Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

of condemnation on, and to free God from any imputation of injustice in punishing them who acknowlege the crime: but our designis of another fort; we are to study to bring you to such a sense of your sin, as may put you to enquire for a relief. · And therefore, (3.). We are to use all me. thods which may in any measure contribute to the furtherance of this design; we are to essay all ways to awaken you out of that security wherein you are like to Sleep on, till you be entirely ruined, till there be no remedy or relief for you.

This prejudice being taken out of the way, we shall now proceed to lead the witnesses against you. We have laid the blackest of crimes to your charge, and we have the strongest evidence that you are guilty: for we can prove guilt upon you by witnesses, which may be compared with any, either as to capacity or integrity'; witnesses who are faithful in this matter, and will not lie, according to the character given by the wise man, Prov. xiv. 5. A faithful witnefs will not lie. Witnesses they are who cannot be suspected of partial counsel, who never would have advised you to sin, and who take no pleasure in accusing you; and therefore cannot be suspected of malice, or of any ill or invidious design against you, as were easy to make appear of every one of them whom we shall name.

Take heed therefore, we beseech you, to their testimony. The gravity and consequence of the matter, the quality of the witnesses being the greatest in heaven or earth, and your own concernment in the whole, do join in pleading for your attention. O criminals, as your crimes are great, fo is the evidence we bring against you great: For,

1. The

E 4

1. The Lord is witness against you. As he faid of old to his people in that xxix of Jer. and 23. fo he says to you, young and old of you, who are here present, you have sinned; Even I know and am a witness, faith the Lord. God, who cannot lie, accuses you as guilty of fin: And if we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us, I. John i. io. Here is a witness against you, O finners, to whose charge, I am sure, you have nothing to lay. Malice he purges himself of, Ezek. xxxiii. .11. As I live, fuith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Could it be any pleasure to him to ruin the work of his own hands? No sure.

2. Jesus Christ, the eternal son of God, the Amen and faithful witness, gives an evidence against you. He came to bear witness to the truth, and this was one of the great truths to which he bare witness, That all have sinned, and therefore are under a sentence of condemnation, which can no on: therwise be repealed, but by believing on the name of the only begotten Son of God, John iii. 18. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not, is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Şon of God. Christ's very name bears witness to this truth. He is called Jesus, because he mall fave his people from their fins, Matth. 1. 21. And how could he save them from their fins, had they none ?

3. Guilty you are, for the Spirit of truth, John xiv. 17. calls you so. It is one of the offices of this glorious person of the ever blessed Trinity, to convince the world of fin, John xvi. 8. And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin. If

this glorious witness would now speak, as sometimes he has done, we should then need no more witnesses. He would finish the evidence, and make it answer our design. Thus we see that there are three in heaven that bear record, and set to their seal to this great truth, the Father, Son and Spirit. Now, sure we cannot refuse what they bear testimony to. Any crime however great, is sufficiently proven by the concurring testimonies of two men; and if we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater, I John v. 9. But moreover, in the

4th Place, God's deputy in your bosoms is a witness of this great but sad truth that ye have all finned. Ye are witnesses against yourselves, and have actually given testimony against yourselves in this matter, and that, (1.) In your baptism. When you were baptized you did then own yourselves guilty; for as the whole need not the physician but the fick, so the clean need not washing, but the defiled; and he who washes owns himself defiled. (2.) Your attendance on gospel ordinances is a teftimony to this truth, That you have finned; for they all level at the salvation of sinners. (3.) The very name whereby you are called, is a testimony given to this truth. Christians you are called, and if any body should deny you to be fo, you would take it very highly, and look upon it as a notable indignity done you. Well, if ye be christians, that is, the people of Christ, then you are finners; for he came to suve his people from their fins. Matth. i. 21. (4.) Is there any among you that ever prayed for pardon of fin? Sure, these who have not done fo, deserve. not the name of christians; and these who have done so, whether young or old, rich or poor, have born witness against themselves in this matter. And there is one day, when your consciences that may now either be silent, or obliged to speak so slow that it can scarce well be heard, shall not only speak to make you hear it, but force you 'to speak this sad truth, so that others may hear it distinctly. But further, .

5. The scriptures bear witness against you, that · you have finned. This is every where their voice.

The book of God is full of this certain and sad truth. Look but forward to the 10 verse of this chapter, and there you shall see a cloud of testi. monies to this purpose. As it is written, there is none righteous, no not one, there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They all are gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable, there is none that doth good, no not one. Among all the race of Adam, the fcriptures of truth make not one exception, and therefore, we are all guilty; for the scripture cannot be broken, John X. 35.

6. The ministers of the gospel bear witness a: gainst you, that you have linned. This is our work, to be witnesses to the truths of God, of which this is one, That all have finned: and to this truth we give testimony, (1.) In that the very design of our office proclaims this truth, and asferts the undoubted certainty of it. What the design of our office is, the apostle in that s Tim. iv. i6. hortly tells us, it is to save ourselves and them who bear us. We, and ye who hear us, are sinners, because we need to be saved. An of fice set up for the saving of souls, is a standing testimony and witness to this truth, That all have finned: and when a minister comes to any con: gregation, then it is one part of his business to

bear

beår witness for God, that all of them have finned. (2) We give a testimony to this truth, That ye have finned, in as far as we do proclaim to you in God's name, and by the warrant of his word, That ye have finned, and thereby come short of the glory of God. (3.) We give a testimony to this great truth, when we preach Christ to you; for the whole gospel revelation goes upon this fupposition, That all have linned. When we offer you a Saviour we assert that you are lost; When we press you to employ a physician, we assert that you are fick; when, in Christ's stead, we intreat and beseech you to be reconciled to God, we declare you are enemies; in fine, when we proclaim to you remission of sins, we clearly give testimony against you, that ye are sinners, who stand in need of pardon. (4.) The issue of our work will prove you all finners. One of two will infallibly be the issue of our work among you; either we will obtain your consent to the blessed gospel contrivance for the falvation of finners, or we shall have a refufal given us: and whatsoever way it go, we shall in the issue give in a testimony to this truth: if we obtain a favourable answer, then we must bear testimony that you did receive Christ our Lord upon his own terms, and therefore were Simers; if you reject the counsel of God against yourselves, then we must bear witness that you are guilty of the greatest sin which any of the Sons of Adam can be guilty of, unbelief, which makes God a liar, as the apostle John has it, I John v. 10. He that believeth not God hath made him a liar, because he believeth s10f the record ihat Cod gave of his Son; and this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Sex Moreover, in the

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »