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Mr. SPALDING's SERMON, On the Execution of ISAAC COOMBS.

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The Prayer of a true Penitent for Mercy; or, the Publican's Prayer, ILLUSTRATED. A SERMON, DELIVERED AT SALEM, DEC. 21, 1786, PREVIOUS TO THE EXECUTION OF ISAAC COOMBS, AN INDIAN, WHOSE CRIME WAS THE MURDER OF HIS WIFE.

BY JOSHUA SPALDING, A. M. PASTOR OF THE TABERNACLE CHURCH, IN SALEM.

[PUBLISHED BY DESIRE.]

SALEM: PRINTED BY DABNEY AND CUSHING, MDCCLXXXVII.

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A SERMON, &c.

LUKE XVIII. 13.GOD be merciful to me, a Sinner!

WHAT is more solemn than to see a man die!—to see a fellow-creature, who must exist an eternity, take his departure immediately to the bar of God!—to have his state unalterably fixed, either in eternal life, or in utter darkness, everlasting punishment and despair!—Death is the king of terrours, though viewed in his most frequent and common forms; but to see one in health cut down in the midst of life, by the hand of justice, O how shocking! this fills the mind with ideas which can­not be expressed. At the repeated request of such an one, I am now to preach the last sermon he is ever to hear! and, peradventure, the last which may ever be heard by many others in this assembly. What serious address becomes this occasion! Excellency of speech, and artful words of man's wisdom, suit not this solemnity. An at­tempt at this time to be curious would be inexcusably criminal; for if ever great plainness of speech was ne­cessary, it is now. The words chosen for our text com­pose [Page 6] the prayer of a poor publican—the penitent, earnest cry of a broken-hearted sinner, who went up into God's holy temple, but had such a sense of his sin and guilt, that he dared not come nigh, and, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven, but smote up­on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me, a sinner!

THIS, O Isaac, is a prayer for you, in the most earnest and penitential manner; let this be the cry of your whole heart, every moment you have to live.

IN discoursing upon this subject, we shall observe the following method:

I. Inquire what is implied in a sinner's praying for mercy.

II. Consider what is comprised in God's showing mercy to a praying sinner.

III. Improve the subject with several remarks and ad­dresses.

IN a sinner's praying for mercy is implied,

1. A felt and unfeigned sense of sin. The publican realized his being a sinner; his heart was affected with a sense of it; and whoever heartily adopts his prayer, has a painful sense of sin against God—has become guilty be­fore God, and sees he has done that abomination which the Lord hateth. His sin appears to cover his head like a thick cloud, and to cry, even unto heaven, against him. He is convicted of transgressing the law of God—a law that is holy, just and good; and the consequence of such conviction must forever be what the Apostle confessed, I am carnal, sold under sin: He can offer no excuse for his conduct—can plead nothing in his favour—can find no one circumstance that could in the least alleviate his guilt. Thus he stands condemned by God—sensibly condemned by his holy law—condemned by the whole bible. The law, with a voice like the thunder of Mount [Page 7] Sinai, curses him for not continuing in all things written therein, to do them. When he looks to the gospel, he finds he has been guilty of the sin of unbelief; and that he who believeth not is condemned already. He finds, yea, he now feels, the sentence of condemnation in his own soul; for both reason and conscience flash in his face. Heaven and earth are ready to witness against him, and judgment is before him. He apprehends God will immediately enter into judgment with him;—it appears amazing, and passing wonder, that he has not done it long ago. There appears no probability that his final doom will be delayed any longer; and if not, he knows he cannot stand in the judgment, but must fall under condemnation, to all eternity. He sees he has no right to any thing temporal or spiritual: when he treads on the earth, he cumbereth the ground—he breathes not a breath but by mere sufferance. It appears truth to him, that God could not punish him too much; that everlast­ing sufferings are his due, and God must be just, do with him what he will. Such a sense of sin is occasioned by a proper sight of God's law; for by the law is the know­ledge of sin. The law makes sin revive, and become ex­ceedingly sinful. A true sight of the law is a discovery of its holiness and spirituality, as exhibiting the infinite glory of the blessed God; and until one has such a sight of the exceeding holiness of this law, as sets the glory of the divine perfections in the most awful and adorable view, he is in the same situation of mind with a perse­cuting Saul—alive without the law; he has no true sense of sin, and no proper idea of his own real character: but when he is brought to see this, then sin appears what it really is—a transgression of the law, opposition to ho­liness, and enmity against God. This lays the founda­tion [Page 8] of that painful and unfeigned sense of sin, which we have been attempting a little to describe. Here we may observe, that in a true sense of sin, one is not affected bare­ly with the fear of punishment, or the sufferings which are his just wages; but it is a sense of his having sinned against God, that breaks his heart; his having dishon­oured a holy God, and injured his infinitely sacred char­acter:—this wounds his spirit! this gives him his greatest distress! David sinned, and shed innocent blood; and a dreadful sentence from God proceeded against him—that the sword should never depart from his house; yet when he was brought to a true sense of what he had done, he found something in his conduct more distressing to his soul, than all his punishment; it was this, Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight. And when the prodigal son came to himself, and returned to his father, he did not say, Father I have sinned, and have undone myself—I have been starving in foreign lands, and I am now perishing with hunger:—no; there was something in his conduct more affecting to his soul, than his own wretchedness—more painful, than his hunger—it was this—Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. The penitent sinner is not insensible of his own misery, neither is he at all indifferent as to his perishing circumstances. The publican cries for mercy, and the prodigal begs for the bread of an hired servant; but, at the same time, in a true sense of sin. The dishonour and injury done to our­selves appears comparatively small, to the dishonour and injury done to a holy God.

