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out danger of contradiction, that had heaven been silent on its high and holy purposes towards fallen man, it never would have entered into his heart to conceive either this or any other mode of reconciliation and restoration. It is so far above and beyond the conception and reach of the natural man, yea, it is such foolishness to him even when made known, that we safely thus conclude. Yet in its great outline it is written in the heart of every living, thinking being, and we can trace its presence through the long hidden, and unconnected islands of the great deep, through the leading features of Heathen superstition, through the sacrifices and expiations of the Jews, to the fulfilment of what these all shadowed out in the offering up of the body of Christ once for all.
It is on this universal testimony, that without shedding of blood there is no remission, confirmed by the express declaration of God's revealed will, that we are called on and commanded to believe in Christ. As he was the true sin-offering of which all other sacrifices, Patriarchal, Pagan, or Jewish, were but types ; as his blood alone taketh away the sin of the world by washing out the guilt of rebellion against God; so hath it pleased the Almighty Father to appoint that no otherwise than by faith in his only begotten Son can sinful man look up to bim with hope; that no otherwise than through faith in the merits of his blood shed for us to satisfy the demands of the broken law can either original or actual guilt be atoned for, and the sinner stand justified or accounted righteous in the sight of a holy God. And that no otherwise than by the power and grace of our LORD Jesus Christ, in whom it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell, can sinful creatures be renewed in the spirit of their minds to that holiness without which no man shall see the LORD. Hence it is that faith in Christ is so often put for the whole of religion, that we are told that without faith it is impossible to please God, that he that believeth not is condenned already. For, until we believe the message of mercy revealed by and through Jesus Christ in the gospel, the wit of man cannot invent a ground of hope or confidence towards God, for that creature who is opposed to him in all his thoughts and in all his ways. But in believing all things are made possible, God
can be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus; the world, sin, death, and hell can be overcome by faith in the only begotten Son of God, and heaven with all its glories realized to him who walks by faith and not by sight; while to the unbeliever there is nothing possible, because there is no motive, neither is there any help promised or given. He may, indeed, and most generally he does, to tranquilize the indwelling fears of his misgiving conscience, patch up some motley system of belief for himself, in which he fashions a God after his own liking, and draws largely on revelation for the mercy it holds out, without once thinking, that the Scripture cannot be brokenthat revelation is a whole, and must be taken altogether or not at all; that we can know nothing of God as a God of mercy but by the revelation of Christ and his cross; and that taking a part of what is revealed, will only condemn him, by proving that he had the whole, and thence makes God a liar, by discrediting the testimony he hath therein given to his only begotten Son.
If ye believe not that I am He ye shall die in your sins.
This is the issue which the gospel is furnished to make up with us all, my friends. If we are not sinners we need neither its mercy, its atonement, or its grace, and the Bible is a libel on buman nature; but if we are sinners in the true meaning of the word, that is, aliens from God by virtue of a most just sentence already pronounced, enemies to his purity and holiness in our desires and our actions, without help or means in ourselves to renew our nature and regain his favour, mercy on me! by what name shall they be called who venture upon eternity in this condition with the gospel sounding in their ears. On such an issue, of whom should we take counsel, my hearers. The sure word of God, and its counterpart in our own hearts, or the vain inventions and shallow reasonings of men like ourselves? Have we not within us, yea, even those who dispute against it, have we not the witness that we cannot answer even one of a thousand of the fair and just claims of Him who made and redeemed us, upon the love and obedience of his creatures; have we not without us the speaking witness of our ruin, in the frame of both the natural and moral world, disordered, disjointed, and out of
course; storms and tempests, earthquakes and volcanoes, wars and pestilence, poverty and nakedness, cold and hunger, marring the beauty and breaking in upon the arrangement of the natural world, and darkness and ignorance, sorrow and suffering, disease and death, lording it over the image of God, and over the unconscious creatures he hath made? And did be make them to this end, brethren? Is either natural or moral evil the creature of a perfectly pure, wise, and omnipotent Being ? No, my friends, God forbid you should think it; what came from his creating hands came forth very good. But sin entered and the curse followed, which for our sakes extended even to things which cannot sin ; Cursed is the ground for thy sake.—Sad proof of the hatred and abhorrence with which God regards sin, and speaking argument to us to escape from its snare.
