Imatges de pÓgina

for more effectually mortifying your pride; for weaning you from self and from the world; for exciting your prayers; and for making Christ more precious in your eyes. Its object and tendency are to lead you to have less confidence in the flesh, and to rejoice more simply and truly in Jesus Christ. « Come to Him, and He will give you rest." Pray to Him for His help and support in this arduous conflict. Cast your burden upon Him, and plead your cause before Him. Pray to Him, that for His name's sake He would subdue your iniquities; and that because you are his servant and soldier, He would give you the victory. He will now hear your prayers. In due time He will answer them. He will allay the conflict of contending passions. He will say to the winds, and to the waves, “ Be still ;” and there will be a great calm. He will disperse the clouds. He will lighten your darkness. He will give you rest and peace, and you shall go on your way rejoicing.





1 PETER, iv. 17.

What shall the end be of them that obey not

the Gospel of God?

St. Peter here proposes a very important question, which, without referring to its immediate connection with the context, we shall do well to lay deeply and seriously to heart. All men living, to whom the Gospel comes, either do obey it, or do not obey it.. With respect to the former, those who obey the Gospel, we know what will become of them : we know what their end will be. It will be happy, it will be glorious. All their afflictions will work out for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. But what shall the end be of those that obey not the Gospel of God? What will become of them? The Apostle, having put the question, leaves his readers to answer it. It is in fact

a question which is addressed to our own reason and conscience, and which furnishes its own reply. It is, as if the Apostle had said unto us,

Weigh well the wickedness “ of these persons. Consider what they are

doing, and what they deserve. Compare “ these things with what is written in Scrip“ ture; and then judge how great will be “ the punishment, which at length will as“ suredly overtake them.” To assist you then in coming to a right judgement on this important subject, I shali endeavour to set before you two things :

I. The Sin here specified.
II. Its great and aggravated Guilt.

I. The Sin here specified is not obeying the Gospel of God. The Gospel of God is that gracious message which God hath sent to us by his Son Jesus Christ. To obey the Gospel is to receive this message as coming from God; to comply with the terms, and to follow the directions contained in it. On the other hand, not to obey the Gospel, is to do the very reverse of this. It is to treat the message with indifference and neglect; to reject the terms, and refuse compliance with the directions which it sets before us. This then is the Sin here specified. But to give you clearer notions of this Sin, I will describe to you some different sorts of persons, who are guilty of it.

Among these, in the first place, are to be ranked all who are living in an irreligious, ungodly manner, careless of their souls, and of eternity, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and walking after the course of this present evil world. It requires not much reasoning to prove, that such persons are guilty of the Sin in the text. The Gospel of God calls on them to repent, and to bring forth fruits meet for repentance. It directs them to turn from their sins, to deny their lusts, and to overcome the world. While therefore they continue to act in direct opposition to these. injunctions, while their hearts remain hard and sensual, while they serve sin, and follow the multitude to do evil, it is plain beyond a doubt, that they are not obeying the Gospel of God. Let me then admonish all whose consciences tell them that they are persons of this description, seriously to reflect on the matter. You have an intolerable load of sin upon your souls, of numberless transgressions daily committed throughout your life against the holy law of God: but in addition to every other sin, you are chargeable with this Sin also. You do not obey the Gospel of God. How great and

How great and aggravated is the guilt of this sin, I shall show hereafter. But in the meantime I would strive to fix it in your minds, that this guilt, what

ever it may be proved to be, is yours. You are at present one of the persons spoken of in the text : and so long as you continue one of these, their end, whatever it may be, will undoubtedly be yours.

A second description of persons, who are chargeable with the Sin in the text, are those, who, while they call themselves Christians, yet do not make Jesus Christ and Him crucified the only ground of their reconciliation with God, and of their title to eternal life. They do not take Him as their righteousness; through whose death and obedience alone they look for the pardon of sin and peace with God. They have still some confidence in the flesh. They are still trusting to something in themselves, in their own works or doings, for their acceptance with God. If Christ be the foundation, He is not the one only foundation of all their hopes. Or if they seek to be justified by Him, it is not by faith only that they seek it. But acting thus, they do not obey the Gospel of God. They do not comply with the terms, nor follow the directions of it. The

very first and chief thing which the Gospel enjoins, is Faith in Christ.

It offers us pardon on no other terms but on believing in Him, and receiving Him as the Lord our Righte

“ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." 6. He that be.


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