2. IN this prayer is implied, a realizing sense of de­pendence on God. The sinner finds himself perishing—that he has destroyed himself, and is sinking under the [Page 9] insupportable weight of his guilt—that help he must have, and such help, too, as Almighty God alone can give. He sees the absolute impossibility of his helping himself—that he can make no atonement for his crimes—it would avail him nothing, should he give his body to be burned for his transgressions, or the fruit of his body for the sin of his soul—that Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor all the beasts thereof, for a burnt-offering; he therefore re­nounces all hope in himself, and looks to God, saying, with David, Help, Lord, for vain is the help of man. The sinner who thus prostrates himself at the throne of grace, is sensible, if God appears for him, it will be mer­cy, pure sovereign mercy, and if not, it will be just. Every gleam of hope is in the mercy of that God who hath a sovereign right either to cast off or save—to kill or make alive. He hath now but this one petition, God be mer­ciful to me, a sinner! and if this fail, he must sink into despair—his mouth is stopped, for there is no other plea. God would be just in withholding his mercy from sinners. He is under no obligation to manifest it to any one; though it is otherwise with man; it is criminal in us not to show mercy to the utmost of our ability, for this plain reason, we have all, in a greater or less degree, received mercy at the hand of God. Every moment we have lived, every thing temporal and spiritual we have enjoyed, is the fruit of mere mercy; and if we have freely re­ceived, we ought freely to give. We are under obligation to be like God. Does God forgive enemies? so must we. Does he do good to the evil and unthankful? so must we. Do we pray, forgive us our trespasses? then we must forgive, from our very heart, all those who have tres­passed against us. The servant, who had no compassion on his fellow-servant, was condemned; and the reason [Page 10] of his condemnation was, that, a little before, his Lord forgave him his whole debt. Hence we have this com­mand, Be ye merciful, as your Father also is merciful. But God hath been laid under no such obligation, for who hath first given unto him? And this is realized by him who feels his absolute dependence on sovereign mercy. O who can describe the situation of one who stands guilty before God, having nothing but eternity in view—sensible of deserving nothing but frowns—feeling himself on the brink of deserved ruin, and there wholly dependent on the mere pleasure of an angry Judge—an injured God—who knows what he has done, and now beholds his sin with perfect indignation, and can, with infinite ease, glo­rify himself in his condemnation! He pleads for mercy, but is sensible that he pleads for undeserved, uncovenanted mercy. He repeats his request, but feels himself un­worthy, of all sinners the most unworthy, of being heard. He knows he must perish forever, if his suit is not grant­ed; but, alas! it now comes fresh to his remembrance, how many times he has slighted this mercy. God hath called, and he hath refused; the Lord hath stretched out his hand, and he hath disregarded; and that he might now laugh at his calamity, and mock at his fear. But notwithstanding all this, he has no where else to go for help, but unto God; he is therefore resolved to prostrate his soul before the throne of all grace, and if he dies, to die at the feet of Sovereign Mercy. His final conclusion is this, Let me fall now into the hand of the Lord, and if I perish, I perish!

