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A SERMON, Preached at the EXECUTION OF Moses Paul, AN INDIAN; Who was executed at New-Haven, on the Second of September, 1772; for the Murder of Mr. Moses Cook, late of Water|bury, on the 7th of December, 1771. Preached at the Desire of said PAUL.
By SAMSON OCCOM, Minister of the Gospel, and Missionary to the Indians.
NEW-HAVEN; Printed and Sold by T & S. Green. 1772
THE world is already full of books; and the people of God are abundantly furnished with excellent books upon divine subjects; and, it seems, that every subject has been writ|ten upon over & over again: and the people in very deed have had precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little; and so in the whole, they have much, yea, very much they have enough and more than enough. And when I come to con|sider these things, I am ready to say with myself, What folly and madness is it in me to suffer any thing of mine to appear in print, to expose my ignorance to the world.
It seems altogether unlikely that my performance will do any manner of service in the world, since the most excellent writings of worthy and learned men are disregarded. But there are two or three considerations that have induced me to be willing, to suffer my broken hints to appear in the world. One is, that the books that are in the world are written in very high and refined lan|guage, and the sermons that are delivered every sabbath in general, are in a very high and lofty stile, so that the common people understand but little of them. But I think they can’t help understanding my talk; it is common, plain, every day talk: little children may understand me. And poor Negroes 〈…〉 and fully understand my meaning, and it may be of service to them. Again, it may in a particular manner be serviceable to my poor kindred, the Indians. Further, as it comes from an un|common quarter, it may induce people to read it, because it is from an Indian. Lastly, God works where and when he 〈◊〉 and by what instruments he sees fit, and he can and has used weak and unlikely instruments to bring about his great work.
It was a stormy and very uncomfortable day, when the fol|lowing discourse was delivered, and about one half of it was not delivered, as it was written, and now it is a little altered and enlarged in some places.
BY the melancholy providence of God, and at the ear|nest desire and invitation of the poor condemned cri|minal, I am here before this great concourse of people at this time, to give the last discourse to the poor miserable object who is to be executed this day before your eyes, for the due reward of his folly and madness, and enormous wickedness. It is an unwelcome task to me to speak upon such an occasion; but since it is the desire of the poor man himself, who is to die a shameful death this day, in con|science I cannot deny him; I must endeavour to do the great work the dying man requests.
I conclude that this great concourse of people have come together to see the execution of justice upon this poor In|dian; and I suppose the bigest part of you look upon your|selves christians, and as such I hope you will demean your|selves; and that you will have suitable commiseration to|wards this poor object. Tho’ you can’t in justice pray for his life to be continued in this world, yet you can pray ear|nestly for the salvation of his poor soul, consistently with the mind of God. Let this be therefore, the fervent exercise of our souls: for this is the last day we have to pray for him. As for you, that don’t regard religion, it cannot be expected, that you will put up one petition for this miserable creature: yet I would intreat you seriously to consider the frailty of corrupt nature, and behave yourselves as becomes rational creatures.
And in a word, let us all be suitably affected with the melancholy occasion of the day, knowing that we are all dy|ing creatures, and accountable unto God. Tho’ this poor condemned criminal will in a few minutes know more than all of us, either in unutterable joy, or in inconceivable wo, yet we shall certainly know as much as he, in a few days.
The sacred words that I have chosen to speak from upon this undesirable occasion, are found written in the epistle of St. Paul to the
DEATH is called the King of Terrors, and it ought to be the subject of every man and wo|man’s thoughts daily; because it is that unto which they are liable every moment of their lives: and therefore, it cannot be unseason|able to think, speak and hear of it at any time, and especi|ally on this mournful occasion; for we must all come to it, how soon we cannot tell; whether we are prepared or not prepared, ready or not ready, whether death is welcome or not welcome, we must feel the force of it: whether we con|cern ourselves with death or not, it will concern itself with us. Seeing that this is the case with every one of us, what man|ner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness; how ought men to exert themselves in prepara|tion for death continually; for they know not what a day or an hour may bring forth, with respect to them. But, 〈◊〉 according to the appearance of mankind in general, death is the least thought of. They go on from day to day, as if they were to live here forever, as if this was the only life. They contrive, rack their inventions, disturb their rest, and even hazard their lives in all manner of dangers, both by sea and land; yea they leave no stone unturn’d that they may live in the world, and at the same time have little or no contrivance to die well: God and their souls are neglected, and heaven and eternal happiness are disregard|ed; Christ and his religion are despised—yet most of these very men intend to be happy when they come to die, not considering that there must be great preparation in order to die well. Yea there is none so fit to live as those that are fit to die; those that are not fit to die are not fit to live. Life & death are nearly connected; we generally own that it is a great and solemn thing to die. If this be true, then it is a great and solemn thing to live; for as we live, so we shall die. But I say again, how little do mankind realize these things? They are busy about the things of this world as if there was no death before them. Dr. Watts pictures them out to the life in his psalms:
But on the other hand, life is the most precious thing and ought to be the most desired by all rational creatures. It ought to be prized above all things; yet there is nothing so abused and despised as life, and nothing so neglected: mean eternal life is shamefully disregarded by men in gene|ral, and eternal death is chosen rather than life. This the general complaint of the bible from the beginning to the end. As long as Christ is neglected, life is refused, and as long as sin is cherished, death is chosen; and this seems to be the woful case of mankind of all nations, accor|ding to their appearance in these days; for it is too plain to be denied, that vice and immorality, and floods of ini|quity are abounding every where amongst all nations, and all orders and ranks of men, and in every sect of people. Yea there is a great agreement and harmony among all na|tions, and from the highest to the lowest to practise sin and iniquity; and the pure religion of Jesus Christ is turned out of doors, and is dying without; or, in other words, the Lord Jesus Christ is turned out of doors by men in ge|neral, and even by his professed people. “He came to his own, and his own received him not.” But the devil is ad|mitted, he has free access to the houses and hearts of the children of men: Thus life is refused and death is chosen. But in further speaking upon our text, by divine assis|•••ce, I shall consider these two general propositions:
I. That sin is the cause of all the miseries that befal the children of men, both as to their bodies and souls, for time and eternity.
