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claims are base and unfounded: his enticements, selfish and treacherous. He seeks your compliance, that God may be dishonoured, and you ruined: “If thou wilt worship me, all the world shall be thine, for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will, I give it," is his vain pretence and promise.
God is true; his words are true ; his engagements are unfailing; "he keepeth truth for ever.” Satan is "a murderer from the beginning;" “ a liar, and the father of it; his promises are delusive and ensnaring; 2 Sam. vii. 28; Psa. cxlvi. 6; John viii. 44. Which of the two will you choose for your master ?
LIFE OR DEATH; which will you choose? By the laws of Divine justice you have forfeited eternal life, and brought upon yourself the fearful doom, “ Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Gal. iii. 10. But He, against whom you have sinned, has had “ thoughts of peace, and not of evil," towards you. In mercy God sent his Son, to give himself a ransom for all who should believe in his name, and receive his salvation. By Christ Jesus, life and immortality are brought to light: “He that believeth on him is not condemned;" 2 Tim. i. 10; John xi. 25, 26: " The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” “ This is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.” “He that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” And “he that reapeth [for God] receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal;" Rom. vi. 23; 1 John ii. 25. 17; John iv. 36.
On the other hand, “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God;" he “shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him," John iji. 18, 36. “The wages of sin is death ;” “Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” The service of Satan is represented as leading to death ; its "fruit" is “ death,” eternal death ; "the second death ;" Rom. vi. 23, 16; vii. 5. James i. 15. Life or Death; which will you choose ?
REPENTANCE OR IMPENITENCE; which will you choose ? Without repentance you can receive no pardon. Therefore, says the message of mercy, “ Repent, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of.” “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish," is the declaration of Him whose heart is full of tenderness towards the fallen and lost. As you are a sinner you need repentance. As God is infinitely merciful, he leads you to repentance by the continual exercise of his goodness to you. But he who, despising the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering, remains impenitent, is treasuring up unto himself “ wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Acts iii. 19; 2 Cor. vii. 10; WHICH WILL YOU CHOOSE?
again nourished anament, a trait of lords,"
THE COMMUNION of Saints, or THE FELLOWSHIP OF TIIE UNGODLY; to which do you incline? Do you say, “ It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?” Do you call the proud happy, and praise those who work wickedness and tempt God? Is this wise? Listen! “ Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." But of the impenitent transgressors God saith, “ The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God,” Mal. iii. 14-17.; Psa. ix. 17. Which of these states will you choose ?
LOYALTY OR REBELLION; which will you choose? The “ King of kings," the “Lord of lords," declares you a rebel against his government, a traitor against his sovereignty: “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me." But he spreads out his hands to you, and offers you mercy on submission : “ Turn ye unto me, and I will turn unto you." " Return;--and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you; for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever; Rev. xvii. 14; Isa. i. 2; Zech. i. 3; Jer. iii. 12. “But those mine enemies," is the fearful alternative, “which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me,” Luke xix. 27. Which will you choose ?
THE PLEASURES OF Religion, or the PLEASURES OF SIN; which will you choose? The pleasures of religion are spiritual ; they are to be found in faith, love, hope, peace, and fellowship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. They do not depend on the world, and are lasting, because their source is the everliving and never-changing God. The pleasures of sin are carnal.
They gratify the appetites and desires of the body and of the mind. They are dependent upon every change of health and prosperity, and are lost when age and weakness follow youth and strength. Sinful pleasure is short, and leaves behind a stain, a bitter pang, and a lasting injury. Reader, which will you choose?
HEAVEN OR HELL:—which ?—which for your eternal dwelling? The abodes of perfect purity and joy; of peace and love? ---or the place where there is no hope ; where confusion and horror and despair for ever dwell? Which will you choose ? Ps. xvi. 11; Rev. vii. 15–17; xxi. 25; Matt. xiii. 42; Rev.
wity are to be choose? RET
You may choose. You are not compelled to continue a servant of Satan, a lover of sinful pleasure. You are not obliged to go in the paths of death and hell against your will. If, at last, you should be condemned for rejecting the way of salvation, it will be because you chose the way of perdition: “ This is the condeinnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil,” John iii. 19.
You are called upon to choose. " Good and evil, blessing and cursing, life and death” are offered; and the injunctionthe command is, “ Choose.” Deut. xxx. 15—19; Josh. xxiv. 15.
Even now a choice is made. You are actually either with God or with Satan now ; in the way of life and salvation, or death and ruin; hastening to heaven or to hell. There is no middle path.
