Thomas Wilson.

The works of the right reverend father in God, Thomas Wilson, D.D., Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man (Volume 2) online

. (page 18 of 49)
Online LibraryThomas WilsonThe works of the right reverend father in God, Thomas Wilson, D.D., Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man (Volume 2) → online text (page 18 of 49)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

we make use of to av)aken, to persuade, and to convince you,
are not the arguments of sinful men like yourselves; for
they are the arguments of God Himself, the God of truth
and mercy. Who would have all men to know, and savingly
to believe these truths, that they may be happy for ever, and
that they may escape eternal misery.

Our duty, as ministers of Jesus Christ, in the first place,
is, ourselves to be thoroughly convinced of the great import-
ance of these dreadful truths, that we may be better able and
disposed to convince and persuade others, what an evil thing
and bitter it is to forsake the Lord, and forget these import-
ant truths; that we and you must all give an account to
God; that we shall be judged according to our works ; and
that this is the only time in which we are to provide for that
great account.

And, indeed, if these truths will not persuade both us and
you to consider what we have to do, and to live like people
who hope to be able to give a comfortable account of them-
selves, we shall be ruined, as sure as these are the words of
the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

To oblige us to do our duty faithfully, the Spirit of God
makes use of this as the strongest reason and argument :
Heb. 13. 17. '' They (that is, the ministers of Christ) do watch for your
souls, as they that must give an account." A considera-
tion so very terrible, that it is enough to make the best of
God's ministers to tremble, as often as they consider what


they have undertaken, and tlie account, the great account,
they have to give, not only for themselves and then* own
actions, but because they stand charged and are accountable
for others.

And, O ! that God would communicate to us all such a
degree of concern, of grace, and zeal, as is necessary for the
work we have undertaken, and the account we have to give !

We should then never cease to put you in mind of the
account which you, as well as ive, have to give, when we are
to leave this world; and the dreadful hazard they all run,
who defer their repentance, and who are not careful to bring
forth fruits meet for repentance, and answerable to amend-
ment of life.

Let me therefore beg of you all (who understand me), to
consider the following truths, which I am going to lay before
you ; that being by them awakened out of that deadly sleep
and indifference into which Satan has cast the unthinking
world, we may look about us, and see where it will end at
the last. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we per-
suade men. To Avhat would we persuade them ? Why, first
of all, to give credit to the God that made them, Who has
made Himself, and His will and purposes, known unto men,
by His Spirit, by His Word, and by His only Son.

For instance ; He has represented Himself as a God mer-
ciful, long-suffering, plenteous in goodness, not willing that any
should perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of
the truth, and be saved. On the other hand. He has de-
clared, that such as obey not the truth, but have pleasure in
unrighteousness, such as neglect or despise His goodness,
His will and commands, and the means of grace and salva-
tion which He has appointed ; He has declared, that all such
shall find Him a God terrible in judgment.

Sure, nobody expects that the ministers of Christ should
go about to prove these things : that we must all appear []
before the judgment-seat of Christ ; that every man shall then
receive according to what he has done in this life, whether it
has been good or evil; that the wicked shall then be sent
into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into life eter-
nal. There can be no greater proof than that the Son of
God has declared this.


SERM. What then have the ministers of Clirist to do? Whv, to
XVII. . "
'- — endeavour to persuade men, by that love which every man

ought to have for his own soul, to think how he will be able

to answer, in the first place, for the crime of not believing

the Son of God, Whom God sent into the world to make

His will known unto men. This (believe it, christians) will found to be no small crime; he that believeth not

SHALL BE DAMNED. Thcsc are not our words, but the very

words of the Son of God.

You will say, perhaps, all christians do believe the Gospel.
Would to God we all did believe as we ought to do ! But, to
believe is not enough to justify us before God, unless our
faith obliges us to live as becomes christians.

To love, to fear, and to glorify God ; to be sober, chaste,
and temperate; to he just and charitable to men; and after
all, luhich is the perfection of saving faith, to confess before
God, that when we have done Jill these things, it is all owing
to the mere mercy of God, to His grace. His assistance, and
to the merits of Jesus Christ and His intercession, that God
will accept and reward our faith, and our poor endeavours to
please Him. This is the case and consequence of a t7'ue and
saving faith.

I will set before you the fruits of an unprofitable faith —
the faith of too many pretended christians, who know the
Gospel, but live as if not one word of it were true; who
make light of sins of the most damning nature; who will not
be persuaded to fear the wrath of God, till they shall feel it
to their everlasting sorrow.

Now, to awaken and terrify such unhappy sinners as hold
the truth in unrighteousness, the Lord Jesus Himself hath
given us the very sentence that shall be passed upon such,
[Matt. 25. when He shall come to judge the world in justice; "Go, ye
■-' cursed, into everlasting fire." A sentence so frightful, that

no one can hardly repeat it without trembling, who ever
would but say to himself, what if this should be the sentence
to be passed upon myself!

Now, this is the sentence which shall most surely be
passed upon every sin unrepented of; such as, injustice,
fraud, oppression, and covetousness, which is the root of these
and many other evils. This will be the cursed end of all


unlawful pleasures^ of adultery , fornication, and drunkenness,
which too often leads to these. This will be the reward of
living in malicej envy, and hatred. This is Avhat will be got,
by all unlawful ways of getting estates, of cunning and
cheating bargains. This will be the end of dishonouring
God, His name. His Word, and sacraments. In short, this
will be the dreadful punishment of hypoci'isy, of pretending
to be christians without Christianity.

