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THE GUILT OF THOSE WHO NEGLECT SALVA
TION IS IMMENSE! It was a great sin in the Jews to disobey the voice of God spoken by Moses. It was a still greater sin in a subsequent generation, after the example and punishment of their forefathers, to despise and misuse the prophets. It was a still farther aggravation of iniquity, beyond all this, after all God's former dealings, and when the nation had been carried into captivity for refusing to hear the prophets, to reject the chief Prophet, our Lord Jesus Christ, and his Apostles. They filled up the measure of their fathers... so that, our Lord said to them, upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth. They sinned, after all the warnings of so many generations: If I had "not come, says our Lord again, they had not had sin, (not to that extent;) but now they have no cloke for their sin. O Christian reader! how tremendously accumulated is the guilt of those, in these last days, who, after the experience of so many ages, and with such a cloud of witnesses, still neglect so great a salvation!
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THEIR RUIN SHALL BE SUDDEN AND IRRETRIEVABLE! How shall they escape? the expression intimates that the day of wrath will be to the wicked both unexpected and inevitable. They would gladly fly away, but flight from the Divine Presence is vain and impossible. They would gladly hide themselves in the lowest depths, and be covered by hills and mountains, but still God is there. That omnipresence which is the highest joy of his servants, is the sum of all terror to his enemies. Do they attempt to justify themselves? O how vain! Every disregarded minister, every broken sabbath, every neglected Bible, is a witness against them. The very dust shaken off the feet of the despised minister is a testimony against them. Mark
vi, 11. God has declared that it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear his Son shall be destroyed frem among the people. Acts iii, 23. God has made known his final purpose-They refused to hear my words; therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape. Jer. xi, 10, 11.
THEY LIE UNDER THE CURSE OF THE LAW; how shall they escape its penalty? They are not like the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, and receiveth blessing from God; but, are like that which beareth thorns and briars, and is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned. Heb. vi, 7. Where God bestows great advantages, be expects corresponding fruitfulness; (Isa. v, 1–7.) and if there be no fruit, a double curse rests there. The law denounces wrath and perdition against the transgressor. They have transgressed times without number. In what refuge can they trust? Will ungodly companions help them? no: they equally need help. Will Satan's power shield them? they preferred his service; will he protect them? no he is in himself punished; he shares the curse, and, as far as joy can enter his malignant heart, he rejoices in their ruin. Can the holy angels, or any of the saints assist? no: they can do, they choose to do, nothing but what God approves. Do they now look to Christ? O grievous ruin! it is too late! Their once-neglected Saviour is now their righteous judge. They despised his salvation, and loved sinful pleasures better thau Him who died for them. neglected Gospel furnishes another aggravation of their ruin.
THEY WILL BE CONDEMNED AT THE FINAL
JUDGMENT. In the day of trial, God will bring every
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* work into judgment, with every secret thing. How shall they escape! What plea can they urge, when the pure and holy law of God, in all its reasonableness, and their daily violations of that law, are set before them. To the righteous, the day of judgment is a day of great joy. 1 Thess. iv, 13-18. Those that are justified by faith in Christ, and love him and his people, shall not ↑ hear of one sin; (Jer. 1, 20; Micah vi, 19; Heb. viii, 12.) but they shall hear of all the good which they did, and had forgotten. Matt. xxv. judgment with the wicked. They are under that awful saying of Christ, Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city. Matt. x, 14, 15. O how vain must be every plea when they have disregarded the wisdom of God, set before them in redemption by Jesus Christ; when they have slighted the only and God's own way of salvation! How shall they stand in his sight! they are speechless before him; and they hear the tremendous words, Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels!
They SHALL ENDURE ETERNAL WRATH! an awful question put by our Lord, How can ye escape the damnation of hell? Who can reverse the terrible sentence? When once it is passed, it is irreversible. It is justly merited. They were told of their danger. They heard that it was so great a danger, that the Son of God himself came down from heaven to avert it, and yet they carelessly slept, or rashly squandered away the precious hours of life in which they might have obtained it, and procrastinated, day after day, month after
month, and year after year, when they should have fled from the wrath to come. They slighted years of probation, and every warning which God gave, and now Satan, with malignant triumph, takes them as his perpetual prey, his lawful captives, and they enter never to leave, that dread abode where the wor dieth not, and the fire is not quenched!
These are not mere fancied dangers to awaken and excite feelings for the present moment. They are, * the neglecters of salvation, awful and swiftly-approaching realities. God is not a man that he should li neither the son of man that he should repent; hath ke said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall it not come to pass? O careless hearers, pit yourselves! Consider your latter end. Search the Scriptures for yourselves; follow the directions there given by your all-merciful, and wise, and holy Creator and Judge; and now seek to obtain part and lot in the deliverance which has been wrought out by the Lon Jesus Christ.
For this salvation is so complete, that even those who have hitherto neglected it, and are now conscious & their neglect, may seek, and even surely expect, the pardon of such aggravated guilt; a guilt which every awakened mind will confess to be most dreadful and atrocious. Yes, reader! whoever you be, or whatever you may have been, now hasten to the Saviour; you will be welcome; he now waits willingly and gladly to receive you, however covered over with guilt, and te accept you just as you are. He will justify you freely, and replenish you with all his rich and full mercies and blessings! Thanks be unto God that this salvation is so great and perfect, that nothing, except our neglect of it, in one way or other, can exclude us from it
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eternal advantages. The trembling sinner who is ready to think himself too criminal to be pardoned, or too polluted to be cleansed, may yet come to Christ. God sets his threatenings before us, not to destroy us, but, in tender mercy, that ere the evil day arrive, we may have repented, and so escape; you may see this in the case of Nineveh, and in various other instances. The gracious Saviour now is ready to receive the worst sinners. The chief of sinners may come to him with entire confidence, and may expect from him the free gift of pardon, salvation, and all that he requires.
But let none presume hence to delay, and fancy that this very grace furnishes an excuse for negligence. Even a partial neglect of it will not escape sorrow and rebuke in this life, and those whose souls are not finally ruined, often obscure their hope and bring darkness on their mind, by giving way to carelessness about their eternal interests. O let none trifle with things of such immense moment as their spiritual and eternal welfare! For, consider farther,
The danger of neglecting this salvation may be more specially shewn from the solemn truth that the
PRESENT MOMENT IS THE ONLY OPPORTUNITY
Mr. Gisborne makes the following awakening observation on the importance of attention to each sermon that we hear.— To how many sinners has an individual sermon been made as it were the hinge of conversion, the turning point between life and death! Did you withhold your attention from the last sermon at which you were present? how know you but in that sermon was contained an elucidation of some important doctrine which you misconceive; a scriptural example of virtue