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no promise; they rest on no covenant. They are satisfied with the thought, that God is merciful! They rest on the phantom, "uncovbilanted mercy." Tell them that they are sin ners; and they tell you, that God is not strict to mark iniquity. Tell them that they have incurred the penalty of a righteous law, and deserve to die; and they tell you, that they have never done any harm;" and if they have, a merciful God will forgive them. God is too good to send them to bell! It cannot be that he will cast them off for ever!
This is the subterfuge of thousands; the miserable hiding place that must be overflown, when the billows of divine wrath beat upon this falling world. It is the fatal rock on which thousands have split. How many impenitent, Christless sinners have rested here for eternity! How many have I seen on a dying bed, who had not a spark of vital religion, who still indulged the hope that God was too merciful to damn them!
My heart bleeds when I think of it. Why do men forget, that God is as just and as holy as He is gracious! All his perfections must be glorified. We cannot be saved at the expense of one of them
God regards His own glory and the interests of His kingdom more than every thing else. To these every tbing must bow. If He were not too holy; too just; nay, too good; to admit a totally depraved being into His kingdom, that kingdom would fall. Unholy men must be ex
cluded from heaven, because they are not fit for it. To exclude them is a part of that benevolent design, which is to make, on the whole, the most happy universe. God has the same benevolent motive for excluding the unholy from the heavenly state, that He has for admitting the holy. Yes, we hesitato not to say, that the benevolent God is too good to admit one unsanctified soul into thie pure regions of the blessed. He has too great a regard for the honor of His character and for the excellence of His law; He loves the angelic host too well; He loves his people, He loves. His Son too well; ever to permit the song of the redeemed to feel the jar of one unballowed tongue. The very thought . is reproachful to his glory. No sin is there. The light of heaven shall never be darkened even by the shadow of death. The designs of infinite benevolence shall never be frustrated by the introduction of one unholy being into the kingdom of God. Where, where, is the delusion of the miserable self-deceiver, wben justice exacts the uttermost farthing!
Others attain this persuasion, in a manner still different. They have been taught that mere reformation and morality will not save them; and they are equally convinced that the forın of religion will not save them, They see the necessity of possessing the real spirit of religion; and they begin to seek after it till they are weary of the search. They become awakened to a sense of their
danger, convinced of their ill desert, and are thrown into some distress. But at length, through the influence of their own imagin. ations, or the artful devices of the Old Serpent, they are inspired with hope, and filled with joy. Some enrapturing vision bas discovered to their view the Savior extended on the cross.
Some fancied messenger has announced that their sins are forgiven, and that God is their reconciled Father. Some text of scripture, unsought, unexpected, and fatally misapplied, has whispered peace to the troubled conscience, and their souls are filled with raptures of joy. They imagine themselves almost ravished with a view of Christ's unutterable love, and with a view of it to them in particular. They begin to mourn and lament over their sins, though not after u godly sort. They feel a kind of spurious sorrow, that they have ever hated so gracious and merciful a being as God. They have been abandoned to the delusion, that their opposition to so kind and gracious being, has been owing to some misapprehension of His character. Once they viewed llim as an absolute God;" as a God who was angry with the wicked, and angry with them. They viewed Him as their enemy, and dreaded the tokens of his displeasure. But now they view His character in altogether a different light. They see that God is love. They are persuaded that He loves them. They are persuaded, that He has
pardoned their sins, and that it is his good pleasure to give them the kingdom. Now all their enmity is slain. They feel reconciled to God, because they believe God is reconciled to theur. Under the influence of this pleasing deception, they now begin to be happy. Religion absorbs all their attention, and the religion of the heart is what they think they admire and love. They are full of gratitude; full of peace and joy in believing that Christ died for them in particular. This persuasion of Christ's love to them, now constraineth them, and they imagine that they glory in nothing, save the cross of Christ. They think they are ready to do any thing, and to suffer any thing for Christ's sake, The spirit of delusion runs high. They manifest for a while the greatest apparent zeal and engagedness. They cannot but glory in him, who has died for them, and who will finally advance them to endless blessedness in the kingdom of his Father.
All this is wrotten at the core." However closely it may resemble the holy gratitude of God's people, it is but the counterfeit of that heavenly grace. It is purely selfish. It is mere mercenary religion. The Spirit of God has nothing to do with the root of it, nor the law of God with its fruits. There is not perhaps any error more common and more fatal among the serious part of mankind than this. This is the very religion that is agreeable to the feelings of the carnat
heart. This was the religion of the impenitent Israelites. At the time of their deliv. erance from the bouse of bondage, and in view of the miracles both of mercy and judgment which had been wrought in their bebalf, they sang the memorable “song of Moses” on the banks of the Red Sea. But how soon do you find them murmuring at the waters of Maral, and in the wilderness of Sin! The same scene, only in more awful colors, was again exhibited at the foot of Sinai. God appeared in all the greatness of his majesty. “And when the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; they removed and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die." Sad reverse! Scarcely forty days had elapsed, than the very land that just beheld Jehovah descending in the cloud, and that trembled at the voice of his thunder, saw the golden calf an idol, and heard the heathenish acclamation-These be thy gods, O Israel, that brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. The same scene, though in more awful colors still, was exhibited in the streets of Jerusalem. No sooner did the Jews behold the miracles, and share in the favor of the promised Messiali, than they overlooked all the humbling circumstances of his birth, and were anxious to make him their king. They followed him with Hosano