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ification for heaven, for without it we are incapable of the spiritual felicity there to be enjoyed.
Our works of righteousness are necessary fruits of that repentance and faith by which we become interested in the purchafed and promised salvation. Whatever pretensions we may make to forrow for fin, and reliance on the Saviour, if still we are workers of iniquity, we never have forrowed after a godly fort, nor believed to the faving of the soul.
Besides ; as the publick process of the last day is designed to be a revelation of the righteous judgment of God; therefore our works will be the matter of the final enquiry, and on these the judgment will proceed, for these only are visible to others. Hence it is faid, that “God will judge the world in righteousness, and render to every man according to his works ; and according to the deeds done in the body; and every man thall receive according to that he hath done, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
We see, then, what is neceffary to our finding admission into heaven through the strait gate. We must renounce lin with godly forrow, repair to the saviour with humble faith in his righteoufness, yield ourselves to God to serve him in new obedience, resolve, in reliance on his grace, to depart from all iniquity, and conform to the whole will of God, and in hope of eternal life which God has promised, patiently continue in well-doing, and be faithful to the death. Thus we thall receive the crown of life.
The awful Condition of those who shall be excluded
from the kingdom of Heaven.
LUKE xiii. 24.
Strive to enter in at the strait gate ; for many, I say u.to you, will seek to
enter in, and shall not be able.
ROM these words we have observed, That our entrance into heaven is by a strait gate --that there are many, who will fail of entering in at this gate-that the causes of their miscarriage will be negligence, delay, and false dependence -That the charačter of such as will be excluded is workers of iniquity. These observations have already been illustrated.
We will now, Fifthly; attend to the representation, which our Lord makes of the awful condition of those who fhall be excluded from his heavenly kingdom.
When we attend to this representation, it would be well, that we should consider it as a serious reality, not a fanciful fiction. As it is made by the son of God hiinself, who came to be our teacher, and who is appointed to be our judge, we may be assured, that it was intended, not for our amusement, but for our warning.
1. He warns us, that impenitent finners at the last day, will be forely disappointed—will meet with a doom, which they little expected, and which they did not really believe, though it had been declared to them.
When the door is fhut, " they will stand without, and knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us : but he hall say, I know you not, whence ye are. Then shall they begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets; but he shall answer them, I tell you, I know you not ; depart from me, all workers of iniquity.” Such a bold confidence will many carry with them, that they will dare to repeat their application and 'urge their claim for admittance, even after denial. When they receive the repulse, they will hardly believe it is given in earnest.
It is probable, that there are few in this world, who seriously think, they are in much danger of misery in another. Can it be imagined, that, un. der such an apprehension, men would possess that ease and tranquillity, and pursue the pleasures and interests of the world with that avidity and conftancy, which are generally to be seen ? The unconcernedness with respect to things of futurity, and the engagedness with respect to things of time, every where so apparent, are strong indications, either that men in general do not believe a future ftate of rewards and punishments, or that they seldom think of it with any degree of attention, or that they flatter themselves with the idea of a present title to, or with the hope of a future preparation for happiness in the world to come. When therefore they arrive to that world, and find the reality of those things which once they disbelieved, and the importance of those things
which they never laid to heart ; or perceive that the hopes on which they lived were all delusive, and the presumptions which they entertained were rash and unfounded; what astonishment and confusion will overwhelm them? Even in the present life, nothing is more painful, than the difappointment of high wrought hopes. The loss of any temporal good is more severely felt in proportion to the confidence which we placed in it. A calamity, which we could have borne with patience, if we had foreseen its approach, is insupportable when it comes by surprize. What amazement, then, will seize-what anguilh will wring the hearts of presumptuous, deluded and unthinking finners, when they find themselves, contrary to all their expectations, shut out of heaven, and consigned to eternal darkness.
Sinners of every description will meet with an unexpected fate. Infidels, who said in their hearts, there is no God-no judgment-no future punishment, will now see, that there is a righteous and a holy God able to judge and condemn them, and a place of awful punishment prepared to receive them—they will now see, that the gospel, which they despised as a fiction, is the revelation of God; and that the folemn doctrines, which they treated as idle tales, are words of truth and soberness. They now can be infidels no longer : they believe and tremble.
They who presuming on the mercy of God, emboldened themselves to commit iniquity, will fee, that he is just and holy, as well as kind and gracious ; that as he is abundant in goodness, so he will by no means clear the guilty.
The negligent and dilatory, who grounded their hopes on future opportunities of repentance ; and, because sentence against their evil works
was not executed speedily, encouraged their hearts to continue in impenitence, these will fee, that God is not to be mocked that he will not al. ways bear the insolence and ingratitude of those who dare to trifle with his forbearance.
The secure and thoughtless will now be awakened from their stupidity by that wrath which comes upon them suddenly, while they promised themselves peace and safety.
Confident hypocrites will now hear their claims rejected and their reasonings confounded; and while they are but beginning to urge their vain pleas, their mouths will be stopped.
How cautious should we be, that we create not to ourselves a false peace by indulging self flattery, vain pride, rash presumption, or thoughtless ftu. pidity? We thus not only lay an obftruction in the way of our repentance, but render our condemnation more intolerable.
2. The misery of impenitent finners will be greatly aggravated by the remembrance of paft opportunities to obtain salvation.
When our Lord says, “ The master of the house will fhut to the door," he signifies, that there is a time, when the door is open. The cries, which he puts into the mouths of the excluded, “Lord, Lord, open to us", import, how desirous they will be of admission, after it is too late.
My friends, the great king has prepared a banquet ; his fatlings are killed his wine is mingled -his table is furnished-all things are ready. You are among those who are invited. You have been, and still are called to be his guests. The door of his house is now open, and to you he repeats his calls ; “ Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither ; and whoso wanteth understanding, let him come, and eat of my bread, and drink of the