Page images

on different persons; it is to some a favour of life unto life, while to others, it is a favour of death unto death. Some, after all the lowers of the gospel, remain barren and unfruitful; they are nigh unto cursing whose end is to be utterly con. sumed. “ He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, « Ihall suddenly be destroyed and ihat without remedy.”

Secondly, when persons have passed thro' special seasons of the out pouring of the Spirit of God; wlien many have been awakened and converted, and fouls have flocked to Jesus as doves to their windows, and they have continued Nill secure and unconcerned. Surely their cafe must have an unhappy appearance. These are the most likely seasons of getting faving good, and of engaging effectually in the service of God. Persons who have fat thro' various fuch times, and still going on thoughtlessly in worldly pursuits or carnal pleasures, have great cause to be afraid and to tremble by reason of the danger of their condition.

Thirdly, when persons have been the subjects of powerful convictions, and have had the workings and strivings of God', spirit, and after all have returned to their former deadness and security in sin. This certainly is a case as dreadful and threatning as any yet mentioned, and perhaps more fo. This is stated in a tremendous light by our Lord. " When the “ unclean fpirit is gone out of a man, he walketh thro' 6 dry places seeking rest and he findeth none. Then he faith " I will return into my house from whence I came out, and s when he is come he findeth it empty, swept and garnished; “then goeth he and taketh with himself seven other spirits “ more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell “ there ; and the last end of that man is worse than the first." Hearken to the threatning of Jehovah in such an instance “ Because I have purged thee, and thou was not purged, thou “ íhalt not be purged from thy filthiness any morc, till I have “caused my fury to rest upon thee.”

[ocr errors]

Fourthly, if persons have formed a false judgment of their itate, and have taken up a hope that they are religious, upoa insufficient or delusive grounds; and have long buoyed themfelves up with the vain confidence of their piety, while their habitual irregularities of life too strongly indicate the contrary. They proceed on in their unfounded hopes, partake of the most foleman and fealing ordinances, and they become more blind, confident, and void of all fufpicion, until the fatal hour of death diffolves the charm. This was the case of the pharifees of old, and continues to be the condition of many hypo. crites down to the present day. “ These are they who are *** pure in their own eyes, and yet are not washed from their « filthiness. They proclaim their 'own goodness, and are “ ap: to thank God, they are not as other men are.” These are among the number of those to whom God gave a space for repentance and they repented not. Behold the flowing tears of a weeping Saviour over a people who had outlived their day of grace; and hear the heart rending mean bursting from his compaflionate lips. “O that thou hadît known, even * thou at least in this thy day, the things that belong to thy

peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes. The harvest is " over and the summer is past, and they are not saved.”

“ Fifthly, when a gospel ministry and gospel ordinances are removed from a people, this wears a dreadful and dangerous aspect. The means of grace and salvation are taken away, the Itrivings of God's spirit have ceased, and such a people are prepared for judgments. God is about to infict upon such the punishment of irreclaimable Ephraim, and say, “ All their “ wickedness is in Gilgal, for there I hated them ; for the wick< edness of their doings, I will drive them out of mine house, “ I will love them no more. Give them, O Lord, what wilt “thou give !--give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.” Or the fatal stupidity of impenitent Ifrael. “ Make the heart “ of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and thut their u eyes, lest they fee with their eyes and hear with their eats, " and understand with their heart, and convert and be healed.”

Now collect all these symptoms or appearances into one vicw, for they ought not to be separately fixed upon any charadter, but when the assemblage is applicable to any people or perfon, the danger is great left they frould perish forever. If they have been favoured with a faithful miniltry; various seafons of the out pouring of the divine fpirit; have been the subjects of strong convictions and powerful awakenings; have become rcformed, and have formed mighty resolutions; and imbibed a hope upon infufficient grounds, and this falfe and delusive confidence grows stronger and stronger ; what can be faid of such persons but that their day of grace is past, and that they are given over to strong delusion, to believe lies, that thcy mly be damned. A few words upon the

