Page images
[ocr errors]

of all his temptations. What think you of your own conscience? is it not privy to your secret wickedness? does it not now sometimes whisper in your ear what you do not like to hear? If it whisper now, it will thunder then. Rom. 2: 15, 16. Will not the Spirit accuse you, for resisting his motions and stifling thousands of his convictions? Will not your companions in sin accuse you, who drew or were drawn by you to sin? Will not your spiritual teachers be your accusers? How many times have you made them complain, Lord, they are iron and brass, they have made their faces harder than a rock; they refuse to return! Will not your very relations be your accusers, to whom you have failed in all your relative duties? Yea, and every one whom you have tempted to sin, abused, defrauded, overreached: all these will be your accusers.

Then, being accused before Jesus Christ, what will you plead will you confess, or will you deny the charge? If you confess, what need more? "Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee," saith Christ. Luke, 19:22. If you deny, and plead not guilty, thy Judge is the Searcher of hearts, and knoweth all things; so that it will not at all help thee to make a lie thy last refuge. This will add to the guilt, but not cover it.

If no defence or plea be left thee, then what canst thou imagine should retard the sentence? Why should not Christ go on to that dreadful work? "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Gen. 18: 25. Shall he not render to every man according to his deeds? 2 Cor. 5: 10. Yes, no question but he will proceed to that sentence, how terrible soever it be to you to think of it now, or hear it then.

If sentence be once given by Christ against thy soul, what canst thou imagine will hinder the execution? Will he alter the thing that is gone out of his mouth? Ps. 89:34. Dost thou hope he is more merciful and pitiful

than this? Thou mistakest, if thou expect mercy in any other way than that in which he has revealed it. Thousands and ten thousands will rejoice in, and magnify his mercy then; but they are such as obeyed his call, repented, believed, and obtained union with his person here. To unbelievers, it is against the settled law of Christ and the constitution of the Gospel to show mercy. But it may be, you think your tears, your cries, your pleadings with him may move him. These, indeed, might have availed in time, but they come out of season now. Alas! too late. What the success of such pleas and cries will be, he has told you in two passages of Scripture: Job, 27:8, 9, "What is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul? Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him?" Matt. 7:22, 23, "Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name have done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity." And must it come to this dismal issue with you indeed? God forbid it should. Oh then,

3. If Christ be appointed the Judge of all, how are all concerned to secure their interest in him, and therein an eternity of happiness to their own souls, by a living faith in his all-cleansing blood. Of all the business that men have in this world, there is none so solemn, so necessary, and important as this. O, this is a work, the very thought of the consequences of which might drink up your spirits.

Summon, then, thy powers of reflection and consideration; go alone, reader, and, forgetting all other things, ponder with thyself this thine own deep, dear, eternal concern. Examine the state of thy own soul. Look into the Scriptures, then into thine own heart, and then

to heaven, saying, Lord, let me not be deceived in so great a concern as this. Oh let not the trifles of time drive the impressions of death, judgment, and eternity from thy heart. Oh that that solemn word eternity might be night and day with thee; that the awe of it may be still upon thy spirit. A lady having spent the whole afternoon and a great part of the evening at cards, in mirth and jollity, came home late at night, and finding her waiting-maid reading, she looked over her shoulder upon the book, and said, poor melancholy soul, why dost thou sit here poring so long upon thy book? That night she could not sleep, but lay sighing and weeping: her servant asked her once and again what ailed her; at last she burst into tears, and said, Oh! it was one word that I cast my eye upon in thy book, that troubles me; there I saw that word ETERNITY. How happy were I if I were prepared for eternity! Sure it concerns us, seeing we look for such things, to be diligent that we may be found of him in peace. Oh let not that day come by surprise upon you. Remember, that as death leaves, so judgment will find you.

4. Is Jesus Christ appointed Judge of quick and dead? Then look to it, all you that hope to be found of him in peace, that you avoid sin, and daily practise those duties to which the consideration of that day powerfully persuades you. Do you indeed expect such a day? Oh then

See that you be meek and patient under all injuries and abuses for Christ's sake. Avenge not yourselves, but leave it to the Lord, who will do it. Do not anticipate the work of God. "Be patient, my brethren, unto the coming of the Lord." James, 5: 7, 8. Be communicative, public-hearted christians, studying and devising liberal things for Christ's distressed members; and you shall have both an honorable remembrance of it, and a full reward of it in that day. Matt. 25: 34-36. Be watchful and sober, keep the golden bridle of modera

tion upon all your affections; and see that you be not overcharged with the cares and love of this present life. 'Luke, 21: 34, 35. Will you that your Lord come and find you in such a posture? Oh "let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand." Phil. 45. Improve all your Master's talents diligently and carefully. Then must you make up your account for them all.

But, above all, be sincere in your profession. Let your hearts be found in God's statutes, that you may never be ashamed; for this day will be the day of manifestation of all hidden things. Nothing is so secret, but that day will reveal it: "Beware of hypocrisy; for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known." Luke, 12 : 1, 2.

Thus I have finished, through Divine aids, the whole doctrine of the work of redemption by Jesus Christ. I close with a general


And now, let me persuade all those for whom the dear Son of God came from the blessed bosom of the Father, assumed flesh, and laid down his own life a ransom for their souls; for whom he lived, died, rose, ascended, and lives for ever in heaven to intercede-to live wholly to Christ, as Christ lived and died for us.

Oh brethren, never were the heathen world acquainted with such arguments to deter them from sin, such motives to urge them to holiness, as I now spread before you. My request is, that you give up both your hearts and lives to glorify the Father, Son, and Spirit, whose you are. Greater things are expected from you than from other men. See that you turn not all this grace into licentiousness. Think not that because Christ hath done so much for you, you may sit still; much less indulge yourselves in sin, because Christ offered up such


an excellent sacrifice for its expiation. No, though Christ came to be a curse, he did not come to be a cloak for sin. "If one died for all, then were all dead; that they that live, should not henceforth live to themselves, but unto him that died for them." 2 Cor. 5: 14, 15. Oh keep your lives pure and clean. "If you live in the Spirit, see that you walk in the Spirit," Gal. 5: 25; that is, says one, shape and order your lives and actions according to the dictates, instinct, and impulses of the Spirit, and of that grace of the Spirit planted in your hearts, which tendeth to practical holiness." Oh let the grace which is in your hearts flow out in all your actions. Let the faith that is in your hearts appear in your prayers; the obedience of your hearts in hearing; the meekness of your hearts in suffering; the mercifulness of your hearts in distributing; the truth and righteousness of your hearts in trading; the sobriety and temperance of your hearts in eating and drinking. These are the fruits of Christ's sufferings indeed, they are sweet fruits. Let grace refine, ennoble, and elevate all your actions; that you may say, "Truly our conversation is in heaven." Let grace have the ordering of your tongues and of your hands; the moulding of your whole conversation. Let not humility appear in some actions and pride in others; holy seriousness in some companies and vanity in others. Suffer not the fountain of corruption to mingle with or pollute the streams of grace. But be you in the fear of the Lord all the day long. Let there be a due proportion between all the parts of your conversation. Approve yourselves the servants of Christ in all things; "By pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left." 2 Cor. 6:6, 7. See then how circumspectly you walk. Cut off occasion from them that desire occasion; and in

« PreviousContinue »