Page images
PDF
EPUB

repentance will be accepted. Let us try this question, then, upon the principle recognised in my text.

In what condition does the gospel assume mankind to be? Undeniably, in a state of condemnation and alienation from God, by the operation of sin. What is the declared purpose of the gospel ? Plainly and expressly, the recovery of mankind to God, by the defeat of sin, both in its love and in its practice, and by regaining the purity and holiness of a new nature. What directions and means does the gospel prescribe for the attainment of tbis end? Indispensably, repentance towards God and faith in the LORD JESUS CHRIST, as the conditions on which the Holy Spirit is promised, in order to the sanctification of the sinner. What period is allowed, within which those conditions must be performed ? None, not a moment is allowed for men to continue in sin, after they are warned of it and furnished with the remedy against it.

Now, my dear friends, what fear of God or regard for his word is manifested by the person who knows this, as all under the gospel must or may know it, and yet puts off his repentance to a more convenient season? What part of the purpose of the gospel is answered by the man who puts off the very first requisition of the gospel to the last act of his life? What change of heart or of habit is wrought in him who, through the whole of his accountable life, has walked according to the course of this world, unknown to any Christian denomination as a member of their communion-who has never professed his faith in the LORD JESUS Christ by an open confession of his name before men, or acknowledged the efficacy of his death in the salvation of sinners, by partaking of the appointed sacrament of his body and blood ? Is there, in all or any of this, a single mark given us in the Scriptures, of the person who is entitled to the hope of the gospel? Is there a single lineament or feature of the new man, the new creature in Christ Jesus, to be discerned in such a person? If not, what is the hope he entertains worth, according to the plain principles, and, I will say, the only principles accessible to us, by which we are directed to try it? Why, then, even of yourselves, judge ye not what is right, and cast away from you for ever this cruel delusion, which turns

the grace of our God into lasciviousness, makes Christ the minister of sin by a wilfully delayed repentance, and the revealed mercy of God in hin the snare and the destruction of the souls he died to save. Alas ! my hearers, are there not many among you in this dangerous condition, many who have nothing more of the Christian than birth and baptism, and are thereby accountable in a higher degree? And will you smother this appeal to your consciences, and go away and forget to try your hope by the standard of divine truth? May God forbid. But it is a strong delusion—let us, therefore, try the question under another form.

Suppose an impenitent sinner, who nevertheless comforts himself with the hope that God will accept him on the day of judgment, is arrested by a sudden death, and passed into eternity in this condition ; what judgment does the word of God teach us to form of the worth of such a hope? But let us again suppose, that this same person, instead of being snatched to his doom, is warned by the preaching of the word, and, for a number of years afterwards, continues still impenitent; at length, however, he is seized with his last sickness, and, in a few days or weeks, surrenders his soul, entertaining the same kind of hope, and professing then to be penitent; is his condition hereby altered in any shape for the better? Is the unfruitful hope of a sick bed more efficacious than the equally unfruitful hope of health and opportunity? Is the intention to repent at some future time, in which his day of grace was wasted, fulfilled and perfected by the forced and suspicious repentance of a dying bed ? My dear friends, consider, God is not mocked, and, even of yourselves, judge what is right.

But further yet; what is repentance? Is it the mere lipservice of sorrow or regret expressed for wrong done, with the naked intention to forsake sin and repair the evil of its commission, at some future time? Will this satisfy the gracious purpose of this indispensable qualification for the exercise of mercy on the part of Almighty. God towards sinners ? Would it be counted of any worth, as a ground of forgiveness and reconciliation, in a matter of offence among men? If not, why, even of yourselves, judge ye not what is right? for true repentance is

repentance will be accepted. Let us try this question, then, upon the principle recognised in my text.

In what condition does the gospel assume mankind to be? Undeniably, in a state of condemnation and alienation from God, by the operation of sin. What is the declared purpose of the gospel ? Plainly and expressly, the recovery of mankind to God, by the defeat of sin, both in its love and in its practice, and by regaining the purity and holiness of a new nature. What directions and means does the gospel prescribe for the attainment of tbis end ? Indispensably, repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as the conditions on which the Holy Spirit is promised, in order to the sanctification of the sinner. What period is allowed, within which those conditions must be performed ? None, not a moment is allowed for men to continue in sin, after they are warned of it and furnished with the remedy against it.