3. THIS prayer implies an apprehension of the mercy of God. God is merciful in himself. He is a God of great and tender mercy. There must be a greatness in that mercy, which can reach a sinner's case. Of this [Page 11] Moses was sensible, when pleading for a sinful people; he says, Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of thy mercy. And again, Let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, the Lord long-suffering, and of great mercy. This is found in God. Here is mercy, of such eminence, and infinite power, as removes every thing that lies in its way; it triumphs over sin and guilt; it leaps over mountains of iniquity and transgression, and makes its way into the stubborn heart. Many of the chief of sinners have been made the joyful captives of this all-conquering mercy. We, of the human race, have had abundant opportunity to know, that the divine nature is such as delights in mer­cy. We were miserable—God pitied us. We were sinful,—God detested us; yet though we were an abhorrence in his sight, his mercy neither ceased nor abated: witness Christ's dying for the ungodly. This is the mercy craved in the text. The poor sinner apprehends the glorious truth; upon this his eye fixes, whilst he ceases not to implore this sovereign help; and mercy! mercy! is his repeated cry.

THE sinner at this time apprehends a fullness in the mercy of God. If he has any hope, he must see enough in God to relieve him; and he who sees himself, must see, that nothing short of infinite is enough—yea, so far from being sufficient, that all that men or angels could do for him, would not give him the least possible relief. Nothing but an infinite fullness of grace—nothing but an arm absolutely almighty, stretched out by infinite mercy, can reach down to the gates of hell, where he now finds himself sinking; therefore he prays, God be merciful!—as much as to say, thou art merciful—an inexhaustible ocean of grace is in thee. O display all that fullness and [Page 12] infinite freeness of mercy, and thus appear for my help. David had this view of his own situation and others, when he called upon God in these words—Stir up thy strength, and come and save us. He saw, if God did not appear in all his strength, in all his omnipotence, they could not be saved. Such is the situation of every sinner; and surely for God to appear in this manner, for the re­lief of a poor, perishing soul, is a display of infinite mercy.

