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it must repent, as well as believe. It is in hope that God, peradventure, may give some of you repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, that these addresses are made to you. And, though some may make light of them, and even mock, as the idolaters did at Hezekiah's messengers, yet we will deliver our messages, that, if you perish, your blood may not be required at our hand.
O! ye children of Israel, our hearts' desire and prayer to God for you, is, that you may be saved! Consider, we entreat you, whether you have not forsaken the religion of your forefathers; whether the pslams of David express the feelings of your hearts; whether if you really loved the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob you would not believe in Jesus; whether, if you had just views of your own law, you would not despair of being accepted of God by the works of it; whether your rejection of Jesus be not owing to your insensibility as to your need of a Saviour: whether if you really believed the Old Testament, you would not believe the New; finally, whether the bitter malignity, which is so frequently discovered against Jesus and his followers, be consistent with true religion?
But I shall conclude with a few words to professing Christians. 1 can perceive, by what I have seen of the Jewish writings, how much they avail themselves of our disorders and divisions, to justify their unbelief. Let those who name the name of Christ depart from inquity. Let us beware of valuing ourselves in the name, while we are destitute of the thing. We may yield a sort of assent to the doctrine just delivered, while yet it brings forth no good fruit in us. These are the things that rivet Jews in their unbelief. They have no right, indeed to intrench themselves in prejudice against the Lord Jesus, on account of our disorders: he is no more accountable for them, than the God of Israel was for the disorders of their forefathers. But though it be wrong in them, it is more so in those who furnish them with occasion of offence. There is a woe upon the world, because of offences, seeing they stumble and fall over them; but there is a heavier woe on them through whom they come.
He that winneth souls is wise. I hope all the measures that are taken for the conversion of the Jews, will be of a winning nature.
If they be malignant and abusive, they must not be opposed by the same weapons. The servants of the Lord must not strive, as for mastery; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God, peradventure, will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. Whatever is done, for children or adults, I trust it will be in an open, candid way, like that of our Saviour, who did good to the bodies of men, as a mean of attracting their attention, and conciliating their affection to the word everlasting life.
SOLITARY REFLECTION; OR, THE SINNER DIRECTED TO LOOK INTO HIMSELF FOR CONVICTION.
[Delivered on a Lord's-Day Evening, in a Country Village.]
PSALM iv. 4.
Commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.
You are assembled together, my dear hearers, that you may learn something concerning your everlasting welfare. I am glad to meet you; and shall be happy to communicate any thing that I understand on this important subject. I pray God to bless it for your good! You have heard many sermons preached, and yet perhaps, have been but little profited; and you may hear many more to as little purpose. Religion consists not merely in hearing sermons; nor in going away, and talking how you like or dislike the preacher. Religion is not found among noise and clamour and dispute. It does not consist in either applauding or censuring men. If ever you hear to any purpose, it will make you forget the preacher, and think only of yourselves. You will be like a smitten deer, which, unable to keep pace with the herd, retires to the thicket, and bleeds alone. This is the effect that I long to
see produced in you. It is for the purpose of impressing this upon your minds that I have read the above passage, and wish to discourse to you upon it. In doing this, all I shall attempt will be to explain and enforce the admonition. Let us attempt.
I. TO EXPLAIN THE MEANING OF IT. The persons admonished in this psalm were men who set themselves against David, and persecuted him without a cause accusing him, perhaps to king Saul: and what greatly aggravates their guilt, they are said to have turned his glory into shame; that is, they reproached him on account of his religion, which was his highest honour. There are such scoffers in the world now and as these wicked men opposed David, so they oppose our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of David according to the flesh. And by how much Christ is superior to David, by so much greater is the wickedness of those who mock at his gospel and people, than the other. They were, many of them, men of property; their corn and their wine, it seems increased; and it is likely that some of them were people in high life, who had access even to the king. But all this would not screen them from the displeaure of God. Even kings and judges themselves must submit to the Son, or perish from the way.
And, if riches will not profit in the day of wrath, neither will poverty. It is true, the scriptures wear a favourable aspect towards the poor. Jesus preached the gospel to them; and God is often represented as threatening and punishing those that oppress them; but, if a man be wicked as well as poor, (as it is well known great numbers are,) his poverty will excite no pity; he must bear his iniquity.
Presumptuous and thoughtless sinners are admonished to stand in awe, and sin not, to commune with their own hearts upon their bed, and be still. Bold as any of you may be in sin, there is one above you, who will call you to an account: pause, therefore, and think what you are about. To commune with our hearts, means much the same as to ponder the matter over with ourselves. It is said of the adulteress, that lest thou shouldst ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them. She leads on her thoughtless admirers from one degree of sin to another, in quick succession; just as a person who should wish to lose you