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love to you indeed that I spake to you. O, if ye do not take care a form of religion will destroy your soul : ye will rest in it, and will not come to Jesus Christ at all : whereas these things are only the means, and not the end of religion ; Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to all that believe.
O then awake, ye that are fettered in your lees; awake ye church professors; awake, ye that have got a name to live, that are rich and think that ye want nothing, not considering that ye are poor and blind, and naked; I counsel you to come and buy of Jesus Christ gold, white raiment and eye salve. But I hope there are some that are a little wounded. I hope God does not intend to let me preach in vain. I hope God will reach some of your precious souls, and awaken some of you out of your carnal security. I hope there are some that are willing to come to Christ, and beginning to think that they have been building upon a false foundation. Perhaps the devil may strike in, and may bid you despair of mercy ; but fear not: what I have been speaking to you, is only out of love to you, is only to awaken you, and let you see your danger. If any of you are willing to be reconciled to God, God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is willing to be reconciled to you. O then, though ye have no peace as yet, come away to Jesus Christ; he is our peace; he is our peace-maker : he has made peace betwixt God and offending man. have peace with God? Away then to God, through Jesus Christ, who has purchased peace. The Lord Jesus hath shed his heart's blood for this; he died for this; he ascended into the highest heavens, and is now interceding at the right hand of God. Perhaps ye think there will be no peace for you. Why so? Because ye are sinners; because ye have crucified Christ, ye have put him to open shame, ye have trampled under foot the blood of the Son of God. What of all this? yet there is peace for you. Pray what did Jesus Christ say to his disciples, when he came to them the first day of the week? The first word he said was “ Peace be unto you. He showed them his hands and his feet and said, Peace be unto you." It is as much as if he had said, fear not, my disciples; see my hands and my feet, how they have been pierced for your sake; therefore fear not. How did Christ speak to his disciples. Go tell my brethren, and tell broken-hearted Peter in particular, that Christ is risen, that he has ascended unto his father and your father, to his God and your God. And after Christ rose from the dead, he came preaching peace with an olive-branch of peace in his mouth, as Noah's dove, “My peace I leave with you.” Who were they? They were the enemies of Christ as well as we; they were deniers of Christ once as well as we.
Perhaps some of you have backslidden and lost your peace, and ye think ye deserve no peace; and no more ye do : but then God will heal your backslidings, he will love you freely. As for
that are wounded, if you are made willing to come to Christ, come away. Perhaps some of you want to dress yourselves in your duties, that are but rotten rags. No, ye had better come naked, as you are; for ye must throw aside your rags, and come in your blood. Some of you may say, we would come but we have a hard heart : but ye will never get it soft till you come to Christ; he will take away the heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh; he will speak peace to your soul : though ye have betrayed him, yet he will be your peace. Shall I prevail upon any of you this morning to come to Jesus Christ ! There is a great multitude of souls here; how shortly must ye all die, and go to judgment; even before night, or to-morrow's night, some of you may be buried in this churchyard. And how will ye do if ye be not at peace with God! if the Lord Jesus Christ has not spoken peace to your heart. If God speak not peace to you here, ye will be damned for ever. I must not flatter you ; my dear friends, I will deal sincerely with your souls. Some of you may think I carry things too far : but indeed when ye come to judgment, ye will find this true, either to your eternal damnation or comfort. May God influence your hearts to come to him! I am not willing to go away without persuading you. I cannot be persuaded but God may make use of me as a means of persuading some of you to come to the Lord Jesus Christ. O did you but feel the peace which they have that love the Lord Jesus Christ. “Great peace have they," says the Psalmist,“ that love thy law, nothing shall offend them.” But there is no peace to the wicked. I know what it is to live a life of sin. I was obliged to sin to stifle conviction. And I am sure this is the way many of you take; if ye get into company, ye drive off conviction.
had better go to the bottom at once; it must be done, your wound must be searched, or ye must be damned. If it were a matter of indifference, I would not speak one word about it: but ye will be damned without Christ; he is the way, he is the truth, and the life. I cannot think you should go to hell without Christ. How can ye dwell with everlasting burnings? How can ye abide the thought of living with the devil for ever ? Is it not better to have some soul trouble here, than to be sent to hell by Jesus Christ hereafter? What is hell but to be absent from Christ? If there were no other hell, that would be hell enough. It will be hell to be tormented with the devil for ever. Get acquaintance with God then, and be at peace. I beseech you as a poor worthless ambassador of Jesus
Christ, that ye would be reconciled to him. My business this morning, the first day of the week, is to tell you that Christ is willing to be reconciled to you. Will any of you be reconciled to Jesus Christ? Then, he will forgive you all your sins; he will blot out all your transgressions. But if ye will go on and rebel against Christ, and stab him daily; if ye will go on and abuse Jesus Christ, the wrath of God, ye must expect, will fall upon you,
God will not be mocked ; that which a man soweth, that shall he also reap. And if ye will not be at peace with God, God will not be at peace with you. Who can stand before God when he is angry. It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God. When the people came to apprehend Christ, they fell to the ground when Jesus said, I am he: and if they could not bear the sight of Christ when clothed with the rags of mortality, how will they bear the sight of him, when he is on his Father's throne? Methinks I see the poor wretches dragged out of their graves by the devil, methinks I see them trembling, calling out to the hills and rocks to cover them.
