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thousand

years,

and the last dish is served up now. O then receive it not in vain.'

(5.) Lastly, It is grace that may be loft, Matth. xxiii. 37. 38. The sun of the gospel has gone down in fome places, where it shined as clearly as ever it did in Scotland, and God knows if ever it rise again there. That we have received it much in vain, is plain from the heavy hand' of God on us at this day in temporal calamities, Hof. ii. 9. yea and his threatening us with the removal of the gospel, ver. 11.

O then receive it not in vain; but, while ye have the light, be walking in it: for to look no farther than the entertainment the gospel is getting at this day, it is a sad sign there is a black night abiding us : so that I think ministers and people fhould set themselves about it as a way going commodity.

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The Danger of not complying with the Gospel

call.

PROVE BS is. 12.“ If thou be wise, thou shall be wise for thyself: but if thou

scornest, thou alone shalt bear it. THIS verse is the epilogue or conclusion of the

gospel-treaty with finners, carried on with them by the messengers of Christ in his name. It is a fo. lemn declaration or protetiation that it is shut up with. The entertainment the gofpel meets with is twofold, and there are two forts (and but two) of gospel-hearers. (1.) Compliers with the gospel-call; these are called the wise. (2.) Réfufers; thefe are styled scorners. The declaration looks to both,

and is carried as it were, after the offer is made, to every individual man and woman's door that hears the goipel. It is not, They that are wise shall be wise for themselves ;

thereby the Lord 1peaks to every one in particular,

If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself, &c. Which class soever one puts himself into, here is his case declared. (1.). If thou be wise and comply, the gain shall be thine own; it is not the Lord's, but the fruit fhall drop into thine own lap. (2.) If thou scornest and refuseft, the loss shall be thine, it will lie chiefly at least on thine own head. So the exclusive particle is taken, Pfal. li. 4. Against thee, thee only have I sinned.

I design not to inlift on these words, but only with them to shut up the call to the improvement of the gospel and religion which I have been giving you. Thus the great duty is laid before you, and now I would apply the words of the text unto you on this occasion, and to every one of you. Ye have heard the nature of faith and repentance, the utility of public ordinances for salvation, and the necessity of not receiving of the gospel in vain. Now, sinner, what wilt thou do? wilt thou comply with the gospel-offer or not? Well I protest and declare in the terms of the text, If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou fcornest, thou alone shalt bear it. I shall branch out this protestation in three particulars.

First, If thou be not a complier with the gospel-call, thou art a fcorner of it: there is no mids. This is e. vident from the text, which divides all gospel-hearers into these two forts. Now, thou art not a complier with the gospel-call, as long as,

1. Thou entertainest any prejudice against religion, and wilt not come to Christ, John v.40. Thou art a refuser in that case, thou wilt not be obedient, but turnest away thine ear and shoulder. Men may receive and comply with a form of religion and a profesfion, who yet are under reigning prejudice against the power of godlinefs, 2 Tim. iii. 5. Now, since religion lies inwardly, and consists not in word, but in power, these are not compliers, for they say they will not come into the inner court.

2. Thou art in a doubt whether to come or not, or delayest and puttes it off. Halters between two opia Vol. III.

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nions are not compliers with the gofpel-call. Nor will the call admit of a delay, like that of the fluggard, ret a little sleep, a little Number, a little folding of the hands 10 sleep, Prov. vi. 10. For fee the effect of fuch a fluggih delay, ver. 11. So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man. if ye cvill hear his voice, harden not your heart. If thou delay then till to-morrow, thou rejectest the call, thou art a fcorner of the offcr.

3. If in any case thou doft not come, doft not turn from thy sins unto God in Chritt, sincerely, thorough. ly, and universally, thou dost not comply, Jer. iii. 10. The hypocrite, that fatisfies himself with his partial turning, is a non-complier, a rebel againft" King Christ, as well as the profane, and shall bear the weight of it, Pfal. cxxv. 5. As for such as turn afide unto their crooked ways, the Lord ßball lend them forth with the workers of iniquity. Now, in this case of thy not complying with the gospel-call, our God looks on thee as the scorner of it, Pfal. i. 1. Prov. i. 22. 26. What king proclaiming an indemnity to rebels, would not look on those that refused to take the benefit of it, as fcorners of his clemency? Is it poflible for him to look on them as neutrals with respect to his interest? nay, he muft look on them as engrained enemies to his person and government. So is the case here. And that thou art guilty of fcorning in this, will be evident, if you consider, that, by your not complying with the gospel call,

