Imatges de pÓgina
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Thy first

Thy first

and prescribes the nature of our employ. It is extensive and various. Our diligence is to be used in "working out our salvation with fear and trembling." Sinner! there is a burden lying upon thy fhoulders, which unless it be removed, will sink thee to the lowest hell. Thou art pursued by the avenger of blood, and if overtaken thou wilt assuredly perifh. concern should be a deliverance, a refuge. effort fhould be an application to Him who came into "Then said they unto the world to save sinners. "him, What fhall we do, that we might work the "works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him firft care. And "whom he hath sent." This is your a second is like unto it-Personal sanctification. are called not only to believe, but to obey; not to fhew your faith instead of your works, but your faith by your works. Many would rather consider the Gospel as designed to furnish a subftitute for holiness, than as a syftem which requires piety and morality in all its parts. But how readeft thou? Where does it promise a salvation in sin? Where does it encourage a hope which leaves its possessor impure? "God has "not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. "The grace of God, which bringeth salvation, hath "appeared to all men: teaching us, that denying un, "godliness, and worldly lufts, we should live soberly,

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righteously, and godly in this present world." Nor are you less required to serve your generation according to the will of God. "None of us liveth to him"self." Our fellow creatures have claims upon us. We are to "rejoice with them that rejoice, and weep

"with them that weep;" to "love as brethren;" to "bear one another's burdens, and to fulfil the law of "Chrift." And however inferior our stations, or slender our abilities, we have all one talent. How have we employed it? We have all had some means and opportunities of usefulness. What brand have we plucked out of the fire? What naked wretch have we cloathed? What child of ignorance have we inftructed? In what inftances have we resembled Him who" went about doing good," who pleased not himself, who came not to be miniftered unto, but to minifter, and to give his life a ransom for many?

Thirdly. It is URGENT. It is URGENT. You are called not only to labour, but to labour immediately. "My son, go "work TO-DAY in my vineyard." The Kings busi'ness requires haste; and this is the business of the King of Kings. A business of importance requires hafte; and no business can be so momentous in its consequences as this. A business requires hafte that can be performed only in a certain time, especially if the season be short and uncertain; and "what is thy "life? It is even as a vapour that appeareth for a lit"tle time, and then vanifheth away." The Scripture therefore only borrows the language of common sense when it says, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to "do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor "device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave "whither thou goeft." Observe your elder Brother; he never loft a moment: "I muft work the work "of Him that sent me while it is day: the night "cometh wherein no man can work." God always says, "To-day;" "to-morrow" is always the lan

guage of the Enemy of Souls. And wherefore? Because procraftination is the moft successful device he employs. Because if he can keep you from religion ToDAY, he knows, either that you will not live till to-mor row, or that the delay will leave you more disinclined to duty, and will obftruct your way with fresh impediments. "Now is the accepted time, now is the day of "salvation." Such is the command of God. Let us see,

PART II THE MANNER IN WHICH IT IS REGARDED. This is exemplified in the behaviour of these two sons. There is a remarkable difference be tween them. One proves better than he promises. The other promises better than he proves. Of the one it may be said that his words were evil and his actions good; of the other, that his words were good and his actions evil.

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Behold the firft. No sooner does he hear the command of his father, than he answers, "I WILL "NOT;" and walks off rebellious and insulting. To such a length of rudeness, insolence, and presump. tion does sin sometimes carry men; so that they do not make excuses, or plead only for delays, but positively and daringly refuse. They say unto God, "depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge "of thy ways." "Who have said, with our tongue "will we prevail, our lips are our own: who is Lord "over us?" "But his citizens hated him, and sent a 66 message after him, saying, We will not have this 66 man to reign over us." Who SAYS this? Yonder Swearer who never opens his mouth but to express the abomination of his heart. That Drunkard, whose

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insatiable appetite; like the horseleech, cries Give, give; and never saith, it is enough. The Fornicator, who lives in chambering and wantonness. The man whọ neglects all the ordinances of religion, who never calls upon his name, never hears his word, never honours his sabbaths. These make no pretences to godliness; embarrass themselves with no formality; wear no disguise; use no hesitation. They openly shew the image of their master impressed upon their forehead. They explicitly avow their determination. Actions speak louder than words; and nothing less than this is the dreadful language of their lives; "I am for hell: I will "run the downward road: I am resolved to perish."

And is it possible, that characters like these should ever be heard" asking the way to Zion," or seen walking before God "in newness of life?" "Such "were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are "sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the "Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." Yes, even this son, 66 AFTERWARD REPENTED AND WENT." He came to himself; reflection returned; looking back, he saw the old man lifting up his hands to Heaven, and then wiping his eyes from tears; and he cried; "What have I done? Is he not my father? Has he "suffered me to want any proof of tenderness which "he could shew me? Do I thus requite his kindness "and his love? What was there unreasonable in the "command I rejected? He that will not work should ແ not eat. What is it for a son to work in a father's "vineyard? Is it not labouring for himself? Mine ist "the expectation; I will go." For, my Brethren, no sooner was this undutiful child reclaimed than he was

employed. He did not satisfy himself with returning and confessing and bewailing his offence. He acted repentance. He knew the will of his father which he had transgressed, and he repented and wENT. The one was the consequence and the evidence of the other. Who could have believed the reality of his remorse and the sincerity of his acknowledgement, unaccompanied with reformation and obedience?

Are there no individuals in this assembly whose history I have recalled to mind? Do you not remember your alienation from the life of God? But in your departure from him your minds were far from being at rest. Sometimes you thought of home; a Father struck you; your rebellion appeared unreasonable; you condemned yourselves. These recollections at first visited you occasionally like unwelcome guests, and you got rid of them. At length you found them quartered upon you, like so many soldiers; resistance was useless. Alone, in business, surrounded with company, these convictions followed you. You begun to pray; to read the Scripture; to associate with his people. You brought forth fruits meet for repentance. The change in your disposition was discovered in your conversation; and this became the language of your actions, as well as of your lips, "I "have sinned; what shall be done unto thee, O thou 4 preserver of men. What I know not teach thou "me: if I have done iniquity, I will do so no more. Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Speak, Lord, "for thy servant heareth."

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Let us consider the second son.

On hearing the

command of the father" he said, I go, Sir; and went

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