Behold, ye are all children of Israel; give here your advice and counsel.—Judges 20.7.

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The Day of Judgment,

And the Duty of Ministers.


TWO

S E R M O N S

Preached in the Parish of CATHCART, by Mr. JOHN WELCH. [ of Irongray. ]


Formerly Published In:

A

COLLECTION

OF VERY VALUABLE

SERMONS

Preached on ſeveral SUBJECTS and in di­vers Places in the time of the Late PER­SECUTION.

&c. &c. &c.


COLLECTED and TRANSCRIBED from different MA­NUSCRIPTS, by JOHN HOWIE; &c.


GLASGOW: Salt-Market,—1780.

SERMON IV.

2 CORINTHIANS 5.10.

For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ: that every one may receive the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

[ FORENOON’s SERMON. ]

THERE is a generation of men in the world, that can neither be enticed nor compelled: they can neither be allured nor persuaded unto their duty.  But they and their duty are at such variance and distance, that nothing will persuade them to it: neither promises nor threatenings, love nor terror, strokes nor allurements, nothing will persuade and reconcile them to their duty.  Again, there is a number of men and women that nothing will divert, or separate them and their duty.—I say, they are of the contrary disposition: Nothing will persuade the one unto their duty; and on the contrary, nothing can separate the other from their duty.  Paul was such a one: It was long ere he fell unto duty; and it was long ere he was reconciled unto it: He got a sore onset of the law, and a terrible stroke of {46} humiliation, ere he and his duty were reconciled together.—But from the time that God did him saving good, he was the man that abode by his duty.  Now he is come at his duty, and neither threatenings, baits, strokes, nor allurements can separate or set him and his duty at variance again.—But contrary to all impediments, he resolves to go on: no opposition or impediment can hinder or divert him from it.  These indeed were many, and coming from divers airths [quarters]; sometimes from Pagans, and sometimes from the Jewish church, who clave to the Mosaical rites and ceremonies, and sometimes from false brethren: Yet nothing could separate him and his duty in preaching the gospel; but still he pressed forward in spite of every contrary wind of opposition.

Now, in this chapter he gives a reason for his strict adherence unto his duty.—I know, says he, we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.  We must all stand there: I that preach, and you that hear, must stand before this judgment seat; and because I am persuaded what a terrible judge he is, therefore I hold at my work to beseech men to be reconciled to God, to intreat them to forsake their sinful courses: therefore, says he, I will make it always my work to obtest them to turn from them, and live; and if they will not, to tell and persuade them that they shall die.  Therefore knowing the terrors of the Lord we persuade men, &c.

In the words there are two things considerable.

First, The doctrine which is set down in the verse we read, for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

Secondly, There is the use of the doctrine for improvement, in the beginning of the 11th verse, Therefore knowing the terrors of the Lord, &c.  Or ye may take it thus: there is a doctrine or proposition laid down in the text,—We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

Then there is the conclusion drawn from it, which is this,—We persuade men; as if he had said, seeing there will be such a day, we cease not, night nor day, to persuade men.

But I shall speak a word to the doctrine; and there are these three or four things considerable [in] it:

1st, There must be a day of judgment; for there is a judge, and there are parties to be judged; and there is a reward: therefore it must follow, that there will be a day of judgment.  And {47}

2dly, There is one that is to be judge; and it is Jesus Christ the second Person of the blessed Trinity; who is appointed of the Father to be judge.—Therefore it is called, the judgment seat of Christ.

3dly, There are those that are to be judged, and these are all men; we must all appear: all that are here and else where; all that are dead, and all that are living, and all that ever shall live; all from Adam to the end of the world shall appear on this day.  And

4thly, There is the business of the day for which it is appointed: it is appointed that every one may receive a reward according to his works: which includes, first, an examination or trial; after that a sentence will be passed;—and then there will be a putting of the sentence into execution.  Great will be the business of that day.

We shall draw all that we intend to say unto this one point of doctrine.

DOCTRINE. That there shall be a day of judgment appointed, wherein every one, man and woman, shall receive a reward or punishment, suitable to the measure of their works or offences.

In speaking to this point of doctrine, I shall speak a word unto the following particulars.

I. That there will be a general judgment, and what are the reasons for it.

II. I shall speak a word unto what day this will be.

III. Who will be the judge of that day.

IV. I shall speak a word to the sentence, and the execution of that sentence.  And

Lastly, A short word of application, or what improvement we are to make of this great doctrine.  And

I. There are very good reasons why there will be a day of judgment.  And

1.Because there is many a wrong and unjust sentence passed here upon earth.  Many times the guilty are assoyled [absolved], and the innocent sentenced and condemned: ofttimes the godly are cried out against and condemned as malefactors, when the wicked of the world are rewarded and set in high places.  Therefore, there must be a day {48} of judgment, when all evil sentences, all acts of parliament, all condemnators, all persons and causes whatsoever, shall come to a hearing again.—It shall be a day wherein the righteous judge of all the earth, will try, whether ye have been right or wrong judged; a day for judging these causes that were wrong judged on earth.  Many times the people of God are here looked upon as heretics and seditious persons; because they follow their duty, and obey God rather than man. [Acts 5.29.]  Therefore a day must be, when such wrong sentences must be judged and heard a-new again.  But, you’ll say, they have laws and acts of parliament for all that they do.  It is true, as to the most part of all the martyrs that have been burnt, beheaded, and hanged, it was still the breaking of a law, or disowning an authority that was laid to their charge, excepting a few that have been privily murdered.  Even our Lord Jesus himself, they pleaded the breaking of the law against him.  So, I say, this is a good reason.  This day of judgment, both must and will be, because of so many wrong sentences here passed on earth. This made Solomon say, I saw the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there; and I said in mine heart that God shall judge the righteous and the wicked.  There are many wrongs done, that are never judged nor punished; and there are many that are wrong judged; and therefore, says the Lord, there shall be a solemn day, wherein not only all causes, but all persons shall be judged.

