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terms, and the force of the persuasives; and in this way, agreeably to your reasonable natures, sweetly constraining your obstinate wills to yield yourselves to God; therefore the terms must be proposed to you, and persuasives used, if I would be subservient to this divine agent, and furnish him with materials with which to work; and I have some little hope that he will, as it were, catch my feeble words from my lips before they vanish into air, and bear them home to your hearts with a power which you will not be able to resist. Finally, a conviction of the true state of your case may constrain you from self-love and the low principles of nature to use the means of reconciliation with zeal and earnestness; this you are capable of, even with the mere strength of degenerate nature; and it is only in this way of earnest endeavors that you have any encouragement to hope for divine aid ; therefore, notwithstanding your utter impotence, I must pray, entreat, and persuade you to be reconciled to God.
I pray you, in the name of the great God your heavenly Father, and of Jesus Christ your Redeemer. If God should once more renew the thunder and lightning, and darkness and tempest of Sinai, and speak to you as he once did to the trembling Israelites; or if he should appear to you in all the amiable and alluring glories of a sin-pardoning reconcilable God, and pray you to be reconciled to him, would you not then regard the proposal ? or if Jesus, who once prayed for you from the cross, should now pray to you from his throne in heaven, and beg you with his own gracious voice to be reconciled, O! could you disregard the entreaty ? Surely no. Now the overture of peace is as really made to you by the blessed God and his Son Jesus Christ, as if it were expressly proposed to you by an immediate voice from heaven. For I beseech you, as though God did beseech you by me, and it is in Christ's stead, that I pray you be reconciled to God. Therefore, however lightly you may make of a mere proposal of mine, can you disregard an overture from the God that made you, and the Savior that bought you with his blood ! in which I am but the faint echo of their voice from heaven.
In the name of God I pray you; the name of the greatest and best of beings; that name which angels
love and adore, and which strikes terror through the hardiest devil in the infernal regions; the name of your Father; the immediate Father of your spirits, and the Author of your mortal frames; the name of your Preserver and Benefactor, in whom you live, and move, and have your being; and who gives you life, and breath, and all things; the name of your rightful Sovereign and Lawgiver, who has a right to demand your love and obedience; the name of your supreme Judge, who will ascend the tribunal, and acquit or condemn you, as he finds you friends or foes; the name of that God, rich in goodness, who has replenished heaven with an infinite plenitude of happiness in which he will allow you to share after all your hostility and rebellion, if you consent to overtures of reconciliation ; in the name of that God of terrible majesty and justice, who has prepared the dungeon of hell as a prison for his enemies, where he holds in chains the mighty powers of darkness, and thousands of your own race, who persisted in that enmity to him of which you are now guilty, and with whom you must have your everlasting portion, if, like them, you continue hardened and incorrigible in your rebellion; in the name of that compassionate God, who sent his dear Son (O the transporting thought !) to satisfy divine justice for you by his death, and the precepts of the law by his life, and thus to remove all obstructions out of the way of your reconciliation on the part of God; in this great, this endearing and tremendous name, I pray you be reconciled to God. I pray you for his sake ; and has this name no weight with you? Will you do nothing for his sake ? what, not so reasonable and advantageous a thing as dropping your unnatural rebellion, and being reconciled to him ? Is your contempt of God risen to that pitch that you will not do the most reasonable and profitable thing in the world, if he intreat you to do it ? Be astonished, O ye heavens! at this. I
pray you both in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, the true friend of publicans and sinners, in his name and for his sake, who assumed your degraded nature, that he might dignify and save it ; who lived a life of labor, poverty and persecution upon earth, that you might enjoy a life of everlasting happiness and glory in heaven ; who died upon a torturing cross, that you might sit upon heavenly thrones; who was imprisoned in the gloomy grave, that you might enjoy a glorious resurrection; who fell a victim to divine justice, that you might be set free from its dreadful arrest; who felt trouble and agony of soul, that you might enjoy the smiles, the pleasures of divine love ; who, in short, has discovered more ardent and extensive love for you than all the friends in the world can do: in his name, and for his sake, I pray you to be reconciled to God. And is his dear name a trifle in your esteem? Will you not do any thing so reasonable and so necessary, and conducive to your happiness for his sake ; for his sake who has done and suffered so much for you? Alas ! has the name of Jesus no more influence among the creatures he bought with his blood! It is hard, indeed, if I beg in vain, when I beg for the sake of Christ, the Friend, the Savior of perishing souls.
