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quires this change in every man, to show that I Were we even pardoned for contracting this depravity is universal.
the disease, yet, while it continues uncured, Yet there are those who deny this mortify- we can have no ease within. If we entered ing fact; and though they live in a land of heaven with an unsanctified disposition, we vision, are so unacquainted with the Bible, should be incapable of relishing its enjoy. and ignorant of themselves, as to imagine ments. A title to glory can never give us a that they are pure. “There is a generation meetness for it. Wherever we carry sin in that are pure in their own eyes, but are not us, we carry hell with us. The Lord Jesus washed from their filthiness." We may con- is a Saviour, because he “saves his people clude the reception our subject will meet from their sins.”_" He gave himself for us, with from you. You cannot understand it, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, because you know nothing of the state to and purify unto himself a peculiar people, which it refers; and you cannot value it, be- zealous of good works." Beware of deceiv. cause you feel nothing that can render it in- ing yourselves. To be washed in this founteresting. The whole system of the Gospel | tain, is the one thing needful. “If I wash is founded in the fact of our guilt and depra- thee not, thou hast no part with me." vity; and till a man is convinced of this, he Thirdly. The self-righteous. I mean will be like the deaf adder, that stoppeth his those who hope to cleanse themselves in some ear against the voice of the charmer, charm other way than by this fountain. Some would he never so wisely. Pardon offered to the wash away their sins by the tears of repentinnocent will be deemed an insult. Alms ance. Some would cover them by charity: presented to the affluent will be rejected with for “charity” (by the mistake of a passage disdain. O what a mercy, to feel our need of Scripture) « covers a multitude of sins." of mercy !-Beg of God to open the eyes of Some would pay off the old score by ceremoyour understanding, and lead you into an nial and superstitious observances-And here, acquaintance with yourselves; that, seeing what an article could religious folly furnish! what you are, and feeling what you deserve, What is there to which men have not had and what you need, you may be prepared to recourse while asking, “How shall I come bewelcome the glad tidings of salvation, and fore the Lord, or bow before the high God!" deem it a faithful saying, and worthy of all! Even when people are in a measure awakenacceptation, that, There is “ a fountain opened ed, and begin to feel their need of salvation, for sin, and for uncleanness.”
it cannot but be remarked, how inclined they Secondly. The presumptuous. Antino- are to some plan, some services, some sacrimian perversion is far worse than mere ig- fice, of their own. The simple provision of norance of the Gospel. We should be cau- God offends them; and they resemble Naatious in applying hard names ; but the man. Naaman was a leper. He had come Scripture makes no scruple to call those “un- with a splendid train ; and more full of pride godly men, that turn the grace of our Lord than of disease, he stood, with his horses and God into lasciviousness." And yet there are his chariot, at the door of the house of Elisha. men, whose very religion leaves them per- Hence, when Elisha sent a messenger unto sonally unchanged: who dream of mercy hiin, saying, “Go and wash in Jordan seren while they live in sin ; and claim eternal times, and thy flesh shall come again anto life without “the washing of regeneration, thee, and thou shalt be clean, Naaman was and the renewing of the Holy Ghost." But wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I there is no salvation without cleansing: “He thought, He will surely come out to me, and that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, stand, and call on the name of the Lord bis even as he is pure.” For sin separates be- God, and strike his hand over the place, and tween God and the soul; and that wall of di- recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharvision must be removed before we can meet. par, rivers of Damascus, better than all the There must be agreement before there can waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be intimacy. “ How can two walk together, be clean? So he turned, and went away in except they be agreed? What fellowship a rage.” And would have remained a leper hath righteousness with unrighteousness? had not the servants been wiser than the And what communion hath light with dark- master. Here was his error. He came for ness? And what agreement hath the tem- a cure, and it was, therefore, for him not to ple of God with idols ? for ye are the temple prescribe, but to submit. So it should be with of the living God; as God hath said, I will you. You are not to go about to establishi dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will your own righteousness, but to submit yourbe their God, and they shall be my people. selves to the righteousness which is of God. Wherefore come out from among them, and You are not to reason and speculate; but folbe ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not low the Divine will. You are lost, and ready the unclean thing; and I will receive you, to perish. The Gospel reveals a method of and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall salvation, and you should cheerfully and be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Al- thankfully bow to it-you should implicitly mighty.”
| acquiesce in it; remembering that you have
no claims on the sovereign Donor; and that I know that such language has been deemed the plan is the effect of his wisdom, as well | altogether exceptionable; as if we encouraged as of his goodness.
sin, while we only encourage the sinner. And would he, at an infinite expense, have And how are we to encourage a sinner? Is provided, and made known, this way of sal- it by requiring of him, as the ground of his vation, if any other had been sufficient ? | hope, conditions which he cannot perform? Would he have called the attention of the Or is it by keeping him back from Christ, universe to the opening of this Fountain, for while waiting for qualifications which he can the ablution of souls, had other streams been never derive from himself? Are men to be available? Our having recourse, therefore, warmed before they go to the fire, to entitle to any other plan of salvation, is not only use them to the heat, and to prepare them for it? less, and sure to end in disappointment; but | Are patients to be recovered, or, at least, conit is criminal. There is nothing than can siderably mended, before they apply to the render us more guilty before God. It is dis- physician? The sick and the dying are his obedience; it is opposition. It robs him of charge. Do not wait, therefore, for qualifihis peculiar glory. It degrades his under- cations to recommend you—We do need a standing, as well as detracts from his mercy. mediator between God and us, but not beIt “frustrates the grace of God, and makes tween us and Christ. What said Paul and Jesus Christ to be dead in vain.”
Silas at once to the jailer's question? “BeFourthly. The fearful. It is no easy lieve on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou thing to satisfy the conscience of awakened shalt be saved." sinners: they need strong consolation who
“Let not conscience make you linger, are “fleeing for refuge to lay hold of the
Nor of fitness fondly dream: hope set before them." —And is it not pro
All the fitness he requireth vided? Wherefore do you doubt? We ac
Is to feel your need of him." knowledge the blood of bulls and of goats! Finally. There is one class more who have could not take away sin. Neither could a relation to our subject; and it consists of blood merely human. But the blood of which those who by faith have applied to this Sawe speak is the blood of a Divine Sufferer ; | viour: and who know, by experience, that and we know the all-sufficiency of it, because there is indeed a fountain opened for sin and it has been accepted by Him who required it uncleanness. You are witnesses. You can on our behalf. And if He has heard the voice vouch that it is accessible and free. Were of the blood of sprinkling, and is satisfied; if you refused? Were you required to wait ? his law is magnified and made honourable ; Was your claim questioned ? Rather, were and he can be faithful and just, as well as you not welcomed with a smile, which showed, merciful and gracious, to forgive us our sins, that the backwardness had only been on your and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness— side; and with a voice, that kindly anticipated we may well believe--and enter into rest. your approach, and said, “Wilt thou be made
But you say, it is not the efficiency of the whole ?" Fountain you question. What then? Why, You can vouch for its efficacy too. You whether I have liberty to make use of it? I know that it can relieve a troubled mind; Let us examine this case. And for whom is that it can heal the broken in heart, and bind this Fountain opened? The innocent and up all their wounds. You know that, while the clean? No-It is opened “ for sin and it deeply humbles before God, it can inspire uncleanness.” Guilt, therefore, constitutes a holy freedom: for you “have boldness and no exclusion. We are told, he came into access with confidence, by the faith of Him." the world to save sinners;" and that “he You know that, while it renders the curse died for the ungodly." As I can only at first harmless, it makes sin odious; and not apply to him in the character of a sinner, it only tranquillizes, but “purifies the conis obvious, that the warrant which authorizes science from dead works, to serve the living me to apply must be addressed indiscrimi- God." nately to ali sinners. And so it is. All who When persons, labouring under a malady, have the Gospel have such a warrant—a have found relief, a grateful disposition leads warrant that will not only justify any man them, as opportunity offers, to commend the from presumption who acts upon it, but will physician; while a benevolent feeling urges be sure to condemn all those who do not. them to recommend his remedy to others, Come, therefore, come, whoever you are. who are suffering under the same complaint. " This Fountain unsealed
“ Praise ye the Lord. Declare his doings Stands open for all
among the people. Make mention that his Who long to be healedThe great and the small."
