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with a shout, shall call up all nations, proclaiming, “ Arise ye dead and come to judgment,” shall set the goats on the left hand, and the sheep on the right, and part them to heaven or hell, with “Come ye blessed, " and “Go ye cursed,” without delay or debate. Without this blessed advocate pleading for you, you must certainly be confounded; one word from your Judge will summon you, his omniscience will detect your deceit, his justice will sentence you according to desert, and his power will execute that sentence, and your torments shall continue to eternity! And who is able to alter or reverse that dreadful sentence ? O O poor sinner, think and think again, of that solemn day, and fly from the wrath to come ; set thyself to task, examine thy conscience, study gospel terms, call thy sins to remembrance with grief, hatred, serious confession, and self-condemnation; post to the city of refuge, lay hold on the horns of the altar, give up thyself to the Lord. O that guilty malefactors condemned already by the gospel law, and leading to execution, would open their eyes, see their danger, and dread the consequences thereof! Think and think again, sinner, how many accusers thou wilt have at the great day-justice, Satan, law, conscience, will bring in large indictments; ministers, friends, creatures will be as so many witnesses, yea, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom thou now thinkest will plead for thee, will plead against thee; his incarnation, holy life, preaching, and miracles his agonies, prayers, tears, condemnation, and crucifixion_his resurrection, ascension, session at God's right hand, and coming to judgment, will all with one consent bear their testimony against thee, and how wilt thou be able to answer all these? Will thy prayers, tears, good wishes, reformation, or alms-deeds, stand thee in stead to bring thee off? They are all ciphers, ex
cept Christ, as the main figure, be set before them. Nothing will avail but Christ to intercede for thee. Consider what astonishment seized on Belshazzar, when he saw the hand-writing on the wall—“ His countenance was changed, his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another."* Even so will it be with thee, when this writing is read : “ TEKEL,” that is, "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting : MENE, thy days are numbered : PERES, thy soul must be divided from thy body, and both from God.” O dreadful day! Tremble, O tremble now, to think of it! The day of grace is past, the Spirit will strive with you no longer, heaven is shut upon you, hell is open to reccive you, justice orders an arrest for you—all the world cannot secure you.
Who can be bail for you? as Eli said to his wicked sons, 1 Sam. ii. 25, “ If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him ; but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him ?” as if he had said, If only man be wronged, man can right it, and reconcile the persons; but if the offence be against the supreme Judge, what man will dare to interpose as moderator, or who shall make himself a judge for him? No, no, that work has ceased for ever: none but he that is equal with God can be a prevailing advocate. See to this as you love your immortal souls.
* Daniel v. 5, 6.
EXAMINATION PROPOSED TO ASCERTAIN WHETHER
JESUS CHRIST BE OUR INTERCESSOR.
It is a case of conscience of great importance, to know whether we have an interest in Christ, as our advocate, to intercede for us ; for unless Christ plead for us, neither our persons nor our performances can be accepted now, nor will he plead for us at the last day before the great tribunal; and then we are cast and lost for ever.
In resolving this weighty case, I shall propose to you these ten questions :
1. Hath the Spirit of Christ pleaded and prevailed with you ? If hitherto you have stood out against the gracious pleadings of the Holy Ghost with your souls, to convince and convert your hearts, do not imagine Christ will plead for you; for these run parallel, and answer each other. Christ will not own you as brethren, except you be God's sons by regeneration; you must be members of his body, otherwise he will not own you.
He prays not for the world, but for those that God hath given hin by conversion.* The Spirit of God conquers those for whom Christ intercedes. Sin hath alienated us from God-grace unites us to him. The poor blind man could say, “ Now we know that God heareth not sinners,” John ix. 31. The loudest vociferations of unconverted souls, he regards no more than the howling of a dog, or the roaring of a bear. They scorned him, and he slights them; so he saith, Prov. i. 24, 28, “ Because I have called and ye refused, then they shall call upon me, but I will not answer ; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me." * John xvii. 9.
of Amos visi. 3.
This is a lex talionis, a just requital. Souls without sincerity are none of the favourites of heaven; you must yield yourselves to God, or think not he will condescend to you. He hath sent his Spirit in his word to treat with sinners, and this is, tò mapakantos, the intercessor for God, as Christ is our intercessor with God; and the Spirit's plea is, to “convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment,” John xvi. 7-11. Have your souls been thoroughly convinced of your being under the power of unbelief, whatever your pretences have been to faith, and that you must have a righteousness better than your own, even Christ's, or you are undone and condemned for ever? Deal faithfully with God and your own consciences. Hath the Spirit of God, by conviction, taken you off all false bottoms? hath it dismounted you from your conceits and vain imaginations, levelling every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ ? *
2. Are you the persons that plead against themselves ? Christ will be advocate for him that doth most censure, accuse, and condemn himself at God's bar: so the text, 1 Cor. xi. 31, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” This would put the devil out of employment, and God himself in kindness would not charge the sinner with that with which he hath charged himself. Conscience is as a thousand witnesses; it first arrests and impeacheth him before God's tribunal, produceth more against himself than all the world can accuse him of or knows of, in consequence of which he applies the threatening to himself; he saith, I am guilty, and obnoxious to God's wrath, I am silenced, and have not one word to say for myself
• 2 Cor. x. 4,5. VOL. III.
why sentence should not be executed: the Lord is righteous if he cast me into hell this instant; my mouth is stopped, and I am become guilty before God.* Now doth the blessed Jesus interpose and plead for the poor sinner, and this is of divine appointment, in compliance with the order, “ Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom.”+ You will say, how is this consistent with 1 John iii. 20, “If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things :” so that it should seem the supreme Judge will much more condemn us? I answer, this text speaks of a passive condemnation by an accusing conscience, when men stifle it, and do what they can to avoid or evade its censures, which was the case of Cain, Saul, and Felix, that found out diversions, and were loth to attend or yield to its remonstrances ; but when a man is active in self-condemnation and joins with it, when he takes the part of God and conscience against himself, this is a great duty and good property, and God will take such a soul's part, and our Lord Jesus will intercede for it. What sayest thou, soul? dost thou voluntarily arraign thyself, hold up thy guilty hand, ingenuously confess thy sins, own hell torments as the proper fruit thereof?
fruit thereof? Canst thou find nothing good in thyself for which God may acquit thee, and wilt thou justify God if he condemn thee? Then thou art the person of whom Jesus Christ will undertake the patronage. But if thou justify thyself as the Pharisee, saying, God, I thank thee I am not so bad, or so great a sinner as others; then saith our Lord, Plead for thyself, and bring thyself off if thou canst: here is a poor self-condemning Publican standing afar off, not daring to lift up his eyes to heaven, crying out, be merciful to me a sinner !"! This, this is the man
* Rom. iii. 19. + Job xxxüi. 24. # Luke xviii. 13.