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produce in every one of us, for the sake of our country in general, and of our own posterity in particular, a faith and a practice pleasing to the Lord our God; for these are his own words which none may gainsay, “1, the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the Fathers upon the Children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.”*
Valuable, however, as are those civil and religious benefits, (in the continuance of which we are thus interested and concerned no less as persons than as a people) valuable, I say, as they are, both in respect of their connexion with the temporal well-being, and as regards their bearing upon the eternal happiness of every member of the community, yet, what are they, my brethren, when compared with those unutterable blessings, which the word of God reveals, and the mercy of God holds out—truly to the whole world,truly to our whole nation—but especially to every individual amongst you, whom the minister of Jesus Christ addresses. In manifesting, then, to you as individuals that gratitude and hope and fear alike exhort you to comply with the admonition of my text, I would set before you, briefly and plainly, and as much as possible in the language of scripture, those all-iinportant truths in which as individuals you are, beyond expression, interested. I would bring it to your remembrance, that God, who “is not a man that he should lie; neither the Son of Man that he should repent,”+ hath said, in words no less intelligible than they are awful, “ the soul that sinneth it shall surely die;”] I would remind you, that every individual here present having been born in sin, is “by nature the child of wrath ;'* that every individual here present has, actually, in numberless instances, "sinned and come short of the Glory of God;"'+ and that since the “ wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,”I there is nothing else for any one of you, as a natural man, but “a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries ”'s of the Lord Most High. I would bid you recollect, that, although “your iniquities have thus separated between you and your God,"|| yet, nevertheless, the glorious nature of the Divinity is unchanged, for “God” still - is love,'T and “ hath so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life:"** that, accord. ingly, because, for the honour of God's justice, “ without shedding of blood there is no remission” of sins, “ Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross ;”++ and " when he had by himself parged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high,” If where - he ever liveth to make intercession for us,”$ $ and whence he dispenseth those gifts which he has received for men, giving “ some, Apostles; and some, Prophets; and some, Evangelists; and some, Pastors and Teachers;"|| || and
* Exod. xx. 5, 6. + Nuinb. xxiii. 19. | Exek. xviii. 20.
all, who will seek it, that Holy Ghost, without whose influence “no man can say that Jesus is the Lord,""* even that divine wisdom, which if any man lack, “ let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.”+ I would thus awaken the memory of every one of you with respect to the momentous fact of man's ruin through Adam, man's redemption through Christ: I would address to every one of you, by the authority of my high commission, that last full, and free, and unutterably gracious invitation, with which the Saviour and the Judge closes the sacred canon ; “ The Spirit and the bride” (which is the church) “say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come; and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely;"I and then I would just ask, where is the man amongst you, possessing ears to hear, and senses to understand, and affections to feel, who yet remains unconscious of any inward voice of the heart con. straiping him to “ take good heed unto himself, that he love the Lord his God ?"
And if, my brethren, there be any individuals amongst you, (and I trust there are through God's mercy, not a few such) who have tasted that the Lord is gracious,''s when you think on the rich provision which the gospel makes for the spiritual wants of men, may not each of you “ go on your way rejoicing,"|| “ being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ"?! Or, if there be any persons now present (and I cannot but fear that some such characters
must be mingled with our congregation), who, as your own consciences will testify, have thought little and cared less about the eternal well-being of your souls, when ye know your own value as immortal beings, that verily “ye were not redeemed with” even the most costly of “corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot,"'* and when you consider that the Lord " is long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,”+ may not every one of you take comfort in believing that the door of mercy is yet unclosed against you, and that if you arise and go to your Father, confessing that you are no longer worthy to be called his sons, but beseeching him to regard you as the believing brethren of that “ beloved Son” in whom he is ever“well pleased,” there may yet be joy in heaven over each of you, when “ the God of our Lord Jesus Christ ”I testifieth to that only begotten sharer of his throne, who is “ the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,”'s “ This thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found”?||
If, once more, my brethren, those amongst you, who “have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father,”if ye who are “fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,”** call to mind this emphatic admonition of St. Paul, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall;"+t and if, further, you bear it in recollection, that St. Stephen thus accuses his murderers, “ye do always resist the Holy Ghost;”If that the Ephesians • 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. + 2 Pet. iii. 9. 1 Ephes. i. 17. Heb. i. 3. || Luke xv. 32.
Rom. viii. 15. ** Ephes. ii. 19. tf 1 Cor. x. 12. | Acts vii. 51.
are thus warned of the Apostle, "grieve not the Holy Spirit of God;"* and that the converts of Thessalonica are thus exhorted by their inspired Teacher, “ Quench not the Spirit,”?+ all which texts plainly prove, that opposition, and carslessness, and obstinacy, can do “ despite unto the Spirit of Grace," I must not every individual of your number own the absolute necessity of adding 6 to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity ? For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things, is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore, the rather, brethren," must ye, as ye well know, “give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things ye shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”'S
And if, lastly, the members of that other class of persons to whom I have already alluded ; if you, who are either enemies to God by carnal hearts and wicked works, or, at least, are yet halting between two opinions, would reflect for one moment, that, “ even as” the Gentiles " did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind;" || and, that, as the Lord has said, “my spirit shall not always strive with man,” there really is, with * Ephes. iv. 30. + 1 Thess. v. 19: I Heb. x. 29. § 2 Per. i. 5-11.
|| Rom. i. 28. Gen. vi. 3.