Now, my dear friends, what fear of God or regard for his word is manifested by the person who knows this, as all under the gospel must or may know it, and yet puts off bis repentance to a more convenient season? What part of the purpose of the gospel is answered by the man who puts off the very first requisition of the gospel to the last act of his life? What change of heart or of habit is wrought in him who, through the whole of his accountable life, has walked according to the course of this world, unknown to any Christian denomination as a member of their communion-who has never professed his faith in the LORD JESUS Christ by an open confession of his name before men, or acknowledged the efficacy of his death in the salvation of sinners, by partaking of the appointed sacrament of his body and blood ? Is there, in all or any of this, a single mark given us in the Scriptures, of the person who is entitled to the hope of the gospel ? Is there a single lineament or feature of the new man, the new creature in Christ Jesus, to be discerned in such a person ? If not, what is the hope he entertains worth, according to the plain principles, and, I will say, the only principles accessible to us, by which we are directed to try it? Why, then, even of yourselves, judge ye not what is right, and cast away from you for ever this cruel delusion, which turns

the grace of our God into lasciviousness, makes Christ the minister of sin by a wilfully delayed repentance, and the revealed mercy of God in him the snare and the destruction of the souls he died to save. Alas! my hearers, are there not many among you in this dangerous condition, many who have nothing more of the Christian than birth and baptism, and are thereby accountable in a higher degree? And will you smother this appeal to your consciences, and go away and forget to try your hope by the standard of divine truth? May God forbid. But it is a strong delusion-let us, therefore, try the question under another form.

Suppose an impenitent sinner, who nevertheless comforts himself with the hope that God will accept him on the day of judgment, is arrested by a sudden death, and passed into eternity in this condition; what judgment does the word of God teach us to form of the worth of such a hope? But let us again suppose, that this same person, instead of being snatched to his doom, is warned by the preaching of the word, and, for a number of years afterwards, continues still impenitent; at length, however, he is seized with his last sickness, and, in a few days or weeks, surrenders his soul, entertaining the same kind of hope, and professing then to be penitent; is his condition hereby altered in any shape for the better? Is the unfruitful hope of a sick bed more efficacious than the equally unfruitful hope of health and opportunity ? Is the intention to repent at some future time, in which his day of grace was wasted, fulfilled and perfected by the forced and suspicious repentance of a dying bed ? My dear friends, consider, God is not mocked, and, even of yourselves, judge what is right.

But further yet; what is repentance ? Is it the mere lipservice of sorrow or regret expressed for wrong done, with the naked intention to forsake sin and repair the evil of its commission, at some future time? Will this satisfy the gracious purpose of this indispensable qualification for the exercise of mercy on the part of Almighty. God towards sinners ? Would it be counted of any worth, as a ground of forgiveness and reconciliation, in a matter of offence among men ? If not, why, even of yourselves, judge ye not what is right? for true repentance is

repentance will be accepted. Let us try this question, then, upon the principle recognised in my text.

In what condition does the gospel assume mankind to be? Undeniably, in a state of condemnation and alienation from God, by the operation of sin. What is the declared purpose of the gospel ? Plainly and expressly, the recovery of mankind to God, by the defeat of sin, both in its love and in its practice, and by regaining the purity and holiness of a new nature. What directions and means does the gospel prescribe for the attainment of this end? Indispensably, repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as the conditions on which the Holy Spirit is promised, in order to the sanctification of the sinner. What period is allowed, within which those conditions must be performed ? None, not a moment is allowed for men to continue in sin, after they are warned of it and furnished with the remedy against it.

Now, my dear friends, what fear of God or regard for his word is manifested by the person who knows this, as all under the gospel must or may know it, and yet puts off his repentance to a more convenient season? What part of the purpose of the gospel is answered by the man who puts off the very first requisition of the gospel to the last act of his life? What change of heart or of habit is wrought in him who, through the whole of bis accountable life, has walked according to the course of this world, unknown to any Christian denomination as a member of their communion-who has never professed his faith in the LORD Jesus Christ by an open confession of his name before men, or acknowledged the efficacy of his death in the salvation of sinners, by partaking of the appointed sacrament of his body and blood ? Is there, in all or any of this, a single mark given us in the Scriptures, of the person who is entitled to the hope of the gospel? Is there a single lineament or feature of the new man, the new creature in Christ Jesus, to be discerned in such a person? If not, what is the hope he entertains worth, according to the plain principles, and, I will say, the only principles accessible to us, by which we are directed to try it? Why, then, even of yourselves, judge ye not what is right, and cast away from you for ever this cruel delusion, which turns

« PreviousContinue »