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really desirous of what it pretends to be will be nothing wanting on God's part, to renew, and to purify, and at length to wash most thoroughly away that original taint, over which you appear to mourn, as if it were indeed so much the bane of your existence, that your existence is not worth the having. God bids you only put Him to the proof by your petitions, and then see whether He will not pour out a blessing upon you; and is it the Being who has descended so far, and testified His willingness to grant you a present deliverance from the power of sin, and a future everlasting translation from all its allurements-is it He, we ask, whom you would thus challenge and upbraid for the undoing of your eternity?
That the creature should complain of a corruption which he loves, and wilfully perseveres in-that he should reproach the Creator for it, who is pointing out to him the way by which he can escape, and offers him all strength and aid to accomplish it-that he should lift an accusing voice against God, for having brought him within the limits of so foul a moral domain as the one he occupies; and at the same time turn away from the beseeching voice of the same God, stretching forth His hand for the purpose of taking him out of that domain if he will, and ushering him among the glories of a pure and spiritual region-that he should murmur because of a sinfulness in his nature, which he at the same time wilfully cherishes and retains, and obstinately refuses to let it go-that
he should affect either to mourn or to be indignant on account of an inborn depravity, and that too at the moment when he spurns the proposition which God makes to him of an inborn grace, whereby he will cease to be that old creature, of whom he says it is hard that he should have been so formed, and become that new creature, respecting whom he taxes God for injustice, that He had not so made him-Who does not see that every possible objection, which can be raised against the Creator, on account of what man is by nature, is most fully and fairly disarmed by what God offers to man in the gospel? And if he will persist in charging upon God, a depravity that He both asks and enables us to give up, did not we firmly retain it by the wilful grasp of our own inclinations-is it not plain that on the day of reckoning it will be clear to the intelligent morality of all the assembled witnesses, that the complaints of man, because of his corruption, have been those of a hypocrite, who secretly loved the very thing he so openly complained of; and that God who will be justified when He speaketh, and clear when He judgeth, has, by the offer of a Spirit, that would both quell the corruption and quicken man from his death in trespasses and sins unto holiness, has indeed manifested Himself a God both of love and of righteousness, and poured over all His ways to the world in which we live, the lustre of a most full and resistless vindication?
We may conceive a human being to be born
upon a territory, over which there is spread a foul and turbid atmosphere-charged with all the elements of discomfort and disease; and at length in a given time, made known to all who breathe it, to be wrapped in some devouring flame which would burn up and destroy every creature that should abide within its vortex. And we may further conceive him to murmur against the God, who thus had placed him within the bounds of such a habitation. But let God point his way to another country, where freshness was in every breeze, and the whole air shed health and fertility and joy over the land that it encompassed-let Him offer all the means and facilities of conveyance, so as to make it turn simply upon the man's will, whether he should continue in the accursed region where he is, or be transported to another region which teems with all the enjoyments that he complains he has not:-And will not the worthless choice to abide rather than to move, acquit God of the severity wherewith He has been charged, and unmask the hypocrisy of all the reproaches which man has uttered against Him? Will it not lay the blood of the coming destruction upon his own head; and though while he lives it be in disquietude, and when he dies it be in the volcanic whirl of the fierce and fiery element by which he is surrounded -is not the man the author of his own undoing; and can the blame or the execration of it be laid on that Being, who offered to bear him away from the territory of disease and danger, and securely
put him down in the midst of a smiling and happy land?
Many may think this speculative; but we trust that there are some here present who feel it most closely and urgently and immediately practical. We stand with the offer of transporting you from the spiritual atmosphere of nature, charged as it is with all that is foul and turbulent and rebellious, and to bear you across the limits of conversion, to an atmosphere of peace and purity and holiness. We declare this gospel unto you. We preach that Jesus who is ready, even now, to bless every one of you by turning you from your iniquities; and through the channel of whose mediatorship it is, that the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost are shed abundantly on all who believe. If you refuse to come, it is because you are not willing to come. God will make this clear on the great day of manifestation; and when He passes the condemnatory sentence on those who reject the Saviour, He will prove to the satisfaction of all assembled, that those who did not pass from darkness to light, abode in the region of darkness, just because they loved the darkness; and persisted in the condition of evil, just because their deeds were evil. It is thus that He will vindicate Himself, and carry the consent of an observing universe along with Him, when He rebukes away from His presence, all of you who have neglected the great salvation. And therefore it is a salvation which we bid your acceptance of
at this moment. Open your hearts that Christ may enter in; and, under the power of His grace, their hardness and vileness and depravity will melt away. We do not promise you an immediate transition from the spiritual element of earth, to the spiritual element of heaven. It is gradual. It is by a laborious ascent of fatigue and difficulty and strenuousness, that we at length attain those heights where all is serene and unspotted holiness. The portal of death must be passed, ere we reach the cloudless and ethereal expanse of that eternity, where freed from the last dregs of our vitiated nature, we can serve God without frailty and without a flaw. There is in these vile bodies of ours, some mysterious necessity for dying-There is an original taint which so embues the whole of our natural constitution, that the whole fabric must be taken down; and after its materials have been filtered and refined by the putrefaction of the grave, a new fabric will be made out of them; and the believer will then arise in all the first innocence of Adam, and compassed about with a security that shall be everlasting. Yet here the work must be begun, though there and there alone it is consummated. Here we must make head against the prevalence of sin, though there and there alone we shall be delivered from the presence of it. Here the struggle must be made, and the victory be decided though there and there alone we shall have the triumph and the repose of victory. Here the grace which calls upon you to accept, must