Thomas Wilson.

The works of the right reverend father in God, Thomas Wilson, D.D., Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man (Volume 2) online

. (page 34 of 49)
Online LibraryThomas WilsonThe works of the right reverend father in God, Thomas Wilson, D.D., Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man (Volume 2) → online text (page 34 of 49)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

do this in the presence of a man like myself, and shall I not
fear to do it in the presence of that God, Who can confound
and destroy me the moment I sin against Him ?

A man may be so weak as to think that he has power, and
friends, and wisdom, to carry on any design he has in his
thoughts, without calling in God to his assistance; he does
[Piov. 21. not consider what God Himself has declared, " That there is
neither wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel, against the
Lord.^^ If he did consider this, he would ask His leave. His
help, His blessing.

Another may fancy himself too big to be punished, or to
be brought to own his crimes. A man could not, he would
not, think so, if he would but consider, that the fear of the
Almighty God brought two of the greatest princes on earth
to humble themselves for their faults.



The great King Nebuchadnezzar, when God, Who had
punished him for his pride, had restored him to his kingdom,
makes his confession in these words : " I praise, and extol, Dan. 4. 37.
and honour, the King of heaven, all Whose works are truth,
and His ways judgment ; and those that walk in pride He is
able to abase/' And King David was so far from exalting
himself against God, when he had sinned against Him, that
he thus expresseth his sorrow : " Mine iniquities are gone LPs. 38. 4,
over my head, and are as an heavy burden, too heavy for me
to bear: I will confess my wickedness, I will be sorry for
my sin."

Had King Adonibezek considered this truth. That God is
Just as well as almighty, he would hardly have forced God to
have brought him to this confession for his barbarous inhu-
manity, " as I have done, so God hath requited me." But then. Judges i.7.
why should not every christian, who professes to believe this,
abhor, and fear the consequence of every act of injustice, of
oppression, of wrong to his neighbour ? Why should not every
christian when he is tempted, through covetousness, through
malice, through revenge, to injure any man, why should he
not say this to himself? — If I shall give my neighbour
this loss, this trouble, this vexation, the righteous God will
certainly requite me; either I or my children shall pay
for it.

The terrible punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah, with
fire and brimstone from heaven, is a most remarkable stand-
ing proof of God's holiness and purity, of His almighty
power, and purpose, to punish all the sins of uncleanness
after the most dreadful manner.

All christians, that know and believe this, will strive, and
pray, and avoid all temptations to every degree of these sins.
They will remember, that it is the same holy God, Who has
declared, that no fornicator, nor adulterer, nor unclean [Eph. 5. 5.]
person, has any inheritance in the kingdom of God, but are
to have their portion with devils.

And let no christian, who believes the almighty power of
God, say, that he cannot overcome the corruption of his
nature, or the temptations he meets with. If the grace of
God will enable a man to overcome all the difficulties he can
meet with, and if grace may be had for asking, ivhich are two


SEEM, undoubted truths ; why then, whoever, in the sincerity of his

heart, prays for grace and strength to overcome the weakness
• and corruption of his nature, shall certainly have an almighty
power to assist him ; and then he will have no reason to fear,
no reason to complain.

The poor man, who has faith in God, will be contented with
his condition, though it be never so mean ; for he will argue
thus with himself : I am the creature of the Almighty God ;
it is not for want of power that He has given me so little of
this Avorld^s goods ; I call Him my Father, and He permits
me to call Him so ; it must be therefore that He knows that
this very condition is the best for me, and therefore I will
endeavour to be satisfied.

And the rich man, whose heart is not hardened, and who
believes what he saith of God, will thus reason : The same
Almighty God, Who gave me these riches, is as able to take
them away, and very probably will do so, or continue them
as a curse to me, if I make them my idol, my God ; if I
adore them in my heart; if I put my trust, and place my
happiness in them; or if I strive to increase them b}'^ unjust
ways ; or if I do not do good with them.

If a christian is in the greatest distress, and does but call
to mind what he believes of God : that He is Almighty ; that
He is a Father ,• that He sees all our distress ; that He is
faithful to His promises ; — though he cannot perhaps say.
Job 13. as holy Job did, " Though He slay me, yet will I trust in
Him ;" yet he will not utterly despair of a change for the
better, because his hope is in God.

