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extended upon it: He, like the son of Abraham, is not constrained to lay down his life; the offering is voluntary. The hand of his Father is raised to smite him: ah! no voice is now heard which restrains the stroke; no other victim is provided by God; the life-blood of Jesus gushes from his wounds. Whilst we see this Saviour thus despoiling himself of his glory, submitting to every indignity and pain, and at last laying down his life for our sakes; shall we not obey him without reserve or limitation? Shall we esteem any duty too painful, any trial too severe, to be undergone for the sake of this Saviour? Shall not our obedience to him be willing? He is too dear a friend, he has done too much for us to permit that we should serve him heartlessly and grudgingly. Shall not our obedience to him be prompt? He delayed not to work our deliverance; when he was for us to be baptized with the baptism of suffering and death, he was straitened and afflicted until it was accomplished; he hasted to consummate his mediatorial office by the oblation of himself. And shall we then, who call ourselves his disciples, delay and procrastinate the performance of our duties?
Sinners, turn to this same object, that you may learn to sacrifice all your criminal passions and pursuits to God calling upon you to destroy them. Whilst you see this divine victim pierced by your sins, murdered by your transgressions, will you not, in return, immolate these sins and transgressions? Whilst you see Jesus "bruised and put to grief for your iniquities," smitten by the hand of a Father, whilst he stands as your pledge and surety; will you not bring these iniquities to the foot of the cross, and there slay them before him?
Finally do you, mourners, direct your eyes to this sad spectacle; and, seeing the sorrows of him of whom Isaac was so feeble a type, learn to bear your griefs with resignation and composure. What! will you repine at your small portion of sorrows, when your Master has undergone so much keener agonies? What! when God gave the son of his love to such inconceivable tortures for our sakes, shall we be unwilling that he should afflict us in so much smaller a degree, and with the design that we "may be made partakers of his holiness?" O no! let the tears, the anguish, and the blood of Jesus, suspend our sighs, and silence our murmurs; let us even rejoice that he calls us to a fellowship in his sufferings, in order that we may be fitted for his glory, and be prepared" to sit down with Abraham, with Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of our heavenly Father."
THE SINNER HIS OWN DESTROYER.
HOSEA xiii. 9.
O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself.
My brethren, if we beheld a person murdered and weltering in his blood, or the smoking ruins of a city which had been fired by incendiaries, there is not one of us who would not be desirous to discover the cause of these miseries; there is not one of us who would not immediately and anxiously inquire who were the authors of these horrid deeds. Thus affected by temporal distresses, shall we look with indifference upon eternal agonies? Prying with solicitude into the nature and origin of smaller evils, shall we content ourselves with casting a cool and rapid glance on the tortures of the accursed, and neglect to inquire into the origin and source of these tortures? Let us not act thus contradictorily; let us strip off the covering from the infernal pit, and, looking down into it, behold those "chains of darkness," that "smoke which ascendeth for ever," that "fire which never is quenched," that "worm which never dieth." Let us listen to those groans and lamentations which re-echo round this dreary abode; and while with fearfulness and trembling we con
sider these agonies, let us reverently ery to the Fountain of light, Who is it, holy God, that hath dug this abyss? Who is it that hath pushed these sufferers into it? Who, who is the author of this unutterable wo? To this question the God of truth replies in our text: "Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself." Sinners, you are the authors of your own perdition; you have forged those chains which bind you; you have kindled those flames which consume you; you have pulled down that vengeance which fills with horror and sinks you in despair. you
This is the decision of that God" who cannot be When he deceived," and who cannot deceive. speaks thus clearly, surely it is the duty of sinners to acknowledge his truth, and believe his declarations. But do they make this acknowledgment? Do they exercise this belief? No; in their hearts, and sometimes with their lips, they dare blasphemously to cast the blame of their destruction from themselves upon God. Sometimes it is his decree which constrains them; sometimes it is the withholding of his grace which excuses them; sometimes it is the force of temptation and their own inability, which exempts them from blame.
Since by such pleas the sinner quiets the clamours of his conscience and dishonours the God whom we love, let us strive to strip him of these pleas, and vindicate the cause of God. These objects will be attained by a careful meditation on the following proposition, which naturally flows from the text:
The destruction of impenitent sinners is procured by themselves; or, in other words, the accursed must all the blame of their perdition, not on God, but on themselves.
Two things are requisite for the illustration of this proposition:
I. We must establish its truth by arguments.
II. We must answer the objections that are made against it.
You have before you the whole division of the ensuing discourse.
I. That the destruction of the impenitent is procured by themselves, will be evident to you if you attend to the attributes, the word, the conduct of God, the sentiments of believers, and the confessions of sinners. 1. The attributes of God. Every perfection of Deity must be prostrated and trampled upon, before the blame can be cast upon him for the perdition of sinners. Where would be his justice, if the miserable victims of despair could address him as they sunk into the flames, and say with truth: Thou art the procuring cause of that wo which I am about to suffer; it is owing to thee alone that I have not escaped this torment!' Where would be his tender mercy, his infinite love, his abounding grace, if the helpless, hopeless inhabitants of hell could look up to his throne and cry, There sits the Being who sent me hither it is his fault and not mine, that instead of a tortured fiend, I am not an holy angel!' Where would be his veracity, if the plain assertion in our text, and many others equally express, might be charged with untruth? Look over his other attributes, and you will find that in a similar manner they must all be violated by the denial of this proposition. Sinners, is it a small matter, think you, thus "to charge God foolishly;" thus blasphemously to strip him of his perfections, and represent him as a monster of injustice, of cruelty, and of falsehood?