Page images
PDF
EPUB

with his word; and when combined and concentred they make a thing of power, to be felt in this world or in eternity; as gunpowder is composed of saltpetre, sulphur and charcoal, simple materials when separate, but when mixed and granulated,- that is, formed into grains,-it has an explosive force which defies opposition.

Myself and young Mr. Hudson, son of one of your Wesleyan ministers, were caught in a thunder-storm, some time since, on the shores of the Bay of Naples. The thunder, and lightning, and wind, and rain, were terrible in the extreme. It happened at the twilight hour, and we were exposed to its fury; but the scene was most sublime, the flashes lighting up the finest scenery in the world, revealing fitfully the grave of buried Herculaneum, and Vesuvius, with its robe of green, its heart of fire, and its banner of smoke, and, in another direction, Virgil's tomb. The heavens were filled with sheets of fire, and the thunders rolled as if they would "shake down the props and pillars of the sky," and the wind blew, reminding one of that which rent the mountains around Elijah, and the rain came down like a second deluge, and the waves were dashed in heaps along the winding shore. Superstition might have fancied the spirit of Virgil out amid this war of elements, analyzing, as in days of yore, when he investigated, thereabouts perhaps, the constituent elements of a thunderbolt, thus:

"Three rays of writhen rain, of fire three more,
Of winging southern winds and cloudy store
As many parts, the dreadful mixture frame,
And fears are added, and avenging flame!"

A THUNDERBOLT is a thing of power, however, whatever becomes of the poetic philosophy of Virgil; and so is the truth of the living God, and so are the principles this night

passed in array before you. Calculate sooner the might of a thunderbolt from heaven than that of right or wrong opinions in their effects upon your eternal destinies!

The BIBLE declares that "Upon the WICKED he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest ; this shall be the portion of their cup."-Ps. 11: 6. A terrible "portion" that, and bitter! But, alas! listen to me, and don't leave! compounded in full accordance with the degree in which those evil opinions may have influenced you, in your lifetimes! A terrible "tempest" that! compared with which, all the storms of earth were but as infant breathings! A scorching "fire" that! in comparison of which all the fires of earth were but as painted fires! A wasting "rain" that! deluging the soul with eternal sorrows. Horrible "snares" those! which shall entangle the soul in sudden and unexpected evils for ever and ever! I say unexpected, for those who indulge in the evil opinions we have reprobated little suspect into what troubles they will finally involve them! There are storms coming-pulpit storms— under my humble ministry. wish to prepare you for them, with bolts of truth effective as those which the thunder carries on its wings, but death to sin only, evil opinions, and a wicked life! You will bear them, then, and not be angry, nor out of patience. Consider their design! Better bear the storms of truth here, and be saved, than bear the beatings of that eternal storm hereafter, and be damned, and lost eternally!

O ye sinners of Huddersfield! flee from the wrath to come! My heart is enlarged toward you; my soul is moved for you; my groans disturb the night for you; my cheeks are wet for you; Heaven has no rest on your account; our cries awake the echoes of heaven for you; your case fixes the attention of the skies; the power of God is

[ocr errors]

now descending upon us! Jesus died for you; his precious blood flowed for you; he intercedes for you; his intercessions have been for years as a wall of fire between you and the fire that shall never be quenched. O, ye prisoners of wrath! nay, O, ye prisoners of hope! look unto Jesus! turn and look upon him now! Jesus, thou Son of God, look thou upon them, and break every heart of stone! Look with that look that broke the heart of unfaithful Peter! Look as thou once did through the cloud upon the Egyptians in the morning watch, and struck off their chariot-wheels, so that they dragged heavily,—so that these sinners, which are inclined even now to fly, are flying from this dreadful place, may drag heavily! Look at them, O thou Son of God, and they shall fall into repentance before thine eyes! 'Tis done! behold, they are weeping bitterly! the people are moved as the trees of the wood! Now is thy time, Jesus! save them now! O, sinner, fly not the arms of pursuing love, which almost reach thee now! — fall, fall into those arms! Look! yes, look at his wounds for thee; look and believe and be saved forever! or wilt thou then but listen, look, turn away, and perish forever!

CHAPTER VIII.

REBELLION AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT

A SERMON.

THE following pungent discourse exhibits Mr. Caughey's method of addressing the impenitent. Ministers may gain some hints from it with respect to the kind of preaching which is most likely to reach the conscience in revival seasons; while it cannot be read by an unconverted man without good effect.

"He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear.” — Rev. 3: 6.

The Lord God said of the people before the flood, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man."- Gen. 6: 3.

Let that "observer and hater of heterodoxy" mark well what I am going to say, and then judge for himself. Let "A hater of cant and hypocrisy" hearken and judge. I neither speak whiningly nor affectedly, but right out, from the heart, the TRUTH, levelled point-blank at the hearts of my hearers. Nor do I use words or phrases unauthorized by Scripture, by the nature of my theme, or by good, plain Neither do I feign, conceal or dissemble, nor act a double character, but am single of heart and motive to glorify God and save souls; the power of godliness within, the form of godliness without; nothing assumed, unreal or fictitious, God knoweth,- outward appearance harmonizing with inward reality. This is my ministry

common sense.

before God and man. Forbid, Lord Jesus, it should be otherwise!

You are both "haters; " well, let me be one, too, in the innocent sense, and so have a trio,- for I am sure I love heterodoxy, cant and hypocrisy, as little as yourselves.

With the Bible in your hands, how can you doubt the effects of my preaching? That some are softened, and others are hardened, we deny not. If it be death to some, it is life to others; put this and that together. You have sight for the death, but are blind to the life. Is that fair, or candid, or impartial? Why so? Look at both, and then judge. Cannot you account for the spiritual death which has happened to some, perhaps to yourselves; on other principles ?

Did not St. Paul say, speaking of the different effects of his preaching upon his hearers, " To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other, the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?"

- 2 Cor. 2: 16. Are not such contrasts to be expected now? Or is the ministry of the present day more sanctified than in the apostolic? Take care! that supposition would be heterodoxy.

The Gospel is the same now as then. The Holy Spirit the same also. As to the great elements of human depravity, they differ little. Why, then, should not similar results occur? — death unto death to some, life unto life to others. Is the preacher accountable? Is he worthy of blame? Beware! lest you slur the character of St. Paul whom you "venerate;" that would not be orthodoxy.

The Spirit's presence is glorious and life-giving; nor can there be life without him, so tremendous is the spirit of evil in the human heart. By his aid it can be subdued. But observe, if the Spirit of God be driven away from the

« PreviousContinue »