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You have given yourselves up to the guidance of the enemy of souls. But it is not, even now, too Encouragelate to retrieve all; all may yet be well, if you will yet be wise.
Can you shut your ears, and steel your hearts against all that is tender? Are you determined on your own ruin? Must I then lose my crown of rejoicing (1) Must I be deprived of the joy of our mutual endless congratulations, for our escape from the hideous wreck of souls? Must I reap no fruit of my labour of love? (2) Shall the blessed message (3) from heaven prove your Complaint. death, which was intended to be your life? (4) If you will not listen to the still small voice, (5) which now speaks to you from the mercy-seat, the time will quickly come, when your ears, if they were of rock, will be pierced by the thunder of that voice which will terrify this great world from the throne of Judgment. Think, O hardened offender, think, the time will quickly come, when as sure as thou now hearest this awful warning, thou shalt hear-(it would be thy wisdom to think thou now hearest)-the sound of that trumpet, (6) which will startle the silent dust, and break the slumbers, which were begun before the general flood. Think, that thou beholdest the whole species around thee, covering the face of the earth beyond the reach of sight. (7) Think of universal trepidation and amazement, (8)-to which, all the routed armies, the cities sacked, the fleets dashed in pieces, the countries whelmed by inundation, and the nations swallowed by earthquakes, which make the terrors of history, are but the diversions of a stage-play. Behold the heavens involved in flame; the brightness of the
(1) 1 Theff. ii. 19. (2) 1 Theff. i. 3.
(3) The litera! fignification of the Greek word EUαYYEX/OV which our English word Gospel (i. e. Good book) expreffes but weakly. (5) 1 Kings xix. 12. (6) 1 Cor. xv. 52.
(4) 2 Cor. ii. 16. (7) Rev. xx. 12. (8) Rev. vi. 14, 15, 16.
Fear with wonder.
sun extinguished by the superior lustre of the throne; and the heavens and the earth ready to fly away from the terrible face of Him who sitteth upon it. (1) Imagine thyself called forth; thy life and character displayed before men and angels. Thy conscience awakened, (2) and all thy offences full in the eye of thy remembrance. What will then be thy defence, when thy various uncancelled guilt is charged upon thy soul? No frivolous shuffle will blind the avenging Judge. The very counsel, now rejected by thee against thyself, (3) if thou hadst never had another invitation to repentance, will condemn thee; the very warning given thee this day will be thy undoing.
To attempt a description of the terrors hidden under those dreadful words, "Depart from me ye 4 cursed! into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels ;"(4) to reach as it were, over the brink of the bottomless pit, to look down where ten thousand volcanoes are roaring, and millions of miserable beings tossed aloft in the fiery whirlwind of the eruption; what employment would this be for human imagination! But what human imagination can conceive how fearful a thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God? (5) When we see a raging hurricane tear up the rooted oaks, and shake the ancient hills on which they grow; when we hear of the mountainous ocean dashing with ease, the strong-jointed ships in pieces, overflowing a continent, and sweeping whole towns before it; when we see the black thunder-cloud pour down its cataract of fire; whose burst shivers the massy tower or solid rock; or, when we read of the subterraneous explosions heaving up the ground, shattering kingdoms, and swallowing nations alive to one destruction; do not such scenes exhibit to us a tremendous view of power? And whose power
(1) Rev. xx. 11.
(2) Rev. xx. 12. (3) Luke vii. 30, (5) Heb. x. 31.
