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me before men, shall be denied before the angels of God.”—The apostle is still more explicit. “ If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries ?.” “ The just shall live by faith, but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in
him 3 »
They · that fall back then, fall back unto perdition. They fall away after having been made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and having tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the “ world to come,” and by so doing, they crucify the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” They become like that land which, bearing " thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned 4."
What shall we say then ?-Would it be better not to receive the Gospel at all ? To those who are about to embrace, to those who have embraced, and to those who forsake it, it speaketh hard sayingsshall we turn a deaf ear to it altogether, and so avoid the heavy responsibility of those who render themselves amenable to its law ?—But how does Christ speak of men who refuse to benefit by his preaching? “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you. And thou Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell; for if the mighty works which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained unto this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee!.”
1 Luke xii. 9.
2 Heb. x. 26, 27.
that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him at the last day!." “ If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin, but now they have no cloak for their sin ?." For when light is come into the world, and men, because their deeds are evil, love darkness rather than the light, and refuse to come to it lest their deeds should be reproved, that very refusal shall be their condemnation.
Such, then, my brethren, are a few examples of the threatenings of the Gospel. Such are the terrors with which even the merciful Jesus can clothe himself, when his appeals of love are ineffectual. Let us consider for a moment the classes to whom they apply.—They apply to all those who have taken up the yoke of Christ, without duly weighing the sacrifices to be made before they shall be able to bear it.—They apply to all those who having heard the word, “ anon with joy receive it," but have not resolution to endure, and either become hearers only, and not doers, or else are offended and fall away.—And they apply to all those, who prefer their sins to their salvation, and so wilfully shut their ears to that word, which at the cost of a moment's pain would save them from everlasting destruction. They apply, in short, to the inconsiderate convert, to the unfruitful professor, to the irresolute backslider, to the hardened and determined reprobate. My brethren-are not the threatenings of the Gospel sufficiently comprehensive?
Does the first head contain a small number? These are they to whom the text immediately refers. “ If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”—It is true that these expressions are not to be taken literally; because Christianity, so far from destroying the natural affections, purifies them, and increases them tenfold, so that, in fact, it may be asserted that the true Christian is the only man who really loves either father, mother, wife, children, or friends.—But take them in the sense which Christ himself has expressed in another place, and suppose them to mean, that whoever loves his nearest relatives more than Christ, whoever would suffer his affection for them, or his interest in them, to interfere with his paramount duty to his God—this man is not worthy of Christ, is not worthy to be called his true disciple--and tell me, are there few, or are there many who should ask themselves, whether or no they be excluded by such a sentence ?-We must remember that these, the best and kindliest feelings of our nature, are instanced to show that every passion and impulse whatever must be brought into subjection to Christ.-And did we contemplate this when we entered into his service, and have we acted upon it since ?