But the devil will say, come, I will take you away; and then they will stand trembling before the judgment seat of Christ. They shall appear before him to see him once, and hear him pronounce that irrevocable sentence. “ Depart from me, ye cursed.” Methinks I hear the poor creature saying, Lord, if we must be damned, let some angel pronounce the sentence. No, the God of love, Jesus Christ, will pronounce it. Will ye not believe this? Do not think I am talking at random, but agreeably to the scriptures of truth. If ye do then show yourselves men, this morning go away with full resolution, in the strength of God, to cleave to Christ. And may ye have no rest in your soul till ye rest in Jesus Christ. I could still go on, for it is sweet to talk of Christ. Do ye not long for the time when ye shall have new bodies, when they shall be immortal, and made like Christ's glorious body, and then they will talk of Jesus Christ for evermore. But it is time perhaps for you to go and prepare for your respective worship, and I would not hinder any of you. My design is to bring poor sinners to Jesus Christ. O that God may bring some of you to himself. May the Lord Jesus now dismiss you with his blessing; and may the dear Redeemer convince you that are unawakened, and turn the wicked from the evil of their way. And may the love of God that passeth all understanding fill your hearts. Grant this, O Father, for Christ's sake, to whom, with thee and the blessed Spirit, be all honor and glory, now and for ever more. Amen.
THE WISE AND FOOLISH VIRGINS.
Matthew xxv. 13.
Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour in which
the Son of man cometh.
The apostle Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews, informs us, that “it is appointed for all men once to die; after that is the judgment." And I think, if any consideration be sufficient to awaken a sleeping, drowsy world, it must be this, that there will be a day wherein these heavens shall be wrapped up like a scroll, this element melt with fervent heat, the earth and all things therein be burnt up, and every soul, of every nation and language, summoned to appear before the dread tribunal of the righteous Judge of quick and dead, to receive rewards and punishments, according to the deeds done in their bodies. The great apostle just mentioned, when brought before Felix, could think of no better mears to convert that sinful man, than to reason of temperance, righteousness, and more especially of a judgment to come. The first might in some measure affect, but I am persuaded, it was the last consideration, a judgment to come, that made him tremble: and so bad as the world is now grown, yet few have their consciences so far seared, as to deny that there will be a reckoning hereafter. The promiscuous dispensations of providence in this life, wherein we see good men afflicted, destitute, tormented, and the wicked permitted triumphantly to ride over their heads, has been always looked upon as an indisputable argument, by the generality of men, that there will be a day in which God will judge the world in righteousness, and administer equity unto his people. Some indeed are so bold as to deny it, while they are engaged in the pursuit of the lust of the eye, and the pride of life; but follow them to their death-beds, ask them, when their souls are ready to launch into eternity, what they then think of a judgment to come, and they will tell you they dare not give their consciences, the lie any longer. They feel a fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation in their hearts. Since then these things are so, does it not highly concern each of us, my brethren, before we come on a bed of sickness, seriously to examine how the account stands between God and our souls, and how it will fare with us in that day? As for the openly profane,
the drunkard, the whoremonger, the adulterer, and such like, there is no doubt of what will become of them; without repentance, they shall never enter into the kingdom of God and his Christ. No; their damnation slumbereth not: a burning fiery Tophet, kindled by the fury of God's eternal wrath, is prepared for their reception, wherein they must suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. Nor is there the least doubt of the state of true believers. For though they are despised and rejected of natural men, yet being born again of God, they are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. They have the earnest of the promised inheritance in their hearts, and are assured, that a new and living way is made open for them, into the holy of holies, by the blood of Jesus Christ, into which an abundant entrance shall be administered to them at the great day of account. The only question is, what will become of the almost christian, one that is content to go, as he thinks, in a middle way to heaven, without being profane on the one hand, or, as he falsely imagines, righteous overmuch on the other ? Many there are in every congregation, and consequently some here present, of this stamp. And what is worst of all, it is more easy to convince the most notorious publicans and sinners of their being out of a state of salvation, than any of these. Notwithstanding, if Jesus Christ may be your Judge, they shall as certainly be rejected and disowned by him at the last day, as though they lived in open defiance of all his laws.
For what says our Lord in the parable of which the words of the text are a conclusion, and which I intend to make the subject of my present discourse. “Then,” at the day of judgment, which he had been discoursing of in the foregoing, and prosecutes in this chapter, “shall the kingdom of heaven,” the state of professors in the gospel church,“ be likened unto ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” In which words, is a manifest allusion to a custom prevailing in our Lord's time among the Jews at marriage solemnities, which were generally at night, and at which it was customary for the persons of the bride chamber to go out in procession, with many lights, to meet the bridegroom.
By the bridegroom, you are here to understand Jesus Christ. The church, that is, true believers, are his spouse; he is united to them by one spirit, even in this life; but the solemnizing of these sacred nuptials is reserved till the day of judgment, when he shall come to take them home to himself, and present them before men and angels as his purchase to his father, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. By the ten virgins we are to understand the professors of christianity in general. Are all called virgins, because all are called to be saints? Whoever