« السابقةمتابعة »
lievers not to be behind hand in the fervice of a much better mafter. Have we not feen much profane zeal difcovered in fupport of the moft pernicious and criminal amufements, which confume time, enervate the body, and pollute the mind? And fhall there not be a like concern to promote knowledge and holinefs in the uncivilized parts of our own country, and to carry the glad tidings of the gospel of peace to those who now fit in darkness, and in the region and shadow of death? Are there not many to whom the name of a Saviour is precious, "even as "ointment poured forth;" who burn with defire, that the riches of divine grace, which can never be exhausted, may be more largely diffused? And will not all fuch chearfully and liberally contribute to extend the bounds of their Redeemer's kingdom, in the profpect of that bleffed time, when the knowledge of God fhall cover the earth as the waters cover the fea? Or of that ftill more glorious period, when every vessel of mercy, from the east, weft, north and fouth, fhall be gathered together, and fit down with Abraham, and Ifaac, and Jacob, in the king. dom of their Father?
I shall now conclude my difcourfe, by preaching this Saviour to all who hear me, and intreating you, in the most earnest manner, to believe in Jefus Chrift; "for there "is no falvation in any other." This is far from being unneceffary or improper, even in an audience of profeffing Chriftians. Wherever there is a national profeffion of the gospel, there are always many who, though they retain the name of Chriftians, are ftrangers to real faith in Chrift, or union with God through him; nay, who in their hearts are enemies to the truth in its fimplicity and purity. It is in vain to attempt, by reafoning, to bring men to an acknowledgment of the truth of the Chriftian doctrine in fpeculation, unless we also bring them to fuch a personal conviction of their guilt and wretchednefs, as will make them receive the information of Chrift's character and work, as glad tidings to their own fouls. No other converts receive any benefit themfelves by the change; nor are they of any fervice to Chrift and his caufe, except fo
far as they are over-ruled by the fovereign providence of that God who only can "bring good out of evil."
Wherefore, my beloved hearers, be perfuaded, from the word of God, which you profefs to believe, from the state of the world, which you may fee, and of your own hearts, which you may feel, that you are by nature wretched, and miferable, and poor, and blind, and naked. You are fo far from having fuch a conformity to the pure and perfect law of God, in your thoughts, words, and actions, and the principles from which they ought to flow, as can entitle you to his favor, that the imaginations of your hearts are only evil from your youth, and that continually. Whatever imaginary schemes of a virtuous character you may reft or glory in, you are wholly unable to ftand the trial of God's impartial judgment. Oh! how hard is it to convince men of fin, even while the earth groans under their guilt? Would but those who are most apt to boast of the dignity of their nature, and the perfection of their virtue, make an exact register of all the thoughts that arise in their minds; there remains ftill as much of the law of God written upon their hearts, as would judge them out of their own mouths. Inftead of being able to bear that fuch a record fhould be exposed to public view, they could not even endure themfelves to perufe it: for felf-flattery is their ruling character, but felf-abhorrence would be the effect of this difcovery. Ought you not therefore to be ready to acknowledge, that you are altogether as an unclean thing, and unable to ftand before God if he enter into judgment? But whether you acknowledge it or not, I bear from God himfelf this meffage to you all, that whatever may be your character, formed upon worldly maxims, and animated by ambitious and worldly views, if you are not reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, if you are not clothed with the fpotlefs robe of his righteoufnefs, you muft for ever perish.
But behold, through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of fins. There is a fulness of merit in his obedience and death to procure your pardon. There is no fin of fo deep a dye, or fo infectious a ftain, but his blood is fufficient to wash it out. This is no new doctrine, or
modern difcovery, to gratify a curious mind. Perhaps you have heard fuch things fo often, that you naufeate and difdain the repetition. But they are the words of eternal life, on which your fouls' falvation abfolutely depends; and therefore, though this call fhould come but once more to be rejected, it is yet again within your offer; and as "an ambassador from Christ, as though God did befeech "you by me, I pray you in Chrift's ftead be ye reconciled ' unto God." You have heard the danger of all who are without Chrift; but I beseech you remember the aggravated guilt, and the fuperior danger of thofe who continue obftinate under the gofpel. All the mercy that is shown to finners in the offer, fhall inflame the charge against them in the great day, if they are found impenitent. Mercy and justice are never separated in any part of the gospel plan. They illustrate each other in the contrivance, they fhine together on the crofs, and they fhall be jointly manifeft in the day of judgment. Shall not the blood of Chrift, which is fo powerful in its influence for taking away the guilt of thofe who truft in it, greatly add to the guilt and danger of those who defpife it?" Be wife now, "therefore, O ye kings," and all of every rank; "be in"fructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kifs the Son, left he "be angry, and ye perifh from the way, when his wrath. "is kindled but a little: bleffed are all they that put their "truft in him."a
« Pfal. ii. 10, 11, 12.
Na note in the fermon on Acts iv. 12. " Neither is "there falvation in any other," the reader will find, that I have intimated two things: 1. That if a favorable judgment of the opinions of others, be the fcripture meaning of charity, then certainly fome bounds must be set to it; and it must be praise or blame worthy, according to the cafes in which it is exercifed. 2. That I am inclined to think, that this is not the meaning of the word in fcrip. ture; but that it means an ardent and unfeigned love to others, and a defire of their welfare, temporal and eternal; and may very well confift with the strongest abhorrence of their wicked principles, and the deepeft concern for their dangerous state. At the fame time it was hinted, that this fubject deferved a more diftinct and full illuftration. I was fufficiently aware, even at the time of writing, that this declaration would bring down upon me the high dif pleasure of certain perfons. And fo indeed it happened, to fuch a degree, that fome, according to their wonted candor, and (in their own fenfe) most charitable interpreVOL. II. 3 A