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to judgment.” Then it will be scarcely possible for him to fail
To prompt you to this most interesting change of your conduct, keep these amazing considerations before your eyes. "Bind them upon your right arms: lay them up in your hearts: speak of them, when you sit in the house, and when you walk by the way." Solemnly ponder them, “when you lie down, and when you rise up." Can you remember in this manner, that you will soon be judged ; and yet continue stupid? Can you ask, each for -himself, " What will be the account which I shall give ? What will be the place where I shall stand? What will be the doom which I shall receive ?" and still sleep the sleep of death? Re member that you are hastening to endless ruin, or immortal glory.
Behold, the day cometh, which shall burn as an oven: and all the proud, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day, that cometh, shall burn them up, and leave them neither root nor branch.” In that dreadful day, “ They that fear the Lord,” saith JEHOVAH," shall be mine, when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son, that serveth him.” Life and death are this day both set before you ; therefore choose life, that you may live forever.
THE DISAPPOINTMENTS, WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE DAY
OF JUDGMENT.-SERMON I.
LUKE xiii. 28--30.
There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.
In the 34th verse of this chapter we are informed, that a certain man said unto Christ, “Lord, are there few that be saved ?", As this was a question of improper curiosity, Christ, instead of answering it, directed him, and all others who shall become acquainted with the injunction, to “ strive to enter in at the strait gate ;” and subjoined, as a powerful reason for obedience to the command, that“ many would seek to enter in, and would not be able."
To this melancholy declaration he annexed a most affecting account of the miserable disappointment, which will be experienced by those, who, in this world, but on false grounds, expeot an admission into the divine kingdom. They will go with confidence to the door of life, and say, “ Lord, Lord, open to us." They will declare, that “they have eaten, and drunk in his presence," and that " he has taught in their streets;" but he will reply,“ I know you not, whence ye are : depart from me, ye workers of iniquity.” Then he subjoins, “There shall be weeping, and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac,
and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last, which shall be first; and there are first, which shall be last.”
In this passage of Scripture we are taught,
I. That some of the human race will be shut out from the king. dom of God, who have confidently expected admission.
II. That others, whom they expected to see shut out, will be received.
III. That the distress, occasioned by this disappointment, will be very great. These subjects, deeply interesting to every religious assembly
, and demanding, at the present time, the most solemn attention of this audience, will be briefly considered in the following dis course.
I. Some of the human race will be shut out of the kingdom of God, who have confidently expected admission.
" There shall be weeping, and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out." The persons, to whom these words are addressed, are exhibited in the context as coming with an assurance of admission ; and as alleging what they think very sufficient reasons, why they should not be rejected. They gave Christ the honourable title of Lord; and thus indicate their own character as his servants. They request him to open to them, in terms, which sufficiently prove, that they expect no denial. They declare, that they have eaten and drunk in his presence, as friends; and that he has, at a former period, shewn them peculiar favour, by teaching his religion publicly in their streets. These very persons he addresses in the text, as being, to some extent, a part of his audience. This audience, we know, was formed of Jews ; all of whom, being children of Abraham, confidently regarded themselves as heirs of the divine kingdom. In the corresponding passage, (Matthew viii. 12.) Christ himself calls them, as they were probably accustomed to call themselves,
u the Children of the Kingdom.” “I say unto you that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven: But the Children of the Kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness : there shall be weeping, and gnashing of teeth.” These Jews therefore, notwithstanding their confident expectations of being admitted, will be finally shut out. Like them, all, who on similar grounds form the same expectation, will be disappointed.
Christ has proffered to mankind a glorious immortality in the future, eternal kingdom of his Father. But He has proffered it on his own terms only. Many of mankind, however, intend to obtain this blessing on terms, widely different from his. Of these, multitudes feel assured of success; and will enter the future world with this assurance. The expectations of all these persons will be disappointed ; and, while they are crying, “ Peace and safety," “ sudden destruction will come upon them, which they cannot escape.” As some, perhaps many, of this audience, may be in this very situation ; it cannot be an unprofitable employment to examine the character of those, who will meet with this unexpected reception,
1st. Of this number will be all those, who leave the world, relying upon their own Righteousness.
Christ has taught us abundantly, and absolutely, that his righteousness is the only foundation of our acceptance. Hence, He is styled “ The Lord, our righteousness," and our Salvation : " Mine eyes," said Simeon, when he took Him up in his arms, and blessed Him,“ have seen thy Salvation.” Hence, also, He is called, “ The hope of glory” to mankind : i.e. the foundation upon which Evangelical hopes of future glory may be safely built. Hence, also, God says, “ Blessed is the man, who trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” Hence, on the contrary, He says, “ Wo unto them that are wise,” i. e. righteous," in their own eyes." Hence, also, He says, “Cursed be the man, who trusteth in man.” And again, “ He, that believeth on the Son of God, hath everlasting life;"but he, that believeth not, shall be damned."
Still, there are many persons, who rely either wholly, or par. tially, on their own righteousness for salvation, and not on his. In many respects these persons differ from each other greatly: in this, their character is exactly the same. If they go out of the world in the possession of this character ; they will hereafter be united in the ruin of their hopes.
Of this number are all those persons, who place their reliance on External religious services. Confidence in the external ser vices of Religion has probably existed in every generation of men ; and especially at those periods, in which Religion has been peculiarly corrupted. These plainly constituted the whole religion of the Pharisees. But our Saviour says to his Disciples, " Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." These services were, also, in an eminent degree, the religion of the Jews in the time of Isaiah : “ To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord. Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me. The new moons, and Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies, I cannot
When ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you ; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear.” But, notwithstanding these decisive declarations, not a small number of persons, through every succeeding generation, have placed their hopes of final acceptance on the same services.
“ He that believeth,” and he only, “shall be saved.” Whatever may
be intended by that faith, which is the means of our jus. tification, and, therefore, of our title to eternal life, it is certain, that it can be nothing external. Faith, whatever else it may be, has its seat in the soul, and cannot possibly be an exercise of the body. How valuable soever, then, these services may be, their value cannot exist in this ; that they constitute, either wholly or partially, the foundation of acceptance with God. Of course, every man, who has placed his reliance on his prayers ; his praises; his communion at the table of Christ ; the dedication of him. self
, or his children, to God in baptism ; his assumption of the