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alive, who wounds and who heals, out of whose hand none can deliver”*-he “who is Lord alone of all the kingdoms of the earth,"t is certainly entitled to the homage of the creatures he has made, the subjects of his fearful and resistless power. In his hand, as the clay in the hands of the potter, vainly would they attempt to resist his will..
The folly and presumption of sin are displayed by considering it as a contempt of the authority, and violation of the will of a sovereign and allpowerful God.
The profane swearer, who casts forth his curses and execrations, insults the sacred name, and imprecates the vengeance of that almighty Jehovah, who is able in an instant to seal his blasphemous tongue in silence, or to torment it in inextinguishable flame. The libertine, who riots in licentious pleasure; the drunkard, who wallows in intemperance; the debauchee, who brutalizes himself in sensuality—all are waging war against their Maker, against that almighty Sovereign who is able in an instant to destroy both soul and body in hell. The awful presumption, guilt and danger of the sinner consist in his being the avowed enemy of his almighty Creator, and exposed every instant to be cut off by the stroke of almighty vengeance. Every act of injustice, every trick of fraud, every deed of oppression, in short, every wilful transgression of the law of God, is a contempt of his sovereign authority, because it supposes that he is either too indifferent or too weak to vindicate his violated laws. Ah! though, in merciful forbearance, (well for us, brethren, that it is so,) his anger delay for
* Job x, 7.
+ 2 Kings xix, 15.
a while, the crimes of the wicked and ungodly are augmenting its flames, which will at last burst upon them with overwhelming fury. “For the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, and all that do wickedly, shall be as stubble : and the day cometh that shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts."* That great and terrible day-the elements melting with fervent heat, the heavens passing away, the earth consumed by the flames which are rending it asunder, and united with the crash of departing worlds, the despairing cries of condemned sinners, driven to that place where dwells the devouring fire-that day will awfully vindicate the sovereign power and authority of the Maker and Ruler of the universe. Imagination is not drawing unreal scenes--they are the sober and awful delineations of the word of God. Who indeed can, by searching, find out the immensity of his power? What imagination, by her boldest efforts, can display the treasures of that wrath which Jehovah hath in store for his impenitent adversaries?
He who came in great humility to effect the designs of infinite mercy, will come again in the almighty power of the Godhead, to execute the purposes of wrath—of that terrible but just wrath which is denounced against those whom the avertures of mercy cannot soften, nor the influences of divine grace
subdue; but who continue in their sins, resisting and contemning the righteous authority and power of their almighty Maker and Sovereign. In that day of eternal justice, in that day of almighty vengeance, those only will be able, through the
* Malachi iv. 1,
merits of the divine Mediator, to stand and to abide in peace and safety--who have yielded, through the grace of the divine Sanctifier, entire, unreserved obedience to their almighty Creator--who have humbly received the truths of his revelation-who have devoutly adored the dispensations of his providence-who have implicitly obeyed the requisitions of his righteous laws-and who have thankfully accepted salvation in that way, in which only, according to his sovereign pleasure, he conveys it, through the merits and grace of his Son Jesus Christ.
Is this our character, brethren? do we humbly receive the truths, obey the laws, adore the dispensations, accept the salvation of our almighty Maker? Let the inquiry be immediate-let it be serious for if this be not our character, alas! there is no safety for us; almighty power is engaged against us-engaged to vindicate, in our punishment, the insulted authority of our Sovereign and our Judge. But if in our understandings, our hearts, our lives, we submit to the dominion of him who has a supreme right to rule us, then his sovereign power will not be an object of dismay to us, but of holy confidence and joy; for it will be exerted for our present peace, for our eternal felicity. Then, not in the alarm and terrors of a guilty spirit, but in the peace and joy of a conscience reconciled to God and assured of his favour, we may reverently. but triumphantly adore him. “Thou, O Lord, art our Father; we are the clay, and thou art the potter; and we are all the work of thy hand."
THE APPEALS OF CHRIST TO THE SINNER.
Rev. ii. 20.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock : if any man hear my voice,
and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me.
This is the language addressed by Jesus Christ, who is styled the faithful and true witness from the beginning of the creation of God, to the lukewarm and impenitent church of Laodicea. The patient forbearance which he exercised towards her, his solicitude for her recovery from her spiritual insensibility, and his affectionate invitation to this purpose, are denoted by the symbolical allusion of his standing at the door and knocking. Should the impenitent Laodiceans hear his voice and open the door-should they, by humble and lively penitence, faith and obedience, receive and treat him as their Lord and Redeemer-he graciously promises to come in to them, and sup with them, and they with him—they should be restored to his favour and enriched by his blessings.
Alas! brethren, the church of Laodicea is the emblem of too many professing Christians in every age. By their remissness, their lukewarmness, their sensual pursuits, by their impenitent neglect to fulfil the holy conditions of the covenant of their salvation, they have shut the door of their hearts
against their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. But he stands at the door and knocks. Their ingratitude, their insensibility, their numerous provocations, cannot induce him utterly to forsake them; he still importunes with them to yield him the possession of their hearts, and graciously promises, that if they will hear his voice, and in humble penitence and faith submit to him as their Lord and Saviour, they shall be received into the closest and most endearing union with him, and shall partake of the inestimable blessings of his love and favour.
Lukewarm and unholy Christian !, impenitent sinner! who refusest to render to thy Saviour the supremě homage of thy heart and affections-who refusest him admission into that soul which he has redeemed, and which he is desirous, to purify by his grace, and to bless with his everlasting favour, how astonishing is his forbearance and his compassion! He sues for admission into that bosom which thou hast closed against him, and urges his solicitation by the exalted promise, that if thou wilt open unto him, he will come in and bless thee.
“ Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me.”
When we hear this affectionate invitation, we are naturally prompted to contemplate
The interesting character of him who thus solicita admission into our hearts;
The tender and affecting manner by which he solicits this admission;
The reception which is due from us to a character 80 interesting, and an invitation so tender and affecting; and