Name is exalted." Go, and divulge-not But I have nothing to pay. And you need only what you have read and heard, butnothing:
what you have known and felt. Are there “ This Fountain, though rich,
not thousands perishing around you? And From charge is quite clear;
are they not your brethren; bone of your The poorer the wretch, The welcomer here."
bone, and flesh of your flesh? What was
ong to Tor an ealed
once your promise, your vow, if you were DISCOURSE XCVII.
Ephraim is a cake not turned.-Hosea vii. 8.
BAKED on one side only-neither soft por
hard-neither bread nor dough—disagreeable Pray that this way may be known on earth; 1—unserviceable. “A very homely compari this saving health among all nations. Send, son, a very vulgar image," you say. But the where you cannot go yourselves—aid the Bi- sacred penmen are above our fastidiousness ble Society, in diffusing the Scriptures; and They write for the common people; and what Missionary Societies, in sending forth mis- are little delicate allusions, discerned and resionaries. Employ your personal influence. lished only by a refinement of taste, while Make use of your talents; make use of your they are lost upon the majority of readers! tongue. Let your temper, your conduct, They want something plain, and yet forcible; your life, your character, speak.
something to rouse the conscience, and to Indeed, it will be in vain for you to ap- lodge in the mind. And “the words of the plaud a remedy that has done you no good. wise," says Solomon, "are as goads, and as When you recommend it, with all the symp-nails;" goads to wound, and nails to fasten. toms and effects of your disorder upon you, If the image be vulgar, it is striking; and if they will naturally say, “ You have an end the comparison be homely, it is much too fiatto answer, regardless of our welfare. You tering for the persons it is intended to express do not believe in the virtue of the medicine, Let us divide our subject into three parts. or you would have used it yourself.” If, I. WE SHALL INQUIRE AFTER THE CENSORED therefore, you are vain, and proud, and re CHARACTERS. II. WE SHALL EXPOSE THER vengeful, and selfish, and covetous; if your CONDUCT AND THEIR CONDITION. III. WE family is the scene of discord and strife ; if SHALL ENDEAVOUR TO PRING THEM TO A DECyour shop is famed for cunning, overreaching, SION; or, as our text would authorize us to and injustice; if, under the profession of say—see if we cannot turn these cakes Christianity, you have not the honesty of a 1. WHO ARE EPHRAIMITES! In answering heathen—you had much better say nothing: this question, as the preacher ought to profor people will immediately judge of your re- ceed with great caution, so you ought to hear ligion by you—And will your conduct impress with peculiar seriousness; and may the God it? Will this endear it?
of the spirits of all flesh empower an inward But, blessed be God, allowing for human monitor to say, as we proceed, “ Thou art the infirmities, and imperfections, inseparable
man.” from the present life; blessed be God, there There are three classes of persons, as far are some who are emphatically the better for as our subject requires us to distinguish them. the Gospel : they are spiritually convalescent; There are real Christians, who are entirely they are other creatures than they once for God. There are the profligate, who make were : they are renewed in the spirit of their no pretensions to religion. And there are minds; they live soberly, righteously, and some who stand between both, and seem to godly in the present world; and they walk partake of each; and these are the characters worthy of the vocation wherewith they are we are in search of. called; they are followers of him who went Few are totally regardless of Divine things. about doing good. They are also increasing; Some, indeed, wear no disguise, and encumand though, as yet, they are few, compared ber themselves with no forms. They never with the world that lieth in wickedness, call upon God's name—unless to profane it; there are enough to show the reality and never observe the sabbath, or hear the word power of the Saviour's grace, and to leave preached; they explicitly avow their ungodlithose without excuse who will not come to ness, always in actions, and often in words: him, that they might have life.
and, “ I am for hell," is written in capitals on But oh! what, what will it be when all, their forehead. But these are not the mass: “out of every kindred, and nation, and peo there are not many who can shake off all reple, and tongue"-all that he has ever saved, ligious concern. Their education, their relashall be assembled together, as the trophies tions, reason, conscience, reputation, even of his cross—while he, engaging every eye, their worldly interest all these induce them and enrapturing every heart, shall hear from to pay some attention to religion. But the the countless throng; “ Unto him that loved lamentation is, that they are only formal, exus, and washed us from our sins in his own ternal, partial-at best, but half-hearted, in blood, and hath made us kings and priests their regards. " Ephraim is a cake not unto God, and his Father; be glory and do- turned.” minion for ever and ever!!”
