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And now that I have held up the mirror, I suppose I may warrantably class this whole audience into three different sorts of people.
1st, Those who are yet doubtful of their state, and know not what judgment to pass.
2d, Those who are sensible that the marks that I have given do not at all agree to them. And,
3d, Those with whose spirits the Holy Spirit doth witness, that in truth they love the Redeemer, and believe that he came out from God. And this directs me to a threefold address.
1st, As for you who are yet uncertain about your state, who have not accustomed yourselves to this strict reckoning, and therefore know not what judgment to form of yourselves, What have you been doing? How can you answer this neglect ? Ah! shame upon you, to delay an inquiry upon which all the comfort and safety of your souls does depend. How inexcusable is this? If the Scriptures had told us that it was only some few that should miss salvation; yea, if it had been said, that it was only one of ten thousand that was in danger of hell-fire, yet methinks the hazard is so dreadful, that each of us should be crying out, “ Lord, is it I?" But when the Spirit of God tells us, and the common course of the world must convince us, that comparatively there are few, very few, that shall be saved ! O how solicitous should every one of us be to know whether
we be of that happy number! and how utterly inexcusable are they who neglect it. Well then, let the time past suffice. Speedily set about the most serious examination. Never be at rest till you have come to a just sentence on your case. The discovery will repay all the time and pains you can bestow upon it.
2dly, As for you who are past doubting in this matter, whose full blown sins testify to your foreheads, that you cannot lay the most distant claim to the character in the text; who neither love the Redeemer, nor believe to any saving purpose that he came out from God, how deplorable is your present case! What! cannot self-love conceal your condition from you ? Has it no covering to throw over you, no lurking-place to hide you in? O then bethink you, how open you must be to that God, whose eyes are as a flame of fire, penetrating into the innermost foldings of the most deceitful heart, and marking him for a hypocrite who calls, yea thinks himself just? How does this discovery affect your souls ?
Canst thou dwell with devouring flames? Canst thou lie down in everlasting burnings ? Canst thou bear the heavy hand of Omnipotence upon thee without shrinking? or, if thou canst not, say, Hast thou the most distant hope that possibly thou mayest be saved, notwithstanding thy unbelief and wickedness? The issue of this matter is very short, and requires no great degree of pene.
tration to perceive. If the gospel be not true, thou canst have no ground for any hope at all. And if it be true, thou art utterly cut off from all the hope of it, so long as thou continuest in thy present state. The Saviour, the almighty Saviour himself, cannot save thee.-He cannot deny himself.-He cannot overturn the whole tenor of the gospel, and make himself the minister of sin.
And are thy unavailing hopes cut off. What course wilt thou then betake thyself to next? Even while I speak, thou art on the brink of destruction, the wrath of God abideth on thee. Behold a black storm of vengeance is gathering around thee, and thou art excluded from the only ark in which thou canst escape.
And what excludes thee? Hear, and blush, 0 sinner, even thine own obstinate folly. Nothing else can; all the devils in hell cannot shut thee out unless thou wilt; and from Heaven thou canst meet with no hindrance, where all is love and goodness ; so that, if thou dost perish, it must be by thine own merciless hands. And wilt thou be thine own murderer? Wilt thou destroy an immortal soul ? Desperate madness! O stop in time, and yet repent and believe, and all that is past shall be forgiven thee. This is the voice of the gospel. These are the tidings which I am warranted to deliver, The much injured Saviour himself shall pray for thee-and he has been praying for thee. For had he not, from year to year, procured saving mercy
by his intercession, thou hadst been long ere now cut down as a cumberer of the ground. O then, let this melt down thy heart to an ingenuous sorrow for what is past, and sincere resolutions of amendment for the future. Throw thyself at the feet of this compassionate Saviour; commit thy cause to this prevailing High Priest. None ever perished that did so. Neither shalt thou, unless almighty power be weakened, or infinite compassions exhausted. Let this be the day of thy return. Speedily break covenant with hell and death, that thou mayest be inrolled among those whom the Father himself loves, and for whom the Son does in a peculiar manner constantly pray.
3dly, As for you who sincerely love the Redeemer, and believe that he is come out from God, to you belongs all the comfort of these gracious words : Whatever you ask in the name of Jesus shall be freely given you ; for the Father himself loveth you, and his blessed Son constantly prays for you. Whatever carnal men may think of this, yet surely it is a privilege of which I hope you know both the value and use. To be allowed access to God at any rate, is a prodigious favour; but to come before him hopefully, with good assurance of being accepted, this is a signal blessing, which is peculiar to yourselves. Lift up thy head, then, O sincere believer. Does thy conscience bear testimony that thou lovest Jesus, and believest that he is the sent of God? Apply then these gracious words to thyself. The Father himself
loveth thee, and makes thee welcome to use the prevailing name of his once suffering but now exalted Son. In all thy difficulties come freely to him. “Be careful for nothing, but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make thy requests known to God." The Redeemer, too, enforces thy requests, and is more mindful of thee than thou canst be of thyself. He sympathises with thee in all thy infirmities and distresses; and when thou canst not utter thy desires, yet he understands the groanings of his own Spirit within thee. He forms thy petitions, and urges them with all their force ; yea, thy very need has a language which he can interpret. He foresees the trials that are coming upon thee, when thou dost not. Thus, whilst Peter was glorying in his strength, his Saviour, knowing his weakness, and the malice of Satan, was praying for him that his faith might not fail. The like provident tenderness will he show to thee.
Even now, O believers, he is pleading on your behalf, whilst the Father listens with delight and approbation. He kindly accepts of this testimony of your love, in keeping up the memory of his bitter passion; and no doubt all your well qualified prayers have been this day powerfully enforced by your faithful High Priest.
What shall I say more to you? Praise and thanksgiving is your duty at this time. Let your souls, and all that is within you, be stirred up to bless your heavenly Father, whose love was the