I assure you, that are followers of Christ, it concerns you to be fixed in the faith of this truth; for sometimes the people of God will be at this, that they know nothing in all the world that they can take comfort or encouragement from, to bear them through, but this: that there is a day coming wherein God will judge the righteous and the wicked: that there shall be a day wherein it shall be known who has been the knave, and who has been the honest man; a day wherein the people of God shall be comforted, and both parties heard; when the Lord will ask, Wherefore was all this blood shed in the city and in the fields?  Wherefore, and upon what account was this?  Why, blessed Lord, will the people of God say; it was for adhering to thee, and abiding stedfast by our covenant; even for this, that we would not perjure ourselves, and forsake and disclaim thee.—Then will the Lord say to the wicked and the persecutor:—Yea, {49} and was it for this that ye took so many lives, and put up so many heads and hands? and was it even for this, that ye stigmatized, imprisoned, and banished so many? and was it for this that ye made so many poor widows and orphans?  Believe, believe it, Sirs, the business will yet come to a hearing again: many that have been condemned here, will in that day be absolved; and those that sentenced them, sentenced with an everlasting irrevocable sentence, Depart from me,&c.——Therefore, commit your cause, case, and business, in the way of well-doing, unto the righteous Lord, who will make a glorious account at that day of those who do so.  Believe it, that such a day will be, that whatever injustice ye suffer now, yet your cause will not go so; but it will come to a hearing again: therefore commit your cause unto him in well-doing, as to a faithful Creator. [1 Pet. 4.19.]  A

2. Reason is, because there are many things hid and secret now, that must be made manifest in that day.  There are many things done in secret, of which the manifestation and discovery depend upon that day: and that is another reason why there must be a judgment-day, wherein God will bring every work to be tried, whether it be good or evil.  It will also be a day of recompence: and such a day must be to bring many hid things to light: how many murderers have died, and never one knew it? how many secret adulterers, whoremongers, witches and wizards have died, and never man knew it?  And O the works of darkness that will be brought to light at that day! how many hid hypocrites and sabbath-breakers will that day bring to light? and for this very reason there must be a day of judgment, that many secret and hidden things may be made manifest.  A

3. Reason is, because there are some here, that plead themselves now to be above the judgment of any here; or that they are not to give a reason for what they do here to any but God; and therefore there must be such a day, wherein not only all causes, but all persons shall be heard and judged, be they high or low, be they rich or poor: the judge and the judged shall be all heard again.  This is another reason for this day, because some plead exemption from all judgment now, or to give any account for what they do; and therefore a day of judgment there shall be.  A {50}

4. Reason I shall observe, is this, Because the people of God are longing for it: they pray and cry for it, and they hope for it; and God has commanded his people to wait for it; it is their desire: they cry, Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.  And—how long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? [Rev. 22.20; 6.10.]  So the godly wait and pray for it; but the wicked hope and desire that it may never be: and whether will he hear and answer the prayer of the godly, or grant the desire of the wicked, think ye? or whether will he frustrate the hopes of his people, or the hopes of his enemies?  And therefore, there must be a day of judgment, otherwise God will fail to hear his people.  And

Lastly, God has been manifesting some of his properties: he has been manifesting his mercy: he has glorified and magnified it above all his other works: therefore, there must be a day for the manifesting of his justice and holiness: now this day will be a solemn day of the manifestation of that property of God upon all the ungodly by judgment.  So much for the reasons to prove that such a day there will and must be.

A word now to the second thing, and that was what a day this will be.  In speaking to which, there are five or six things observable concerning this day—And

1. I say, it shall be the last day; the great and terrible day of the Lord.  After it, there shall never be day nor night any more; it is the last day: there shall be no day after it: no sun, moon, nor stars; no heavens, no earth, nor sea at all: all will be then dissolved, and burnt up with a fervent heat. [2 Pet. 3.10-12.]  All shall melt, and be gone:—you'll say, what for a day will this be? I answer, it will be the great and last day; and as the day will be great, so great will the transactions of that day be.

2. As it will be a great day, so it will be a terrible day: the great and terrible day of the Lord [Joel 2.31]:  O nothing but terror: terror within and terror without: terrible to the wicked, unto many a man and woman, terrible to the persecutors and enemies of God and his work.—How terrible to see the Son of man coming in flaming fire to take vengeance on all the workers of iniquity! How terrible to see the earth shaking and quaking, and the elements melting away with fervent heat! not only will the {51} object be terrible: but men’s hearts will be filled with terror; so it will be a terrible day in these four respects:

1. In regard it is the day of accounts and reckoning. It is the day wherein we must reckon for all we have done; yea, for every secret thing, whether good or evil. It is a day wherein we must reckon for every day; for every minute and moment of time we have had; a day wherein the minister must reckon for his flock; the master for his family; the parent for his children; the elder for those of his quarter; and the magistrate for those under his jurisdiction.

2. In respect that it is a day wherein God will throughly correct the wicked and ungodly; a day when they shall be made to acknowledge their guilt, and the facts charged against them; a day wherein God will libel his enemies, and he will lead probation, and prove it against them before angels and his people: he will then lay open the book of every man’s conscience, and there will be as much found in every man and woman, as will fully prove and say amen unto the whole charge laid against the sinner.  And

3. It will be terrible in respect of the terrible sentence that will be then passed against them.—How terrible will it be to hear that sentence pronounced,—Depart from me, ye cursed, unto everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels! [Matt. 25.41.]

4. It will be also terrible in respect of the execution of the sentence; terrible to hear the shrieks and cries of the damned; terrible to hear the cries of kings, princes, earls, lords, lairds, captains, rich and poor, high and low; to hear millions and millions of millions, crying to hills and mountains to fall on them, and cover them from the face of the Lamb [Rev. 6.16]; for yonder he is coming whom we despised; and his blood we had in our offer for washing away of sin; but we despised and trampled it under foot.  O such a cry will then be: yonder he is coming, that is to be my judge, that I would not have reign over me:—And who can stand in the day of his wrath? [Rev. 6.17.] It will be terrible to hear the cries of damned reprobates, crying to hills and mountains, which cannot hear; yonder he is coming whom I refused and would not hear, when he offered to make peace with me.

3dly, As it will be a terrible day to strangers, so it will be a joyful day to friends, that is, to the saints; a {52} day of joy and singing of songs, a day of redemption, consolation, and salvation, something of this is spoken of, Isa. 25.9, Lo, this is our God: we have waited for him; and he will come and save us,  He is coming to receive them to himself, and to take vengeance on his enemies, and the troublers of his Israel.  This will cause joy in the hearts of the godly; he is coming; but he is my brother that is coming.  Indeed, if our judge were our enemy, as he is to the wicked, we might fear it; or if the devil and wicked men were to be our judges: but it is he who loves our souls, and whom our souls love, who is to be our judge: it is Jesus Christ who shed his blood for us, that died for us that we might live: and will he now condemn us? And what a joyful meeting must this be.

