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ia txi aror. They require that the whole life be spent in serving and glorityitg God, and the present is a part of the whole. And you can never make ameads to God for the injury you do him and his government by a longer continuance in disobedience, though you should hereafter become a penitent. You are incurring a loss of time now which you can never redeem; and observe that it is his time that you are squandering; they are his talents that you are suffering to be idle. The pound he has given you is gaining nothing for him now, and you can make no such profitable investment of it hereafter, as shall cover the present loss.
4. These claims must be complied with very soon, or never. There will be an end not to his rights over you, and not to your obligations to him, but there will be an end to your opportunities of discharging these obligations. Soon he will cease to call upon you to repent and to believe in his Son. He will not violently enforce these claims on you. But there is another set of claims that he will exact of you. He will not exact obedience, but punishment he will. Your will and consent are necessary that you should obey, but not that you should suffer. The question submitted to you to-day, for decision, must be acted on very soon, or the claimant will withdraw it forever, and the session will terminate. Will you then decide, and decide now, to comply with these claims; or will you continue to resist or to neglect them ? Will you ? How can you do it ? I dare not. I am not afraid of any man, but God, I confess, I fear, and am not ashamed to make the
confession. But not fear alone; gratitude forbids me longer to disregard them. Soon I must, whether I would or not, meet God. How can I, while these claims are not satisfied ?
Will you comply with them? Will you do what the Lord requires of you? Do not ask me what he requires ? Will you do what he requires, whatever it be ? Will the rich man go and sell all, if Christ should say so? You may not hesitate because of the nature of the claims. The question is, whether you will submit to them, whatever they shall appear to be. How reasonable it is that you should ; that you should decide on doing what God requires of you! Is it possible that you can hesitate ?
Alas! unbelief, a secret, but most efficient unbelief, is the cause of all our want of success with you. If what I assert to-day about the claims of God on you, were believed, either you would immediately comply with them, or else be very ill at ease-with yourselves and unhappy in the resolution not to comply. But now you neither comply, nor concern yourself because you do not.
The treatment which some of you give them, you express in language like this: “Some of these days I hope and mean to comply with them.” Suppose you should treat other claims in this manner. Suppose that, on the day, a note falls due, you should go to the bank and say, "Some of these days I hope to pay that note,” would this hinder the protest? What trifling it would be! Men will not allow themselves so to be trified with. Will God? You will find
that de viii not. These claims have long been due.
We learn hence what religion is. It is to comply with the claims of God; and conversion is the beginning of this compliance; and repentance is sorrow for not not having complied sooner; and faith is the act by which we rely on Christ for the satisfaction of all past claims. How reasonable a thing then is religion! Why, it is to become an honest man in one's dealings with God. That is all. And if so, then it is not beneath any one to become religious. And it is no laughing matter to become religious ; and those that make sport of it, must themselves be rogues, since rogues only ridicule honesty.
A word now to you who have promised compliance with the claims of God on you. Remember to promise is not to perform ; and betwixt promise and performance the interval often is wide. You have each of you said in reply to the command of God, “Son go work,” “I go, sir,” but have you gone? You know what the Lord requires of you, to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with him; to deny all ungodliness and to live soberly, to show forth the praises of him who has called you, to let your light shine; that you should be blameless, and harmless sons of God without rebuke. This is the will of God, even your sanctification. So is the will of God, that with well-doing ye should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men; to speak evil of no man, to be kind, tender-hearted; having your conversation honest and holy. This he requires, and you profess and have promised to do. Are you doing it? He
requires of you to do more than others do; to care for the souls of men, to labor to promote his cause and kingdom.
That some profess and promise to comply with the claims of God, and do not, is no reason why others should not comply with them. And yet how many continue to say, “Oh! there are so many unworthy professors ;” and therefore you will be an unworthy non-professor. “I think I am as good as many of your professors of religion.” I trust you are, and am sorry that you are contented to be no better. “Others do not comply with the claims of God, why should I ?" What if they do not, what is that to you? Will you not die alone? Will you not meet God and be judged alone? Will it avail you then that you
followed a multitude to do evil ; that you was one of many that were in rebellion against God; and that in neglecting religion, you only did as did others ?
Here are the claims of God on your soul. You see what they are, and how valid they are, and now the question is, will you comply with them? 66 Choose you this day whom you will serve, but as for me, and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
how often would I *
LUKE xiii. 34.
and ye would not.
The whole verse reads, “Oh ! Jerusalem, Jerurusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee : how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not !"
But I make no use of the intermediate words, those I have repeated expressing the ideas to which I wish particularly to draw your attention.
The salvation of the soul is the chief concern, the grand problem ; the first, great, and almost I might say only thing to be done; the supreme business of life, the work given us to do. He who has not done this, has done nothing to any purpose. Infinitely worse than uselessly, and in vain he lives, whom death overtakes and finds it undone.
I shall not stay to prove that you have a soul, and that it is immortal, and that it is fallen and lost, a soul both cursed and corrupted by sin, the subject of a great ruin and therefore needing a great salvation. I may assume without formal proof, what the entire volume of revelation, and the whole work and passion of Christ proceed upon as true.
The salvation of the soul of man has excited a