Devotions:
The Method of Grace PDF Print E-mail
George Whitefield
    Jeremiah 6:14 -- "They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my
   people slightly, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace."

   As God can send a nation or people no greater blessing than to give
   them faithful, sincere, and upright ministers, so the greatest curse
   that God can possibly send upon a people in this world, is to give them
   over to blind, unregenerate, carnal, lukewarm, and unskilled guides.
   And yet, in all ages, we find that there have been many wolves in
   sheep's clothing, many that daubed with untempered mortar, that
   prophesied smoother things than God did allow. As it was formerly, so
   it is now; there are many that corrupt the Word of God and deal
   deceitfully with it. It was so in a special manner in the prophet
   Jeremiah's time; and he, faithful to his Lord, faithful to that God who
   employed him, did not fail from time to time to open his mouth against
   them, and to bear a noble testimony to the honor of that God in whose
   name he from time to time spake. If you will read this prophecy, you
   will find that none spake more against such ministers than Jeremiah,
   and here especially in the chapter out of which the text is taken, he
   speaks very severely against them -- he charges them with several
   crimes; particularly, he charges them with covetousness: says he in the
   13th verse, from the least of them even to the greatest of them, every
   one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the
   priest, every one dealeth false.' And then, in the words of the text,
   in a more special manner, he exemplifies how they had dealt falsely,
   how they had behaved treacherously to poor souls: says he, They have
   healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying,
   Peace, peace, when there is no peace.' The prophet, in the name of God,
   had been denouncing war against the people, he had been telling them
   that their house should be left desolate, and that the Lord would
   certainly visit the land with war. Therefore,' says he, in the 11th
   verse, I am full of the fury of the Lord; I am weary with holding in; I
   will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of
   young men together; for even the husband with the wife shall be taken,
   the aged with him that is full of days. And their houses shall be
   turned unto others, with their fields and wives together; for I will
   stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord.'
   The prophet gives a thundering message, that they might be terrified
   and have some convictions and inclinations to repent; but it seems that
   the false prophets, the false priests, went about stifling people's
   convictions, and when they were hurt or a little terrified, they were
   for daubing over the wound, telling them that Jeremiah was but an
   enthusiastic preacher, that there could be no such thing as war among
   them, and saying to people, Peace, peace, be still, when the prophet
   told them there was no peace. The words, then, refer primarily unto
   outward things, but I verily believe have also a further reference to
   the soul, and are to be referred to those false teachers, who, when
   people were under conviction of sin, when people were beginning to look
   towards heaven, were for stifling their convictions and telling them
   they were good enough before. And, indeed, people generally love to
   have it so; our hearts are exceedingly deceitful, and desperately
   wicked; none but the eternal God knows how treacherous they are. How
   many of us cry, Peace, peace, to our souls, when there is no peace! How
   many are there who are now settled upon their lees, that now think they
   are Christians, that now flatter themselves that they have an interest
   in Jesus Christ; whereas if we come to examine their experiences, we
   shall find that their peace is but a peace of the devil's making -- it
   is not a peace of God's giving -- it is not a peace that passeth human
   understanding. It is matter, therefore, of great importance, my dear
   hearers, to know whether we may speak peace to our hearts. We are all
   desirous of peace; peace is an unspeakable blessing; how can we live
   without peace? And, therefore, people from time to time must be taught
   how far they must go, and what must be wrought in them, before they can
   speak peace to their hearts. This is what I design at present, that I
   may deliver my soul, that I may be free from the blood of those to whom
   I preach -- that I may not fail to declare the whole counsel of God. I
   shall, from the words of the text, endeavor to show you what you must
   undergo, and what must be wrought in you before you can speak peace to
   your hearts.
