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He gave eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, loosed the tongue of the dumb, and fed the hungry. We know that you cannot perform miracles, but you possess means and resources by which you, even you, can feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and provide for the fatherless and the widow. And as water is to be found in every place, if men will but dig long enough and deep enough to find it; so if you wish to be useful, whether living or dying, whatever be your condition in life, you shall be gratified. And the proper method in our day has been adopted too, that is, not to depend entirely, or principally, upon individual exertions, but upon combined and well-arranged efforts.
Here, therefore, let me introduce the case for which I stand here pledged to plead, (O that I may be a successful pleader !) namely, the Alms-houses apper
I taining to this chapel. They were founded in 1811, under the benevolent exertions of your late worthy and venerable pastor, aided by the liberality of individuals of this congregation, some of whom are now present, but some hare fallen asleep. It regards widows; a class of beneficiaries often mentioned, you know, in Scripture with peculiar tenderness. There are now twenty-three safely and comfortably housed in this asylum, in their old age. During the twenty-four years which these Alms-houses have been erected, sixty-one, it seems, of these poor women, of these poor pious creatures, have bcen removed, rejoicing in hope of the glory of God, and blessing God for having put it into the hearts of his servants thus to provide for them. It is to be hoped that, in time, enough of property will be funded for their support ; but this is not the case at present. The annual income of the institution is now insufficient to meet its yearly expenses by, at least, one hundred and fifty pounds; a considerable balance is due to the treasurer, and the committee are called upon to make some extensive repairs. They must, therefore, ask your Christian donations and subscriptions. I could enforce this by an appeal to your Christian feelings, as men, as citizens, and as Christians: but your time is gone, and I feel it perfectly needless. I therefore forbear, and I hope you will consider the forbearance your honour, and that we shall find, by the extent of your collection, that I have not been nistaken in my dear old Surrey friends.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF ULTIMATELY REJECTING CHRIST.
HON. AND REV. B. W. NOBL, A.M.
* He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall
not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."-John, 1.3 6.
Men being by nature and by practice obnoxious to the anger of their Maker, God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish. Without him they would certainly have perished; but if they are led to believe in him, their doom is reversed.
To receive Christ Jesus, then, is the indispensable condition of the salvation of the sinner. He came that he might, by his sacrifice, bring us into the favour of God; and by his renewing of the Holy Spirit, might prepare us for heavenly glory. These are the two great parts of our Redeemer's work: but as most of you are familiar with the passages of Scripture by which these great truths are sustained, they need not now any further demonstration. To receive Christ, then, is heartily to consent to this his work; to depend on his merit exclusively for our acceptance with God; and to ask for the grace of the Holy Spirit, whom Christ sends forth to bless his people. To refuse this, and, on the contrary, to depend on our own righteousness, on our own moral strength, is to reject the work of Christ, and, by consequence, to reject Christ himself: and the passage before us declares, that whoso does reject him, whoso does “ not believe on the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." He must lie under the wrath of God, because originally deserving it. He has rejected the Saviour by whom it may be removed : unable to atone for his own ungodly life, he must, therefore, be exposed to that unchangeable doom. On the other hand, he must lie under the wrath of God, because his nature remains ungodly. It was through Christ alone that the renewal of the Holy Ghost was promised, or became possible: and Christ being rejected, the nature remains unrenewed by the Holy Spirit: and the course of the sinner, still fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, must, therefore, as long as his human life is preserved, be only heaping up fresh guilt before God. Finally, he must lie under the wrath of God, because he has, in rejecting Christ, poured contempt on the unparalleled love of his Maker, rejected God's highest gift: and if "he who despised Moses's law died without mercy under two or three witnesses, of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified a common thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace ?"
