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sary. He is Lord of all. He is the believer's sole comfort. Take Christ out of the Scriptures, or keep him out of view; the Christian would see no ground at all for consolation. He is the sinner's terror. Most terrible will he be to him at last, when he "shall be revealed in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that obey not his Gospel." With authority he will bestow a kingdom on his own people, and consign his enemies to everlasting destruction. He is the glorious Saviour who now calls sinners to him, and he will be the glorious Judge who shall at last dismiss them. He performs every promise, and executes every threatening. His comforting presence is the happiness of heaven, and his tormenting power the essence of hell.
2. That as sinners have now every encouragement to come to Christ, if they still refuse, they can have no reason to complain when cast into outer darkness. Now they have every encouragement. When in this world he called and invited them. He still speaks from heaven, and intreats them not to refuse. He appoints ordinances, which are as accessible as the streets or lanes of a city. He sends forth and qualifies his ser vants. He expressly enjoins them to "compel sinners to come in." He makes the worst welcome. To gain their hearts, he is at great pains, and gives them line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. He warns them of their danger if they refuse. If they perish how can they complain! Christ may well complain and say, long I stood and knocked at the door of your hearts, but you would not open:
ye hardened your hearts, and quenched my Spirit: what could I have done more, but ye set at nought my counsel. Instead of complaining, may not the sinner say, what could I have done more to ruin myself, and reject the counsel of God! I have spoken and done evil as I could. When cast into outer darkness every mouth shall be stopped before God.
3. The great duty of gospel ministers. They should endeavour to persuade sinners to fly from the wrath to come, and escape the terror of the Lord. The apostle kept this always in his eye. Affected with the situation of thoughtless sinners, wantonly sporting on the brink of eternal destruction, he laboured to awaken, alarm, and arouse them. He endeavoured to bring hell to them, and present it to their view, that they might never go to it. Every minister of Jesus Christ ought to do the same. Neglecting this, or doing it in a careless manner, the ambassadors of Christ are neither faithful to their great Master, to perishing sinners, nor their own souls. No where is loitering more criminal and inexcusable than in the sacred function. If the servants of Christ have tasted that the Lord is gracious, a sense of what he has done for their own souls should make them steadfast and immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. Believing they should speak. No thought can be more comforting than that some perishing souls, by their means, have been plucked as brands from the burning. Nothing can be more galling than that some have perished for
lack of knowledge, through their negligence. Much lies at the watchman's door. Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he comes shall find so doing. 4. That the law should be preached as well as the Gospel, and in subserviency to it. None ever knew better than the apostle the unsearchable riches of Christ; or the propriety and efficacy of them, as an evangelical motive to prevail with sinners to believe. Never was any at more pains in opening up the blessings of the New Covenant, the perfect righteousness of the Redeemer, and the fulness of grace lodged in his person; the immediate right, and free access which every sinner has to them all in the Gospel; and none ever urged them more powerfully as motives to believe. But he did not forget to preach the law. He opened up its spirituality and extent. He exhibited it as a glass in which sinners might see their sin and guilt. He opened up the penalty, and set the terror of the Lord before men. He pointed out the remedy, and made use of the law as a schoolmaster to drive them to it. The same method should still be adopted. Ministers should try to break the heart by the law, that the sinner may apply to Gospel grace for the cure.
5. How hardening and infatuating must sin be! Though the happiness of heaven be set before the sinner to encourage him; though the torments of hell be opened up to terrify him; though the law be opened up to detect his crimes and the fallacy of all his excuses; though salvation by free grace be offered to him in the Gospel to allure him; and
though all these things be done frequently, fervently, feelingly, faithfully, and though the charmer should charm ever so wisely, still he sins! Can any thing break the power of sin! Nothing but that Grace which is invincible indeed!
II CORINTHIANS V. 11.
Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade
THE wrath of God is a familiar theme to an awakened soul. These who believe the reality of future wrath, and have not obtained solid assurance of being delivered from the curse, are much at the throne of grace supplicating mercy. These who have good hope of being justified and delivered, are filled with gratitude, and praise the Lord. They commiserate these who are under the curse, and unacquainted with their true situation, and will not believe it. Affected with their sad condition, according to their stations and opportunities, the converted use every mean to awaken and persuade them.
In the conduct and misery of unbelieving and careless sinners, Paul saw a just picture of his own condition before the Lord met with him. In his present situation and happiness he experimentally knew what they might be if they would believe, and he ardently wished them altogether such as he was, except his bonds. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, which he had mercifully escaped, and the