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disputed, and yet no serious reflections be produced? Will you not begin to think thus: I am a sinner, a great sinner, and I have never yet thought how I am to escape that perdition which God says awaits impenitent sinners!" O, think on your state ! Seriously reflect upon the misery of being an unpardoned sinner! Think deeply of the inflexible justice which you can neither resist nor escape. Think often, and meditate deeply, on the fact, that if you should die in an unconverted state, you will be lost, forever lost! Look before you; anticipate consequences, and ask, “Who can dwell with everlasting burnings ? What am I, that I can hope to escape with impunity, or that I should brave the terrors of eternal wrath and infinite power ?" See how clearly the divine indige nation is revealed ; and assure your heart how certain and destructive will be its visitation, how utterly hopeless the condition of those who shall finally become its victims. Set before your mind this gloomy prospect, and then fathom to the very bottom your sinful heart, that you may fully know how vile and wretched and helpless it is. Well would it be, if you could not merely entertain such reflections now and then, but resolutely take some suitable season, and that without delay, to investigate your case, and faithfully write down your opinion of yourself; only taking heed to form your opinion not under the influence of pride, selfcomplacency, or worldly notions of the goodness of your nature, but by the searching light of Huly Scripture, and with its denunciations and threatenings against all impenitent sinners clearly and fully in view. Apply no comfort to your soul on account of redeeming qualities, good intentions, alms-deeds, abstinences, or pious observances. But remember your very nature is entirely corrupted, and your heart dead in sin; that you are a child of wrath, and without any ability either to atone for sin, or appease the wrath of God. That, besides, you are a mortal creature, and, because you may die soon and suddenly, you need an immediate salvation, and cannot wait for it till you might merit it by your works, even if a certain amount of them could deserve it ; that, therefore, you can never be happy or safe till you find a complete salvation ready to be enjoyed, and 'adapted to an unworthy, helpless, guilty soul, that must find all its salvation at once, and in one almighty Deliverer. If you would take pains to review your case in some such way as this, you would find it tend greatly to deepen the sense of your real condition as lost, and thereby to enforce upon you an immediate and an earnest application to Him who is able to save, and who is willing and waiting to become to you all that you need.
Moreover, I might enforce the great importance of such self-examination, by reminding you of the disastrous effects of inconsideration. It is possible, if you so resolve, to abstain from all such thoughts. You may, no doubt, if such be your determination, shake off or suppress all such reflections. But would it be rational ? Would it be wise? Would it be for your happiness? If you have had so much serious thought already, as to have read the volume thus far, how can you, without being wilfully guilty of destroying your own soul, resolve now, at this very point—"I will go no further, I will reflect no more. It Ouly makes me uneasy and wretched. I will try to sorget it. I will not perplex myself with these distressing considerations; for if I do, I foresee I shall get worse, become melancholy, or sink into despair. I will try to rid myself of such thoughts, by mingling in worldly amusements.” But gay amusements will not heal a wounded heart, nor effectually quiet an accusing conscience. A French physician was once consulted by a person who represented himself as subject to the most gloomy fits of melancholy. The physician advised his patient to mix in scenes of gayety, and particularly to frequent the Italian theatre; and added, “If Carlini (a most famous comic performer) does not dispel your gloomy complaint, your case must be desperate indeed.” The reply of the patient is worthy the attention of those who frequent such places in search of happiness, as it shows the utter emptiness and insufficiency of their amusements. “ Alas! sir," said the patient, “I am Carlini; and while I divert all Paris with mirth, and make them almost die with laughter, I myself am dying with melancholy and chagrin." The utter folly of resorting to such amusements to dissipate serious thought has been proved by thousands. Cardinal Richelieu, after he had given law to all Europe for many years, acknowledged the unhappy state of his mind to a friend. When he was asked why he was so sad, he replied, “ The soul is a serious thing; it must either be sad here, or be sad forever." Now I forewarn you particularly as to this matter, and at this point. You may succeed, if you try to escape from these troublesome reflections, but it will only be for a time; or if that time should be all the rest of your life, you will find that you have effected nothing for your own welfare and happiness, but, on the contrary, been the greatest enemy to your own real interest. You would not
admire the mariner who, on the first appearance of a storm, should make no preparation to meet it. You would not commend that person who, on being awakened in the night by the cry of fire, should still close his eyes and recline again for sleep, without an effort to escape! But you are called to awake from your sleep of sin, to “ arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light."'* You may perhaps just hear the warning, and resign yourself again to fatal lethargy and carelessness; and what will be the result? I tremble to write it! O, may you shudder and tremble to
read it! You may perish, and perish forever, be· cause you here resolve to think, or read, or reflect
no more upon this subject. It may give you pain; but better that it should, if it may lead to your conversion and salvation, than that you should go on till you perish, and find, in the pangs of eternal perdition, the consequences of not considering your danger, when you might have escaped it; the consequences of not inquiring into your own real case, when you might have found a divine physician waiting to effect a cure.
Be entreated then to consider your case. Unased as you may be to reflection and meditation, especially of this kind, yet your case urgently demands them; and without them there is no hope, All other means will be unavailing, if you will not reflect upon the present state of your soul. Till you are brought to examine and think seriously and deeply, there is no hope for you ; there can be nothing done; you cannot be saved.
2. The word of God is the great means of conversion. “The law of the Lord is perfect, convert
ing the soul."* "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”'t “Is not my word like as a fire ? saith the Lord, and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces ?''Before I proceed to point out to you the testimony of God concerning the way of salvation, and to press upon you the invitations and promises of the Divine word, ; it seems important to remind you of the necessity of concentrating your attention upon the one subject, and that the most momentous which can engage your thoughts. You are directed to the book of God, to seek instruction upon this one subject-how you are to be saved. It is to afford you the means of possessing exact knowledge upon this point, that the Bible has been written; and if you search not the Scriptures with a desire to attain this knowledge, if you seek not this pearl of great price, this treasure hid in a field, whatever else you may have learned from Holy Scripture, you will have read in vain, as to your soul's real advantage. Think, therefore, what it is you now wish to find; what is essential to your peace of mind, to your preparation for death, judgment, and eternity. Let nothing divert your attention from the one great and absorbing subject-your salvation. You come to the word of God for that, and therefore, in reading it, you must not be satisfied with curious information of ancient times; with the discovery of things deep and high, beautiful and entertaining, wonderful and gratifyingthings that may enlarge your understanding, aug. ment your stock of knowledge, delight your imagination, improve your practical wisdom ; but you must read it as the law of the Lord, perfect, and