Is it your choice to care for none of these things? Think again. Life is short; time is passing away ; death is at hand; delay causes indifference: “ To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts,” Heb. iii. 7,8. To-morrow may be too late. Now is the day of Christ's mercy; then may be the day of his wrath.
Let your choice be deliberate and rational. Count the cost; weigh the results; be prepared to follow whithersoever conviction leads you. Serious consequences depend on your choice. The bias of your heart would lead you to choose present gratification in preference to future advantage, and sin to holiness ; let your choice then be made in accordance with the word of God, and in dependence upon Him who "giveth power to the faint, and increaseth strength to those who have no might;" and who freely and graciously offers the help of his Holy Spirit to all who seek his help and guidance, Isa. xl. 29; Luke xi. 13. Then, being reconciled to God by the death of his Son, and saved by his life, and having joy in God through him, you will have “ chosen that good part which shall not be taken away,” Rom. v. 10, 11; Luke x. 42.
The Saviour calls; let every ear
Attend the heavenly sound.
Hope smiles reviving round.
The gracious call obey.
And can you yet delay?
“ HAVE FAITH IN GOD."
Mark xi. 22. This was said by Him who is truly the friend of sinners. Every human being possesses a never-dying soul, exposed to the fearful penalty of eternal death, and therefore needs to take heed to the Saviour's counsel, and to possess this Divine grace of faith ; for without faith it is impossible to please God, Heb. xi. 6. By faith we may know God, through Jesus Christ, to be our Father and Friend; a just God, and yet a Saviour; Rom. jïi. 26; viii. 14, 15. By faith we may feel that all that concerns us is under the direction of a God of infinite wisdom, and by faith our souls may feed upon and apply the great and precious promises of a covenant God, 2 Pet. i. 1-4.
Come, then, poor heavy-laden sinner, be encouraged to “have faith in God;" for He who has shown you that in you dwells no good thing, that your heart is deceitful, your whole life stained with sin and imperfection, he is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by Christ, Heb. vii. 25, who has promised not to cast out him that cometh, John vi. 37; and whose blood cleanseth from all sin, 1 John i. 7. Therefore, whatever be the amount of thy guilt, despair not; carry thy burden to the foot of the cross-behold the Saviour agonizing
and dying there—cast yourself upon his atoning sacrifice, and you shall find, with the sin-convicted jailer, Acts xvi., and tens of thousands besides, that to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ," is to be saved.
"Oh, sir,” said a poor man, “ I have been one of the vilest of wretches. I tremble even now as I think of my past life, and I thought if I told you what a guilty sinner I had been, you would only be angry with me, and tell me there was no hope for one so vile: but when I told you of my sins, you told me of a Saviour who died even for the chief of sinners, and I now see that all my troubles were sent in mercy to my soul; for if God had pleased, he might long ago have cut me off and cast me into hell ; but he has spared me. I can trust in Jesus now, and I do hope I shall praise him throughout eternity.” “Have faith in God," then, trembling sinner; believe the record he hath given of his Son, 1 John v. 11; go to Jesus like the poor leper, Matt. viii. 14, and you too shall be made whole.
Backslider, “ have faith in God;" for, if you are ready to return unto him, he stands ready to receive you. He promises to heal your backslidings, and to love you freely, Hos. xiv. 4. In your present state you cannot be happy.
One to whom instruction was useful, after he had lived for years in a backsliding state, said, " Before you came to see me, I was the most miserable of all men; I have frequently taken the newspaper and read all day on Sundays,” (alas, how common a sin !)"but my conscience reproached me, and the agony of my mind was often dreadful. I can only describe the feeling of my soul as being like sharp knives continually running into my body. Truly," he continued," the Lord hath done great things for me ; and if one ransomed sinner sings a louder song of praise than another in heaven, it ought to be I, who will have had most forgiven."
Be entreated, then, unhappy backslider, to take with you words and return unto the Lord without delay, yield to the strivings of the Spirit of God, perhaps even now at work in your heart, lest he should leave you to follow the dictates of a heart deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, Jer. xvii. 9. From such a state may the Lord preserve you !
Careless sinner, “have faith in God.” He desires your happiness. He tells you, in mercy to your soul, that “the wages of sin is death,” Rom. vi. 23; that except you repent you must perish, Luke xiii. 3. He stretches out his hand to you, Prov. i. 24. He remonstrates with you in your folly, and says, “ Turn ye, turn ye; for why will ye die ?" Ezek. xxxiii. 11. He invites you; “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow," Isa. i. 18.