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ing love.

penitent; God will afford a present token of his pardon

But, as the penitent does not cease to commit sin, his continued transgressions may suggest serious fears, that he is a stranger to the forgiving grace of God. His forgiveness will, therefore, be more and more intimated to him, as he struggles on through the gathering evil of his life, and fervently maintains the inward conflict with sin. As he multiplies sins, and penitently mourns over them, God will multiply his acts of pardoning mercy. Such are the specific promises with which the Most High seeks to encourage sinners to return to himself.

He will be near and ready to be found. He will abound in acts of mercy to them. He will abundantly pardon all their sins. But I must remark,

First, That a time is approaching, when the God of mercy and forgiveness, will be far from the wicked and no longer to be found. This is distinctly implied in the text. When they are urged to seek him, while he may be found, and to call upon him, while he is near, it is declared by implication, that they may seek him, when he will not be found, and may call upon him, when he will not be near. That time will be, when the day of his patience is over, and the methods of his mercy are no longer employed to bring men to repentance. At death and at judgment, undeniably, the door of mercy and of hope will be shut. Instances occur in this life, of the heart of sinners becoming incurably hardened. Long abuse and misimprovement of the means of grace, lead to such a fearful result. Long resistance of the striving of God's Spirit, thus terminates. They, who will not seek the Lord, or call upon him, though urged to do it for years by all the motives which are to be drawn from the book of God, may long before they die find that there is no pardoning God for them. And if they do not find evidence of this, the fact may exist. That sinner, who once resolved to seek the Lord, but soon relinquished the pursuit--who once called upon God in prayer, but soon gave it up as an irksome task, has rea

son to fear that his day of salvation has gone by. He has reason to fear it, because very few, who have passed through such a course, ever found the Lord, and because they have no heart to seek or to pray to him.

Secondly. A time is coming, when the Lord, instead of being a merciful and forgiving God to sinners, will become only a just and avenging God to them. He, who now promises them the acts of his mercy and free forgiveness, if they will forsake their sins and return unto him, is held bound to let his threatened punishment take its course, if they do not. Sinners are miserable now, as accountable and immortal beings, and it is only for them to fail of the divine mercy to continue so forever in an ever-increasing measure. Unrenewed, unchanged, and unforgiven, they must inherit indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish forevermore. Sinners, then, must forsake their cherished sins, or be eternally forsaken of a merciful God. They must return unto him, or they must sooner or later be summoned to depart accursed into everlasting fire prepared

for the devil and his angels. They are not saved by their works, nor can they be saved in their sins. They must put them away, or be abandoned to the inevitable consequences of unpardored sin. They must return unto God, or be turned into hell. But,

Thirdly, I delight to recur to the topics of present er!couragement which are here addressed to the unconverted. Let me close my remarks, by affectionately and earnestly beseeching you to seek the Lord now. Seek_him immediately. Seek bim earnestly:

Seek him continually. And you shall not seek in vain. You shall find him. Call upon him. Begin to pray believingly, feelingly, and perseveringly ;-and you shall obtain evidence that he is graciously near you. Forsake your wicked ways.-Change your course of life. Give a new and heavenly direction to your thoughts. Diligently keep your heart. "Turn speedily unto the Lord. Wait not for tomorrow's sun, Turn cordially unto the Lord. Keep not back your heart. Turn penitently unto the Lord. Carry with you to him the sacrifice of a broken spirit. Turn exclusively unto him. Make him your only refuge, portion, and rest. And your restless hearts shall repose in the sweet consciousness of his mercy to you, and in the increasing tokens of your pardon and acceptance with God. He is to be found now. He is near to-dayHe is waiting to be gracious. Must he be denied the opportunity of having mercy upon you? Will you not permit him to multiply his acts of pardon upon you?

SERMON VI.

The Harbinger's Cry, addressed to Christians.

MATTHEW III. 3.

PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.

It has ever been the grand error of mankind, to live in the expectation of some desired good without any earnest engagement in its pursuit, or solicitous endeavors to be prepared for its reception. This has been eminently true of them in respect to the early-promised and never-ending blessing of salvation through the Redeemer. Long was his advent the object of fervent desire and confident expectation by the only people on earth, who were made acquainted with the designs of heavenly mercy. Nearly at the period when the fulness of time had come, their expectation of his speedy appearance was so raised, by the concurrent intimations of prophecy and of providence, as to diffuse the impression very widely among surrounding nations. But though all were looking for him, very few were prepared to welcome his appearing. Even the most favored portion of the human family--the nation that had enjoyed the richest means of religious culture, was fitly compared to a desert. In its moral and religious condition, it presented the aspect of dreary barrenness—of a pathless waste. Turned as were their minds with ardent hope and prying eagerness to detect, in the events of their day, some tokens of their promised deliverer's

approach, and familiar as they were with the stirring call of the prophet to prepare the way of the Lordto make straight in the desert a highway for their God, they were not ready to receive him. In this state of unpreparedness they continued up to the very period, when he who went before him in the spirit and power of Elias, began to preach, calling them to repentance, as the voice of one crying in the wilderness--PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT. The consequence was, that full of blessings for the world, as were the hands of the Redeemer, they were not in a state to receive them. Numerous obstacles prevented their reception of them. They misapprehended the character of his person, the object of his mission, and the nature of his kingdom. They were strongly prejudiced against his lowly appearance and his humbling doctrines. They were blind to their danger and ignorant of their wants. So that he came to his own, but his own received him not. While, to as many as were seasonably ready and waiting for the consolation of Israel, he communicated the benefits of his salvation.

I consider the text contemplated in this connexion, as teaching a great general lesson interesting to men in the present world, always, and everywhere. Christians very constantly live in the expectation, more or less confident, of the future presence of the Saviour among them in the enlargement and purification of his church. While most of those who are not christians, yet favored with christian ordinances, almost as constantly cherish the expectation of one day becoming savingly interested in his redemption. Now the great lesson taught by the text is, that in order, in either case, to have any reasonable ground for such an expectation, there must be a previous preparation for the blessing. THE WAY OF THE LORD MUST BE PREPARED. It will be my object to point out, in several particulars, in what this preparation consists, both in the case of the people of God,

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