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by all means, to promote union among ourselves. It is not a day for strife and division, but for cooperation and united exertion.
But if instead of this primitive piety we allow of bickering and strife, if we are frittering away our time and strength in endless divisions and contentions, we may well expect a severe rebuke. We have lost sight of the great object which should be evermore before us. All party feeling, all sectarian interests, are to be merged in an overwhelming solicitude to make known the unsearchable riches of Christ. How frequently, alas ! have we discovered a great tenacity about mint, anise, and cummin, while we have neglected the weightier matters of the law,—faith and judgment. Now is the time to bestir ourselves—when all the powers of the world are shaken, when all at home, all abroad are asking, “What must we do to be saved ?" when kings and princes are in adversity, and all the governments around us are looking abroad with intense anxiety, fearfulness, and astonishment, at the things which are daily occurring. The moral world is trembling, and minds are looking forth with unusual solicitude for shelter and repose. That shelter, that repose, we can exhibit to the immortal mind in the gospel of Christ ; and by proclaiming a present, an all-perfect Redeemer, we summon the world to rest, to enjoyment, to the fruition of God.
3. Permit me to urge upon this congregation an immediate reception of that gospel which is preached unto them. I fear many of you, my beloved hearers, have not received Christ Jesus the Lord; though constantly surrounded by the light of life, you are not light in the Lord, -you have not apprehended the glorious peculiarities of the gospel, nor seen the grace and glory of Christ. The perfections of the Son of God have not won your hearts—the world is still your chief good, and all your labour is consumed upon its vanities. The Bible is a book with which, from choice, you are seldom conversant; prayer an engagement into which you seldom enter, and the realities of eternity have not commanded your regard.
Oh consider two things,-the sin, and the danger of your conduct. Think seriously of the sin of living in such a condition. If ignorant of the claims of Christ, your ignorance must be voluntary. You have all possible means of information; and of you it may be asked, “What more could I have done for my vineyard which I have not done ?” The Bible is in your houses, the word of truth is continually published in your hearing. In the sacred volume, all that is connected with your duty and mercy, is stated in the most simple, luminous, and affectionate terms. Every powerful motive is urged; all the threatenings which can alarm are issued; every reward that can allure is presented ; and yet you are ignorant of the rights of God, and of your own duty and mercy! It could never be so, if your hearts were not most shamefully and criminally averse to the claims of the God of truth and mercy.
Reflect on your danger; your hearing the gospel, and living in the midst of the means of grace, will, if you do not embrace the truth, have an awful tendency to harden your hearts : you will become proof against all that is winning in mercy, and all that is terrific in threatening; your guilt will be increased to a very alarming degree ; you are doing despite to the Spirit of grace, and counting the blood of the covenant wherewith Christ was sanctified, an unholy thing ; here you cannot be neutral ; if not the friend, you are an enemy of Christ; and what is it, my hearer, to be an enemy of Christ--of Him who alone can pardon and save you—of Him whose mercy endures for ever ; but whose wrath, if once kindled, burns to the lowest hell!
Your time is near its close; you have no proof that you will live another day ; but were you to live to old age, alas ! how near are many of you to that period; your lives are in the hands of that God whom you are despising ; if he speak, you are in his presence in a moment; nor can all the powers of earth lengthen your days one hour. How vain are all the apologies you offer, and excuses you frame for neglecting Christ and salvation ! not one of them will bear the scrutiny of man ; how much less the investigation of God. Your own consciences condemn you ; you are not in peace at this moment; or, if in peace, it is a false peace. You have not applied to the blood of Christ, which alone cleanseth from all sin : are you not aware, moreover, that your adversaries have now full power over you? You are yet in chains, enfeebled and ruined slaves. 0 why do you not pant for liberty ? Is it because there is no hope ? Surely not; you are this day invited to mercy by the God you have so grievously offended : throw down your arms, and submit yourselves to the mercy of Christ.
4. How loudly does my subject publish encouragement to desponding souls! You have been feelingly convinced that you are guilty and ruined. Your consciences have been painfully harassed, and you have contended with a host of fears. Oh, how aggravated have been your transgressions, how innumerable your sins ! You have sinned against many privileges, against much light and knowledge. Your parents, your guardians, were truly pious ; the instructions given you, the prayers offered on your behalf, have been slighted; the calls of redeeming mercy have been treated with neglect, and the cries of an awakened conscience stifled. And, oh, how many have been your gross violations of the divine commands !