This, then, is the fearful condition of every one who rejects the Saviour. My brethren, are there such among you? Some, there may be, who have “ to live while they are dead :" who are believing themselves on the road to glory, while, alas! they have no good reason to cherish that hope. Some there may be, to whom, if our Redeemer was again to appear as he did to St. John in the Apocalypse, he would address the language which he then employed respecting the church of Laodicea : “ Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Of all persons, such, especially, need to be undeceived : because so long as that delusion is cherished, every effort to arouse the conscience, and to quicken the slumbering disposition to seek after salvation, is constantly repelled; and every means that might be employed to make such persons feel their responsibility to God is repelled, and blunted, and destroyed by the delusive hope that they are already saved.
There may be others who are conscious that as yet they have never received Christ. They have too much acquaintance with the Word of God to question what is the nature of that reception; they know it well: and they are equally conscious, from a very cursory review of their whole course, that they have never received him: but they go on from day to day, hoping that the time will come when some unexpected means employed by divine Providence will bring their languid wishes to a decision, and make them resolve to be the servants of God. It is to this class that I would especially address myself this evening, when entering on one of the most awful subjects which the Word of God could present to our notice: a subject from which, I confess, I shrink, not only because it may offend many of you, but because I feel it most painful to my own mind, when I realize the fact, that, perhaps, in a few years, many of you, my dear hearers, for whom I do sincerely wish well, may enter on all that which I shall now most inadequately describe ; may begin, in fact, the endurance of a punishment, the very imagination of which is beyond our power. Yet because it is painful, ought we therefore to disregard it? Why does the Word of God abound in such awful declarations, if they were meant to be passed over in silence ? And how can I discharge my duty to you, or how can I hope, unless I would use every instrument which the good providence of God puts into my power, to bring you by every argument, whether of solicitation or remonstrance, to seek that you may be saved in the great day of Christ's appearance? Would it be kind in me to neglect to enforce, or would it be wise in you to omit, the consideration of those truths by which we might be quickened to the necessary efforts after salvation ?
My brethren, in every difficulty of life, it is wise to look it in the face; it is always best to examine it in all its bearings; otherwise we never can devise the means by which it may be successfully repelled. If there is any exception it is that in which it is hopeless: then it may be wise to attempt to dirert the mind from that which is painful and useless in the consideration. But I thank God this is no hopeless case. Awful it is, but there is a possibility that every one of you may escape that sorrow: and this sermon may be the very means which the God of mercy employs to bring about that blessed result: and notwithstanding hours of pain, and weeks of sorrow, and months of conflict of the mind, (or longer if it please God,) if he should “set your feet on a
rock," and “establish your goings," and give you an interest in Christ, and make you heirs of glory—my brethren, would you not bless the hour when you first listened to the things which pained you? And if you found yourself entering on ages of misery unspeakable, because you had not been warned, would you not curse me at the bar of God ?
It is well to look sometimes at what, by the Word of God, we are taught will be the end of them who remain ungodly: and I pray that good God, that Being of boundless mercy, who is waiting to be 'gracious to your souls now, that this very night not a few of you, who have been undecided and wavering hitherto, may be guided to know and love that very Saviour through whom you may be blessed!
First, then, my dear brethren, if you persist in rejecting Christ, this passage assures us that the wrath of God must abide upon you. You will die under the wrath of God: the Almighty God will then be opposed to your happiness : you will then be exposed to the wrath of One, who is infinitely benevolent; whose anger is never capricious, never severe, never unjust, and by so much the more to be feared. You will be exposed to the wrath of One who has treated you with benevolence and mercy all your life; One whom you continually ill-treated, slighted, and opposed; and under whose vengeance you must now suffer. Will Christ then be your Mediator as he would be now? The day of mercy is passed; you stand before God's bar: will Christ be your Mediator then? Alas, my brethren! he has told us, that “on whomsoever this stone shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” Christ has become of no effect : you are exposed to the wrath of the Almighty; to the wrath of the gentle, gracious, infinitely condescending Saviour. You are exposed to His wrath, whose love you trifled with all your life long : will he be your Mediator? When the very Saviour who would have plucked you from the abyss of perdition is now your Judge, and you see in Him, who would once have been so willingly your Advocate, nothing but your enemy-what, my brethren, will be wanting then to fill up the cup of your wrath? “Whosoever believeth not the Son, the wrath of God abideth on him.'
