September 20, 2007
It is no secret that I am a voracious reader. It has been thus ever since my youth, and I suspect it will be thus until the Father calls me home. I came across the following sermon excerpt in one of the overstuffed folders in my desk, and as I read, and reread it, I felt it was something I should post on the website. It is sobering to say the least, especially when taking into account the fact that it was written in 1819, by a preacher named John Angell James. The sobering aspect of this sermon notwithstanding, it is truly something worth reading, and perhaps pondering in light of the events currently unfolding on the world stage, as well as closer to home in the form of what many deem to be 'natural disasters'. Some may ask why I would simply quote another man's sermon, and to those who would ask, the answer is if you can't put it in better words yourself, it is always best to quote it outright. As I said, it was a message that pierced my heart, and stirred my spirit, a message that seems to me, is more actual today, than when it was preached almost two hundred years ago.
"Sin is the only thing in all the universe which God hates, and this He abhors wherever He discovers it. With our limited understanding, and feeble power of moral perception, it is impossible for us to form an adequate idea of the evil of sin, or the light in which it is contemplated by a God whose understanding is infinite, and whose purity is immaculate. That law which men are daily trampling upon, equally without consideration, without reason, and without penitence, is most sacred in His eyes, as the emanation and the transcript of His own holiness. He is also omnipresent and omniscient. There is not a nook or corner of the land from which He is excluded. Of every scene of iniquity He is the constant, though invisible witness. The whole mass of national guilt, with every the minutest particular of it, is ever before His eye!
His justice, which consist in giving to all their due, must incline Him to punish iniquity — and His power enables Him to do it!
He is the moral governor of the nations, and concerned to render His providence subservient to the display of His attributes. And if a people so highly favored as we are, notwithstanding our manifold sins, escape without chastisement — will not some be ready to question the equity, if not the very exercise of His administration?
His threatenings against the wicked are to be found in almost every page of Holy Scripture. Nor are the threatenings of the Bible to be viewed in the light of mere unreal terrors, as clouds and storms, which the poet's pencil has introduced into the picture; the creatures of his own imagination, and only intended to excite the imagination of others.
No! They are solemn realities, intended to operate by their denunciation as a check upon sin; or if not so regarded, to be endured in their execution as a punishment upon our sins! Scripture give us many examples in which this has happened. It has preserved an account of the downfall of nearly all the chief empires, kingdoms, and cities of antiquity; and that not as a mere chronicle of event, but as a great moral lesson to the world. Scripture carefully informs us, that sin was the cause of their ruin!
Volcanoes terrify with their eruptions, and submerge towns or cities beneath their streams of lava!
Earthquakes' convulsive throws bury a population beneath the ruins of their own abodes!
Hurricanes carry desolation through a country!
Famine whitens the valleys with the bones of the thousands who have perished beneath its reign!
Pestilence stalks through a land, hurrying multitudes to the tomb, and filling all that remains with unutterable terrors!
Wars have been agents in the unparalleled scenes of bloodshed and misery!
Scripture proclaims that these are to be regarded as a fearful exposition of the evil nature of sin, written by the finger of God upon the tablet of earth's history!
Visit, in imagination, my countrymen, the spots where many of these cities once stood, and you shall see nothing but desolation stalking like a specter across the plain, lifting its eye to heaven, and exclaiming, amidst the silence that reigns around, 'The kingdom and the nation that will not serve You, shall utterly perish!' As you stand amidst the moldering fragments of departed grandeur, does not every breeze, as it sighs through the ruins, seem to say, as a voice from the sepulcher, 'See, therefore, and know that it is an evil and bitter thing to sin against the Lord!'
Let us devoutly acknowledge both the source and the justice of our calamities. The origin of the evils that afflict us, is often to be found in the sins which disgrace us."
-John Angell James
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.