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of the Son of God are acknowledged in words indeed, but fail to touch their hearts. Though salvation be freely offered to them, though the mild voice of the Redeemer calls upon all who thirst to drink of the water of everlasting life; they angrily dash the proffered cup from their lips, and hate that mode of salvation which requires the dereliction of sin. In short, their understandings are convinced, but their hearts remain untouched. They see the danger of sin ; but they love it and cleave to it: they perceive the necessity of a life of holiness ; but they detest and abhor it. Like the devils, they believe and tremble : but, like them also, they fight indignantly against the Lord, and against his Christ. Even the or knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but they are dead to every sense of gratitude ; they consider God in the light of a tyrant, who seeks to deprive them of their dearest enjoyments.
The power of the word, says Bp. Reynolds, toward wicked men is seen in affrighting of them : there is a spirit of bondage and a savour
of death, as well as a spirit of life and liberty, which goeth along with the word. Guilt is an inseparable consequent of sin ; and fear, of the manifestation of guilt. If the heart be once convinced of this, it will presently faint and tremble, even at the shaking of a leaf, at the wagging of a man's own conscience ; how much more at the voice of the Lord, which shaketh mountains and maketh the strong foundations of the earth to tremble? It is not for want of strength in the word, or because there is stoutness in the hearts of men to stand out against it, that all the wicked of the world do not tremble at it ; but merely their ignorance of the power and evidence thereof. The devils are stronger and more stubborn creatures than any man can be; yet, because of their full illumination and that invincible conviction of their consciences from the power of the word, they believe and tremble at it. The power of the ingraffed word towards wicked men is seen even in the rage and madness which it excites in them. It is a sign, that a man hath to do with a strong enemy, when he buckleth on all his harness, and calleth
together all his strength for opposition. The most calm and devout hypocrites in the world have by the power of this word been put out of their demure temper, and mightily transported with outrage and bitterness against the majesty thereof: one time, filled with wrath ; another time, filled with madness ; another time, filled with envy and indignation ; another time, filled with contradiction and blasphemy; another time, cut to the heart, and, like reprobates in hell, gnashing with their teeth. Such a searching power and such an extreme contrariety there is in the Gospel to the lusts of men, that, if it do not subdue, it will wonderfully swell them up, till it distemper even the grave prudent men of the world with those brutish and uncomely affections of rage and fury, and drive disputers
from their arguments unto stones. Sin cannot endure to be disquieted, much less to be shut in and encompassed with the curses of God's word. Therefore, as a hunted beast, in an extremity of distress, will turn back, and put to its utmost strength to be revenged on the pursuers and to save its life : so wicked men, to save their lusts,
will let out all their rage, and open all their sluices of pride and malice to withstand that holy truth, which doth so closely pursue them. Till men can be persuaded to lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, they will never receive the ingraffed word with meekness. For, till then, it is a binding word, which sealeth their guilt and condemnation upon them *.
Perhaps no state of mind is more deplorable, than that, in which an enlightened understanding is united to an unconverted heart. It is a state totally devoid of peace and comfort, full of terror and a fearful looking-out for of judgment and fiery indignation. The eyes of the mind are opened, so as to discern clearly that he is not a Christian who is one outwardly. The awakened conscience is tremblingly alive to every touch. It perceives the necessity of repentance; and it acknowledges the obligation laid upon all true believers to take up their cross and follow Christ. But the will and the affections are wanting: a
* Bp. Reynolds's Works, pp. 365, 366, 367.
secret hatred and reluctance reigns in the heart: and the whole man loathes the burden, which he conceives to be imposed upon him. Meanwhile, a person of this description is deeply convinced, that, with his present temper and disposition, it is utterly impossible for him to enter into the kingdom of heaven. He knows, that he labours under a natural unfitness for it, and that he could find no happiness even in the presence, of God himself, unless a complete change should previously take place in his heart. This awful truth is evident, beyond a possibility of contradiction, to the man whose understanding has been so far enlightened as to comprehend the requisitions of the Law and the nature of holiness : but, his heart being at the same time totally unaffected and unaltered, he cannot conceive what pleasure there can be in a perpetual communion with God and in the purely spiritual joys of heaven. Hence arises his misery: he knows that he is unfit for heaven; and he shudders at the thoughts of hell. Gladly would he escape into some middle place of