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18. And now, my brethren, having pointed out unto you some of those many devices, whereby Satan beguiles unwary souls, let me beseech you to consider whether you are ensnared by him? Do not rashly conclude you are not, till you have thoroughly examined yourselves as to all the particulars mentioned above. And remember, if that gospel which you have heard has not proved the power of God unto your salvation from the guilt and do minion of sin ; you are to this day, in one respect or other, ensnared by him. Do you not stumble at the very threshold, not being yet awakened to a true sense of the importance of salvation, nor deeply engaged in the pursuit of it, but wholly attached to, and eagerly bent upon, attaining the transitory vanities of this worla ? Alas! my brethren, how hath the god of this world blinded you! Surely while you expect to find happiness in earthly things, whether in riches, honours, or pleasures, you dream, as one observes,
“Of things impossible, (could sleep do more :)
Pray, open your eyes ! stop! consider! It is a phantom you pur. sue! You cannot grasp it. It does and always will elude your fond embrace. Wherefore do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which profiteth not? Turn ye, turn' ye, for why will ye die? Think, 0 ! think, what will you be profited, should you gain even the whole world, and lose your soul ? That immortal soul which Christ hath redeemedwith his most precious blood, and the value of which is above rubies ?
But perhaps, impressed with a sense of this, you are already resolved to give all diligence to make your calling and election sure. But are you not delaying the important business to what you think a more convenient season ?
" All promise is poor dilatory man,
And that through every stage!"
Perhaps you think, it is time enough yeti' But is it not late enough ? Have you not already served the world, the flesh, and the devil, long enough? Have you not long enough rebelled against God, crucified his Son afresh, and grieved the Spirit of grace ? Have you not been long enough unholy and unhappy, a robber of God, and a murderer of your soul ? Surely you have; yea, too long. And why will you suffer Satan to infatuate and make a prey of you any longer ? Consider what condition you would be in, if the Lord should say, “My Spirit shall no longer strive with that man :. He is wedded to his idols, let him alone : Let him fill up the measure his iniquities, and ripen for a more aggravated destruction !” And are you sure he will not do this ? May be not justly do it? Surely he may, and you have cause to wonder that it is not done already.--Besides, think, where you would be, should death, relentless death, step in between you and repentance, and arrest you in the midst of your delays ? And have you any assurance to the contrary? You know you have not. You are sensible
you have no certainty of living a day, an hour, or a moment to an end. Wherefore delay no longer; but, as "now is the accepted time, now the day of salvation, so, To-day, while it is called To-day, hear his voice, and harden not your heart.”
19. And take heed you do not mistake the way. Remember Christ hath said, “I am the way, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” You are a sinner, a guilty, helpless sinner, and cannot therefore come to God with acceptance, but through his Son, the only Mediator between him and us. Go not about then to establish your own righteousness, but submit yourself to the righteousness of God." Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. Believe on Christ, and thou shalt be justified by faith in Christ :” yea Christ will live in thee, and thou shalt live indeed, shalt live a new life, hid with Christ in God; and “when Christ thy life shall appear, thou shalt appear with him in glory.”
20. Once more. I beseech. thee be not discouraged. Be thy sins ever so many, ever so aggravated, yet still, " stagger not at the promise of God through unbelief," but be thou like Abraham, “strong in faith, giving glory to God, fully assured that what he hath promised, he also will perform." Now he hath promised, that " those that confess and forsake their sins shall find mercy;" that “all manner of sins and blasphemies shall be forgiven" unto penitent sinners ; that he will “ be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities he will remember no more.” He hath promised to cleanse them from all their filthiness and from all their idols, to give them a new heart and put within them a new spirit; yca, to put his Spirit within them, that they may walk in his statutes, and keep his commandments. Therefore, Why art thou fearful, O thou of little faith, Wherefore dost thou doubt ? 0, give no place to the devil. Yield not to unbelief: but rest assured, in
spite of all the suggestions of Satan, and the evil reasonings of flesh and blood, that notwithstanding thy guilt and weakness," he is faithful and just, both to forgive thee thy sins, and to cleanse thee from all unrighteousness.” Putting thy whole trust, then, in his merits, who was delivered for thy offences, raised for thy justification," and who “ ever liveth to make intercession for thee,” and to appear as thy advocate before the throne of the majesty on high ; “come with boldness to the throne of grace, and thou shalt find mercy, and obtaip grace to help in time of need.” Thou shalt be justified from all things, shalt be regenerated and made a new creature: The Spirit of God and of glory shall rest upon thee : and at last, being sanctified throughout, and filled with the fulness of God, thy spirit, soul, and body, shall be preserved blameless to his heavenly kingdom!
SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty
angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power....2 Thess. i. 8, 9,
1. THE second coming of our Lord, and the amazing scenes which will then be opened, to the everlasting confusion of his enemies, and the perpetual joy of his saints, are subjects which frequently occur in holy writ. The prophets and apostles, Christ and his evangelists, speak often and largely of these matters; and though with some variety of phrase and manner of representation, yet without any contradiction. And they all treat them, not as points of mere speculation, the contemplation of which has a tendency to increase our knowledge, and exalt our minds, but also and chiefly as discoveries of the utmost importance and concern to us all, which when cordially believed and attentively considered, have, through divine grace, the most happy influence on our temper and conduct. And it is highly probable that Christianity would flourish much more than it does among us, if the ministers of the Gospel imitated, in this, their example, and led both saints and sinners to the more frequent and serious consideration of those events which will soon take place.
2. Would we successfully call sinners to repentance ? Like Paul preaching at Athens, we must testify that God hath ap