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when the destroying angels stood over it: unre, pented guilt is around you, and the flames of destruction are ready to burst forth under your feet. You have no time to lose. Summon therefore all your vigour to escape for your lives, before it be too late. Take up the feryid petition of Lot to the destroying angel, “ Be
hold now this city is near to flee unto, and " it is a little one : Oh! let me escape thither, " (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall so live.” And may God inspire you with such a lively sorrow and compunction of heart, that you may truly repent you of your past sins, and be accepted into the kingdom of your heavenly Master, even at the last hour, though ye have stood all the day idle!
Lastly, let me recommend to every one of you, of whatever age, the serious consideration of that solemn prophecy contained in the book of Revelation : “ And the angel which I saw " stand upon the sea, and upon the earth, " lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by 56 him that liveth for ever and ever, " That $6 there should be time no longer.” My brethren, when this prophecy shall be finally accomplished, can be known only unto him who liveth for ever and ever, but to us it is fully accomplished, whenever death shall have closed i N %
our eyes. To us, time is then no more. To us, the sun is for ever darkened, and the stars shall no more give their light. To us, the time of trial is ended, the time of grace is expired, the time of repentance is cut off, and an eternity of torments or happiness from that moment begins. How therefore does it become every one, of us to guard against being surprized in an unlooked-for hour by that awful period ! How does it become every one of us to redeem the time by acts of virtue and benevolence! How does it become every one of us to beseech the giver of all good gifts, that he would so teach us to number our days, that we may steadily and in earnest apply our hearts unto that wisdom, which can alone ensure to us a state of neverfailing happiness, when time shall be no more!
Galat. iv. 4. When the fulness of time was come, God sent
forth his Son. .
CINCE God, at the creation of the world, s placed mankind in a situation perfectly worthy of his infinite wisdom and goodness; since he made them rational and free creatures, and consequently capable as well of exalting and improving, as of debasing and impairing their natural faculties; it cannot justly be said, that he lay under any necessity of sending his Son into the world at all. However, when men in general had so far deviated from the paths of righteousness, and were so far degenerated into the grossest ignorance and stupidity, as scarcely to have any impression of their Maker 'remaining upon their minds, it was doubtless most earnestly to be wished, that the
N 3 . Almighty Almighty would provide some means to conduct them back to the right way, and to restore them to a just sense of their obligations to the only true God. But this they could not have the sinallest pretence to demand as a matter of strict right, but must owe it entirely to his great and unlimited goodness towards the children of men.
Would it not, therefore, strongly excite the wonder of a thinking man, to find any person so - impiously daring, as to impeach even the divine justice, because God did not send his Son in the flesh sooner ! And yet, bold as it may seem, this is one of the grand points in dispute between the christian and the deist., “ If,” say these free-thinkers, as they affect to call themselves, “ God always acts for the good of his ir creatures, would he not rather have dis“ covered such things as made for their good, ** by sending them a Saviour from the beginning " of the world, than have deferred it for four << thousand years together, even till the time of * Tiberius ?" To a true believer it were a sufficient answer to quote the testimony of my text, which assures us, “ that God sent forth his Son, rs when the fulness of time was come:" For as we have the divine authority, that Christ came in due time, though we were not able to assign
one single reason, why that precise time was pitched upon, yet would it surely become us short-sighted mortals to put an implicit con. fidence in the consummate wisdom of our allseeing Creator, and thankfully to embrace such an inestimable benefit. It happens, however, that, in the case before us, God hath not left himself without ample witnesses of his wisdom, but has furnished us with abundant means to check the presumptuous petulancy of the enemies of revelation, and to confirm the fạith of all sincere christians.
.: It is seldom, and never with pleasure, that I enter upon subjects of controversy in this place, which is much more properly adapted for the cultivation and advancement of practical faith and virtue in the world. It may, however, sometimes be not improper to do it : leșt infidelity should assume confidence from our silence, and fancy its arguments unanswerable, because we rarely condescend to notice them.
The point in issue between us on the present subject, is, whether any good reason can be assigned, why the coming of the Son of God into the world was so long delayed..