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arrive? Read the sixteenth verse, where the Re
“Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold ; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd.” Blessed be God for such a declaration ! O that he would bring in the Jews with the fulness of the Gentiles! He shall accomplish it in his time; shortly they shall be
All travelling through one beauteous gate,
To one eternal home. Oh, let us all pray that God would hasten the number of his elect, and bring them all through the door into the way to glory. Amen.
MISERY THE FRUIT OF SIN.
PREACHED DEC. 20, 1807.
“ And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness."
EPHESIANS . II.
Such is the command of the God of heaven and earth, to all those who profess to love his Son, and enjoy the influences of his Spirit; who have espoused his holy and Divine religion, and profess to be travelling through a world of trials and difficulties, to that rest which remains for the people of God. Our text is the voice of God himself, through the instrumentality of his servant and apostle Paul, and therefore not only demands attention, but requires obedience, on pain of the displeasure of the Ruler of the skies.
Indeed, we may suppose, we may say, that all the writers of the Scriptures, all the providences of God, all the heirs of glory, all the angels in heaven, all the condemned in hell, are now saying to us, in the language of the text, “ Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.” The text, my brethren, is the voice of every line of the Bible, of every poor backsliding soul, of every trembling conscience, and of every drop of the blood of Jesus. And shall these join their pleas in vain ? Gracious Gud ! enable us now to
cast off the works of darkness, and to put on the
whole armor of God :" let it not be our condemnation that light is come into the world, and we love darkness rather than light, because our deeds are evil; but may we do the truth, and come to the light, that our deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God; and, henceforth, may we have the testimony that we please Thee !
The preceptive part of the Bible is neither to be reckoned the ground of our acceptance with God, nor thrown aside as legal; for upon our obedience to that depends our recommending the gospel to, others, our imitation of the Lord Jesus Christ, the evidence of our possessing the Holy Spirit, and the justification, not of our persons, but of our faith before God and men.
Our text is introduced just after the apostle Paul had been warning the Ephesians against being partakers with the children of disobedience, by avoiding their former condition, and their present state. “ Ye were," says he, “sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of the light, proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” Therefore might he say with propriety on this account, because ye were once darkness, but are now light,
“ have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness."
May He who said," I am the light of the world,” illuminate our dark minds, and give us in his light to see light, that, in our meditations on this passage, we may not darken counsel by words without knowledge ; but may be encouraged to proceed in our journey towards that place where the sun shall be no more our light by day, nor the moon by night; but where the Lord shall be our everlasting light, and our God our glory.
We observe that our text,
I. Describes the sins of men ; and,
I. This language of the apostle describes the sins of men ; they are “the unfruitful works of darkness.”
Man was at first created holy, placed in a happy situation by his Maker, and endowed with the greatest blessings ; but, by his disobedience to the command of God, he rendered himself exposed to the death of the body and the soul, and, ever since, all his numerous posterity have been born in sin, and have continued to live and die under the influence of enmity to God, where Divine grace
has not changed the heart. The condition of every one in a state of nature is truly lamentable and awful : he is a sinner against God, an enemy to God, and at an awful distance from God; he is said to be alienated from the life of God. Sin is his element, his business, his study, his delight; and, if it be not pardoned, will prove his ruin.
Surely, it need not be proved to persons who have the least knowledge of their Bibles, that their sins are the unfruitful works of darkness, which are elsewhere called “the works of the flesh.” “ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these : adultery, fornication," and such like ; “ the deeds of the body.” “If we, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, we shall live.” They are also called dead works. much more shall the blood of Christ purge your conscience from dead works ?" And; they are styled, the lusts of the devil. father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do."
But, in our text, sins are called “ the works of darkness, the unfruitful works of darkness ;" to
“ Ye are of your
this description it behoves us now more particularly to attend. You see that they are described by their nature and tendency.
1. By their nature.
" The works of darkness." Good men are elsewhere said to be called out of darkness, and to be delivered from the power of darkness; and here the sins committed by the ungodly are expressly styled the works of darkness. Does not this denote the uncomeliness of sin ? What is there, my brethren, in the vast creation of God, that is more filthy, more abominable, either in the sight of a sanctified soul, of a holy angel, or of the eternal God? As sin is the work of Satan, as it is the delight of those who never tasted the refined joys of Jesus's salvation, and as it proceeds from a heart deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, it must be loathsome. Darkness itself is not half so uncomely; nay, that darkness which might be felt was but a faint shadow of the disagreeable appearance and odious nature of sin. Those whose minds have been illuminated by the Divine Spirit to see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, need no other arguments to convince them that it is uncomely; for, beholding it with eyes anointed with his eye-salve, they cry out, Unclean, unclean.
Again, does not the phrase, “works of darkness,” denote the bewildering nature of sin ?
And sin, my brethren, is the means of rendering men insensible to the voice of God and conscience; stupid, notwithstanding the loud calls of the ministers of the gospel, nay, hardened under its sound : having once set your foot in the broad way that leadeth to destruction, you find it no easy thing to turn back, to come to the way