4thly, As it will be a joyful day, so it will be a wonderful day.  Everything in it will have a more wonderful and astonishing aspect than another.  It will be a day wherein there shall be nothing but wonders of wonders; so that we have need of faith.  It will be wonderful to see all persons that ever lived, live, or shall live in the world, gathered unto one place, and appear before Christ: it will be wonderful to see him that was mocked, buffeted and spit upon, judged and condemned before Pontius Pilate; to see him arraign and pannel them before his judgment seat.

5thly, As it will be a great, a terrible, a joyful, and a wonderful day; so it will be an uncertain day.  It will give you no warning of its coming: it will come as a thief in the night.  It will come unexpected and unlooked for, both by saint and sinner.  Some will be reading, praying, meditating, and preaching: others will be swearing, lying, stealing, whoring, and drinking.  It is true, there will be signs before it, such as, the sun will be darkened, the moon turned into blood, &c.  There are also some general tokens, that it will not be as yet, because the scripture is not yet fulfilled: there are certain things promised spoken of in scripture to be before it, to be yet accomplished.  I say, it is a day most uncertain; therefore watch and pray, for ye know not the day nor the hour, when the son of man cometh. [Matt. 25.13.]  But

Lastly, It will not only be an uncertain; but it will be a day of gathering together, and a parting day, a day of separation; even such a day as never was or shall be the {53} like again: the sheep shall be separated from the goats; and the wicked shall stand in the assembly of traitors.—It will part many a king and his subjects; minister and his flock, master and servant, parent and child; it shall be such a parting day, that two men shall be lying in one bed: the one shall be taken, and the other left [Luke 17.34.]; the one saved, and the other condemned.  Many an old acquaintance and relation shall be separated; even the husband and the wife, the one shall be set on the right hand and the other on the left: it will set the king and subject, the one on the right hand, and the other on the left; it will set the father on the right hand, and the son on the left.  As it will be a day of meeting, so it will be a day of parting, even of near and dear relations never to meet again.  It will be an everlasting separation.  Those on the right hand shall immediately pass into glory, and so be for ever with the Lord [1 Thess. 4.17]: so the other shall depart to be for ever with the devil and his angels in everlasting torment,   The

III. Thing I proposed to speak to, was, who shall be the Judge?  A day of judgment there will be; but who will be the judge in that day?  It is called in the text, the judgment-seat of Christ; Jesus Christ the second person of the blessed Trinity is appointed judge; and that for these reasons:

1. The Father has given it unto the Son as a reward for undertaking the work of man’s redemption, and for all his sufferings in the accomplishing of that work; and has put this honour upon him to be the judge, because he is the Son of man. [John 5.27.]

2. Christ is appointed judge for the comfort of his own people, that they may come the more boldly unto him: and will it not be comfortable and encouraging for them to come unto him, who is their elder brother, friend and husband; and not only so, but who spared no pains in coming down from heaven to shed his heart’s blood for their salvation.   And

3. That it may be to the greater terror and confusion of the wicked.  What terror will it be to those who judged and persecuted him in his members on earth; nay, to see him they thus rejected and slighted to be their judge? If it had been another, the matter would have been the less; but it is he that I had in my offer: it is he whose blood for cleansing I refused and {54} trampled under foot, and counted an unholy thing [Heb. 10.29]: it is he whom I persecuted in his members, &c. that is now to be my judge.

Here it may be enquired, who are the persons to be judged? I answer, it is all.—For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ.  All that are living, have lived, or ever shall live; all rich and poor, high and low, old and young, godly and ungodly, fools and wise, the complier and the sufferer, the persecutor and the persecuted; he that has been false, and he that has been faithful in his covenant; all must and shall appear there without exception.

IV. I shall now speak a word to the sentence that shall be passed: and there are two kinds of sentences to be passed: the first upon the godly in these words,—Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, &c. the other upon the wicked in this manner,—Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.  And then the execution of this sentence without all remedy and delay will follow: there will be no intermission or interval betwixt the sentence and its execution.  Judges here will pass a sentence of death; but defer the execution of that sentence.—But no sooner will the judge pronounce that sentence, Depart from me, &c. but the sinner must away without delay.—And again here there shall be no pity: though the sinner should cry out, O judge, give me leave but to speak, and hear me but one word: no, there is no hearing now, but an irrevocable sentence past and put in execution.—Then many a man and woman shall cry out, Hear, dear Lord, have mercy upon me: I thought that thou wast all mercy.  But he shall answer, it was mercy that was offered unto thee many a-day; but thou refusedst that.[1]  Then, Grace, grace, will the sinner cry: But the judge shall then reply, many a day thou hadst grace in thy offer; but thou refusedst it: Now, the day of mercy and grace is gone.—It will then be in vain to cry, open, open unto us, Lord; and cast us not into this place of torment; for the judge will not hear: he will have no more pity: but say, Devil, take and bind them hand and foot, and carry them to prison, and there will be no resistance, away they must.  Now, the door of mercy, the door of hope is shut: no more hope, no more mercy.  Then the poor sinner is {55} between satan and an evil conscience on the one side, on the other side his master carries him off to everlasting torment.  And O who is able to express the thoughts of the sinner’s heart, when he is adjudged to the company of devils and damned spirits, everlasting fire and everlasting darkness, for ever and ever? That is the conclusion of the sentence of the wicked.  And the conclusion of the sentence of the godly is, Come, enter into the joy of your Lord:—And they shall be for ever with the Lord.

Before I come to the application, I might give you some reasons or motives that caused me to pitch upon this text at this time.  And

1. That it might imprint or leave some strong impressions of this day upon your hearts: for, I think it is little believed, and as little thought of by the most part. The wicked hope it shall never be; and for the godly, they do not firmly believe it.  Therefore, I chose this subject, to see if it would leave some impressions on your hearts.  I remember, I have heard of some who said, they never saw a great gathering of people, but it brought this awful day into their remembrance.

