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to feel that your condemnation is just, that you have drawn down this vengeance upon yourselves. Wherever you cast your eyes, you will behold nothing which will not fill
with horror. Miserable souls! what will ye do? In vain will you cry, Spare us, O Lord ; spare us for a little time: suffer us again to live; again to pass our period of trial; and then we will live to thee and renounce the world and sin.'
Alas! these supplications will be useless ! · Remember, your Judge will reply, remember that I once entreated and wooed you by motives tender as my dying love, awful as eternity; and you would not listen. Tears, supplications, prayers, are now useless, for justice is inexorable: depart from me, ye workers of iniqui
The sentence is fulfilled; heaven vanishes from their eyes; hell gapes to receive them; their shrieks vibrate on the ears of the redeemed as they rise with their Saviour to glory; and the “smoke of their torment ascendeth for ever and ever.”
And now, my brethren, in concluding this discourse, let us seriously inquire if we are prepared for this judgment-day? If the last trumpet were this moment to sound, if “ the sign of the Son of man” were now to appear in the heavens, if the angels who shall attend our Judge were now to display themselves to us, tell me, or rather answer to your own consciences, what would be your emotions ? Would this sacred place resound with that cry
of joy, · Let us go out to meet our Saviour;' or should we not rather hear that agonizing exclamation, ** Whither shall we go from his presence? Whither shall we flee from his vengeance? Mountains and rocks, fall upon us, and hide us from the wrath of the Lamb!"
Oh! let us in time secure an acquittal in this great day for which all other days were made.” By embracing the salvation offered through the atonement of Jesus, by the cultivation of every grace, and the practice of every virtue, let us prepare to appear before the judgment-bar with con fidence. Let us keep the remembrance of these awful scenes which we are to behold, ever fresh upon our hearts. This remembrance will powerfully deter us from sin, stimulate us to the discharge of duty, elevate us above the world, cause us to avoid all dissimulation and deceit, and induce us thoroughly to search our hearts, and to try the foundation of our hopes.
Impenitent men! we weep when we look on you, and see you abusing the patience and long-suffering of God, as encouragements to persevere in guilt. The divine forbearance will not for ever endure. Think, solemnly think, of that tremendous day, when if you remain in your present condition, you shall hear a sentence of perdition from the lips of the compassionate Saviour, and be blasted to the abyss by the thunders which issue from his throne. Blessed be God! it is not yet too late for you
to avoid this fearful destiny; your life is still preserved; mercy is still proffered to you. Flee then to the great Redeemer, who is still waiting to be gracious unto you; to the fountain of his blood, to the throne of his grace. He still extends his arms to embrace you; he still entreats, beseeches, importunes you to turn and live; he still gives his promises to allure, his ministers to call, his Spirit to excite you; he still stands before the throne of the Eternal Father, presenting to him the sacrifice of Calvary, and interceding for you; he still cries unto you, “ Why, why will ye die?” Can you resist longer these condescending exhortations, entreaties, importunities of the Son of God? I beseech you no longer to refuse admission to the Saviour thus standing and knocking at the door of your hearts. He offers himself to you as your redeemer and portion; receive the divine offer humbly, thankfully, joyfully. I adjure you thus to act: I adjure you by the love and terrors of the Lord; by the solemnities of the day of judgment; by a regard to the eternal destinations of your souls. Flee to the blood of Jesus for the remission of
your iniquities; to the righteousness of Jesus for the justification of your persons; to the grace of Jesus for power to resist sin; to the blessed Spirit of Jesus as a fountain of holiness and happiness. Thus shall your life be peace, your eternity joy; you shall
appear without dismay at his bar, and be admitted by him to that kingdom of glory where you shall sing, with the heavenly host, “ Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth
the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever!"
CHRIST MUST INCREASE.
A Missionary Sermon, preached before the General Assembly of
the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America ; by appointment of their standing Committee of Missions, May 23, 1803.
John iii. 30.
He must increase.
These are the words of that illustrious personage who, in fulfilment of ancient prophecy, issued, from the deserts of Judea, preaching repentance to a degenerate people, and preparing the way of the Lord. The occasion on which they were uttered was this. The Jews, struck with the splendid miracles, and attracted by the sublime instructions, of Jesus, crowded to his baptism, neglecting that of his forerunner. The disciples of John, afflicted at this preference, and jealous of the honour of their master, went to him and said, “ Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold the same baptizeth, and all men go unto him." John had the temper of a believer. Humble and disininterested, he was willing to be unnoticed and disregarded, that the glory of the Saviour might shine more brightly. Far more solicitous for the honour of God and the happiness of mankind than for his own reputation or aggrandizement, he assured his disciples, that what filled them with pain and inspired them with envy, was the cause of his joy.
My joy is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease." "I was only the morning-star to usher in this Sun of Righteousness, and my light must be lost in the splendour of his beams. I rejoice, in anticipating the future, to perceive that whilst I vanish from observation, his name and influence shall widely extend.'
66 He must increase." This prediction has already been verified in an astonishing degree.
The hill of Calvary had scarcely ceased to smoke with the blood of Jesus, before thousands in Jerusalem acknowledged him as the expected Messiah, and were ready to lay down their lives for his cause. From Jerusalem his doctrines were carried to the Gentiles. The band of apostles, animated by the Spirit of God, and fortified by the protection of heaven, flew from nation to nation, proclaiming the grace of the Lord, and holding up the cross red with the blood of the Saviour as the only hope of a perishing world. Their preaching, like a stroke of thunder, crumbled to ruins the temples of the heathens, cast down those idols that had usurped the place of God, and shook to its centre the empire of the powers of darkness. The world trembled at its guilt, and blushed at those profane and impure fables which it had received as doctrines of religion. Systems consecrated by time, and flattering to depravity, were abolished, and the pure principles of Christianity substituted in their place. In vain did policy and power unite their influence to prevent the extension of this new religion. The devices of policy were