 
   But before I come directly to this, give me leave to premise a caution
   or two. And the first is, that I take it for granted you believe
   religion to be an inward thing; you believe it to be a work in the
   heart, a work wrought in the soul by the power of the Spirit of God. If
   you do not believe this, you do not believe your Bibles. If you do not
   believe this, though you have got your Bibles in your hand, you hate
   the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart; for religion is everywhere
   represented in Scripture as the work of God in the heart. The kingdom
   of God is within us,' says our Lord; and, He is not a Christian who is
   one outwardly; but he is a Christian who is one inwardly.' If any of
   you place religion in outward things, I shall not perhaps please you
   this morning; you will understand me no more when I speak of the work
   of God upon a poor sinner's heart, than if I were talking in an unknown
   tongue. I would further premise a caution, that I would by no means
   confine God to one way of acting. I would by no means say, that all
   persons, before they come to have a settled peace in their hearts, are
   obliged to undergo the same degrees of conviction. No; God has various
   ways of bringing his children home; his sacred Spirit bloweth when, and
   where, and how it listeth. But, however, I will venture to affirm this,
   that before ever you can speak peace to your heart, whether by shorter
   or longer continuance of your convictions, whether in a more pungent or
   in a more gentle way, you must undergo what I shall hereafter lay down
   in the following discourse.

   First, then, before you can speak peace to your hearts, you must be
   made to see, made to feel, made to weep over, made to bewail, your
   actual transgressions against the law of God. According to the covenant
   of works, The soul that sinneth it shall die;' cursed is that man, be
   he what he may, that continueth not in all things that are written in
   the book of the law to do them. We are not only to do some things, but
   we are to do all things, and we are to continue so to do; so that the
   least deviation from the moral law, according to the covenant of works,
   whether in thought, word, or deed, deserves eternal death at the hand
   of God. And if one evil thought, if one evil word, if one evil action,
   deserves eternal damnation, how many hells, my friends, do every one of
   us deserve, whose whole lives have been one continued rebellion against
   God! Before ever, therefore, you can speak peace to your hearts, you
   must be brought to see, brought to believe, what a dreadful thing it is
   to depart from the living God. And now, my dear friends, examine your
   hearts, for I hope you came hither with a design to have your souls
   made better. Give me leave to ask you, in the presence of God, whether
   you know the time, and if you do not know exactly the time, do you know
   there was a time, when God wrote bitter things against you, when the
   arrows of the Almighty were within you? Was ever the remembrance of
   your sins grievous to you? Was the burden of your sins intolerable to
   your thoughts? Did you ever see that God's wrath might justly fall upon
   you, on account of your actual transgressions against God? Were you
   ever in all your life sorry for your sins? Could you ever say, My sins
   are gone over my head as a burden too heavy for me to bear? Did you
   ever experience any such thing as this? Did ever any such thing as this
   pass between God and your soul? If not, for Jesus Christ's sake, do not
   call yourselves Christians; you may speak peace to your hearts, but
   there is no peace. May the Lord awaken you, may the Lord convert you,
   may the Lord give you peace, if it be his will, before you go home! 
   But further: you may be convinced of your actual sins, so as to be made
   to tremble, and yet you may be strangers to Jesus Christ, you may have
   no true work of grace upon your hearts. Before ever, therefore, you can
   speak peace to your hearts, conviction must go deeper; you must not
   only be convinced of your actual transgressions against the law of God,
   but likewise of the foundation of all your transgressions. And what is
   that? I mean original sin, that original corruption each of us brings
   into the world with us, which renders us liable to God's wrath and
   damnation. There are many poor souls that think themselves fine
   reasoners, yet they pretend to say there is no such thing as original
   sin; they will charge God with injustice in imputing Adam's sin to us;
   although we have got the mark of the beast and of the devil upon us,
   yet they tell us we are not born in sin. Let them look abroad into the
   world and see the disorders in it, and think, if they can, if this is
   the paradise in which God did put man. No! everything in the world is
   out of order. I have often thought, when I was abroad, that if there
   were no other argument to prove original sin, the rising of wolves and
   tigers against man, nay, the barking of a dog against us, is a proof of
   original sin. Tigers and lions durst not rise against us, if it were
   not for Adam's first sin; for when the creatures rise up against us, it
   is as much as to say, You have sinned against God, and we take up our
   Master's quarrel. If we look inwardly, we shall see enough of lusts,
   and man's temper contrary to the temper of God. There is pride, malice,
   and revenge, in all our hearts; and this temper cannot come from God;
   it comes from our first parent, Adam, who, after he fell from God, fell
   out of God into the devil. However, therefore, some people may deny
   this, yet when conviction comes, all carnal reasonings are battered
   down immediately and the poor soul begins to feel and see the fountain
   from which all the polluted streams do flow. When the sinner is first
   awakened, he begins to wonder -- How came I to be so wicked? The Spirit
   of God then strikes in, and shows that he has no good thing in him by
   nature; then he sees that he is altogether gone out of the way, that he
   is altogether become abominable, and the poor creature is made to live
   down at the foot of the throne of God, and to acknowledge that God
   would be just to damn him, just to cut him off, though he never had
   committed one actual sin in his life. Did you ever feel and experience
   this, any of you -- to justify God in your damnation -- to own that you
   are by nature children of wrath, and that God may justly cut you off,
   though you never actually had offended him in all your life? If you
   were ever truly convicted, if your hearts were ever truly cut, if self
   were truly taken out of you, you would be made to see and feel this.
