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Judas and the foolish virgins awfully exemplified it.
(We may easily deceive our fellow-creatures-
In his final judgment he will shew that he was privy to our most secret thoughts and desires ]
4. Shall we not wish at last that we had been sincere and upright?
[The reproach which attends the exercise of real religion, may make us satished with the form of it at present
But in the day of judgment we shall see our fully-
The vain excuses we now make we shall not even dare to offer-] APPLICATION
[Let all then seek to become Christians indeed
Let us trust in the Lord as simply as if obedience were not required
Let us obey the Lord as zealously as if obedience only were required-]
d Matt. xxv. 3, 11, 12.
e Matt. vii. 21-23.
LXIV. AN EXHORTATION TO CARELESS SINNERS. Eph. v. 14. Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead,
and Christ shall give thee light. THERE is a harmony in the Scriptures which many overbok and destroj
Detached passages are often wrested to establish a fa. vourite system,
But the various truths of God should be viewed as they stand connected with each oter
• Calls to duty are supposed to imply the sufficiency of man to do the will of God; while ine confessions or petitions of the saints, and the promises of divine aid given to them, are brought to justify a negligence in the use of means.
There would then be diversity indeed, but no contrariety between them
This observation will throw light, as on many other parts of Scripture, so on that before us in particular; in which we have I. A command
The Scripture abounds with useful and instructive me. taphorse
Our state is here represented under the images of sleep and deathSleep implies a state of inactivity and security
[Men are busily employed about their worldly concerns, But a lamentable supineness prevails with respect to spiritual things
The generality do not apprehend their souls to be in any danger
Death, judgment, heaven, and hell, do not seem worthy their notice
God's threatenings against them are denounced without effect
They are like Jonah, sleeping in the midst of a storm Hence they are described as “ at ease from their youth”e
To the same effect is the testimony of him that searcheth the heartd-]
Death includes the ideas of impotence and corruption
TAn inanimate body cannot perform any of the functions of life
It has within itself the seeds and principles of corruption
The soul also, till quickened from the dead, is in a state of impotence
It is incapable of spiritual action or discernment-
Whatever is loathsome and offensive to God proceeds from it
So true is that humiliating declaration!h_]
k. xviii. Si, had long de and Gods
b God gives a command, Ezek. xviii. 31. David, knowing his duty, and fecling his inability to perform it, had long before presented this to God in the form of a petition, Ps. li. 10. And God, to encourage such applications to him, promises to work in us that which he requires of us, Ezek. xxxvi. 26., • Jer. xlviii. ll.
d Ps. A. 4, 5. John xv. 5. I Cor. ii. 14.
f Rom. vii. 18. 5 Mark vii. 21, 22.
Job xv. 14–16.
must address, to every one that is under it, the command “ Awake,” &c.
[Your inactivity and security involve you in the deepest guilt
Your corruption of heart and life provokes the majesty of God
Nor is your impotence any excuse for your disobedience It is your love of sin that disables you for duty
Nor is God deprived of his right to command, though you have lost your power to obey
Let every one then strive to comply with this heavenly call
They who exert their feeble powers' may expect divine assistance -]
To convince us that none shall fail who use the ap. pointed means, God enforces his command with II. A promise
Sleep and death are states of intellectual darkness
Hence light is promised to those who obey the divine mandate
Light in Scripture imports knowledge, holiness,' comfort," and glory —
And all these blessings shall they receive from Christ, the fountain of lightKnowledge
[Spiritual knowledge every natural man stands in need of
Nor is it attainable by the teaching of men, or the efforts of genius
We can receive it from none but Christ
[A despair of attaining this deters many from seeking it
i See Matt. xii. 10, 13. The man with the withered hand was unable to stretch it forth; but in attempting to obey, he was endued with strength. * Isai. viii. 20. 11 John i. 7.
m Ps: xcvii, 11. - Col. i. 12. • Mal. iv, 2. John i. 9. P Matt. xi. 25. 4 Matt. xi. 27. Matt. xi. 29, . Ps. xxv. 9. Prov. ii. 3-6. Vol. I.
They think their inveterate habits cannot be rooted out-
His very name encourages us to expect deliverance from him
And he will fulfil the promises which he has made to this effect ] Comfort
(A sense of guilt shall yield to holy joyl-
[Our Lord will not confine his blessings to this world!
He will be the ground and object of their joy for ever:-) APPLICATION
(What greater encouragement can any one desire?-What richer promises can any one conceive?-How suited are they to our necessities!
Let every one consider the command as addressed to himself; “ Awake, Thou”· Let all our powers and faculties be called forth to action
In exerting ourselves let us expect the promised aid
Thus shall we be eternal monuments of Christ's power and gracem]
e Jer. ii. 25.
u i Cor. i. 30.
LXV. THE FINAL JUDGMENT REPRESENTED BY THE
Joel iii. 13. Put ye in the sickle; for the harvest is ripe.
THIS is a remarkable prophecy of the destruction of God's enemies,
The prophet summons the executioners of vengeance to come up against them
They are represented as a field of corn
The command is given to cut them down; and the prophet instantly sees them fall; “ multitudes,” &c.
Our Lord delivers a parable resembling this in refer. ence to the whole world
In a similar manner we shall improve the passage be. fore us, by enquiring 1. What it is that makes us ripe for the great harvest
There is a ripeness to which every one must attain
The wicked have a measure of sin which they must fill up
The righteous have degrees of holiness for which they are reserved
There are growing in the world both tares and wheat
[It unfits the soul for the enjoyment of God
[It unfits the soul for the society of the wicked
• The valley of Jehosaphat, or of decision, to which they are summoned, ver. 12, 14. seems to be not any particular place: It may rather be considered as an allusion to the utter destruction which bis enemies (the Syrians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Grecians, and Romans) should successively bring on each other. And it may have a further reference to the destruction of Anti. cbrist, and of the wicked at the last day.
6 Gen. xy. 16.
e Eph. iv. 7, 19. Not that there is any general standard either of sin or holiness to which all persons must attain: There is no degree of sin to which any shall be impelled against their will; nor of holiness, which any shall be prevented from surpassing. But some are kept from more sin, and others are excited to more holiness, by the preventing or assisting grace of God; for sinners would commit more sin unless prevented, and saints attain less holiness unless excited.
. As dry wood for the fire. See Luke xxiü. 31.