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And this leads me to add, the most affecting fact in the condition of incorrigible sinners is, that they are devoted to destruction. This was the doom that awaited Jerusalem : her temporal calainities were premonitory of her perdition : she was ripe for the stroke of justice. Jesus wept over her as devoted to eternal death: and, dear hearers, whether we are willing to receive it or not, this is the certain doom of all incorrigible men. They are bound to endless ruin ; as God is true, their undeviating course is, to the chambers of death. This is the doom to which they are fixed. God has expressed his purpose to punish them; and it is a purpose he will never alter.
What shall we say of the blessed and adorable Saviour, who sees all this unspeakable wretchedness ? Yes, he is acquainted with it all. He knows the worth of eternity and the soul: he knows what this deathless existence is capable of enjoying and of suffering, and what it must enjoy or suffer throughout interminable ages. He, if I may so speak, has an infinitely higher view, an infinitely deeper impression, of the bitter, undying sorrow that must come upon the men who perish in their sins. We do not know, we cannot tell, what will be lost by losing heaven, nor what will be suffered by plunging into hell. It is impossible for us to look into those regions of darkness, and form any adequate conception of the miseries of the damned. An immortal soul lost ! lost for ever! O we know not what it is. The more we try to comprehend the amazing thought, the more amazing and tremendoue does it appear. We have no line to sound that fathomless abyss. Could we go to the utmost verge of the earth on which we dwell, and look down, though but for a moment, into the eternal pit, and then come back and tell you of the sorrows of those who die in their sins, O how your hearts would bleed for your dying fellow-men that are without God and without hope! Could some poor reprobate steal the respite but of an hour, and wing his dark way once more to this world of hope and mercy, scarred with the sword of justice, and pale and wan with despair, and tell you of the worm, and the flame, and the angry breath of God, O how would you exclaim, “Who among us can dwell with devouring fire? who among us can inhabit everlasting burnings ?" And yet, dear hearers, Christ comprehends it all: he knows how fearful a thing it is. He remembers the hour when he bore the weight of that wrath which bowed down to the earth, and laid low in death, the mighty Word Incarnate. His eye, too, surveys that vast eternity, and takes in all its shores: the dread tribunal before which the miserable sinner must appear; the last sentence which expels him from the divine presence; the world of darkness and despair into which he is going; the weight of wrath, omnipotent wrath, under which he must sink-Jesus sees it all. This creature of immortality, who has just began, as it were, to live, he sees just beginning to suffer. This creature of immortality, whose facultics are endlessly progressive, he sees just as it begins to expand its powers, beginning to grasp an eternity of woe. This creature of immortality, who might have soared, as on seraph's wings, to the throne and presence of God, he beholds plunging deeper, and deeper, and deeper, to the very bottomless pit. And if grief overwhelmed his holy soul as he drew near to Jerusalem, and his heart with love and kindness, his pure and sensitive mind knew no feeling of cold indifference. Was he touched with sympathy for human suffering, and exquisitely alive to all human woe? Could not all the anthems of the heavenly host
have stopped his flight down to this sad world, when he came on errands of mercy to dying men, and must he not weep now if he sees any of them lost lost through their own obduracy; lost amidst the richest mercies of salvation ; lost even beyond the reach of his redeeming mercy? Never, never did the bosom of a tender mother yearn and throb with compassion over her agonized and dying child, as divine compassion yearns over incorrigible, perishing sinners.
