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covetousness and ambition, how much thirst of praise, how much love of the world, how much fear of man is to be found ! Meanwhile, how little of true religion ! For, where is he that loveth either God or his neighbour, as he hath given us commandment ? On the one hand, are those who have not so much as the form of godliness; on the other, those who have the form only: there stands the open, there the painted sepulchre. So that in very deed, whosoever were earnestly to behold any public gathering together of the people, (I fear those in our churches are not to be excepted,) might easily perceive, “ that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees :" the one having almost as little concern about religion, as if there were “no Resurrection, neither Angel nor Spirit ;” and the other, making it a mere lifeless form, a dull round of external performances, without either true faith, or the love of God, or joy in the Holy Ghust!
12. Would to God I could except us of this place! “Brethren, 'my heart's desire and prayer to God, for you is, that ye may be saved ” from this overflowing of ungodliness, and that here may its proud waves be stayed ! But is it su indeed ? God knoweth, yea, and our own consciences, it is not. Ye have not kept yourselves pure. Corrupt are we also and abominable; and few are there that understand any more; few that worship God in spirit and in truth. We too are “a generation that set not our hearts aright, and whose spirit cleaveth not steadfastly unto God :” he hath appointed us indeed to be “the salt of the earth; but if the salt hath lost its savour, it is thenceforth good for nothing ; but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of men.”
13. And “Shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord ? Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this ? ” Yea, we know not how soon he may say to the sword, “Sword, go through this land!” He hath given us long space to repent. He lets us alone this year also : but he warns and awakens us by thunder. His judgments are abroad in the earth. And we have all reason to expect the heaviest of all, even that he “should come unto us quickly, and remove our candlestick out of its place, except we repent and do the first works ;” unless we return to the principles of the Reformation, the truth and simplicity of the Gospel. Perhaps we are now resisting the last effort of divine grace to save us. Perhaps we have well nigh “ filled up the measure of our iniquities,” by rejecting the counsel of God against ourselves, and casting out his messengers.
14. () God, “ in the midst of wrath remember mercy!” Be glorified in our rcformation, not in our destruction! Let us hear the rod, and him that appointed it! Now that thy “ judgments are abroad in the carth, let the inhabitants of the world learn rightcousness !”
15. My Brethren, it is high time for us to awake out of slecp; before the “great trumpet of the Lord be blown,” and our land become a field of blood. O may we speedily sec the things that make for our peace, before they are hid from our cyes ! “ Turn thou us, o good Lord, and let thine anger cease from us. O Lord, look down from heaven, behold and visit this vine;" and cause us to know “the time of our visitation." “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name! O deliver us, and be merciful to our sins, for thy name's sake! And so we will not go back from thce : 0 let us live, and we shall call upon thy name. Turn us again, O Lord God of Hosts ! Show the light of thy countenance, and we shall be whole.”
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the Church, by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen!"
ST. MARY'S, OXFORD, BEFORE THE UNIVERSITY, ON AUGUST 24, 1744.
“ Whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning ; if the
sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head." Ezek, xxxiii. 4.
“ And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” Acts iv. 31.
1. The same expression occurs in the second chapter, where we read, “When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all,” (the Apostles, with the women, and the mother of Jesus, and his brethren,) “ with one accord, in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost :” One immediate effect whereof was, “ They began to speak with other tongues ;” insomuch, that both the Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and the other strangers who “came together, when this was noised abroad, heard them speak, in their several tongues, the wonderful works of God.” (Acts ii. 1–6.)
2. In this chapter we read, that when the Apostles and brethren had been praying, and praising God," the place was shaken where they were assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” (Acts iv. 31.) Not that we find any visible appearance here, such as had been in the former instance : nor are we informed that the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were then given to all or any of them ; such as the “ gift of healing, of working other miracles, of prophecy, of discerning spirits, the speaking with divers kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.” (1 Cor. xii. 9, 10.)
