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come.” God says this is what he did—“he stretched out his hands." That is what he has done to some of you. Yon that are not saved to-day are without excuse, for God stretched out his hands to you, and he said, “Come, come." Long have you sat beneath the sound of the ministry, and it has been a faithful one, I trust, and a weeping one. Your minister has not forgotten to pray for your souls in secret or to weep over you when no eye saw him, and he has endeavoured to persuade you as an ambassador from God. God is my witness, I have sometimes stood in this pulpit, and I could not have pleaded harder for my own life thaa I have pleaded with you. In Christ's name, I have cried, “ Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” I have wept over you as the Saviour did, and used his words on his behalf, “ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not." And you knos that your conscience has often been touched; you have often been mored; you could not resist it. God was so kind to you; he invited you so affectionately by the Word; he dealt so gently with you by his providence; his hands were stretched out, and you could hear his voice speaking in your ears, - Come unto me, come: come, now let us reason together; though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as wool; though they be red like crimson they shall be whiter than snow.
You have heard him cry, “ Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters." You have heard him say with all the affection of a father's heart, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him turn unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and unto our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Oh! God does plead with men that they would be saved, and this day he says to every_one of you, “ Repent, and be converted for the remission of your sins. Turn ye unto me. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; consider your ways."
And with love divine he woos you as a father woos his child, putting out his hands and crying, “Come unto me, come unto me." "No," says one strong-doctrine man, "God never in sites all men to himself; he invites none but certain characters." Stop, sir, that is all you know about it. Did you ever read that parable where it is said, “My oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage." And they that were bidden would not come, And did you never read that they all began to make excuse, and that they were punished because they did noi accept the invitations. Now, if the invitation is not to be made to anybody, but to the man who will accept it, how can that parable be true? The fact is, the oxen and fatlings are killed; the wedding feast is ready, and the trumpet sounds, " Ho every one that thirsteth, come and eat, come and drink.” Here are the provisions spread, here is an all-sufficiency; the invitation is free; it is a great invitation without limitation. " Whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely.” And that invitation is couched in tender words, “Come to me, my child, come to me.” “ All day long I liave stretched forth my hands."
And note again, this invitation was very frequent. The words, " all the day long," may be translated “ daily"_" Daily have I stretched forth my hands." Sinner, God has not called you once to come, and then let you alone, but every day has he been at you; every day has conscience spoken to you; every day has providence warned you, and every Sabbath has the Word of God wooed you. Oh! how much some of you will have to account for at God's great bar! I cannot now read your characters, but I know there are some of you who will have a terrible account at last. All the day long has God been wooing you. From the first dawn of your lite, he wooed you through your mother, and she used to put your little hands together, and teach you to say,
“ Gentle Jesus meek and mild,
Suffer me to come to thee." And in your boyhood God was still stretching out his hands after you. How your Sunday-school teacher endeavoured to bring you to the Saviour! How often your youthful heart was affected; but yon put all that away, and you are still untonched by it. How often did your mother speak to you, and your father warn you; and you have forgotten the prayer in that bed-room when you were sick, when your mother kissed your burning forehead, knelt down and prayed to God to spare your
life, and then added that prayer, “Lord, save my boy's soul!” And you recollect the Bible she gave you, when you first went out apprentice, and the prayer she wrote on that yellow front leaf. When she gave it, you did not perhaps know, but you may now; how earnestly she longed after you, that you might be formed anew in Christ Jesus; how she followed you with her prayers, and how she entreated with her God for you. And you have not yet surely forgotten how many Sabbaths you have spent, and how many times you have been warned. Why you have had waggon-loads of sermons wasted on you. A hundred and four sermons you have heard every year, and some of you more, and yet you are still just what you were.