And now, in the conclusion of this discourse, I cannot forbear remarking, in the first place, how unlike the Spirit of Christ is the apathy of the people of God in view of the perishing condition of impenitent men. Holy love, my beloved Christian brethren, is kind, and affectionate, and tender, and feels for the woes of men. It was in Christ: that made him weep over the condition of this ruined world; that led him to the garden and the cross. It is in God: his holy soul is one continued, pure, perfect stream of compassion towards this lost and guilty creation. And it is the same in Christians, wherever the spirit of heaven-born pity is not suffocated and strangled for a time by the spirit of the world. It was in Abraham, when he drew near to intercede for Sodom. It was in David when he said, “ Rivers of water run down mine eyes, because men keep not thy law.” It was in the pensive church in her captivity, when she hung her harp upon the willow, and would not sing the Lord's song in a strange land. It was in the weeping prophet, when he exclaimed, “O that my head were waters, and mine eyes fountains of tears, that I might weep day and night for the sins of the daughters of my people.” It was in Paul, when he said, “ Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they may be saved." But, O Christians, 0 ye people of God in this favoured island, where is this heavenly spirit found? O for the heart, and prayers, and influence of such men ! O for the spirit of Him that wept over Jerusalem! With cold and characteristic indifference, the first murderer could say, “Am I my brother's keeper?" Not so the disciples of the pitying Saviour. My Christian brethren, would you not be merciful, eren as your Father in heaven is merciful? Is it for the child of God to steel his heart against the woes of perishing man? Is it for the redeemed sinner, whose feet have just been taken from the horrible pit and the miry clar, to be insensible to the peril of those who are sinking into the dread abyss ? What would be thought of the man who had just been rescued from the angry billows, or the devouring flames, who could stand by and coldly speculate on the danger of those whom he had left struggling on the rock or consuming in the fire? O awake; for the love of Calvary awake; for the love of dying men,
Christians, awake. For Zion's sake awake, and give these dying sinners a place in your hearts, and a remembrance in your efforts and prayers.
“ Did Christ o'er sinners weep,
And shall our tears be dry ?
Burst forth from every eye." .
Secondly, our subject strongly enforces, the importance of a diligent and anxious improvement of the day and means of salvation. When Christ wept over Jerusalem, her day of mercy was past: the things that belonged to her peace were hidden from her eyes. Dear hearers, you who are estranged from
Jesus Christ, you enjoy, too, seasons and means of grace and salvation. Who more than you? Who richer than you? The lamp of life with you continues to burn; bibles, and sabbaths, and sanctuaries, and ministers, and mercies, and judgments, all combine to engage you to lay hold on eternal life. Many a time, too, your own conscience has been quickened by the strivings of the Spirit of God, and been roused from its lethargy. There are seasons when you feel dissatisfied here; when every thing around you puts on a new face : when the world retires, and its splendour fades away, and eternity is near. From Sabbath to Sabbath, the mercy of the Gospel is urged upon you with tenderness, and both the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. The Sun of Righteousness rises with healing in his wings ; the rains of mercy descend; the fields are white to the harvest. And these are the things belonging to your peace. O that you knew them, that you appreciated them ! O that you knew their unspeakable importance to your eternal well being! You have seen how hard it is for a heart dead in sin, and wrapped up in earth, to feel, and fear, and strive to enter in at the strait gate ; and when this guilty insensibility with you is in a measure put away, O, hearers, it is the acceptable time, it is the day of salvation. And it is soon gone: a little intentional neglect, a little worldly pleasure, and the Spirit of God is grieved away; and years will probably roll away before such another moment of seriousness, as that which many of you have experienced, will return. And then the love of ease, and self-indulgence, and sloth and indifference, and wealth, and honour, and sensual joy, and vanity, and unbelief, and enmity to God, will harden your hearts, and on every side form vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; and before God visits you again, you will have gone down to death and hell: and Christian tenderness and prayer cannot reach you ; parental solicitude cannot reach you; ministerial faithfulness cannot reach you ;
the blood and tears of Jesus cannot reach you ; the mighty energy of the Holy Spirit cannot reach you. Now, dear hearers, the ministers of the Gospel can plead with you: they can expostulate with you; they can pray for you ; they can sometimes weep over you ; they can try to break the spell that binds you to earth, and keep you back a little while from everlasting burnings: they can stand between you and the pit, and elevate their admonitory voice, and supplicate you not to go down and dwell with the devil, and with the damned. And we must weep, even though you turn a deaf ear to our entreaty ; we must. weep, even though you bid us let you alone: we must do it till you give up your controversy with God, or till you or we give up our last account.