II. That eternal life and happiness is the free gift of God, thro’ Jesus Christ our Lord.
In speaking to the first proposition I shall first consider the nature of sin; and secondly shall consider the conse|quences of sin, or the wages of sin, which is death.
First then, we are to describe the nature of sin.
Sin is the transgression of the law:—This is the scripture definition of sin. Now the law of God being holy, just and good; sin must be altogether unholy, unjust and evil. If I was define sin, I should call it a contrariety to GOD; and as such must be the vilest thing in the world; it is full of all evil; it is the evil of evils; the only evil, in which dwells no good thing; and is most destructive to God’s creation, where ever it takes effect. It was sin that transformed the very angels in heaven, into devils; and it was sin that caused hell to be made. If it had not been for sin, there never would have been such a thing as hell or devil, death or misery.
And if sin is such a thing as we have just described; it must be worse than the devils and hell itself.—Sin is full of deadly poison; it is full of malignity and hatred against God, against all his divine perfections and atributes, against his wisdom, against his power, against his holiness and goodness against his mercy and justice, against his written law and gospel; yea, against his very being and existence. Were it in the power of sin, it would even dethrone God, and set it|self on the throne.
When Christ the Son of the Most High, came down from the glorious world above, into this wretched world of sin and sorrow, to seek and to save that which was lost, sin, or sinners rose up against him, as soon as he entered our world, and pursued him with hellish malice, night and day, for above thirty years together, till they kill’d him.
Further, sin is against the Holy Ghost; it opposes all his good and holy operations upon the children of me. When, and wherever there is the out-pouring of the Spin of God, upon the children of men, in a way of conviction and conversion; sin will immediately prompt the devil and his children to rise up against it, and they will oppose 〈◊〉 work with all their power, and in every shape. And if open opposition will not do, the devil will mimick the work, and thus prevent the good effect.
Thus we find by the scripture accounts, that whenever God raises up men, and uses them as instruments of convic|tion and conversion, the devil and his instruments will rise up to destroy both the reformers and the reformed. That it has been from the early days of Christianity, to this day[.] We have found it so in our day. In the time of the out|pouring of the Spirit of God in these colonies, to the con|viction and reformation of many; immediately sin and the devil influenced numbers to rise up against the good work of God, calling it delusion, and work of the devil. And thus sin also opposes every motion of the Spirit of God, in the heart of every Christian; this makes a warfare in the soul.
2. I shall endeavour to shew the sad consequences or ef|fects of sin upon the children of men.
Sin has poison’d them, & made them distracted or fools. The Psalmist says, The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. And Solomon, thro’ his Proverbs, calls ungodly sinners fools; and their sin he calls their folly, and foolishness. The Apostle James says, But the tongue can no man tame, it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. It is the heart that is in the first place full of deadly poison. The tongue is only an in|terpreter of the heart. Sin has viriated the whole man, both soul and body; all the powers are corrupted; it has turned the minds of men against all good, towards all evil. So poisoned are they, according to the prophet Isaiah v. ch. 20 ver. “Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil▪ that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” And Christ Jesus saith in John iii. 19, 20. “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” Sin has stupified mankind, they are now ignorant of God their maker; nei|ther do they enquire after him. And they are ignorant of themselves, they know not what is good for them, neither do they understand their danger; and they have no fear of God before their eyes.
Further, sin has blinded their eyes, so that they can’t dis|cern spiritual things; neither do they see the way that they should go, and they are deaf as adders, so that they cannot hear the joyful sound of the gospel that brings glad tidings of peace and pardon to sinners of mankind. Neither do they regard the Charmer charming never so wisely.—Not only so, but sin has made man proud, tho’ he has nothing to be proud of; for he has lost all his excellency, his beauty and happiness; he is a bankrupt, and is excommunicated from God; he was turned out of paradise by God himself, and become a vagabond in God’s world, and as such he has no right nor title to the least crumb of mercy in the world: yet he is proud, he is haughty, and exalts himself above God, tho’ he is wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked. He glories in his shame. Sin has made him beastly and devilish; yea he is sunk beneath the beasts, and is worse than the ravenous beasts, of the wilderness. He is become ill-natur’d, cruel and murderous; he is con|tentious and quarrelsome. I said he is worse than the ra|venous beasts, for wolves and bears don’t devour their own kind, but man does; yea we have numberless instances of women killing their own children; such women I think are worse than she tygers.
Sin has made men dishonest and deceitful, so that he goes about cheating and defrauding and deceiving his fellow men in the world: yea, he is become a cheat himself, he goes about in a vain shew; we don’t know where to find man. Some times we find as an angel of God; and at other times we find as a devil, even one and the same man. Sin has made man a liar even from the womb; so that there is no believing nor trusting him. The royal psalmist says, “The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.”—His language is also 〈…〉 he had a pure and holy language, in his innocency, to adore and praise God his maker, he now cur|ses, swears, and profanes the holy name of God, and curses and damns his fellow-creatutes. In a word, man is a most unruly and ungovernable creature, and is become as the wild ass’s colt, and is harder to tame than any of God’s creatures in this world. In short, man is worse than all creatures in this lower world, his propensity is to evil and that continually; he is more like the devil than any crea|ture we can think of: and I think it is not going beyond the word of God, to say, man is the most devilish creature in the world. Christ said to his disciples, One of you is a devil; to the Jews he said, Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. Thus every un|converted soul is a child of the devil, sin has made them so.
We have given some few hints of the nature of sin, and the effects of sin on mankind.
We shall in the next place consider the wages or the re|ward of sin, which is death.
Sin is the cause of all the miseries that attend poor sinful man, which will finally bring him to death, death tempo|ral and eternal. I shall first consider his temporal death.
His temporal death then begins as soon as he is born. Tho’ it seems to us that he is just beginning to live, yet in fact he is just entered into a state of death: as St. Paul says, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Man is surrounded with ten thousand instruments of death, and is liable to death every moment of his life; a thousand diseases await him on every side continually; the sentence of death is past upon them as soon as they are born: yea they are struck with death as soon as they breathe. And it seems all the enjoyments of men in this world are also poisoned with sin: for GOD said to Adam after he had sinned, “Cursed is the ground for thy sake, in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.” By this we plainly see that every thing that grows out of the ground is cursed, and all creatures that God hath made for man are cursed also; and whatever God curses is a cursed thing indeed. Thus death and destruction is in all the enjoyments of men in this life, every enjoyment in this world is liable to misfortune in a thousand ways, both by sea and land.
How many ships, that have been loaded with the choicest treasures of the earth, have been swallowed up in the ocean, many times just before they enter their desired haven. And vast treasures have been consumed by fire on the land, &c. And the fruits of the earth are liable to many judg|ments. And the dearest and nearest enjoyments of men are generally balanced with equal sorrow and grief. A man and his wife who have liv’d together in happiness for many years; that have comforted each other in various changes of life, must at last be seperated; one or the other must be taken away first by death, and then the poor survivor is drowned in tears, in sorrow, mourning and grief. And when a dear child or children are taken away by death the bereaved parents are bowed down with sorrow and deep mourning. When Joseph was sold by his brethren unto the Ishmaelites, they took his coat and rolled it in blood, and car|ried it to their father, and the good patriarch knew it to be Joseph’s coat, and he concluded that his dear Joseph was devoured by evil beasts, and he was plunged all over in sorrow and bitter mourning, and he refused to be com|forted. And so when tender parents are taken away by death, the children are left comfortless.—All this is the sad effect of sin.—These are the wages of sin.
And secondly, we are to consider man’s spiritual death, while he is here in this world. We find it thus written in the word of God. ‘And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge, of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’ And yet he did eat of it, and so he and all his posterity, are but dead men. And St. Paul to the Ephesians saith, ‘You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.—The great Mr. Henry says in this place, that unregenerate souls are dead in trespasses and sins. All those who are in their sins, are dead in sins; yea, in trespasses and sins; which may signify all sorts of sins, ha|bitual and actual; sins of heart and life. Sin is the death of the soul. Wherever that prevails, there is a privation of all spiritual life. Sinners are dead in state, being destitute of the principles and powers of spirtual life; and cut off from God, the fountain of life: and they are dead in law, as a condemned malefactor is said to be a dead man. Now a dead man, in a natural sense, is unactive, and is of no service to the living; there is no correspondence between the dead and the living: there is no agreement or union between them, no fellowship at all between the dead and the living. A dead man is altogether ignorant of the intercourses a|mongst the living:—just so it is with men that are spiritual|ly dead; they have no agreeable activity. Their activity in sin, is their deadness, and inactivity towards God. They are of no service to God; and they have no correspondence with heaven; and there is no agreement or fellowship be|tween them and the living God; and they are totally igno|rant of the agreable and sweet intercourse there is between God and his children here below: and they are ignorant, and know nothing of that blessed fellowship and union there is among the saints here below. They are ready to say in|deed, behold how they love one another! But they know nothing of that love, that the children of God enjoy. As sin is in opposition to God; so sinners are at enmity against God; there is no manner of agreement between them.
