Page images
PDF
EPUB

after having deserved eternal death, it is most fit I should yield myself to God as alive from the dead.' Rom. vi. 13. But, O wretched man that I am! I feel a law in my members that wars against the law of my mind,' (Rom. vii. 23, 24.) and opposes the conviction of my reason and conscience. Who shall deliver me from this bondage ? Who shall make me willing to do that which I know in my own soul to be most expedient? O Lord, subdue my heart, and let it not be drawn so strongly one way, while the nobler powers of my mind would direct it another ! Conquer every licentious principle within, that it may be my joy to be so wisely governed and restrained ! Especially subdue my pride, that lordly corruption, which so ill suits an impoverished and condemned creature; that thy way of salvation may be made amiable to me in proportion to the degree in which it is humbling! I feel a disposition to "linger in Sodom, but O be merciful to me, and pull me out of it,”. (Gen. xix. 16.) before the storm of thy flaming vengeance fall, and there be no more escaping !"

CHAPTER X.

THE SINNER SERIOUSLY URGED AND ENTREATED TO ACCEPT

OF SALVATION IN THIS WAY.

1. Since many who have been impressed with these things, suffer the

impression to wear off.—2. Strongly as the case speaks for itself, sinners are to be entreated to accept this salvation.—3. Accordingly, the reader is entreated-by the majesty and mercy of God.-4. By the dying love of our Lord Jesus Christ.–5. By the regard due to our fellow-creatures.-6. By the worth of his own immortal soul. -7. The matter is solemnly left with the reader, as before God. The sinner yielding to these entreaties, and declaring his acceptance of salvation by Christ.

1. Thus far have I often known convictions and impressions to arise, (if I might judge by the strongest appearances,) which after all have worn off again. Some unhappy circumstance of external temptation, ever joined by the inward reluctance of an unsanctified heart to this holy and humbling scheme of redemption, has been the ruin of multitudes. And, "through the deceitfulness of sin, they have been hardened,” (Heb. iii. 25.) till they seem to have been “ utterly destroyed, and that without remedy." Prov. xxix. 1. And therefore, O thou immortal creature, who art now reading these lines, I beseech thee, that, while affairs are in this critical situation, while there are these balancings of mind, between accepting and rejecting that glorious Gospel, which, in the integrity of my heart, I have now been laying before you, you would once more give me an attentive audience while I plead, in God's behalf, shall I say? or rather in your own; while 6

as an ambassador for Christ, and as though God did beseech you by me, I pray you in Christ's stead that

you

would be reconciled to God,” (2 Cor. v. 20.) and would not, after these awakenings and these inquiries, by a madness which it will surely be the doleful business of a miserable eternity to lament, reject this compassionate counsel of God to

ward you.

2. One would indeed imagine there should be no need of importunity here. One would conclude, that as soon as perishing sinners are told, that an offended God is ready to be reconciled, that he offers them a full pardon' for all their aggravated sins; yea, that he is willing to adopt them into his family now, that he may at length admit them to his heavenly presence; all should, with the utmost readiness and pleasure, embrace so kind a message, and fall at his feet in speechless transports of astonishment, gratitude, and joy. But, alas ! we find it much otherwise. We see multitudes quite unmoved, and the impressions which are made on many more, are feeble and transient. Lest it should be thus with you, O reader! let me urge the message with which I have the honour to be charged ; let me entreat you to be reconciled to God, and to accept of pardon and salvation in the way in which it is so freely offer

ed to you.

3. I entreat you, “ by the majesty of that God in whose name I come," whose voice fills all heaven with reverence and obedience. He speaks not in vain to legions of angels; but if there could be any contention among

those blessed spirits, it would be, who should be first to execute bis commands. Oh! let him not speak in vain to a wretched mortal! I entreat you, “ by the terrors of his wrath," who could speak to you in thunder; who could, by one single act of his will, cut off this precarious life of yours, and send you down to hell. I beseech you by his mercies, by his tender mercies, by the bowels of his compassion, which still yearn over you, as those of a parent over “a dear son," over a tender child, whom, notwithstanding his former ungrateful rebellion," he earnestly remembers still.” Jer. xxxi. 20. I beseech and entreat you, “ by all this paternal goodness,” that you do not, as it were, compel him to lose the character of the gentle Parent in that of the righteous Judge; so that, as he threatens with regard to those whom he had just called his sons and his daughters, “a fire shall be kindled in his anger, which shall burn unto the lowest hell.” Deut. xxxii. 19, 22.

