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now began to lay about him, and to act his part; and at this their hope perished, and it gave up the ghost, and all their trust became a spider's web. The motions of their natural passions, under the empty oratory of the ministers of Satan, which used to pass for godly sorrow, became of no use here, for at this time their spirits appeared hardened, and as callous as a rock; and the checks and rebukes of conscience, which used to be called the workings of Satan, and the struggles of the old man, and be resisted as such, must now be attended to as a worm that never dies.
All these things were found out when they came to trim their lamps. Well may Solomon call their joy the joy of the hypocrite, which is but for a moment. "They heard the word, and anon with joy received it;" but they had no root in themselves; and now the word has left them, and all their joy is withered away: "Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out." These knew who had oil, though they had none themselves. This they might easily discern by the composed frame that the wise were in, by the health and cheerfulness that shewed itself in their countenances; by the life, fervour, and power, that appeared both in them and in their devotions, even in the worst of times; and they might know this from what they had heard and seen of their past experiences; and from the many suspicions which the wise had had of the state of these foolish ones in times past, and by the repeated reproofs which they had received
from them. And I have seen not a little of this in my time; not a few, who have hated me and my doctrine too, have on a sick-bed craved an interest in my prayers, and wished to see me.
"Give us of your oil;" speak to us, try to comfort us, and pray for us, and communicate some of your joy and comfort to our hearts. But the wise knew pretty well what preachers and what doctrines used to suit them best; and therefore they say unto them, "Go to them that sell, and buy for yourselves." They did not go to Christ to buy without money and without price; but they went to some of their former favourite preachers, who had extolled the power of man's free-will, his faithfulness to grace received, and the talents which fall to the share of all men, and the improvements of these; for none but such as these, and the pope of Rome, ever pretend to sell these things; and these foolish souls knew that these wise virgins were averse to all these tenets, and therefore they never offered to buy of them, but to beg; "Give us of your oil." But they sent them to those that pretend to sell; Go to your old builders-up, to those that used to daub you with untempered mortar; those who prophesied smooth things to you, and whom you used so much to applaud; who have got such power, such talents, such a stock of inherent grace to improve, and a power to come to Christ if they will, and to stay away if they please; to keep the whole law, and to work out a righteousness for themselves. And to these they
went, in hopes they would confirm their former doctrine, and not to Christ; for while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut; and afterward came the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But it was too late; the top-stone was brought forth, the door of faith, the door of hope, and mercy's door, were closed; and none were within but the regenerate, nor any without but the workers of iniquity. An open door is now before us; the gate of life still admits weary and heavy laden sinners. Enter this, and you shall enter the other: "Strive to enter in at the strait gate," for this stands at the head of the way of life; and they that enter here shall bẹ saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture,
WATCHWORD AND WARNING
THE WALLS OF ZION;
A SERMON DELIVERED AT PROVIDENCE CHAPEL, ON TUESDAY DEC. 19, 1797,
BEING THE DAY APPOINTED FOR PUBLIC THANKSGIVING.
SON OF MAN, I HAVE MADE THEE A WATCHMAN UNTO THE HOUSE OF