Let us consider further. God is a living God, he is all life, the fountain of life; and a sinner is a dead soul; there is nothing but death in him. And now judge ye, what a|greement can there be between them? God is a holy and pure God, and a sinner is an unholy and filthy creature;— God is a righteous Being, and a sinner is an unrighteous crea|ture; God is light, and a sinner is darkness itself, &c. Fur|ther, what agreement can there be between God and a lyar, a thief, a drunkard, a swearer, a profane creature, a whore|monger, an adulterer, and idolater, &c. No one that has any sense, dare say, that there is any agreement. Further, as sin|ners are dead to God, as such, they have no delight in God, and godliness; they have no taste for the religion of Jesus Christ; they have no pleasure in the holy exercises of religi|on. Prayer is no pleasant work with them; or if they have any pleasure in it, it is not out of love to God, but out of self-love, like the Pharisees of old; they loved to pray in open view of men, that they might have praise from them. And perhaps, they were not careful to pray in secret. These were dead souls, they were unholy, rotten hypocrites, and so all their prayers and religious exercises were cold, dead, and abominable services to God. Indeed they are dead to all the duties that God requires of them; they are dead to the holy bible; to all the laws, commands, and pre|cepts thereof; and to the ordinances of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. When they read the book of God, it is like an old almanack to them, a dead book. But it is be|cause they are dead, and as such, all their services are against God, even their best services are an abomination unto God; yea, a sinner is so dead in sin, that the threatnings of God don’t move them. All the thunderings and lightnings of Mount-Sinai don’t stir them. And all the curses of the law are out against them; yea, every time they read these curses in the bible, they are cursing them to their faces, and to their very eyes; yet they are unconcern’d, and go on in sin without fear. And lastly here, sin has so stupify’d the sinner, that he will not believe his own senses; he wont believe his own eyes, nor his own ears; he reads the book of God, but he does not believe what he reads. And he hears of God, and heaven, and eternal happiness, and of hell and eternal misery; but he believes none of these things; he goes on, as if there were no God, nor heaven and happiness; neither has he any fear of hell and eternal torments;—and he sees his fellow men dropping away daily on every side, yet he goes on carelessly in sin, as if he never was to die. And if he at any time thinks of dying, he hardly believes his own tho’ts. Death is at great distance, so far off, that he don’t concern himself about it, so as to prepare for it. God mournfully complains of his people, that they don’t consider; O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end.
The next thing I shall consider, is the actual death of the body, or seperation between soul and body. At the cessation of natural life, there is an end of all the enjoyments of this life; there is no more joy nor sor|row; no more hope nor fear, as to the body; no more contrivance and carrying on any business; no more mer|chandizing and trading; no more farming; no more buy|ing and selling; no more building of any kind, no more contrivance at all to live in the world; no more flatteries nor frowns from the world; no more honor nor re|proach; no more praise; no more good report, nor evil re|port; no more learning of any trades, arts or sciences in the world; no more sinful pleasures, they are all at an end; re|creations, visiting, tavern haunting, music and dancing, chambering and carousing, playing at dice and cards, or any game whatsoever; cursing and swearing, and profaning the holy name of God, drunkenness, fighting, debauchery, ly|ing and cheating, in this world, must cease forever. Not only so, but they must bid an eternal farewel to all the world; bid farewel to all their beloved sins and pleasures; and the places and possessions, that knew them once, shall know them no more forever. And further, they must bid adieu to all sacred and divine things. They are obliged to leave the bible, and all the ordinances thereof; and to bid farewel to preachers, and all sermons and all christian people, and chris|tian conversation; they must bid a long farewel to sabbaths and seasons, and opportunities of worship; yea, an eternal farewel to all mercy, and all hope; an eternal farewel to God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and adieu to hea|ven and all happiness, to saints and all the inhabitants of the upper world. At your leisure please to read the de|struction of Babylon; you will find it written in the 18th of the Revelation.
On the other hand, the poor departed soul must take up its lodging in sorrow, wo and misery, in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched; where a multitude of frightful de|formed devils dwell, and the damned ghosts of Adam’s race; where darkness, horror and despair reigns, where hope never comes, and where poor guilty naked souls will be tormented with exquisite torments, even the wrath of the Almighty poured out-upon their damned souls; the smoke of their torments ascending up forever and ever; their mouths and nostrils streaming forth with living fire; and hellish groans, howlings, cries and shrieks all round them, and merciless devils upbraiding them for their folly and madness, and tormenting them incessantly.—And there they must endure the most unsatiable, fruitless desire, and the most overwhelming shame and confusion, and the most horrible fear, and the most doleful sorrow, and the most racking despair. When they cast their flaming eyes to heaven, with Dives in torments, they behold an angry and frowning GOD, whose eyes are as a flaming fire, and they are struck with ten thousand darts of pain; and the sight of the happiness of the saints above, adds to their pains and aggravates their misery. And when they reflect upon their past folly and madness in neglecting the great salvation in their day, it will pierce them with ten thousand inconceiv|able torments; it will as it were enkindle their hell afresh; and it will cause them to curse themselves bitterly, and curse the day in which they were born, and curse their parents that were the instruments of their being in the world; yea they will curse, bitterly curse and wish that very GOD that gave them their being, to be in the same condition with them in hell torments. This is what is called the second death, and it is the last death, and an eternal death to a guil|ty soul.
And O eternity, eternity, eternity! Who can measure it? Who can count the years thereof? Arithmetic must fail, the thoughts of men and angels are drowned in it; how shall we describe eternity? To what shall we compare it? Were it possible to employ a fly to carry off this globe by the small particles thereof, and to carry them to such a dis|tance that it should return once in ten thousand years for another particle, and so continue till it has carried off all this globe, and framed them together in some unknown space, till it has made just such a world as this is: after all eternity would remain the same unexhausted duration. This must be the unavoidable portion of all impenitent sinners, let them be who they will, great or small, honorable or ignoble, rich or poor, bond or free. Negroes, Indians, English, or of what nations soever, all that die in their sins, must go to hell together, for the wages of sin is death.
The next thing that I was to consider is this:
That eternal life and happiness is the free gift of God, thro’ Jesus Christ our Lord.
Under this proposition I shall endeavour to shew what this life and happiness is.