2. It may be, some of you will be brought before man’s judgment-seat, and even for this day’s work, ere it be long.  The Lord has made this trial go through the land; and it has not only come to the lord, laird, and great man; but even to the shepherd lad, and the kitchen maid.  These have been made the object of the malice of this ungodly generation.  Well, Sirs, believe this, that although it should be so, the business will come to a hearing again: your cause shall yet be heard, and at that day you shall have a better advocate for you, than any that shall be against you.  If this were believed, there would be more courage than what is amongst us.  The

Last motive is this, that ye may not only be made to lay sin and duty in the balance; but that ye may be brought to say, I durst not quit Christ, nor neglect to hear an offer of salvation, when I might have it, for all the hazard that might come upon me: and ye must not neglect this, as ye will be answerable for it at this great day of judgment.

But I come now to a word of improvement of what has been spoken; I shall give you these uses of the doctrine. {56}

USE 1. We would desire and intreat you to labour to be fixed in the belief and faith of this so often confirmed a truth, that there shall be a day of judgment.  The patriarchs make mention of it: the prophets make mention of it: Christ himself speaks of it: and it is a truth commonly known and confirmed in scripture: and yet little believed.  Enoch the seventh from Adam speaks of it: Joel speaks of it: Malachi mentions it, Behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, &c.  Paul speaks of this day, Heb. 9.27, And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.  And therefore it must be so, if ye believe Christ or his apostles, if ye will believe patriarchs both before and after the flood; all make mention of it; if ye believe the word of God, ye cannot deny this great truth.  The thing I would press upon you from this, is, to labour to believe this well-known and confirmed truth, and make it appear by your practice, that ye believe it; by your hearing, reading, conferring, speaking, praying, &c. yea, by your eating, drinking, and every other action in life, that you believe a day of judgment.  But your careless, superficial, trifling way of the performance of duty, and your omission of commanded duty, careless praying, hearing, and reading, say, ye want the belief of this truth.  The gross commission of forbidden sins, says, ye want the belief of this.  The great profanity, insobriety, perjury, covenant-breaking, and all such things, say, that ye believe not this truth.  What is the reason the drunkard continues in his drunkenness, the persecutor persecutes still? or what is the reason that some will venture on indignation of God before they venture upon the indignation of men, or that so many have forsaken God and foresworn themselves; but even the want of this great doctrine?—Fix yourselves in the faith of this, that you must appear before the judge of the quick and the dead; and answer for all that ye have ever thought or wrought; and the cause of God shall never be wronged by you.  But so long as ye want the faith of this, ye shall never do that which is really good.

USE 2. Labour not only for a rational belief of it; but for a faith or belief that may affect the heart: and to help you to this,

1. Consider how certain it is.  It is a truth beyond all controversy: it depends upon the faithfulness of God. {57} If ye believe God’s word, ye must believe this also.—Shall all other things there spoken of come to pass, and this one thing fail? wilt thou consider for the bearing down of unbelief, that it depends upon no less than the faithfulness of God, and therefore is most certain.

2. Consider how near it is.  It is now a long time since it was said, The end of all things is at hand, &c.  It is not only certain that it will be, but it is certain that it is not far off.  And

3. Consider, how much of your business depends upon that day.  The business of the eternal damnation and salvation of souls; the business of absolution or condemnation depends upon the decisions of that day; and therefore labour to believe that such a day will certainly be.

Uſe 3. A third word of use is this to exhort.  And

1. To make your acquaintance with your judge.  Labour to get him to be your friend: Labour to get him to take your cause in hand.  Labour to have your iniquities blotted out, and to make peace with him, while ye are on the way: and labour to have him for your Lord, teacher, and intercessor.

2. Watch and pray.  Be always upon your guard: Be always ready, for ye know not the day, nor the hour, when the Son of man cometh.  Wait all the days of your appointed time.  And

3. From the faith of the doctrine I would press you to the duty of moderation and sobriety.  This is the very use the apostle makes of this point,—for the end of all things is at hand.  Therefore, says he, let your moderation be known to all men:—and watch and be sober.  O let it be known by your moderate use of the world, and the pleasures thereof, that ye have the firm belief of this truth instamped upon your souls.  And

Lastly, You should be making ready for this day: be studying to be mortified to the allurements of this life. Where is the soul that can say, I am ready, Even so come, Lord Jesus? [Rev. 22.20.]  Where is the soul amongst you that can truly say, I have nothing to do? I have got the world crucified; I have got the upper hand of my corruptions. I am even praying,—waiting,—and longing for that day? Have you such a loathing of the world, Sirs, that ye would be content now to see the throne erecting, and the Son of man coming and set thereon?

Now, (for a Conclusion) I would give you some directions.  And {58}

1st, Labour to make sure your interest in Christ.  Labour, and be at more pains to be assured of that.  Labour to be mortified unto all other things; and never think to get sure grips of eternal life, till ye come to loose your grips of the world and all the pleasures thereof.  Labour to speak, pray, hear, confer, and do all other duties, as these that believe that great truth, we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.  Walk circumspectly; and the more because this is an uncircumspect and ungodly generation.  It will not excuse you, that ye lived in the world in an evil time.  And O but it be a doleful time, since the gospel was removed; a dreadful time, since Christ and his ordinances went from amongst us.—Neither will it excuse you, that ye lived under a lifeless, and (I may say) a godless ministry: therefore be not conformed unto this present world; but walk circumspectly and wisely.  There is many a soul in hell, that might have been in heaven since the gospel was removed (had it been so determined).  There is many a soul drinking in the poison of sin and superstition, and wallowing therein, that the gospel might have been a mean of keeping from such a ruining course. And will ye tell me who shall be the men that will get most skaith [hurt, mischief] of the Prelates and Episcopal government, and have reason to curse them ere all be done? I'll tell you, it shall not be the people of God, for all the suffering and hardships they have put them to: no, it shall even be those who have chosen that government, and are joining with them that are persecuting the people of God this day, that shall have most reason to curse them.  The Lord’s people have reason to pity them.  The day is fast coming that they shall be made to say, woe unto us, that ever we gave you a call; and woe unto you that ever ye embraced our call: for from the time ye came to be our ministers, we took liberty unto ourselves to sin, to drink, whore, swear, and foreswear ourselves, and commit almost all sorts of wickedness; and ye have been the cause of it: for we knew, ye would never reprove us for it.  They that uphold them now, shall only have reason to curse them: and for the godly they have got least skaith of them, and they have least reason to curse them: they may well take a part of your gear and moveables [confiscate your possessions]: that ye may spare.—Well, Sirs, get the faith of this, that this day will be, and none can {59} hinder it: all the world cannot hinder it an hour or moment.  He that will come, shall come, and will not tarry: Though they have hindered many a preaching, many conventicles, (as they call them) yet all the kings that ever was shall not be able to hinder, or retard this day: it is a day wherein the Lord’s people shall be admitted into communion with himself: he shall exalt them above kings and princes: for they shall be kings and priests unto God and the Lamb for ever.  The poorest man or woman that has an interest in Christ, however contemptible here, shall sit above kings, queens, princes, dukes, marquises, earls and lords of the earth: nay more, they shall be assessors with Jesus Christ in judgment,—Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world, &c. [1 Cor. 6.2,3; Psalm 149.]

