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WHY WILL YOU DIE?
"A STRANGE question this, to ask a living person!" you may "What does it mean?" Yes, my reader, it may appear strange; and yet it may be that the question applies to you. Are you given up to the pleasures and pursuits of this world? Is your heart unaffected with thoughts of God and Divine things? As a dead body feels not the warmth of the sun, so a sinner is not influenced by the love of God. Are you yet in your sins? Then you are dead to him, because you do not live to him. The unconverted are described as "dead in trespasses and sins," Ephes. ii. 1. In this state you can never enter heaven. Now, sinner, whether you are young or old, male or female, let this one truth fasten upon your mind, that sin is not your misfortune, but your guilt. If your soul is lost, it will be your own fault. Your final condemnation will be the result of your own determination. That you will have yourself alone to
blame is evident
I. Because your danger has been pointed out. Read the following threatenings of Divine vengeance against the sinner:"The wicked shall be turned into hell," Psa. ix. 17. "Though
hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished," Prov. xi. 21. "It shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God," Eccles. viii. 13. "Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him," Isa. iii. 11. Christ will say to the wicked at the day of judgment, " Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," Matt. xxv. 41. "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power," 2 Thess. i. 7-9. "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death," Rev. xxi. 8.
This language has no doubtful meaning. It tells you, plainly and faithfully, that if you live and die an impenitent sinner, with your heart unreconciled to God, you will be eternally lost. Think not to plead ignorance of your danger, to lessen your guilt. If you never received these warnings before, you have them now; and though they were never again to meet your eye, or sound in your ears, you will stand at the last without excuse, guilty and condemned before God.
II. A remedy has been provided. You are not left to mourn in despair over your helpless condition. There is deliverance for you. Yes! a deliverance too complete and glorious for language to express. Jesus Christ came into the world to suffer the penalty due to our sins. He died instead of us. Sin has been punished, but not upon us. Jesus" was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed," Isa. liii. 5. "The Son of man is come to save that which was lost," Matt. xviii. 11. "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us," Rom. v. 8. "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin," 1 John i. 7.
Do your sins seem to stretch out to an infinite distance around you, above you, and beneath you? Yet, the mercy of God in Christ can go beyond them, above them, and beneath them. O, sinner, what a view does this plan of redemption give you of the character of God! He is so just and holy, that he will punish sin, though the weight of his indignation fall upon his Son; and yet he has such compassion for sinners like you, that
WHY WILL YOU DIE?
Here the Divine justice is manifested, and the Divine mercy richly displayed. Justice and mercy are joined, and both glorified in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation of sinners.
III. You are invited to accept of this salvation. Hear the language of God himself:-" Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price," Isa. lv. 1. "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out," John vi. 37. "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely," Rev. xxii. 17. Could invitations be more pressing and urgent? You cannot say, "It is true there is salvation, but it is not for me." The invitations now before you forbid you to say this. Are not the words, " every one" and "whosoever" sufficiently express? If you do not come to the gospel feast, it is because you will not. You are invited; but you make light of it; you "begin to make excuse," Luke xiv. 18. Do you feel yourself to be lost? Then you are one of the very characters whom Christ came to save. Do you think your guilt too great to be pardoned? Jesus Christ saves to the uttermost, Heb. vii. 25; even the very chief of sinners, 1 Tim. i. 15.
And now your danger has been pointed out, the remedy has been shown to you, the invitations of the gospel have been laid before you; what course do you mean to pursue? Do that you will consider of it, for that only means that you will defer the question. Dare you put off the consideration of this question for a single day, whilst the wrath of God abideth on you, (see John iii. 36,) and you may die any moment, and yet you have not a single excuse that you can plead at the bar of God? What folly! Does not your conscience tell you which way to act? Does it not whisper that it is your duty to forsake your sins, and flee unto Jesus as your Saviour? Oh then, now, whilst you are reading this, give yourself to God. You know that it will be both a safe and a happy course. But if, after this warning, you continue in your sins, your punishment will be heavier than if you had never heard of mercy. It will add torment to your torments to reflect, that once the gospel, with all its unspeakable blessings, was pressed and urged upon your attention, and you put it far from you, and now you are beyond its limits. If you perish, your blood will be upon your own head. Be wise in time.
"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To-day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin," Heb. iii. 12, 13.
THE TITLE Of Redeemer.-There is no name of Messiah more significant, comprehensive, or endearing, than the name of Redeemer. The name of Saviour expresses what he does for sinners. He saves them from guilt and wrath, from sin, from the present evil world, from the powers of darkness, and all their enemies; he saves them with an everlasting salvation. But the word Redeemer intimates likewise the manner in which he saves them. For it is not merely by the word of his power, as he saved his disciples when in jeopardy upon the lake, by saying to the winds and the seas, 66 Peace, be still!" and there was a great calm; but by price, by paying a ransom for them, and pouring out the blood of his heart as an atonement for their sins. The Hebrew word for Redeemer, Goel, primarily signifies a near kinsman, or, the next of kin, he with whom the right of redemption lay, Numbers xxxv. 19, 21; Ruth iv. 1-3; and who by virtue of his nearness of relation was the legal avenger of blood. Thus Messiah took upon him our nature, and by assuming our flesh and blood, became nearly related to us, that he might redeem our forfeited inheritance, restore us to liberty, and avenge our cause against Satan, the enemy and murderer of our souls. But thus he made himself also responsible for us, to pay our debts, and answer the demands of the justice and law of God on our behalf. He fulfilled his engagement. He suffered and died on this account. But our Redeemer, who was once dead, is now alive, and liveth for evermore, and has the keys of death and of hades, Rev. i. 18. This is He of whom Job saith, I know that he liveth, (was then living,) though he was not to stand upon the earth till the latter day. He is the Living One, having life in himself; "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever," Heb. xiii. 8. Such was his own language to the Jews: "Before Abraham was, I am,' John viii. 58. Therefore the Redeemer is mighty, and his redemption is sure. He is able to save to the uttermost. His power is unlimited, and his official authority, as Mediator, is founded in a covenant ratified by his own blood, and by the oath of the unchangeable God, Psa. cx. 4.-John Newton.
SANCTIFICATION.-The sanctified man is a man in whom the Holy Ghost has begun and is performing a great work of renovation and recovery from sin; whose heart is God's temple, whose soul the Spirit of life quickens; who, having obtained mercy to be "saved by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost," is released from the bondage of corruption, and raised from the death of sin, is made alive unto God, and willingly yields himself body and soul to the service of God.