3. Whether these gifts of the Holy Ghost were designed to remain in the Church throughout all ages, and whether not "taste and see that the Lord is gracious.” He “ hath not seen God at any time,” nor" heard his voice," nor“ handled the word of life." In vain is the name of Jesus “like ointment poured forth, and all his garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia.” The soul that sleepetii in death, hath no perception of any objects of this kind. His heart is past feeling, and understandeth none of these things.
11. And hence, having no spiritual senses, no inleis of spiritual knowledge, the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; nay, he is so far from recciving them, that whatsocver is spiritually discerned, is niere foolishness unto him. He is not content with being utterly ignorant of spiritual things, but he denies the very cxistence of them. And spiritual sensation itself is to him the foolishness of folly. “ How (saith he) can these things be? How can any man know that he is alive to God?” Even as you know that your body is now alive. Faith is the life of the soul; and if ye have this life abiding in you, ye want no marks to evidence it to yourself, but enerxos II,cokeztos, that divine consciousness, that witness of God, which is more and greater than ten thousand human witnesses.
12. If he doth not row bear witness with thy spirit, that thou art a child of God, O that he might convince thee, thou poor unawakened sinner, by his demonstration and power, that thou art a child of the Devil! O that, as I prophesy, there might now be “a noise and a shaking ;” and may “ the bones come together, bone to his bone !” Then, “ come from the four winds, 0 Breath! and breathe on these slain, that they may live!” And do not ye harden your hearts, and resist the Holy Ghost, who even now is come to convince you of sin, “ because you believe not on the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
II. 1. Wherefore, “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead.” God calleth thee now by my mouth; and bids thee know thyself, thou fallen spirit, thy true state and only concern below. “What meanest thou, 0 sleeper ? Arise! Call upon thy God, if so be thy God will think upon thee, that thou perish not.” A mighty ten;pest is stirred up round about thee, and thou art sinking into the depths of perdition, the gulf of God's judgments. If thou wouldst escape them, cast thyself into them. “ Judge thyself, and thou shalt not be judged of the Lord.”
2. Awake, awake! Stand up this moment, lest thou “drink at the Lord's band the cup of his fury." Stir up thyself to lay hold on the Lord, the Lord thy Righteousness, mighty to save! “Shake thyself from the dust.". At least, let the earthquake of God's threatenings sbake thee. Awake, and cry out with the trembling Jailor, “What must I do to be saved ? " And never rest, till thou believest on the Lord Jesus, with a faith which is his gift, by the operation of his Spirit.
3. If I speak to any one of you, more than to another, it is to thee, who thinkest thyself unconcerned in this exhortation. “I have a message from God unto thee.” In his name, I waru thee to "flee from the wrath to come.” Thou unholy soul, see thy picture in condemned Peter, lying in the dark dungeon, between the soldiers, bound with two chains, the keepers before the door keeping the prison. The night is far spent, the morning is at hand, when thou art to be brought forth to execution. And in these dreadful circumstances, thou art fast asleep; thou art fast asleep in the Devil's arms, on the brink of the pit, in the jaws of everlasting destruction !
4. O may the Angel of the Lord come upon thee, and the light shine into thy prison! And mayest thou feel the stroke of an Almighty Hand, raising thee, with “Arise up quickly, gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals, cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.”
5. Awake, thou everlasting spirit, out of thy dream of worldly happiness! Did not God create thee for himself? Then, thou canst not rest till thou restest in him. Return, thou wanderer! Fly back to thy ark. This is not thy home. Think not of building tabernacles here. Thou art but a stranger, à sojourner upon earth; a creature of a day, but just launching out into an unchangeable state. Make haste. Eternity is at hand. Eternity depends on this moment. An eternity of happiness, or an eternity of misery!
6. In what state is thy soul? Was God, while I am yet speaking, to require it of thee, art thou ready to meet death and judgment ? Canst thou stand in his sight, who is of " purer eyes tban to behold iniquity?” Art thou “ meet to be partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light ?” Hast thou “ fought a good fight, and kept the faith?” Hast thou secured the one thing needful ? Hast thou recovered the image of God, even righteousness and true holiness? Hast thou put off the old man, and put on the new? Art thou clothed upon with Christ ?