   And if you have never felt the weight of original sin, do not call
   yourselves Christians. I am verily persuaded original sin is the
   greatest burden of a true convert; this ever grieves the regenerate
   soul, the sanctified soul. The indwelling of sin in the heart is the
   burden of a converted person; it is the burden of a true Christian. He
   continually cries out, "O! who will deliver me from this body of
   death,' this indwelling corruption in my heart? This is that which
   disturbs a poor soul most. And, therefore, if you never felt this
   inward corruption, if you never saw that God might justly curse you for
   it, indeed, my dear friends, you may speak peace to your hearts, but I
   fear, nay, I know, there is no true peace.
 
   Further: before you can speak peace to your hearts, you must not only
   be troubled for the sins of your life, the sin of your nature, but
   likewise for the sins of your best duties and performances. When a poor
   soul is somewhat awakened by the terrors of the Lord, then the poor
   creature, being born under the covenant of works, flies directly to a
   covenant of works again. And as Adam and Eve hid themselves among the
   trees of the garden, and sewed fig leaves together to cover their
   nakedness, so the poor sinner, when awakened, flies to his duties and
   to his performances, to hide himself from God, and goes to patch up a
   righteousness of his own. Says he, I will be mighty good now -- I will
   reform -- I will do all I can; and then certainly Jesus Christ will
   have mercy on me. But before you can speak peace to your heart, you
   must be brought to see that God may damn you for the best prayer you
   ever put up; you must be brought to see that all your duties -- all
   your righteousness -- as the prophet elegantly expresses it -- put them
   all together, are so far from recommending you to God, are so far from
   being any motive and inducement to God to have mercy on your poor soul,
   that he will see them to be filthy rags, a menstruous cloth -- that God
   hates them, and cannot away with them, if you bring them to him in
   order to recommend you to his favor. My dear friends, what is there in
   our performances to recommend us unto God? Our persons are in an
   unjustified state by nature, we deserve to be damned ten thousand times
   over; and what must our performances be? We can do no good thing by
   nature: They that are in the flesh cannot please God.' You may do many
   things materially good, but you cannot do a thing formally and rightly
   good; because nature cannot act above itself. It is impossible that a
   man who is unconverted can act for the glory of God; he cannot do
   anything in faith, and whatsoever is not of faith is sin.' After we are
   renewed, yet we are renewed but in part, indwelling sin continues in
   us, there is a mixture of corruption in every one of our duties; so
   that after we are converted, were Jesus Christ only to accept us
   according to our works, our works would damn us, for we cannot pt up a
   prayer but it is far from that perfection which the moral law
   requireth. I do not know what you may think, but I can say that I
   cannot pray but I sin -- I cannot preach to you or any others but I sin
   -- I can do nothing without sin; and, as one expresseth it, my
   repentance wants to be repented of, and my tears to be washed in the
   precious blood of my dear Redeemer. Our best duties are as so many
   splendid sins. Before you can speak peace in your heart, you must not
   only be made sick of your original and actual sin, but you must be made
   sick of your righteousness, of all your duties and performances. There
   must be a deep conviction before you can be brought out of your
   self-righteousness; it is the last idol taken out of our heart. The
   pride of our heart will not let us submit to the righteousness of Jesus
   Christ. But if you never felt that you had o righteousness of your own,
   if you never felt the deficiency of your own righteousness, you cannot
   come to Jesus Christ. There are a great many now who may say, Well, we
   believe all this; but there is a great difference betwixt talking and
feeling. Did you ever feel the want of a dear Redeemer? Did you ever
   feel the want of Jesus Christ, upon the account of the deficiency of
   your own righteousness? And can you now say from your heart, Lord, thou
   mayst justly damn me for the best duties that ever I did perform? If
   you are not thus brought out of self, you may speak peace to
   yourselves, but yet there is no peace.
