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The discourses in this volume are wholly practical. They were intended to be such as would be adapted to impress on the mind the importance and necessity of personal religion, and to urge the necessity of a holy life, as the first great duty of man. There are no sermons in the volume which professedly discuss the doctrines of Christianity; and no sentiments are intended to be advanced which would offend evangelical Christians of any denomination. The appeals, illustrations, and arguments to a holy life, are based on the supposition of the truth of the evangelical doctrines; but it was no part of the plan to discuss those doctrines, or to make them prominent. I may be permitted, perhaps, to say, in justice to myself, that, my usual manner of preaching to my own congregation is much more doctrinal in its character than the perusal of these sermons might lead a reader to suppose. These are intentionally sekcted for their practical character.
way and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die ?
Job xxii. 21. Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace.
SERMON IX. Repentance .....
Acts xvii. 30. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now
commandeth all men every where to repent.
SERMON X. Salvation Easy......
Matt. xi. 30. My yoke is easy, and my burden is light
SERMON XI. The Principles on which a Profession of
Religion should be made. No. 1........164
2 Cor. vi. 17, 18. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye sepa-
rate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive
Amos iv, 12. Prepare to meet thy God.
SERMON XXII. The Burden of Dumah
Isa. xxi. 11, 12. The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me ont of Seir,
Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The
watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night.-If ye will en-
quire, enquire ye. Return, come.
SERMON XXIII. The Harvest Past..
Jer. viii. 20. The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not
THE FREENESS OF THE GOSPEL.
Rev. xxii. 17. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst, Come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
The obvious sentiment of this beautiful passage of Scripture is, that the offers of salvation are made freely to all men, and that the invitation is to be pressed on the attention by all the means which can be employed. To this sentiment, I propose at this time to invite your attention.
The figure of “the water of life” which John employs in the text, is one that often occurs in the Scriptures to represent the mercy of God towards mankind. Thus Isaiah (xxxv. 6) in speaking of the times of the Messiah says, 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water.” And again (xli. 18), “I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the vallies: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.” And again (lv. 1), “Ho, every one that thirsteth,
he waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price.” The idea in all these passages is, that the blessings of the gospel would resemble fountains and running streams; as if in the solitary, sandy desert, streams of water, pure, refreshing, and ample, should suddenly break forth, and should fill the desolate plains with verdure, and should gladden
the heart of the fainting traveller,—streams of which each coming caravan might partake without money and without charge. In a world which in regard to its real comforts is not unaptly compared to a waste of pathless sands, the blessings of the gospel would burst forth like cooling, perennial fountains; and man like a weary and thirsty pilgrim might partake and be happy,-as the traveller sits down by such a fountain and slakes his thirst in the desert.
In the text, however, the particular idea is, that men are freely invited to partake of the blessings of salvation. They are invited by the Holy Spirit, and by the bridethe church-to come. So free is salvation that even he who hears of it may go and say to kindred and friend,
come. They who thirst may come :- they who are pressed down by the consciousness of the want of something like this to make them happy, who are satisfiud that happiness can nowhere else be found, who thirst for salvation under the consciousness of sin, and the feeling that the “world can never give the bliss for which they sigh,” are invited to come; and all who choose may come and partake freely of the waters of life.—John saw in vision (ch. xxii. 1) “a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb.” To that pure and clear river of salvation, men are invited to come freely. There they may slake their thirst. There the desires of the immortal mind, where all earthly things fail, may be satisfied.
It is not my purpose in this discourse—though my text might seem to invite to it-to dwell on the fact that the gospel is offered to all men; that the Redeemer died for all; that the Eternal Father is willing to save all ; or that ample provision is made for all who will come. On these points, it is sufficient for my present purpose to say, that my text declares that, “whosoever will may take the water of life freely ;" that God has elsewhere said, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters;" that the Redeemer has said, “come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” It is enough that God has solemnly sworn,
as I live I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked,