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that they are free from the blood of all men ; no sort of men upon earth have more spurs to diligence and faithfulness than we have. : 3d !nference. What a pill is this to purge formality out of all that hear us? Every fabbath, every fermon, is recorded in heaven for or against your fouls; at what rate foever you attend to the word, all that you hear is set down in the book of your account: think not you shall return as you came, the word will have its effect and end, it shall not return in vain, Ifa. lv. 11. but fhall accomplish the end for which it is sent. The decrees of heaven are executed by the gospel, some fouls shall be quickened, and others shall be slain by the word of God's mouth. The gospel is a river of the waters of life, which quickens and refreshes every thing that lives ; but the miry and marshy places shall not be healed. How weighty therefore is that caution of our Lord, Luke viii. 18. Take heed how you hear! When you come under an ordinance, you are fowing feed for eternity, which will spring up in the world to come. Preaching and hearing may be confidered two ways, Physically or morally : in the former respect, thele acts are quickly over and pass away. I thall by and by have done preaching, and you hearing; this sermon will be ended in a little time, but the consequences thereof will abide for ever. Therefore, for the Lord's fake, away with formality, no more drowsy eyes or wandering thoughts. , 0 when you come to attend upon the ministry of the gofpel, that such thoughts as thefe might prepare your minds! The word I am going to hear will quicken or kill, save or damn my soul ; if I lit dead under it, and return barren from it, I fhail with one day that I had never seen the face of that minister, nor heard his voice that preached it. · 4th Infer. What a dreadful condition are all those in that are real and professed enemies to the gospel ; and them that preach it! That instead of embracing and obeying the message of the gole pel, reject and despise it; instead of opening their hearts to receive it, open their blafphemous mouths against it, to deride Ilq and hiss it (if it were possible) out of the world: Ah, what a book of remembrance is written for such men? I fear there never was an age, since Christianity blessed this nation, that was more deeply drenched in the guilt of this fin than the pre: fent age. · How are the messengers of the gofpel flighted and rejected ? What have we done to deserve it? Is not our cale this day much like that of the prophet? “ Shall evil be recoma " pensed for good ? For they have digged a pit for my foul; re; “ member that I stood before thee to Ipeak good for them, and
« to turn away thy wrath from them,” Jer. xviii. 20. What
5th Infer. Hence it likewise follows, That the case of the
Ah, what a fearful aggravation doth it put upon our fin and misery, that we are not only accountable for all the light we had, but for all that we might have had in the gospel-day! Capernaum was lifted up to heaven in the enjoyment of means and precious opportunities, Matth. xi. 23. and had an answera able downfal into the depth of misery from that height of mercy; as the higher any one is lifted up upon a rack, the more terrible is the jerk he receives by the fall.. . : 6th Infer. Lastly, Hence it appears, That the day of judga ment must certainly take up a vnit space of time : For if God will bring every thing into judgment, Ecclef. xii. 14. not only finful actions, but words, Matth. xii. 36. not only words, but
heart-secrets, Rom. ii. 16. If all the records and registers now • made, fhall then be opened and read; all the witnesses for or ..against every man examined and heard ; judge then what a valt
space of time will that great day take up. Some divines are of
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you have taken your time for finning, and God will take his icult time for judging.
Consider the multitudes, multitudes without number, that are to be judged in that day, even all the posterity of Adam, which are as the sand upon the sea-shore ; that not only fo ma. ny persons, but all that they have done, must come into judg. ment, even the very thoughts of their hearts, which never came to the knowledge of men; their consciences to be interrogated, all other witnesses fully heard and examined: how great a day in must this day of the Lord then be ?
The facand Ufe. . But the main of this point will be for exhortation, that see ing all the offers of Christ are recorded, and witnessed, with respect to a day of account, every one of you would therefore immediately embrace the present gracious tender of Christ in the gospel, as ever you expect to be acquitted and cleared in that great day: take heed of denials, nay of delays and demus.
For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every « transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of fi reward; how shall we escape if we neglect so great a falvati“ on?" Heb. ii. 2, 3. The question is put, but no aniwer made; How fall we escape ? The wisdom of men and angels cannot tell how. To enforce this exhortation, I shall prelent you with ten weighty considerations upon the matter, which the Lord follow home, by the blessing of his Spirit upon all your hearts.