The life that is mentioned in our text is, a spiritual life: it is the life of the soul, a restoration of soul from sin, to ho|liness, from darkness to light, a translation from the king|dom and dominion of satan, to the kingdom of God’s grace. In other words, it is being restored to the image of God, and delivered from the image of satan. And this life con|sists in union of the soul to God, and communion with God; a real participation of the divine nature, or in the a|postle’s words, it is Christ formed within us; I live, says he, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the apostle John saith, God is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him. This is the life of the soul. It is called emphatically life, because it is a life that shall never have a period, a stable, permanent, and unchangeable life, called in the scriptures, everlasting life, or life eternal. And the happiness of this life consists in communion with God, or in the spiritual enjoyment of God. As much as a soul enjoys of God in this life, just so much of life and happiness he enjoys or possesses; yea, just so much of heaven he en|joys. A true christian, desires no other heaven, but the en|joyment of God, a full and perfect enjoyment of God, is a full and perfect heaven and happiness to a gracious soul.—Further, this life is called eternal life, because God has plant|ed a living principle in the soul; and whereas he was dead before, now he is made alive unto God; there is an active principle within him towards God, he now moves towards God in his religious devotions and exercises; is daily comfortably and sweetly walking with God, in all his ordinances and com|mands; his delight is in the ways of God; he breathes towards God, a living breath, in praises, prayers, adorations and thanksgivings; his prayers are now heard in the heavens, and his praises delight the ears of the Almighty, and his thanks|givings are accepted. So alive is he now to God, that it is his meat and drink, yea more than his meat and drink, to do the will of his heavenly Father. It is his delight, his happiness and pleasure to serve God. He does not drag himself to his duties now, but he does them out of choice, and with alacrity of soul. Yea, so alive is he to God, that he gives up himself and all that he has entirely to God, to be for him and none other; his whole aim is to glorify God in all things, whether by life or death, all the same to him.
We have a bright example of this in St. Paul. After he was converted, he was all alive to God; he regarded not his life, but was willing to spend, and be spent in the service of his God; he was hated, revil’d, despised, laughed at, and called by all manner of evil names; was scourged, stoned and imprisoned;—and all cou’d not stop his activity towards God. He would boldly and couragiously go on in preach|ing the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, to poor, lost, and undone sinners; he would do the work God set him about, in spite of all opposition he met with, either from men or devils, earth or hell; come death, or come life, none of these things moved him, because he was alive unto God. Tho’ he suffered hunger and thirst, cold and heat, poverty & naked|ness by day & by night, by sea and land, & was in danger all ways; yet he would serve God amidst all these dangers. Read his amazing account in 2 Cor. 11. 23 and on.
Another instance of marvellous love towards God, we have in Daniel. When there was a proclamation of prohibition, sent by the king, to all his subjects, forbidding them to call upon their gods, for thirty days; which was done by envious men, that they might find occasion against Daniel the ser|vant of the Most High God; yet he having the life of God in his soul, regarded not the king’s decree, but made his pe|titions to his God, as often as he used to do, tho’ death was threatned to the disobedient. But he feared not the hell they had prepared; for it seems, the den resembled hell, and the lions represented the devils. And when he was actually cast into the lion’s den, the ravenous beasts become meek and innocent as lambs, before the prophet, because he was alive unto God; the spirit of the Most High was in him, and the lions were afraid before him. Thus it was with Da|niel and Paul; they went thro’ fire and water, as the com|mon saying is, because they had eternal life in their souls in eminent manner; and they regarded not this life, for the cause and glory of God. And thus it has been in all ages with true Christians. Many of the fore-fathers of the Eng|lish, in this country, had this life, and are gone the same way, that the holy prophets and apostles went. Many of them went thro’ all manner of sufferings for God; and a great number of them are gone home to heaven, in chariots of fire. I have seen the place in London, called Smithfield, where numbers were burnt to death for the religion of Jesus Christ. And there is the same life in true christians now in these days; and if there should persecutions arise in our day, I verily believe, true christians would suffer with the same spirit and temper of mind, as those did, who suffered in days past.—This is the life which our text speaks of.
We proceed in the next place to shew, that this life, which we have describ’d, is the free gift of God, thro’ Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sinners have forfeited all mercy into the hand of divine justice, and have merited hell and damnation to themselves; for the wages of sin is everlasting death, but heaven and happiness is a free gift; it comes by favour; and all me|rit is excluded: and especially if we consider that we are fallen sinful creatures, and there is nothing in us that can recommend us to the favour of God; and we can do no|thing that is agreeable and acceptable to God; and the mer|cies we enjoy in this life are altogether from the pure mercy of God; we are unequal to them. Good old Jacob cried out, under a sense of his unworthiness, “I am less than the least of all thy mercies,” and we have nothing to give unto God, if we essay to give all the service that we are capable of, we should give him nothing but what was his own, and when we give up ourselves unto God, both soul and body, we give him nothing; for we were his before; he had right to do with us as he pleased, either to throw us into hell, or save us.—There is nothing that we can call our own, but our sins; and who is he that dares to say, I expect to have hea|ven for my sins? for our text says, that the wages of sin is death. If we are thus unequal and unworthy of the least mercy in this life, how much more are we unworthy of eter|nal life? yet God can find it in his heart to give it. And it is altogether unmerited; it is a free gift to undeserving and hell deserving sinners of mankind: it is altogether of God’s sovereign good pleasure to give it. It is of free grace & sovereign mercy, and from the unbounded goodness of God; he was self-moved to it. And it is said that this life is giv|en in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. It could not be given in any other way, but in and through the death and sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ; Christ himself is the gift, and he is the christian’s life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The word says further, “For by grace ye are saved, thro’ faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” This is given thro’ Jesus Christ our Lord; it is Christ that purchased it with his own blood; he prepared it with his divine and almighty power; and by the same power, and by the influence of his spirit, he prepares us for it; and by his divine grace preserves us to it. In a word, he is all in all in our eternal salvation; all this is the free gift of God.
