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the unconverted to conform immediately, which they cannot do, but in the way of argument or evidence, enforcing from each, the absolute and immediate necessity of repentance towards God, and faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh! how many are the arguments which are thus presented! Happy and useful must that minister be who hạth his quiver full of them! Coming round, then, always, naturally, to this one point, I may then succeed, not in prevailing with a man merely to begin a form only, but in causing him to arise and go to his Father: in causing him to return home to God through Christ Jesus alone. I grant that this is not to be learnt in a day; and I am aware that it has been asked—“But how can you do this? There are some, if not various things revealed in Scripture, to which one must advert, which seem to have little or no connection with repentance and faith in the first instance." Indeed! Then I answer, that, like a village which has no road to the capital, if you are drawing up a map of the country, it is of no moment though you leave all such out of it. But what if, after this, not having traced the land with sufficient care, it should be shown to you, that there is such a road, direct and easy, and that from this village too, it is even a part of the king's highway? Then does it become your business to trace this road, otherwise your map will at last be found defective and even dangerous. So, undoubtedly, if we study divine truth, in all its inimitably beautiful connections, and study it, as we ought, deeply ; between every feeling, and doctrine, and duty, personal, relative, and social, of the Christian, and conversion to God, we shall find a natural and necessary connection. Hence the necessity for giving ourselves wholly to these things : hence the necessity for being “skilful in the word of righteousness.
The manner of addressing the unconverted, is the
grand trial of every minister's skill ; and by every man it requires to be deeply studied, otherwise the enforcement and the performance of penance, under another name, must ensue. To my younger brethren in the ministry, especially, I would therefore earnestly recommend this subject; and to them, in particular, I would still farther most affectionately address a few considerations of no inferior moment.
If all duty consists in the genuine operations and expressions of the heart, be careful how you at any time, and in any way, compromise this matter with any part of your audience, however attentively they listen, while as yet they give no evidence of a heart reconciled to God, You may indeed, and you ought to illustrate many subjects, and show wherein our obligation to comply consists ; but should you, forgetting yourself, urge them to commence external actions, or any such exercises as may be performed without the love of God, what is this but unwittingly betraying the just authority of God over the heart, and admitting the performance of that, which, if offered to yourself from a fellow-creature, you would despise ? Nor is such an address less injurious to your hearers, than it is derogatory to the authority of God. It will tend fatally to quiet their consciences, and to cherish an opinion, that, having complied with your request, they are doing that which is pleasing and acceptable to God. You may think that this is bearing hard upon the unconverted, and reducing them to a terrible situation. This I admit; but since such is the situation of every man in a state of nature, so far from improving this by palliation, by saying that you hope better things of them though you thus speak, or exhorting them to worship God in the first instance, or in the best manner they can, you are only rendering their situation still more terrible! Think, too, for a moment, on the actual cruelty of such mode of
address. It is calculated to render the unconverted easy while yet in danger; and is not this cruel ? Instead of rendering the situation of those under your eye easy, it certainly ought to be your aim to move them from every refuge, not for the sake of plunging them into despair, but that, through you, they may submit to the righteousness of God, and flee for refuge to the hope set before them in the Gospel ; that through you the justification of which God approves, may, by faith in Jesus, become all their
Most solemnly, therefore, ought you often to assure this part of your audience, that, do what else they may, their case is daily waxing worse and worse! If they profess to pray, and do frequent the house of God, there is in this, to God, while they so remain, nothing acceptable, and yet to absent themselves will make matters
Whether they eat or drink, wax rich or poor, plough the soil or the deep, gather in the harvest, or better their candition in this world, all is iniquity! “ Incense is an abomination: it is iniquity even the solemn meeting.” To die, you have to say, is to be plunged in endless wo: yet to live, if in enmity or indifference, in much worse : since this is, alas ! only heaping up wrath against the day of wrath.
“ But what,” it will be said, under such preaching, 16 what can mankind do? If they go forward, it seems destruction awaits them; if on this hand or on that it is still the same." And was it otherwise with the hearers of a Peter or a Paul, who excited such cries as these—“What must I do to be saved ? Men and brethren, what shall we do ?" All the answers, then, which you can give, and which you need to give, are contained, in great variety, in the Sacred Volume.
With regard to repentance towards God :—"I came,” said Jesus, “ to call sinners to repentance. I came to heal the broken-hearted." “ Him," said Peter, “ hath God
exalted to his right hand, a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and the remission of sins." Jesus therefore preached, “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel." His apostles “ went out and preached that men should repent.” “Repent ye, therefore,” said Peter, “and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” “For God," said Paul, “now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” “I showed,” said he, “ first to them of Damascus and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coast of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” “Ye know-how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you, publicly and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ.”
As to faith, hear our blessed Redeemer himself how he addressed his hearers :-“While ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.” “ I am the light of the world : he that followeth
shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” is the will of him that sent me, that every one that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, should have everlasting life ; and I will raise him up at the last day. Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” The Father,” said John the Baptist, “ loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” “These things,” said John the Evangelist, are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that believing ye might have life through his name.” 6. The word is nigh thee," said
Paul, “ in thy mouth and in thy heart ; that is the word of faith which we preach :—that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness (that is, justification), and with the mouth confession is made to salvation ; for the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth in him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile ; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all who call upon him ; for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
In conclusion, however, on this subject, that such abuses should exist, not only in reference to Family Worship, but worship in any form, will not be matter of surprise to any Christian, who well remembers where it is said,“ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
III. The best Seasons for Family Devotion.—Obliged as I am to worship Jehovah in my Family, and possessing the only spirit which he will or can accept in every servicea willing mind—and therefore inclined, nay, bent upon this delightful service,—then will I find some time for it, and my Family must find time to come together. The ordinances of day and night, and the regularity of their suc
* For several of the sentiments contained in this division, see Fuller's Works, vol. iv,