4. I beseech you further, “ by the name and love of our dying Saviour." I beseech you, by all the condescension of his incarnation, by that poverty to which he voluntarily submitted, “that you might be enriched” with eternal treasures; (2 Cor. viii. 9.) by all the gracious invitations which he gave, which still sound in his word, and still coming, as it were, warm from his heart, are sweeter than honey, or the honey-comb." Psalm xix. 10. I beseech you, by all his glorious works of power and of wonder, which were also works of love. I beseech you by the

memory of the most benevolent person and the most generous friend. I beseech you by the memory of what he suffered, as well as of what he said and did ; by the agony which he endured in the garden, when his body was covered “ with a dew of blood.” Luke, xxii. 44. I beseech you, by all that tender distress which he felt, when his dearest friends “forsook him and fled,” (Matt. xxvi. 56.) and his blood-thirsty enemies dragged him away, like the meanest of slaves, and like the vilest of criminals. I beseech you, by the blows and bruises, by the stripes and lashes, which this injured Sovereign en

dured while in their rebellious hands; “by the shame of spitting, from which he hid not that kind and venerable countenance.” Isai. 1. 6. I beseech you,“ by the purple robe, the sceptre of reed, and the crown of thorns, which this King of Glory wore, that he might set us among the princes of heaven.” Psalm cxiii. 8. I beseech you, by the heavy burden of "the cross," under which he panted, and toiled, and fainted, in the painful way “to Golgotha,” (John, xix. 17.) that he might free us from the burden of our sins. I beseech you, by the remembrance of those rude nails that tore the veins and arteries, the nerves and tendons, of his sacred hands and feet; and by that invincible, that triumphant goodness, which, while the iron pierced his flesh, engaged him to cry out, “ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke, xxjii. 34. I beseech you, by that unutterable anguish which he bore, when lifted up upon the cross, and extended there, as on a rack, for six painful hours, that you open your

heart to those attractive influences which have 6 drawn to him thousands and ten thousands." John, xii. 32. I beseech you, by all that insult and derision which the “ Lord of Glory bore there ;” (Matt. xxvii

. 29–44.) by that parching thirst, which could hardly obtain the relief of " vinegar,” (John, xix. 28, 29.) by that doleful cry, so astonishing in the mouth of the only begotten of the Father, “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matt. xxvii. 46. I beseech you, by that grace that subdued and pardoned “ a dying malefactor;” (Luke, xxiii. 42, 43.) by that compassion for sinners, by that compassion for you, which wrought in his heart, long as its vital motion continued, and which ended not when “he bowed his head, saying, It is finished, and gave up the ghost." John, xix. 30. I beseech you, by the triumphs of that resurrection, by which he was

si declared to be the Son of God with power," by the spirit of holiness which wrought to accomplish it, (Rom. i. 4.) by that gracious tenderness which attempered all those triumphs, when he said to her out of whom he had cast seven devils, concerning his disciples, who had treated him so basely, “Go, tell my brethren, I ascend

unto my

God and your

unto my Father and your Father, God.” John, xx. 17. I beseech you, by that condescension with which he said to Thomas, when his unbelief had made such an unreasonable demand, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold mine hands, and reach hither thine hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing." John, xx. 27. I beseech you, by that generous and faithful care of his people, which he carried up with him to the regions of glory, and which engaged him to send down “ his Spirit,” in that rich profusion of miraculous gifts, to spread the progress of his saving word. Acts, ii. 33. I beseech you, by that voice of sympathy and power, with which he said to Saul, while injuring his church,” “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" (Acts, ix. 4.) by that generous goodness, which spared that prostrate enemy when he lay trembling at his feet, and raised him to so high a dignity, as to be “ not inferior to the very chiefest apostles.” 2 Cor. xii

. 11. I beseech you, by the memory of all that Christ hath already done, by the expectation of all he will farther do for his people. I beseech you at once, by the sceptre of his grace, and by that sword of his justice, with which all his incorrigible “enemies” shall be “slain before him,” (Luke, xix. 20.) that you do not trifle away these precious moments, while his Spirit is thus breathing upon you ; that you do not lose an opportunity which may never return, and on the improvement of which your eternity depends.

5. I beseech you, "by all the bowels of compassion which you owe to the faithful ministers of Christ," who are studying and labouring, preaching and praying, wearing out their time, exhausting their strength, and very probably shortening their lives, for the salvation of your soul, and of souls like yours. I beseech you, by the affection with which all that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity long to see you brought back to him. I beseech you, by the friendship of the living, and by the memory of the dead; by the ruin of those who have trifled away their days, and perished in their sins, and by the happiness of those who have embraced the Gospel, and are saved by it.

« PreviousContinue »