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him in this sorrow? Lament with him over fallen and lost sinners. Behold them and be grieved. Look at their character; look at their prospects.
And pray that God would make them willing, for for this he will be inquired of to do it for us.
Dear Saviour! draw reluctant hearts."
What wilt thou say, when he shall punish thee ?-JEREMIAH xii. 21.
It was in view of certain threatened calamities that were to come on Judah from the hand of the Lord, that this question is asked of her, “what wilt thou say? now wilt thou justify, or excuse thyself ? what reasonable complaint will you be able to make, in the day that God shall visit upon thee, when these threatenings are executed, when he shall punish thee ?” Think now what you will be able to say. Consider the case, and prepare your plea. Will you be able to say any thing?
I put this question now to each impenitent person in this assembly, to each individual present who is not obeying the Gospel of Christ ; if I should say to all the wicked I put it, perhaps many of you would improperly except yourselves from the number designated by that odious term; and therefore I use the other language. What wilt thou say, dying as thou art living, appearing before God in judgment as thou appearest to him now, continuing impenitent, persisting in disobedience to the Gospel, if the character thou carriest into eternity be that which you are now forming for it; on this condition, a condition but too probable, and becoming more so every day,
what wilt thou say, when the season of the Lord's long suffering shall close, and he who has long waited to be gracious to you, now waits no longer; and the sceptre of mercy which he extended to you, and you would not touch, is exchanged for the sword of justice, and he who delighteth in mercy, proceedeth to that which is his strange work, when those hands of the living God that were held out to thee in entreaty, and were ready to clasp thee to that bosom, thou fearfully fallest into, in the day that he will deal with thee in judgment; who would not be dealt with in mercy, when he shall punish thee, and the pangs of a begun perdition come upon thee, then what wilt thou say, for thou wilt be permitted to speak, if thou hast any thing to say, why the long suspended sentence of justice against thee, should not be executed ? What wilt thou say?
But perhaps you have no faith in future punishment; perhaps you do not believe that you, or any sinner will ever be brought into these circumstances. Then you have no faith in the veracity of God, or in the Bible as his word, for it is written, “these shall go away into everlasting punishment; except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, taking vengeance on them who know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ who shall be punished with everlasting destruction;" and much more to the same amount is written. And it is all explicit. What will you do with that word punishment, and that phrase everlasting punishment? Explain them away? You cannot. Expunge them?
But you say,
you can, but for the same reason another may ex-
He made no soul to suffer, neither to sin. But men have sinned, and they do suffer; and God has declared that they shall suffer,
not in fulfillment of his original design in their creation, but in righteous retribution for their manifold and unrepented sins. He made men to be happy, not only hereafter, but here too ; but at the same time he created them capable of making themselves miserable; and we see they have done it for this life and who shall say that in the exercise of this free agency they may not do it for that life which is to come? The reasoning which I oppose is much as if a hard drinker should say, “I do not believe that God ever made a man to die a sot,” and so sustained by his logic, he goes on drinking deeper and deeper, and finds at last that the benevolence of God will not preserve him from the natural tendency or just punishment of his misdeeds. But to an assembly of persons professing faith in the Bible, what more is necessary than to adduce an explicit declaration of God that he will punish; and this has been done as in the text. “When, therefore, he shall punish.” It is not said “if he should,” but “when he shall;" he will do it. Do you not sometimes fear that he will ? Does your conscience within you never forebode evil from him? Does it not sometimes intimate to you that God may treat you, as that same authority pronounces that you deserve ? for whose heart does not condemn him ? and God is greater than our heart and knoweth all things.
What then will you say? The question is not, what now you have to say, for now you imagine you have a great deal to say. And some can speak long and fluently in a strain of self-exculpation; but then, when confronted with your Maker and Judge;