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pulse, and deny himself an indulgence so eagerly and perpetually resorted to, has made no inconsiderable advance towards the duty of selfgovernment; and will find less difficulty in resisting the solicitations of other desires, which are universally allowed to be criminal. Besides, abstinence has a physical and mechanical tendency to allay and repress the passions and carnal affections, as luxurious and abundant food has, to augment and inflame them. Medical professors know and confess, that a well-timed fast would prevent many a disease, and often operate more safely and effectually than medicine; and we may reasonably suppose, that judicious abstinence may likewise stifle in the birth the lusts and propensities of a depraved imagination. Upon this ground, therefore, to say nothing of the natural connexion between penitence and mortification ; “ he that eateth not, may be the better, and he that eateth, the worse” in his morals, as well as in his health ; in his mental, as well as bodily temperament:—for there are fevers of the mind, as well as of the body; diseases of the affections, as well as of the blood. And, indeed, so close is the union between the flesh and the spirit, that any derangement and ill humours in the one can hardly fail to affect the other.
As to particular seasons, it may be enough to observe, that whatever has no appropriate time for its performance, will hardly be done at any time : and, though a rigid observance of “ days and months, and times and years," is apt to degenerate into superstition, yet we must perceive and confess, that at those seasons when a man is called upon to afflict his soul, he is not to indulge his body. Let every man judge for himself, whether, in this solemn week, wisely devoted by our Church to self-examination, penitence, and prayer, to pious meditation on that mysterious dispensation of mercy, by which we are redeemed from sin and death,—let any sober believer determine, whether he ought to allow himself any sensual indulgence, any supply beyond what nature absolutely craves. Particularly on that awful day, when we meet here to commemorate the bitter, undeserved sufferings, and agonizing death, of a crucified Saviour, is it consistent with that state of mind which the contemplation of such a scene should produce, to attend to the calls of the palate ? At such a time, is it expedient, even though it be lawful, is it decorous, is it devout, is it, can it be, profitable to body or soul, to hasten from the house of God to spread the table at home? “ The people," says the Evangelist, describing the sad spectacle of the crucifixion, “ who came together at that sight, smote their breasts, and returned." And would it not be far more consonant to the faith and feelings of a Christian, instead of sitting down to his usual meal, to partake the sacred elements at the altar, and then “enter into his closet, and pray to his Father in secret ?"
I am far from recommending monkish severities, and useless mortification; but surely we should remember, that though all things may be lawful, they may not always be expedient, and that he who denies himself a blameless indulgence, may more easily repel a vicious desire. The disciple who believes and reflects seriously on the price paid for his ransom, who looks back to the garden of Gethsemane, and but in thought accompanies the man of sorrows bearing his cross, and beholds him expiring in agony to save desponding sinners from death eternal, will be little disposed to festivity and merriment. Surely the spectator of this dark tragedy, not a poetic fiction, a cunningly-devised fable, but the most appalling fact in the annals of time,surely, he who has witnessed this dreadful scene, yet can immediately “ sit down to eat and drink, and rise up to play,” can have poor pretensions to the character of a Christian.—May it not be doubted whether he possesses the natural feelings of a man?
But whatever may be our sentiments respecting abstinence, no one who admits the doctrine of the Atonement, can think it allowable, or even decent, to spend in his usual occupations or amusements, the solemn day, set apart for the commemoration of so awful a catastrophe as the death of the world's Redeemer. Do we receive the Gospel, and can we be ignorant who sealed it with his blood ? Do we confess ourselves sinners, and can we forget who saved us from the penalty of sin ? Have we
Have we “repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ," and can we be cold and indifferent to Him, who made that repentance available, and invited us to that faith, on which all our hope beyond the grave is founded? If Christ “ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures,” shall any who believe those Scriptures, and call themselves his
followers, pursue their sordid traffic or holiday recreation, at the very hour, when the Christian Church throughout the world is assembled to acknowledge a redemption so wonderful,-benefits so inestimable,-mercies so infinite and unspeakable? Such negligence, to call it by the gentlest name, argues a want of real faith, or callous and lamentable insensibility. It betrays a levity of mind, very near akin to that “evil heart of unbelief, which departs from the living God.” We at least, brethren, I hope and trust, are not so lost to every emotion of piety and gratitude. Nowe will enter into the house of the Lord; we will listen to the moving narrative, the narrative of his unjust condemnation; we will strive to rouse our best affections, and to feel, as we ought, the full weight of those cruel sufferings, which the Son of God voluntarily endured for us miserable offenders : we will lament,—we will, by the grace of God, forsake those crying sins, which required, for their expiation, so wonderful, so tremendous a sacrifice; and instead of coldly inquiring into its expediency or necessity, devoutly join in the celestial chorus of saints and martyrs,
Worthy is the LAMB that was slain, to receive