Page images
PDF
EPUB

courses, written and delivered with a particular view to your benefit.

May the folemnity of that day, when the ordained Judge of quick and dead shall appear, be present to all our minds every day. In the assured expectation of it, may we always keep a conscience void of offence, both towards God and men; neither doing those things which ought not to be done, nor leaving undone those which ought to be done. * If qur heart “ condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and “ knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn

us not, then haye we confidence toward God.” Receive and abide in him whom God hath sent: “that, “ when he shall appear, ye may have confidence, and s6 not be ashamed before him at his coming."

[ocr errors]

381

SERMON XXV.

THE STATE OF SUCH AS DIE IN THEIR SINS.

JOHN, viii. 24.

I SAID THEREFORE UNTO YOU, THAT YE SHALL DIE IN YOUR SIN$ : FOR IF YE BELIEVE NOT THAT I AM HE, YE SHALL DIE IN YOUR SINS.

HUS our Lord addressed the infidel Jews, and particularly the Pharisees, his most implacable enemies. But the words are applicable to all who finally reject the evidences of his divine mission. The declaration that unbelievers shall die in their fins turns our attention, FIRST, to the final state of such as die impenitent under the light of the gospel.

SECONDLY, To the only way of escaping their fearful doom.

First, Of the state of such as die impenitent under the gospel.

To suppose that sin is a less evil than the sacred oracles have declared it to be to cherish sentiments of divine benevolence inconsistent with what the general tenour of these oracles holds forth on the future punishment of fin, is to err in a matter of the last importance. He only, against whom sin is committed, can teach us how great an evil it is to violate his laws, and despise his grace ; and what punishment such violation and contempt call for. Every citizen is not a competent judge what punishment might be proper for crimes against the state. Much less are we competent judges what penalties the only wise God may annex to the breach of his holy laws, the rejection of his of

fered grace. He hath not denounced an heavier punishment than he can consistently inflict. We must be guided by the plain light of revelation, would we have just sentiments on the nature and consequences of sin. We shall but fport ourselves with our own deceivings, if we wrest the scriptures to vindicate opinions contrary to their general and obvious import.

" The wrath of God abideth on him who believeth

not the Son. He that believeth not shall be damned.” They who die in their fins, and they who die in the Lord, pass at death into states as opposite as their characters. In our Lord's prayer for the faithful, are these expressions : “ Father, I will that they whom “ thou hast given me, be with me where I am, to be“ hold my glory.” Of those who die in their sins he faith, v. 21. con. “ Whither I go ye cannot come.” Dying in fin is therefore to be excluded from his prefence. At the great day, they will come forth from their graves “ to the resurrection of damnation to “ fhame and everlasting contempt.” He will say to them, “ Depart from me: I know you not. He that “ is filthy, let him be filthy still.” The impenitent “ treasure up to themselves wrath against the day of c6 wrath."

The day of grace is limited to the present life, otherwife death would not be called the night wherein no man can work. Nor would it be faid, that men will be judged according to deeds done in the body—that the door will then be fout and barred againft impenitents. Nor would it be faid, Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvationnow appropriately, to the exclufion of an after space of repentance. Some resist the offers of mercy fo long, and with circumstances of fuch high aggravation, that they are represented as abandoned of God : His Spirit no longer striveth with them: They live but to fill up the measure of their iniquity.

Where do the fcriptures warrant a belief that there will be a space of repentance between death and the judgment? Or where do they inform us that after the judgment, when the wicked shall be doomed to allociate with infernal spirits, they may be recovered to holiness and happiness? The kingdom of the Mediator will then be delivered up to God even the Father. If there is redemption out of hell, it cannot therefore be through the only Mediator between God and men. If there is redemption out of hell, those may be faved who reject the only way of salvation revealed in the gospel-the only name whereby we must be saved. The great salvation, purchased and offered by him, may be neglected, and yet the neglecters of it escape.

Righteousness hath no fellowship with unright66 eousness. Without holiness no man shall see the " Lord.” This being admitted, finners must repent and reform, or cannot be qualified for heaven. Certainly then it is a mad part to live and die in their fins, under any presumption that they may confess and forsake them after death—that they may be reclaimed in hell. For suppose this may be, who will stand up to vindicate the conduct of those, who would go to hell to be reformed? If dying in fin means only a temporary punishment in hell, what man in his senses would run the hazard of this? It is the unquestionable design of the gospel to bring finners to faith and repentance in the present probationary state. It must weaken the argument to repentance in the present time, if revelation warrants the belief of another space. “The “ holy Ghost faith, To day, if ye will hear his voice, “ harden not your hearts.” If the scriptures reveal any other day of grace than the present, they must contradict and defeat their own end. If they reveal no other, the state of those who die in their fins must be remediless. Heaven must be irrecoverably lost to them, and intercellion for mercy unavailing. An impaffable gulf is fixed between the place of torments

« PreviousContinue »