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young and comparatively innocent creatures who are now on the turning point of life and death eternal. O for a warning voice to reach the hearts of fathers and mothers, Christians as well as others, in behalf of the rising generation. But, alas ! so many fathers and mothers look only at this world, that they encourage what they ought to check, and vitiate the minds while they deck the bodies of their offspring in all the meretricious ornaments of alluring fashion ; so that even Christian parents are constrained to do like their neighbours, and thus evil communications corrupt good manners. O that the young persons and their parents who are now present would let me strip the mask from this hydra of fashion and folly, that they may see the diseases and death both of body and soul that lurk beneath it—that they would let me show them the thorn beneath the rose, ere it enter into their flesh and rankle and fester into a wounded spirit—that they would let me discover the serpent beneath the flower ere it sting them to madness. O that they would hear the voice of one who has tried it in all its depths, yea, drank it to the dregs, and only by the love of God in Christ Jesus, has been saved from total shipwreck of body and soul in hell. O if there is truth in God, if there is warning in his word, if there is wisdom in experience, now let it take effect, and this deadly evil be put away from us, my brethren. Say not with Lot, Is it not a little one ? Alas ? know ye not that even in this sense, a little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation? For the beginning of sin, as well as of strife, is like the letting out of waters, no one can say where it shall stop.
But to return. That God who has no need of the sinful man—who could, with the most perfect ease, have called a new race of beings into existence, should, nevertheless, prefer that method of his mercy which revelation makes known to us, to promote his own glory and the final good of his creatures, must ever be a subject of the deepest admiration and thankfulness, and should teach us that it is not to be trifled with. We may be very sure, my hearers, that as the gift of Jesus Christ is the highest proof God could give of his love towards us, either to reject or to neglect it must be the height of contempt,
ingratitude, and rebellion, and can never go unpunished. We may, and, alas ! we do, too many of us, flatter ourselves that after all, God will not be so severe as to carry his threatenings into full effect; that, some how or another, the great mass of irreligious people who are not openly profligate and abandoned, will escape the damnation of hell. But what is this, my friends, but one of those many deceits of the devil operating upon our love of sin, with which he labours to ensnare souls ? what is it but making Christ the minister of sin, and religion a pious fraud. But we are sure that God cannot and will not deceive. We are sure that there is no deception in the batred his pure and holy nature bears towards sin in all its shapes. The miseries of the present life, the cross of Christ, and the pains of hell, bear witness to its malignity; and had it been possible that God should intend to deceive us for our good by heightening the description of its destructive nature, this might have been done without the humiliation, sufferings, and death of his only Son. What a desperate game, then, must it be to risk our immortal souls on so flimsy a delusion! What an awful proof of the corruption of all our faculties by the poison of sin, that against light and knowledge, against warning and conviction, unmoved by hope, unawed by fear, in defiance of God's threat. ened wrath, in despite of his offered love, in contempt of means and mercies, we continue in sin, slight the only Saviour, and will not come to him that we may have life! Oh! what a spectacle does the world called Christian present—God's holy word laid aside, unbelief and impiety increasing, the ordinances of religion made light of, the cross of Christ slighted, sin and folly triumphant, and the children of God to be sought for here and there, like gleaning grapes in a vineyard !
And now, my brethren and hearers, as God hath laid help for us upon one who is mighty and able to save, as without him we can do nothing acceptable to God, or available for the salvation of our souls, let us consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus, in what he hath, by the will of God, done for us.
He hath removed the barrier raised by human sin betwist God and our souls, and placed mankind in a new relation to their Maker, becoming a second Adam or representative of the human race. In this sense it is that the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all, and that he, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man, having borne in his own body the curse of the law. To Christians, in particular, that is, to baptized believers, he bath opened a new and living way to the kingdom of heaven, through faith in his blood. He hath fulfilled the conditions of the covenant of works for them, and procured a new and more gracious covenant by which repentance and renewed obedience is accepted through him instead of sinless perfection. He hath fully declared and made known the will of God, for the direction of their lives, and left them the example of his own life as the explanation of it. He bath sent forth the Holy Spirit to be a perpetual guide and comfort to his Church, in working out their salvation. He hath laid down his life upon the cross, for their forfeited lives, and poured out his blood as an atonement to God, for all sins repented of and forsaken. He was buried and rose again the third day, thereby giving assurance unto all men, that the sacrifice was accepted, and that they also shall rise again from the dead. He hath thus brought that life and immortality to light, through the gospel, in which every man shall be happy or miserable for ever, according to the righteous judgment of God on the deeds done in the body. And he hath ascended into heaven, where, as the head of all principality and power, he rules and governs his Church as a son in his own house, watching over his people, supplying their wants, and rendering their prayers and praises acceptable to God, through his prevailing intercessions for them.
All this he hath done for us, my hearers. This he hath done and suffered, that he might bring us to God. Of his death, as the price of all, he bath commanded us to continue a perpetual memorial, until he come again to receive us to himself. That memorial is now before you. The mighty benefits it represents you are partakers of, through grace. Let us then draw near with true hearts, in full assurance of faith, that, if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled we shall be saved by his life. And let it be ever in our hearts, dear brethren, that herein is love indeed, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
NEGLECT OF THE GOSPEL.
HEBREWS ii. 3, 4.
"How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ; which at the first began to
be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will ?”
The consideration of the question put in the text, instructs us, my brethren and bearers, how very inexcusable all men are who neglect the salvation offered in the gospel, either by rejecting it through unbelief, when proposed to them, or by living unworthily of it after they have professed to embrace it. There are many considerations which greatly aggravate the fault of such persons as contemptuously neglect the proposal of a favour, which it is both their duty and their highest interest to accept; and many circumstances make them more and more inexcusable, and justly to deserve the severest punishment for their ingratitude and contempt. Now as we regulate our judgments according to this principle, in the common affairs of this life, it is but just that it should be extended to the higher and more important concerns of the life that is to come; and it is to this point, to the equity of the case, that St. Paul directs our attention. And to gain your attention, my friends, and to engage you in behalf of your best interests, to rouse you, if possible, from the heartless torpor of indifference to the mercies of redemption, and awaken you to the worth of your souls, I will endeavour to point out from the text itself, what commanding considerations are set at naught, and what clear and convincing proofs are withstood, by all who neglect the gospel.
How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him ; God also bearing them witness