But sinners, sermon hearing is an awful thing unless it is blessed to our souls. If God has kept on stretching out his hands every day and all the day, it will be a hard thing for you when you shall be justly condemned not only for your breaches of the law, but for your wilful rejection of the gospel. It is probable that God will keep on stretching out his hands to you until your hairs grow grey, still continually inviting you: and perhaps when you are nearing death he will still say, “Come unto me, come unto me. But if you still persist in hardening your heart, if still vou reject Christ, I beseech you let nothing make you imagine that you shall go unpunished. Oh! I do tremble sometimes when I think of that class of ministers who tell sinners that they are not guilty if they do not seek the Saviour. How they shall be found innocent at God's great day I do not know. It seems to bez fearful thing that they should be lulling poor souls into sleep by telling them it is not their duty to seek Christ and repent, but that they may do as they like about that, and that when they perish they will be none the more guilty for having heard the Word. My Master did not say that. Remember how he said, “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for it the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.” Jesus did not talk thus when he spoke to Chorazin and Bethsaida; for he said, “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.” It was not the way Paul preached. He did not tell sinners that there was no guilt in despising the cross. Hear the apostle's words once more: "For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward, how shall we escupe, if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him. Sinner, at the great day of God thou must give an account for every warning thou hast ever had, for every time thou hast read thy Bible, ay, and for every time thou hast neglected to read it; for every Sunday when the house of God was open and thou didst neglect to avail thyself of the opportunity of hearing the Word, and for every time thou didst hear it and didst not improve it. Ye who are careless hearers, are tying faggots for your own burning for ever. Ye that hear and straightway forget, or hear with levity, are digging for yourselves a pit into which ye must be cast. Remember, no one will be responsible for your damnation but yourself, at the last great day. God will not be responsible for it. “As I live saith the Lord”—and that is a great oath -“I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, but had rather that he should turn unto me and live." God has done much for you. He sent you his Gospel. You are not born in a heathen land; he has given you the Book of Books; he has given you an enlightened conscience; and if you perish under the sound of the ministry, you perish more fearfully ani terribly, than if you had perished anywhere else.
This doctrine is as much God's Word as the other. You ask me to reconcile the two. I answer, they do not want any reconcilement; I never tried to reconcile them to myself, because I could never see a discrepancy. If you begin to put fifty or sixty quibbles to me, I cannot give any answer. Both are true; no two truths can be inconsistent with each other; and what you have to do is to believe them both. With the first one, the saint has most to do. Let him praise the free and sovereigo grace of God, and bless his name. With the second, the sinner has the most to do. O sinner, humble thyself under the mighty hand of God, when thou thinkest of how often he hath shown his love to thee, by bidding thee come to
himself, and yet how often thou hast spurned his Word and refused his merey, and turned a deaf ear to every invitation, and hast gone thy way to rebel against a God of love, and violate the commands of him that loved thee.
And now, how shall I conclude? My first exhortation shall be to Christian people. My dear friends, I beseech you do not in any way give yourselves up to any system of faith apart from the Word of God. The Bible, and the Bible alone, is the religion of Protestants: I am the successor of the great and venerated Dr. Gill, whose theology is almost universally received among the stronger Calvinistic churches; but although I venerate his memory, and believe his teachings, yet he is not my Rabbi. What you find in God's Word is for you to believe and to receive. Never be frightened at a doctrine; and above all, never be frightened at a name. Some one said to me the other day, that he thought the truth lay somewhere between the two extremes. He meant right, but I think he was wrong. I do not think the truth lies between the two extremes, but in them both. I believe the higher a man goes the better, when he is preaching the matter of salvation. The reason why a man is saved is grace, grace, grace; and you may go as high as you like there. But when you come to the question as to why men are damned, then the Arminian is far more right than the Antinonian. I care not for any denoinination or party, I am as high as Huntingdon upon the matter of salvation, but question me about damnation, and you will get a very different answer. By the grace of God I ask no man's applause, I preach the Bible as I find it. Where we get wrong is where the Calvinist begins to medále with the question of damnation, and interferes with the justice of God; or when the Arminian denies the doctrine of grace.
