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and therefore in secret pray and meet to pray for you. And have you no pious mother that careth for you, whose tears daily fall, and prayers ascend for you ? or is she now in heaven, there with angels, waiting, wishing, rejoicing and wishing it was her son and daughter? No one careth for you! You would not believe us, if we were to tell you
the concern that we have for you. No one careth for you! Ah it is only infernal spirits, selfish men and yourself that do not care for you.
What will you say? That there was an irreversible divine decree that stood an insurmountable obstruction in your way to heaven, and even impelled you in the downward direction You will see by the light of eternity that that was not the case, nor indeed the doctrine of those who were supposed to hold it. I hesitate not to say that no purpose of God stands in the way of any soul's salvation. The decrees of God are promotive of salvation, not obstructive of it. Predestination is unto life. Men are not chosen to be lost, but to be saved. What is reprobation, but God's determination to punish incorrigible offenders, and you, if you are one. . And can you object to that? Can you complain that God purposes to punish all who obstinately refuse to repent, and obey the Gospel ?
What then wilt thou say, when he shall punish thee? I can think of nothing, nothing exculpatory, nothing extenuating. You will be speechless, as he was whom the king when he came in to see the guests, asked how he came in thither not having on a wedding garment. Yes, you will be silent, not
through intimidation, but from conviction, not as unable to speak, but as having nothing to say; selfcondemned, as well as condemned by your judge ; conscience consenting to and confirming the decision against you, and your ownself through all eternity reproaching you, and thus engendering and nourishing a worm gnawing within worse than the fire that shall burn about you. And shall it come to this ? Shall this be the issue of life? Will any of you lie down in sorrow, and dwell with devouring fire ? You will, you must, except you repent and be converted. The Lord God gracious and merciful, will by no means clear the guilty. He does not desire to punish you.
That he has shown you, he is long suffering because he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, but if you will not come to repentance while there is space for it, his determination is taken that you shall perish. He would that you should turn and live; but if you will not turn, you must die. And it is just that you should ; yea more than just. Jesus consents to it, and mercy while she laments the necessity, approves and acquiesces in the doom. Is there truth in what I have said ? And do
you believe it? And shall it not affect you? Will you, can you remain any longer unconcerned and inactive? Is it possible that you can sleep on under such circumstances ? Will you not awake and arise, and attempt something this very day; and not wait, and not defer, but act and act immediately? Remember that the way to get repentance is to exercise it; and the way to obtain faith is to believe;
and that there is no other manner of entering at the strait gate, but by striving. I call upon you now and here to make the secret, solemn resolution that you will seek and serve the Lord your God. I ask you not to express audibly the purpose. I ask you not to rise up in token of the resolution being made. But I ask you, I exhort you, I beseech you to breathe it now into the listening ear of God. Say, oh! say, “I will arise and go to my father.” Fear not to make the resolution, rather fear not to make it. Will you refuse, will you resist the Spirit of God? Remember he will not always strive with you?
I solicit the prayers of Christians here especially in behalf of any that may this day form the resolution to return to God. And may he have mercy upon
Out of thy own mouth will I judge thee.—Luke xix. 22.
In that part of the parable of the talents in which the Lord of the servants replies to the apology of the third servant, his answer is worthy of our solemn consideration. The fact, as related in the parable, is shortly this. The third servant offers as a reason for letting his talent lie idle, and giving himself no concern to promote the interests and secure the approbation of his Lord, that he esteemed him a hard and austere man, who was in the habit of reaping where he had not sown, and of taking up where he had not laid down. In reply to which, his Lord, in place of repelling the false and injurious accusation, upbraids him with the insufficiency of his reason, on the supposition of its being true, alleges his inability to defend himself on his own ground, and convicts him of having acted inconsistently with his own avowed belief. “Out of thy own mouth,” that is, by thy own confessions, reasoning with thee on thy own false and unworthy principles, “will I judge thee.”
Now the general truth that I would deduce from this narative, and endeavor to establish, may be expressed in these terms. That insensibility and inac
tion with which mankind are to so great an extent chargeable, as touching religion, are indefensible on every ground, unsusceptible of apology from any quarter, and incapable of being justified on any principles whatsoever, being inconsistent with what is enjoined by every man's belief, however loose and erroneous it may be. Preachers of our cast and connexion are not unfrequently complained of, as being too precise in our statements of duty, too rigid in our interpretations of Scripture, too austere in our views, and too unsparing in our condemnations. We are supposed to be in the habit of representing the principles of the divine government of moral agents, as more strict and severe than they are, in reality, and of placing the standard of the final judgment altogether higher than the Judge himself will place it; and our hearers are sometimes offended, and they feel discouraged, and they say with a kind of indignant despair, “Who then can be saved ?? Who can realize such a virtue? Who bear such a measurement? Who can pass through so fiery a trial and be unconsumed? And some of you, perhaps, feel inclined to seek another and a less troublesome style of sermonizing. Well, my hearers, you shall not have this complaint to make to-day. We will try you to-day by nothing more sublime or more severe than your own common confessions and your own acknowledged principles; and, if you are cast, you shall not have to charge it on the Bible, or on any sectarian interpretation of it. We will not go, as our manner is, to the unaccomodating word of God for the criteria ; but you shall say what they shall