صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

love God supremely, and your neighbour as yourself, you have no more thought of it, nor regarded its claim, than if you were at liberty to obey it

or not.

Is not that law true-true to the Divine holiness, and faithful to every attribute of God? Is not love its principle, the image of God, and the perfection in which our nature was created? Yet have you disregarded it as if it were not true, as if you were not accountable to it, and it had no demand on you. And yet when time shall be no longer, when the trumpet shall sound, and the dead awake to attend the universal judgment, your thoughts, words, and deeds will be tried by that righteous law.

But, my fellow sinners, although our sins against that law are infinite, this is not all of which we are guilty before God. We have done much more, notwithstanding one offence against it was enough for everlasting ruin. But-mark this your crowning sin, the dark seal of more finished depravity, the foulest blot which stains polluted nature, is, neglect of the gospel of Christ. You are wicked in this respect. God knows it. You have been guilty of this unrighteousness. God saw it. And, blessed be his holy name! he provided against it-for you have the gospel.

What means the free gift of the Bible, but to impart the treasure it contains, even Christ. It tells you that man is guilty, and condemned by the Divine law, and also, that Jesus Christ, the second Person in the glorious Trinity, came into the world to save sinners; to obey the righteous law for them in life; and, by his death, atone for sin.

And is it not wicked and unrighteous to have lived in total indifference of God's message to man, as if it did not concern you? God, who for four thousand years caused his covenant of mercy in Jesus Christ to be proclaimed by his prophets, hath, since our Lord came, for eighteen hundred years made known the gospel by the New Testament. Had the king of this realm caused a public proclamation to be written, making known some especial and gracious benefits to his subjects which all needed, what would you think of the man who would not trouble himself to read it, or even to hear it read? Surely you would say, for his folly and ingratitude, he ought to lose the benefit. Yet such is our conduct if we be found in an unconverted state. Are we not the subjects of the King of heaven, the just, the righteous God? whilst he, beholding our wickedness, our unrighteousness, and the consequences which from those evils arise, made, in the riches of his grace, a provision for our restoration, and proclaimed it to man immediately after the fall.

It is declared in the written word of life, that God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son for a Saviour to man. The public ministry of the gospel directs him to Jesus, whilst the example and instructions of true Christians are set before his view. What then can be said when, unbenefited by these blessings, because despising and rejecting them, any remain in their sin? Are not their ways wicked, and are not their thoughts unrighteous? Are they not perversely bent on sin? Their thoughts are worldly and ungodly. And is not their way that

which, to all who are found therein when death comes, proves to be the same which rebellious angels took, and ended in hell? Is it not that which Cain pursued, of proud infidelity? He determined, like sinners in general, to serve God according to his own vain notions, rather than the Divine commandment; and how did it end? Hatred to God brought hatred to his righteous brother; murder succeeded,,and Cain was cursed by a sin-avenging God. Look at Balaam : his was the way of unrighteousness, and he fell before the people of God; for the love of money he would have cursed the people of God, but God turned the intended curse into a blessing. Mark the end of Judas. He had been a professor of religion, was numbered with the apostles of Christ, had heard the gospel from the Redeemer's lips, and saw the works of mercy which the Lord wrought. Yet the way of that man was hypocritical and deceitful; his thoughts were bent on the world; for the sake of thirty pieces of silver he betrayed his Lord and Master; the end thereof was self-condemnation, self-murder, and everlasting death; for "he went to his own place.” The thoughts of the wicked turn to their own objects. You know this to be true, and thoughts are the seed which grow to actions. In what courses are your thoughts found? What companions, what objects, and ends do they seek and pursue? Do they naturally follow Jesus? Are you ever meditating on his love to sinners, his blessed work of obedience to his Father's law, his loving-kindness to man on earth, and his death on the cross? Ah! no; nor are you thinking how

you can best please him, how best promote the interests of the everlasting gospel, how most kindly, tenderly, yet faithfully persuade and win your fellow creatures from sin to God. Such, alas! is not the course which your thoughts naturally pursue, for the way of man in an unrenewed state is that of mischief, pride, false pleasure, covetousness, and ruin, for he is wicked and unrighteous.

II. Let us hearken to the gracious invitation of our text: "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord." What a gracious proposal! It rejoices the spiritual mourner, gladdens the desponding heart, encourages every truly penitential feeling; and none but those who are determined to abide in sin can resist the consolation which it brings. If God were not willing to receive sinners, he would not bid him forsake his ways and his thoughts, and return to him. If Jesus were not the way from sin, we must remain in its pollution for ever. If Christ our Mediator were not the way to the Father, we could not be led from the ways of wickedness. If Jesus were not the way, by atoning blood, from Divine wrath and Almighty vengeance, we must remain in the road to hell, which is our sin. We are invited to forsake our thoughts, and receive God's thoughts. Man's thoughts of sin are false; they say there is no harm in those things which are contrary to the will of God. But the Spirit of God and his word contradict this, and conduct men's thoughts to truth. You are invited to look upon sin as the enemy of God and man, the foe which brought death into our world, and

which, if it be not cast down by the power of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, will bring on you eternal ruin. Your thoughts of God are naturally false and evil: you are invited to cast them off, and learn his ways. Men think of God as if the Almighty were altogether regardless of what they do; as if he were at a distance; and that if he should ever call them to a partial account, his mercy would pass over all that was wrong in them. Such notions are atheistical, for they deny the true God. They are unscriptural and blasphemous, and ruinous to the souls of men. Hence you are called upon to renounce them, and think of God as he stands revealed to us in his holy word, as the everlasting Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who, in the contemplation of our sin and misery, engaged by a covenant of grace to redeem sinners. The Father, in infinite regard to man, promised to give his only begotten Son for a Saviour. The blessed Son rejoiced in the contemplation of that work, and when the fulness of time was come, God was made flesh. He united human nature without sin to his own Divinity, and atoned for the sins of man by the sacrifice of himself; whilst God the Spirit, in eternal love to man, undertook the great part in the covenant which we are invited to contemplate. The holy men who were employed to write the Holy Scriptures, were "moved by the Holy Ghost" to this end. By him is the work of regeneration done. By the law of the Spirit of life is every true believer made "free from the law of sin and death." And by his sanctifying influences is the soul purified from its corruption, for he leads to Jesus, and

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