When a christian considers how plentifully God Almighty
has provided for all His creatures ; what care He takes of
them, in so much as that the least of them does not suffer
without His knowledge, without His leave ; how justly shall
[Jiatt. 6. we not reproach ourselves in the words of Christ, " Shall He
not be concerned for us? O we of little faith V

Can my weakness be greater than the Almighty can help ?
Can my sins be greater than infinite goodness can pardon ?
Can my enemies be more and stronger than He can subdue ?
Are my wants greater than the Almighty can supply ? Need
I go to the devil for want of help, when the Almighty God is
ready to help me ? Need I take unjust ways to provide for




myself^ or my children, when God has promised to be a
Father to them and to me, while Ave behave ourselves like
children of so holy a Father.

If I am at any time going to do a thing which I have
reason to fear will displease God, let this thought restrain
me ; is it not the Almighty God that I am going to offend ?
Shall I provoke the Lord to anger ? Am I stronger than He ?
When I observe the great patience of God, in sparing us
when we deserve punishment, I shall not be so foolish as to
imagine that it is for want of power, for He is Almighty ;
but because He is infinite goodness. He waiteth to be gra-
cious, until His despised mercy and justice shall oblige Him
to take A^engeance, and then I shall feel His power, when it is
too late to avert it by repentance.

Christians too seldom consider how many sins they would
certainly have fallen into, had not God interposed His al-
mighty grace. We have, every soul of us, the seed of every
Avickedness within us ; and it is God Who hinders them from
springing up, and from becoming our ruin.

It is God, the Almighty God, Who only can oppose the
number, the power, the malice, and the snares of evil spirits,
which are always attempting to ruin us ; and would certainly
do so, did not we dwell under the shadow of the Almighty,
under the protection of one who is able to save. In confi-
dence of whose protection a christian may be easy amidst all
the disturbances the world is subject to, and may say with.
David, My help is not from man, but cometh from the Lord, [Ps. 121. 2.1
Who made heaven and earth.

But then, lest the mighty privdlege Ave christians enjoy, of
having the honour to call the Almighty God our Father,
should make us proud of ourselves, and in comparison of
those who know not God ; let His almighty power repress
our insolence ; for Avhat am I in comparison of the Almighty ?
What have I, that I have not received from Him ? And
Avhat have I not to fear, lest He should deprive me of His
grace ?

By the righteous judgment of God, the heathens were
deprived of that light which they abused : " They knew God, [Rom^L2i,
but they glorified Him not as God," saith St. Paul ; and what 19.] ^ "
Avas the consequence ? Avhy, " God gave them up to a repro-


SERM. bate mind, to commit all iniquity with greediness." Chris-

'- tians should always fear every one for himself, lest this should

come to be his own case.

And indeed it is but too plain, that the generality of chris-
tians forget that they have a rule of faith to direct them,
what to believe of God, and of His infinite perfections; and
they will find to their cost, that it will be no advantage to
them, to have been distinguished from infidels by a rule of
faith which they never minded, and which had no influence
upon their lives.

Let me therefore, before I conclude this part of the Creed,
put you in mind of a few truths and inferences, which I wish
we may all remember, and carry home with us.

When we acknowledge God to be Almighty, let us con-
sider what a dreadful thing it must needs be, to have the
Almighty God for our enemy; one who can destroy both
body and soul in hell. And then, how happy will all those
be, who have an all-powerful God their friend, to direct, to
support, and to reward them ! A man must have no value
for his soul, whom this belief does not influence.

Let us consider further, what a dishonour we do to God,
to call Him our Father, and to behave ourselves like the
children of Satan. Infidels will conclude from hence, — If
these be the children of God, and hope for salvation from
believing in Him, who need despair of going to heaven ? Let
us rather remember, that our Almighty Father has given
His children rules to live by; that they are not to follow
their otvn will, but His, and that their happiness depends
upon doing so.

When we call God our Father, let us consider, that our
inheritance is in heaven. This should make us less fond
of an earthly inheritance ; at least, we should not think of
setting up our rest here.

If God is my Father, I have nothing to fear, while I strive
to please Him. I will trust in Him, and I will go to Him
with the confidence of a child.

