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you have no will, no inclination, to choose him for your Saviour; you are such an obstinate enemy to him, that you would rather perish than take him for your Friend; therefore your not coming to him is no crime. Is this consistent reasoning? Is it not all one, as if a rebel should think to excuse himself by pleading, “I have such an inveterate hatred to my sovereign, that I cannot love him?" Or a robber,“ I have such an aversion to honesty, that I cannot possibly help stealing ?” Would not this be an aggravation of the crime rather than an excuse? Is the invincible strength of your disaffection to Christ, a vindication of it? Are you the more excusable, by how much the more you hate him? Sinners, give up this foolish reasoning, for the matter is too important to be trifled with. Your inability in this case is nothing else but your unwillingness; and your unwillingness is the effect of nothing else but your disaffection to Jesus Christ; therefore own that this is the true cause of your destruction.
In short, whatever pleas and excuses you make, you will find at last that your destruction is entirely the effect of your own perverse choice. Ye will not come unto Christ that ye might have life, John v. 40, and therefore you must perish without it. This reflection will for ever torment you, that you wilfully destroyed yourselves, and were guilty of the most unnatural self-murder. Jesus was willing, but you would not. God has even sworn that he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that he turn and live. To you, therefore, I may properly address that expostulation, Why will ye die? Why will ye? why do you most wilfully destroy yourselves? why do ye ruin yourselves by your own free choice? why will you die ? you, whom Jesus is willing to save, whom he has so often invited, why will you, above all men in the world, cause
lessly die by your own act? Are you capable of so much stupidity? It is stupidity that is a dreadful peculiarity of your own, for,
7. Unwillingness to fly to Jesus is the most irrational, and worse than brutal, stupidity.
This is implied in my text. No sooner does the hen give the signal of danger, than her little family, taught by instinct to understand the alarm, immediately fly under her wings. “So,” says Christ, “I gave you the alarm, but you would not regard it; so I spread out the wing of my guardian care to defend you, but you would not shelter under it.” What more than brutal stupidity is this? In this light, the conduct of sinners is frequently exposed in the sacred writings. “The ox knoweth his owner,” says Isaiah, "and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.” Isaiah i. 3. “Every one turneth to his course,” says Jeremiah, “as the horse rusheth into the battle. Yea, the stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle, and the crane, and the swallow, observe the time of their coming; but my people,” more stupid than they, “know not the judgment of the LORD.” Jer. viii. 6, 7. To refuse the offer of eternal salvation, when proposed upon the most reasonable terms—to rush into hell, rather than be saved by the friendly hands of Jesus Christ—to suffer the most terrible execution, rather than accept a free pardon—to reject all the bliss of heaven, when freely proposed—to choose the pleasures of sin for a season, rather than an eternity of the most exalted happiness—to resist the calls of redeeming love, and all the friendly efforts of divine grace, to save a sinking soulis this the conduct of a reasonable creature? No: show me the brute, if you can, that would act so stupid a part in things that come within the sphere of his capa
city. Would it not be better for you to be a cat or dog (to use the language of the Earl of Rochester) than that animal man, who is so proud of being rational, if you make so irrational a choice? Let me endeavour to make you sensible,
8. And lastly, that this conduct is extremely affecting and lamentable.
It is on this account that Jesus laments over Jerusalem in such pathetic strains in my text. He knew the truth of the case; his all-seeing eye took it in all its extent, and viewed it in all its circumstances and consequences. And since he, who knew it best, deeply laments it, we may be sure it is lamentable indeed, and it cannot but appear so even to us who know so little of it. An immortal soul lost! lost for ever! lost by its own obstinacy! lost amidst the means of salvation! how tragical a case is this !—God dishonoured! Jesus rejected! his love defeated! his blood trampled upon! his Spirit grieved! how lamentable is this !
And yet are there not some of you in this lamentable condition in this assembly? It was over such as you that Jesus wept and mourned: and shall he weep alone? Shall not our tears keep time with his, since we are so much more nearly concerned ? Oh that our heads were waters, and our eyes fountains of tears, that we might weep along with the Saviour of men ! But,
, alas! our tears are too much reserved for dying friends, or some less affecting object, while immortal souls perish around us, unpitied, unlamented!
THE NATURE OF LOVE TO GOD AND CHRIST OPENED AND
JOHN xxi. 17.-He saith unto him the third time, Simon,
son of Jonas, lovest thou me ? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
There is nothing more essential to religion, or of more importance in it, than divine love. Divine love is the sole spring of all acceptable obedience in this life, and the grand pre-requisite for complete happiness in the enjoyment of God in the world to come; and without it, our religion, all our gifts and improvements, however high and miraculous, are vain.
And as it is of the utmost importance in reality, it is confessed to be so by all mankind, who acknowledge the existence of a Deity. Whatever be the religion, or whatever be the object, still it is universally acknowledged, that love is an essential part of it. And, indeed, the evidence for this is so very glaring, that it is no wonder mankind have not been able to shut their eyes against it. Religion without love, is as great a contradiction as friendship without love. To worship a God whom we do not love, to adore excellences which we disaffect, to profess a religion founded by an enemy, this is the greatest absurdity
imaginable. Such a religion must appear abominable to God and man.
Now divine love is the subject of my text, which I have chosen for your present meditation; and you see have not chosen a subject that is trifling in itself, or the disputed peculiarity of a party. You need not, therefore, be under apprehensions, that I would proselyte you to anything but the sincere love of God and Jesus Christ. However I would not have you judge of my design by my verbal declarations, but by the apparent tendency of my discourse, of which you will be able to form a judgment when I have done. Therefore entertain no prejudices or suspicions till you see reason, lest you deprive yourselves of that benefit you might otherwise receive from your present attendance.
There is so little solicitous inquiry among men concerning the sincerity of their love to God, that it would seem self-evident, and beyond all dispute. Whatever sins they indulge themselves in, however much they practically neglect God and religion, yet still they insist upon it, they love him sincerely. This piece of merit they all claim, as belonging to them beyond dispute. But is divine love indeed a thing so common, so universal ? We read that the carnal mind is enmity against God. Rom. viii. 7. And is there no such thing as a carnal mind now to be found upon earth? We are told of some that were haters of God. Rom. i. 30;—enemies in their minds by wicked works. Col. i. 21. And are there none such to be found among us? The heart-searching Jesus, while conversant among mortals, told the Jews, who made so great a profession of their love to God, and suspected their own sincerity as little as any of us, I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. John v. 42. And were he now to pass sentence upon us, would he not