4. THE prayer expressed in the text implies some ap­prehension of the method of salvation. The publican evidently conceived it possible for God to show mercy in a way consistent with himself, that he might be just in doing it; and this was his encouragement to pray—his only support. For though God is merciful, yet if the way was not open, in which he might manifest it, ac­cording to righteousness and truth, it could never appear. This mercy is of too divine a nature, to have flown out in any way, that would in the least have injured the holy law of God, his justice, or any of his adorable perfections; and if some method is not revealed in which this can be done, there is no hope. Fallen angels know God is merciful, but this gives them no hope; for they have had no intimations of any way being devised, in which God can be reconciled to them; therefore there must be some apprehension of the gospel method of salvation, wherever a sinner addresses himself to the throne of grace. This apprehension may be very dark, as we know it al­ways was before the sufferings and death of our Lord and Saviour; but God had even then, in various ways, pro­claimed his name in relation to sinners of the human race, the Lord God gracious and merciful. Ever since that early promise, The seed of the woman shall bruise the ser­pent's [Page 13] head, it has been known in our world, that God designed mercy for the fallen race of Adam. This hath been believed by true penitents, in all generations; and they have always been persuaded, that in showing mercy, God would take care of his own glory, and do it in a way that should harmonize with all his perfections. This way of salvation, through a Mediator, is made clear and plain to us, in the gospel of Jesus Christ, who died, the j [...] for the unjust, and bore our sins in his own body, on the tree—who fulfilled the law by his holy and obedient life, and satisfied divine justice by the sacrifice of himself, and hath thus brought in an everlasting righteousness, that, through the redemption which is in his blood, we might be just­ified freely by the grace of God. This precious redemp­tion—this complete atonement, is the sinner's refuge—is the grand pillar of all his hopes; on this is grounded that peculiar hope, which, as an anchor to the soul, reach­ing within the veil, is sure and steadfast. When once the true penitent has a view of this glorious method of sal­vation, it appears so complete, so every way suited to his circumstances, that he will hope—he cannot but trust his immortal all in the hands of Jesus; [...], he can say, if I had a thousand souls to save, I could trust them all on this glorious foundation. Thus, weary and heavy laden with sin and guilt, he flies to the faithful arms of ever­lasting love; and O! what excellency appears in Christ! unto him he is precious—altogether lovely—the chiefest of ten thousands; worthy to be loved, and adored with the whole heart, in time and eternity, on account of his own glories, he being the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person. And notwithstanding the great sense he has of his sinfulness [...], this dis­covery of the mercy of God in Christ strengthens his [Page 14] soul, and afresh supports him to agonize in prayer, and to cry with the most earnest importunity, God be merciful to me, a sinner!

WE shall now pass to the consideration of the second general head of this discourse; which was, to consider what is comprised in God's showing mercy to a sinner:—

AND, in the first place, shall observe, this mercy con­tains a pardon of sin.

THE publican undoubtedly had this, first, and princi­pally, in view—that God, for his own name's sake, would pardon his sin; for, when he received a gracious answer, he went down to his house, justified.* And we consider justification as an act of God's free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins. When God justifies, he does it freely and fully: he will abundantly pardon the truly penitent. The publican asked a pardon of all his sins, and in his justification he received a full pardon, and went rejoicing home. Nothing short of this would have sat­isfied him, or in any degree have relieved his troubled soul. The pardoning grace of God extends to sinners, only on account of the atonement made by Christ, which is received, and trusted in, as complete, and divinely suitable, as we have already attempted to describe. This is gospel faith, the subjects of which are considered as being in Christ; and as Christ hath finished transgression, and made an end of sin, their sins are taken away—their iniquities are blotted out as a cloud, and their transgressions as a thick cloud; for there is now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus. Righteousness, the glorious and complete righteousness of Jesus, is imputed unto them, [Page 15] which presents them faultless to the eye of holiness itself. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin, to whom righteousness is imputed by faith: this is free grace—this is mercy indeed!

2. IN God's showing mercy to a sinner, there is not only this act of free forgiveness, but there is also by the Holy Ghost an application of his pardoning love to the soul. The love of God is shed abroad in the heart, which immediately removes the guilt of sin; the heart is sprin­kled from an evil conscience. All sin loads the conscience with guilt, but the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all sin. A believing application of this gives instant freedom to the soul that is bowed down under a sense of the most aggravated guilt. O! how heavy is the guilt of inno­cent blood! it made Cain cry out, My punishment is great­er than I can bear. David, sinking under this weight, cries out in agonies of pain, Deliver me from blood guilt­iness, O God! His earnestness is like one who feels, that if God should not deliver him, he must sink into hell. But here is deliverance; the atoning blood of Jesus re­moves even the guilt of blood. Though innocent blood has a voice so loud as to reach heaven with its avenging cries, yet these cries, by an application of a crucified Christ, are silenced in a moment. We read, that the blood of Abel cried unto God, from the ground—it cried for vengeance against the murderer; but the blood of sprinkling, the blood of Jesus, speaketh better things—it speaketh peace! peace! and all is peace! The whole weight of guilt is gone—the wounded conscience is healed—the deepest stains of sin are washed away. This, even this, is comprised in the mercy of God to sinners.