Who then are the characters intended? If
'we look into the Scripture, we shall find some of the profane? free from gross vices, and yet of them represented by the successors of Is-indulging in graceless tempers ? wearing “a rael. When the king of Assyria had carried form of godliness, but denying the power away the ten tribes from Judea, he “brought thereof? having a name to live, and yet men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from dead?” Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, Some of these characters are to be met and placed them in the cities of Samaria in- with in connexion with the more evangelical stead of the children of Israel: and they pos- modes of religion. Such persons will attend sessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities there only on the preaching of the Gospel. They of. And so it was at the beginning of their are orthodox in their views. With their dwelling there, that they feared not the Lord: mouth, they show much love. Their feelings therefore the Lord sent lions among them, are sometimes powerfully excited. They rewhich slew some of them. Wherefore they ceive the word with joy. They have another spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The na- heart; but not a new one. tions which thou hast removed, and placed in We have read of a bishop, formerly in Spain, the cities of Samaria, know not the manner whose clergy had long been carrying on a of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent controversy, concerning the condition of Solions among them, and, behold, they slay lomon: some pleading for his salvation, and them, because they know not the manner of others for his perdition. To accommodate the God of the land. Then the king of As- both parties, the good bishop ordered a represyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one sentation of him to be drawn on the walls of of the priests whom he brought from thence; his chapel, half in hell, and half in heaven. and let them go and dwell there, and let him And what better could a moral painter do teach them the manner of the God of the with numbers in our day? We know not land." And so they did; and, with a mon- whether to set them down as children of grel devotion, they served both Jehovah and wrath, or heirs of glory. Their inconsistentheir idols; the one from affection, and the cies are such, that each side seems to disown other for fear of the lions : “ They feared the them; and they continue to agitate both the Lord, and served their own gods, after the hopes and fears of those who have any regard manner of the nations, whom they carried for their eternal welfare. But our fears must away from thence.” We shall find some of prevail: and we proceed, them in a Balaam—unable to go beyond the II. TO EXPOSE THEIR CONDUCT, AND THEIR word of the Lord; and yet loving the wages CONDITION. And this may be done, by observof unrighteousness; delighting in what he ing Four things. declined; sacrificing his conscience to his First. This indecision is unreasonable. fame; blessing Israel, and showing how to What is there that will not convince you of curse them; praying, “ Let me die the death the truth of this remark !—Think of God. Is of the righteous, and let my last end be like he such a friend, such a father, such a master, his," and perishing in battle against them. such a sovereign, as to deserve only a languid We shall find some of them in a young man, devotion, a divided heart? “Cursed be the 80 promising, so wise, so humble, as to inquire deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and after eternal life, kneeling; and so amiable, voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a coras to engage the affection of the Saviour; but rupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the who went away sorrowful, because he could Lord of hosts, and my name is dreadful among not resign an earthly possession at the com the heathen."-Look at the Saviour of sinmand of Him, who would more than have re-ners. How did he engage in the work of paid the sacrifice. We shall find some of your deliverance? Did indifference bring him them in a Herod, who “heard John gladly, from heaven to earth; and induce him, who and feared him, and did many things,” but was rich, for your sake to become poor; and retained his Herodias, and murdered his ad- die, that you might live? He loved us, and mired preacher, for the sake of an unlawful gave himself for us: and one feeling only can: passion. We shall find some of them in an correspond with his infinite kindness, a feeling Agrippa, who, pressed by the eloquence and of universal consecration: truth of the Apostle's reasoning, exclaimed,
* Were the whole realm of nature mine, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Chris
That were a present far too small; tian.”
Love so amazing, so divine, And cannot we find, nearer home, indivi
Demands my soul, my life, my all " duals, alternately in the temple and the Look at the hell you have to escape; the tavern? now in the house of prayer, and now glory you have to obtain; the brevity and in the place of dissipation ? repairing to the uncertainty of the time allowed you for sucone from conviction, and to the other from in- cess. Does a state of slumber become the clination ? refusing to the passions what may awfulness of your situation and prospects ? trouble the conscience, and to conscience what “ Escape for thy life : look not behind thee; may trouble the passions? equally remote neither stay thou in all the plain; escape from the ardours of the pious, and the excesses to the mountain, lest thou be consumed."
« Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it opposite ? What but distraction, confusion, with thy might; for there is no work, nor and drudgery, and strife must ensue? These device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the half Christians, owing to the light they have grave, whither thou goest." Look at religion. in the understanding, and the checks of conIs there any medium between the truth, and science, cannot enjoy the vanities of the importance of the subject? If you do not world and the pleasures of sin : while relibelieve this Book to be true, you are an in- gion, as regarded by them, is no source of fidel; if you do, and disregard its contents, joy; they do not enter into the spirit of it, you are worse. Can lukewarmness ever and, therefore, cannot relish its satisfactions. perform the duties of religion? Is prayer. The real believer enjoys the light of God's only the bending of the knee? Is praise countenance, the comforts of the Holy Ghost, only “ a solemn sound upon a thoughtless and has meat to eat which others know not tongue ?" Can lukewarmness ever conquer of; and the professed votary of sin and the the difficulties of religion? Will this enable world enjoys the delights which arise from you to run the race that is set before you, or time and sense: but the character before to fight the good fight of faith ?-Look at us enjoys neither. He gives up the creature your fellow-creatures. They rise up early, for God, and God for the creature. He loses and sit up late, and compass sea and land, to heaven for the sake of earth, and earth for gain a little shining dust, or the smile of the the sake of heaven; and is of all men the great; and yet, what a disparity is there be- most miserable. tween your zeal and their zeal, their sacri- Fourthly. Such indecision is dangerous. fices and your sacrifices ?-Look at the use- I wish to be understood to mean-peculiarly lessness of all your half measures. Have dangerous. Observe, in the first place: you suffered so much in vain, if it be yet in such characters are not easily converted. vain? Are ye so foolish, having begun in For though they have not religion enough to the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the ensure their safety, they have sufficient to flesh? If the course in which you have make them insensible of their danger. Though been engaged is not worthy of your regard, they have not enough to keep them awake, why did you go so far? If it be, why not they have sufficient to lull them to sleep. go further? If resolved to perish, could you Conscience has nothing very criminal, in not have perished without resisting any sin; their view, to reproach them with. Their without performing any duty ?
exemption from immorality gives them conSecondly. This indecision is dishonoura- fidence and peace. Their attention to the ble. Such a man is never regarded. In exterior of piety, and the decency of their vain you say, “ Why, he is the very man general demeanour, attract from men the the people of the world approve" and sup-praise which is due to real godliness, and this pose he was—Are they to be our judges ? flatters and confirms the good opinion they He that judges us is the Lord. But you are entertain of themselves. Their satisfaction mistaken. The people of the world may like with themselves is also strengthened by consuch a temporizer so far as by resemblance trasts with the character and conduct of he justifies them; but as to real veneration others, who are outwardly and openly wicked. and respect for him, they have none—nor Their very convictions, too, in time are can they have any. No; such a man is altered; their practice has bribed their judgnever regarded. He is no character. He ment; and what formerly appeared wrong is has neither the value, nor solidity of gold: now deemed a vain scruple, the effect of lead is his image-worthless, and easily re- education, or a contracted mind. Secondly: ceptive of any impression. “ Unstable as they are not very likely to continue always water, thou shalt not excel." Uprightness in this state. Duties never relished, in time and consistency are always admired. The disgust. Prayer never performed in earnest, possessor after a while lives down reproach, may be wholly given up. Doctrines never and enthrones himself in the judgment and known in their vital influence, may be disesteem of his fellow-creatures.“ Well,"carded as speculations. Errors more consay they, “ he is sincere and honest; he is genial with their present feelings, and neces. all of a piece." But base is the man who sary to justify the course they take, may be changes with the times; varies with his situa- adopted. God may withdraw his restraining tions; conforms to the company he is in; is and assisting grace, and leave them to their always worldly with the worldly, and sancti- own lusts. The principles of sin, being unfied with the saints-Who likes “ a cake mortified, may gather strength by having been not turned ?"
so long repressed, and may break forth with Thirdly. Such indecision is wretched. Can greater violence. And when such persons any thing be more miserable than to have as these fall, they generally become despisers, two businesses to carry on at the same time; revilers, persecutors. “ When the unclean two parties to consult in every action and in spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh every look ; two masters to serve who hate through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth each other, and whose designs are perfectly none. Then he saith, I will return into my