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same time, warn those who hear the Gospel, of the guilt and danger of thinking or speaking disrespectfully of its great Author, or its glorious declarations. It is impossible to cherish an improper feeling toward God, or any thing which has the stamp of the divine character, without sustaining a most serious injury. One wrong sentiment or ungodly feeling may lead to another; that to a third ; these may form innumerable associations, which will strengthen and multiply each other, and combine with other things, till the habit of cheerless scepticism, and confirmed infidelity, is fully formed. This will enable them to treat divine things with wanton levity, or bitter scorn: till, being given over to an undiscerning mind, because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved, and become at last utterly insensible to the tones of Jehovah's tenderness, and to the thunders of his anger, they present the most fearful of all moral spectacles—like
“ Moody madness, laughing wild amidst severest woe.”
Let me also intreat those, who perhaps congratulate themselves, that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit cannot be charged upon them, to reflect, that the rejection of the Gospel will, in its final consequences, bring the same condemnation. It is well if you have not spoken against God, or his beloved Son. If you have not“ done despite to the Spirit of grace;" if you have not contradicted and blasphemed the Holy Spirit. Bless God for
preserving you from these awful offences. But why do you continue to doubt or to disbelieve his testimony? Why is not Christ formed in your hearts the hope of glory? Why have you not taken his yoke upon you, seeing it is easy, and his burden, seeing it is light? Why have you not confessed him before men? Why do you weaken the hands of his friends, if you are one of them, and strengthen his enemies, if you belong not to the number? Why are you afraid or ashamed to avow your attachment to his cause, and that your glorying is in his cross? Why has not the love of Jesus charms sufficiently powerful to withdraw you from worldly associations, and earthly fellowships? Why has not the authority of Christ more of your reverence, and the promise of Christ more of your gratitude? Why has not the hope of the Gospel purified your heart, wrought in you by love, and overcome the world ? In a word, why have you not repented and believed in the Lord Jesus, that you may be saved?
If you cannot answer these questions satisfactorily now, can you hope to be able to answer them when you shall stand at the bar of God: when a discriminative and righteous judgment shall be pronounced on all your actions, and on all your guilt? And when, though you may not be ranked among the number who have openly and profanely reviled the Holy Ghost, and trampled under foot the blood of the covenant, and dared God to do bis uttermost ; if you shall be found among those who never bowed to the sceptre of the Saviour,
never bore his cross, and never sought his glory, your portion must be, where there is “ weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; where the worm dieth not, and where the fire is not quenched.”
O then, “ seek ye the Lord, while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts : and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”. For sinners of every grade, and of every hue, the fountain of Immanuel's blood is opened, ready to receive them, and able to wash away their sin and their uncleanness. The promises of forgiveness, of gracious reception, and of eternal life, exclude only those who disregard and abuse them. All heaven is interested in your reception of the salvation of God, and ready to receive you; the Father to justify you; the Redeemer to intercede for and present you; the Holy Spirit to sanctify and confirm you; all holy angels to congratulate you; and the spirits of the departed just to welcome you. We would beseech you not to be yourselves the only obstacle and enemy to your immortal blessedness. With all solemnity we would say to you, with the apostle of old, “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached onto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are
* Isaiah lv. 6, 7.
justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you. "* And, with deepest solicitude and prayer for your salvation, we would finally add: “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”+
* Acts xiii. 38-41.
+ Rev. xxii. 17.
THE NATURE AND NECESSITY OF THE SPIRIT'S INFLUENCE IN PROMOTING THE SUCCESS
OF THE GOSPEL.
1 CORINTHIANS iii. 7.
So then, neither is he that planteth any thing,
neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
This is not the language of a man, who was disposed to think or speak contemptuously of the characters, or labours of his brethren in the Gospel. The mind of the apostle Paul was at the farthest possible distance from this impropriety. For all his fellow Christians, and especially for his brethren in the ministry, he cherished the most sacred and ardent affection; and he was ever more disposed to magnify than to underrate their services. If he speaks of the planter as nothing, he means himself; if he speaks of the waterer as nothing he intends his brother Apollos, whom he held in the bighest estimation.