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A WORD TO A CONDEMNED MALEFACTOR.
WHAT a condition are you in! The sentence is past : you are condemned to die ; and this sentence is to be executed shortly. You have no way to escape; these fetters, these walls, these gates and bars, these keepers, cut off all hope. Therefore die you must: but must you die like a beast, without thinking what it is To die ? You need not : you will think a little first : you will consider, What is death? It is leaving this world, these houses, lands, and all things under the sun; leaving all these things, never to return; your place will know you no more. It is leaving these pleasures; for there is no eating, drinking, gaming, no merriment in the grave. It is leaving your acquaintance, companions, friends; your father, mother, wife, children. You cannot stay with them, nor can they go with you; you must part; perhaps for ever. It is leaving a part of yourself; leaving this body which has accompanied you so long. Your soul must now drop its old companion, to rot and moulder into dust. It must enter upon a new, strange, unbodied state. It must stand naked before God!
2. But, O! how will you stand before God? The great, the holy, the just, the terrible God? Is it not his own word, “Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord ? No man shall see him with joy: rather he will call for the mountains to fall upon him, and the rocks to cover him. And what do you think hɔliness is? It is purity both of heart and life. It is the mind that was in Christ, enabling us to walk as he also walked. It is the loving God with all our heart, the loving our neighbour, every man, as ourselves, and the doing to all men, in every point, as we would they should do unto us. The least part of holiness is, To do good to all men, and to do no evil either in word or work. This is only the cutside of it. But this is more than you have. You are far frona it; far as darkness from light. You have not the mind that was in Christ: there was no pride, no malice in him; no hatred, no revenge, no furious anger, no foolish or worldly desire. You have not walked as Christ walked : no: rather as the Devil would have walked, had he been in a body; the works of the Devil you have done, not the works of God. You have not loved God with all your heart. You have not loved him at all. You have not thought about him. You hardly knew or cared whether there was any God in the world. You have not done to others as you would they should do to you; far, very far from it. Have you done all the good you could to all men? If so, you had never come to this place. You have done evil exceedingly: your sins against God and man are more than the hairs of your
head. Insomuch that even the world cannot bear you ; the world itsell spues you out. Even the men that know not God, declare, “ You are not fit to live upon the earth !"
3. O repent, repent! Know yourself: see and feel what a sinner you are. Think of the innumerable sins you have committed, even
trom your youth up. How many wicked words have you spoken? How many wicked actions have you done? Think of your inward sins! Your pride, malice, hatred, anger, revenge, lust. Think of your sinful nature, totally alienated from the life of God. How is your whole soul prone to evil, void of good, corrupt, full of all abominations! Feel, that your carnal mind is enmity against God. Well may the wrath of God abide upon you. He is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity: he hath said, “ The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” It shall die eternally ; shall be “punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power."
4. How then can you escape the damnation of hell ? The lake of Gre burning with brimstone! Where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched ? You can never redeem your own soul. You cannot atone for the sins that are past. If you could leave off sin now, and live umblamable for the time to come, that would be no atonement for what is past. Nay, if you could live like an angel for a thousand years, that would not atone for one sin. But neither can you do this : you cannot leave off sin : it has the dominion over you : if all your past sins were now to be forgiven, you would immediately sin again : that is, unless your heart were cleansed; unless it were created anew. And who can do this? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? Surely none but God. So you are utterly sinful, guilty, helpless! What can you do to be saved ?
5. One thing is needful: “ Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved !" Believe (not as the devils only, but) with that faith which is the gift of God, which is wrought in a poor, guilty, helpless sinner, by the power of the Holy Spirit. See all thy sins on Jesus laid. God laid on him the iniquities of us all. He suffered cnce, the just for the unjust. He bore our sins in his own body on the tree. He was wounded for thy sins: he was bruised for thy iniquities. “Behold the Lamb of God, taking away the sin of the world !" Taking away thy sins, even thine, and reconciling thee unto God the Father! “Look unto him, and be thou saved !" If thou look into him by faith, if thou cleave to him with thy whole heart, if thou receive him both to atone, to teach, and to govern thee in all things, thou shalt be saved, thou art saved, both from the guilt, the punishment, and all the power of sin. Thou shalt have peace with God, and a peace in thy own soul, that passeth all understanding. Thy soul shall magnify the Lord, and thy spirit rejoice in God thy Saviour. The love of God shall be shed abroad in thy heart, enabling thee to trample sin under thy feet. And thou will then have a hope full of immortality. Thou wilt no longer be afraid to die, but rather long for the hour, having a desire to depart, and be with Christ.
6. This is the faith that worketh by love, the way that leadeth to the kingdom. Do you earnestly desire to walk therein? Then put away all hinderances. Beware of company : at the peril of your soul, keep from those who neither know nor seek God. Your old acquaintance are no acquaintance for you, unless they too acquaint themselves with God. Let them laugh at you, or say, you are running mad. It is enough, if you have praise of God. Beware of strong drink. Touch it not, lest you should not know when to stop. You have no need of this to cheer your spirits ; but of the peace and the love of God: beware of men that pretend to show you the way to heaven, and know it not themselves. There is no other name where. by you can be saved, but the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And there is no other way whereby you can find the virtue of his name, but by faith. Beware of Satan transformed into an angel of light, and telling you, it is presumption to believe in Christ, as your Lord and your God, your Wisdom and Righteousness, Sanctification and Redemption. Believe in him with your whole heart. Cast your whole soul upon his love. Trust him alone: love him alone : fear him alone : and cleave to him alone : till he shall say to you, (as he did to the dying malefactor of old,) “ This day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
A WORD IN SEASON;
DO you ever think? Do you ever consider? If not, it is high time you should. Think a little before it is too late. Consider what a state you are in. And not you alone, but our whole nation. We would have war. And we have it. And what is the fruit ? Our armies broken in pieces, and thousands of our men either killed on the spot or made prisoners in one day. Nor is this all. We have now war at our own doors : our own countrymen turning their swords against their brethren. And have any hitherto been able to stand before them? Have they not already seized upon one whole kingdom? Friend, either think now, or sleep on and take your rest, till you drop into the pit where you will sleep no more.
2. Think, what is likely to follow, if an army of French also should blow the trumpet in our land? What desolation may we not then expect! What a wide-spread field of blood ! And what can the end of these things be? If they prevail, what but popery and slavery? Do
you know what the spirit of Popery is? Did you ever hear of that Queen Mary's reign: and of the holy men who were then burnt alive by the Papists, because they did not dare to do as they did ; to worship angels and saints; to pray to the Virgin Mary; to bow down to images, and the like? If we had a king of this spirit, whose life would be safe ? At least, what honest man's ? A knave indeed might turn with the times: but what a dreadful thing would this be to a man of conscience ! “ Either turn, or burn. Either go into that fire, or into the fire that shall never be quenched.”
3. And can you dream that your property would be any safer than your conscience ! Nay, how should that be ? Nothing is plainer than that the Pretender cannot be King of England, unless it be by conquest. But every conqueror may do what he will. The laws of the land are no laws to him. And who can doubt, but one who should conquer England by the assistance of France, would copy after the French rules of government?
* This was published at the beginning of the late Rebellion.
4. How dreadful then is the condition wherein we stand! On the very brink of utter destruction ! But why are we thus ? I am afraid the answer is too plain to every considerate man: Because of our sins ; because we have well nigh "filled up the measure of our iniquities : for what wickedness is there under heaven, which is not found among us at this day? Not to insist on the Sabbath-breaking in every corner of our land, the thefts, cheating, fraud, extortion, the injustice, violence, oppression, the lying and dissimulation, the robberies, sodomies, and murders, (which, with a thousand unnamed villanies, are common to us and our neighbour Christians of Holland, France, and Germany:) Consider over and above, what a plentiful harvest we have of wickedness almost peculiar to ourselves ! For who can vie with us in the direction of courts of justice? In the management of public charities? Or in the accomplished barefaced wickedness which so abounds in our prisons, and fleets, and armies ? Who in Europe can compare with the sloth, laziness, luxury, and effeminacy of the English gentry ? Or with the drunkenness, and stupid, senseless cursing and swearing, which are daily seen and heard in our streets ; one great inlet, no doubt, to that flood of perjury, which so increases among us day by day; the like whereunto is not to be found in any other part of the habitable earth.
