« PreviousContinue »
WARNING AND COUNSEL. It is no time to dally and trifle, and speak softly, when precious souls are at stake, and their eternal condition is so nearly concerned. " We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." “ Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.”
We would, then, give you WARNING.
1. The God with whom we have to do is a holy, righteous, all-seeing God. That which makes sinners feel secure is their i mistake concerning the character of God. They think of the
Almighty as if he were easily imposed upon, altogether such a one as themselves. Thus they cheat themselves. But be not deceived. Know that God's eye is always upon you. He is acquainted with your secret sins. He hates every sin; and to all who are impenitent, he “is a consuming fire.” He knows all things, and cannot be deceived. He is true to his threatenings.
2. Your precious, immortal soul must shortly appear before God in judgment, to be sentenced by a righteous doom to an unchangeable condition. You have a jewel in your charge of inestimable value. It is your soul, your precious soul! It is not a trifle, or a thing of nought,-but your own soul; and once lost, it is irrecoverably lost. The gain of all the world cannot pay
for it. This soul is in a very hazardous state. It lies at stake. It is in great danger. You are on a trial for your life.
3. If you live and die in a graceless, impenitent, unsanctified state, be assured you will be to all eternity in hell. Though you may make a great profession ; though you attain a high reputation among men; though you prophesy in Christ's name; though you excel in gifts; though you abound in usefulness; yet all this, without a living principle of grace in your heart, will never bring you to heaven. And believe it, grace and holiness are quite other things than what the world take them to be. Religion consists in a new and living principle of life and action, a renewed heart; and shows itself in repentance, in' faith in Christ, in humility and self-denial, and the reigning love of God and contempt of the world. He is a Christian who is one inwardly.
4. There are thousands in hell who, when alive in the world, thought themselves safe. Multitudes have been deceived with dross for gold—have thought they were rich when they were not so. There is a generation of such. We have reason, then, to be jealous and afraid of a cheat in that in which so many have been cheated before us. This should startle us. Take heed lest while you sleep as others have done, you perish as they have. Hiw secure was the rich man in the midst of his prosperity! But God called him a “fool.”
*5. The unsanctified heart may have a false peace, while yet it is the devil's palace; and while he, as a strong man armed, keepeth it. It would startle you to think of belonging to the devil, of being under his power, of being led captive by him, of being urged on by him, of having him to work in you. You would be alarmed if the devil were visible to you; but he is as really working in the children of disobedience as if he appeared to them. When you are going on in a sinful way, and yet say you have peace, it is the devil and a deceived heart that tell you so : you are in the midst of enemies.
6. While you are asleep in carnal secutity, your damnation slumbereth not. The Judge standeth before the door. Death is at hand; perhaps within a few days, a few hours of you. You would be startled, though you put far off the evil day, if you could be assured that you would live but one year; and will it not awaken you, that no man can assure you, nor can you assure yourself, that you shall live a single day? The veil of flesh is easily and quickly rent, and then appears the awful scene of eternity-eternity! Have you not seen many, who were as likely to live as yourself, snatched away? How startling was the declaration, “ This night thy soul shall be required of thee !". A
sperit The wesais palace startle you
WARNING AND COUNSEL.
presumption ?, after all, my
his mind is filled with the thought whether he be eating, drinking, or sleeping; and can we forget the amazing doom, the amazing sight, the amazing gulf, that we are just upon the brink of—just ready to step into ?
7. As the tree falls, so it lies; and as death leaves us, so judgment will find us. The doom is irreversible, the sentence irrevocable, the condition on the other side death unchangeable.
A gulf will be fixed. It is too late to repent in the grave; there is no repentance there; only remorse and despair. Up and bestir yourself, for you may have only a little inch of time in which to escape from ruin, and to seek the salvation of your soul.
But let us also DIRECT and COUNSEL you.
When a man asleep is roused a little, he is, in some measure, capable of receiving and profiting by advice. Know then, generally, what you must do. Sleep no longer; be secure no longer.
1. Suspect yourself as to your spiritual state; self-suspicion is the first step towards awakening. What if, after all, my faith should be but fancy, my hope presumption ? What reason have I to be so very confident? May I not be deceived ? Many who eat bread with Christ, yet lift up the heel against him. The disciples, when our Lord intimated that one of them should betray him, began to say unto him, one by one, "Is it I?" Do not, in a matter of such great importance, always take things for granted.
2. See, and be convinced of, the miserable state you are in while out of Christ. You are not the more safe for feeling secure. Look about you; consider, as men do who are newly awakened, where you are. See yourself wretched and miserable, a child of wrath. Be sensible of the guilt of sin that lies upon you, of the power of sin that rules in you. You are under the power of Satan. You are exposed to the curse of God. There is but a short life between thee and hell. And is this a condition for a man to sleep in ?
3. Stir up yourself to a due concern about your soul, and your eternal welfare. “If ye will inquire, inquire ye.” Inquire as they did when awake, who are mentioned by the prophet Micah, “ Wherewith shall I come before the Lord ? " Inquire as those new converts in the Acts of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Inquire as the jailer did, “ Sirs, what must I do to be saved ?” There begins to be some hope of people, when they look about them as men concerned. Here I am now, but where must I be to eternity ? If I should die to-night, and go to judgment, what would become of my precious soul? That is the holy fear which is
bout you;" care not thiserable stat
the beginning of wisdom. Seek unto Jesus Christ for life and light, and “Christ shall give thee light.” We must go to him by an active faith; consent to the gospel proposal of salvation by him. Say, Whither shall I go but to Christ? The sense of danger should drive us to him with all speed. We are never truly awake and up, till by faith we have “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
4. Seek the grace and help of the Holy Spirit, and set yourself, with all diligence, to do the work for which you were sent into the world. Awake to righteousness. Up, and be doing. Your work is great; your journey beset with dangers ; your enemies many; opposition powerful; strength small; time short and uncertain : Son, go work to-day in the vineyard. Dost thou not see how it is grown over with thorns ?
5. Take heed of delays. They have ruined thousands. “ Yet a little sleep," said the ancient slumberers. Men are roused and disturbed a little, but they only turn and go to sleep again, and so become conviction-proof-can sleep in the midst of a thousand calls. Take heed of putting by conviction; it is bad freezing again, after a thaw. Let not this call be lost after all the rest. Finally, take courage from the gospel of Christ. The Son of man was lifted up, “ that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world ; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God," John iii. 15—21.
Why will you lavish out your years
A NEW YEAR. A New year is the opening of a new leaf in life's short book. On its pages you have been daily and hourly writing lines which can never be effaced, and which, as they flow from your actions, words, and thoughts, are being recorded in heaven. Now a new leaf unfolds ;—there it lies; and you must write. What will you write ?
A new year is the beginning of a new voyage in life's bark. This season may be regarded as a port, to which you annually return, and then set sail again; for life's bark tarries nowhere, but is ever in motion. Over timne's broad sea, sometimes calm and sometimes rough, sometimes bright with sunshine, and sometimes dark with storms, it sweeps along with surpassing swiftness. Some make the annual voyages mere trips of pleasure: while others visit gold coasts in quest of wealth. There are those who are bent on making discoveries; and there are those who think only of capturing the prizes of ambition, fame, and glory. There lies the ocean, and your vessel is just sailing out of harbour. Where will you steer 2-what is the purpose of this year's voyage ?
A new year is the beginning of a new portion in life's building. Time is so much ground, which you are ever covering. Busy builders are the sons of men, carrying out some sort of