Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

though it should be to your ruin. God has vindicated the honours of his violated law, and despised gospel, upon

mil. lions, who, with the rebel Angels, by whom they have been seduced, are even now reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day*: and he will as surely vindicate them upon you. If you do not repent, if you are not regenerate, you shall all likewise perisht, and not one of you shall escape.

And thus I close this copious and important argument ; this argument in which life and death, salvation and damnation are concerned. View it, my friends, in all its connection, and see in what part of it the chain can be broken. Will you say, that without regeneration you can secure an interest in the kingdom of heaven, though the constitution of heaven oppose it, and all the declarations of God's word stand directly against it ; and though nature itself reclaim, and conscience testify your incapacity to enjoy it? Or will you say, that being excluded from it, you shall suffer no considerable damage, though you Jose so glorious a state, the noblest preparation of divine love, the purchase of redeeming blood, and the end of the Spirit's operation on the soul; though you ever remain sensible of your loss, and be consigned over to dwell in that flaming prison, which God has prepared for the Devil and his angels, and where all the terrors of his righteous judgments are made known.

But if you are indeed inwardly convinced of the truth and importance of these things, and will go away, and act as before, without any regard to them, I can say no more.

The reason of man, and the word of God can point out no stronger arguments, than an infinite good on the one hand, and an infinite evil on the other.

Hear therefore, Oh heavens, and give ear, Oh earth! and let angels and devils join their astonishment ; that creatures, who would strenuously contend, and warmly exert themselves, I will not say merely for an earthly kingdom, but in an affair where only a few pounds, or perhaps a few shillings or pence were concerned, are indifferent here, where, by their own confession, a happy or miserable eternity is in question : For indifferent, I fear, some of you are, and will continue. I have represented these things in the integrity of my heart, as in the sight of God, not in artful forms of speech, but in the genuine language, which the strong emotions of my own soul, in the views of them, most naturally dictated. Yet I think it not at all probable, that some of you, and sone perhaps who do not now imagine it, will, as soon as you return home, divert your thoughts and discourses to other objects; and may perhaps, as heretofore, lie down upon your beds without spending one quarter of an hour, or even one serious minute, in lamenting your miserable state before God, and seeking that help and deliverance which his grace alone can give. But if you thus lie down, make, if you can, A covenant with death, that it may not break in upon your slumbers; and an agreement with hell*, that before the return of the morning, it may not flash in upon your careless souls another kind of conviction, than they will now receive from the voice of reason and the word of God.

* Jude ver. 6.

Luke xiii. 3.

* Isa, xxviii. 15.

though it should be to your ruin. God has vindicated the honours of his violated law, and despised gospel, upon millions, who, with the rebel Angels, by whom they have been seduced, are even now reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day*: and he will as surely vindicate them upon you. If you do not repent,

if

you are not regenerate, you shall all likewise perisht, and not one of you shall escape.

And thus I close this copious and important argument ; this argument in which life and death, salvation and damnation are concerned. View it, my friends, in all its connection, and see in what part of it the chain can be broken. Will you say, that without regeneration you can secure an interest in the kingdom of heaven, though the constitution of heaven oppose it, and all the declarations of God's word stand directly against it ; and though nature itself reclaim, and conscience testify your incapacity to enjoy it? Or will you say, that being excluded from it, you shall suffer no considerable damage, though you Jose so glorious a state, the noblest preparation of divine love, the purchase of redeeming blood, and the end of the Spirit's operation on the soul; though you ever remain sensible of your loss, and be consigned over to dwell in that flaming prison, which God has prepared for the Devil and his angels, and where all the terrors of his righteous judgments are made known.

But if you are indeed inwardly convinced of the truth and importance of these things, and will go away, and act as before, without any regard to them, I can say no more. The

of

man, and the word of God can point out no stronger arguments, than an infinite good on the one hand, and an infinite evil on the other.

Hear therefore, Oh heavens, and give ear, Oh earth! and let angels and devils join their astonishment ; that creatures, who would strenuously contend, and warmly exert themselves, I will not say merely for an earthly kingdom, but in an affair where only a few pounds, or perhaps a few shillings or pence were concerned, are indifferent here, where, by their own confession, a happy or miserable eternity is in question : For indifferent, I fear, some of you are, and will continue. I have represented these things in the integrity of my heart, as in the sight of God, not in artful forms of speech, but in the

reason

* Jude ver. 6.

+ Luke xiii. 3.

genuine language, which the strong emotions of my own soul, in the views of them, most naturally dictated. Yet I think it not at all probable, that some of you, and sone perhaps who do not now imagine it, will, as soon as you return home, divert your thoughts and discourses to other objects; and may perhaps, as heretofore, lie down upon your beds without spending one quarter of an hour, or even one serious minute, in lamenting your miserable state before God, and seeking that help and deliverance which his grace alone can give. But if you thus lie down, make, if you can, A covenant with death, that it may not break in upon your slumbers; and an agreement with hell*, that before the return of the morning, it may not flash in upon your careless souls another kind of conviction, than they will now receive from the voice of reason and the word of God.

* Isa, xxviii, 15.

the christian world has been afflicted, and the soundest part of it disturbed, with relation to the kind and manner of this influence. I will not so much as mention them, and much less discuss them; Lest Satan should take an advantage of us*, to divert our minds from what is essential in this doctrine, to what is merely circumstantial. Only let it be observed in general, that I speak of " such an agency of God on our minds, as offers no violence to the rational and active nature which God has given us, nor does by any means supersede our obligations to those duties which his word requires ; but on the contrary, cures and perfects our nature, and disposes the soul to a regard to such incumbent duties, and strengthens it in the discharge of them." With this only preliminary, which appears to me highly important, I proceed to shew the reasonableness of ascribing this change to a divine agency, rather than to any thing else which may be supposed to have any share in producing it. And we may infer this, [1.] “ From the general and necessary dependance of the whole

created world upon God."

There was a philosophical, as well as divine truth, in that observation of the apostle Paul at Athens, which was well worthy the most learned assembly ; In him, i. e. In God we live, and move, and have our beingt. Such is the innate weakness of created nature, that it continually depends on a divine support. The very idea of its being created supposes, that it had no cause of its existence, but the divine will, in the first moment of it: And if it could not then subsist without that will, in the first moment of its existence, it neither could subsist without in the second, or in any future moment of it: Since to have been dependent for a while, can never be supposed to render any thing for the future independent. The continued existence then of all the creatures, no less of angels, than of worms, or trees, or stones, does properly depend upon the divine energy, which bears them up, and holds those of them in life, which live, and those of them in being, which are inanimate or without life.

And if their being be dependent, then surely it will follow, that all their perceptive and active powers, whatsoever they are, must continually depend upon God: For to exist with such powers is evidently more, than simply to exist; and if a

* 2 Cor. ii. 11.

+ Acts xvii. 28.

« VorigeDoorgaan »