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ment! Hear the reply which comes from his own eternal lips" Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets ; she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates ; in the city she uttereth her words, saying : Hoza long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge ? Turn you at my reproof.” “ Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at naught my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.” “When I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.”
All that God has done, to render complete the system of saving mercy, speaks in language powerful and melting ; language that moves the admiration, and inspires the transports of heaven, that our adorable God and Saviour is not only ready and willing, that we should now return; but he is represented also, as contemplating with astonishment and surprise, the indifference with which his creatures treat the messages of his love. “ Hear, 0 heavens, and give ear, 0 earth ; for the Lord hath spoken ; I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib : but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.” He has sent his servants, rising up early, and sending them, to warn sinners to escape for their life ; to tell them that the threatening ruin is at their doors, and that they must make haste, or they will be overwhelmed. Last of all,
and as expressive of the fulness of his benevolence, he has sent his Son. In him, we have an evidence of God's hatred towards sin, and his desire for our salvation: In him, we have à motive, too, arising from the contemplation of his character and sufferings, as the spotless Lamb of God, and the bleeding Victim of Calvary, that addresses every kind and tender feeling of our nature, and invites us to make an immediate and unreserved surrendry of all our powers to his obedience and love.
When you reflect, dying sinner, that Jesus Christ “was delivered for our offences, and rose again for our justification," can you hesitate to believe, that God would pardon you now, if you would repent? You have the evidence of his word for it that he would : But is there any thing in the Scriptures, to justify an expectation, that he will regard your tears, and listen to your cries, after years of deliberate continuance in wickedness, in the face of invitation, entreaty, remonstrance, reproof and threatening? What is your security for life? What promise of God have you, on which to hang a single hope, that you shall live to see the period, when you will consider repentance to have become a present duty ? Under the expectation that such a period will come, you deliberately resolve, now, that you will not repent, and continue at enmity with your Maker, and fearfully exposed to his infinite displeasure.
Ah! my friends, why not resolve now to repent? Why not turn at God's reproof, that he may give you his holy spirit, and make known to you the joy of his salvation ? If you will not now turn, when God urges it upon you as your
life; if you will still endeavour to excuse yourselves, by throwing one vain objection after another in your own way, to destroy your sense of present obligation ; if you are ready to ask; how can we repent ? or to declare that you have no ability to repent, remember, I entreat you, that the great day of God Almighty will solve all your difficuties, and let a killing light in upon your souls. “Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks : walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have at mine hand, ye shall lie down in sorrow.”
The language of the text is addressed to every sinner of this audience. God knows that there is no impediment in the way of your repentance, that does not give a deeper and darker shade to your guilt. He knows that you are voluntarily in your impenitency. You know it, and feel it too. Your reason sanctions the claims of your Maker; and your consciences often urge your duty upon you, with a force of conviction, that compels you to summon all your fortitude and ingenuity to resist it.
The time, upon which, in former periods of your lives, you had fixed, as the time when you' would turn to God, and seek the salvation of your souls, has gone by, and yet, duty is left undone. Forgetful of past experience, you are putting the great work of preparation for eternity, still into the future. Some of you have kept crowding it, constantly before you, until time has covered your heads with grey hairs; and many of you, there is reason to fear, will keep pushing it onward into an indefinite hereafter, until you come to the grave's
mouth, and begin to realize, in the last trembling moments of your probationary existence, while suffering under the agony of anticipated despair, that you have deceived yourselves down to the pit. Be profited, I entreat you, my friends, by the warnings of God. Be profited, by your own experience, and the tender solicitude of your Christian friends about your salvation. Be profited, by the bleeding love, and the dying agony of the Lord of glory.
6 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy."
Romans ix, 18.
It is God, who “hath mercy on whom he will have mercy." A world, filled with rebellious and revolted subjects, lies at his feet. His law pronounces them accursed. As moral governour, he fixes bis eye upon his law with infinite delight. He is both its guardian, and the executor of its penalty. Acting in this department of his administration, as the law knows no mercy, he can show no mercy. If, therefore, the blessing of pardon is ever bestowed upon a single subject of the apostate race of man, it must come to him in a way of pure and gracious sovereigoty. Indeed, mercy, as it presupposes guilt, and ill desert, precludes the possibility of merit, and therefore, whenever exercised, is altogether an act of grace.
The whole system of pardon through Jesus Christ, is a system of sovereignty. This is taught us, not only, in the preceding context, but also, throughout the Scriptures.. Paul introduces the case of Jacob and Esau, as furnishing an