1. Consider how invaluable a mercy it is, that you are yet within the reach of offered grace. The mercies that stand in offer before you this day, were never fet before the angels that fell ; no mediator was ever appointed for them. O astonihing mercy! that thofe vefsels of gold should be caft into everlasting fire, and such clay vessels as we are, thus put into a capacity of greater happiness than ever they fell from ; nay, the mercy that stands before you is not only denied to the angels that fell, but to the greatest part of your fellow-creatures, of the same rank and dignity with you : «He theweth his word to
Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel, he hath « not dealt so with any other nation, and as for his judgments “ they have not known them: Praise ye the Lord," Pfalm cxlvii. 19, 20. À mercy defervedly celebrated with a jogtu
Allelujah. What vast tracks are there in the habitable worlds where the name of Christ is unknown! it is your special mercy to be born in a land of bibles and ministers; where it is as such
ficult for you to avoid and fhun the light, as it is for others to behold and enjoy it. . . . 2. Consider the nature, weight, and worth of the mercies which are this day freely offered you. Certainly they are, mercies of the first rank, the most ponderous, precious, and neceffary among all the mercies of God. Christ the first-born of mercies, and in him pardon, peace, and eternal salvation are fet before you:'it were astonishing to see a starving man refusing offered bread, or a condemned man a gracious pardon. Lord! what compositions of floth and stupidity are we, that we
should need so many intreaties to be happy. · 3. Consider who it is that makes these gracious tenders of pardon, peace, and falvation, to you ; even that God whom you have so deeply wronged, whose laws you have violated, whose mercies you have spurned, and whose wrath you have justly incensed. His patience groans under the burden of your daily provocations ; he lofes nothing if you be damned, and receives no benefit if you be saved; yet the first motions of mercy and salvation to you freely arise out of his grace and good pleasure. God intreats you to be reconciled, 2 Cor. Vi 20. The blessed Lord Jesus, whose blood thy sins have, shed, now freely offers that blood for thy reconciliation, justification, and falvation, if thou wilt but sincerely accept him ere it be too late. · 4. Refleft seriously upon your own vileness, to whom such gracious offers of peace and mercy are made. Thy sins have set thee at as great a distance from the hopes and expectations of pardon, as any finner in the world. Consider man, what thou hast been, what thou hast done, and what vast heaps of guilt thou haft contracted by a life of fin; and yet that unto thee pardon and peace should be offered in Christ after such a life of rebellion, how astonishing is the mercy ! the Lord is contented to pass by all thy former rebellions, thy deep-dyed tranfgressions, and to fign an act of oblivion for all that is past, if now at last thy heart relent for sin, and thy will bow in obedience to the great commands and calls of the gospel, Isaiah lv. 2, &C. and i. 18. ,. . • 5. Consider how many offers of mercy you have already refused, and that every refusal is recorded against you : how Jong have you tried, and even tried the patience of God alTeady, and that this may be the last overture of grace that ever God will make to your souls. Certainly there is an offer that will be the last offer, a striving of the Spirit which will be his last striving; and after that no more offers without you, no more motions or strivings within you, for evermores half The treaty is then ended, and your last neglect or rejection of Christ recorded against the day of your account; and what if this fhould prove to be that last tender of grace which must conclude the treaty betwixt Christ and you ! what undone , wretches must you then be, with whom so gracious a treaty breaks off upon fuch dreadful terms. · 6. Consider well the reasonable, mild, and gracious nature of the gospel-terms, on which life and pardon are offered to you, Acts xx. 21. The gospel requires nothing of you but repentance and faith. Can you think it hard when a prince pardons a rebel, to require him to fall upon his knees, and stretch forth a willing and thankful hand to receive his pardon? Your repentance and faith are much of the same nature. Here is no legal fatisfaction required at your hands, no reparation of the injured law by your doings or sufferings, but a hearty for row for fins committed, fincere purpofes and endeavours after new obedience, and a hearty, thankful acceptation of Chrit your Saviour; and, for your encouragement herein, his Spirit Stands ready to furnish you with powers and abilities; “ Tum « you at my reproof, behold I will pour out my Spirit unto you, “ I will make known my words unto you,” Prov. i. 23. And Ifaiah xxvi. 12. “ Lord, thou hafi wrought all our works « in us." " 7. Again. Consider how your way to Chrif, by repen tance and faith, is beaten before you, by thousands of feita ners, for your encouragement. You are not the firlt that evet adventured your fouls in this path : multitudes are gone before you, and that under as much guilt, fear, and discouragement, as you that come after can pretend into ; and not a man among them repulsed or discouraged: here they have found reft and peace to their weary souls, Heb. iv. 3. Acts xiii. 39. Here the greatest of finners have been fet forth for an ensample to you that should afterwards believe on his name, 1 Tim. i. 16. You fee if you will not, others will joyfully accept the offers of Christ; what discouragements have you that they had not! Or what greater encouragements had they which God hath not given you this day? therefore they shall be your judges.
8. Consider the great hazard of these precious seasons you now enjoy. Opportunity is the golden fpot of time, but it is tempus,
tabile, a very flippery and uncertain thing: great and manifold . are the hazards and contingencies attending it. Your lite 1
immediately uncertain, your breath continually going in your noftrils, and that which is every moment going, will be you