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unto Christ, who is ordained of God to be the Saviour of the world ; that, believing in Him, we may receive remission of sins; which, though the Law could not give us, yet by its terrors, it forced us (through the favour of God) to look out for help to one who is "mighty to save.”

(Is. 63. 1.] III. So that such as do turn their ears from hearing the Law and its curses, do reject the counsel of God for their good, and take the sure way to ruin. Which was the last particular we proposed to consider.

It is not for nothing that the Spirit of God has so often told us, that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wis- (Prov. 9.

io.] dom.” But how shall they fear God, who know nothing of His judgments, and who will not hear what He has determined against presumptuous sinners ?

People may fancy, that good advice might do all this ; that by a due execution of the laws, (and especially if the ancient Church discipline were revived,) men would be forced to fear God; that good examples would recommend piety; and that if a little more care were taken in the education of children, they would naturally fear God, and walk in His ways.

Now, it is certain, all these are excellent helps to piety; but unless the fear of God and the dread of His judgments possess the heart, these will do no more but only restrain the outward man. For how many are there who observe an outward decency, and yet live securely in most damnable sins ! How many have had good examples, and a Christian education, and after all break loose and become profligately wicked! How many submit to public penance, without being bettered by it, or suffering it to touch their hearts ! How long may one talk to a carnal man of the inconveniencies of living in sin, of the prejudice he does his health, his reputation, his estate, and his family! How much for his advantage it would be, and praise-worthy, to live like a Christian! And all this without any other effect than making him live more cautiously for the time to come.

Alas! these are all but weak arguments to awaken a man that is in a sleep of deep security; to raise one from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness. No less a voice than that which spoke in thunder from Mount Sinai, can possibly startle a soul accustomed to and in love with wickedness.

Mark 9.

SERM. But perhaps you will think the Gospel is a milder dispenLX.

sation, and that it has no need of these terrors to persuade

and convert its hearers: but you will find the quite contrary (Matt. 25. when you consult it seriously. “Go, ye cursed, into ever41; 24. 51;

lasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels; where there 41.]

is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." These are the words of the merciful Saviour of the world.

And if the mild, the compassionate Jesus was forced to {Phil. 2. use such language to oblige His followers “to work out their 12.]

salvation with fear and trembling," we may be very sure no milder arguments will serve to awaken and convert men ; and that such as despise these arguments are incurable by any other method.

Whoever, therefore, has any concern for his soul, and is not already converted, would do well to think of these things; and that he may consider them to better purpose, I would recommend these few points to his most serious thoughts :

First ; That it is to no purpose to complain of the corruption of our nature, of the multitude of evil examples, of the power of temptations, and the difficulties of a Christian life; and, at the same time, to shun that very way which God has directed us to take in order to overcome all these difficulties; which, as you have heard, nothing but the fear of God and His grace can do, which is bestowed on them only that fear Him. If therefore you are in good earnest, and would get out of the snare of the devil, hear what the Law saith to those that break it; hearken to the curses it pronounces against presumptuous sinners; own the justice of them; pray God to set these things home upon your heart; and, depend upon it, the fear of God can enable you to overcome all the difficulties you complain of, or can meet with.

Secondly; Let us always remember, that the curse will come, whether we say Amen or not; and that fornicators, and adulterers, and drunkards, and thieves, with all others who

presumptuously break the laws of God, will be shut out of the kingdom of heaven, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear to hear.

In the third place; let none think themselves so far advanced as not to need the terrors of the Law to keep them




awake, for self-confidence and security have undone very many; and, generally speaking, those that fear least, have most reason to fear. And even the best of Christians will find this advantage in hearing the Law, and the curses due to the transgressors of it; they will be humbled with the remembrance of their past offences; they will be more thankful for their deliverance from the curse of the Law; and more affectionately adore the Lord that redeemed them from so great a death. And such have a particular promise of the favour of God :-“To this man will I look," saith the Isa. 66. 2. Lord, “even to him that is poor and of a contrite heart, and that trembleth at My word;" that is, who feareth Him, and trembleth at His word, “who is able to destroy both (Matt. 10. body and soul in hell." What remains then, but that, knowing the terror of the (2 Cor. 5.

ii.] Lord,” every one of us in particular seriously consider, wherein we have broken any of those laws which the Spirit of God

us will keep us out of heaven; that we take the Apostle's advice, and "judge ourselves, that we may not be 1 Cor. 11. judged” and punished “by God;" which is the only way to escape, when once we have transgressed His laws.

And for such as have not yet fallen into any of those sins against which the curse of God is threatened, let them bless God, by whose grace they have been prevented; let them see their own frailty in the fall of others; and, setting before their eyes the curse they are liable to, if they ever be so unhappy as to deserve it by their sins, let them “watch and pray, that (Matt. 26.

41.] they enter not into temptation ;” remembering the words of Solomon, “Happy is the man that feareth always;" as also (Prov. 28.

14.] those of the Apostle “Let him that thinketh he standeth,

[1 Cor. 10. take heed lest he fall.”

And does not the Church offer us all, at this time, a RARE OPPORTUNITY of improving these considerations? Does she not set before us the curses of God against impenitent sinners? Does she not require us to hear them, and to acknowledge with our own mouths, “ that they which do such (Rom. 1.

32.] things are worthy of death ?” for that is the meaning of saying Amen to them. Does she not by this service put US IN REMEMBRANCE WHEREIN WE HAVE OFFENDED ? Does she not by the same service give us fair warning, whAT WILL FOLLOW,



SERM. if we rebel against God? And can any man, who desires or

who pretends to fear God, turn his back on God's own insti

tution ? We do therefore testify against all such, that they [Eccles. 12. neither FEAR God nor sincerely desire to KEEP His com13.]


Let us earnestly pray that this fear may constantly rule in our hearts, and that we may lead a life agreeable to the commandments of God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



Rev. xxii. 12.

16, 27;


And behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give See Matt. to every man according as his work shall be.

John 5. 22, 23; Acts


5. 10. This is what we say every day with our lips; but, O Jesu ! how little do we lay to heart what this means! And yet there is no doctrine in holy Scripture more clear, none more certain, none more awakening. If there will be a day of judgment, there will be a sentence; if a sentence, that sentence must be righteous and just; if a righteous sentence is to pass upon every man, and upon every work of man ; if “God will Eccles. 12. then bring every work into judgment, and every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil ;” if He will then "give to every man according to his ways, and according to Jer. 32. 19. the fruits of his doings ;” if He will then say to the righteous, Come ye blessed of My Father, ye shall go into life eter- (Matt. 25. nal:" and to the wicked, " ye shall go into everlasting punish- 34, 41.) ment;" (all which God has expressly declared shall come to pass ;) it very much concerns Christians to consider seriously, how it is like to go with them at that great day.

And yet such is our unthoughtfulness, we live as if not one word of this, were true, as if it would never come to pass. But as sure as Jesus Christ once came to forewarn us of these things, so sure will He come again to call all men to an account, how they have lived under the light of His Gospel, and what use they have made of His favours.

Our Lord's first Advent, that is, His coming in the flesh, (for that is the meaning of the word Advent,) His first coming

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