Imágenes de páginas

vours to excuse himself outwardly. Have you not found it so? Has not conscience remonstrated against your past conduct, and have you not felt these remonstrances painful? Uncharitable as some think me in the pulpit, I cannot think you such a monster as to be void of conscience; or to have one so stupefied, so seared, as it wére, with a hot iron, that it never cried out against the violences you have done it, never warned you of the fatal consequences of one of your sins. These warnings, which you did not regard, were in effect the voice of God, the admonitions which he gave you by his agent in your breast. And if his sentence be executed upon you in everlasting death for your evil works, you will hear that voice speaking to you again, in a louder tone and a severer accent than before, and you will be tormented with its upbraidings through eternity, because you would not in time hearken to its admonitions.

Let me add, farther, that if it be any aggravation of guilt to have sinned against the motions of God's Spirit on the mind, surely your sin has been attended with that aggravation also. St. Stephen charged it upon the Jews, that through all their generations they had always resisted the Holy Ghost. If the Spirit of God strove with the Jews, how much more with professing Christians! And have you never experienced any thing of this kind, have you been so hardened from your infancy as never to have been wrought upon by an alarming or convincing discourse? Or when there was no

pious teacher near you, have you never perceived a secret impulse upon your mind, leading you to think of religion, urging you to an immediate consideration of it, sweetly inviting you to make trial of it, and warning you that you would lament this stupid neglect ? O sinner, why were not these happy motions attended to? Why did not you, as it were, spread out all the sails of your soul to catch that heavenly breath? But you have carelessly neglected it-you have suppressed these kind influences. How reasonably then might the sentence have gone forth in righteous displeasure, 'My Spirit shall

no more strive!' And, indeed, who can say that it has not already gone forth? Alas! if you feel no emotion of mind, no remorse, no awakening, while you listen to such a remonstrance as this, there will be room, great room, to fear it.

There is one aggravation more which probably attends your sins, I mean that of being committed against solemn engagements to the contrary. You promised in baptism to renounce all the pomps and vanities of this world, and all the sinful desires of the flesh; you vowed to keep God's holy commandments all the days of your life: You have, perhaps, strengthened the obligation, already laid upon you by being confirmed, or coming to the Lord's table with a public profession of having a steadfast purpose to lead a new life: But, alas! you are still the same, still a lover of pleasure, or of money, more than a lover of God! And, if you say you never come to the Lord's table, to vow him obedierce, and so you never aggravate your guilt by sinning against solemn engagements; I answer, it is the more shameful that you should so publicly forsake the God of your fathers, as never to attempt to enter into any engagement with him. The pleading that you are an Heathen, makes Christ and his church little amends for your not being a good Christian. But suppose you never took your baptismal vow upon yourself, bath your heart been, even from your youth, hardened to so uncommon a degree, that you never cried to God in any season of danger and. difficulty? And did you never mingle vows with those cries? Did you never promise, that if God would hear and help you in that hour of extremity, you would forsake your sins, and serve him as long as you lived? He heard and helped you, otherwise you would not have. been in his courts at this time; and by such deliverance did, as it were, bind down your vows upon you, and therefore your guilt in the violation of them remains before him, though you are stupid enough to forget them. Nothing is forgotten, nothing is overlooked by him; and the day will come when the record shall be laid before you too.

And now, sinner, think seriously with yourself, what defence you will make to all this. Will you fly in the face of God and that of your conscience, so openly as to deny one of the charges of rebellion, yea of aggravated rebellion, I have advanced against you? Have you not lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven? Have not you stiffened your neck and hardened your heart from his love and fear? Have you not sided with his sworn enemies, the world and the flesh? What part of your body, what faculty of your soul have you not employed as an instrument of unrighteousness? When did you live one day before God with the dependance of a creature, the gratitude of a redeemed creature, the heavenly frame of a sanctified creature? Nay, when did you live one hour without violating God's known law either in word, or thought, or action? Have not you done it almost continually by the vanity of your mind and the hardness of your heart, if not by the open immorality of your life? And, what infinitely aggravates your guilt, have you not despised and abused God's numberless mercies?. Have not you affronted conscience, his deputy in your breast? Have not you resisted and grieved his Spirit? Yea, have not you trifled with him in all your pretended submissions or solemn engagements? In one word, and that in the language of Jeremiah iii. Thou hast done evil things as thou couldest,' or as thou durst. Thousands are, no doubt, already in hell, whose guilt never equalled yours; and yet God has spared you to see the end almost of another year, and to hear now this plain representation of your case. And will you not yet consider ? Shall