Once more, in view of our subject, we may not avoid the inquiry, Are there none in this assembly towards whom the Saviour is now exercising the same tender compassion, which he exercised over incorrigible Jerusalem | Dear hearers, does he not stand in doubt of some of you? Is he not jealous over you with a godly jealousy? As he bends his course this evening, through the suns and stars of yonder firmament to visit this lower sphere, and turn in to this house of prayer, where he has recorded his name, does he discover no incorrigible impenitents, no impending ruir over which he might weep in secret places, for a people whom he has so long kept as the apple of his eye?
Yes, he weeps over the man who would fain persuade himself that all religion is a dream ; who soothes and quiets his conscience, and blunts the sting of remorse, by flattering himself there is no hereafter; who has no refuge from the
horrors of despair, but a refuge of lies; and all whose hopes may soon rrase from the light of the living, and vanish for ever. Yes, he weeps over that opposer of religion, and despiser of good men ; that contemner of the Sabbath, and reviler of the Holy Spirit; who will neither enter into the kingdom himself, nor suffer them that are entering to go in; who prevents and ridicules the anxieties of others; whose own heart becomes hard by all the contempt he casts on God and righteousness, and whose progress in sinning is such, that many a good man wonders that his perdition is not sealed this side the grave.
Over that man of wealth, too, he weeps, who clings to his gold; from whose bosom, toils, and cares, contrivance, activity, and perseverance, shut out God and eternity; who, like the young man in the Gospel, goes away sorrowful froin Christ, because he cannot serve God and Mammon. Yes, he weeps over that companion of fools, who frequents the seat of the scoffer, and the profane, and the idle, and the dissolute, and corrupt, and the faithless. Over that youth who is fascinated with the charms of pleasure, who finds fragrance and flowers in the path that conducts to eternal death; and whose smooth and rapid course down the stream of time, empties into the burning lake. Yes, over that thoughtless daughter of mirth, too, to whom human life is all sunshine and gaiety, who flutters in the bosom of prosperity, and feeds her vanity by eager expectation, but who is “ dead while she liveth," and who, amidst all the expostulations of divine mercy, turns her contemptuous eye on God, and rushes on to ruin and despair. Yes, he weeps over that thoughtless, unawakened hearer of the word, who smiles while others weep, who remains unconcerned while others are anxious, who is quiet and serene while all around him is agitated and alarmed; in whose bosom impenitence, and unbelief, and enmity to Christ, remain without molestation, and whose conscience is still and quiet, eren when the angel of mercy is passing by. He weeps, and tenderly weeps, over the man who has put his hand to the plough and looks back; who has thrown off his seriousness because he will not be an object of scorn ; who once seemed to have started in the path towards heaven, but who has stumbled at the threshold, and become weary at the length of the way; and who has now outlived his hopes and his fears, and who will soon become the tenant of that deep eternity, where no Spirit strives, no prayers ascend, and the voice of mercy is gone for ever. Over these, and such as these, he weeps. It is his love, his tenderness, his interposing mercy, and tears, beloved hearers, that have kept you so long from being cut down as cumberers of the ground. He weeps over you; he bends, perhaps, from heaven, to drop a pitying tear, to take his last farewell, to retire and say, “O that thou hadst known in this thy day, the things that belonged to thy peace.”
I only add, in the last place, if such are the compassions of Christ towards guilty sinners, what confidence may we have that he will save all that come to him. There are those, if I mistake not, who suppose that they are willing to accept the salvation of the Gospel, but Christ is not willing they should accept it. Anxious and distressed sinners often feel that Jesus has no mercy for them, even though they desire ever so much to be saved. But if he has such a deep and anxious solicitude for those who are incorrigible, tell me why he should refuse his mercy to those who humbly seek his face? If his heart bleeds and shudders at the prospect of the men who close their ears to the calls of salvation, how is it gratified and cheered with the prospects of those, who will welcome and accept
him? If it gives him pain to see the incorrigible rush on to the gates of death,