2dly, Try in what state you are: whether in the state and case that your mother left you in? whether ye be in a state of nature or grace? whether ye be born again or not? Seek your conversion, and never rest till ye attain to know, that you shall be freed from that heavy sentence, that shall be passed upon the ungodly.  And

3dly, Be much in the exercises of making ready for this day: labour to be preparing for it.  Make it an every days work, to put something forward in order to preparation for this day.  O it is a great matter to come to judgment: some think it a great thing to appear before men’s judgment seat, (as it indeed is).  But this is a greater matter to appear before the judge of all the world.—Labour to get an acquaintance with your judge; to have him not only your friend but your advocate; labour to have all your bills of defence, right and in order against that day.

4thly, Be much in meditation and in the thoughts of your latter end, Deut. 32.29, O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end.  It is a special piece of wisdom to be preparing for death: it will make you be much in preparing for judgment.  Improve time; for there is much of it spent and away: Gray hairs appear (amongst you) here and there [Hos. 7.9]: there is much of your work undone, and upon the improvement of time stands the business of life and death, heaven and hell.  Therefore redeem the time [Eph. 5.16]: be doubling your diligence.  Improve the time that yet remains: redeem it; take a part of it from your work, from your sleep, your meat.  Restrain your humour in {60} all these things, and rest not till you make your salvation-work sure.  And

Lastly, Labour to have a conscience void of offence both towards God and towards man, [Acts 24.16]; and work out your salvation with fear and trembling, [Phil. 2.12]: not only work at your salvation, but work out your salvation.—And to his name be the praise.  Amen.


SERMON V.

2 CORINTHIANS 5.11.

Therefore, knowing the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men.

[ AFTERNOON’s SERMON. ]

CHRIST’s flock in the world is but a little flock; but little as they are, they can scarcely get living in it.  Every man is God’s by creation, and has a right as a creature unto their Creator.  But if any have more a right by becoming God’s by election, and an actual resignation of himself to Christ, or is more God’s in this respect than others, then that man stands fair for persecution and opposition in the way of duty.  The apostle Paul was such an one: he met with many difficulties and much opposition in his work; but he got above all these things: nay, he rather found an encouragement than a hindrance in these.  And, Sirs, I’ll tell you, that I defy that man that gets a right sight of his need of Christ, of the excellence that is in him, and of the recompence of reward that is laid up for them that love and serve him, to be a sluggard or to continue in the neglect of duty.  In the 10th verse of this chapter, the apostle gives an account of the arguments or reasons which moved him to continue at his work: in that verse is the proposition,—we must all appear, &c. as ye have heard. And then follows the conclusion in this 11th verse,—{61}Therefore knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men. We have already spoken to the proposition or doctrine: We come now to speak of the conclusion drawn therefrom: And it may be taken up in these two things.

1st, What Paul resolves to make his work, viz. to persuade men.

2ndly, What it was that moved him to make this his work.  His work is to persuade men; the motive that moved him to do so, that is the consideration and knowledge of the terror of the Lord.  By terror is signified either the power and terror of his person, or else the terror of this great judgment day.  Therefore knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men.—The doctrine is this:

DOCTRINE. It is the duty of ministers to persuade men.

But because this is an imperfect proposition of itself, I shall speak a word to these few things following.

I. What it is that ministers are to persuade men of.

II. What are the grounds upon which they are to be persuaded.  And

III. Give some reasons why it is such a difficult work to persuade men of these gospel truths.  And

Lastly, A word of application.

I return to the first of these particulars.

I. What it is that ministers are to persuade men of.  The particulars are not set down in the text; for that would have run to a great length; and therefore he speaks only in general.  But I find these twelve things mentioned in scripture, that we have in commission to persuade you of.

1. We are to persuade men to be convinced of sin, and converted unto Jesus Christ.  We are to persuade the ungodly and profane to turn and live; and if they will not turn, they must burn for ever.  Turn ye, and live: why will ye die, O house of Israel?  That is one thing we are to persuade you of, to tell you that Christ is standing at the door and knocking; and he will take it ill, if you refuse to open unto him.  It is a great thing to persuade you of the necessity of conversion work or the new-birth; and that except ye be holy, ye shall never {62} be happy; and we find this work to be the work of both prophets and apostles.  Jeremiah cries, Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings, Jer. 3.22.  Ezekiel says the same, chapter 33.11, Turn ye, turn ye and live, for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  Solomon makes this also his work, Prov. 1.20,23, Wisdom crieth without, she uttereth her voice in the streets;—turn ye at my reproof.  Jesus Christ himself makes this his work: says he, Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.  And so did his apostles after him.  We are to tell and persuade you to set about the work of faith and repentance; see Isa. 1.2. Joel 2.12.  We have to persuade you to turn unto God; and to tell your danger, if ye do not.  This presupposes, that every man, and every woman have their back upon God.  And we come to you, Sirs, that are yet strangers unto God, and to his Son Jesus Christ, and that are strangers to the Holy Spirit and the grace of repentance: We come to you that are strangers to God: and it is supposed, some of you may be thinking, what brought you here this day? the Lord knows it was with no view to worldly gain or outward advantage; but to persuade you to turn unto God, and be converted, and to let you know your hazard and danger while in an unconverted state.  And therefore it is your duty to be persuaded: I shall give you these three persuasions in order thereunto.

(1.) If ye will not turn, ye shall die without grace, without faith, repentance, &c.  The whole world and much more cannot save you.  Therefore turn and ye shall live; but if not, ye shall surely die in your iniquities.