Consider, secondly, when you are thus under the wrath of God, what will be the charucter of the misery involved in that condition. Under “the wrath of God:" Him from whom came all your blessings. Is not his the sincere benevolence of the universal Father? And if you are under his wrath, think you that you may then expect from him blessings to be misused and derided as they have been by you through life? Do you think he will then give you new instruments of opposition? What has our Lord said ? “Take, therefore, the talent from him, and give it to him who hath ten talents : for whosoever hath,” (that is, bath gained) “to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from whomsoever hath not, shall be taken away even that he hath :" in other words, all the gifts of providence and nature, all the blessings you had on earth, all the opportunities of usefulness which your situation, capacity, and talents gave you; which ought to have been emp oyed to your Maker's glory, but which were employed to your own using, your own private purposes. You lived for yourselves ; you lived for earth; you lived for time: and, like the man with the one talent in the parable, you thought your Maker was an austere man; but now you stand
before him as the Judge: the sentence is from Him, that, "from him that hath not, shall be taken away that which he hath;" that is, you must reasonably expect that, in that awful day, you will be destitute of all good. Where is your happiness now? What is that which hinders you from turning to God, and prevents you living a holy life? It is the love of gain, the love of pleasure; you wish to have a little more of this world. But all that on which your hopes are now fixed, from which you now derive your happiness, will then be altogether torn from you: it is all past: "The world passeth away, and the lusts thereof." And what will you attain in its stead? Go to some solitary dwelling, over the threshold of which no friend ever passes; to some poor creature who was once enjoying all the fashionable gaieties of life; but whom successive misfortunes ave brought to poverty, and starvation, and sorrow. She has now no companion and no solace in her sorrow. Look at the poor creature musing over the days of past gaiety and pleasure now gone for ever and see whether there .s not a wreck of happiness but a wreck not to be compared with the utter, dismal destitution to which I feel every one is hurrying fast, when, having abused all the mercies of God here, he must go into that world where he can abuse them no longer. My brethren, consider, if this is the case you have to anticipate, what will be the progress of your state of mind when you come to that eternal world!
But this is not all. Alas! we are led to believe, that you will not only be deprived of God, but the language of Scripture is, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maran-atha :" "let him be an accursed thing when the Lord cometh." What, my friends, have you to expect? You do not love the Lord, you will not love the Lord; you see nothing attractive in him now, and when he comes you must be "Anathema"-under the curse of God. Will not that ensure misery unspeakable? Must it not make you wretched when you feel that he hath cursed you? O brethren, do not venture to provoke the curse of an offended God!
In the next place, if you persist in rejecting Christ till you die, you must expect at death that the depravity of your nature will be fixed: for the sentence at that time will be, "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still." That is, the moral defilement, the utter want of rectitude, which were growing through life, must then be fixed. All the means that were once employed to renew the soul to holiness, have been repelled; now all are removed; and what is there to restore the wretched man to loyalty to God, to obedience to his Maker? You will die: but now you are surrounded by so many of the sunny blessings of life; now, while a gracious Providence has so watched around you, and you have had so many hours of happiness, you feel your hearts so cheerful that you scarcely can be unhappy; the awful buoyancy of your spirits rises above the different ills to which flesh is heir; and you' feel surprised at your own happiness. If all this, in a cursed world, does not make you love God, what will you feel when cheerfulness is changed into agony when mercy has merged into judgment; when, at length, you see nothing around you but the threatening anger of your Creator; when there is no offer of mercy, when there is no possibility of escape, when every moment is a moment of torture, when you see before you destitution to all eternity; will that make you love God? Will it? Did you ever hear of one who was taught to