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can ye abide the thought of living with the devil for ever? Is it not better to have fome foul-trouble here, than to be fent to hell by Jefus Chrift hereafter? What is hell but to be abfent from Chrift? If there were no other hell, that would be hell enough. It will be hell to be tormented with the devil for ever. Get acquaintance with God then, and be at peace. I beseech you, as a poor, worthlefs Ambaffador of Jefus Chriit, that ye would be reconciled to him. My bufinefs this morning, the first day of the week, is to tell you, that Chrift is willing to be reconciled to you. Will any of you be reconciled to Jefus Chrift? Then, he will forgive you all your fins; he will blot out all your tranfgreffions. But if ye will go on and rebel against Chrift, and ftab him daily; if ye will go on and abufe Jefus Chrift, the wrath of God, ye muft expect, will fall upon you. God will not be mocked; that which a man foweth, that fhall he alfo reap. And if ye will not be at peace with God, God will not be at peace with you. Who can ftand before God when he is angry. It is a dreadful thing to fall into the bands of an angry God. When the people came to apprehend Chrift, they fell to the ground, when Jefus faid, I am he: and, if they could not bear the fight of Chrift, when clothed with the rags of mortality, how will they bear the fight of him when he is on his Father's throne? Methinks I fee the poor wretches, dragged out of their graves by the devil, methinks I fee them trembling, crying out to the hills and rocks to cover them. But the devil will fay, Come, I will take you away; and then they will ftand trembling before the judgment-feat of Christ. They hall appear before him to fee him once, and hear him pronounce that irrevocable fentence, Depart from me, ye curfed." Methinks I hear the poor creatures faying, Lord, if we must be damned, let fome angel pronounce the fentence. No, the God of love, Jefus Chrift, will pronounce it. Will ye not believe this? Do not think I am talking
at random, but agreeable to the scriptures of truth. If ye do then fhew yourfelves men, and this morning go away with full refolution, in the strength of God, to cleave to Chrift. And may ye have no reft in your foul till ye reft in Jefus Chrift. I could ftill go on, for it is fweet to talk of Christ. Do ye not long for the time when ye fhall have new bodies, when they fhall be immortal, and made like Chrift's glorious body, and then they will talk of Jefus Chrift for evermore. But it is time perhaps for you to go and prepare for your refpective worship, and I would not hinder any of you. My defign is to bring poor finners to Jefus Chrift. O that God may bring fome of you to himself. May the Lord Jefus now dismiss you with his bleffing; and may the dear Redeemer convince you that are unawakened, and turn the wicked from the evil of their way. And may the love of God that paffeth all underftanding fill your heart. Grant this, O Father, for Chrift's fake, to whom with thee and the bleffed Spirit, be all honour and glory, now and for evermore. Amen.
THE WISE AND FOOLISH VIRGINS.
MATTHEW xxv. 13.
Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of man cometh,
HE apostle Paul, in his epiftle to the Hebrews, informs us, that "it is appointed for all men once to die; after that is the judgement." And I think, if any confideration be fufficient to awaken a fleeping drowfy world, it must be this, that there will be a day wherein these heavens fhall be wrapt up like a fcroll, this element melt with fervent heat, the
earth and all things therein be burnt up, and every foul, of every nation and language, fummoned to appear before the dreadful tribunal of the righteous Judge of quick and dead, to receive rewards and punishments, according to the deeds done in their bodies. The great apostle just mentioned, when brought before Felix, could think of no better means to convert that finful man, than to reason of temperance, righteousness, and more especially of a judgment to come. The first might in fome measure affect, but I am perfuaded, it was the laft confideration, a judgement to come, that made him to tremble: and fo bad as the world is now grown, yet there are few have their confciences fo far feared, as to deny that there will be a reckoning hereafter. The promifcuous difpenfations of providence in this life, wherein we fee good men afflicted, deftitute, tormented, and the wicked permitted triumphantly to ride over their heads, has been always looked upon as an indifputable argument, by the generality of men, that there will be a day in which God will judge the world in righteoufnels, and adminifter equity unto his people. Some indeed are fo bold as to deny it, while they are engaged in the pursuit of the luft of the eye, and the pride of life; but follow them to their death-beds, afk them, when their fouls are ready to launch into eternity, what they then think of a judgment to come and they will tell you, they dare not give their confciences the lie any longer. They feel a fearful looking-for of judgment, and fiery indignation in their hearts. Since then these things are fo, does it not highly concern each of us, my brethren, before we come on a bed of fickness, feriously to examine how the account ftands between God and our fouls, and how it will fare with us in that day? As for the openly profane, the drunkard, the whoremonger, the adulterer, and fuch like, there is no doubt of what will become of them; without repentance, they thall never enter into the kingdom of God and his Chrift:
No; their damnation lumbereth not a burning fiery Tophet, kindled by the fury of God's eternal wrath, is prepared for their reception, wherein they must suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. Nor is there the leaft doubt of the state of true believers. For though they are defpifed and rejected of natural men, yet being born again of God, they are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Chrift. They have the earneft of the promised inheritance in their hearts, and are affured, that a new and living way is made open for them, into the holy of holies, by the blood of Jefus Chrift, into which an abundant entrance fhall be adminiftered to them at the great day of account. The only question is, what will become of the almost Christian, one that is content to go, as he thinks, in a middle way to heaven, without being profane on the one hand, or, as he falfely imagines, righteous over-much on the other? Many there are in every congregation, and confequently fome here prefent, of this ftamp. And what is worst of all, it is more easy to convince the most notorious publicans and finners of their being out of a state falvation, than any of thefe. Notwithstanding, if Jefus Christ may be your judge, they fhall as certainly be reje&-. ed and difowned by him at the laft day, as though they lived in open defiance of all his laws.
For, what fays our Lord in the parable of which the words of the text are a conclufion, and which I intend to make the fubject of my prefent difcourfe: "Then," at the day of judgment, which he had been difcourfing of in the foregoing, and profecutes in this chapter, fhalf the kingdom of heaven," the state of profeffors in the gofpel church," be likened unto "ten virgins who took their lamps, and went forți,
to meet the bridegroom" In which words, is a manifeft allusion to a cuitom prevailing in our Lord's time among the Jews, at mariage folemnities, which were generally at night, and at which it was cuftom
ary for the perfons of the bride-chamber to go out in proceffion, with many lights, to meet the bridegroom.
By the bridegroom, you are here to understand Jefus Chrift. The church, that is, true believers, are his fpoufe; he is united to them by one fpirit, even in this life; but the folemnizing of thefe facred nuptials is reserved till the day of judgment, when he fhall come to take them home to himself, and prefent them before men and angels, as his purchase to his Father, without fpot or wrinkle or any fuch thing. By the ten virgins we are to understand the profeffors of Christianity in general. Are all called virgins, because all are called to be faints? Whofoever names the name of Chrift is obliged by that very profeffion to depart from all iniquity. But the pure and chafte in heart, are the only perfons that will be fo bleffed as to fee God. As Chrift was born of a virgin, fo he can dwell in none but virgin fouls, made pure and holy by the cohabitation of his Holy Spirit. What fays the apoftle? All are not Ifraelites that are of "Ifrael," all are not Chriftians that are called after the name of Chrift: No, fays our Lord, in the 2d verfe," Five of those virgins were wife," true believers," and five were foolifh," formal hypocrites. But why are five faid to be wife, and the other five foolish? Hear what our Lord fays in the following verfes; "They that were foolish took their lamps, "and took no oil with them; but the wife took oil "in their veffels with their lamps." They that were foolish took their lamps of an outward profeffion. They would go to church, fay over feveral manuals, of prayers, come perhaps even into a field to hear fermon, give at a collection, and receive the facra. ment conftantly, nay, oftener than once a month. But then here lay the mistake; they had no oil ia their lamps, no principle of grace, no living faith in their hearts, without which, though we should give all our goods to feed the poor, and our bodies to be burned, it would profit us nothing. In short, they