My second exhortation is,-Sinners, I beseech every one of you who are unconverted and ungodly, this morning to put away every form and fashion of excuse that the devil would have you make concerning your being unconverted. Remember, that all the teaching in the world can never excuse you for being enemies to God by wicked works. When we beseech you to be reconciled to him, it is because we know you will never be in your proper place until you are reconciled. God has made you; can it be right that you should disobey him? God feeds you every day: can it be right that you should still live in disobedience to him? Remember, when the heavens shall be on a blaze, when Christ shall come to judge the earth in righteousness and his people with equity, there will not be one excuse that you can make which will be valid at the last great day. If you should attempt to say, “ Lord, I have never heard the word;" his answer would be, “ Thou didst hear it; thou heardest it plainly.” “But Lord, I had an evil will." "Out of thine own mouth will I condemn thee; thou hadst that evil will, and I condemn thee for it. This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.” “But Lord," some will say, “I was not predestinated.” “What hadst thou to do with that? Thou didst do according to thine own will when thou didst rebel. Thou wouldest not come unto me, and now I destroy thee for ever. Thou hast þroken my law-on thine own head be the guilt.” If a sinner could say at the great day, “Lord, I could not be saved anyhow;" his torment in hell would be mitigated by that thought: but this shall be the very edge of the sword, and the very burning of the fire-"Ye knew your duty and ye did it not: ye trampled on everything that was holy: ye neglected the Saviour, and how shall ye escape if ye neglect so great salvation ?"
Now, with regard to myself; you may some of you go away and say, that I was Antinomian in the first part of the sermon and Arminian at the end. I care not. I beg of you to search the Bible for yourselves. To the law and to the testimony; if I speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in me. I am willing to come to that test. Have nothing to do with me where I have nothing to do with Christ. Where I separate from the truth, cast my words away. But if what I say be God's teaching, I charge you, by him that sent me, give these things your thoughts, and turn unto the Lord with all your hearts.
THE COMING REVIVAL:
NEW COURT CHAPEL, CAREY STREET,
LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS,
ON SUNDAY, MAY 3018, 1858,
REV. W. H. DRAPER,
MINISTER OF THE CHAPEL.
JAMES PAUL, CHAPTER HOUSE COURT, ST PAUL'S.
THE COMING REVIVAL.
PSALM lxxxv. 6.
“ Wilt thou not revive us again, that thy people may rejoice in thee :"
God has made the happiness and usefulness of things to depend on healthy action. It is only whilst the sap continues its upward movement that the tree, from stem to crown, becomes gemmed with leaves and flowers. What a stoppage of circulation can do is seen in its desiccated and denuded foliage. It is the healthy flow of the purple fluid in our frames which contributes strength to muscle, sensitiveness to nerve, clearness to thought, and vivacity to life. The fearful results which follow a stoppage in trade are familiar to us all in the careworn features, mental despondency, and physical privations of the community; and we all know that a revival of trade spreads far more real joy through a nation than news of the most splendid victory.
More intimate, if possible, is the connexion between the healthy flow of vital piety throughout the Church, and its happiness and usefulness. Let that spiritual power permeate it, and it stands forth in its native strength and beauty, “clear as the sun, fair as the moon, and terrible as an army with banners.” Denude it of that inner power, and the Church becomes as useless to the world, as it is injurious to itself and displeasing to God.
It is a sad thing to contemplate, that stoppage and stagnation are facts of periodical occurrence on earth. Year after year the flow of vegetable life is arrested by the decline of seasons; and nature, so lovely and happy when the spring sun smiled on her, becomes unsightly and bare when touched by the winter's chill.
The law of death in our bodies is as certain as the law which gave them life. The first heartbeat is prophetic of the last. Nor does commerce escape this universal law. Ever and anon communities overstep, with a fatal regularity, the limits of national solvency; and the Church, although so Divine in its origin, so apparently removed from any affinity with other things, does not escape the law which lays an arrest on the movements of healthy life. So perverse is man, even under the best of influences, that the Church always has had occasion at times to offer up the prayer of the