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5. That by indulging your careless disposition you may provoke God wholly to withdraw his spirit from you. Have you not often found serious thoughts, convictions and resolutions excited in your mind? What use have you made of them? Have you practically complied with them? Or have you resisted and suppressed them, and fallen back into your former indolence? Should the Spirit strive with you again, how do you know it would be better obeyed? The awakened sinner has every encouragement to seek God's grace; "for he that hath, to him shall be given." But he who repels present convictions, and walks in the way of his own heart, presuming, that God will, at some future time, effectually work in him, is of all men the most unlikely to receive that effectual grace, on which he so unwarrantably presumes.
6. If the means of awakening fail of their proper effect, they usually have a contrary effect. The tendency of evil habits is to gain strength by indulgence; and none more so than a habit of sloth. The oftener you suppress your convictions, the fainter they will grow. The oftener you break your resolutions, the weaker they will become. The oftener you reject Divine warnings, the smaller will be their effect. The more you accustom yourself to evil, the more disinclined you will be to do good. The longer you continue in your indolence, the less probability is there of your awaking out of it.
Finally. Be intreated to consider, that you are every day in danger of falling under this denunciation, "My Spirit shall no longer strive." And wo to you, when God departs from you. That this has been the case of some, and may be the case of others, you cannot doubt, when you hear God saying to the ancient Jews, "My people would not hearken to my voice; so I gave them up to their own hearts' lusts"-when you hear the Saviour saying of the perverse generation in his day, "O that they had known in this their day the things which belong to their peace, but now they are hidden from their eyes." And when you hear the apostle saying of some, "Because they liked not to retain God in their knowledge, he gave them up to a reprobate mind." If such has been the case of some, beware lest the same evil come on you. If the consideration of guilt and danger awak
ens secret relentings in your heart, you may conclude you are not utterly forsaken. But you know not but these may be some of the last touches God will give you. Improve these, lest his Spirit depart from you.'
Let every one now examine whether the marks of a careless spirit appear in him. Do you study to become well acquainted with religion? Do you cultivate the temper and maintain the practice of it? Are you diligent to make your calling sure? Do you watch against temptations? Do you feel a godly sorrow, when you are conscious of transgression? Are you affected with the warnings of God's word and providence? Are you careful to attend on the instituted means of salvation? If you care for none of these things, you are in the dangerous state described. Can you think of your danger, and still remain careless? What is this but stupidity? Can you consider the amazing scenes which will soon open upon you; the certainty and nearness of death; the awful solemnity of judgment; the different ends of a holy and unholy life; the aggravated guilt of impenitence under the gospel; how often you have quenched the Divine Spirit; the danger of your being left to a reprobate mind, and hardened through the deceitfulness of sin? Can you consider these things with unconcern? What can be spoken to awaken you?—But if from these considerations, you are excited to enquire, "Lord what wilt thou have me to do?" Take with you words and turn to the Lord, and say, "Take away my iniquity, and receive me graciously." Your present thoughtfulness gives great encouragement. It is a Divine excitement. The voice of God to you, is, "Seek now my face." Let your heart reply, "Thy face, Lord, will I seek. Hide not thy face from me. Cast me not away in anger." Be watchful, that you relapse not into former carelessness. The latter end will then be worse than the beginning. Improve present convictions, and rest not till they produce repentance unto salvation. Converse with the holy scriptures; think on your ways; direct your views to future and eternal things; search your heart, and correct the errors which you find there; abstain from the appearance of evil, and from every thing of a hardening tendency; improve the means of grace, and fall in with the good motions
which may be excited in you; seek the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near; give yourself to him to serve him in newness of life; and whatever you do, or resolve to do, place a humble reliance on the abundant mercy of God through the great Redeemer. Thus you may be assured, God will have mercy on you, and pardon, strengthen and save you. He hath not forsaken them who seek him. But remember you must seek him by a patient continuance in well doing. Then will you obtain everlasting life.
Can any now hesitate, what choice to make, and what course to pursue? Have you not all come to a decision on this question? Can any man be in suspense, whether to choose life or deathhappiness or misery? If you choose life, then you must choose religion. This is her voice, "They who hate me, love death." Attend to the nature of religion-consider the deep concern which you have in it. View life as it is, a short probation, which will terminate in happiness or misery according to the choice which you make. Consider what God has done to bring you to the knowledge of religion, to convince you of its importance, and persuade you to a compliance with it. Look forward to the time, when you will stand between this and the eternal world; anticipate the apprehensions which guilt will then feel, the judgment which wisdom will form, and the joys which religion will give. Make now the choice, which you will then approve, and reject the part which you will then condemn. You cannot feel indifferent to religion, long. Be indifferent no longer.
THE FATE OF LOT'S WIFE-A WARNING TO SINNERS.
LUKE XVII. 32.
Remember Lot's wife.
THE Jews, from a misconception of the prophecies, entertained grand expectations of the temporal glory and extent of the Messiah's kingdom. And, as they imagined Jerusalem would be the seat of his empire, they were in haste to have it erected, that they might the sooner obtain deliverance from the oppressions of the Roman government. Jesus of Nazareth now appeared among them and declared himself to be the promised Messiah. But in his appearance they saw nothing of that temporal glory, which they thought the prophecies imported. They therefore perhaps in derision of his pretensions, demanded of him, "When the kingdom of God," or the kingdom of the Messiah, "should appear." To correct their mistaken notions, he told them, that the kingdom of God would consist, not in any peculiar form of government erected in this or that place, and propagated by the terrors of war; but in the subjection of men's hearts, and the conformity of their lives to that dispensation of religion which was already discovered to them and begun among them. "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation; neither shall they say,
Lo, here, or lo, there; for behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
Our Lord, now, in the presence of the Pharisees, turns himself to his disciples, and foretells the utter destruction of the Jewish constitution, which event would bring on such a scene of distress, that many, however they might despise the Messiah now, would wish, but wish in vain, for his power to support and comfort them.
He next cautions them against giving heed to deceivers, who, in that time of general distress, would arise, with pretensions to the Messiahship, promising them deliverance.
That these pretenders might be better distinguished from the true Messiah, he foretells that they would make their way by clandestine practices, whereas his appearance for the protection of the faithful would be open and undisguised, and attended with plain tokens of Divine agency. "When they shall say, See here, or see there, go not after them; for as the lightning shineth from one part of heaven to the other, so shall the coming of the Son of man be in his day."
But, previous to this, he says, "The Son of man must be rejected and suffer death from that generation." He here signifies, that the great display of his power will be after his resurrection, when he will shed forth his Spirit in miraculous gifts.
He then foretells the general stupidity of that wicked generation, comparing it to the stupidity of the old world in the time of Noah, and to that of Sodom in the days of Lot. "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man; they ate, they drank, they married wives and were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, as it was in the days of Lot; they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all: even so shall it be in the day, when the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he that shall be on the house top, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away; and he that shall be in the field, let him likewise not return back." The houses of the Jews