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said Christ, and “ spoken unto you, ye 6 had not had sin ; but now ye have no 66 cloak for
sin.' The Apostle to the Hebrews reasons thus : “ For if the word spoken by an“ gels was stedfast, and every transgresa 66 sion and disobedience received a just
recompence of reward, how shall we
escape if we neglect so great salvation, 66 which at the first began to be spoken
by the Lord, and was confirmed unto “ us by them that heard him ?” He, of old, sent Moses and the prophets to teach men his will, and to engage them to their duty ; but when this was insufficient, he sent his own Son, as his last and best gift to the human race. And be assured, O Christians, that if
do not hear Christ and obey not his gospel, God will grant you no other method of recovery; he will employ no other arguments, or means, to bring you to salvation. If these are wilfully resisted, he will leave you
to your own hard and impenitent hearts ; to treasure up to yourselves wrath, against the day of wrath and the revelation of his righteous judgments. You shall be punished with everlasting
destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his
power. Behold the miserable condition of
gospel despisers ! for them there remains no other sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful looking for 'of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. “ See, then, that ye refuse “ not him that speaketh; for if they es“caped not, who refused him that spake
on earth, much more shall not ye escape,
ye turn away from him that speaketh from heaven.”
What now remains, my friends ? But that I, in conclusion, earnestly and affectionately call upon every one of you to obey the command of God revealed in the text, and to hear and lay hold on his well-beloved Son.
Your compliance with this divine precept is not a thing that is of itself indifferent, and which you may neglect or perform according as fancy or humour may direct. It is the positive command of the great and eternal God himself, and at your peril you are bound to obey. For although God himself is not now requiring you, by an audible voice from
heaven, to hear and to receive Christ as your Prophet, Priest, and King, yet his authority is not less powerful than at any former period. His command, delivered in his word, is as binding on your
consciences at this day, as it was upon those of the chosen disciples to whom it was immediately addressed: it is as obligatory, as if, with your own eyes, you saw his glorious Majesty shining through the cloud on the mount of transfiguration : it enforces your obedience as implicitly, as if, with your ears, you now heard the voice of the Almighty Father calling upon you aloud, to hear and obey his well-beloved Son.
Although you are deprived of Christ's bodily presence, yet the eye of faith can carry you back to the glorious display of his Divinity on the Holy Mount, and forward into the highest heavens, and there behold a once crucified Saviour, now enthroned in glorious majesty, at God's right hand, where he still acts as Head of his Church, and where he shall continue to reign, till all his enemies are made his footstool.
Although you cannot hear his hea
venly discourses delivered from his own mouth, yet to your comfort, Christians, you have access to read his word, which contains every thing necessary for
you know, to believe, and to practise, in or, der to salvation, which in his kind
providence is transmitted pure and entire to this remote age and country, and which, if you peruse it with diligence and care, is, by the blessing of his Spirit, no less efficacious for salvation, than if its contents had been by the Lord Jesus uttered in your hearing.
Although the great Prophet of the Church is gone to heaven, yet, in good, ness and love to your souls, he hath established a succession of men, whom he hath appointed and authorised to expound his word, and to dispense his ordinances to his people; and to whom he hath promised, that he will be with them to the end of the world, by his Spirit, to render their ministration effectual for your spiritual edification and comfort. And, therefore, by this command of God, given in the text, you are bound to hearken to their words, as to the words of Christ, so long as by the
direction and aid of their heavenly Master they are enabled to speak agreeably to the tenor of his gospel.
Give then, my beloved brethren, no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eye-lids, till you have prayed for, and have obtained of the Lord grace and strength to enable you to comply with the precept here enjoined. Then shall you have the light of life to guide you through the dark pilgrimage of this world; then shall you in that awful crisis, when the sun and moon are darkened, and the shades of death lower around you, be enabled to say, with the triumphant apostle, 6 O death ! where is “ thy sting? O grave ! where is thy vic“ tory?” And having passed the waters of Jordan, you shall enter into those mansions of rest and joy that your Redeem . er has prepared for you in his Father's house above.
Go not away with the idea, that all this is a matter of romantic speculation, or of doubtful reality. Take the assurance along with you, that though you may forget, amidst the business, and the amusements, and the dissipation of life,