If every christian has a right to call God his Father, then
every christian is our brother, and has a right to our love,
and to our help, in his way to heaven.

We profess to believe, that God is the Creator of all things.


Every one who seriously believes this will not dare to abuse
any of God's creatures, nor wantonly destroy any thing that
God has made. Made indeed they were for the use of man ;
but whoever destroys creatures that are neither hurtful wh.en
they are living, nor useful when dead, certainly sins against
his and their Maker.

Let us rather glorify God in and for His creatures. The
very religion of heaven consists in this : " Thou art worthy/^ [Rev. 4.11.]
say the glorified Saints in the Revelations, '' Thou art worthy
to receive honour, and power, and glory, for Thou hast
created all things." And we shall do this in the most hum-
ble manner, when we consider, that of all the creatures which
God made, man alone behaved himself so ill, as to provoke
God to say, "That it repented Him that He had made him.'' [Gen. 6.C.]
My God ! And shall not sinful man be afraid, and bitterly
repent, that ever he oiFended and provoked so great a God !

We should indeed have repented of, and bewailed our lost
condition to all eternity, had not Almighty God, to manifest
His infinite goodness, accepted of the mediation of His beloved
Son, by Whom we have been restored to the favour of God.

But this must be the subject of another discourse.

In the mean time, let every one of us examine himself
upon this part of his Creed ; and see what fruits of this faith
he has to shew. To live by faith, is to live as if we did
indeed believe the things which we profess to believe.

Well then, let me ask myself. Do these truths which I
profess to believe, do they really affect my heart ? Do I truly
fear the Almighty God ; that is, do I fear to offend Him ?
Am I not more afraid of temporal evils than of the wrath of
God ? Do I really love God ; that is, Do I desire and strive
to please Him ? Do I look upon Him as the fountain of all
good ; that is. Do I pray to Him for what I want, and give
Him thanks for the blessings I receive ? Do I shew that I
believe His infinite wisdom, by my leaving the choice of all
the blessings I hope and pray for to Him ? Do I own His
fatherly love and authority over me ; that is. Do I submit to
all His dealings with me without murmuring? Do I own
that God sees all that I do ; that is. Do I live as in His pre-
sence, not daring to do any thing that I believe will dis-
please Him ? Do I shew that I am convinced of His infinite


SERM. patience, and long-suftering, by laying hold of the present

XXXIV^ opportunity of returning to my duty ?

We lament the blindness of the heathen world which know
noj; God. Do we truly value that light, and that Word, by
which we are come to the knowledge of God, and of His
glorious perfections ? Do we hear the Word of God with atten-
tion ; and do we beg of God the grace to understand it, and
to incline our hearts to observe the lessons we there learn ?
Why has God thus made Himself known to us, but that we
may fear, and love, and adore, and praise Him, and pray to
Him, and put our whole trust in Him?

And I pray, consider, christians, what a mighty blessing it
is, that we are not left to ourselves, and by our own reason,
to find out God ; but God has been so good as to manifest
Himself unto us in His holy Word ; and to discover His
almighty power, His wisdom, His goodness. His justice. His
faithfidness, and His holiness, in His government of the

Consider how very thankful we should all be for the
benefit of these Holy Scriptures, in which every soul may
come to the true knowledge of God, and the way of salva-
tion. Where unbelievers maybe convinced of the providence
of God throughout all ages, by the fulfilling of innumerable
prophecies. Where sinners will find reasons to awaken them,
by seeing the power of the Almighty manifested in the
punishment of the impenitent. Where the righteous may
learn to depend entirely upon the protection of God, by see-
ing His infinite goodness towards such in all ages. Where
all may learn to believe, and fear, and love, and worship the
Lord Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

We enjoy the benefit of all the creatures, without so much
as thinking of Him that made them. Which of them could
we want, without being miserable ? The sun gives us light
and heat; the air, breath and life; the earth and seas,
food ; the rest of the creatures are all designed for our use
and benefit.

Shall we not then glorify God in His works, take notice of
His providences, admire His infinite wisdom, be thankful for
all His mercies, and dread to provoke a power that can ruin


Shall we not desire and endeavour to please a most gra-
cious God, Who has promised eternal happiness to His faith-
ful servants?

