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mouth, 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 wors 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, t the neglecters of salvation, awful and swiftly-approaching realities. God is not a man that he should he neither the son of man that he should repent; haih ke said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall it not come to pass? O careless hearers, pity 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 Lord Jesus Christ.
For this salvation is so complete, that even those who have hitherto neglected it, and are now conscious of 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 to 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 its
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
FOR EMBRACING IT, that we can call our own, and
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
salvation, as the riches of divine wisdom, planned before time began, effected by the only-begotten Son of God, rescuing us from eternal perdition, and restoring us te heaven, and then say whether it be possible for a creature to cast greater contempt on God, than to prefer the perishing vanities of a fleeting world, and carelessly to disregard, and slight, and make light of the most wonderful display of divine wisdom and love manifested in the Gospel. O the blindness, hardness, and darkness of our carnal hearts! We profess to
believe these things, and yet disregard nothing more. How tremendous will be that great day, when God shall enter into account with those who persevere in this neglect they shall awaken to their true condition, and he shall say to them-Behold! ye despisers, and wonder, and perish! "Shall," says one," the Son of God shed his blood in vain? Shall he suffer, and bleed, and die, for a thing of nought? Is it nothing unto you that he should undergo all these things? Can it be a matter of such small concern, that you will scarce make enquiry after it? Ah! be assured that these things are not so, and God grant that you may see this ere it be too late." You may be blinded even while life is spared. It is an awful declaration that we sometimes see exemplified, respecting those who dislike divine truth, and therefore neglect it, that because they received not the love of the truth-God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. Our first fall from holiness and happiness arose from not listening to the voice of God; and all our subsequent falls, and the final and irreversible ruin of the wicked, arise from the same disregard of his word.
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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!
THEIR RUIN SHALL BE SUDDEN AND IRRE
TRIEVABLE! 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, he 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. The 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