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Man is a strange creature. He is in danger, and will not accept of deliverance: he is in want, and will not accept of a supply : he is condemned, and will not accept of a pardon. He must live for ever, and may live for ever in the enjoyment of perfect happiness, and in the possession of the highest honours, but he will not. Sin has filled human nature with a spirit of contrariness ; so that we call darkness light, and light darkness; we put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. It was so with the Jews : the Lord Jesus warn. ed them of their danger, pointed out the on. ly way of escape from it, offered to protect and preserve them, as the hen does her brood under her wings ; but they would not. He invited them to come to him, in a most lov. ing spirit, with most gracious words, and yet they would not come unto him that they might have life. So the city was given up to the Romans, many of them were slain with the sword, and the rest were made captives or wandered as fugitives and vagabonds over the face of the earth. What the Jews were, we are we are as like as two peas. “Ye
would not,” was said of them, and “ye would not" may be said of most of us.
The gospel and its blessings are represent. ed by the most attractive, useful, and necessary things; and we are invited, exhorted, and urgently pressed to receive, partake of, and enjoy them yet we refuse. We are guilty of sin, and therefore criminals in the sight of God; as such, we are condemned to suffer the vengeance of eternal fire; but God, who is rich in mercy and has no pleasure in our death, offers us a pardon, and entreats us to accept it, but we will not. We have an inward craving for something which we do not possess—something that will meet the wants and satisfy the cravings of our immortal nature; and God in the gospel has provided a great feast, made up of everything we can want, or reasonably wish for, and he has sent us an invitation, and urged us to accept of it, but we will not. We are in danger-imminent danger, from sin, Satan, and the just wrath of God: and the Lord Jesus 'has come from heaven to earth to make an atonement for sin, to conquer Satan, and to turn away the wrath of God from us ; and having done all, and suffered all that was necessary for the purpose, he beseeches us to come unto him as to a stronghold, an impregnable fortress, and a high tower, but we will not. We are in deep spiritual poverty, our wants are numerous and various, and will go on increasing through life, and perhaps through alleternity. Jesus has all fulness in himself, in his fulness is all we can want in time or in eternity; he throws it open to us, bids us come and receive freely, without money and without price, but we will not. Now, if we will not accept of a pardon that is offered us, do we not deserve to suffer the full desert of our sins? If we will not come to a feast, pro. vided on purpose for us, do we not deserve to famish, and be pinched with hunger to all eternity P If we will not enter the fortress prepared for our reception, where we shall be safe from every foe, do we not deserve to be exposed to all the consequences of sin, the rage of Satan, and the wrath of God for everIf we will not come, and receive out of the fulness of Jesus, which is thrown open to us, in order to satisfy, gratify, and fill us with inexpressible pleasure and des light, do we not deserve to be left in wretchedness, misery, and woe to all eternity ? - If we perish, who is to blame? God has made provision, but we refuse to accept it. Jesus has called us to obtain salvation, but we will not come unto him that we might have life. The Spirit has striven with us, and produced convictions and alarms, but we resisted the Holy Ghost. The ministers of the gospel have called to us with all earnestness, and with most winning words, but we have refused to hear the voice of the charmer, "harm he never so wisely. What then is to
be done? What did God do with Israel of old? He says, “ Israel would none of me, so I gave them up." What did God do with Ephraim ? He said, “ Ephraim is joined to idors, let him alone.” What did Jesus do with the Jews ? He wept over them, and resigned them to their fate, saying, “ I would have gathered you, but ye would not. If thou hadsť known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes."
But how is it that we thus harden ourselves against God, manifest such folly, and wilfully ruin ourselves ? Just because we have allowed sin and Satan to blind us to our ownimmortal interests. We have thrown the reins on the necks of our lusts and pas. sions, and have allowed the flesh to rule the spirit, the body to lead away captive the soul. Through the deceitfulness of sin, we become proud, conceited, and careless of consequences, and so we choose the evil, and refuse the good. We grieve God by our ingratitude, give Satan power over us, and God in his just displeasure at length gives us up to believe a lie, and while we cry peace and safety, sudden destruction cometh upon us, and we perish in our own desery. ings. God bears with us long, like the barren fig-tree we are allowed to stand year after year, but at length, divine justice says, I can bear with them no longer, I can enduro no more, let them take the consequences. Then we are left to fill up the measure of our iniquities, conscience becomes hardened, or seared as with a hot iron, the understand. ing is darkened, the affections are wholly carnalised, the will runs out after sin and folly, or centres in covetousness, the gospel has no charms for us, the law is neglected and disregarded by us, and we are judicially blinded. Then the fearful words of the apostle are illustrated in us, “ If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." Reader, perhaps like the son in the parable, who, when his father said, “Son, go work to-day in my vineyard,” you have said, “ I will not.” If so, let me beseech you to think better of it, as he did, and imitate his example, for we read, “ Afterwards he repented, and went." Repent, and turn unto the Lord, so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, so you shall be saved, Seek the Lord, and you shall yet find him. Call upon the Lord, and. he will yet hear you. Turn to the Lord, with full purpose of heart, and so will you escape hell, and safely arrive in heaven.