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fathers, for which they fell in the wilderness, as verse 7, and on. “ Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, to day, if ye will hear his voice,

harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation, in the wilderness, when your

fathers proved me and tempted me, and saw my works forty years.Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, &c. So I sware in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest." This the apostle, in the next verse, applies to his brethren by way of caution : “ Take heed, brethrsn, lest there be in any of you, an evil heart of unbelief.” And then repeating the words of the Psalmist, he expressly addresses them to all who shall hear his words, as in the text : “ While it is said to day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation." He would, if possible, engage all, instantly to improve the offered salvation, nor does he fail to warn them of the danger of refusing ; the awful danger which threatens those who harden their hearts, and stand all the day idle, while the golden sands of the gospel are running out, and the glass of probation never to be turned up again.

The address, my hearers, is as much to us, as to those to whom the apostle originally wrote.To all under the gospel dispensation, Christ's voice is peculiarly addressed : “ Unto you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the children of men. Come, for all things are now ready, now is the accepted time;" to day, i. e. now immediately, “ to day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your

hearts." From the text, therefore, we may raise this doctrine, It is the immediate duty of sinners, to hear the voice of Christ, and comply with his gracious proposals.

I shall endeavor to establish this truth, by several considerations. And, my hearers, while I have your ears, your attention, I hope Christ will have your hearts, for he is richly worthy your first, your highest affections.

If the idea in the doctrine is not sufficiently clear, the explanation of it is this : It is the duty of sinners to hear Christ's voice; or, which is the same things to repent and believe immediately, before they do any thing else. The salvation of the gospel is of such a nature, that it demands our immediate accept

We violate the most sacred obligations, and run an infinite hazard, if we take another step, to the right hand or left, or even draw another breath, before we give away our hearts to Christ.

In support of the doctrine, thus explained, I shall offer the following considerations :


1. The nature of the present offer of salvation. By the voice of Christ in the gospel, salvation is now offered to sinners ; and for this reason, they ought immediately to accept of it.

If this be not the case-if sinners are not obligated to accept of Christ-to repent and believe immediately, but may put it off to the next moment, or the next hour, in order to do something by way of preparation, as some suppose they may and must then it will follow, that were they to be cut off by death in the present hour or moment, and be summoned to the bar of God, they might there plead not gulilty for the neglect of salvation, and their plea would be admitted by the Judge of quick and dead. For God is a reasonable being, and cannot condemn the innocent. But it is far otherwise. Were every sinner who has hitherto neglected the offers of tho gospel, to be immediately cut off-he would be wholly without excuse, and speechless before God. We are no where informed, in the gospel, that we may love the Lord Jesus Christ, and accept of his gracious proposals to morrow, and not to day. “ But to day if ye will hear his voice. Behold now is the accepted time.” It'is therefore a plain, incontestible truth, that if sinners can ever be under obligation to accept the salvation, they are immediately without

the least delay. It seems too plain a case to need an illustration. The most inattentive sinner would be fully convinced, that the criminal at the bar of justice ought to accept of pardon from his judge, as soon as offered ; and instantly to return his most cordial thanks. To delay a nìoment would enhance his crime, and greatly aggravate it. So were an indulgent father, who had been long dishonored by an undutiful child, to offer him forgiveness, the son would be under the strongest obligations to accept immediately, with humility and gratitude. But what are such instances of proffered pardon, in comparison with God's saying to the sinner, “Come, for all things are ready?" He is infinitely above the best earthly rulers and parents. His salvation, therefore, ought to be immediately accepted, because it is now offered. The nature of the present offer makes it a present duty to accept.

II. Another consideration which evinces, that it is the immediate duty of sinners to hear Christ's voice, and accept of the offered salvation, is that it is infinitely more excellent, than any thing else which can engage their present affections. Nothing can compare with the salvation of the gospel-it is superlatively excellent. It therefore not only demands our attention and affections, at some future period, but our supreme love and delight immediately. Hence Christ tells us to seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness. This is the pearl of great price. If any pearl could be found more valuable and precious than the gospel, then sinners would be wise in neglecting salvation to secure it. For it is a dictate of reason, that the most excellent things are to be preferred to all others. Every thing ought to be treated according to truth; i.e. according to its nature and importance. But what is there, which for excellence, can compare to the love of the gospel ? When we think of the length, and breadth, and depth, and



heighth of the love of Christ, other things have no glory. There is nothing which can endure a momentary comparison with it. Hence the expressions of the heart that could never express such superior excellency : “Oh, the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God ! Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for those who love him." But in what does the superior excellence of the gospel salvation consist, which makes it the immediate duty of sinners to accept it; in preference to all other things ? The question is important, and may with propriety be briefly answered in this place.

1. One important excellence of the gospel salvation consists in the pleasure which ever panies the acceptance of it.

We are naturally at enmity with God, and destitute of any taste or relish for communion with him. Nor can we ever enjoy the sublime pleasure which the blessed God communicates to all his friends, till we hear Christ's voice, and comply with his gracious proposals.

The whole life of the sinner, before he comes to Christ, is but the life of the prodigal. He wastes his estate, abuses his time and talents, and starves hïs soul, in feeding upon the dry husks of the world. But no sooner is his heart touched with the feelings of divine friendship, and a disposition to give himself up to God in Christ, than he enjoy's the most sublime happiness. Sinners labor under a very crimi. nal mistake, when they conclude there is no pleasure in religion. The conclusion is so grossly false, that there is no pleasure worth enjoying without it. This every one who has experienced will testify. The Christian is the only man of true, rational pleasure and delight. And in proportion to the strength of his desires for conformity to Christ, he tastes of his

happiness, partakes of his nature, and enjoys his possessions : When the soul accepts of the salvation of the gospel, he then enjoys all the treasures of infinite goodness. He has nothing of his own, nor does he need any private interest, for he possesses the whole universe in common with Christ. They have but one interest and one joy. His heart is open to Christ, and Christ's heart and all his treasures are open to him.

Their love is mutual and impartial, and so is their joy, for they are one. The true Christian is possessed of the friendship of the Father. and the Son, and blessed with that inseparable love and communion which subsist between them. Hence the Saviour says, in that memorable prayer for his followers, 6 I pray for them, for they are thine, that they may be one, as thou father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us. And the glo. ry which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one." To illustrate this happy union the apostle says,

6 We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” And in another place, to express the mutual joy and sorrow between Christ and his followers, he says, " And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it ; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ and members in particular."

In this near and intimate union between Christ and the soul, we have a view of what is implied in saving faith

For this is salvation from sin in the enjoyment of Christ. The soul who accepts of Christ as offered in the gospel, has found the secret place of the most high, and must, from the very nature of his union to Christ, abide under the shadow of the almighty. This in one word is his situation. He accepts of a salvation which was invented by infinite wisdom, which was purchased by infinite mercy, which is full of goodness, and has been and ever will bez defended by infinite power. I appeal therefore to

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