Shall we not imitate His holiness, depend upon His pro-
mises, take care not to abuse His patience and long-suf-
fering ?

Shall we not beg of God to increase our faith ; to manifest
Himself and His glorious perfections every day more clearly
to us, that as we grow in years we may grow in grace ?

And shall we not abhor and avoid the company and the
conversation of all such profane people as may weaken our
faith, whether by their wicked examples or loose princi-

Let us look upon all such as the devil's instruments, doing
his work, and promoting his interests and his kingdom. All
who profane the name of God, who make a mock of sin, who
mind not His Word, who regard not His worship, who observe
not His day, who despise His ministers and His ordinances :
these are people of no faith, no religion ; have nothing to
restrain them from the greatest wickedness, but the fear of
man, or their own carnal interests.

And believe it, christians, for an undoubted truth, that such
as have no true faith in God, who do not shew it by their
lives, have no true religion, no honour, no justice, no truth,
no humanity, no sincerity, to be depended upon.

As for ourselves, for all such as profess to know God, to
believe His Word, and to hope for His mercy ; let us lay this
down for a most certain truth, that he who does not shew
his faith by his works, has no proof of his sincerity, or of his
acceptance with God.

My God ! if this be so, how few are there who truly believe
the Creed they profess ?

Vouchsafe, O God, by Thy almighty grace, to awaken all
such as hold the truth in unrighteousness ; who have a form
of faith and of godliness, but deny the power thereof Pre-
serve all christians from such fatal blindness ; and deliver all
such as are under the power of it.

May these saving truths which we believe be received in
all the world, that Thy glorious name may be adored by the
heathens !


SERM. O God, the Creator of all, have mercy upon all whom
'- Thou hast made, for the Lord Jesus' sake, the redeemer of

all. To Whom, with Thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour

and glory, now and for ever. Amen.



Jesu benigne ! ccelesti tuo verbo et spiritu illumina me, ut veram fidei
indolem et naturam in corde meo persentiscam, et ex viva experientia
gregem meum pascam. Miserere gentium quae sedent in tenebris, mise-
rere eorum qui fidem ore jactant, operibusque divinis destituti misere
seipsos decipiunt. Amen.

John xvii. 3.

Thin is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, See Luke
and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent. John i'. 12;

8. 24 ; 14. 1 ;
17. 2 ; Acts

Life eternal is what we all hope for, what we all promise 15.9; iCor.
ourselves. "Would to God, we could all be persuaded seriously 2 Cor.'s. 7;
to think how we may attain it; that we could be persuaded i john\^'
to believe, that none are ever like to attain eternal life and 4, 5; Jude

' . ver. 4.

happiness, but such as make it their great concern to know

arid to love God ; and that none can know and love God as

they should do, but such as study to know Jesus Christ, and

what He has done for us : the eternal lot and portion of every

man living being in the hands of Jesus Christ : He Himself

assuring us of it ; and " that God has given Him power over [John 17.

all flesh, that He may give eternal life to as many as God

shall give Him."

It behoves us, therefore, as much as our souls are worth,
not only to know the only true God the Father Almighty,
but also Jesus Christ, Whom He hath sent to seek and to
save us.

And this is that part of our Creed, which I shall at this


SERM. time endeavour to explain to you : and after such a manner,

XXXV sr J ' '

'— that you may see the necessity, not only of confessing with

your mouth the Lord Jesus, but of leading a life answerable
to such a profession, as you hope for eternal happiness.

I have, in a former discourse, endeavoured to shew how the
knowledge and belief of God the Father Almighty ought to
affect us ; how His infinite power. His wisdom, His holiness,
His justice, His faithfulness, ought to influence our practice.
But then, we are to consider, that to know God, without the
knowledge of Jesus Christ, would only fill our souls with
fearful apprehensions of what may become of us when we die.

For to know that God is infinitely holy, and infinitely just,
as well as powerful ; and at the same time to know that my
nature is extremely corrupt, and prone to sin continually;
that as such, so holy and just a God can take no pleasure in
me ; and that of myself I know neither how to please, nor
how to appease Him, when offended ; this must needs fill my
soul with fear for myself. And this is the case, this the con-
dition of every man, without the knowledge of Jesus Christ :
the case, not only of jews, turks, and infidels, but of all chris-
tians, who know not that they want a Redeemer, who are not
sensible of the blessing of a Redeemer, and of God's infinite
goodness in sending His own Son, to shew us the way to
eternal life, to teach us by His precepts and by His example,
and to make atonement for our sins.