 
   But then, before you can speak peace to your souls, there is one
   particular sin you must be greatly troubled for, and yet I fear there
   are few of you think what it is; it is the reigning, the damning sin of
   the Christian world, and yet the Christian world seldom or never think
   of it. And pray what is that? It is what most of you think you are not
   guilty of -- and that is, the sin of unbelief. Before you can speak
   peace to your heart, you must be troubled for the unbelief of you
   heart. But, can it be supposed that any of you are unbelievers here in
   this church-yard, that are born in Scotland, in a reformed country,
   that go to church every Sabbath? Can any of you that receive the
   sacrament once a year -- O that it were administered oftener! -- can it
   be supposed that you who had tokens for the sacrament, that you who
   keep up family prayer, that any of you do not believe in the Lord Jesus
   Christ? I appeal to your own hearts, if you would not think me
   uncharitable, if I doubted whether any of you believed in Christ; and
   yet, I fear upon examination, we should find that most of you have not
   so much faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the devil himself. I am
   persuaded the devil believes more of the Bible than most of us do. He
   believes the divinity of Jesus Christ; that is more than many who call
   themselves Christians do; nay, he believes and trembles, and that is
   more than thousands amongst us do. My friends, we mistake a historical
   faith for a true faith, wrought in the heart by the Spirit of God. You
   fancy you believe, because you believe there is such a book as we call
   the Bible -- because you go to church; all this you may do, and have no
   true faith in Christ. Merely to believe there was such a person as
   Christ, merely to believe there is a book called the Bible, will do you
   no good, more than to believe there was such a man a Caesar or
   Alexander the Great. The Bible is a sacred depository. What thanks have
   we to give to God for these lively oracles! But yet we may have these,
   and not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. My dear friends, there must
   be a principle wrought in the heart by the Spirit of the living God.
   Did I ask you how long it is since you believed in Jesus Christ, I
   suppose most of you would tell me, you believed in Jesus Christ as long
   as ever you remember -- you never did misbelieve. Then, you could not
   give me a better proof that you never yet believed in Jesus Christ,
   unless you were sanctified early, as from the womb; for, they that
   otherwise believer in Christ know there was a time when they did not
   believe in Jesus Christ. You say you love God with all your heart,
   soul, and strength. If I were to ask you how long it is since you loved
   God, you would say, As long as you can remember; you never hated God,
   you know no time when there was enmity in your heart against God. Then,
   unless you were sanctified very early, you never loved God in your
   life. My dear friends, I am more particular in this, because it is a
   most deceitful delusion, whereby so many people are carried away, that
   they believe already. Therefore, it is remarked of Mr. Marshall, giving
   account of his experiences, that he had been working for life, and he
   had ranged all his sins under the ten commandments, and then coming to
   a minister, asked him the reason why he could not get peace. The
   minister looked at his catalogue, Away, says he, I do not find one word
   of the sin of unbelief in all your catalogue. It is the peculiar work
   of the Spirit of God to convince us of our unbelief -- that we have got
   no faith. Says Jesus Christ, of the sin of unbelief; of sin,' says
   Christ, because they believe not on me.' Now, my dear friends, did God
   ever show you that you had no faith? Were you ever made to bewail a
   hard heart of unbelief? Was it ever the language of your heart, Lord,
   give me faith; Lord, enable me to lay hold on thee; Lord, enable me to
   call thee my Lord and my God? Did Jesus Christ ever convince you in
   this manner? Did he ever convince you of your inability to close with
   Christ, and make you to cry out to God to give you faith? If not, do
   not speak peace to your heart. May the Lord awaken you, and give you
   true, solid peace before you go hence and be no more!
