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and prescribes the nature of our employ. It is extensive and various. Our diligence is to be used in “ working out our salvatio n with fear and trembling." Sinner! there is a burden lying upon thy shoulders, which unless it be removed, will sink thee to the lowest hell. Thou art pursued by the avenger of blood, and if overtaken thou wilt assuredly perish. Thy first concern should be a deliverance, a refuge. Thy first effort fhould be an application to Him who came into the world to save sinners. 66 Then said they unto “ him, What shall we do, that we might work the “ works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, “ This is the work of God, that ye believe on him “whom he hath sent.” This is your first care. And a second is like unto it-Personal sanctification. You are called not only to believe, but to obey; not to shew your
faith instead of your works, but your faith by your works. Many would rather consider the Gospel as designed to furnish, a substitute for holiness, than as a system which requires piety and morality in all its parts. But how readest thou? Where does it promise a salvation in sin? Where does it encourage a hope which leaves its possessor impure? “God has “ not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness, “ The grace of God, which bringeth salvation, hath “ appeared to all men: teaching us, that denying un, “godliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly,
righteously, and godly in this present world.” Nor are you less required to serve your generation according to the will of God. “None of us liveth to him“self.” Our fellow creatures have claims upon us. We are to “rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep “ with them that weep;" to “ love as brethren;" to “ bear one another's burdens, and to fulfil the law of 66 Christ.” And however inferior our stations, or slender our abilities, we have all one talent. How have we employed it? We have all had some means and opportunities of usefulness, What brand have we plucked out of the fire ? What naked wretch have we cloathed? What child of ignorance have we instructed? In what instances have we resembled Him who “ went about doing good," who pleased not himself, who came not to be miniftered unto, but to minifter, and to give his life a ransom for many ?
Thirdly. It is URGENT. You are called not only to labour, but to labour immediately. “My son, go “ work TO-DAY in my vineyard." The Kings busi'ness requires haste; and this is the business of the King of Kings. A business of importance requires haste; and no business can be so momentous in its consequences as this. A business requires haste that can be performed only in a certain time, especially if the season be short and uncertain ; and “ what is thy “ life? It is even as a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanilheth away."
The Scrip ture therefore only borrows the language of common sense. when it
says, " Whatsoever thy hand findeth to “ do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor “ device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave “ whither thou goeft.” Observe your elder Brother; he never lost a moment: “ I must work the work 46 of Him that sent me while it is day : the night " cometh wherein no man can work.” God always says, ,
To-day ;' “ to-morrow" is always the language of the Enemy of Souls. And wherefore ? Because procrastination is the most successful device he employs. Because if he can keep you from religion toDAY, he knows, either that you will not live till to-morTow, or that the delay will leave you more disinclined to duty, and will obstruct your way with fresh impediments. “ Now is the accepted time, now is the day of 68. salvation.” Such is the command of God. Let us see,
Part II The MANNER IN WHICH IT GARDED. This is exemplified in the behaviour of these two sons. There is a remarkable difference be: tween them.
One proves better than he promises. The other promises better than he proves. Of the one it may be said that his words were evil and his actions good; of the other, that his words were good and his actions evil.
Behold the first. No sooner does he hear the command of his father, than he answers, “ I WILL
NOT;" and walks off rebellious and insulting. To such a length of rudeness, insolence, and presumption does sin sometimes carry men; so that they do not make excuses, or plead-only for delays, but positively and daringly refuse. They say unto 'God, depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge
6 Who have said, with our tongue “ will we prevail, our lips are our own: who is Lord « over us?” “But his citizens hated him, and sent a
message after him, saying, We will not have this “ man to reign over us.” Who says this? Yonder Swearer who never opens his mouth but to express the abomination of his heart. That Drunkard, whose
c of thy ways."
insatiable appetite, like the horseleech, cries Give, give ; and never saith, it is enough. The Fornicator, who lives in chambering and wantonness. The man who neglects all the ordinances of religion, who never calls upon his name, never hears his word, never honours his sabbaths. These make no pretences to godliness ; embarrass themselves with no formality; wear no disguise ; use no hesitation. They openly shew the image of their master impressed upon their forehead. They explicitly avow their determination.
Actions speak louder than words ; and nothing less than this is the dreadful language of their lives; “ I am for hell : I will “ run the downward road: I am resolved to perish.".
And is it possible, that characters like these should ever be heard“ asking the way to Zion," or seen walking before God “in newness of life ?” “Such “ were some of you : but ye are washed, but ye are “ sanctified; but ye are justified in the name of the “Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Yes, even this son, AFTERWARD REPENTED AND WENT.” He came to himself; reflection returned ; looking back, he saw the old man lifting up his hands to Heaven, and then wiping his eyes from tears; and he cried ; “ What have I done? Is he not my father ? Has he “suffered me to want any proof of tenderness which “ he could shew me? Do I thus requite his kindness " and his love? What was there unreasonable in the “ command I rejected ? He that will not work should o not eat. What is it for a son to work in a father's
vineyard ? Is it not labouring for himself? Mine is “the expectation; I will go." For, my Brethren, no sooner was this undutiful child reclaimed than he was
employed. He did not satisfy himself with returning and confessing and bewailing his offence. He acted repentance. He knew the will of his father which he had transgressed, and he repented and went. The one was the consequence and the evidence of the oth
Who could have believed the reality of his remorse and the sincerity of his acknowledgement, unaccompanied with reformation and obedience? · Are there no individuals in this assembly whose history I have recalled to mind? Do you not remember your alienation from the life of God? But in your departure from him your ininds were far from being at rest. Sometimes you thought of home; a Father struck you; your rebellion appeared unreasonable ; you condemned yourselves. These recollections at first visited you occasionally like unwelcome guests, and you got rid of them. At length you found them quartered upon you, like so many soldiers; resistance was useless. Alone, in business, surrounded with company, these convictions followed you. You begun to pray; to read the Scripture; to associate with his people. You brought forth fruits meet for repentance. The change in your disposition was discovered in your conversation; and this became the language of your actions, as well as of your lips, “I “have sinned; what shall be done unto thee, O thou
preserver of men. What I know not teach thou “me: if I have done iniquity, I will do so no more. “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Speak, Lord, “ for thy servant heareth.”
Let us consider the second son. On hearing the command of the father " he said, I go, Sir; and went