Sins of deepest dye, the blackest ingratitude, the most vile infidel objections to the truth, and a deep and rooted aversion to God's way of salvation ; all these thing oppress your soul. You willingly allow that other sinners may hope ; but hope, you suppose, would be presumption in you. Thus you write bitter things against yourselves, and with all your might prove, or at least attempt to prove, that God has shut the gate of mercy.
But, wherefore, I beseech you, has God appointed that Christ should be preached ? Have we undertaken this work upon our own responsibility to preach Christ ? Have we no authority for performing such a service? And has not God manifestly qualified a large number, and sent them out on this service? Surely the simple fact of God's sending so many to preach salvation by his own Son, is a full proof of his willingness to save fallen guilty men. We are called to preach the official ability of the Saviour, and to testify that he ever liveth to make intercession for transgressors. If your sins be as scarlet, if they be red like crimson, they shall become white as snow. How does your offended God expostulate with you ! what arguments drawn from his own mercy, grace, and love, does he employ to persuade and win you! what reasons, deduced from your own depravity and crimes, to alarm you! that, fleeing for refuge to the hope set before you, you may happily find a shelter from the threatening storm and tempest.
Be assured that remaining in unbelief, and enmity of heart against God and divine truth, alone keep you from Christ. You are in this not objects of pity, but of blame, of censure, and severe rebuke. You are aggravating your sins by this manner of treating Christ and his gospel : and now at this moment it behoves you by deep repentance, humility, and brokenness of heart, to come unto God, and entreat him for Christ's sake to forgive you. Oh! ye criminals, a pardon is published; how dare you delay coming to plead it ? Heaven is opened ; how dare you turn away from it? Satan urging you on to ruin ; how dare you still encourage that enemy by closing your heart against the overtures of mercy ? To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." This is your day, the moment of especial mercy. What tremendous importance attaches to this moment ! Heaven and hell are waiting your final decision with breathless expectation ; your eternal happiness, or eternal damnation, are now pending on that decision.
Such, my brethren, are the views we entertain on the preaching of Christ Jesus our Lord. Should this pulpit ever be prostituted to the publication of doctrines derogatory to him-should his glories be concealed or his work contravened—your doom will be sealed.
God will retire, and you will be left in strong delusion. But you have not, perhaps, so much to fear from an opposition to Christ and his truth as from a certain species of philosophical or metaphysical preaching, based on certain moral truths of the Bible, to the neglect of the more peculiar and evangelical doctrines of the New Testament. Take heed, ye conservators of the truths of the gospel, what ye hear. By prayer, by faith, by the exercise of a sound and enlightened judgment, seek a pastor, and an evangelist, who will not fail to declare unto you the whole counsel of God.
SC BMISSION TO TJIE DIVINE WILL.
BY JOHN ARUNDEL.
Jos xxxiv. 33.-Should it be according to thy mind ?
Tus important question is propounded to Job by Elihu, one of his friends. It has reference to the moral government of God in the world, in the administration of which he regards not the inclination of his creatures, but his own infinite rectitude ; for in the distribution of his favours, the execution of his judgments, and the employment of agents for carrying on his purposes, the Judge of all the earth will do right, although “he giveth not account of his matters."
Man is so imperfect in his views, so weak in his faith, so worldly in his spirit, and so selfish in his actions, as to be incapable of wisely directing his own affairs ; how much more then is he incapable of suggesting any thing to Him, who is “wonderful in counsel and excellent in working !" Fearful, indeed, would be the results, if the government of God accorded to man's mind, who is fallen from his original rectitude, whose perceptions are awfully bewildered and enfeebled, and whose nature is universally depraved. Surely, the reins of universal government are wisely and securely managed by Him, who is the head over all things, who has all power both in heaven and on earth, and who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. Thus, it is the incumbent duty of all intelligent creatures, and the privilege of all the children of God, to yield themselves to him as those that are alive from the dead,--to submit to his wise and gracious arrangements. This is the important subject which is to engage our present considerationSubmission to the Divine will.