 
   Once more then: before you can speak peace to your heart, you must not
   only be convinced of your actual and original sin, the sins of your own
   righteousness, the sin of unbelief, but you must be enabled to lay hold
   upon the perfect righteousness, the all-sufficient righteousness, of
   the Lord Jesus Christ; you must lay hold by faith on the righteousness
   of Jesus Christ, and then you shall have peace. Come,' says Jesus, unto
   me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'
   This speaks encouragement to all that are weary and heavy laden; but
   the promise of rest is made to them only upon their coming and
   believing, and taking him to be their God and their all. Before we can
   ever have peace with God, we must be justified by faith through our
   Lord Jesus Christ, we must be enabled to apply Christ to our hearts, we
   must have Christ brought home to our souls, so as his righteousness may
   be made our righteousness, so as his merits may be imputed to our
   souls. My dear friends, were you ever married to Jesus Christ? Did
   Jesus Christ ever give himself to you? Did you ever close with Christ
   by a lively faith, so as to feel Christ in your hearts, so as to hear
   him speaking peace to your souls? Did peace ever flow in upon your
   hearts like a river? Did you ever feel that peace that Christ spoke to
   his disciples? I pray God he may come and speak peace to you. These
   things you must experience. I am not talking of the invisible realities
   of another world, of inward religion, of the work of God upon a poor
   sinner's heart. I am not talking of a matte of great importance, my
   dear hearers; you are all concerned in it, your souls are concerned in
   it, your eternal salvation is concerned in it. You may be all at peace,
   but perhaps the devil has lulled you asleep into a carnal lethargy and
   security, and will endeavor to keep you there, till he get you to hell,
   and there you will be awakened; but it will be dreadful to be awakened
   and find yourselves so fearfully mistaken, when the great gulf is
   fixed, when you will be calling to all eternity for a drop of water to
   cool your tongue, and shall not obtain it.
 
   Give me leave, then, to address myself to several sorts of persons; and
   O may God, of his infinite mercy, bless the application! There are some
   of you perhaps can say, Through grace we can go along with you. Blessed
   be God, we have been convinced of our actual sins, we have been
   convinced of original sin, we have been convinced of
   self-righteousness, we have felt the bitterness of unbelief, and
   through grace we have closed with Jesus Christ; we can speak peace to
   our hearts, because God hath spoken peace to us. Can you say so? Then I
   will salute you, as the angels did the women the first day of the week,
   All hail! Fear not ye, my dear brethren, you are happy souls; you may
   lie down and be at peace indeed, for God hath given you peace; you may
   be content under all the dispensations of providence, for nothing can
   happen to you now, but what shall be the effect of God's love to your
   soul; you need not fear what sightings may be without, seeing there is
   peace within. Have you closed with Christ? Is God your friend? Is
   Christ your friend? Then, look up with comfort; all is yours, and you
   are Christ's, and Christ is God's. Everything shall work together for
   your good; the very hairs of your head are numbered; he that toucheth
   you, toucheth the apple of God's eye. But then, my dear friends, beware
   of resting on your first conversion. You that are young believers in
   Christ, you should be looking out for fresh discoveries of the Lord
   Jesus Christ every moment; you must not build upon your past
   experiences, you must not build upon a work within you, but always come
   out of yourselves to the righteousness of Jesus Christ without you; you
   must be always coming as poor sinners to draw water out of the wells of
   salvation; you must be forgetting the things that are behind, and be
   continually pressing forward to the things that are before. My dear
   friends, you must keep u a tender, close walk with the Lord Jesus
   Christ. There are many of us who lose our peace by our untender walk;
   something or other gets in betwixt Christ and us, and we fall into
   darkness; something or other steals our hearts from God, and this
   grieves the Holy Ghost, and the Holy Ghost leaves us to ourselves. Let
   me, therefore, exhort you that have got peace with God, to take care
   that you do not lose this peace. It is true, if you are once in Christ,
   you cannot finally fall from God: There is no condemnation to them that
   are in Christ Jesus;' but if you cannot fall finally, you may fall
   foully, and may go with broken bones all your days. Take care of
   backslidings; for Jesus Christ's sake, do not grieve the Holy Ghost you
   may never recover your comfort while you live. O take care of going a
   gadding and wandering from God, after you have closed with Jesus
   Christ. My dear friends, I have paid dear for backsliding. Our hearts
   are so cursedly wicked, that if you take not care, if you do not keep
   up a constant watch, your wicked hearts will deceive you, and draw you
   aside. It will be sad to be under the scourge of a correcting Father;
   witness the visitation of Job, David, and other saints in Scripture.
