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and immortal either in woe or bliss, according as thou art saved or lost." O then work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for you have a mighty helper, even God himself, who worketh in you to will and to do of his good pleasure.
ABIDE ALWAYS IN CHRIST JESUS. This is one of his last directions to his Disciples. Abide in This is the only ark in which a sinner can safely and securely pass over the universal ocean of a vast eternity. O my brethren, enter without delay this ark, I beseech you. God grant I may not beseech you in vain. Noah was a preacher of righteousness; he preached to a whole world, and but eight souls entered into the ark. My brethren, be warned by all the past history of the church. You know you must pass into the eternal world. The time is rapidly approaching, here you have no continuing city; you must soon be removed, and the earth itself be removed; there is however a rock in this world which is immoveable in eternity itself, even Christ Jesus. O that I could see you all safely fixed on that rock, believing in Jesus, and abiding in Him! Then let the heavens and earth pass away, let the hills be removed, and the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; you need fear nothing, but exclaim in triumph, The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Learn on earth THE BLESSED EMPLOYMENT OF
You must here be made meet for its
holy occupations: to enjoy God as your portion and happiness, to do his will only, to praise him unceasingly, and to seek only his glory.
I add one more direction. SEEK also to RESCUE YOUR FELLOW MORTALS from eternal ruin. The world accuses Christians of being too busy with other people's religion, and scornfully asks ‘Cannot you let people alone?' I would that the world's accusations were just. Let people alone! yes, let the sleeper in the burning house sleep on till the flames awake him, though you see his danger! let the drowning man, becoming insensible in the water, sink, and never reach out a hand to draw him to the shore; My brethren, we are too insensible about each other's souls. We all say too much as the first murderer did, Am I my brother's keeper? Christians, I beseech you, stir up yourselves to seek the salvation of all around you. If any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know that he which converteth a sinner from the error of his ways, shall save a soul from death, and hide a multitude of sins.
MATTHEW XXV. 41.
Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.
COULD I, my Christian friends, in faithfulness to your souls have passed by, in the course I am now preaching, the subject of the present lecture, I should have rejoiced to have omitted it. But to sound an alarm, to utter the warning voice, to give notice of coming danger, is an essential part of ministerial fidelity and love.
Did we see men in general overwhelmed with the terrors of everlasting ruin, distressed with anxious apprehension, and sinking into despondency under the dread of hell, we might forbear to dwell
upon a subject, in such a case uninviting and unsuitable; then it would be our more agreeable office to proclaim the riches and greatness of the salvation provided in Jesus for those ready to perish. But when we see men, almost without exception, dreading nothing less than the future punishment, wholly secure and unconcerned, regardless and careless of the miseries that are coming upon them; then how guilty must the minister be who warns not the wicked, who shuns to declare the counsel of God; that upon the wicked, God shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest, this shall be the portion of their cup. (Psalm xi. 6.)
It is not in the language of severe and hard denunciation that I desire to bring so fearful a subject before you, but in that of tenderest compassion and earnest desire to promote your salvation. I am a poor sinner, even as you; I by nature am a child of wrath as you; if I hope to escape, it is only by sovereign grace and mercy in Christ Jesus, and by daily flying to that Saviour who has delivered us from the wrath to come; and, having myself hope in him, can I but long to see you all safe in this refuge? Knowing the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men. I cannot but fear that there must be before me some who are in imminent peril. O that such may this day be snatched as brands from the burning! O that preach
ing on this subject may warn some to flee from the wrath to come, and may renew, in God's children, the feelings of gratitude for their own deliverance!
Christians, lift up your hearts in prayer, that a blessing may be upon us from the Lord this day. Let us consider
1. THE PERSONS TO BE PUNISHED,
2. THE CURSE WHICH LIES UPON THEM,
3. THE EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT TO BE ENDURED.
1. THE PERSONS TO BE PUNISHED. We will notice these characters, the open sinner, the ungodly, and the neglecters of Christ Jesus, which include the various classes of lost souls.
1. THE OPEN SINNER.
The Scriptures are very express on this point, and give us several catalogues, which should furnish all mentioned in them with a distinct and solemn warning of their fearful danger. Thus St. Paul tells the Corinthians, Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abuses of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. vi. 9.) So the Apostle