Second head will abundantly fuffice, that this is a state both lamentable and dangerous.—The deplorableness of this case will appear from the nature and preciousness of the soul; the irrepaiableness of the loss of it; and the dreadful aggravations attending the fame. The soul is above all created things precious. Did not the Son of God lay down his life for its falvation ? The loss therefore must above all conception be tremendous. The person who can measure eternity, and grasp the flames of hell in his hand, let him make the calculation of the damage. The declaration of our Lord upon this subject has been so many thoufund times reiterated, that daily repetition has blunted its edge, and turned it into all the weakness of dulness. Yet once more it asks your attention and serious confideration. It never made a more folemn appeal io your hearts, judgments and consciences. " What is a man profi. s ted, if he thould gain the whole wild,” in all the trinity of its powers, its horors, profits and pleasures, “ And “lole his foul, or what can be given in exchange for the foul?"


The bargain has weakness inscribed on the bill of exchange, and its protest exhausts eternity to make reparation. The enemy of fouls could not wilh for a more bitter lamentation than that which our Lord poured forth over the city of Jerufalem, who had outfat their season of grace, and amused away their space of repentance. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that “ killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, " how often would I have gathered thy children together, even « as a hen gathereth together her chickens under her wings, « and ye would not ; behold your house is left unto you de« folate." Despair is your allotment, and destruction your eternal portion. Angels and good men, and all in heaven and earth must bewail in all the anguish of woe your irrevocable fate. You are loft, you are damned forever. Your cry must be couched in all the language of desperation, “The “ harvest is over, the summer is paft, and we are not faved." Nothing but the plunge of eternal damnation is before you. Gloomy the apprehension, and inexpreflibly more dreadful the twinging experience.

A word of examination and exhortation must finith this fearful discourse.

First, if we are not harder than the nether mill-ftone, let us pause, corfider, reflect, and examine. Is there any hope for us? Is our destiny sealed ? The old adage is, while there is life, there is hope? Is it posible to change the divine decree, and avert almighty vengeance ? If you will attend in this day of life and repent and turn, the arm of the Most High is infinitely extended in mercy, and who dare say, but you may yet obtain salvation ? None will be so hardy as to point out the individual whose day of grace is paft. Wherefore, as the means of falvation are continued to you, God is forbearing and exercising patience towards you, who knows but he is waiting to be gra. cious ? Hence examine yourselves, look into your own hearts, and see whether ye may not yet turn unto the Lord. Take to you words and say, “ We have long sinned against thee, “ deafened our ears to the calls of thy gospel, but now after fo “ long a time, we will attend to our souls, hear and return." This address shall conclude in a brief advice to aged and mid. dle aged finners. With regard to the old, among which I hold a foremost rank.

Our fun spreads its feeble beams, and is just plunging beneath the horizon. And we know it is said, “ The finner dying an hundred years old thall be accur“ sed." Here it will be asked, whether a finner who has outlived the power of finning can be faved ? Surely he can upon the terms of the gospel. If he hath lived ninety and nine years in fin, even yet the door of mercy is open, if he will repent and embrace that Saviour, who hath declared, “ All “ manner of fin and blasphemy he will forgive.” Here is encouragement and ground of rejoicing for old sinners. Let Us not even yet despair ; but in the closing period of life, let us glorify God by shewing forth the mighty power of his grace in our conversion, repentance, faith and salvation. The oldest finner who repents fall be saved. Blessed declaration ! wherefore, let the finner bending to the earth under a weight of years, turn unto the Lord, and receive the rich and free bler. sings of eternity. You will sing the highest notes of grace

in the celestial regions. Some were called at the eleventh hour.

And with regard to finners of middle age there is hope for you. There is grace enough in our Father's house and to (pare. Jesus came to call finners to repentance. Are you finners ? the merciful call is directed to you. “ Return thou

backsiding Ifrael, faith the Lord, and I will not cause mine “ anger to fall upon you." “ If the wicked will turn from " all his fins that he hath committed, he shall surely live, be “ Thall not die. I have no pleasure in the death of him that


« PreviousContinue »