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them-must expect to raise opposition in the hearts of many. The divine Saviour met with opposition. Wicked men hated the light which he held up. But surely the nature of divine truth is the same now as it was then. The nature of the carnal heart is also the same. Why then should“ the disciple expect to be above his master, or the servant above his Lord ?"
Again. The subject suggests a clue by which to discover and detect false teachers. If, as we have seen, the whole tenor of scripture is, “ Woe to the wicked ;” and if this was a great part of the preaching of the prophets, of Christ and his apostles ; then surely those who cry peace, peace, however they may pretend to draw it from the scriptures, are, nevertheless, false teachers. They are building up the cause of Satan, who, from the beginning, has endeavoured to lull sinners into security, saying, ye shall not surely die.”
Again. We infer, that it is no proof of benevolence for persons to cry peace to the wicked ; though some seem to have imagined that it is. The advocates for universal salvation, therefore, have no reason to boast of superior benevolence. If they have, Satan, the great adversary of souls, may also boast, for he has preached the same doctrine, longer than they
Nor, on the other hand, does it indicate want of benevolence, to preach terror to the wicked, and denounce endless destruction to those who reject Christ and his word. Christ, who had greater benevolence than ever man had, did this, and so did his apostles. Their followers can, of course, in no way, more evidently manifest their faithfulness to God, and benevolence to men, than in doing the same.
It is calculated, and is used as an instrument, in the hand of God, to make sinners feel a sense of their danger, and to bring them to repentance, that they may escape the wrath to come.
Finally, our subject brings into view the dangerous state of the impenitent. Are not many of
you, my hearers, of this number? Have you not, all your life, rejected Christ and his words? If so, no good can be prophesied to you, but only evil.
« There is no peace, saith God, to the wicked.” Whatever peace you may imagine you have in tlic world, yet it will not endure. It will soon be turned into sorrow, anel there will be nothing to support you.
Without being born again you can never secnever enjoy the kingdom of God. This is the work of God's Holy Spiritma work for which you have no desireno heart to ask. You are therefore dependent on the real mercy of God. May it be extended uinto yoli, for his glorious name's sake! Amen.
SER MON II.
ON HARDNESS OF HEART.
HEBREWS III. 8.
Harden not your hearts.
By the heart, in this place, and as most generalý used in scripture, we may understand the will and affections.
With respect to hardness of heart it may be observed, that the scriptures represent it as the cause of all that active opposition to the law of God, and the gospel of his grace, which takcs place in the world ; as the source of all the wickedness which is perpetrated by mankind ; and as that which, if persisted in by sinners, will issue in their final destruction.
“ Evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thests, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness, all these evil things, come from within, out of the hearts of men ;" even from the hardness of their hearts ; their evil hearts of unbelief. For all natural men are alienated from the life of God, and have their understandings darkened ; so we are assured by the apostle, that this is because of the hardness of their hearts,
In pursuing this subject, it is proposed,
1. To consider, briefly, what we are to understand by hardness of heart.
II. Point out some of those things which have a special tendency to harden the heart, and render it unbelicving
III. Consider the dangerous consequences of persisting in hardening the heart.
1. With respect to hardness of heart, we may observe, that the expression is figurative. Indeed, most of the expressions, which are used in scripture, in treating on spiritual and moral subjects, have an allusion to sensible objects. Nor is there any disadvantage arising froin this, but rather a benefiť.
In the present case, the phrase, hardness of heart, is used with great propriety, and is very expressive. As any natural object is said to be hard, where it is unyielding, and difficult to be impressed, by other objects : So when the hearts of men are stubborn, unyielding to the commands, motives, and endearing invitations of the gospel, when they are unaffected with the dirine perfections, and insensible to the beauty of the moral character of God, hardness is predicated of them. They are said to have hard, or callous hearts. Hardness of heart therefore consists in a stupidity, unfuelingness, or insensibility to moral beariti;.
A hard heart is so far from being pleased with tlie divine character, and exercising correspondent feelings, that it is displeased with it, and has its affections upon objects of a directly contrary nature. The language of such a heart is, that there is no beauty, or excellency in God; that his character is unamia ble, and he unworthy to be loved.
Hardness of heart necessarily implies impenitence. A hard heart is directly opposite to that humble,