nothing move you to shake off that amazing carelessness and stupid disregard of your salvation? Will you never begin to work it out with fear and trembling?' Will you slumber in impenitency till eternal woes crush you into destruction? Is death, is judgment, is the bottomless pit so far off that you dare put off, from week to week, the day of your conversion? You have read in God's word, that there is mercy with him that he may be feared, but where did you read that there is mercy with

him for those that fear him not; for those that are as unconcerned about his displeasure, as easy under his threatenings, as insensible of his mercies, as unmoved under his word as you are? Shew me such a place, I shall not say any where in the Bible, but in any book written by a moral Heathen. And yet you hope, you persist to hope, you are right, and can be saved in this way. When we expostulate with you, when we entreat you, after David, to kiss the Son, lest he be angry,' and so you perish in this way of carnal security, if his wrath be kindled yea but a little ;' You blame us secretly, or openly, and are ready to quarrel with us for bringing you the unwelcome message: you will not blame yourselves for giving us cause to bring it, and obstinately refuse to fall out with the sins we exclaim against; but under the most cogent arguments, taken from reason and the nature of things, the most glaring proofs out of the word of God, the most earnest entreaties not to harden your heart, you remain as unshaken as an anvil under the workman's stroke. Or, if you relent a little, and conscience receives the dart of conviction, instead of driving it deeper and deeper, you instantly shake it off, and quench the Spirit of God; you run into the company of careless worldlings, and are afraid or ashamed to converse with those whose consciences are alarmed, and with whom you might learn the first principles of repentance never to be repented of; and thus you grow more insensible every day, more averse to pure and undefiled religion, more alienated from the life of God in your heart. And what do you think will be the end of these things? Has any one hardened himself against the Lord, says the prophet, and prospered? And do you suppose you shall first prosper in that way? He that being often reproved,' says he again, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy' and will the God of truth break his word, and commence a liar, by not spuing your lukewarm soul out of his mouth, by not cutting asunder such an unprofitable servant, such a rebellious subject as you are to him, if speedy conversion does not make him sheath the

sword of his vengeance?-If you say, that passion makes me represent your case worse than it really is, I put you to the proof: Shew wherein I speak not the words of soberness and truth. You cannot; and yet you condemn and slight them. If, therefore, I speak to any more particularly than to the rest of my careless hearers, it is to thee, whose heart is thus ready to say, "I am not a rebellious soul, but you are a false or enthusiastic teacher." Alas! thou art the man-thou art the woman I chiefly address, and it appears clear that thou despisest reproof: And he that despises reproof, says the wise man, is brutish. 'Yea, because I called,' (says God himself,) and ye refused, and would none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh.' And wilt not thou yet take warning, wilt thou to the end reject the very first exhortation of our church, wilt thou go on cloaking and dissembling thy sins before the face of Almighty God? O if, notwithstanding my repeated endeavours to awaken thee, thou persistest and diest at last in this impenitency: Remember me, sinner, when I stand at the bar of God, when the Lord maketh inquisition for blood, and the burning fiery furnace of his eternal wrath is heated seven times more for false teachers, who by healing slightly the wound of the daughter of God's people betray souls into endless ruin, appear as a witness in my behalf, and from the midst of everlasting burnings, let thy parched tongue send forth some such words as these :-" Let not my teacher come into this place of torment, condemn him not on my account, I clear him, Lord, I clear him; he brought me thy messages, whether I would hear or whether I would forbear; he warned me of my rebellion against thee, and told me that these endless horrors would be my portion, if I stiffened my neck and hardened my heart; but I set at nought all his counsels, and would none of his reproofs." Yes, sinner, despise me here if thou wilt, and wonder why I urge thee so much to consider the things that belong to thy peace, before they be hid from thine eyes; call me here an enthusiast, and laugh at the concern I feel for thy

« AnteriorContinuar »