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in ejaculations? These are the genuine effect of concern for the soul. Not, however, the forms frequently employed, such as “God save us," The Lord deliver us,” &c.; these neither manifest much concern for the soul, nor due reverence to God.
As these expressions are often used, they are rather violations of the third command than expressions of reverence to God. By ejaculations are meant affectionate and reverent desires sent up to God for his grace; and very few who love the Lord can be strangers to them. Do you neglect to read the word of God, or have it read to you,
you cannot read yourself! You cannot be very desirous to know the way of life, if you do not read the only book which can teach you
that way. Do you give heed to the word of God when you read it? Are you affected by it? Is it your
endeavour to do what is commanded in the Scriptures? If not, then you are deceiving yourself, your pretensions are vain.
Second. Private duties, or means of salvation. This concern about salvation will make those who have families faithful in family religion, and careful to have all the household present at family worship and instruction. It will make them anxious, also, to know the success of these duties. But if you are indifferent in
these matters, you are, to say the least, in a dangerous condition. Take warning, therefore, from the words of the prophet: “Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not upon thy name."
Third. Public means of grace.-Anxiety for the soul will manifest itself in these. A man in great danger will seize upon any thing which gives him the hope of safety. He will rejoice if he find that his case is not hopeless. Now, is this the case with you
with satisfaction embrace opportunities for enjoying ordinances? If not, you are deceiving yourself. • I ask once more, will trifling difficulties make you lay aside the thoughts and the means of salvation ? One who knows his sin and misery is not easily disheartened; for he sees nothing so terrible as the displeasure of God, and hears of no enjoyment so much to be desired as that of salvation.
SECTION II. Address to the Unconvinced. If you are not yet convinced of sin, it must be because you have not heeded what has been said, or because you have not believed it, or because you have fled to some false refuge.
First. I speak first to those who have not paid attention to what has been said. If you give no heed to the truth, if you will not even listen to it, it is no wonder that you are not affected by it. But do you thus requite the Lord ? Has he condescended to send his servants to tell you the way of life, and will you not give them a hearing ? How would an earthly ruler bear such treatment? You have reason to wonder that you have not before this been cast into hell. God has commanded you to “take heed what ye hear,” and “how ye hear;" and he will not suffer his commands to be slighted with impunity. It may be with you as with the people in the time of Ezekiel ;
heard the word from the prophet, but would not regard it. They came indeed to him under the pretence of inquiring for the word of the Lord, but came with wicked and rebellious hearts, and therefore regarded it not. God threatens to answer them, not by the prophet, but by himself. For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojoureth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling-block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to inquire concerning me; I the Lord will answer him by myself ;
and I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people;" as if he had said, I will answer them no more in words; I will answer them by deeds, and those not of mercy, but of judgment.
Second. To those who, through unbelief of what has been said, are not convinced. Unbelief is represented in the Bible as an awful sin; indeed it is the sin of sins, including every thing hateful to God and destructive to the souls of men.
Now, in your unbelief you have not refused the testimony of man, but the testimony of God, who cannot lie; and he who believes not the testimony of God makes him a liar. Your sin and misery have been set before you in the light of God's word, and therefore you close your eyes against the clear light of the divine declarations. Beware of shutting your eyes against the light; beware of trifling with God's truth; beware of disliking to retain God in your knowledge, lest you be given up to do those things which are not convenient;" beware of not receiving the love of the truth, lest God send you strong delusion, and you be left to believe a lie; and be damned for not believing the truth, but having pleasure in
unrighteousness. 2 Thess. ii. 11, 12. Beware lest you be given up to Satan, the god of this world, to be led captive at his will. In the former part of this treatise, testimony was brought from heaven, earth, and hell, to prove that man has “sinned, and come short of the glory of God." I know of but one witness more, and that is sense; and beware that sense, even woful experience of misery, do not convince
of the truth, when too late to save you. If you never believe in this life, in the next you will be stripped of every delusion, and be left no more room for doubt.
Third. There is another sort of persons, who flee to some false refuge, to evade the force of truth. We have laid your case before you, as it is described in the word of God. We have shown, by incontestible proof, that “ all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” We have shown that all are equally concerned in this sad truth. Whence, then, this security? Why so little fear of the woes of the second death ? But men have a singular ingenuity in evading the force of divine truth, when pressed upon the conscience; I shall therefore lay open some of the defences behind which men take shelter to avoid conviction of sin.