« AnteriorContinuar »
us for ever; and the little pleasure they took in feeding their eyes for a few moments with our misery, will be requited to them by a reverse of the scene, and by being, themselves, a gazing stock to all generations. For thus the holy scripture hath declared concerning them: "Their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh."
9. Too late will they begin to believe an eternal punishment, who would not in time believe an eternal life. Wherefore make, whilst you may, a careful provision for your life and safety. We offer you the best and most valuable present which we are able to make you, when we thus advise and persuade you. And because we are forbidden to hate you, and have good reason to think we please our Lord and Master, when we attempt no return of evil for evil; therefore we beseech and exhort you, whilst you have the opportunity, whilst you are on this side the grave, and the world- hath yet any time remaining to it, that you would labour to make your escape from the gross darkness of superstition, into the pure and heavenly light of true religion. You see we envy none of your advantages, nor do we endeavour to conceal the mercies of God from you. We return you good for evil; and requite the torments and punishments wherewith you have loaded us, with directing you to the way of happiness and salvation. Wherefore, once more, believe, and live; we invite, we beseech you, who at present are our persecutors, to rejoice with us for ever.
10. Upon our removal hence there will be no place for repentance, nor any possibility of atoning for our sins by penitential satisfactions. Here, or no where, must be laid the foundation of eternal life. Here, or no where, must our worship of the true God, and the effects of our believing on him, secure us an interest in the kingdom of heaven. Nor let any one be discouraged by the sinfulness of his past life, or by the shortness of the time which remains to him in it, from beginning his endeavours after the attainment of salvation. There is no repentance too late for you, whilst you continue upon the present scene. The door of God's mercy stands always open, and access to the truth is ever easy to such as diligently seek it here: Even in your last moments of life apply to God for the pardon of your sins; even then acknowledge him, who only hath immortality, with an unfeigned faith; and your confession will secure your forgiveness: His never-failing compassions will expunge the guilt of each true believer; and so from the midst of the valley of the shadow of death will open him a passage to life and immortality. This advantage we derive from the gracious undertaking of Christ our Lord; this is the peculiar triumph of his cross, on which he hath purchased to himself, by the price of his blood, those who shall believe in him; hath reconciled mankind unto God the Father, and quickened us again by a spiritual and second birth. To him therefore let every one of us faithfully adhere, and closely follow him; let us all be found upon his roll, and marked with his signature; he points to us the path of life, he restores us to paradise, and will at length bring us to the kingdom of heaven, where we shall live for ever with him, being made, through his means, the children of God; and where we shall eternally rejoice with him, being re-instated in all the privileges we had forfeited, through the merits of his all-atoning blood.