   Let me, therefore, exhort you that have got peace to keep a close walk
   with Christ. I am grieved with the loose walk of those that are
   Christians, that have had discoveries of Jesus Christ; there is so
   little difference betwixt them and other people, that I scarce know
   which is the true Christian. Christians are afraid to speak of God --
   they run down with the stream; if they come into worldly company, they
   will talk of the world as if they were in their element; this you would
   not do when you had the first discoveries of Christ's love; you could
   talk then of Christ's love for ever, when the candle of the Lord shined
   upon your soul. That time has been when you had something to say for
   your dear Lord; but now you can go into company and hear others
   speaking about the world bold enough, and you are afraid of being
   laughed at if you speak for Jesus Christ. A great many people have
   grown conformists now in the worst sense of the word; they will cry out
   against the ceremonies of the church, as they may justly do; but then
   you are mighty fond of ceremonies in your behavior; you will conform to
   the world, which is a great deal worse. Many will stay till the devil
   bring up new fashions. Take care, then, not to be conformed to the
   world. What have Christians to do with the world? Christians should be
   singularly good, bold for their Lord, that all who are with you may
   take notice that you have been with Jesus. I would exhort you to come
   to a settlement in Jesus Christ, so as to have a continual abiding of
   God in your heart. We go a-building on our faith of adherence, and lost
   our comfort; but we should be growing up to a faith of assurance, to
   know that we are God's, and so walk in the comfort of the Holy Ghost
   and be edified. Jesus Christ is now much wounded in the house of his
   friends. Excuse me in being particular; for, my friends, it grieves me
   more that Jesus Christ should be wounded by his friends than by his
   enemies. We cannot expect anything else from Deists; but for such as
   have felt his power, to fall away, for them not to walk agreeably to
   the vocation wherewith they are called -- by these means we bring our
   Lord's religion into contempt, to be a byword among the heathen. For
   Christ's sake, if you know Christ keep close by him; if God have spoken
   peace, O keep that peace by looking up to Jesus Christ every moment.
   Such as have got peace with God, if you are under trials, fear not, all
   things shall work for your good; if you are under temptations, fear
   not, if he has spoken peace to your hearts, all these things shall be
   for your good.
 
   But what shall I say to you that have got o peace with God? -- and
   these are, perhaps, the most of this congregation: it makes me weep to
   think of it. Most of you, if you examine your hearts, must confess that
   God never yet spoke peace to you; you are children of the devil, if
   Christ is not in you, if God has not spoken peace to your heart. Poor
   soul! What a cursed condition are you in. I would not be in your case
   for ten thousand, thousand worlds. Why? You are just hanging over hell.
   What peace can you have when God is your enemy, when the wrath of God
   is abiding upon your poor soul? Awake, then, you that are sleeping in a
   false peace, awake, ye carnal professors, ye hypocrites that go to
   church, receive the sacrament, read your Bibles, and never felt the
   power of God upon your hearts; you that are formal professors, you that
   are baptized heathens; awake, awake, and do not rest on a false bottom.
