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fecurity of state, and most unremitted vigor of affection. How all the ranfomed of the Lord then fing their Redeemer's praise! Rev. i. 5, 6. “Unto him that loved us, ► and washed us from our fins in his own blood, and hath " made us kings and priests unto God and his father ; " to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. “ Ainen.”
II. I proceed now to make some practical improvement of what hath been said. And, : 1. Let me intreat every person in this house to make the following obvious reflection : If so great are the obli. gations of believers to the love of Christ, how dreadful must be the condition of those who die in their fins! The one of these explains and illustrates the other. The be. liever can owe but little, if the deliverance is not great. I have been lately speaking of the happiness of the elect of God, in being freed from the miseries of the present state ; but, oh! unhappy they who shall depart from this life unreconciled to God: “He that believeth on the Sun hath “ everlasting life ; but he that believeth not the Son, shall " not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." When the heirs of glory “ sit down with Abraham, Isaac, " and Jacob, in the kingdom of their Father," the unbelieving and impenitent shall be cast into the lake of fire, “ where the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever " and ever." I desire to put you in mind of this, under the impression of this important truth, That nothing but the sovereign grace of God.can make the warning effectual ; and therefore beseeching him to accompany it with the powerful operation of his Holy Spirit. At the same time, I assure you, that if you reject the counsel of God against yourselves, your blood shall be upon your own heads. Do not pretend to say, “ If it depends upon elec. “ tion, and almighty grace is necessary, all our endeavors “ will be vain." Secret things belong only to God. His purpose is not more unchangeable than his promise is faithful. Nay, though you may not be able to see it, nor I to explain it, they are perfectly consistent the one with the other. He will be just when he speaketh, and clear Vol. I.
when he judgeth; and therefore give heed to the exhorta. tion, not in my words, but in the words of the Holy Ghoit, Phil. ii. 12, 13. “ Work out your own salvation “ with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh
in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” · Know, I beleech you, your own mercy. The necessi. ty is urgent, and the time is uncertain. With what propriety may the words of the apostle be addressed to every person in every situation, and in every age! 2 Cor. vi. 1, 2. “ We then as workers together with him, beleech ! you also, that ye receive not the grace of God in vain : “ for he faith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and “ in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, “ now is the accepted time ; behold, now is the day of “' salvation.” Happy they who still hear the joyful found! Happy the finner who is not yet gone to his own place! Flee, flee to your strong hold, ye prisoners of hope. Consider the aggravated guilt and seven-fold condemnation of the despilers of the gospel. All that you have heard of the love of Christ serves to shew the danger of his enemies. Read the words immediately following the afcrip. tion of which the text is a part, (ver. 7.) “ Behold; he
cometh with clouds; and every eye shall fee him, and " they also which pierced him; and all kindreds of the “ earth shall wail because of him.” Read also this awful description, Rev. vi, 14, 15, 16, 17. “ And the heavens “ departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and eve. "ry mountain and island were moved out of their places; " and the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the s rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, " and every bond-man, and every free-man, hid them. “ felves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains; " and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and “ hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, " and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of “ his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand ?" Mark this extraordinary expression, the wrath of the Lamb, that meekest and gentlest of all creatures; teach. ing us, that his former meekness, and patience, and suffering, shall inflame and exasperate his future vengeance.
Could I conduct you to the gates of the infernal prison, I. am persuaded you would hear Judas Iscariot, and all other treacherous disciples, crying out, Othat Christ had never "come in the fleih! The thunders of Sinai would have · been less terrible. The frowns of Jesus of Nazareth are "insupportable. O, the dreadful, painful, and uncom'mon wrath of a Saviour on the judgment-seat !'-The Lord speak consolation to his own people, and pierce the hearts of his enemies, that they may be brought to repens. tance.
