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upon them: with the Holy Spirit striving; with all the monitions of providence which a suffering and a dying world can furnish ; with heaven inviting, and hell alarming, and the bar of God confronting the soul, they are yet insensible. Fear has no power to alarm, love none to melt, truth none to sway. Heaven weeps for them, but their eyes are never moistened. Pious hearts feel for them, but they are indifferent. The whole amazing system of mercy is active, working its mighty agencies upon them, but it fails to rouse them from the sleep of sin. Oh! it is affecting to contemplate this result of the gospel-to see those who ought to be made alive by it to God, plunged into a profounder, nay, a hopeless insensibility. And yet this is the certain tendency of the gospel upon all who do not obey it. Though appalling, the thing is inevitable. There is no sinning against the gospel and escaping this evil. This deadening process is going on in your soul continually, so long as you resist, and you cannot hinder it. It will ruin you in spite of all God's mercies—in spite of all the gospel's saving influences—in spite of all that man can do to prevent it, unless you master this habit of insensibility, and rouse yourself from the letbargy of sin. You must open your eyes and look at the truth, or total blindness will be the effect; open your ears and hear the gospel message, or soon you will be past hearing; open yonr heart and let your feelings be touched and exercised, or quickly the power to feel

II. A second tendency of the gospel, when rejected, is to a FEARFUL AUGMENTATION

The system of mercy which God has introduced into this world, lays upon mankind a new and most weighty responsibility. It makes a new and affecting discovery of the Divine perfections. It gives a new and powerful sanction to the law of eternal rectitude. It urges obedience by new motives of a most interesting and forcible character. It sheds new light on man's future destiny; and brings all the moral force of love, mercy and grace to recover man to God. It is throughout a system of mercy, under which, on the ground of Christ's mediation, grace is shown to the guilty. God lays aside the sternness of offended majesty, and putting on the compassion of the Father, comes down to man in the gospel, and solicits his love. He stays the execution of the law's stern penalty, and tries the power of love, and all the winning attractions of Incarnate Mercy, and the strivings of the Spirit of all grace, to save if possible his erring children.

The gospel, you perceive, then, moulds and gives tone and direction to all God's dealings with men, both governmental and providential. It hence effects a radical change in our relations to God, in all the actions we put forth in those relations, and in the matter of moral character and eternal destiny resulting therefrom. Our relations to God are not

will be gone.


merely the relations of subjects to a sovereign; but also the relations of creatures to an unparalleled Benefactor—of perishing sinners to a provided and offered Saviour. A life of sin in us is, therefore, not simply a life of transgression against sovereign authority, but a course of infinite ingratitude towards a Father's love and a Saviour's death. Guilt must therefore be measured, not only by the justice and claims of God's laws sinned against, but by the light, and mercy, and privilege of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is a fact of great interest and significance that we live under the gospel. We bave grown up and received our education under its genial instruction and influences. Our views of truth and duty, our moral feelings, our whole spiritual being, have been moulded and developed under the gospel. All our actions, therefore, and our entire moral character, take their impression from the gospel. The gospel has brought us all into a state and condition peculiar, and devolves upon us immense obligations. It gives us a character possessed by no other beings. It will achieve for each a destiny unlike the destiny of any other part of God's rational creation.

Yon perceive, then, that sin, under a system so benignant and gracious, is more inexcusable, more atrocious and odious, and carries with it a sorer condemnation, than sin under mere law. Sin on earth, where the gospel reigns, is tenfold more sinful and ruining than was sin in heaven, when the angels rebelled -than is sin in hell, where the beams of divine love and mercy have never fallen. A character matured in rebellion and depravity, under the light and in spite of the pleadings and influences of the gospel, possesses elements and degrees of moral turpitude and hatefulness to be found nowhere else. Living as you do under the highest and best of all God's dispensations, your impenitence and disobedience have not a parallel in the universe. Your guilt is enhanced beyond the power of language to express. Against your ungrateful and sinful life, not only does a violated law thunder its anathemas, but the love of an incarnate Saviour, and the cross of suffering mercy, plead and protest. Every step you advance towards perdition is achieved by overcoming the many obstacles with which Heaven has obstructed the path of sin; by breaking through all those restraints which law and grace have united to impose on transgression ; by resisting all of motive and of saving efficacy there is in God's stupendous system of redemption. Here under the full sweep of the Cross you live, and act, and sin, and pass away to your final destiny.

Your rejection of the gospel does not affect one of the facts embraced in the system, nor change your relations to it, nor prevent its influence upon you. Your life will be measured, in its duties, in its sins of omission and commission, in its spirit and moral results, by the gospel which you enjoy but to neglect and abuse. A moral necessity is thus laid upon you, You are shut up to the Gospel, and you cannot get away from its power. It is down upon you with the tremendous weight of its obligations, with the infinite pressure of its motives and influences, wherever you go, in every volition and act of life. You can do nothing to arrest the workings of that system upon you with which God has put you in contact. You are every moment exposed to the full sweep of its mighty power. And the destiny which it is working out for you, will be one that shall honor its agency and bring glory to God, whether it be life or death. You may sbut your eyes and remain blind, but the glorious gospel will shine on. You may turn a deaf ear and refuse to hear, but the sublime message of life will still be announced. You may harden your heart and resist, but mercy will plead on, and grace flow down to you, and judgment be restrained, and the work of destiny go on to its completion. And then for the consequences! The gospel of life will have exerted upon you the power of a fearful moral death. Your resistance to it and ruin under it, will not only have vastly increased the power of sin over you, and destroyed your moral susceptibilities, but enhanced your guilt as a sinner immeasurahly. Hear what Christ himself says on this point: “If I bad not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin.” “This is the condemnation, that they have not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God." That is, the guilt of rejecting the teaching and the salvation of Jesus Christ is so enormous in the sight of God, as to overshadow all other forms of guilt, and to stand forth alone to view in its unparalleled and supreme turpitude, challenging Omnipotent wrath.