(2.) Turn unto him, and we assure you in his name, it shall be well with you.  We tell you he has a fatted calf for you; robes to put on you: We tell you he has all that can make you happy.  Sirs, you shall have a life of it here, and eternal life hereafter.  And in the

(3.) Place, We persuade you, that Christ is in good earnest with you.  You’ll wrong yourselves, if ye accept not of the offer.  Nay, ye will perish eternally, if you do not.  Therefore, O be persuaded unto this.  A

2. Thing we are to persuade men to do, is to tell men to turn, and to turn to purpose: for it is not every sort of turning that will do your turn.  We find it in scripture, that every kind of turning has not the everlasting advantage with it.  Therefore the Lord enjoins his servants to tell you to make the thing sure; that you do not {63} beguile yourselves as to your turning.  Tell them, and tell them, that it is not every sort of turning that will do the turn; but ye must turn, and turn with all your heart and soul: that is it, to turn to purpose: and there are four motives I would give you to persuade you to set about a thorough repentance.  And

1. For a motive, Consider that it is a want of a thorough turning to God, that undoes many souls.  Thus many think they are persuaded that they repent and turn to God; but they are but almost persuaded, and therefore stick there.

2. Consider that if ye repent not thoroughly, if ye turn and turn not with your whole heart, ye but lose all your pains: you never (so to speak) get so much as thanks for your work.  And

3. Consider, that ye not only lose your pains, but ye make the thing worse.  Many a man by his formal conversion, has a shew of something of the work of God, that makes his case more desperate, than that of the worst Atheist in the world: for many a man’s conversion that has lived under the gospel, becomes more desperate and hopeless, than the conversion of heathens: for bid him turn and be converted, it never alters the matter with him; and why? he thinks he has already done it.  And

Lastly, Consider but this, who they are that Satan prevails most with to cause them despair: he tempts men to delay, and to halve their repentance, and to be hypocritical therein; and then when he has done that, he will easily prevail to make them despair.  Ye did this, and ye did that; ye went this length, and ye went that length, says the enemy; and ye never made your point good; and think ye, that a little more will do your turn now? no, ye need never think, that when ye have provoked God with your formality, a little more will do your turn.  Now, these and the like arguments Satan may use to make such despair.  Upon these considerations I would have you to make thorough work of repentance; and I pray you consider them.  A

3. Thing that ministers have to persuade folk to do, is, to embrace Jesus Christ as he is offered unto them in the gospel.  We are to persuade you to close with him, as he has offered himself unto you.  This was the work of Isaiah the prophet, Paul the apostle, yea of Christ {64} himself after his ascension.  Says he to the church of the Laodiceans,—I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him.  That is, take him for a king, prophet and priest, as he is offered unto you: and to persuade you to this, take the following considerations:

(1.) Consider what ye will do, if ye do it not.  Do ye not think the day will come, that ye will wish ye had done it? The day will surely come that ye will wish ye had taken him on his offer, and that upon the worst of it.  And

(2.) Consider that the terms are easy, and so easy, that it is,—Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye unto the waters: and he that hath no money, come, buy and eat, without money and without price. [Isa. 55.1.]  Drink and drink fully. Would ye have larger terms than these:—He that is athirst, let him come: and whosoever will, let him come, and take of the water of life freely. [Rev. 22.17.]  And

(3.) Consider that there is nothing so acceptable and well-pleasing unto God as this: and you’ll make many a sad heart by refusing him.  And if ye receive him, it will be well-pleasing to many: it will be the most acceptable thing ever ye did, for ye will thereby please God, angels, and saints.—Ye will only displease satan and wicked men.  Put these two in the balance: if ye do the one, ye will please God, angels, and saints; if the other, ye only displease the devil and wicked men; and I know not, if ye owe them any thing else.  And

(4.) Consider the disadvantages the refusing of him will bring unto you, and the advantages you will have by receiving of him.  For

1. Ye may come forward with confidence; and that even before others, and when hardest set on, as ye see a good example, or way-mark to walk by, in that 7[th chapter] of the Acts.  What made Stephen have such confidence, courage, and boldness? He had two things to support him in this: he knew he was suffering for Jesus Christ, and he knew what was the sufferer’s reward.  And

2. Ye may by this attain to an assurance of an interest in Christ.  Stephen had received Christ: he had an interest in him, and that yields him confidence.  And I’ll tell you, every one will have much ado to get matters right at death: but some will have more to do than others.  Sirs, I’ll tell you who will have least to do at death, even these who have been most forward in giving {65} a testimony for the cause of Jesus Christ.  They have an open door in heaven to see Jesus Christ, as Stephen in his sufferings had.

3. Will you consider, that your sin and guilt is great; and so your punishment shall also be great: and the more, because you have sinned against the remedy provided, and against mercy.  And think ye that they shall be thought worthy, who have done so? Nay, of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and counted the blood of the covenant an unholy thing. [Heb. 10.29.]  He that despised Moses’s law, you know, died without mercy; and shall ye escape? Here I would not be in your place who refuse Christ for ten thousand worlds.  But a

4. Thing ministers have to persuade people of, is, to acquaint themselves with God: this is a part of our duty to press you to make up your acquaintance with Jesus Christ: You will find, Job 22.21, that Eliphaz is sent as a messenger to Job: and what is his errand that he has in commission? Is it not this, Acquaint now thyself with God, and be at peace, thereby good shall come to thee? Acquaint yourselves with his mind in his word, and receive the law from his mouth: lay it up in your hearts: labour for wisdom, and with all your getting get understanding. [Prov. 4.7.]  Ignorance and unbelief are the destruction of souls: therefore it is ministers’ work to press them to be acquainted with God.  It was Isaiah’s work, Isa. 27.5, Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me.  If ye knew the necessity of being acquainted with God, there would be no need of pressing or persuading of you: for when ye must meet with him after death, the business will depend upon this.  When they shall come and say, Lord, Lord, and pretend kindness to him; then will he profess, I never knew you. [Matt. 7.21-23.] May not this persuade you to make this to be your study now in time?  A

5. Thing that we are to persuade people to, is this, to devote and give up themselves wholly by a covenant-relation without reservation.  This is what Paul professes in the 15th verse of this same chapter, (wherein our text lies.) That they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves; but unto him, &c.  The thing we are to persuade you of, is, to make a real resignation of your selves, and all ye have, unto him; so that he may have the command of you, your relations, and all that ye have, {66} yea, and your life also, when he calls for them; that ye may say, I am not mine own; my children, my means, &c. yea my very life, if he calls for it, is not my own.  Make a full, free, and absolute resignation of all unto God: and there are these two things to persuade you to this:

1st, Ye stand engaged unto it: there is a tie upon you, as ye are creatures.

