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God to all eternity, writhe in agonies forever? There is virtue enough in the blood of the everlasting covenant to quench the flames of hell that are kindling in your breasts, and to deliver you from going down to the pit of endless woe. In Christ there is a full and complete salvation. And he, that repents of his sin, and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, shall be saved.
What then is your resolve? Will you turn away and say, “These are hard sayings; my feelings revolt at such sentiments ; I cannot believe that the punishment of the wicked will be endless, nor that my eternal destiny will depend under God upon the manner in which I conduct myself in this life; I do not want to hear any more of these things?" In announcing the terrors of the Lord, we do not denounce against you endless wrath. But, knowing the terrors of the Lord, we would persuade you to repentance. We would have you, also, know and feel the terrors of the Lord, that you ! inight be persuaded, by us to be reconciled to God.
Did we know that you had already committed the unpardonable sin, or that your day of probation were closed, and your final destiny sealed, it would be useless for us to tell you of these things, and we might be considered as tormenting you before the time. But since we hope you are within the reach of mercy, how can we forbear to use all possible means to awaken you from your lethargy of sin! How can we forbear to tell you that “Your judgment lingereth not, and your damnation slumbereth not.”—(2 Pet. ii. 3.)
My careless hearers! death! perdition! everlasting destruction! the yawning lake of pitchy darkness, from which arises the smoke of an eternal torment! are before you. Your path is in the broad and frequented way that leadeth to destruction. And will you not stop and listen a moment ? Will you not bear with your friend? Will you pass on to be punished ? Shall those eyes behold so many objects of delight, be fixed in despair and glare in eternal fire ? Shall that bosom which now swells with the elasticity of health and youthful spirits, feel the gnawing of that worm that never dies ? Shall that ear which now hears the sound of the gospel, hear the awful voice of Jehovah declare to you“ Depart
ye cursed into everlasting fire ?” Must I see some of those who are dear to me, for whose salvation I have labored, and wept, and prayed, and whom I would have gladly plucked as brands out of the burning, weltering beneath the burning billows of Jehovah's wrath ?
But I cannot proceed. The thought is overwhelming, that any of my dear hearers will die in their sins, and sink in unabatea flames, and converse with everlasting groans, and weep, and wail, and gnash their teeth in a world of endless rebellion against God. I can only point you to the cross of Christ. The door of mercy is now open, but it may soon be shut. Jesus is now pleading but he will not plead always. O “behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world !” Cast yourself upon his clemency and seek for forgiveness in the way he has prescribed.
But are you yet at ease? How can I then cease to warn you? My soul follows after you with ardent desires and bleeding pange. But what can I do for your salvation?' I would therefore turn my expostulation to supplication. O Lord God Almighty! with holy awe I speak thy revered name. Reach forth thine arm of mercy, and pluck these precious souls from everlasting burnings. Must they perish forever? O Lord! of thine infinite mercy prevent it. Holy Spirit of promise! aid my supplications, and of thine efficient agency, turn these sinners from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan unto God. O guide them into all truth. Lord Jea sus! pity them, pardon them, and save them. Remember thy dying groans! remember Calvary! and let thy love flow into their bosoms, and melt and purify their obdurate and defiled hearts. And thine will be the glory forever. Amen,
COLLATERAL PROOFS OF ENDLESS PUNISHMENT.
Ezekiel xviii: 4.-" The soul that sinneth, it shall die."
An impious proverb had been taken up by the Jews, in their captivity, which carried with it an awful impeachment of the rectitude of the Divine precedure. “ Ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel,” since it is desolated by the judgments of God, “ saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.” The import of this proverb was, that the children, though themselves innocent, suffered for the sins of their parents.
That there was some occasion for this proverb, it cannot be denied. God had said that he would “visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation."—(Deut. v. 9.)--and he had often declared, that in bringing present ruin upon Judah and Jerusalem, he had had an eye to the sins of Manasseh, and cther preceding kings.
A parent, who is possessed of wealth, or blessed with a healthful constitution, may squander the one by idleness, gambling and intemperance; or destroy the other by a lewd manner of living. Consequently, his children, who have a just claim on his best exertions to educate and support them, and to make a reasonable provision for their happiness, are reduced to poverty and wretchedness by liis imprudence, or afllicted with a diseased constitution by his libidinous habits. In each case the proverb is just; “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge."
But it was not in this sense that the profane Jews used this proverb. They intended it as a reflection upon God, and an awful impeachment of the equity of his proceedings with them as individuals and as a nation. To repel this awful and impious charge, the prophet was directed to say unto them, “Behold all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine; the soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him; and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”
This proverb is, in principle, if not in form, still used for the purpose it was employed by the wicked Jews. In the language of modern sinners it is said, “ That the posterity of Adam have no control over their moral condition when born, and that, therefore, it is derogatory to the rectitude of the divine procedure, to bring them into existence with a depraved nature, in which they would be rendered morally certain of committing actual transgression as soon as their capacity should be matured to perform voluntary acts, and then to punish them for those acts.” That the descendants of Adam have no control over their moral condition, when born, is a selfevident proposition. But that it is unjust in God to bring them into existence with a depraved nature, in which they would commit actual sin as soon as their capacity should be matured to perform voluntary acts, and then punish them for those acts, must be denied.
That he has appointed and brought into operation such“a consti"tution of things, is manifest. The Author of Nature has made this the law of nature, that like should produce like, 'thát th
the stream should become impure when the fountain is poisoned, and that the branches should die when the root is destroyed. Hence, Adam was constituted the public head of all his posterity, so that his transgression involved their being transgressors from the womb, and alike exposed to death with himself. And thus we are informed that Adam, after his fall, “ begat a son in his own likeness”-(Gen. v: 3.)-And St. Paul informs us, “ that by one man's disobedience many were made (or constituted) sinners."-(Rom. v: 19.) Now since events have been thus ordered by the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, we should not for a moment question the rectitude of his procedure; for in him there is no unrighteousness. “ Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”—Gen. xviii: 25.)
But, though we may not be able to reconcile the connection between our inherent depravity, and our free agency and moral accountability, so as to be guilty for our own sins only; yet it may be safely affirmed that it is for our own voluntary acts only that we are accountable, and for our own crimes only that we are punishable. Much might be said to render this evident and unquestionable.
The Bible which reveals the manner in which sin originated in our world, though it teaches us that human depravity is the fatal inheritance of all mankind; yet it charges them with the guilt of their own sinful acts, without allowing any excuse in consequence of their relation to their fallen head.
In the serious conviction for sin, which all in a greater or less degree feel, experience teaches us that the guilt of our own transgression, as well as the act, is our own. Who ever felt sorrow of heart or repented of the sins of the first parents of our race? No one. We may mourn over the sins of others, but we cannot repent of them.
The principle on which the final destinies of men will be fixed at the day of judgment, will be according to the moral character of their own works, performed in this lifc, and independent of the more al character of the works performed by any other being with whom we are connected in this state of being. “ Every one of us shall give account of himself unto God.”—(Rom. xiv. 12.)
To the impenitent and unrenewed sinner then, the same reply may be given that the prophet was directed to give to the Jews. “ The soul that sinneth, it shall die." It is in temporal calamities only that innocent children suffer in consequence of the wickedness of their parents. But as it respects spiritual and eternal misery, no one will be punished for the transgression committed by another.