Now, it being impossible to make any christian sensible of
these things until he is first made sensible of his deplorable
condition by nature, I will first set before you, in as short
and plain a manner as I can, the true, that is, the very mise-
rable condition of man, of every man living, without the
knowledge of Jesus Christ.

It is common, and it is easy, to say, we are all sinners, and
to say this without being much concerned, without feeling
our misery, without fearing the consequence, and even with-
out any thoughts of amendment. And indeed there is no-
thing which more plainly shews the corruption of our nature,
and the danger we are in, than this does, — to own that we
are sinners, and not to fear what must follow.

For to be a sinner is to be at enmity with our Creator;
with a most holy God, Who cannot but hate sin ; with a most


just God, Whose righteous laws we have broken ; and with an
almighty God, Who can destroy us, both body and soul ; Who
cannot but be highly displeased to see His own creatures,
who know His will and His power, yet going on to provoke

It is not material now to enquire, how we came to be such
corrupt creatures. It should be enough, one would think, to
awaken us, to know that we are such.

To know, for instance, that of ourselves we are prone to
evil continually ; that the laws of our Creator are grievous to
us ; that we find a pleasure in doing the very things which
He has forbidden us : to know, moreover, that every soul of
us have, within ourselves, the seed of every wickedness that
ever any other man was guilty of; and a seed which will cer-
tainly spring up, and bring forth fruit, upon a suitable temp-
tation, if not prevented by the power of God ; we being all of
one race and make with those. Mho, we are convinced, are
going headlong to destruction.

The consequence of all which is, that men need not take
pains to go to hell ; they will go thither of course, if they
make not resistance ; and resistance they will not make with-
out the grace of God.

All this is too plain to be denied ; and daily experience
should convince us, that there are no remedies within our-
selves for these evils, and the fears they cause in us ; since
neither the anger of God Who made us, nor the fear of ever-
lasting misery, have, too often, had any power to restrain
men when they are eagerly bent either upon their pleasures,
or worldly interests.

This, we say again, is the condition of every inan living
without the knowledge of Jesus Christ. And every man,
whose eyes God has opened to see this to be his sad condition,
can have no peace in his soul, till he can have some hopes of
a way to escape the wrath of Almighty God, which he has so
much reason to fear. It is then, and not till then, that he
will see the blessing of a Redeemer ; that is, of some one who
can make his peace with God ; who can obtain his pardon for
what is past ; and enable him to live in the favour of God for
the time to come.

And this none but Jesus Christ could do ; and Jesus Christ


SE R IM. has done this for us. He has prevailed with God, His Father,


— '— to be reconciled to ns ; He has obtained for us, that our re-
pentance when sincere shall be accepted ; that none of our
past offences shall be remembered against us ; that we shall
have all the help we shall stand in need of, to carry us through
the difficulties we shall meet with; and that, when we die,
our poor endeavours, however imperfect, if sincere, shall be
rewarded with eternal life and happiness.

And now, christians, you are (one would hope) better pre-
pared to understand this part of your Creed concerning Jesus
Christ ; and the amazing mercy of God, in seeking the wel-
fare of His rebellious creatures -, and in sending His own Son,
to take our nature upon Him, by being born of the Virgin

You will be better able to perceive the reason of all that
Jesus Christ did and suffered while He was upon earth ; and
that it was purely for us, and for our salvation, that He came
down from heaven. It was to declare God's readiness to for-
give the greatest sinners upon their repentance, and return
to their duty. It was to put us in the way of happiness; to
give us such rules, and to direct us to such means, as are ne-
cessary and suflScient to lead us through all the difficulties
we shall meet with ; and to let us know, what things they are,
which will certainly shut us out of heaven.

Particularly, He assured us, that it is no great matter
what our lot is in this world, provided we can secure the
favour of God ; for that this short life is only a state of trial,

Online LibraryThomas WilsonThe works of the right reverend father in God, Thomas Wilson, D.D., Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man (Volume 2) → online text (page 34 of 49)