But if you have no regard for him, you certainly have for yourselves; therefore, for your own sakes, for the sake of your precious immortal souls, for the sake of your own everlasting happiness, I pray you to be reconciled to God. If you refuse, you degrade the honor of your nature, and commence incarnate devils. For what is the grand constituent of a devil, but enmity against God? You become the refuse of the creation, fit for no apartment of the universe but the prison of hell. While you are unreconciled to God you can do nothing at all to please him. He that searches the heart knows that even your good actions do not proceed from love to him, and therefore he abhors them. Ten thousand prayers and acts of devotion and morality, as you have no principles of real holiness, are so many provocations to a righteous God. While you refuse to be reconciled, you are accessary to, and patronize all the rebellion of men and devils; for if you have a right to continue in your rebellion, why may not others ? why may not every man upon earth ? 'why may not every miserable ghost in the infernal regions? And are you for raising a universal mutiny and rebellion against the throne of the Most High! O the inexpressible horror of the thought! If you refuse to be reconciled, you will soon weary out the mercy and patience of God towards you, and he will come forth against you in all the terrors of an almighty
enemy. He will give death a commission to seize you, and drag you to his flaming tribunal. He will break off the treaty, and never make you one offer of reconciliation more: he will strip you of all the enjoyments he was pleased to lend you, while you were under a reprieve, and the treaty was not come to a final issue ; and will leave you nothing but bare being, and an extensive capacity of misery, which will be filled up to the uttermost from the vials of his indignation. He will treat you as his implacable enemy, and you shall be to him as Amalek, Exod. xvii. 16, with whom he will make war for ever and ever. He will reprove you, and set your sins in order before you, and tear you in pieces, and there shall be none to deliver. He will meet you as a lion, " and as a bear bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of your hearts. Hos. xiii. 8. He hath for a long time held his peace, and endured your rebellion; but ere long he will go forth as a mighty man: he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war; he shall cry, yea, roar ; he shall prevail against his enemies. Ah! he will ease him of his adversaries, and avenge him of his enemies. He will give orders to the executioners of his justice: These mine enemies, that would not that I should reign over them, bring them hither, and slay them before me. Luke xix. 27. And now, if you will not submit to peace, prepare to meet your God, O sinners! gird up your loins like men; put on all the terror of your rage, and go forth to meet your almighty adversary, who will soon meet you in the field, and try your strength. Call the legions of hell to your aid, and strengthen the confederacy with all your fellow-sinners upon earth; put briers and thorns around you to enclose from his reach. Prepare the dry stubble to oppose devouring flame. Associate yourselves, but ye shall be broken in pieces: gird yourselves; but alas! ye shall be broken to pieces.
But 0! I must drop this ironical challenge, and seriously pray you to make peace with him whom you cannot resist : then all your past rebellion will be forgiven; you shall be the favorites of your sovereign, and happy for ever; and earth and heaven will rejoice at the conclusion of this blessed peace; and my now sad heart will share in the joy. Therefore, for your own sakes I pray you to be reconciled to God.
THE NATURE AND UNIVERSALITY OF SPIRITUAL DEATH.
Ephes. ii. 1 and 5.—Who were dead in trespasses and sins.
Even when we were dead in sins.
THERE is a kind of death which we all expect to feel, that carries terror in the very sound, and all its circumstances are shocking to nature. The ghastly counte nance, the convulsive agonies, the expiring groan, the coffin, the grave, the devouring worm, the stupor, the insensibility, the universal inactivity, these strike a damp to the spirit, and we turn pale at the thought. With such objects as these in view, courage fails, levity looks serious, presumption is dashed, the cheerful passions sink, and all is solemn, all is melancholy. The most stupid and hardy sinner cannot but be moved to see these things exemplified in others; and when he cannot avoid the prospect, he is shocked to think that he himself must feel them.
But there is another kind of death little regarded indeed, little feared, little lamented, which is infinitely more terrible—the death, not of the body, but of the soul: a death which does not stupify the limbs, but the faculties of the mind : a death which does not separate the soul and body, and consign the latter to the grave, but that separates the soul from God, excludes it from all the joys of his presence, and delivers it over to everlasting misery; a tremendous death indeed! “A death unto death." The expression of St. Paul is prodigiously strong and striking : Davaros eus Oavarov. Death unto death, death after death, in all dreadful succession, and the last more terrible than the first, 2. Cor. ii. 16, and this is the death meant in my text, dead in trespasses and sins.
To explain the context and show you the connection, I shall make two short remarks.
The one is, That the apostle had observed in the nineteenth and twentieth verses of the foregoing chapter, that the same almighty power of God, which raised Christ from the dead, is exerted to enable a sinner to