2dly, There is the tie of redemption (or redeeming love) and that is the strongest tie of all: so there is a double obligation by creation and redemption lying upon you to do this.  A

6. Thing we are to persuade you of; and you have it [in] Acts 26.26,27. Paul was there persuading Agrippa to be a Christian; and he says almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.  So the great thing we have to do is to persuade you not only almost, but altogether to be Christians.  The

7. Thing we have in commission to persuade you of, and that is, obedience unto all God’s commands; and this sums up the whole duty God requires of man: Because God requires universal obedience unto his revealed will as ye have it Psalm 119.6, Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.  The

8. Thing we have in our commission is to persuade men to be faithful to Jesus Christ; faithful to his word, his covenant, his cause, interest, and despised truths.  The

9. Thing we are to persuade you to, is, to be cheerful under the cross of Christ: and the ground of that is this; ye shall also reign with him, [2 Tim. 2.12,] they have a fair allowance for suffering, and this we have to tell you of.  The

10. Thing we have to persuade you to, is, not only to do duty upon necessity or constraint, but make it your delight to serve God, his commands are so far from being grievous, that they should be our delight, [1 John 5.3]: and yet do not trust in duty.  The

11. Thing we are to persuade you unto, is holiness in all manner of life and conversation: be holy in your eating, and drinking, your discourse, your buying, selling, and in all your conversation.  The

12. And last thing we are to persuade men and women to, is to be resolved about the cause of Christ, and religion, and not to halt between two opinions.  This was {67} what Elijah persuaded the people of Israel of, when he says, 1 Kings 18.21.—If the Lord be God, follow him; and if Baal, then follow him.—That is another thing ministers should do, to press them to be positive and resolved about, the cause of Christ.  Christ himself, when he saw a great multitude following, turned about and said unto them,—whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. [Mark 8.34.]  Christ would have folk to be resolved what they are doing; and in this respect, ministers must tell them to beware of loving the world too much.  They must rather hate it, and count it unprofitable: and there is a good ground for it; because it is an enemy to religion: it many times mars communion with God, and his coming to them, and makes many a plea betwixt him and his people.  Now these are some of the things ministers must persuade people to.

II. The second thing to be spoken unto, is the grounds or reasons upon which they are to be persuaded or pressed.  I shall only mention these four following.

1st. The doing of these things is of absolute necessity.  It is necessary that ye be converted and saved,—that ye turn, and turn to purpose,—that ye embrace Jesus Christ as he is offered in the gospel, &c. and so be saved, or else lie in your sins and be eternally damned, and so adjudged unto everlasting torment.  Is not the damnation of immortal souls a thing of weight and moment? and therefore is it any wonder that ministers use all arguments to persuade you to do all these things? seeing they are so absolutely necessary that without the doing of them, all the world cannot save you from hell and eternal ruin.

2dly, They are not only absolutely necessary, but of present necessity.  They must be done without delay, now or never, no repentance after death; and the longer they are delayed, they become the more difficult to be done: and therefore these things are of present necessity as well as absolute necessity.

3dly, Great are the advantages that attend; and this says, it is a duty to set about such a work.  O the advantage of gaining but one soul to Christ!  O the advantage of confirming and establishing one soul in the hour of tentation!  It is worth all the pains a minister can be at, tho’ he should labour all his days, and O the {68} advantages that come to the soul, and that accrue unto God’s glory!

4thly, A fourth ground or reason may be taken from the advantages that follow this so absolute a duty of persuading men to believe, repent, and be saved; and to let them know that if they do not, they shall perish for ever: which brings them to the

III. Thing to be spoken to; and that is notwithstanding so many arguments to persuade ministers to make this their work; yet we find it a work that thrives but very badly in their hands.  Now, I shall give you some reasons for this: and first from ministers that have this for their work: Secondly from people themselves: and lastly from the providence of God.  And

1st, From ministers who have this for their work: as,

1. They are either such, that although by their words they persuade to such things, and press such things upon others, their own practice says the contrary.—They preach up God and holiness in words; but in deeds they deny them. [Titus 1.16.]  This is the kind of preaching that will never profit nor persuade folk; and it is a kind of preaching that there is enough of in these days we live in.  They bid us believe, repent, and be holy; but then look and see what their own life and practice bids you do.  A

2. Reason is, that there are many ministers whose lives and conversations may be neither scandalous nor profane; yet they are not so serious as the matter requires: they do not press nor persuade folk with that ardency and seriousness that matters of such an absolute necessity and concern do require.  Can we think that when it comes thro’ our lips so cool and drooping, that it is like to freeze in our mouths, that it will do good or profit others; being delivered with such a slow spirit of indifferency, as it were a thing that might be either done or not done at pleasure.  A

3. Reason is, that though sometimes ministers may be somewhat serious and fervent in it; yet they never lay close siege to the heart; but treat matters with a general indifferency.  They will tell you, that you should repent; but they never tell you what ye are to repent of, nor the necessity of it: and it will be long ere that kind {69} of preaching take effect upon the heart, where sin is not particularly reproved, nor duty warmly pressed and recommended as a thing of absolute necessity.