   Blame me not for addressing myself to you; indeed, it is out of love to
   your souls. I see you are lingering in your Sodom, and wanting to stay
   there; but I come to you as the angel did to Lot, to take you by the
   hand. Come away, my dear brethren -- fly, fly, fly for your lives to
   Jesus Christ, fly to a bleeding God, fly to a throne of grace; and beg
   of God to break your hearts, beg of God to convince you of your actual
   sins, beg of God to convince you of your original sin, beg of God to
   convince you of your self-righteousness -- beg of God to give you
   faith, and to enable you to close with Jesus Christ. O you that are
   secure, I must be a son of thunder to you, and O that God may awaken
   you, though it be with thunder; it is out of love, indeed, that I speak
   to you. I know by sad experience what it is to be lulled asleep with a
   false peace; long was I lulled asleep, long did I think myself a
   Christian, when I knew nothing of the Lord Jesus Christ. I went perhaps
   farther than many of you do; I used to fast twice a-week, I used to
   pray sometimes none times a-day, I used to receive the sacrament
   constantly every Lord's-day; and yet I knew nothing of Jesus Christ in
   my heart, I knew not that I must be a new creature -- I knew nothing of
   inward religion in my soul. And perhaps, many of you may be deceived as
   I, poor creature, was; and, therefore, it is out of love to you indeed,
   that I speak to you. O if you do not take care, a form of religion will
   destroy your soul; you will rest in it, and will not come to Jesus
   Christ at all; whereas, these things are only the means, and not the
   end of religion; Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to all
   that believe. O, then, awake, you that are settled on your lees; awake
   you Church professors; awake you that have got a name to live, that are
   rich and think you want nothing, not considering that you are poor, and
   blind, and naked; I counsel you to come and buy of Jesus Christ gold,
   white raiment, and eye-salve. But I hope there are some that are a
   little wounded; I hope God does not intend to let me preach in vain; I
   hope God will reach some of your precious souls, and awaken some of you
   out of your carnal security; I hope there are some who are willing to
   come to Christ, and beginning to think that they have been building
   upon a false foundation. Perhaps the devil may strike in, and bid you
   despair of mercy; but fear not, what I have been speaking to you is
   only out of love to you -- is only to awaken you, and let you see your
   danger. If any of you are willing to be reconciled to God, God the
   Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is willing to be reconciled to you. O
   then, though you have no peace as yet, come away to Jesus Christ; he is
   our peace, he is our peace-maker -- he has made peace betwixt God and
   offending man. Would you have peace with God? Away, then, to God
   through Jesus Christ, who has purchased peace; the Lord Jesus has shed
   his heart's blood for this. He died for this; he rose again for this;
   he ascended into the highest heaven, and is now interceding at the
   right hand of God. Perhaps you think there will be no peace for you.
   Why so? Because you are sinners? Because you have crucified Christ --
   you have put him to open shame -- you have trampled under foot the
   blood of the Son of God? What of all this? Yet there is peace for you.

   Pray, what did Jesus Christ say of his disciples, when he came to them
   the first day of the week? The first word he said was, he showed them
   his hands and his side, and said, Peace be unto you.' It is as much as
   if he had said, Fear not, my disciples; see my hands and my feet how
   they have been pierced for your sake; therefore fear not. How did Chris
   speak to his disciples? Go tell my brethren, and tell broken-hearted
   Peter in particular, that Christ is risen, that he is ascended unto his
   Father and your Father, to his God and your God.' And after Christ rose
   from the dead, he came preaching peace, with an olive branch of peace,
   like Noah's dove; My peace I leave with you.' Who were they? They were
   enemies of Christ as well as we, they were deniers of Christ once as
   well as we. Perhaps some of you have backslidden and lost your peace,
   and you think you deserve no peace; and no more you do. But, then, God
   will heal your backslidings, he will love you freely. As for you that
   are wounded, if you are made willing to come to Christ, come away.
   Perhaps some of you want to dress yourselves in your duties, that are
   but rotten rags. No, you had better come naked as you are, for you must
   throw aside your rags, and come in your blood. Some of you may say, We
   would come, but we have got a hard heart. But you will never get it
   made soft till ye come to Christ; he will take away the heart of stone,
   and give you an heart of flesh; he will speak peace to your souls;
   though ye have betrayed him, yet he will be your peace. Shall I prevail
   upon any of you this morning to come to Jesus Christ? There is a great
   multitude of souls here; how shortly must you all die, and go to
   judgment! Even before night, or to-morrow's night, some of you may be
   laid out for this kirk-yard. And how will you do if you be not at peace
   with God -- if the Lord Jesus Christ has not spoken peace to your
   heart? If God speak not peace to you here, you will be damned for ever.
