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mate the reign of sin in the soul. Pride is cherished-dislike of holiness and opposition to the ways and kingdom of God lamentably augmented.
Again, the ruin will be dreadful, because guilt, criminality, is also vastly increased. "If I had not come and spoken to them they had not had sin." " This is the condemnation, that they have not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God." These passages seem to imply, that the guilt of rejecting Christ is so enormous, that it causes all other kinds of guilt, as it were, to shrink into nothing before it. “A sign that shall be spoken against.” The meaning or implication of this is, that Christ is a signal unparalleled instance of a benefactor neglected and contemned. He is an unparalleled benefactor—all love, kindness, and glowing desire to bless unworthy men-stooping from heaven to the astonishment of heaven-taking the form and lowliness of a servant -submitting to every thing for the welfare of the world. But the cry has been, all the world over, " Away with him, we will not have this man to reign over us, and be our Saviour and king." And some, more daring, have said, “ Crush the wretch, and obliterate his name and cause from the records of earth.” And others have stupidly cared for none of these things--neither for Christ, nor for their own souls. Christ came to his own, and they received him not. He has stood, and wept, and pleaded over the world he made, and urged the gifts of his love with long and tender entreaty; and is grieved, and wounded, and crucified afresh, if there can be pain in heaven, at the cold rejection and deadly scorn of the beings he would gladly bless with his grace and crown at last with heavenly glory. The guilt of all this is measureless in amount—red in its coloring like murder itself. For he that goes on in this way, does unnecessarily, knowingly, wantonly destroy, with suicidal atrocity, the life, by perpetrating the second death upon his own soul. Perhaps you will say, these are strong expressions. They are so, but they are not extravagant. They do not transcend the truth : indeed, they do not reach the inconceivable height, and depth, and darkness of guilt, which will adhere to, and press upon, our souls, as a burning attribute of wo, if we live, if we die, at variance with Jesus Christ.
There is another thing which will aggravate the misery of those who fall from a Saviour's love to perdition's wailings: namely, the retrospect of the past—of an abused and lost probation—that there was a price put into their hands to get wisdom, but they had no heart to do it. Those who thus fall into hell, will have unquestionably a vivid and active memory. What and where they were, the blessings that begirt them, the Saviour that besought them, the pardon that was proffered again and again, times without number, with tears of entreaty, and the Spirit's striving--all will be thought of, and new throes of anguish will ensue, and regrets, which will pierce and rend the soul that utters them—“Oh that we had accepted that Saviour! why did we not? What were we about? Inexpressible madness and mystery!" Think of these things now, my hearers, while you stand on praying ground. You will think of them in eternity. But do not wait till destiny puts her iron hand, insupportably heavy, as the mountain of the Almighty's displeasure, upon you.
We now pass to a more pleasing part of our subject. Almost every subject in the gospel has two sides-—a side of sin and wo, and a side of recovery and joy. There will be two sides at the judgment; there will be two conditions in eternity. While some will fall, others will rise. It remains to speak of the glory and blessedness of that “rising;" or rather, of some of the elements and characteristics of the redeemed soul's happiness.
Let us first glance at the depth of ruin and darkness from which that rising commenced, and the means by which it was effected. That soul, now in heaven, perfectly holy, was once a totally depraved spirit on the earth. Its depravity corresponded, we will suppose, with that of a Col. Gardiner, or an Earl of Rochester ; it plunged in all pollution, practised all licentiousness for a time, and uttered all blasphemies, except the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost; was miserable in its rebellion, and said, as did one of those men, “Oh that I were that dog !" This is a strong case, but some such, without doubt, are in heaven. The Saviour had purposes of mercy—designing to show the mighty power of his Spirit, and the unsearchable riches of his grace. He visited that soul with regenerating grace, and it began to be holy. It grew, and put on more and more of the brightness of the heavenly pattern. It fulfilled its course of earthly obedience and patience, then left the body and went up to its reward in heaven. How high, how blest that rising. How wide and wonderful the contrast. Look at it--a depraved being of earth, object of Jehovah's disgust, lying under condemnation and at the gate of eternal misery, lifted up to the city, and palace, and throne of God-once all polluted, now perfectly holy; once with a body of death, now in a state of glorious immortality.
This furnishes us with one of the peculiar and thrilling characteristics or properties of the happiness of the redeemed. It is not merely safety, but safety after the most threatening peril; not merely peace, but peace after the agitations and tossings of tempest and storm; not merely purity, but purity after the debasement and odiousness of pollution and guilt; not merely stability and joy, but these after vícissitudes and trials, which made the heart to bleed with keenest anguish.
The same exercise, which will augment the misery of the lost, will exalt and swell the happiness of the saved. I mean recollection of the past. The redeemed will look back with admiring and adoring gratitude and praise. For they will see the way in which God did lead them, and what wisdom and goodness were in all his measures; how he blessed, even when he smote the deepest into the heart; how he made tears to sparkle with joy, and groans and cryings to rise into shouts and praises. President Edwards wrote a book which he styled “ The History of Redemption,” and it is full of warm interest and luminous instruction. But he knows more of that subject now; for heaven is a better place than earth to study the history of redemption. It will be undoubtedly the theme and study of eternity; and all the redeemed will rejoice in the theme and study; and they will look back upon its progress, and dive down into its mysteries, and soar up to its heights, and exult unspeakably—and then, when they look upon the author and finisher of the work, upon him who took them from perdition and lifted them to glory, they will rejoice, still again, and still more intensely for
This furnishes us with another of the peculiar elements of the blessedness of the redeemed- love to Christ. Even here on earth the flame sometimes glows with sweet and ravishing intensity. It did in the bosom of Paul, and hence we hear him speaking of “ the breadth, and length, and depth, and height,” of the love surpassing knowledge. Whitfield burned with it, and exclaimed, “I want more tongues, more bodies, more souls for the Lord Jesus Christ." The martyrs burned with it, as the flames were kindling about them, and cried with their last breath, “ None but Christ! none but Christ !" Rutherford of Scotland, who suffered for the sake of Jesus, seems to have been almost continually overwhelmed and consumed with this love; and in his letters he tasks all the extravagancies and hyperboles of language, to express his experience of its intensity and power : he says, “ The very dust that falleth from Christ's feet, his old ragged clothes, his knotty and black cross, are sweeter to me than king's golden crowns and their worm-eaten pleasures ;" and he was happy in bonds and afflictions, because he had in such energetic experience the love of Jesus. If such on earth, what will it be in heaven, before the throne? What ardor of love ! What extatic joy! That the redeemed in heaven will surpass in happiness, those who never sinned, perhaps we are not altogether warranted in saying. Still there is something that seems to encourage such an idea. All the common sources of bliss, we may suppose, will be open to them; and then, there will be this in addition, the retrospect of danger and recovery—the theme of redemption. They will sing a new song, and no angel can learn it, or feel its power of ecstacy, because no angel has
been rescued from sin. It is the song of redeeming love, and they will sing it endlessly, with interest ever new, growing, untiring, and joyful.
Thus we see how high they will rise, rapt even to the third heaven, and what glories unutterable, eternal, they will have who receive and obey the Redeemer revealed ; and on the other hand, how low they will sink who despise this grace-even to the pit of interminable wo—the dwelling place horrid, the prison strong, of the devil and his angels.
I close with a single remark-namely, The coming of Christ into the world has imposed upon all very solemn and weighty responsibilities. No one can escape from these responsibilities. Christ will have a mighty influence on your destiny, and you can do nothing to hinder it; nor can you do any thing against Christ. Whatever you may attempt in hostility to him, you will only injure and wound yourself. “It is hard to kick against the pricks.” If you dash your foot upon a rock, you hurt not the rock-you hurt only yourself. If you act wrong, you are ruined; if right, you are saved. And is it not of great consequence to be saved from such a doom, and wo and flame as will overtake the neglecter of Jesus? Then act right. Do to-day what a retrospect from eternity will approve. As a first thing, an imperative indispensable duty, believe on Christ; with a penitent confiding heart receive the atonement he has made, follow the example he has set, and obey the laws he has given, and holiness will be your characteristic, and life eternal your portion. Jesus is reasonable in his requisitions. For all that he has done, he asks in return only the love of your heart, and the service of your life. Bought as you are with blood, give him without delay your love and your service. As he came to save your soul from death, give him your soul for salvation. Leave it, I beseech you, no longer in peril. It is too precious to keep in proJonged exposure to irretrievable perdition. You take care of other things; Oh take care of this—the precious, deathless soul-destined to sing in heaven or wail in hell. My hearers, remember you live in Christ's world, surrounded by light and love. You are raised high on the very pinnacle of the temple of God's mercy. See to it, that from this eminence you do not plunge down to death. Look upward, and behold the hand reached down from heaven to take you. It is Jesus' hand; for I see there the prints of the nails. He offers to take you. Will you refuse ? On that height, at once of mercy and danger, held hy life's brittle thread, poising and balancing over the gulf, with the waves of fire rolling and dashing beneath, and Jesus beseeching above, can you refuse? Oh, seize that hand divine, and it shall raise you to life, and purity, and endless glory.
THE HARVEST PAST. JEREMIAH viii. 20. The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we
are not saved. In the verses preceding the text, the prophet predicts an approaching inva. sion of the Chaldeans, upon the land of Judah. In strong and expressive language, he describes the desolations, that would attend their march. The grapes should perish from the vine, and the figs from the fig tree ; and even the leaf should fade. Their land being thus laid waste, the inhabitants of Judah would consult together to flee to the defenced cities, and hide themselves there in silent fear; "for the Lord their God had put them to silence, and, because of their sins, given them water of gall for their drink.”
Meanwhile the hosts of the enemy came on with rapid step. Their troops, were so numerous that the snorting of the war horses echoed through the whole land. Their fierceness and cruelty equalled their numbers. They are compared to deadly and venomous serpents and cockatrices, who would not be tamed by any charm, but would fasten their poisonous fangs upon all alike. This denoted the blood-thirsty spirit of the Chaldeans, who would spare neither age nor sex, but imbrue their hands in the blood of all, old and young, the infant of a few days, and the hoary headed veteran of three-score winters.
In this state of desolation the children of Judah would be overwhelmed with terror. When they sought comfort against sorrow, their hearts would faint within them, their cry would be great, their minds would be turned to their God and King, whom they had justly provoked to bring upon them this fearful desolation. But their sins had hid his face, and from him no deliverance came. The season in which they might have looked for aid from their allies, the Egyptians had also passed : the summer months were gone, and the autumnal season was rapidly wasting, the winter was fast approaching, in which no army could be expected to come to their relief. Every hope of safety or deliver. VOL. XI. No. 5.