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considers your unwillingness or inability, as you choose to call it-to come to Christ, as your greatest sin. He, once and again, denounces upon you the most dreadful punishments for this very thing. He declares, not only that all who do not believe in Christ shall be condemned, but that they are condemned already. What you consider as your best excuse, He considers as your greatest sin. Beware, then, how you make this excuse.
But instead of seeking for excuses, let me persuade you rather to comply with Christ's invitations. He stands in the midst of this perishing world, and exclaims, Look unto me, all ye ends of the earth, and be ye saved (Is. xlv. 22). He invites all its thirsty, dying inhabitants, without exception, to come to Him, and drink the waters of life and salvation, exclaiming, If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink (John vii. 37). And he assures all that come to him that he will not cast them out (John vi. 37). Think what an ocean of mercy
necessary to wash away the sins of the innumerable criminals to be found among men-of the murderers, the robbers, the blasphemers, the adulterers, the harlots, the impious hardened wretches who neither fear God nor regard man--that have been and still are in the world. What an omnipotence of grace is requisite to fit such polluted creatures for admission into a heaven of spotless purity, and make them holy as God! Yet all such Christ invites—all such he is able, all such he would save, would they come to him. Nor does he in this display a generosity which cost him nothing. He purchased, at the price of his life, the privilege of offering you those very blessings which you have a thousand times rejected. He paid the dreadful price in tears, and groans, and blood-in agonies unutterable. Though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor. That he might offer you a mansion in heaven, he consented for years to be destitute of a place where to lay his head. That he might wash you from those sins which made you unfit for heaven, he poured out his blood to the last drop. That you might be delivered from shame and
everlasting contempt, he hid not his sacred face from shame and spitting. That you might escape the wrath of God, he bore it in his own person, though he fainted, sunk, and expired under the weight. That you, a malefactor, might live for ever, the Lord of life and glory died as a malefactor on and now he offers
money and without price, all that cost him so dear, and even entreats and beseeches you to accept it. Consider then, O sinner, the greatness of your guilt and danger in slighting the gracious invitations of the Saviour. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? And if he that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses, of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace ?
Not to condemn the sons of men
Sinners, believe the Saviour's word,
THE ENGLISH MONTHLY TRACT SOCIETY,
27, RED LION SQUARE.
J. & W. Rider, Printers, Bartholomew Close, London,
AMONG the cases to which the Prophet's lamentation, “ The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved,” may be properly applied by mankind, I shall select the following:
1. Every person who still remains in sin may, at the close of the year, usefully adopt this lamentation. Every year removes every sinner farther from eternal life. Mankind are never stationary in their moral condition, any more than in their being. He who does not advance, always recedes. He who does not become better, of course becomes worse. Nor is this all. The declension is more rapid than we ever imagine. Blindness, as you well know, is a common name for sin in the Scriptures, and is strongly descriptive of one important part of its nature. Nor is it blindness to divine things only, to God and Christ, to its duty and to its salvation : but it is also blindness with respect to itself. The mind knows not that itself is thus blind, and asks triumphantly with the Pharisees of old, “ Am I blind also ?" In its own view, no one is possessed of eyes equally good and discerning; and it usually pities all who differ from it, as unable to see. No deception is so flattering and incurable as this. The views of such a mind concerning itself are false. The soul of the unawakened sinner is invariably more sinful, and his life more deformed, than either appears to be in his own eyes. Yet, with a most unhappy self-deception, he confides in his own decisions wholly; and on those of others, of the Bible, and of God, he places no reliance.
Hence his state is in every respect more dangerous than he does or will believe, and his declension more rapid than he can possibly imagine. This is true of every year of his life. Of consequence, the loss of a year is a greater loss than he can be induced even to suspect. Few sinners reflect on their moral condition to any such extent, and with any such solemnity, as the suspended state of an immortal mind, and the evident danger of endless ruin, plainly and vehe
mently demand. Usually they conclude, that their situation is at the worst attended with no uncommon danger; that if one, or two, or twenty, or fifty years are gone and lost, years enough remain to secure their salvation, and begin their repentance, when other pressing concerns of business or of pleasure shall be finished.
“ It is a hard case,” will every “since seventy years are the destined date of human life, and twenty of them still remain, if a work which demands so little time for its accomplishment cannot be performed within that period. I may therefore sit down to eat and drink, and rise up to play; and yet have abundant opportunity to renounce my sins, and turn to God.”
But a sinner ought to remember at the close of a year, that he has lost that period, and not only lost it, but converted it into the means of sin and ruin ; that he is more sinful, more guilty, and more odious to God than at the beginning; that all the difficulties which lie between him and salvation are increased beyond his imagination; that his mass of guilt and the reasons of his condemnation are mightily enhanced, his evil habits strengthened, and his hopes of returning lessened far more than he is aware; that that year was added to those which he has lost, for the very purpose of engaging him to seek eternal life; that God who waited every day which it contained to be gracious to him, has seen him employ every one of these days in wickedness only; and that, instead of living many years to come, he may very soon be summoned to the judgment, and sentenced to that endless death which he has hitherto laboured, though unintentionally, to deserve.
He ought also to cast his eyes around him, and see that all, or almost all, others who have, like himself, trusted to a future repentance, have from year to year become more hardened in sin by these very means: have thought less and less of turning back, and taking hold of the paths of life; and, although whitened with the locks of age, and tottering over the grave, are, with an assiduity and eagerness not less than his own, indulging the lust of the flesh, the lust of the