2. You may learn from what has been said, that the great and leading motive to obedience under the gospel, is a deep and grateful sense of redeeming love. This runs: through the whole writings of the New Testament. It binds the believer to his duty; it animates him to diligence; it fills him with comfort : 2 Cor. v. 14, 15. “For " the love of Christ conttraineth us, because we thus judge, " that if one died for all, then were all dead : and that he “ died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth: “ live unto themselves, but'unto him which died for them, " and rose again.” Gal. ii. 19, 20. “ For I through the “ law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. b "am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live ; yet not “ I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now " live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, " who loved me, and gave himself for me.” That this motive will have the most powerful influence on the believer's conduct, is evident both from reason and experi. ence. No principle takes a faster hold of the human heart than gratitude for favors received. If the mercies be cor. dially accepted, and highly esteemed, which is certainly the case here, nothing can withstand its influence. It reconciles the heart to the most difficult duties; nay, it even disposes the believer to court the opportunity of making some signal facrifice, in testimony of his attachment. Love fincere and fervent overcomes all difficulties; or rather, indeed, it changes their nature, and makes labor and suffering a source of delight and satisfaction. Let but the Saviour's interest or honor seem to be concerned, and the believer, who feels how much he is indebted to him,
will cheerfully embrace the call, and set no bounds to his compliance. This shows how much beauty and force there is ir our Lord's inanner of recommending love and compassion to our fellow.creatures, Matthew xxv. 40. " And the king shall answer and fav linto them, Verily I " say unto you, In as much as ye have done it unto one " of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto “ me,” But to what purpose do I dwell upon this subject? for a sense of redeeming love is not only the moft powerful motive to every other duty, but is itself the poffefsion and exercise of the first duty of the moral law, as well as the sum and substance of evangelical holiness, viz. the love of God. The firlt fin, by which our nature fell, was a distrust of, and departure from God; and the malignity of every fin we continue to commit, consists in giving that room in the heart to fomething else, which is due only to God. A sense of redeeming love, therefore, ex pels the enemy, and makes up the breach, as thereby the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.
3. You may fee, from what has been said, the necessity of a particular application of the truths of the gospel to ourselves, and the reliance of every believer upon them as the foundation of his own hope. I have sometimes had occasion to observe to you, that it is very doubtful, whether any person can so much as approve in his judgment the truths of the gospel, till he perceive his own interest in them, and their necessity to his peace. Certain it is, the world that lieth in wickedness generally despises them. However, I shall admit as a thing possible, that a bad man may, either by imitation, or the power of outward evi. dence, embrace the gospel as a syftens of truth. But surely the love of Christ can neither be a source of comfort, nor a principle of obedience, unless he consider it as ter. minating upon himself. Without this, the whole is gene. ral, cold, and uninteresting. But when he considers, not only the certainty of the truth, but the extent of the invi. tation, and can say, with Thomas, My Lord, and my God, then indeed the ties are laid upon him; then indeed he begins to feel their constraining power; then he not only contemplates the glory of God in the grace of redemption, but cheerfully and unfeignedly consecrates himself to the service of his Redeemer. This leads me, in the
Fourth and last place, to invite every finner in this affembly to accept of Christ as his Saviour, and to rely upon him as he is offered in the gospel. To the secure and in. sensible, I know it is in vain to speak. But if you see your own danger, what should hinder your belief and reliance on the Saviour? If you either need or desire deliverance, what with-holds your acceptance of it, when it is not only freely offered to you, but earnestly urged upon you ? Can you doubt the testimony of the Amen, the faithful and true witness? The blessings of his purchase belong not to one people or family, but to every nation under heaven, The commission of those who bear his meslage is unliinited: Mark xvi. 15. “Go ye into all the world, and preach “the gospel to every creature.” They are offered, not only to the virtuous, the decent, and regular, but to the chief of finners : 1 Tim. i. 15. “ This is a faithful saving, " and worthy of all acceptation, That Christ Jesus came " into the world to save linners; of whom I am chief.” Whoever heareth these glad tidings, he dishonoreth God, he poureth contempt on his Saviour's love, and he wrongeth his own soul, if he does not receive consolation from them. Be not hindered by what you see in yourselves, unless you are in love with sin, and afraid of being divor. ced from it. The gospel is preached to finners. It does not expect to find thenı, but it is intended to make them holy. A deep and inward sense of your own unworthiness, unless it is prevented by the deceiver, should only make you more highly esteem the grace of the gospel, and more willingly depend on your Redeemer's love.
I conclude with the invitation which he himself gives to the weary sinner, Matt. xi. 28, 29, 30. “Come unto me, “ all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give " you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of nie; “ for I am meck and lowly in heart: and ye shall find “ rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my “ burden is light.”