5. Add to these, (what is indeed the source as well as completion of all;) that open and professed Deism and rejection of the Gospel, that public, avowed A postacy from the Christian Faith which reigns among the rich and great, and hath spread from them to all ranks and orders of men, (the vulgar themselves not excepted,) and made us a people fitted for “the destroyer of the Gentiles.”
6. Because of these sins is this evil come upon us : for (whether cou are aware of it or not) there is a God; a God, who though he sits upon the circle of the heavens, sees and knows all that is donc upon earth. And this God is holy: he does not love sin: he is just, rendering to all their due: and he is strong : there is none able to withstand him: he has all power in heaven and earth: he is patient indeed, and suffers long; but he will at last repay the wicked to his lace : he often does so in this world; especially when a whole nation, is openly and insolently wicked. Then doth God“ arise and maintain his own cause;" then doth he terribly show both his justice and power; that if these will not repent, yet others may fear, and flee from the wrath to come.
7. There hath been among them that feared God, a general ex. pectation for many years, that the time was coming, when God would hus arise, to be avenged on this sinful nation. At length the time is coine. The patience of God, long provoked, gives place to justice, The windows of hearen begin to be opened, to rain down judgments on the earth. And yet, with what tenderness does he proceed! In the midst of wrath remembering mercy. By how slow degrees does his vengeance move! Nor does his whole displeasure yet arise.
8. Brethren, Countrymen, Englishmen, what shall we do! Today, while it is called to-day! before the season of mercy is quite expired, and our « destruction cometh as a whirlwind ?" Which way can we remove the evils we feel? Which way prevent those we fear? Is there any better way than the making God our Friend? The securing his help against our enemies? Other helps are little worth. We see armies may be destroyed, or even flee away from old men and children. Fleets may be dashed to pieces in an hour, and sunk in the depth of the sea. Allies may be treacherous, or slow, or foolish, or weak, or cowardly. But God is a friend who cannot betray, and whom none can either bribe or terrify. And who is wise, or swift, or strong like him? Therefore, whatever we do, let us make God our Friend : let us with all speed remove the cause of his anger : let us cast away our sins : then shall his love have free course, and he will send us help, sufficient help against all our enemies.
9. Come; will you begin ? Will you, by the grace of God, amend one, and that without delay ? First then, own those sins which have long cried for vengeance in the ears of God. Confess, that we and all (and you in particular) deserve for our inward and outward abominations, not only to be swept from the face of the earth, but to suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. Never aim at excusing either yourself or others. Let your mouth be stopped. Plead guilty before God. Above all, own that impudence of wickedness, that utter carelessness, that pert stupidity, which is hardly to be found in any part of the carth, (at least, not in such a degree,) except in England. Do you not know what I mean ? You were not long since praying to God for “ damnation upon your soul.” One who heard you, said, “ Is that right ? Does not God hear? What if he takes you at your word ?” You replied, with equal impudence and ignorance, “What, are you a Methodist ?"_What, if he is a Turk? Must thou therefore be a Ileathen ?-God humble thy brutish, devilish spirit.
10. Lay thee in the dust for this, and for all thy sins. Let thy laughter be turned into heaviness, thy joy into mourning, thy senseless jollity and mirth into sorrow and brokenness of heart. This is no time “to eat and drink, and rise up to play:" but to afflict thy soul before the Lord. Desire of God a deep, piercing sense of the enormous sins of the nation, and of thy own.
Remember that great example : how when the king of Ninevah was warned of the near approaching vengeance of God, he caused it to be proclaimed, “Let none taste any thing ; let them not feed, nor drink water; but let them be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yea, let them turn every one from his evil way: who can tell, if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not.” Jonah ii.
11. Let them turn every one from his evil way. Cease to do evil. Learn to do well. And see that this Reformation be universal ; for