3. DIVINE mercy does not stop here; it is so rich—so abundant, as to bring penitents home to God, and [Page 16] adopt them as the children of his family. Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. God sends forth the spirit of his Son into their hearts, crying, Abba, Father. When the prodigal repented and returned, he not only received a pardon, but was claspt in his Father's arms; his pardon was sealed with parental kisses; he was again called a son; the father said to his servants, bring forth the best robe, and put it on him, and let a joyful feast be made ready: for this my son was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found. So, likewise, when God has mercy on a sinner, he seals his pardon with every tender expression of love. After ye believed, says the Apostle, ye were sealed with that holy spirit of promise; and the immediate effect of this is peace with God, joy and peace in believing. The poor sinner is now made to rejoice with that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory.

4. PERFECT holiness, and the full enjoyment of God to all eternity, are comprised in God's showing mercy to a penitent, praying sinner. When a sinner is first brought to repentance, he is, in some degree, the subject of ho­liness▪ for repentance implies hatred to sin, and love to righteousness, which is holiness. After such a change, his life is a warfare against sin; he hates it in all its forms and delusive charms; he groans earnestly for deliverance; he looks on him whom he hath pierced, and mourns; whilst he longs, and hungers and thirste for righteousness—to be holy like God and Christ. These affections will increase, as long as he lives; and when death shall do his kind office, and lay his body asleep in Jesus, then he will live indeed; for, being freed from that body of death, under which he groaned while he lived, he comes to the full possession of that promise in Christ Jesus, He [Page 17] shall save his people from their sins. Now the scenes of sorrow close, and the scenes of joy and immortality open. Now, adieu to an alluring world and tempting devil—a long farewell to a spiritual warfare and manifold tribu­lations—welcome life and glory. Thus being made free as a celestial, and bearing the image of the heavenly, he passes, as in a moment, to the paradise of God—the Jerusalem which is above, to join the general assembly of the church of the first-born, whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life; there to be guest with saints and angels, and, what is more, to dwell in the eternal light, in the presence of God, where there is fullness of joy; and at his right hand, where there are pleasures forevermore. And the Lamb in the midst of the throne shall feed him, and lead him unto fountains of living waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from his eyes: here the wicked cease from troubling, and his weary soul is forever at rest. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them who love him. But, my brethren, by faith we may look with­in the veil, and behold the redeemed standing on Mount Zion, clothed in white robes, having their Father's name in their foreheads, with crowns upon their heads, and palms in their hands, singing the new song before the throne of God and the Lamb: for by faith we see things which are invisible.

HAVING thus attended to the doctrinal parts of this subject, we shall now proceed to an improvement.

FROM what hath been said, we may learn the great encouragement sinners have to look to God for mercy. The Lord hath already looked mercifully towards sinners. With an eye of tender pity and infinite compassion, he hath viewed our deplorable situation; for mercy hath [Page 18] pleased him. A glorious work of redemption hath been set on foot by everlasting love and infinite wisdom, which have joined in planning and laying it out; and all things have been well ordered and made sure by Almighty Power; and for a long while God hath been passing before sinners, in the dispensation of the gospel, saying, live! live! for I have found a ransom. And there is not only a door opened, through which God may show mercy to sinners, but there is an appointed Mediator, in whose ever-pre­vailing name, we may come to the throne of grace, and plead for mercy, with the greatest assurance; for he that cometh before God, believing the truth as it is witnessed in Jesus, shall in no wise be cast out▪ Sinners may venture to draw near to God, through the glorious Mediator; yea, they have a good warrant to come; yea, more, they have a free and urgent invitation to come—The spirit and the bride say, come. And let him that heareth, say, come. And let him that is athirst, come: and whosover will, let him take the water of life freely. The greatness of God's mercy is an encouragement; it is exceeding great; it passeth knowledge—is beyond all comparison—nothing but God himself can represent it. The greatness and extent thereof can be measured only by infinite lines; where it is displayed, it snatches the sinner from eternal misery—it places him in eternal happiness. The freeness and readiness of this mercy is an encouragement; it ap­pears in the moment of distress. God is a present help in trouble. He looketh down from the height of his sanc­tuary, to hear the groaning of the prisoner, and to loose those who are appointed to death. He is more ready to give his holy spirit unto such as truly ask it, than earthly parents are to give bread to their own children. This mercy is not only great and free, but it is also sure and [Page 19] effectual. The soul that receives it can never fail. The gifts and callings of God are without repentance; they are the sure mercies of David. There is also this encourage­ment, that God hath appointed repentance unto life eter­nal; and, what is still more, he hath exalted Jesus Christ to give repentance, and hath added, even to this, his promise, that he will have mercy on sinners, who truly repent. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unright­eous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and unto our God, for he will abundantly pardon. This, certainly, is encourag­ing; for it is offering mercy on the lowest terms; for he who repents not, and forsakes not his unrighteous way, cannot inherit the favour of God, for it is an holy gift, and cannot be received or enjoyed by an unholy and im­penitent heart. Besides, we have examples to encourage us. The poor publican found mercy; the prodigal, who only sought for a master, found a father, and one too who had bowels and mercies. Manasseh, who filled Je­rusalem with innocent blood, was not out of the reach of God's pardoning mercy. O unmeasurable, unsearch­able grace! Why then shall any one despair, or ever cease to cry, God be merciful to me, a sinner!

I WOULD now address a few words to this numerous audience, to look to God for mercy.

MY dear fellow-mortals, we all stand in need of mercy, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and the wages of sin is death. He that is to suffer this day, is not the only one in this assembly under the sentence of death; for death hath passed upon all, for all have sinned. Man goeth to his long home—born on by time's swift wings. We are going whence we shall not return. No more shall we return to our house; our place shall know [Page 20] us no more. But it is not only appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. The solemn moment is fast approaching, when all our states will be fixed for an eternity; and he that is unjust, shall be unjust still; and he that is filthy, shall be filthy still; and he that is righteous, shall be righteous still; and he that is holy, shall be holy still. You see, my dear hearers, that at the her of God there is only this one distinction, holy and unholy, just and unjust; and it will there be decided, unto which of these classes we belong, and we must take our overlasting portion accordingly, for from this decision there is no appeal. And can we be just, righteous, and holy, without the mercy of God? Can we be thus of ourselves? No; it is the highest arrogance and presump­tion to suppose it. Shall man be just before God? Shall any son of man presume he is righteous? Folly and mad­ness all! What is man that he should be clean? Behold! God putteth no such trust in his saints, and the heavens are not clean in his sight—how much more abominable and filthy is man, who drinketh iniquity like water! These are the words of everlasting truth; and though by nature we are thus unholy, and far from righteousness, yet, as truly as God liveth, without holiness and perfect righteousness, no man shall see the Lord in peace. Do we not then stand in need of mercy, and infinite displays of mercy too? By God's free spirit we must have an application of the blood of Jesus made to our souls, that our sins may be washed away; we must have the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, that our consciences may be purged from sin and dead works, by an act of the free grace of God the Father; the glorious and complete righteousness of Jesus Christ must be imputed unto us for our justification—And is not this mercy, for God to do all this for poor hell-deserving sin­ners? [Page 21] Therefore, in the name and by the authority of the Son of God, I must testify unto you all, who hear me this day, except you have all this done for you by the mere mercy of God, you must be everlastingly damned! O sinners! be not angry with this plain dealing with your souls; if you will not believe this to be truth, you must run the awful hazard of your unbelief; but, for myself, I dare not shun to declare the whole counsel of God! O realize your dependence on God; remember your help is alone in the arm of Jehovah; all your encouragement is there. While then the door of mercy is open, be persuaded to bow the knee—become beggars at the throne of grace. I know we may well blush to ask such favours from one we have so wronged, but necessity calls for it; therefore, let every one be importunate for this mercy of God in Christ Jesus; great as it is, you must all obtain it, or you cannot escape the wrath to come; yea, an eternity of happiness depends upon your success; go then, and take the publican's place, confess your guilt, and cry, God be merciful to me, a sinner! Never give over your suit, what­ever discouragements you may apprehend in the way, yet, look towards the holy temple, and the Lord will send you answers of peace.