   I must not flatter you, my dear friends; I will deal sincerely with
   your souls. Some of you may think I carry things too far. But, indeed,
   when you come to judgment, you will find what I say is true, either to
   your eternal damnation or comfort. May God influence your hearts to
   come to him! I am not willing to go away without persuading you. I
   cannot be persuaded but God may make use of me as a means of persuading
   some of you to come to the Lord Jesus Christ. O did you but feel the
   peace which they have that love the Lord Jesus Christ! Great peace have
   they,' say the psalmist, that love they law; nothing shall offend
   them.' But there is no peace to the wicked. I know what it is to live a
   life of sin; I was obliged to sin in order to stifle conviction. And I
   am sure this is the way many of you take; If you get into company, you
   drive off conviction. But you had better go to the bottom at once; it
   must be done -- your wound must be searched, or you must be damned. If
   it were a matter of indifference, I would not speak one word about it.
   But you will be damned without Christ. He is the way, he is the truth,
   and the life. I cannot think you should go to hell without Christ. How
   can you dwell with everlasting burnings? How can you abide the thought
   of living with the devil for ever? Is it not better to have some
   soul-trouble here, than to be sent to hell by Jesus Christ hereafter?

   What is hell, but to be absent from Christ? If there were no other
   hell, that would be hell enough. It will be hell to be tormented with
   the devil for ever. Get acquaintance with God, then, and be at peace. I
   beseech you, as a poor worthless ambassador of Jesus Christ, that you
   would be reconciled to God. My business this morning, the first day of
   the week, is to tell you that Christ is willing to be reconciled to
   you. Will any of you be reconciled to Jesus Christ? Then, he will
   forgive you all your sins, he will blot out all your transgressions.

   But if you will go on and rebel against Christ, and stab him daily --
   if you will go on and abuse Jesus Christ, the wrath of God you must
   expect will fall upon you. God will not be mocked; that which a man
   soweth, that shall he also reap. And if you will not be at peace with
   God, God will not be at peace with you. Who can stand before God when
   he is angry? It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of an angry
   God. When the people came to apprehend Christ, they fell to the ground
   when Jesus said, I am he.' And if they could not bear the sight of
   Christ when clothed with the rags of mortality, how will they hear the
   sight of him when he is on his Father's throne? Methinks I see the poor
   wretches dragged out of their graves by the devil; methinks I see them
   trembling, crying out to the hills and rocks to cover them. But the
   devil will say, Come, I will take you away; and then they shall stand
   trembling before the judgment-seat of Christ. They shall appear before
   him to see him once, and hear him pronounce that irrevocable sentence,
   Depart from me, ye cursed.' Methinks I hear the poor creatures saying,
   Lord, if we must be damned, let some angel pronounce the sentence. No,
   the God of love, Jesus Christ, will pronounce it. Will ye not believe
   this? Do not think I am talking at random, but agreeably to the
   Scriptures of truth. If you do not, then show yourselves men, and this
   morning go away with full resolution, in the strength of God, to cleave
   to Christ. And may you have no rest in your souls till you rest in
   Jesus Christ! I could still go on, for it is sweet to talk of Christ.

   Do you not long for the time when you shall have new bodies -- when
   they shall be immortal, and made like Christ's glorious body? And then
   they will talk of Jesus Christ for evermore. But it is time, perhaps,
   for you to go and prepare for your respective worship, and I would not
   hinder any of you. My design is, to bring poor sinners to Jesus Christ.
   O that God may bring some of you to himself! May the Lord Jesus now
   dismiss you with his blessing, and may the dear Redeemer convince you
   that are unawakened, and turn the wicked from the evil of their way!
   And may the love of God, that passeth all understanding, fill your
   hearts. Grant this, O Father, for Christ's sake; to whom, with thee and
   the blessed Spirit, be all honor and glory, now and for evermore. Amen.
 
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