is it that works these terrifying effects? The laws of nature are the living energy of the Lord of nature. And what art thou, wretched worm of Remonstr. earth, to resist such power ? But what we see at present, is but part of his ways. (1) What the direct exertions of omnipotence against his hardened enemies will produce; what the condition of those will be, who stand in the full aim of its fury-Where is the imagination to be found equal to the conception, or tongue to the description of such terrors? Yet this may be the situation of Apprehen. some, now known to us.- frightful thought! O horrible image! Forbid it, O Father of mercy! Earnest deIf it be possible, let no creature of thine ever be precation. the object of that wrath, against which the strength of thy whole creation united, would stand but as the moth against the thunder-bolt! Alas, it is not the appointment of Him, who would have all saved, that brings destruction on any one. On the contrary, it is his very grace that brings salvation. (2) He has no pleasure in the death of him who will die. It is the rebellion of the enemy, and the unconquerable obduracy of those who take part with him, that hath given a being to the everlasting fire, which otherwise had never had been kindled. (3)
But let us withdraw our imagination from this scene, whose horror overcomes humanity. Let us turn our view to joys, of which the supreme joy is, That every one of us, if our own egregious fault and folly hinder not, may be partaker of them.† Every one of us may, if he will, gain his portion in that state, which the word of truth holds forth to the present weakness of human understanding, under all the emblems of magnificence and delight. To walk in white robes; (4) to eat of the fruit of the tree of life (5) to sit on thrones; (6)
(1) Job xxvi. 14. (2) Titus ii. 11. the text. xxv. 41. (4) Rev. iii. 4. vi. 11. vii. 9, 13, 14. 7. xxii. 2, 14. (6) Rev. iii. 21.
(5) Rev. ii.
and to wear crowns; (1) to be cloathed with the glory of the firmament of heaven, and of the stars; (2) what do these images present to our understandings, but the promised favour of the One Supreme; the approbation of the general Judge; the total purification of our nature; and an assured establishment in immortal honour and Rapture. felicity? This, and much more than eye hath seen, or ear heard, or heart conceived, (3) is laid up for those who properly receive that saving grace of God, which hath appeared to all men who study to live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world, as those who look for the blessed hope, and future glorious appearance, of our Saviour Jesus Christ. (4)
Thus have I, my dear fellow creatures, and monftrance. fellow christians-my flock, for whose inestimable souls I am to answer to the great Shepherd, thus have I, in much weakness, but in perfect integrity of heart, endeavoured to excite you, and myself, to Concern. a more strict attention, than I fear is commonly given, to the care of all cares, the business of all businesses. I have, for this purpose, given you, in an explanatory paraphrase on the text, an abridged view of your threefold duty. I have fairly warned you of your danger, if you neglect or violate, habitually, any part of it. I have put you in mind that it is but too common to neglect the Remonstr. great salvation, (5) whilst with a reasonable diligence, and at no greater expence of hardship or suffering, generally with less, than vice exposes men to, it might be made sure. I have appealed to your own feelings, whether virtue be not the best wisdom, if there were no future state. I have laid before you some of the arguments for the reality a of world to come, with a view of the probabilities, from what we see in the present state, of
(1) Rev. ii. 10. iii. 11. 1 Peter vi. 4. James i. 12. 8. 1 Cor. ix. 25. (2) Dan. xii 3. (3) 2 Cor. ii. 9. ii. 11, 12, 13. (5) Heb. ii. 3.
2 Tim. iv.
what will be the immensely different consequences of virtue and of vice, in the future. I have tried to rouse your sense of gratitude and of shame. Roufing I have set your suffering Saviour before your view. fenfe of I have invited you in the name of your heavenly and fhame. Father, to return to him and to your own happiness. I have entreated you by your regard-Befeeching. (I hope you are not altogether without regard) for your weak but faithful pastor, the servant of your souls. I have put you in mind of the future appearance of our Saviour and Judge; and of the sentences of approbation, and condemnation, under one or other of which, every human individual will be comprehended, from which there is no appeal. If these considerations be not sufficient, to stir up in your minds, a sense of danger, and of duty, I know not what more, I can, at present, do for you, but to retire, from this place of public in- veneration, struction, to my closet, and there to pour out my soul for you before the Father of spirits, that He, who has access to all hearts, may touch your hearts with such prevailing influence, that the great end of preaching may be gained with you, in spite of that fatal indifference, and obstinacy, which so often baffles all human power and art.
I commit the salvation of your precious souls to Tenderness. the great Overseer of souls. (1) To Him, as to Veneration. the Restorer of this ruined world, the Conqueror of Satan, (2) the Abolisher of death, (3) the Light of mankind, (4) and the future Judge of the quick and the dead, be ascribed, by every be ing in Heaven, and on earth, (5) blessing and honour, and power, to the glory of God, (6) the Father Almighty, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose supreme and unequalled dominion, is over all, from everlasting to everlasting. AMEN.
(1) 1 Pet. ii. 25. (4) John viii 12. xii. 46.
(2) Matth. xii. 29.
(3) 2 Tim. i 10. (6) Phil, ii 11.