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mothers; if you are emphatically the dung and offscouring of all things; yet if you believe on Jesus Christ, and cry unto hiin with the same faith as the expiring thief, “ Lord, remember me, now thou art in thy kingdom ;" I will pawn my eternal salvation on it, that he will shortly translate you to his heavenly paradise. Wonder not at my speaking with so much assurance, for I know it is a faithful and true saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save (all truly affected and believing) sinners.” Nay, so great is his love, that I am persuaded, were it necessary, he would come again into the world, and die a second time for them on the cross. But, blessed be God, when our Lord bowed down his head, and gave up the ghost, our redemption was finished. It is not our sin, but our want of a lively faith in his blood, that will prove our condemnation. If you draw near to him by faith, though you are the worst of sinners, yet he will not say unto you, “ Verily I know you not." No, a door of mercy shall be opened to you. Look then, by an eye of faith, to that God man, whom ye have pierced. Behold him bleeding, panting, dying on the cross, with arms stretehed out ready to embrace you all. Hark! how he groans! See how all nature is in agony! The rocks rend, the graves open; the sun withdraws its light, ashamed as it were to see the God of nature suffer; and all this to usher in man's great redemption. Nay the holy Jesus, in the bitter agonies and pangs of death, prays for his very murderers. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." If then you have crucified the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame, yet do not despair, only believe, and even this shall be forgiven. You have read, at least you have heard, no doubt, how three thousand were converted at Peter's preaching one sermon, after our Lord's ascension, and many of the crucifiers of the Lord of glory undoubtedly were among them; and why should you despair ? For Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. The Holy Ghost shall be sent down on you, as well as on them, if you do but believe ; for Christ ascended up on high to receive this gift even for the vilest of men. Come then all ye that are weary and heavy laden, with a sense of your sins, lay hold on Christ by faith, and he will give you rest ; for salvation is the free gift of God to all them that believe. And though you may think this too good news to be true, yet I speak the truth in Christ, I lie not, this is the gospel, this is the glad tidings which we are commissioned to preach to every one. Be not faithless then, but believing. Let not the devil lead you captive at his will any longer; for all the wages he gives his servants is death, death often in
this life, death everlasting in the next : but the free gift of God is eternal life to all that believe in Jesus Christ. Pharisees are and will be offended at my coming here, and offering you salvation on such cheap terms: but the more they bid me hold my peace, the more will I cry out and proclaim to convicted sinners, that Jesus, David's son according to the flesh, but David's Lord as he was God, will have mercy on all that by a living faith truly turn to him. If this is to be vile, I pray God, I may be more vile. If they will not let me preach Christ crucified ; and offer salvation to sinners, in a church, I will preach him in the lanes, streets, highways and hedges; and nothing pleases me better, than to think I am now in one of the devil's strongest holds. Surely the Lord has not sent me and all you hither for nothing; no, blessed be God, "the fields are white, ready unto harvest," and many souls I hope will be gathered into his heavenly garner. It is true, it is the midnight of the church, especially the poor Church of England ; but God has lately sent forth his servants to cry, “Behold the bridegroom cometh.” I beseech you, O sinners, hearken unto the voice! Let me espouse you by faith to my dear master; and henceforward watch and pray, that you may be ready to go forth to meet him.
Secondly, I would apply to those that are not openly profane, but by depending on a formal round of duties, deceive your souls, and are foolish virgins.
But I must speak to your conviction, rather than comfort. My dear brethren, you have heard how far the foolish virgins went, and yet were answered with “ Verily I know you not.” The reason is, because none but such as have a living faith in Jesus Christ, and are truly born again, can possibly enter into the kingdom of heaven. You may perhaps live honest and outwardly moral lives, but if you depend on that morality, or join your works with your faith, in order to justify you before God, you have no lot or share in Christ's redemption. For what is this but to deny the Lord that has bought you? What is this but making yourselves your own Saviors ? Taking the crown from Christ, and putting it on your own heads? The crime of the devil, some have supposed, consisted in this, that he would not bow to Jesus Christ, when the Father commanded all the angels to worship him; and what do you less ? You will not own and submit to his righteousness; and though you pretend to worship him with your lips, yet your hearts are far from him : besides you in effect, deny the operations of his blessed Spirit, you mistake common for effectual grace ; you hope to be saved because you have good desires, and a few short convictions; and what is this, but to give God, his word,
and all the saints, the lie? A Jew, a Turk, has equally as good grounds whereon to build the hopes of his salvation. Need I not then to cry out to you, ye foolish virgins, watch. Beg of God to convince you of your self-righteousness, and the secret unbelief of your hearts; or otherwise when the cry shall be made, “ Behold the bridegroom cometh,” you will find yourselves utterly unprepared to go forth to meet him. You may cry Lord, Lord; but the answer will be, " Verily I know you not."
