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have at their peril appeared to stand by this cause ; and have facrificed their estates, their honours, and their lives, to the despised and persecuted doctrines of the Cross! It is certain, that you cannot have a greater assurance of being in the right, than these men have had ; and consequently there is at least a probability on their lide, as much as on yours.You yourself, therefore, and all the unbelieving gen. tlemen of your acquaintance, who have any degree of modesty left, must necessarily own, that the cause poflibly may turn out against them. And what if it should! I am even afraid to represent the consequences in a proper light; it will poslībly be esteein-. ed preachment or cant; or be voted harsh, uncivil, or unmannerly treatment. But, Sir, I would pray you to consider this matter, without any resentment of my rustic method of address. Consider it only as it is represented in the Scriptures; and in that view it will appear, that the dreadful confusion, the a. mazing horror, and the eternal misery, which will be the consequence of your Infidelity, will be vastly beyond the utmost stretch of your most exalted apprehension or imagination. As soon as your soul is separated from your body, it will become the im. mediate object of the divine wrath; and how lightly soever you may think of these things at present, you will find, that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. When the great Judge of the world thall descend from Heaven, to take vengeance on all those, who do not obey the Gospel of Je. sus Chrift, where will our unbelieving gentlemen appear? Will not their mirth be quite spoiled, their farcastic flouts and fleers be for ever over, when they must stand trembling at the left hand of their Judge, having no possible refuge to betake them. selves to, no plea to make for their Infidelity, no place of retreat in a diffolving world to hide their
heads!What comfort will it then afford them, to say, “ Alas! how have we been deceived! We ne.
ver thought it would have come to this !” Now we have found to our cost, that there is something more in the doctrines of a final retribution than, fable or fiction, priestcraft or fanaticism, however we have in the gaiety of our temper rejected and despised them. Will they then be possessed of a sufficient bravery and presence of mind, to outface their glorious Judge, and to hear with intiepidity the terrible sentence, Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil' and his angels ?
-Will they, with their usual frolic humour, endure the execution of this sentence, and with sport and pastime welter in the eternal flames of that furnace of fire, that is the destined abode of every final un. believer?
Now, Sir, does it not infinitely concern you to consider the case before you in this awful view, to compare and make a proper estimate of the incon. ceivably different states of the Believer and the Infidel, both with respect to time and eternity; and to enter upon the disquisition you propose, with a mind duly impressed with the vast importance of your coming to a safe conclusion?
6 cannot from the nature “ of things fee any necessity of such a way of sal. “ vation, as the Gospel proposes. The light of
nature teaches us, that God is merciful; and "o consequently that he will pardon sinners, upon " their repentance and amendment of life." Let us then consider this case impartially.
I think, there is no need of arguments to con. vince you, that you are a sinner. Do but consider the natural tendency of your affections, appetites and passions, and review the past conduct of your life, and a demonstration of this sad truth will unB 3
You tell me,
avoidably stare you in the face. -Let any man enter into himself, and seriously consider the natural operations of his own mind, and he must necessari. ly find, that, instead of a frequent and delightful contemplation of the perfections of the divine nature, instead of a thankful acknowledgment of his obligations to the divine goodness and beneficence, and instead of that sublime pleasure and satisfaction that should flow from the remembrance of his Creator and Benefactor, his affections are naturally fol. lowing mean, low and unreasonable, if not vile and wicked, entertainments and gratifications. He will find, that all communications with his glorious Crea. tor are naturally painful and uneasy to him, while every trifling amusement, and the vileft fensual ob. ject of his thoughts, find a more easy entrance, and a more peaceable rest in his soul.-From hence it is most evident, that the heart is revolted from God; and that we have substituted the creature in his stead, as the object of our pursuit and delight.And besides this; Who are there among the best of the children of men, whose confciences will not charge them with innumerable actual transgressions of the law of nature ?-From this view of the case, you must therefore certainly find yourself in a state of moral pollution and guilt.
And can you, in such a state as this, reflect upon a God of infinite purity and justice with comfort and courage? Will not conscience fly in your face, and upbraid you with your guilt and danger? Doth not your reason tell you, that the great Creator and Governor of the world is too holy to approve, and too just to overlook such a fixed aversion to him ; and fuch numerous fins and provocations against him, as you cannot but charge to your own account?
But is God is merciful." True, he is fo, to all proper objects of mercy; and in a way agreeable to
the laws of his immutable justice and holiness. But can you suppose, that God will give up his justice and holiness, as a sacrifice to his mercy, out of compassion to those, who deserve no pity from him ; to those who refuse the offers of his mercy in the Go. spel, because disagreeable to their sinful desires and imaginations ?
But “ repentance will intitle the finner to par“ don, without any other atonement.”—Are you fure of this ? Certain it is, that mankind have al. ways, in all ages, thought otherwise. What else was the meaning of thofe sacrifices, that have eve. ry where obtained ; and what the pieaning of those fuperftitious austerities, and severe penances, that have been so commonly practised in the heathen world, if some atonement, besides repentance, was not thought necefsary to pacify an offended Deity ? -Consider, I intreat you, that as fin is contrary to the divine nature, it must be the object of God's displeasure. As it is contrary to the rules of his governing the world, it must deserve punishment.
-If God be the Rector and Governor of the world, he must have some laws to govern by. If he has laws to govern by, they must have some penalties to inforce them. If his laws have penalties annexed to them, there must be executed; or else the would be but scare-crows, without truth or justice.--I intreat you also to consider, how the repentance of a guilty criminal can answer the de. mands of justice.- What fatisfaction will our forrow for sin afford to the divine Being ? How will it repair the dishonour done to the perfections of his nature? How will it rectify our depraved appetites and passions, and qualify us for the enjoyment of his favour? How will it vindicate his ho. liness, and discover to the rational world his natural averfion to fin and finners? Or how will the fear
of God's displeasure be a sufficient restraint to men's lofts and vicious appetites, if sinners may suppose, that when they have gratified their lusts, and taken their swing in fin, they can repent when they please ; and tbereby have an easy access to the favour of God? In a word, what evidence can you possibly pretend to from the light of nature, that repentance only will satisfy the divine justice, and reconcile you to God?
But after all, were it even supposed, that repent- . ance would necessarily give us a claim to mercy, without any other satisfaction to God's justice, it must then be another fort of repentance than you feem to suppose. You must then allow, that this repentance must be a thorough change of heart and life. For you can hardly suppose, that we are qualified for God's favour, while all the powers of our souls are in direct opposition and aversion to him. And is this repentance in our power? Can we at pleafure renew our own souls, and give ourselves new affections, dispositions, desires and delights ? Can we change the bent and bias of our inclinations to the objects of sense, and bring ourselves to love God above all things, and to take our chief delight and complacency in him!--This must be obtained, in order to enjoy the favour of God. And yet it is manifestly out of our reach. It must be the effect of an almighty power.
I hope you may now see the necessity of a Savi. our, both to expiate your sin and guilt, which your repentance can never do ; and to fanctify your de. praved foul, and make you meet for the service and enjoyment of God. If these are obtained, you must be certainly and eternally Cafe : But if you dare ven. ture into eternity without them, I must needs say, you don't want courage.