I have now gone thro’ what I proposed from my text. And I shall now make some application of the whole.
First to the criminal in particular; and then to the au|ditory in general.
My poor unhappy brother MOSES;
As it was your own desire that I should preach to you this last discourse, so I shall speak plainly to you.—You are the bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh. You are an Indian, a despised creature; but you have despised yourself; yea you have despised God more; you have trodden under foot his authority; you have despised his commands and precepts: and now, as God says, be sure your sins will find you out. And now, poor Moses, your sins have found you out, and they have overtaken you this day; the day of your death is now come; the king of terrors is at hand; you have but a very few moments to breathe in this world.—The just laws of man, and the holy law of Jehovah, call aloud for the destruction of your mortal life; God says, “Whoso sheddeth mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” This is the antient decree of heaven, and it is to be executed by man; nor have you the least gleam of hope of escape, for the unalterable sentence is past; the terrible day of execution is come; the unwelcome guard is about you; and the fatal instruments of death are now made rea|dy; your coffin and your grave, your last lodging, are open ready to receive you.
Alas! poor Moses, now you know, by sad, by woful ex|perience, the living truth of our text, that the wages of sin is death. You have been already dead; yea twice dead: by nature spiritually dead. And since the awful sentence of death has been past upon you, you have been dead to all the pleasures of this life; or all the pleasures, lawful or unlawful, have been dead to you: And death, which is the wages of sin, is standing even on this side of your grave ready to put a final period to your mortal life; and just beyond the grave, eternal death awaits your poor soul, and the devils are ready to drag your miserable soul down to their bottom|less den, where everlasting wo and horror reigns; the place is filled with doleful shrieks, howls and groans of the dam|ned. Oh! to what a miserable, forlorn, and wretched con|dition have your extravagant folly and wickedness brought you! i. e. if you die in your sins. And O! what manner of repentance ought you to manifest! How ought your heart to bleed for what you have done! How ought you to prostrate your soul before a bleeding God! And under self|condemnation, cry out, Ah Lord, ah Lord, what have I done!—Whatever partiality, injustice and error there may be among the judges of the earth, remember that you have deserved a thousand deaths, and a thousand hells, by reason of your sins, at the hands of a holy God. Should God come out against you in strict justice, alas! what could you say for yourself? for you have been brought up under the bright sun-shine, and plain, and loud sound of the gospel; and you have had a good education; you can read and write well; and God has given you a good natural understanding: and therefore your sins are so much more aggravated. You have not sinned in such an ignorant manner as others have done; but you have sinned with both your eyes open as it were, under the light, even the glorious light of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.—You have sinned against the light of your own conscience, against your knowledge and understanding; you have sinned against the pure and holy laws of God, and the just laws of men; you have sinned against heaven and earth; you have sinned against all the mercies and goodness of God; you have sinned against the whole bible, against the old and new-testament; you have sinned against the blood of Christ, which is the blood of the everlasting covenant. O poor Moses, see what you have done! and now repent, repent, I say again repent; see how the blood you shed cries against you, and the Avenger of Blood is at your heels. O fly, fly to the Blood of the Lamb of God for the pardon of all your aggravated sins.
But let us now turn to a more pleasant theme.—Tho’ you have been a great sinner, a heaven daring sinner; yet hark and hear the joyful sound from heaven, even from the King of kings, and Lord of lords; that the gift of God is eternal life, thro’ Jesus Christ our Lord. It is a free gift, and of|fered to the greatest sinners, and upon their true repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, they shall be welcome to the life, which we have spoken of; it is offer|ed upon free terms. He that hath no money may come; he that hath no righteousness, no goodness, may come; the call is to poor undone sinners; the call is not to the righteous, but sinners, calling them to repentance. Hear the voice of the Son of the most high God, Come unto me, all yea that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. This is a call, a gracious call to you, poor Moses, under your present burdens and distresses. And Christ alone has a right to call sinners to himself. It would be presumption for a mighty angel to call a poor sinner in this manner; and were it possible for you to apply to all God’s creatures, they would with one voice tell you, that it was not in them to help you. Go to all the means of grace, they would prove miserable helps, without Christ himself. Yea, apply to all the mini|sters of the gospel in the world, they would all say, that it was not in them, but would only prove as indexes, to point out to you, the Lord Jesus Christ, the only saviour of sinners of mankind. Yea, go to all the angels in heaven, they would do the same. Yea, go to God the Father himself, without Christ, he cou’d not help you, to speak after the manner of men, he would also point to the Lord Jesus Christ, & say this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him. Thus you see, poor Moses, that there is none in heaven, or on the earth, that can help you, but Christ; he alone has power to save, and to give life.—God the eternal hath ap|pointed him, chose him, authorized, and fully commissioned him to save sinners. He came down from heaven, into this lower world, and became as one of us, and stood in our room. He was the second Adam. And as God demanded perfect obedience of the first Adam; the second fulfil’d it; and as the first sinned, and incurred the wrath and anger of God, the second endur’d it; he suffered in our room. As he became sin for us, he was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; all our stripes were laid upon him; yea, he was final|ly condemned, because we were under condemnation; and at last was executed and put to death, for our sins; was lift|ed up between the heaven and the earth, and was crucified on the accursed tree; his blessed hands and feet were fasten|ed there;—there he died a shameful and ignominious death▪ there he finished the great work of our redemption: there his hearts blood was shed for our cleansing: there he fully satisfied the divine justice of God, for penitent, believing sinners, tho’ they have been the chief of sinners.