Images de page

cient foundation laid for preaching the gospel indefinitely to all without exception. It is the command of God, that this fhould be done :

Mark xvi. 15. "And he faid unto them, Go "ye into all the world, and preach the gospel "to every creature." The effect of this is, that the mifery of the unbelieving and impenitent fhall lie entirely at their own door; and they fhall not only die in their fins, but fhall fuffer to eternity for this moft heinous of all fins, defpifing the remedy, and refufing to hear the Son of God: Heb. x. 26. 27. "For if we fin "wilfully after that we have received the know

ledge of the truth, there remaineth no more "facrifice for fins, but a certain fearful looking "for of judgement, and fiery indignation, which "fhall devour the adversaries." Let us neither refuse our affent to any part of the revealed will of God, nor foolishly imagine an oppofition between one part of it and another. All the obfcurity arifes from, and may be refolved into the weakness of our understandings; but let God be true, and every man a liar. That

there is a fenfe in which Chrift died for all men, and even for those who perish, is plain from the very words of fcripture: 1 Tim. iv. 10. "For therefore we both labour, and fuffer "reproach, because we truft in the living "God, who is the Saviour of all men, efpe


cially of those that believe." 1 Cor. viii. 11. "And through thy knowledge fhall the weak "brother perifh, for whom Chrift died?" Thus it appears, that both in a national and perfonal

K 2

perfonal view, Chrift is "the propitiation for our fins; and not for ours only, but also for "the fins of the whole world."

III. I PROCEED now, in the last place, to make fome practical improvement of the fubject for your inftruction and direction. And,

1. From what hath been faid, let us be indu ced to give praife to God for his mercy to loft finners revealed in the gofpel. Let us particularly give him praise for Chrift Jefus, his unfpeakable gift: "Herein is love, not that we "loved God, but that he loved us, and gave his "Son to be the propitiation for us."

While we remember, with abafement of foul, the holiness and juftice of God, which required fatisfaction for fin, let us alfo remember his infinite compaffion, who was pleafed himfelf to provide a lamb for the burnt-offering." Let us at the fame time give praise to the tenderhearted Saviour, who gave his life as an offering" of a fweet-finelling favour" to God. Redeeming grace fhall be the theme of eternal gratitude and praife in heaven. After all our trials and dangers are over, we fhall then, with unfpeakable delight, afcribe the honour of our victory to him, faying, Rev. v. 12. "Worthy "is the Lamb that was flain, to receive power, "and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and "honour, and glory, and bleffing." Why fhould we not alfo attempt to give him praife in his church on earth? for he, having finished his own work, and entered into his glory, hath

given us an affured profpect, that we also shall overcome in his ftrength; that he will come again, and receive us to himself; that where "he is, there we may be also."

2. You may fee from what hath been faid, that fuch as are yet unrelated to this Saviour are in a state of fin, and liable to divine wrath. Hear and receive this truth, however unwelcome to the fecure, however diftafteful to the carnal mind. If it were not fo, this propitiation which God hath fet forth would have been altogether unneceffary. Let us beg of him who hath afcended up on high, to fend down, ac-, cording to his promife, his Spirit to convince the world of fin. How many affecting and ftriking proofs have we of this, both in our character and state and yet how difficult to make us fenfible of it! What is to be seen in the world at prefent, or what do we read in the history of past ages, but one melancholy scene of diforder, mifery, and bloodshed, succeeding another Is not this the effect of human guilt? And do we not, by mutual injuries, at once demonstrate our own corruption, and execute the just judgement of God upon one another? May not every perfon difcover the latent fource of these flagrant crimes, in the pollution of his own heart, his averfion to what is good, and his proneness and inclination to what is evil? And yet, alas! how difficult a matter is it to make the heart humble itself, and plead guilty before God; to make us fenfible, that we are tranfgreffors from the womb, and inexcufable in K 3


this tranfgreffion; that the threatening of the law is most juft, "Curfed is every one that "continueth not in all things written in the "book of the law to do them ;" and that it is of the infinite mercy of God, that the execution is fufpended, or any hope given us of being able to avert it?

Yet this, my brethren, I will repeat it, and I beseech you to attend to it, is certainly the cafe by nature, with every perfon in this affembly. Every one who now hears me is in a state of condemnation, and liable to everlasting misery, excepting that happy number who have "fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope fet be"fore them." "All infenfible perfons, living in a careless fecure forgetfulness of God; all who indulge themselves habitually in the lufts of the flesh; drunkards, fwearers, profane and lafcivious jefters, liars, unjuft perfons, lovers of the prefent world, are aliens from the commonwealth of Ifrael, and ftrangers to the covenant of promife. Oh that it were poffible for nie to awaken you to a fenfe of your danger, while there is yet a poffibility of efcaping! Oh the importance to you of the unknown time from this day of your merciful vifitation to the day of death! What would thofe who are now your referved in chains to the judgement of the great day, give for the precious opportunity you are now despifing! In a little time I know that you yourselves will repent; oh that it may not be when it is too late to reform! But all words muft fink under fuch a fubject. No picture that I


could draw of the despairing horror of a finner on his deathbed, or the blafpheming rage of those who are tormented in hell-fire, could poffibly give any of you a juft apprehenfion of what it is to fall into the hands of the living God, unless it please himself to wound the con science with the arrows of conviction, that he may afterwards pour in the healing balm of peace and confolation. And oh that it might ftand with the will of God that none here prefent fhould escape!

3. Learn from what has been said, that there is no facrifice for fin, but the one offering of our Redeemer on the cross; no hope of mercy for any child of Adam, but through his blood. The typical facrifices under the Old Teftament, were but fhadows, the substance is Chrift. In vain will any go about to establish their own righteoufnefs, and refuse to fubmit to the righteousness, of God. Think not, my brethren, by attempts of reformation,by faulty defective duties, to be able to cancell any part of that guilt to which you are, adding every day. How great is the folly and prefumption of felf-righteoufnefs! What a profane contempt of the riches of divine grace! Hath God feen it neceffary to fet forth Chrift as a propitiation through faith in his blood? and will you fay, that it is unneceffary, and spurn the offered mercy? How much ignorance is in felf-righteoufnefs! What imperfect views must they have of the law of God, and how little knowledge of themselves, and their own hearts, who

« PrécédentContinuer »