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late!-promises made to God in your fears and dangers,
in your sicknesses and communions. And shall. all these be forgotten? How many mercies hath God bestowed on you!-mercies before your repentance, mercies which drew you to repentance, (if you were a sincere penitent,) and mercies ever since ? For which of these is it that
abandon your Lord ? Does not your heart melt when you look back on them, and consider your ingratitude. But omitting past mercies, remember from what a number of present blessings you run when you depart from God. Does not your conscience tell you, that it is safer, and better, and happier, to remain firm in your duty than to return to sin ? Do you not sacrifice your felicity, when you leave your God, your
Redeemer and Comforter—when you relinquish your title to pardon, to protection, and to all the
promises of grace-when you bid farewell to all the comforts of a Christian? All these you abandon, when
you backslide and depart from God. And for what is it that you abandon these exalted privileges, these high hopes ? For any thing that can a moment be put in competition with them? Oh no! For a little worldly gain or honour, for a little sinful pleasure and ease, which cannot make you happy now, and which cannot attend you into the eternal world? Oh man! where is thy boasted reason, if for this thou barterest away thy God, thy Saviour, thy soul, and thy heaven?
4. Consider that all your past labour and suffering are lost, if you depart from God. Of what avail was it to the wife of Lot, that she had left the devoted city, and advanced some distance towards Zoar? did this save her when she paused and looked back? Of what avail will it be to you, that you have heard,
and meditated, and prayed,--that you have undergone much self-denial and many sufferings ? If you now turn back, all this will profit you nothing. “Call to remembrance,” says the apostle to the Hebrews, “ the former days in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions ; partly while ye were made a gazing-stock, both by reproaches and afflictions, and partly when we became companions of them that were so used. Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward."
5. Consider that if you now turn back for worldly and sinful pleasures, you will enjoy them with less relish than you formerly did, or than the totally insensible do now. Your old convictions of the danger of such a life can never be thoroughly erased; the mercies of Christ to you cannot be entirely forgotten: you will think of your former resolutions, and promises, and ways; your thoughts will run back to the days which are past, in which you walked with God, and forward to those which are to come, in which you must render up your account unto him. Thus, in the midst of your sinful enjoyments, your soul will be agitated with remorse and apprehension. For such joys as these, wilt thou sacrifice those joys that are to be found in communion with thy God, and which are so pure, so sublime, so unembittered with remorse?
6. Consider, you that are beginning to depart from God, what will be the issue of this departure. Do you expect to be recovered from it, and brought again to God? On this, which is the most favourable supposition which you can frame, what store of anguish, of agony, are you laying up for yourselves ? When you shall think of your backslidings- of your guilt in revolting, after such convictions, and
promises, and mercies, and experiences, you will feel in your bosom a foretaste of hell; you will scarcely be persuaded that there is hope for you; you will be plunged into a despair, the horrors of which can be exceeded only by the tortures of the damned. And if you be restored, the comforts, the pleasures, the joys of religion, will probably for you be lost for
7. Consider the example of those backsliders who are mentioned in the holy volume, and say whether you are not both afraid and ashamed to be found in such society. How frightful was the fate of Lot's wife! How frightful the remembrance of Saul, of Cain, of Judas! If you descend to later times, do you wish to suffer as did Spira, who on his bed of death, tortured by the remembrance of his backslidings, cried out, “ I feel more exquisite sufferings than those of hell; who will tear my soul from my body? who will lead me to the place of the damned?” What agony unutterable must he have suffered before he could thus desire, “ to fly to hell as a refuge-to embrace damnation as a release !"
8. Finally: Consider that, by backsliding, you dishonour God much more than those who have never professed to serve him. You declare by your conduct that you believe more happiness to be derived. from the world, the flesh, and the devil, than from God. You thus harden the wicked in their sin; you discourage them from approaching the Saviour. They shall perish; but for their souls will not you have to answer?
Thus, Christians, I have, with a studied plainness, presented to you several considerations which surely ought to alarm those who have backslidden from
God, and induce those who 6 stand, to take heed lest
Shall I stop here? Shall I say nothing to those of you
who are congratulating yourselves in your hearts that none of these censures affect
who are secretly rejoicing, that, whatever is your guilt, you are not backsliders, since you have never professed to know the Lord? Are you therefore more safe? I have directed backsliders to the pillar of salt; I point you to the lake of Sodom. Behold in that an image of the doom which awaits
you prevent it not by repentance. Like the inhabitants of Sodom, you have neglected the warnings of God, have continued in a course of sin against him. Every breath you draw is a rebellious breath, since you refuse to submit to your God. What will be the end of these things ? On your soul, as upon Sodom, will for ever be poured the tempest of divine indignation. You, like them, will be suddenly surprised, and sunk into misery
LIFE OF MELCHIZEDEK.
GENEsis xiv. 17-21. Psalm cx. 4. Hebrews vii.
The whole sacred volume is a " testimony of Je. sus;" he is the sum and centre of all revealed truth. If we behold him unveiled in the New Testament, we find him typified and shadowed forth in the Old. He is the substance of the law, and brought grace to fulfil its requirements, and truth to make good its prefigurations. The ceremonial law he fulfilled and abolished; the moral law he fulfilled and established. He is the substance of the prophecies : these inspired men spake by his Spirit; and foretold, with rapture, his grace, his kingdom, and his salvation. And even in those histories, which are carelessly passed over by the thoughtless reader, the believer beholds his Saviour. This is especially the case with that illustrious type of the Redeemer, who this morning is to occupy our attention.
Who was Melchizedek? To this question, various and contradictory answers have been given by those writers who have endeavoured to pierce the obscurity which the Scriptures have thrown around this distinguished personage. It would neither tend to your improvement, nor be consistent with the design of these lectures, to enumerate all the erroneous sentiments which have been entertained on this subject. It will be sufficient to notice the three principal opinions that have been received respecting this extraordinary character.
1. The greater number of the Jews, and many Christian divines, have supposed that he was Shem, who was living at this time, and who, in every respect venerable, was certainly invested with the greatest authority. This opinion, however, though supported by great names, is perfectly inconsistent with the sacred volume. It can, in no sense, be said, that Shem was “ without father, without mother, without genealogy;" since we have the history of his ancestors even to Adam. It cannot be said of Shem,