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though they were formerly most vile and hopeless creatures, yet, on their hearing of John, repented, and became disciples indeed. The second represents the Priests and Pharisees, who, notwithstanding of their high pretences to religion, yet were indeed strangers to it, their practices did not correfond with their profession.
In the text, which concerns the first son, point: ing out the penitent publicans and harlots, we have iwo things.
I The finner's first answer to tlie gofpel-call; and it is a sliort one: I will not. Like Ifrael, Fral. lxxxi. 11. “But my people would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me." The finner so loves his finful ease, that he cannot think of the work in God's vineyard. Observe in this answer, (1.) The rudeness of it. The son remembered not that he was speaking to a father, so has not so much as a fair word to bestow on him.
the rude treatment Christ meets with at sinners hands! They remember not his authority over tiem, nor do they regard it; but they will be their cwn; who is Lord over them? (2.) The plainnefs of it. He tells the matter plainly; says-not, he cannot, but he will not. It is want of will to the work of religion that is the great stop. Sinners hearts cannot relish the work of religion : The bent of their hearts lies another way. (3.) The peremptoriness of it. He is at a point. The hearing of the word raises his heart against it. Let finners hear of the work of religion, and that is enough, they desire no more of it. It is a plain cafe to them, they must not, they will not, engage in such a task.
2. The second answer, in which the former bad answer is happily retracted : But afterwards he repented, and went. He complies with the call he
In illustrating this point, I propose to shew,
I. What is that work to which the gospel calls.. and with which finners will not comply?
II. Why is it that finners will not comply with i this work ? :
III. Why this refufal should be retracted.
the flaming sword of justice pursuing him for fin, runs in under the covert of Jesus' blood, saying,
This is my reft; and being willing to part with fin, but unable to master his lusts, puts himself under the protection of Christ as his King, that he may make havock of his enemies. This, finner, is your work, your foundation work. Halte, then, out of your natural state, and escape for your life to Jesus Christ..
2. The work of fanctification. Ezek. xviii. 31. « Cast away from you all your transgressions whereby ye have transgressed, and make you a new heart and a new spirit; for why will ye die, O house of Israel ?”—Heb. xii. 14. “ Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man' shall see the Lord.” Sin is the great devourer and destroyer, and therefore the great falvation is from sin. Jesus saves his people from their fins. To think of being saved in fin, is a contradiction, for to be left in it is ruining. The fick man does not defire the physician to remove death, but yet sparé his disease ; yea, but the foolish finner is thus unreasonable in the case of his soul ; he has no will that his cloaths be burnt, yet he will needs carry fire in his bosom ; he wishes not his feet to be burned, yet he will walk on coals of fire. Living lusts will devour the soul; therefore to work, finners, for you must either kill, or be killed. Let not the vineyard of your souls be any more like that of the sluggard. The sinner's soul is overgrown with hurtful lusts, there is no fence about it. O! then, work ; seek holiness. .
3. The gospel calls you to your generation-work. Adts xiii. 36. « For David, after he had served his own generation, by the will of God, fell on sleep.” Wherefore were you sent into the world, and made members of society ? Was it not to
honour honour God, and to be useful to your fellow-fer vants ? Surely God sent none of us into the world to play ourselves, like the leviathan in the fea; nor to be like mice and rats, good for nothing but to eat that for which others have laboured. Far less did he send you to be agents for the devil, to advance his kingdom, and to oppose the work of the Lord in the places where you live ; nor yet like the beasts, only to eat, drink, work, and sleep. To your work, then, your proper work, the service of God. Perhaps ye will say, ye have not been idle ; but what have ye done for God in. your day? What have ye done for the good of any soul? What have ye done to pluck any brand out of the burning? I fear, if we reckon our days ac- cording to what we have done for God in them, most of us may reckon our days loft days. Look.. up to God, who placed you in the world, and say: for what good purpose you have taken up room in. his earth. For what use are you in the world ? : God has given you a talent, what have you gained?" He has placed you in such and such situations and relations, have you done the drsies of each?
I am to shew,
II. Why is it that sinners will not comply with: this work?
1. Because it is the work to which, of all works, , their hearts are most averse. Rom. vii. 7. « Bee. cause the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” They would rather do any thing than : go and work in God's vineyard. It is against the grain with unrenewed minds. The prodigal would Father feed swine than go back to his father, till he came to himself. Judas would rather go to a halter, than go to Christ for pardon. It is like