—O Moses! this is good news to you, in this last day of your life; here is a crucified Saviour at hand for your sins; his blessed hands are out-stretched, all in a gore of blood for you. This is the only Saviour, an almighty Saviour, just such as you stand in infinite and perishing need of. O, poor Moses! hear the dying prayer of a gracious Saviour on the accursed tree,—Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. This was a prayer for his enemies and murderers; and it is for you, if you would only repent and believe in him. O why will you die eternally, poor Moses, since Christ has died for sinners? Why will you go to hell from beneath the bleed|ing Saviour as it were? This is the day of your execution, 〈◊〉 it is the accepted time, it is the day of salvation if you will now believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Must Christ fol|low you into the prison by his servants, and there intreat you to accept of eternal life, and will you refuse it? and must 〈◊〉 follow you even to the gallows, and there beseech you to accept of him, and will you refuse him? Shall he be cruci|fied hard by your gallows, as it were, and will you regard him not? O, poor Moses, now believe on the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart, and thou shalt be saved eternally▪ Come just as you are, with all your sins and abominations, with all your filthiness, with all your blood-guiltiness, with all your condemnation, and lay hold of the hope set be|fore you this day. This is the last day of salvation with your soul; you will be beyond the bounds of mercy in a few minutes more. O, what a joyful day would it be if you would now openly believe in and receive the Lord Jesus Christ; it would be the beginning of heavenly days with 〈◊〉 poor soul; instead of a melancholy day, it would be a ••••ding day to your soul; it would cause the very angels in heaven to rejoice, and the saints on earth to be glad; it would cause the angels to come down from the realms above, and wait hovering about your gallows, ready to convey your soul to the heavenly mansions, there to take the posses|sion of eternal glory and happiness, and join the heavenly choirs in singing the songs of Moses and the Lamb: there to set down forever with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of God’s glory▪ and your shame and guilt shall be forever banished from the place, and all sorrow and fear for|ever fly away, and tears be wip’d from your face; and there shall you forever admire the astonishing and amazing and infinite mercy of God in Christ Jesus, in pardoning such a monstrous sinner as you have been; there you will claim the highest note of praise, for the riches of free grace in Christ Jesus. But if you will not accept of a Saviour so freely offered to you in this last day of your life, you must this very day bid farewel to God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, to heaven and all the saints and angels that are there 〈◊〉 and you must bid all the saints in this lower world an eter|nal farewel, and even the whole world. And so I must leave you in the hands of God; and I must turn to the whole auditory.
Sirs, We may plainly see, from what we have heard, and from the miserable object before us, into what a doleful condition sin has brought mankind, even into a state of death and misery. We are by nature as certainly under sentence of death from God, as this miserable man is, by the just de|termination of man; and we are all dying creatures, and we are, or ought to be, sensible of it; and this is the dread|ful fruit of sin. O! let us then fly from all appearance of sin; let us fight against it with all our might; let us repent and turn to our God, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, that we may live forever; let us all prepare for death, for we know not how soon, nor how suddenly we may be called out of the world.
Permit me in particular, reverend Gentlemen and fathers in Israel, to speak a few words to you, tho’ I am well sensi|ble that I need to be taught the first principles of the ora|cles of God, by the least of you. But since the providence of God has so ordered it, that I must speak here on this oc|casion, I beg that you would not be offended nor be angry with me.
God has raised you up, from among your brethren, and has qualified, and authorized you to do his great work; and you are the servants of the Most High GOD, and ministers of the Lord Jesus the Son of the living God: you are Christ’s ambassadors; you are called Shep|herds, watchmen, overseers, or bishops, and you are rulers of the temples of God, or of the assemblies of God’s peo|ple; you are God’s angels, and as such you have nothing to do but to wait upon God, and to do the work the Lord Jesus Christ your blessed Lord and Master has set you about, 〈◊〉 fearing the face of any man, nor seeking to please men, 〈◊〉 your Master. You are to declare the whole counsel of God, and to give a portion to every soul in due season; as physician gives a portion to his patients, according to their diseases, so you are to give a portion to every soul in due season, according to their spiritual maladies; whether it be agreeable or disagreeable to them, you must give it them; whether they will love you or hate you for it, you must do your work. Your work is to encounter sin and fatan; this was the very end of the coming of Christ into the world, and the end of his death and sufferings; it was to make an end of sin and to destroy the works of the devil. And this is your work still, you are to sight the battles of the Lord. Therefore combine together, and be terrible as an army with manners; attack this monster sin in all its shapes and wind|ings, and lift up your voices as trumpets and not spare, all aloud, call your people to arms against this common enemy of mankind, that sin may not be their ruin. Call upon all orders, ranks and degrees of people, to rise up a|gainst sin and satan. Arm yourselves with fervent prayer continually, this is a terrible weapon against the kingdom of satan. And preach the death and sufferings, and the re|surrection of Jesus Christ; for nothing is so destructive to the kingdom of the devil, as this is. But what need I speak any more? Let us all attend, and hear the great Apostle of the Gentiles speaking unto us in Eph. 6 ch. from the 10th ver. and onward. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principa|lities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breast-plate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the firy darts of the wicked; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and sup|plication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all per|severance, and supplication for all saints.
I shall now address myself to the Indians, my brethren and kindred according to the flesh.