i von: (1.) Thou abuseft the mercy, goodness, and pátience of God. God offers thee mercy and grace in his own way, upon thy coming to him in Chrift, lea: ving thy sins. But thou graspelt at his mercy in thy fins, as if thou wouldst offer violence to the mercy God, faying, as Deut. xxix. 19. I fall have

peate, I walk in the imagination of my heart, to add drunkenness to thirst. Thou snatchelt peace out of his hand, and by thy grasping of gospel privileges, making no con: science of gospel-duties, scornelt the call.

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(2.) Thou flightest, making no account of the go. {pel-call, but indeed lookest on it as a trifling, incon. liderable thing, Job xli. 29. Is not this the treatment the gospel meets with from the most part? They make light of it, Matth. xxii, 5. The great offer of the gospel is despised, the good things it offers are undervalued, and any the leaf worldly pleasure or profit is preferred ; and for the threatenings wherewith it is backed, they are in effect looked upon but as bugbears and scarecrows, the founding again of the mountaios; and thus they are scorned.

(3.) Thou expofelt it to llame and dishonour; and is not that fcorning ? Prov. xx. I. A generous spirit knows how far a man is out, when his offered kindness and good-will is neglected. And thus thou treateft the God that made thee. He offers thee his friend. fhip before the world, angels, and men, and thou regardest it not; the Son of God courts thee by his amballadors to a marriage with himself, but thou fliglitest the proposal. And is not that to scorn him, and rub. an affront on him, before all that are witnesses to the neglect thou puttelt upon him ?

(4.) Thou failet of thy fair promises, and so defeatelt and fruftratest good expectations concerning thee. And is not that icorning? Matth. ii, 16. Heathens do not scorn the royal Bridgroom; for as he was never in their offer, so they never said they would take him: but as thou was baptized in his nunc, thou didst engage to be his, and yet thou ruelt again, and fayett, Thou wilt have none of him. How many times halt thou broken thy word to him, after thou hadst given a consent, yça sealed the contract before many witnesses at a facrament or fo? How often halt thou scorned thy God, as the fon did his father, laying, I go, but went not? Matth. xxi. 39.

(5x) Lafily, Thou makcft thyfelt marry with thy disobedience to this call, Prov. xiv. 9.

Is not that Scorning? How nany are they that expressly mock at religion and Seriousness, and look on many of the

duties of religion as below them? But besides, whatever joy thou hast in any thing, especially in fintul practices, while thou slightest the call

of the gospel, it is in effect a fcorning of that call. Even as the condemned malefactor, who being offered a reprieve or pardon, refufes it, and yet is jovial, does fcorn the pardon, the king's mercy,

Hence ye may conclude, that God will deal with you as scorners.

A king finding himself mocked and icorned, falls into rage, as Herod did, Matth. ii. 16. And God's anger will burn hot against the scorners of his grace,

Prov. i. 22. 26. Those that will have none of his grace, will drink deep of his cup of vengeance, , Luke xix, 27.

Secondly, If thou comply with the gospel-call, thou shalt therein act witely for thyself: the gain fhall be thine own, the fruit Thall fall into thine own bolom. Two things are imported in this. : 1. Men, by their complying with the gospel-call to faith, and holiness, and repentance, do not bring any profit or gain to God. There is a great profit by it, but it descends to themselves, afcends not to God, Job xxii. 2. & xxxv. 7. Pfal. xvi, 2.

To confirm this, consider,

(1.) God is infinite in perfections, self-sufficient, and therefore the creatures can add nothing to him ; for nothing can be added to what is infinite, and nothing given unto him who poffefseth all things.' a 9093

(2.) All the goodness and profitableness of men or angels, or any creature, comes from God. He that gives all things to all, needs nothing from aný, Acts xvii. 25. We receive all from God: where is that then we have to give him, whereby he

may

be profited?

Inf. 1. Then let no man be scared from coming to God in Christ, because of his unworthiness, that he is an useless, and a fruitless creature that can ido nothing for God. For the best and holiest of men can.

1 3! !!!

Wito

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