Thirdly, I would speak a word or two by way of exhortation to those who are wise virgins and are assured they have on a wedding garment. That there are many such among you, who by grace have renounced your own righteousness, and know that the righteousness of the Lord Jesus is imputed to you, I make no doubt. God has his secret ones in the worst of times; and I am persuaded he has not let so loud a gospelcry be made among his people, as of late has been heard, for nothing. No, I am confident the Holy Ghost has been given to many at the preaching of faith, and has powerfully fallen on many, whilst they have been hearing the word. You are now then no longer foolish, but wise virgins ; notwithstanding, I beseech you also to suffer the word of exhortation ; for wise virgins are too apt, while the bridegroom tarries, to slumber and sleep. Watch therefore, watch and pray, at this time especially; for perhaps a time of suffering is at hand. The ark of the Lord begins already to be driven into the wilderness. Be ye therefore on your watch, and still persevere in following your Lord, even without the camp, bearing his reproach ; the cry that has been lately made, has awakened the devil and his servants; they begin to rage horribly; and well they may; for I hope their kingdom is in danger. Watch therefore, for if we are not always on our guard, a time of trial may overtake us unawares ; and instead of owning, like Peter we may be tempted to deny our master. Set death and eternity often before you. Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith, and consider how little a while it will be, ere he comes to judgment; and then our reproach shall be wiped away : the accusers of us and our brethren shall be cast down, and we all shall be lodged in heaven for ever, with our dear Lord.
Lastly, What I say to you, I say to all, Watch. High and low, rich and poor, young and old, one with another, of whatever sect or denomination, for I regard not that, I beseech you, by the mercies of Jesus, to be on your guard. Fly to Jesus Christ that heavenly bridegroom. Behold he desires to take you to himself, miserable, poor, blind and naked as you are; he is willing to clothe you with his everlasting righteousness,
and make you partakers of that glory, which he enjoyed with the father before the world began. Do not turn a deaf ear to me; do not reject the message on account of the meanness of the messenger. I am a child ; but the Lord has chosen me, that the glory might be all his own. Had he sent to invite, you by a learned rabbi, you might have supposed that the man had done something; but now God has sent a child, that the excellency of the
power may seen not to be of man, but of God. Let the learned pharisees then despise my youth. I care not how vile I appear in the sight of such men: I glory in it. And I am persuaded, if any of you should be married to Christ by this preaching, you will have no reason to repent, when you come to heaven, that God sent a child to cry, “Behold the bridegroom cometh ?" O my brethren, the thought of being instrumental in bringing one of you to glory, fills me with fresh zeal. Once more, I entreat you, Watch, and pray; for the Lord Jesus will receive all that call on him faithfully. Let that cry, “ Behold the bridegroom cometh,” be continually sounding in your ears; and begin now to live, as though you were assured, this night you were to go forth to meet him. May the Lord give you all a hearing ear, an obedient heart, and so closely unite you to himself by one spirit, that when he shall come in terrible majesty, to judge mankind, you may be found having on a wedding garment, and ready to go in with him to the marriage.
Grant this, O Father, for thy dear Son's sake, Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen! and Amen!
[The reader will notice that the Sermons which precede, were pub
lished by Whitefield himself. Those which follow are transcripts of his extempore discourses taken in short-hand.]
CHRIST THE BELIEVER'S REFUGE.—A FUNERAL SERMON.
PSALM xlvi. 1–6.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble; therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea, though the waters thereof roar, and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High: God is in the midst of her, she shall not be mored; God shall help her, and that right early.
THERE was a tradition among the ancient Jews, that the manna which came down from heaven, though it was a little grain like coriander seed, yet suited every taste; as milk unto babes, and strong meat to grown persons. Whether this supposition be founded on fact or not, the observation will hold good in a great measure respecting the sayings of David; for if we have eyes to see, and ears to hear, if God has been pleased to take away the veil from our hearts, we shall find, by happy experience, that, let our circumstances be what they will, the book of Psalms may serve as a spiritual magazine, out of which we may draw spiritual weapons in the time of the hottest fight, especially those that are under trouble, “when the hand of the Lord is gone" seemingly “forth against them;" when unbelief is apt to make them say, all these things are against me! if we can have the presence of mind to turn to the book of Psalms, we may find something there suitable to our case, a word to refresh us in pursuing our spiritual enemy. This is true of the 46th Psalm in particular, part of which I have just now read to you, and which I pray the blessed Spirit of God to apply to every one of our hearts. It is uncertain at what time, or upon what occasion, David wrote it; probably under some sharp affliction, which made him eloquent; or when the affliction was over, when his heart was swimming with gratitude and love, and when, out of the fullness of it, his pen was made the pen of a ready writer. It was a favor