2dly, A second reason is from people themselves: and there are two things that greatly occasion this:

1. The great ignorance and unbelief of the hearers. They know not the things that we persuade them of. Nor do they really believe what is preached unto them. When we tell them of communion with God, heaven, eternal life, &c. they know nothing about any of these things.—When we tell them of the necessity of conversion; that they must either be converted, or they will be condemned; they do not believe that.—If we tell them that hell is opening its mouth to receive them, that wrath is abiding them, and that there is no escaping of these, but by turning unto God in and thro’ Jesus Christ; that cannot be believed neither.  So this is one great reason why men and women will not be persuaded, their ignorance and unbelief.  The

2. Obstruction is, that these things we speak and persuade you of, are far out of sight.  Heaven that we bid them seek after, is out of view.  The hell we bid them beware of, is far out of sight.  The

3. Reason comes from the providence of God; it is, That this work comes so bad speed in our hands.  He has taken away the blessing; he has withdrawn his gracious and comfortable presence.  The time was, when the arm of the Almighty went along with the preaching of the word; but now the blessing, power, and efficacy of the gospel is taken away.*[2]

Now, I come to a short word of application; and therein I shall divide all hearing me into these four or five classes following.  And

1. The first sort is such as are altogether strangers to God; without God, without Christ, being aliens to the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise.  And I conceive, that there are not a few of that denomination here, that are yet strangers to God, and living in darkness.  There are numbers of you that {70} have lived under the drop of the gospel, that are yet in a natural estate.  Ye were ignorant Atheists before; and ye are so yet.  The thing I would say unto you is, that what we came this day unto you for is this; that you would now look about you, and consider your ways, as ye have it, Hag. 1.3, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, consider your ways.  This thing the Lord would have you do. O consider what you are, and what you are doing.—Consider in what estate you are in by nature, and whither you will go, if you continue in that estate.  Consider your ways, and turn unto the Lord, and live; seek that the Lord would turn you unto himself.  But if you turn not, make ready for hell, that meeting place of all torment and woe, and even a hotter hell than the hell of Sodom.  O make you for torment, and that an intolerable torment worse than the torment of Sodom and Gomorrah.  My exhortation unto you, is, live not a moment longer in that condition, which is so dangerous.  Death, hell, and damnation will be upon you: and all the world, nay all the angels in heaven, cannot save you from it, while living in that condition.—Therefore without delay flee out of it into Jesus Christ: rest not a moment longer; for if ye die in that condition, all the world cannot save you from hell and destruction.  A

2. Sort of folk here, as I suppose, are, they that have had some resolutions, and have been half persuaded to reform their ways: they have been almost persuaded to be Christians, but never altogether persuaded. Ye have never made your point good; but are just where ye were.  Well, the thing I would say unto you, is, either make thorough work; be thorough in the business, and be persuaded; otherwise persuade yourselves, and I, in the name of the Lord, persuade you, that it shall make your case worse, and less hopeful than the case of Pagans.  A

3. Sort of folk that I would speak to, is, to these who were once zealous and forward in religion; but now they are turned cold and fallen from their first love.  A word to you that once appeared hot and zealous for God, and are now turned key cold.  Consider your ways before it be too late; for if ye give way unto such backsliding courses, your case may at length become desperate on your hand.—Therefore, what I would say unto you, {71} is, Remember from whence thou art fallen, repent, and do thy first works.  A

4. Sort is, a company of poor murmuring people. They are still entertaining hard thoughts of God.  What I have to say [to] them, is, have better thoughts of God; or assure yourselves he will make something fall in your way, that will make you have better or worse thoughts of him.  And

Lastly, I shall say this one word to those that are really godly: fight it out, Sirs,—Run the Christian race set before you: run, and run with patience: ye will come to the end of it shortly.  Be faithful unto him that hath called you.  Let not the world, nor your own corrupt hearts make you flinch from it.  And I shall give you some motives to press you to stedfastness and constancy in your Christian course.  And

1st, Hold on, for it has four properties that no other way has in it.  And

1. It is a pleasant way.  All wisdom’s ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.  And

2. This of all other ways is the only sure and safe way.

3. Hold on; for it is an honourable way; and much credit and dignity will follow on it.  It is the most creditable way that ever ye went in, and so you shall find it.  And

Lastly, It is a blessed way.  It has the blessing appended to it.  It has the promise both of this life, and of that which is to come; and happy is the man that walks in it.  Says the Psalmist, Blessed is every one that fears the Lord, and walketh in his way. [Psalm 128.1.]

2dly, Hold on your way, believers: faint not, for it is the way that all the worthies have gone in, that have gone before you.  The whole sufferers and cloud of witnesses for Christ that are now triumphing in heaven have gone in that way before you; and they are all landed safe on the confines of Immanuel’s land, and so freed from all their difficulties; for it is a safe way.—Indeed, it is like, ye will also meet with opposition and crosses in that way; but blessed is the man that wrestles and runs it out.  And blessed is he that endures unto the end, the same shall be saved [Matt. 24.13.]——Now the Lord himself persuade you unto this.  So let us pray.


Footnotes:

1. These expressions are intended to demonstrate the certain and unchangeable reality that there shall be no mercy to rebels when once the day of mercy and grace is gone. It is not to be thought that any such persons shall then, with a sincere desire to glorify the grace of God in Jesus Christ, request to partake in the merciful redemption that is accomplished through the Son of God.  Exemption from due punishment may indeed be the object of their desire in that day. But the mercy they shall seek, without the converting grace of God to set them seeking Free Grace and Forgiveness through his Son, is a “mercy” which none was granted before that day, and none should expect in that day. These things considered, we ought not to imagine that the Judge of that Day shall be any less full of mercy and grace than he is now when He is reconciling sinners to himself through his Son. He shall love all true converts, and every member of his dearly beloved Son. He shall with all tenderness receive and answer every petition for mercy from those who come to him seeking the inheritance that is in Jesus Christ,—a Redemption and Reconcilation accomplished in such holy & wise perfection, that he must be regarded as both “Just and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” (Rom. 3.26.) But as in the present day, his enemies are at such enmity with the true Grace & Justice of God, that they must invent every deviant form of religion, and a thousand human philosophies to explain how either their sins, or the careless passing-over of their sins, may be made to comport with a respectable standard of morality,  so,  in that day they shall still be his enemies, and at enmity with that work of Jesus Christ, whereby he has honoured the Law (Isa. 42.21,) and procured such salvation as requires a full renouncing of our own righteousness, and submitting to his righteousness, (Rom. 10.3.)  In that day, the number of the Elect, gathered into the Church of Jesus Christ, shall already be complete. The Spirit of God shall have accomplished his grand work of calling sinners to partake in the redemption of Jesus Christ. And consequently, as our author affirms, there shall be no more of sinners being received to mercy, and the only such pleas for mercy as shall be heard in that day, are such as shall be denied, and ought to be denied, by the God who is Love.  Ezekiel 8.17,18. Psalm 18.35-41. 1 John 4.8.—JTKer.

2. How applicable is this unto our time and circumstances, wherein the efficacious power of the Spirit attending the word is comparatively gone, so that on us is accomplished that word, Heb. 4.2,—But the word did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that hear it.[—JHowie.]