O my dear hearers, let us listen to the faithful counsel of our heavenly Father, confirmed as it is by all that we see around us, and by all that we feel within us-above all, let us look to the convincing demonstration of his hatred of sin and love to poor sinners, manifested in laying upon his beloved Son the iniquity of us all, and exacting from him the penalty which all creation could not pay. Look to that compassionate Saviour who gave himself for us, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, who took upon him our nature, that he might teach us, die for us, and save us, and rose again from the dead that we might have a hope beyond the grave.
Hear him, this day, calling upon you-Come unto me all ye ends of the earth and be saved. Hear him reproaching you-you will not come unto me that ye might have life; and hear all his invitations and reproofs echoed back upon your souls in the solemn warning-If ye believe not that I am He ye shall die in your sins.
But what is it to die in our sins? It is to enter upon an eternal existence with the curse of God upon our souls, to pass the intermediate state in a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation which shall consume the adversary. It is to rise to the judgment of the great day, with the claims of the law in full force against us for every violation of its holy and
unchangeable precepts, without a shield from its justice, a refuge from its vengeance, or a plea for mercy; to appear before the judgment seat of Christ with warnings slighted, opportunities neglected, mercies abused, and love, bleeding love, despised. It is to be banished for ever from the presence of the LORD, and the glory of his power, to dwell with unceasing regret, unmixed despair, and everlasting burnings.
O, my poor fellow sinners, be persuaded to think of these things now, as you will surely think of them then. For, if but to hear of them from the lips of a minister of Christ, and a poor dying creature like yourselves, makes your heart to sink within you, what will it be when you hear them from the lips of the LORD Jesus himself, when the thunder of heaven proclaims the irreversible sentence, Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
Oh! the horror of that moment, when unbelief stands aghast at the sound of the last trumpet-when the earth, heaving into life, gives up its buried millions to judgment—when a burning world and a blazing heaven proclaim the pollution of sin by passing through the purification of fire for having witnessed itwhen the gospel sinner sees the Judge of quick and dead appear in his glory, with the powers of heaven in his train and the marks of the cross in his person—when hope dies for ever and the second death seizes upon those who, in their day of grace, might have come, but they would not. And shall we risk it, my friends, against truth, against reason, against conscience, against interest, against demonstration-shall we risk it upon the weak and beggarly elements of a reason that would be wiser than God-upon the authority of men like ourselyes who cannot give to God a ransom for their own souls nor redeem their brother from the grave ? God forbid ! To whom, then, can we go but to Him who has the words of eternal life, who calls upon you to make your peace with God by hearty repentance and true faith, and this day sets before you the unchangeable condition of gospel hope and gospel mercy in the words of my textFor if ye believe not that I am He ye shall die in your sins.
LIFE AND IMMORTALITY BROUGHT TO LIGHT BY THE GOSPEL
2 TIMOTHY i. 10.
" Who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light by the gospel.”
The particular exhortations to Timothy to be earnest, steadfast, and constant in the profession and practice of religion, and in the performance of his duty as a minister of Christ and ruler in the Church, are grounded on the facts declared in my text; and as those facts have a proportional bearing upon every man who hears them proclaimed, their application is universal. As death and judgment await as well private Christians as public teachers of religion, as well those who make no profession of and have no concern with religion as those who do and are openly engaged on the Lord's side, all, without exception, are concerned to consider and lay to heart the infinite consequences which follow from the discoveries made to us of another state of being
Mankind, indeed, are universally under the impression that there is a life after this present one, and they are also aware in some good degree, that its chief purpose will be to reward the good and punish the wicked, but it is only by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, which we this day celebrate, that the full and explicit knowledge of the nature and extent of that life and of the manner in which it will affect us, is confirmed to our faith. Hence the doctrine of a future state is not only the comprehensive and conclusive argumen twhich the apostle makes use of to enforce upon Timothy the private and public observance of his own particular duties, but that, also, which applies to every other individual in the world, according to the measure which it has pleased God to deal out to him. In this respect God hath no where left himself without witness ; for the conclusions reason is able to come to from the impression of a