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gospel, all plead for an aggravation of your punishment; the Holy Spirit declares with what unwearied kindness he urged you to repentance, but how he was finally grieved, and provoked to forsake you, through your obstinate refusal of his gracious suggestions. Those former companions of your sins, whom you seduced into the same evil courses with yourself, by your persuasions or your example, see how they crowd around, pointing at you as the author of their crimes and their misery, and entreating of God that their iniquities may be visited on your head; and (worst of all) Satan himself, who once tempted you into sin, by representing its pleasures and its harmlessness, even he betrays your guilt, accuses you of having yielded to his temptations, claims you as his servant, and triumphs in the ruin which he has brought upon you. And are all these things against you? Is there no friend to appear on your behalf, and answer these your accusers ? Where then is he, the Redeemer of mankind, who sbed his blood on the cross, on purpose that the sins of the world might be forgiven? Behold him now, no longer a Saviour, but a Judge, exalted on his dreadful tribunal, and from henceforth waiting until all his enemies be put under his feet. And where is heavenly mercy, from whom at least you hoped for help, if all other resources should fail ! Will not she spread her wings over you, and hide you from the coming vengeance, until this tyranny be overpast? Her day, alas, is gone; she has no power to protect you; she has resigned her place to justice, who now possesses the ear of God, and since you would not accept the pardon which was offered, she demands against you the punishment which you deserve.
Oh how will you escape, when all are thus combined against you ? Heaven and hell, and men and your own conscience, all, by an unusual agreement, associated in declaring you worthy of eternal perdition? There is no hope, the irrevocable sentence is on the lips of the Judge, and no voice but your own pleads for its suspension. But on what grounds do you venture thus to plead? What apology have you to offer? Why did you so waste your precious life, which was given you only that you might prepare for eternity, as to make no provision against this awful day? Why did you set at nought the counsel of God, and despise all his reproof? Why did you reject his promises, disregard his threatnings, refuse his kindness, scoff at his word, rebel against his authority ? Why did you neglect the care of your immortal soul, and study only the pleasure of your perishing body? Why did you prefer the world, when heaven was offered to your choice? What excuse have you to urge in
your behalf? You were born in sin, you say ; and did not a divine Saviour become a sacrifice in your stead, that your natural guilt might be expiated! You were frail and infirm, and exposed to strong temptation; and was not the Holy Spirit ever at hand to help your infirmities, and to make a way
you to escape out of every temptation? You were ignorant, and liable to error; and was not the word of God therefore revealed to instruct you in all your duty, and to impart all the wisdom which was necessary to your salvation? You were thoughtless and forgetful; and did not God therefore, by continual warnings, endeavour to awaken you to reflection? Did he not appoint his sabbath, that you might perpetually be reminded of the worship and service due to him? And did he not ordain his ministers, that they might ever be proclaiming to you the truth of the gospel ? Were any means left untried, by which you might be converted from your sins, and prevailed on to accept the unspeakable blessing of eternal life? What more could have been done for
? All heaven was enlisted on your side.--Each person in the Holy Trinity had exerted himself in your behalf; the blessed angels had watched over you, with anxious desire for your repentance; afflictions were sent to wean you from the world ; disap
pointments to check
ip your pursuit of earthiy pleasures ; dangers to alarm you from the path of ruin ; a secret voice whispered in your that you should beware; the word of God was addressed to you repeatedly ;-still all was in vain. You thrust from you every mercy, and every warning, and proceeded onward in your heedless course, till death (the last mercy which in such a case could be bestowed) put an end to the accumulation of your sins, and sent you to receive the just punishment of obstinate and final impenitence. O, unhappy sinner! God would have saved thee, but thou hast destroyed thyself. Nothing then appears in your favour, to stay the horrid sentence, which hitherto has lingered, but which must now at length be pronounced, consigning you for ever to the portion you have so madly chosen,-—" Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”
The horrors, which upon the uttering of this sentence will involve the wretched sinner to all eternity, have been but obscurely intimated by God, and therefore it is not for men to presume to draw aside the veil which he has spread before them. But I beseech you to consider this most dreadful circumstance, the greatest aggravation of them, whatever they will be, your ruin will be then complete ; hope, man's chief comforter in
misery, will be plucked from your bosom, and never find harbour there again. The great impassable gulph will be fixed, and never more will there be any possibility of escape from the darkness, and sin, and misery, of the kingdom of Satan, to the light, and goodness, and happiness of the kingdom of God.
Then, with what agonizing, but fruitless cries will you bewail
your folly, in having suffered the few and contemptible pleasures of a very short life, to betray you into the unutterable torments of a never ending existence! Of what madness and infatuation will you accuse yourself, that you should have turned away your eyes from a truth that was so clearly set before them? How will you condemn yourself for the loss of opportunities never to be offered again ! Amongst all the raving blasphemies which in your despair you will utter against God, how will you vent your greatest rage against yourself, that you should have refused the mercy which would have rescued you from this dreadful condition ! " Oh, but for another life,” you will exclaim,“ and no power on earth, or in heaven, or hell, should seduce
affections from God, who can so terribly punish those who offend him!” But your day of trial is past. You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting; and though you pray with