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who calls thee to salvation. But take heed, Chris tians, lest a promise being made you of entering into God's rest, you fall short-take heed lest, called to be heirs of heaven, ye forfeit its glories. It is possible that, at that great day when the Judge of all comes to choose among his called those who are to be his people for ever, you may behold Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all those in every age and nation who fear God and work righteousness, in the kingdom of heaven; and you, for whom these blessings of this kingdom were primarily designed - you, the children of the kingdom, for ever cast
Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure, “ for many are called, but few are chosen."
THE IMPORTANCE OF FIDELITY IN WARNING SINNERS.
ISAIAH lvii. 1.
Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my
people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
This was the fearful injunction of God on the holy prophet. Ofttimes he was charged with the messages of mercy and the tidings of salvation. The vail that concealed future ages was removed ; the light of Gospel-day beamed on the soul of the prophet; and he was commanded to proclaim to the chosen people of God, that the Sun of Righteousness should arise with healing under his wings. Ofttimes did his soul bound with joy at the grateful commission, to comfort disconsolate Judah and captive Jerusalem with the tidings that her iniquity was pardoned, that she should receive at the Lord's hand double for all her sing. In enraptured vision he beholds a messenger on the distant mountains hastening to proclaim to Judah and Jerusalem the advent of their Lord, and he bursts forth in the strains of joy and triumph—" O thou that tellest glad tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain: O thou that tellest glad tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid ; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!"* Ofttimes did the prophet, personat
* Isa. xl. 9.
ing the blessed Messiah, describe in joyful strains his gracious character and offices. “ The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."* Ofttimes did the prophet, looking down the long tract of time, hail the dominion of the Prince of Peace, the accession of the nations to the spiritual kingdom of the Messiah, and the glorious and everlasting blessings of his reign. These were the exalted subjects that animated his strains when he proclaimed that “ they should not hurt nor destroy in all the holy mountain of God;"+ " that the righteousness of Jerusalem should go forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burneth ;"| " that Gentiles should come to her light, and kings to the the brightness of her rising; that violence should no more be heard in her land, wasting nor destruction within her borders, but that she could call her walls Salvation, and her gates Praise. Her sun should no more go down, neither her moon withdraw itself, but the Lord should be her everlasting light, and the days of her mourning should be ended."S
But alas! the prophet was not always the messenger of glad tidings to Israel; for “their iniquities had separated between them and their God, and their sins have hid his face from them. Their thoughts were thoughts of iniquity, wasting and destruction were in their paths."|| Therefore * Isa. lxi. 1, 2.
| Isa. xi. 9.
| Isa lxii. 1. § Isa. Ix. 3, 18, 20. || Isa. lix. 2, 7.
the holy prophet who had so often proclaimed the messages of mercy, was charged with the awful commission of judgment and of wrath.
“ Cry aloud," was the charge to him," spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." With plainess, with impartiality, with decision, with energy, show the rebellious people of Jehovah their transgression, the guilty house of Jacob their sins.
Like the holy prophet, the church has been occupied, in her preceding joyful festivals, in proclaiming to her members only the messages of glad tidings. She called upon us to prepare for the coming of the Lord of hosts to his temple, even that Messenger of the covenant whom we should delight in. : Hitherto she has gladdened our hearts with the tidings of great joy, that “ unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given ;"* and that “he should be for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house.”+ These have been the joyful subject of all her holy services.
But alas ! he whose glorious character and offices she has thus triumphantly set forth, " has come unto his own, and his own have received him not.”I Qur iniquities have separated between us and our God, and hid his face from us, that he cannot hear."$ Therefore doth the church change the songs of triumph for the lamentations of mourning, and the tidings of joy for the calls to contrition; and devoting this season to solemn reflection, humiliation, and penitence, she charges her ministers with the commission of the prophets-“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”
# Isa. ix. 6.
St. John i. 11.
* Isa. xlii. 6, 7. $ Isa. lix. 2.
Yes, brethren, in obedience to the command of that God whose commission we bear, and of the church whose ministers we are, it is our duty to “ show you your transgressions and your sins ;”. and in the discharge of this duty to “cry aloud, and spare not, to lift up our voice like a trumpet,” to execute her commission with plainness, with fidelity, with energy, and with zeal.
1. The charge respects sinners of every description, not only those who have advanced to the last stage of confirmed impiety, openly denying the Lord who bought them; treating his divine mission as an imposture, the messages of his salvation as idle tales, and that judgment and eternity which he came to reveal, as only phantoms conjured up to impose on the credulous and alarm the timid. Not only those who, having for a long time sought only the gratifications of their sensual passions, have at length given themselves up to work all uncleanness with greediness, who riot without shame and without remorse in the scenes of intemperance and lewdness, and from whose lips proceed blasphemous imprecations of the God who made them, and of the Saviour who redeemed them. Not only those who, however they may abstain from those gross vices that would destroy their reputation, their property, and their health, are restrained by these considerations alone; and making the acquirement of gain, and the enjoyment of pleasure, their supreme aim, pursue these objects in the neglect and