« AnteriorContinuar »
of the world.” And when he drew near to the moment, confessed that he was " about to take a leap in the dark.” The Hon. F. Newport, who had received a religious education, but turned infidel, said in his last sickness, looking at the fire in his chamber, “Oh that I was to lie and broil upon that fire for a hundred thousand years, to purchase the favour of God, and be reconciled to him again! But it is a fruitless, vain wish. Millions of millions of years will bring me no nearer the end of my tortures than one poor hour. O eternity! eternity! Who can properly paraphrase upon the words for ever and ever ?Voltaire said to Dr. Tronchin, “ I am abandoned by God and man.
I will give you half of what I am worth if
you will give me six months' life.” The doctor said, Sir, you cannot live six weeks.” Voltaire replied, Then I shall go to hell, and you will go
" and soon after expired. Would any one say,
Let me die the death of Vol. taire, of Newport, or of Hobbes ? Take an instance or two of dying Christians. Dr. Leland, departing from life, said, “I give my dying testimony to the truth of Christianity. The promises of the gospel are my support and consolation. They alone yield me satisfaction in a dying hour. I am not afraid to die. The gospel of Christ has raised me above the fear of death; for I know that
my Redeemer liveth.” Mr. Walker of Truro said, “I have been upon the wings of the cherubim! Heaven has, in a manner, been opened to me! I shall soon be there !” To another friend, soon after, he said, “ O my friend, had I strength to speak, I could tell you such news as would rejoice your very soul! I have had such views of heaven!
But I am not able to say more.” “O my
friends,” said Mr. Janeway, “stand and wonder ; come, look upon a dying man, and wonder! Was there ever greater kindness ? Was there ever more sensible manifestations of rich grace? Oh, why me, Lord ? why me? Sure this is akin to heaven. If this be dying, dying is sweet. Let no Christian ever be afraid of dying! Oh, death is sweet to me! This bed is soft. Christ's arms, his smiles, and visits, sure they would turn hell into heaven ! Oh that you did but see and feel what I do! Come and behold a dying man, more cheerful than ever you saw any healthful man in the midst of his sweetest enjoyments. O sirs, worldly pleasures are pitiful, poor, sorry things, compared with one glimpse of His glory which shines so strongly into my soul. Oh! why should any of you be so sad, when I am so glad? This, this is the hour that I have waited for !”. Again, some hours after, he said, “ Methinks I stand, as it were, one foot in heaven, and the other on earth. Methinks I hear the melody of heaven, and by faith I see the angels waiting to carry my soul to the bosom of Jesus ; and I shall be for ever with the Lord in glory. And who can choose but rejoice in all this?” În such strains he continued, till, at length, full of faith and joy, he cried aloud, “ Amen! amen!” and soon after expired. A pious youth, dying in extreme bodily anguish, once said to the writer of these pages, " I would not exchange my place with a prince.
These contrasted cases, it is admitted, are strong ones, and
you may never sink to the misery of the one class, nor rise to the exultation and seraphic joy of the other. Yet, if we admit that none of these strong characteristics may ever attach to you, still the reality, the main substance will be yours,
because your state after death will be happy or miserable for ever, according as you are, or are not, a converted person. Think of this; either angels will wait for your departing spirit, to convey it to the bosom of Jesus, where it will enjoy fulness of pleasure for evermore; or devils, with malign satisfaction, will watch for the fatal moment of its expulsion from the frail body, to seize upon it as their prey, to chase or drag it down to the regions of eternal despair. There is a hell, and there is a heaven; of this the Bible assures us; the one for the unconverted and unbelieving, the other for those who have submitted to the Divine mandate, “ Be converted,” Acts iii. 19. The question, then, Shall I be lost, or shall I be saved? is clearly shown to be of infinite importance to each reader; and the point upon which it turns is this, Am I, or am I not, converted ?
THE STATE OF THE UNCONVERTED.
If I may suppose that you are at the present moment unconverted, and if you candidly admit it yourself, then there are but two questions which have to be answered before we proceed with the great subject of this little treatise.
The first is, Can any unconverted person really assure himself that he shall not be finally lost? Or, secondly, Can he really imagine that he is able to disprove the authority of that volume which asserts, that every unconverted and impenitent sinner shall really at death be lost for ever?
Reader, as to the latter of these questions, I might almost take it for granted that you will not at once presume to say that the Bible is all false, and that you can prove it so. And yet, if you say so, if you only think so, or hope so, you ought to be well fortified, not with mere doubts and questions, not with quibbles and difficulties, but with positive, direct, and indubitable evidence of the most complete and satisfactory kind; else you will be inexcusable before God and your own conscience for disregarding its authority. But I am quite certain that you are not possessed of such evidence; that you cannot be prepared to set aside the authority of the Bible even to your own satisfaction, however much an alarmed and an evil heart might incline you to wish it. Yet if you should think you are, then I must refer the consideration of your case to that part of this work, where your unbelief, and the nature of your objections, will be more fully noticed. I shall here reason with you as one convinced, and powerfully feeling, that the authority of the Bible cannot be set aside.
Admitting, then, the authority of that Divine and wonderful book, it is quite certain, that the unconverted will be excluded from the bliss of the heavenly state. The Bible cannot be mistaken, nor perverted in its testimony, upon this matter. It asserts, in numerous places, that will be presently noticed, the lost state of impenitent and unconverted men. It represents them as even now in a lost state.
It says that they are at this moment condemned; that it is not a question to be decided hereafter, but one that is already. settled; the sentence is past, and nothing is wanting but its execution.
Is your heart suitably impressed, is it alarmed, is it deeply affected even to agony, in the consideration of this word-LOST? It means, in reference to you, under Divine condemnation, and in immediate and
most imminent danger of eternal destruction! There is really nothing that keeps you back from everlasting perdition but the forbearance and patience of God. Is it not said, “ Their foot shall slide in due time?” Deut. xxxii. 35. Is not your peril represented in those words of the psalmist, "Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment!” Psa. lxxiii. 18, 19. It is a consideration which ought to affect the heart of every unconverted person, that he fully deserves the condemnation which the Divine word pronounces upon him, whether he himself thinks so or not. Divine justice calls aloud for his punishment, saying, “ Cut it down ; why cumbereth it the ground?” Luke xiii. 7. Reader, if you are unconverted, then you may imagine the Divine sword to be brandished over your head, and prevented from smiting you only by sovereign forbearance, such as none but God could or would exercise, under the provocations of which you have been guilty, and the aggravations with which your sins are chargeable. Even the patient, gentle, tender-hearted Jesus has said concerning you, “He that believeth not is condemned already,' John iii. 18. To the place of punishment, therefore, you are already doomed. The sentence is fixed, and will be inflicted unless you repent and are converted.
even now bound to