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ings, the threatenings and promises of God, they stop their ears, and shut their eyes, and harden their hearts, how does their sin and their guilt increase and abound! They despise the riches of the divine goodness, and forbearance, and long suffering. Though they are exalted unto heaven, they are preparing themselves to be thrust into the lowest hell. The vilest heathen is less criminal than the most moral sinner, who continues impenitent under the light of the gospel. The Lord Jesus Christ said of the Jews, to whom he had preached, " If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin ; but now they have no cloak for their sin. They have both seen and hated, both me and my Father.”
Sinners had better have been heathen, they had better have been brutes, they had better: never have been born, than to live and die in a christian land, without that repentance which is unto salvation. For according to their wickedness will be their punishment. And very great and peculiar is the wickedness of those persons, who remain impenitent where the gospel is preached.
4. They, who now reject the salvation of the gospel, have no reason to conclude that they shall accept it at some future time. The impenitent, who attend on the preaching of the gospel, are generally delaying for the present, to comply with its requirements. Yet they often resolve that they will, at some future time, secure the salvation of their souls. But what
reason have they, who now reject the blessings of the gospel, to conclude that they shall ever repent of their sins, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? The conditions of salvation can never be altered. Nor will a compliance with those conditions ever become more easy. Will the hearts of sinners, after they have been hardening in sin a longer time, be more obedi. ent and submissive to the authority of Christ ? They, who are now impenitent are under the curse of the law, and the wrath of God. They are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity. They are every moment in danger of falling into eternal and remediless destruction. If, in this situation, they reject the only security against the endless perdition of their souls, and harden their hearts against God, why do they flatter themselves that they shall accept salvation at some future time? Let those, who now refuse to accept the offer of life, determine at what future time they will certainly repent and believe the gospel. Eve. ry sinner may be assured, that the present time is the best for complying with the kind and gracious calls of God. They, who refuse to accept salvation at the best time, and when it is of. fered on the best conditions, have no reason to conclude that they shall, at some future time, accept that salvation, which they do now reject.
5. From what has been said in the present discourse, it is evident, that they, who are lost, perish wholly through their own fault. If all mankind had been for ever punished for transgressing the divine laiv, they would have been
blameable for their own destruction. If a Saviour had never been given, and if salvation had never been offered, every sinner would have been justly punished, and the blame of his destruction must have been wholly charged upon himself. Now since a Saviour has been given, who is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God through him, and since salvation is offered to sinners on the easiest and best conditions, they who are lost, will for ever feel, with the keenest sensibility, that they perish through their own sin and folly. Should you ask one, who has died impenitent, and who is now suffering the torments of hell, whom he blames for his misery, would he not be obliged to blame himself ? Should
you yourself lose the endless joys of heaven, and suffer the endless sorrows of hell, on whom will you charge your ruin? Will you blame God for your damnation ? He will say you despised and rejected my counsel against your. self
. Will you blame Christ for your damna. tion ? He will say, you hated me without a
Will you blame the Holy Spirit for your damnation? You did always resist his in. structions and warnings.
Wil conditions of salvation were too hard? On what conditions then would you have accepted salvation? When in the torments of hell, you shall raise your eyes to heaven, and see the redeemed in the kingdom of glory ; to your own folly and wickedness, you will be obliged to charge your loss of their enjoyments. After weeping and wailing and gnashing your teeth,
you say the
for thousands and millions of ages, you will look forward to an eternity of the bitterest anguish ; and to your own folly and wickedness, you will be obliged to charge the eternal and immense weight of divine wrath, which
you must endure. Since pardon and eternal life are freely offered you in the gospel, if you perish, your eternal damnation must be wholly charged to your own sin and folly.
Finally, they who now refuse the blessings of the gospel, have great reason to fear that they are fitting for destruction. Though such persons despise and abuse the mercy and forbearance of God, yet they flatter themselves that they shall not perish. But they have reason to fear, that though God does not, for the present, execute his threatenings against the wicked, he is only delaying the day of his wrath, that they may complete the measure of their sins, and render themselves more fit for the manifestation of the fierceness of his anger. “God is jealous and the Lord revengeth ; the Lord revengeth and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries; and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. Who can stand before his indignation ? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger ?” The Lord of Hosts, the mighty one of Israel hath said "Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of
mine enemies." Though delaying sinners may think themselves secure, yet while they are rejecting the mercy of God, they are rapidly fitting for the vehemence of his indignation. Their "
now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” God hath said, “ to me belongeth vengeance, and recompence, their feet shall slide in due time. For the day of their calamity is at hand and the things that come upon them make haste.” Since such is the wrath of God against his enemies, and since their destruction is hastening every moment, they who now reject the mercy of God are in the utmost danger of eternal perdition. The longer they refuse to accept salvation, the more reason there is to 'fear that they are of that number, who are not given to the Lord Jesus Christ in the covenant of redemption.
The longer they walk in the way to eternal death, the more reason there is to fear, that they were not ordained to eternal life. The longer they harden their hearts against God, the more reason there is to fear, that God never will change their hearts by his special and almighty grace. Every one, who is now rejecting and abusing the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, has great reason to fear, that he is a vessel of wrath, and that he is fitting for that destruction, by which God intends to show his wrath and make his power known. For it is written, “ He, that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”- Wherefore as the Holy Spirit saith, “ To day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. To day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. To day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”