symptoms of health : these Christians hereby show themselves to have feeling and life."
A man, that feels caustics applied, is not mortified, but alive.
Let us endeavour, Brethren, thus to possess a sound and substantial religion: then it will be spiritual and experimental. You
pass through an orchard; and, when the wind is high, you hear a rustling of the leaves--great motion in the boughs : but, when you come to examine the tree, there is no fruit! But, says the Psalmist, * Blessed is the man, that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly--but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates in his law day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season : his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he docth shall prosper.