WE shall now close with a particular address to the poor criminal, to look to God for mercy.

Isaac Coombs, I have now, for the last time, to urge upon your mind, these important and eternal realities and will you then take one more view of your situation? You have sinned, and shed innocent blood, for which you are condemned by an earthly judge. You have re­ceived sentence of death! and are now within one or two hours of your execution, which will separate your soul and body. To-day your probation for eternity ends! [Page 22] In a few hours, with you, time will be no longer! But there is something in your situation more shocking than death! you have sinned against an holy God; you have poured contempt on his sacred authority; your heart has been stout against God; and, after your hard and impenitent heart, you have sinned with an high hand, which you confess hath been against your own conscience, and against solemn warnings and reproofs; this is what gives death his sting, the sting of death is sin; for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men; and you appear to be now exposed to this wrath. You have a soul of an infinite value, and as we wish the salvation of your immortal spirit, we must tell you plainly, you have not appeared to be a true penitent. Sometimes you have been affected with your situation, and we have been encouraged that you would lay it to heart; but, alas! these impressions have soon worn off, and you have dis­covered a strong inclination to those very sins which have been your ruin. We must, therefore, look upon you as being in the very gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity. Life and death hath been set before you—the way of repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, hath been pointed out to you, and there is no other way. Therefore, if you do not repent—hate sin, forsake it, and turn to God, you cannot be saved. For though God is merciful in Christ, to such as truly re­pent, yet he is a God of strict justice, he will, by no means, [...] the guilty. His law is exceeding broad. Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, shall be in dan­ger of the judgment: but whosoever shall say, thou fool, shall he in danger of hell-fire. These are the true sayings of God. O then! how great is your desert! you are going to appear before the Judge of all, to know these [Page 23] truths from the bar of God; and if you are not there found interested in Jesus, you must immediately sink down amongst the spirits in prison, to suffer the vengeance of eternal fire, to dwell with everlasting burnings. Your poor soul will be sentenced by the Judge of quick and dead, to welter out an eternity under his scorching wrath. If Cain, for sheding the blood of a brother, must be avenged seven fold, truly, if strict justice takes place in thee, for sheding the blood of a nearer relation, thou must be avenged seventy and seven fold. Think how much blood there is in your case. You confess the people of God have cleared their garments of your blood. Christ Jesus hath shed his blood to make an atonement for sinners; and, except you are interested in this atonement, by faith; that blood you have shed, your own blood, and the blood of Jesus Christ too▪ will all rest upon you head. This punishment will be greater than you can bear. Repent, therefore, O repent! repent! that your sins may be blotted out, and refreshing might come to your soul, from the presence of the Lord. In thyself thou art lost, utterly lost; O Isaac! thou hast destroyed thyself, but in the Lord Jesus there is help; he is all sufficient for thee; look unto him, and be thou saved. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world; he is the end of the law for righteousness, to every one that believeth.—Jesus Christ, that beloved Son God, in whom he is well pleased, came into the world, and lived an holy and per­fect life; he was condemned at Pilate's bar; he died upon the cross, on Mount Calvary; he rose again from the dead, and ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, there exalted to give repentance and remission of sins. Our Lord suffered and died, that who­soever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting [Page 24] life. He rose from the dead for their justification; he liveth to make intercession for them. Now, Isaac, if you want pardon, look to a crucified Christ; if you want justification, look to a risen Saviour; if you want to be washed and made fit for God's right hand, the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all sin. Finally, look to Jesus for all you want; there is enough in him. In the atone­ing blood of Jesus put your hope—on this glorious found­ation rest your soul. He that believeth shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned. What thou doest, do quickly! Isaac, I bid thee farewell! until we meet at the bar of God! and the Lord have mercy on thy never-dying soul!

FINIS.

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