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will perish by your own choice. If you reject the Son of God; he will be no Redeemer to you. If you profess to believe in him, but will not make it your conftant aim through the influence of divine grace to obey him; you will as certainly perish as if you openly denied him. You do in fact deny him in the most decifive manner. You deny him by your actions. Whatever your lips may affirm, your actions proclaim; "I do not acknowledge Chrift to be my Master: I will not be fubject to his laws." He was ready to receive you: but you would not receive him. The guilt is your own and the confequences are your own. You refuse pardon, and eternal happiness: and the arm of divine juftice plunges you into hell.

Do you complain of hard measure in these dealings of God? Turn to the parable. Suppofe a perfon of wealth and eminence to have fustained reiterated injuries from an inferior. Suppose the offender overtaken by mifery, and on the brink of ruin. Suppofe the man whom he had injured generously to interpofe in his behalf; to invite the criminal to his manfion, and spontaneously to offer to make important facrifices for the fole purpose of restoring him to fafety and happiness. Suppole this benignity to be met with a disdainful

ful refufal. Is the victim of his own obftinacy and pride to murmur because he is abandoned to the confequences of his choice? Or to raise the illuftration, if it be poffible, to a resemblance fomewhat lefs faint and imperfect of the tranfaction which it purposes to pourtray: fuppofe a fubject indebted to the bounty of his fovereign for every earthly bleffing to renounce his allegiance, and to crown his ingratitude by the most daring treafons. Suppose him arrested by the arm of justice, and even now ftanding on the scaffold. Suppofe his royal master to dispatch without folicitation an offer of pardon; to 'fling open for his admiffion the doors of the palace; to hold forth to him unqualified forgiveness; to propofe to him not merely the renovation of favour, and re-establishment in all his antecedent honours and poffeffions, but additional wealth and privileges and dignity and power in a measure far surpassing the utmost stretch of his imagination. Suppofe that the extension of this compaffion, the exercife of this ineffable goodness, could not be rendered confiftent with the attributes of fovereignty, and the general welfare of nations, by any methods'except fuch as would neceffarily require the only fon of the monarch previously to become the reprefenta

tive of the traitor, and in his ftead to fubmit to degradation, to fufferings and to death. Suppofe the fon of his own accord to offer to become the facrifice. Suppose the father to affent to the offer. Suppose the facrifice to have taken place.. Now fix your eyes on the object of these stupendous mercies. How do you behold him? Is he diffolved in tears? Is he rent by agonizing remorse? Is he fervently devoting in the fincerity of his foul the remainder of his life, the whole of his exertions, of his faculties, of his heart, to the fervice of his matchlefs benefactor? Behold him, if you are able to form to yourself the picture, continuing unmoved, devoid of gratitude, with enmity unmitigated, rejecting the offered pardon and all its confequent bleffings with carelessness and contempt. Behold an emblem, a moft inadequate emblem, of your own madness, of your own guilt, if you difregard the falvation offered through the blood of the Son of God!

II. Advert in the next place to the excufes, which are stated as having been advanced by fome of those who rejected the invitation of the Lord of the feaft. The fpirit of the excufes alleged by the reft, for all the excufes flowed from the fame principle in the heart, may be inferred from those which are speci



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fied. One faid; I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and fee it. Another faid; I have bought five joke of oxen, and I go to prove them. Another faid; I have married a wife. And for these several reasons each of them profeffed that he could not. come to the entertainment. Our bleffed Saviour well knew what was in man. He knew that the human heart, unenlightened by the Holy Spirit, would naturally be the fame in all times and places. The excufes which he represents these despisers as alleging for not attending the entertainment purposely and gratuitously provided for them, are precifely fuch as numbers allege in this our day for not-attending to religion. They are fuch as numbers are bold enough openly to avow, when expediency requires the production of an apology; or fuch as they fecretly offer when pricked by confcience to their own bofoms. "Religion," it is declared or whifpered by these apologifts for practical irreligion, "is undoubtedly a very excellent thing; "and in its proper measure justly to be expected from all. From every man is re"quired a decorous regard to morality: from perfons whofe age or ftation prefcribes gra"vity, a higher degree of ftrictnefs: from "the unoccupied and the unhappy, still << greater


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greater attention to pious ftudies and em"ployments; from the clergy all imaginable fanctity. Nay we acknowledge, that in all "men as much religion as is attainable is highly to be defired. We lament that few perfons attend to religion fo much as they "might attend. And we are particularly "fcandalized at the deficiencies of thofe, who "have profeffionally taken upon themselves << to be our inftructors. But on ourselves no demand beyond our prefent practice can "reasonably be made. Our time and our thoughts are already absorbed by necessary "or inevitable avocations. We are engaged. "in the active business of life; and cannot "find leifure for books and fpeculative re"tirement. Our eftates or our mercantile 66 concerns call for continual care: and "we know that he who makes not provi"fion for his family neglects the duty of "a parent and is worse than an infidel. Or


we are occupied in ferving our country as "members of her legiflature, or as magiftrates, "or as officers in her fleets or armies, or as belonging to fome of the numerous pro"feffions by which fociety is held together: "and we are not ignorant that mercy is better


than facrifice. Or, if we are unincumbered "with any of the engagements which have


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