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He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matt. xxv. 41.)
Where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched. (Mark ix. 44.) This, three times repeated. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake, which burneth with fire and brimstone : which is the second death. (Rev. xxi. 8.)
Things must not be slurred over, as if belonging to anybody but ourselves. I speak to youto all of you. Not a man here, but this is his state by nature; and if not in covenant with Christ, his state now.
God give you grace to think of it! The common feeling is,
“ All doing very well; and of course, unless guilty of some very bad act indeed, going on to heaven.” But I say, all by nature are doing very ill; going on from bad to worse ; this is the natural course, downward, to hell. This is the death inherited ; and a proof of it, the utter insensibility and carelessness about it.
1. Do you say, “ If I die in Adam, I cannot help it ?” Such a profane saying or feeling will do you no good. What! in such a state, and not try to help yourself?
2. The judge of all the earth will do right, and at the last day will be seen to do so.
3. The matter does not stand there. True, you are condemned in Adam ; but also in yourself. (Ezekiel xviii. 4; Galatians iii. 10; Romans iii. 19.)
But, 4th, Neither Adam's sin nor your error shall be your ruin, if you turn to God. The Jews of old said as you say: If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel xxxiii. 10, 11.)
Man, we have said, was dead in law ; lost his honours, rich estate here and hereafter. can restore them to a subject, and shall not God to his? But how? God has said, man shall suffer. Well, then man shall suffer the consequences and punishment of disobedience. Here then is the explanation of the wondrous sight. Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, &c.
The Old Testament church saw this darkly. 7 pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this ? of himself or of some other man? (Acts viii. 34.) We see this fulfilled in the events of this day.
We see one who was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, treated as a sinner labouring under the burden of sin. This is what S. Paul explains in 2 Cor. v. 21. For he hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
With this expiation God was well pleased, and justice satisfied: it is offered for you, offered
All are made alive who accept this offer.
But methinks I hear, “How doth this do away the death of the soul, described as an alienation from God? I feel this : what is the remedy ?Jesus did not leave his work imperfect; He knew what was in man, and provided for it. Thou hast received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them. God had left man; but, being reconciled, he returns. Do you complain of the death of the soul? Go, by prayer, and put it under the quickening influences of His Spirit. Prayer, earnest, importunate, repeated.
Do you complain that you find no difference?
That cannot be. This perception, and this lamenting of your dead state is itself a beginning of life.
(Here illustrate by the pain of restoring to animation ; yet pain felt is a proof of animation restored.)
But, with prayer, read the Scriptures, and meditate especially on the death and passion of Christ.
Do you complain that you cannot love God?
Go to Gethsemane and Calvary, and see how he loved you ! Or, that you cannot see the evil of sin? See there, what sin has done; and your sins. Think on your ingratitude to love like this. This, by the help of the Holy Spirit, will make the waters flow.
Mildenhall, April 7th, 1822.
THE PILGRIM READY FOR DEPARTURE.
Hebrews xi. 13.-Strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
which is far better:
If a man, on his return homeward from a distant country, should be detained in some port by contrary winds, he might be content to take up with such employments and pleasures as the place afforded, and might enter with some interest into them. But at the first notice that the wind had changed, that there was a possibility of weighing anchor, he would throw aside whatever he was about; he would be ready to depart: (åvarūsas Philippians i. 23.)
Ought not this to be the feeling of the Christian with respect to his enjoyment of the world? He is in the world (John xvii. 11.): and in those lawful pleasures which the world affords, in domestic comforts, in the works of nature or of Providence, he may take a temporary interest: but surely, where grace exists in any considerable degree, this will not be without many an eager look towards his Father's house, (John xiv. 2.) towards his better country; (Heb. xi. 16.) and though the first appearance of that disease, which comes as a messenger to tell him that the wind is fair for his departure, may create a start, yet surely he must and will hail it as the bearer of good tidings, as the announcement that his Lord is waiting to receive him to himself : and shall he be backward to set sail ?
August 9th, 1821.
THE FAITH OF NOAH.
HEBREWS XI. 7.-By faith Noah, being warned of God of things
not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house ; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
OBJECTED to those who preach the doctrines of the Apostles, that they preach mere notions : If a man will but believe this or that, he shall be saved. Now, persons who say so, blur the truth in never specifying what is meant by believe ; and would have it thought, not only that we teach, as S. Paul, (Rom. iii. 28.) that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law, but by a faith not producing good works. What faith is; what does, or does not produce fruits, let us inquire to-day.
Faith, nothing but belief in another's word. Now let us inquire, in things of this life, whether such belief leads to action.
Invited by a relative to India, under promises, &c. Well, things are alluring; you give up country, and undertake the voyage. Here faith produces works.
You are ill; you send for the physician ; take medicines you know nothing of, in reliance on
But now see the drunkard ruining his constitution; he believes but acts not, that is, refrains