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against the fuller and clearer light of the gospel. From the conduct of sinners at the present day, as well as in former times, towards such ministers and Christians, as are the most zealous and faithful, it is very certain that sinners are unwilling to be saved.
4. Sinners do refuse to accept the salvation of the gospel, although it is offered on the easiest and best conditions. Where the gospel is published, sinners are taught their depravity and ill-desert. They are taught that they are already condemned to endless punishment.-They are taught that God has given his wellbeloved Son to die, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. And they are also taught, that he that believeth not shall be damned. To sinners, who are so instructed, God freely offers the for. giveness of all their sins, and eternal joy and glory in heaven. How do sinners treat the offer of these eternal and immense blessings? They obstinately refuse to accept this great salvation, and they treat God and his offers of life with neglect and contempt. A true account of their conduct is given in the parable of the great supper. As they who were bidden to
" all with one consent began to make excuse ;” so do sinners under various pretences, refuse to accept the salvation of the gospel. When Christ suffered the devils, that he had cast out, to enter into the swine of the Gadarenes, the whole multitude of the people in that country besought him to depart out of their coasts. They preferred their swine with the company of the devils, to the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And do not sinners, at the present day, prefer their sinful pleasures, or carnal ease, or worldly interest, or the filthy rags of their own righteousness, to the presence and favor of the holy and blessed Saviour ? Even when God awakens and convinces sinners ; when he places hell naked before their eyes, and destruction without a covering ; when they are convinced of their total depravity, and their desert of endless punishment ; when they are convinced that they are under the present wrath of Almighty God, and that they are every moment in danger of hell-fire ; they will still refuse the salvation of the gospel. And they will refuse this salvation as long as they are sinners, however clearly they may see the glories of heaven, and the torments of hell. God says to sinners, “ I have called and ye refused : I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded. Ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof.” Esaias saith, “ Lord, who hath believed our report ? All the day long I have stretched forth my hands, unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” Sinners in every age, and in every country, and in every variety of circumstances, have, with one consent, rejected the counsel of God against themselves. They have refused,
. not once, nor twice, but every day, for many years, the great salvation, which is freely of fered in the gospel. By refusing to accept this
salvation, when offered on the easiest and best conditions, sinners have proved, by their own conduct, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that they are unwilling to be saved.
5. Many sinners, to whom the gospel has been preached, have fallen into endless perdi. tion. Multitudes, to whom the prophets preach. ed, rejected the offers of mercy, and were fitted to destruction. Many to whom Christ offered the great salvation, perished in their sins. He told the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida, that it should be more tolerable, in the day of judgment, for Tyre and Sidon, than for themselves. He also said, “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, in the day of judgment, than for thee.” In his parables, and his plain discourses, he threatened and foretold the endless destruction of the greater part of his hearers. He said, “ Ye shall die in your sins." He also said, " There shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth ; when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.” The apostle declares that the
' ministry of the gospel is a savor of death unto death, to many who hear it. Great numbers to whom salvation is offered, give no evidence, either in their lives, or at their deaths, that they accept the gracious offer. But by their principles and practices, they afford sufficient reasons for believing, that they do finally reject the Save iour, and perish for ever. But if sinners were willing to be saved, no one to whom salvation is offered would ever be lost. Since many, to whom salvation is freely offered, do perish, it is certain, that sinners are unwilling to accept the salvation of the gospel.
6. That sinners are unwilling to be saved, is evident from the experience of every saint. Every one, who can give a scriptural reason of an hope that he is a Christian, knows from the convictions of his own conscience, and from the exercises of his own heart, that he is naturally unwilling to be saved. He is sensible that his carnal mind is enmity against God, and that it is not subject to the law of God, nor to the gospel of his grace. Every Christian knows, that when he was first awakened to a concern for his soul, he endeavored to establish his own righteousness, and refused to submit himself unto the righteousness of God. Christians know, that while they were impenitent, the more clear. ly they saw the character of God, and the purity of the divine law, the character of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the grace of the gospel, the more they hated Christ, as well as God, and the gospel as well as the law. They know that their enmity and opposition continued and encreased, until God, by a sovereign act of his sovereign grace, changed their hearts, and caused them to submit themselves with all their interests, into his holy, hands. If there be Christians, who were converted when they were young, and who cannot distinctly remember a
work of conviction ; yet their daily self-righteousness affords sufficient evidence of their native enmity against Christ Jesus and his blessed gospel. To confirm the doctrine, that sinners are unwilling to be saved, we may safely appeal to the experience of every saint on earth, and of every saint in heaven.
7. That sinners are unwilling to be saved, is evident from the experience of every simer. Sinners are commonly ignorant and insensible of their own characters. But wisun they consider their desires and their actions, they have abundant evidence, that they do not desire the salvation of the gospel. And many sinners candidly confess it, even when they are under no special conviction of sin. When thoroughly convicted, sinners always feel and consess, that they hate Jesus Christ, and the gospel of his grace. No sinner can give any reason why he is in his present state, without admitting, that he is unwilling to receive the salvation of the gospel. To confirm the doctrine, that sinners are unwilling to be saved, we may safely appeal to the experience of every sinner on earth; and also to the experience of every sinner in hell.
1. If sinners reject the salvation of the gospel, then their depravity is very malignant. Sinners are not only totally depraved, but their depravity is most malignant in its nature. It is declared to be so in the holy scriptures. It is written, “ Their poison is like the poison of a