III. Finally. A rejected gospel will ENHANCE THE ETERNAL Ruin of those who perish under it. As guilt is in proportion to the knowledge, mercy, and opportunity sinned against, so future condemnation and punishment will be measured by the same law. Just as bigh, therefore, as the gospel elevates sinful men above sinful angels, as it respects the means and opportunities of spiritual life, just so much lower than they will it be the occasion of plunging in everlasting shame and ruin those who perish under it.

We shall be judged at the bar of Jesus Christ according to a standard essentially different from that by which the heathen, and fallen angels will be tried. They will be judged on the ground of law, according to the measure of light given them. But sinners who perish from gospel lands will be judged and condemned on the ground of mercy as well as of law. Their guilt will be measured by the superior light and dispensation which they enjoyed--by the love and services of Christ to save them-by the greatness of the salvation offered to and rejected by them. The Judge himself will be the merciful One who died to save them--who offered them pardon and life---who had done all


that infinite love and power could do to save them from death, and they would not be saved. Even Jesus therefore will be constrained to pronounce sentence against such sinners. Mercy herself will witness against them. Not a voice will dare to plead their cause.

And the assembled universe will be amazed at the spectacle of the Lamb of God pronouncing the doom of eternal perdition against beings for whose salvation he made the mighty circuit of the earth and the cross !

But the retrospect of such as perish thus! When the mists of earth shall all bave cleared away, and the clear, calm light of eternity comes to settle down upon the soul; when time and probation are no more; and the judgment has settled all ; and

and mercy have retired, and the pressure of eternal doom is felt, oh! what shall be the reflections, the remorse, the selfupbraidings, the misery, of those who once had the gospel offer made to them, and who might have been saved and made for ever happy in heaven, had they only yielded to that system of grace which they stoutly resisted here on eartb ! Alas! the picture is too appalling to look upon. Merciful God! what shall the realization of it be?

How fearful is the RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL WHO HEAR THE GOSPEL. The gospel never fails to do its appointed and appropriate work. It wields a supreme influence over every soul that it addresses. It is meant to bless you ; it is fitted, it seeks to save you. But despise its instructions, refuse its offers, resist its influences, and there is no power in the universe able to prevent a result infinitely disastrous. You turn the very grace of God against you. You arm the Cross with thunders more awful than those of Sinai; you pluck down upon your soul a ruin enhanced by the utmost guilt.

And you cannot avoid this result, unless you repent. Christ has come for judgment as well as for mercy. Christ has died for you; Christ offers to save you; the whole mighty system of mercy is in motion to bring you to obedience. And you cannot alter these facts. You cannot turn them away from your hearts and lives. Influence you they must; decide your destiny they will, in spite of you. You noust be saved by the gospel, or damned under it! You must reach heaven from the Cross, or it will plunge you into a deeper ruin. If you will not avail yourself of the benefits of Christ's services in your behalf, you must take the terrible consequences which inevitably follow.

There is no guilt in the universe to be compared with the guilt of rejecting the Son of God. There is no misery, no ruin to be compared with the misery and the ruin of sinners who perish from the sanctuaries of this gospel world. Better far that you had never been born-better that Christ bad never undertaken to save you-better that you had never enjoyed the light and mercy of the gospel, than that you should live and die in such a land as this, a rejecter of salvation.


No. 4, Vol. XXV.]

APRIL, 1851.

[Whole No. 282.




* And

you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins."— Eřa. 2:1.

The words, hath he quickened, not in the original, but supplied in the English version, are necessary to complete the sense, and plainly implied in the context. The verse, without these words, is a description of the condition of all who are not the subjects of Christ's spiritual kingdom. In declaring that Christians, now quickened by the grace of God, were dead before this change, dead in trespasses and sins,—we are to understand the apostle as describing the situation of all who are not renewed by the power of the Holy Ghost. The impenitent sinner is dead. This is the uniform language of the Scriptures. “He that heareth my word and believeth on Him at sent me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren."

This death in trespasses and sins is sometimes understood as referring to the extreme sinfulness of the unregenerate man; or, to the entire loss of God's favor; or, to the condemnation which is already pronounced against the ungodly, the fearful issue of which is the second death. Yet is there ever a difficulty in discussing this subject. However simple and forcible the explanations of this figurative language, what encouragement is there in the attempt to convince the dead that they are dead, or to show the dead in what sense they are dead? These various definitions of the death of the impenitent are not comprehended. They seem rather speculative dogmas, or theologi


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