My poor kindred,
You see the woful consequences of sin, by seeing this our poor miserable country-man now before us, who is to die this day for his sins and great wickedness. And it was the sin of drunkenness that has brought this destruction and untimely death upon him. There is a dreadful wo de|nounced from the Almighty against drunkards, and it this sin, this abominable, this beastly and accursed sin of drunkenness, that has stript us of every desirable comfort in this life; by this we are poor, miserable and wretched; by this sin we have no name nor credit in the world among po|lite nations; for this sin we are despised in the world, and it is all right and just, for we despise ourselves more; and if we don’t regard ourselves, who will regard us? And it is for our sins, and especially for that accursed, that most de|velish sin of drunkenness that we suffer every day. For the love of strong drink we spend all that we have, and every thing we can get. By this sin we can’t have comfortable houses, nor any thing comfortable in our houses; neither food nor raiment, nor decent utensils. We are obliged to put up any sort of shelter just to screeh us from the severity of the weather; and we go about with very mean, ragged and dirty cloathes, almost naked. And we are half starved, for most of the time obliged to pick up any thing to eat.—And our poor children are suffering every day for want of the necessaries of life; they are very often crying for want of food, and we have nothing to give them; and in the cold weather they are shivering and crying, being pinched with cold.—All this is for the love of strong drink. And this is not all the misery and evil we bring on ourselves in this world; but when we are intoxicated with strong drink, we drown our rational powers, by which we are distinguished from the brutal creation; we unman ourselves, and bring ourselves not only level with the beasts of the field, but se|ven degrees beneath them; yea we bring ourselves level with the devils; I don’t know but we make ourselves worse than the devils, for I never heard of drunken devils.
My poor kindred, do consider what a dreadful abomina|ble sin drunkenness is. God made us men, and we chuse to be beasts and devils; God made us rational creatures, and we chuse to be fools. Do consider further, and behold a drunkard, and see how he looks, when he has drowned as reason; how deformed and shameful does he appear? He dis-figures every part of him, both soul and body, which was made after the image of God. He appears with awful deformity, and his whole visage is dis-figured; if he attempts to speak he cannot bring out his words distinct, so as to be understood; if he walks he reals and staggers to and fro, and tumbles down. And see how he behaves, he is now laughing, and then he is crying; he is singing and the next minute he is mourning; and is all love to every one, and anon he is raging, & for fighting, & killing all before him, even the nearest and the dearest relations and friends: Yea nothing is too bad for a drunken man to do. He will do that, which he would not do for the world, in his right mind; he may lie with his own sister or daughter as Lot did.
Further, when a person is drunk, he is just good for no|thing in the world; he is of no service to himself, to his fa|mily, to his neighbours, or his country; and how much more unfit is he in serve God: yet he is just fit for the ser|vice of the devil.
Again, a man in drunkenness is in all manner of danger he may be kill’d by his fellow-men, by wild beasts, 〈◊〉 tame beasts; he may fall into the fire, into the water, or into a ditch; or he may fall down as he walks along, and break his bones or his neck; he may cut himself with edge|tools.—Further, if he has any money or any thing valuable, he may loose it all, or may be robb’d, or he may make a foolish bargain, and be cheated out of all he has.
I believe you know the truth of what I have just now said, many of you, by sad experience; yet you will go on still in your drunkenness. Tho’ you have been cheated over and over again, and you have lost your substance by drunkenness, yet you will venture to go on in this most de|structive sin. O fools when will ye be wise?—We all know the truth of what I have been saying, by what we have seen and heard of drunken deaths. How many have been drowned in our rivers, and how many frozen to death in the winter seasons! yet drunkards go on without fear and con|sideration: alas, alas! What will become of all such drunk|ards? Without doubt they must all go to hell, except they truly repent and turn to God. Drunkenness is so common amongst us, that even our young men and young women are not ashamed to get drunk. Our young men will get drunk as soon as they will eat when they are hungry.—It is generally esteemed amongst men, more abominable for a woman to be drunk, than a man; and yet there is nothing more common amongst us that female drunkards. Women ought to be more modest than men; the holy scriptures re|commend modesty to women in particular:—but drunken women have no modesty at all. It is more intolerable for 〈◊〉 woman to get drunk, if we consider further, that she is in great danger of falling into the hands of the sons of Belial, 〈◊〉 wicked men▪ and being shamefully treated by them.
And here I cannot but observe, we find in sacred writ, a wo denounced against men, who put their bottles to their neighbours mouth to make them drunk, that they may see their nakedness: and no doubt there are such devilish men now in our day, as there were in the days of old.
And to conclude, consider my poor kindred, you that are drunkards, into what a miserable condition you have brought yourselves. There is a dreadful wo thunder|ing against you every day, and the Lord says, That drunk|•••• shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
And now let me exhort you all to break off from your drunkenness, by a gospel repentance, and believe on the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved. Take warning by this doleful sight before us, and by all the dreadful judgments that have befallen poor drunkards. O let us all reform our lives, and live as becomes dying creatures, in time to come. Let us be persuaded that we are accountable crea|tures to God, and we must be called to an account in a few days. You that have been careless all your days, now a|wake to righteousness, and be concerned for your poor and never dying soul. Fight against all sins, and especially the sin that easily besets you, and behave in time to come as becomes rational creatures; and above all things, re|ceive and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall have eternal life; and when you come today your souls will be received into heaven, there to be with the Lord Je|sus in eternal happiness, with all the saints in glory; which, God of his infinite mercy grant, thro’ Jesus Christ our Lord.