These truths being as sure as the God who hath declared
them, what is it which makes so many go on in a careless
way of living, as if there were no truth in them ? Why,
either they do not know what a dreadful thing it is to be a
sinner, and under the displeasure of God, or what will cer-
tainly be the punishment of sin unrepented of; or they j^-
solve to repent before they die; or they depend upon the
mercy of God, and hope He will not be so severe as He has
threatened ; or that they shall fare no worse than other peo-
ple; or, lastly, that it is in vain to hope for pardon, their
sins have been so great, and so long continued in. All these,
God knows, are sad delusions.

Sin is not so light a matter as christians are apt to think.
It was the occasion of the loss of Paradise to our first
parents ; it was what provoked the justice of God to drown a
wicked world ; and, after that, to destroy a number of cities
by fire from heaven.

And, to shew His hatred of sin, and to make men dread
it. He has made known to us, that He spared not a race of
creatures higher than the highest on earth, but cast those
very angels that sinned into hell, where He has declared,
that all such as follow them in their rebellion shall with
them be doomed to their punishment.

These frightful truths are recorded in Scripture, to awaken
us ; to make men afraid of sin, and of ruining themselves by
it ; and are proper to shake the most careless, the proudest,
the stubbornest sinner, who is not given over to a reprobate

And I have repeated them, to put you and myself in mind,
to consider what we have to do ; not to make light of sin,
which cost Jesus Christ His life and blood; and that any
who have been so unhappy as hitherto to have lived in sin.


SERM. in any known sin, may see what it will certainly end in, if

'— not forsaken and repented of. As also, to put every one of

us upon thinking what is like to be our case a few years
hence, when with respect to us the world will be at an end,
[John 9. 4.] and " when the night will come when no man can work."
And lastly, when we must give an account to God, how we
lived in this state of trial; what good, and what evil, we
have done; when Satan will be ready to accuse us; when
our own conscience will tell us what he saith is true ; when
we cannot say with truth that we had made our peace with
God before we left this world ; and when we shall have
nothing to say, but to stand speechless, expecting a sentence
which is dreadful even to be repeated.

When this shall be the case, as most surely it will, of every
one who lives and dies in sin ; it will then be too late to wish
that they had hearkened to the ministers of God, when they
would have persuaded them to consider, before it was too
late, the anguish of a soul that shall find itself shut out of
heaven, and sentenced to a misery that shall last for ever.

I know that every one who hears this will be apt to say
to himself, God forhid that this should ever be my case ! and
to be sure every christian will say Amen. But then, whoever
hopes that this may not be his own case, must suffer himself
to be persuaded, and to believe, that his future and everlast-
ing state of happiness or misery will certainly be according
to his faith in God, and the manner of the life he leads in
this world, where we all have ovir time and state of trial.

And now, my christian brethren, I take it for granted,
that so many as have heard these truths with seriousness will
be touched with some degree and sense of the danger they
may possibly be liable too. And such a concern may,
through the grace of God, lead them to enquire, whether
they have been christians in name only, and not in deed and
in truth ; or, to speak plainly, whether they are in the way
of salvation or damnation.

These are two words of the greatest concern to every man
who is in his right mind. For (and a sad truth it is) very
many there are who are not so, ivho are given over to a repro-
bate mind, to a mind void of judgment; who, having
hardened themselves in sin, so as to be j)tist feeling, as the


Apostle speaks, are not terrified with words of the greatest Eph. 4. 19.
dread and thoughtfulness to such whose conscience is awake,
who are afraid for themselves, and for the account they must
one day give to God, the searcher of hearts.

Where now shall a person who labours under these fears,
where shall he seek for help ? where may he hope to find
comfort ? who shall deliver such a wretched man from a con-
dition worse than death ? St. Paul has answered this ques-
tion. It is the grace, the mercy of God, through Jesus Christ [Rom. 7. 24,
our Lord, which alone can deliver us from this bondage. To ' -'
Him God the Father has committed the care of the souls of
men ; He has paid the price of their redemption by His most
precious blood. And, to convince sinners how much He
pities the sad condition and danger they have brought them-
selves into. He hath made this following most kind and mer-
ciful invitation to every son and daughter of Adam : " Come Matt. u.
unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will '
give you rest."

Here is, christians, as gracious an invitation as ever was
made to man. All that are in pain and fear, on account of
their former sins ; all that are sensible of their former defects
and backslidings ; all that are sensible that of themselves
they want power to overcome the corruption of their nature ;
all that sincerely desire to please God, and to avoid every
thing that may displease Him ; in short, all, all ivithout ex-
ception, even the greatest sinners, are invited, with a sure
promise of a remedy for all the evils they feel or fear. For
no less a physician, no less a person than the Son of God,
inviteth, and hath promised to relieve and help them.

But, O Jesus ! how few are there, when we look into the
world, how few are there, who are sensible that they want
Thy help ! How few who apply to Thee for help, as they
ought to do !

We do not speak of those who live without God in the
world; who despise the Gospel of Christ, and the salvation
offered in it ; who make a mock of sin and of hell ; for these
are plainly given over to a mind void of judgment : and it is
no wonder, that this merciful invitation of Jesus Christ doth
not affect them, — nobody expects it from them.

But what shall we say, when the generality of christians,
o 2


SERM. such as pretend to hope for salvation, do not appear to be

_i: — much concerned in this gracious invitation? So few being

convinced that they stand in need of a Redeemer, of pardon,
of help to do their duty, of grace to please God ; infinite,
therefore, are the number, even of the professors of Chris-
tianity, who seem not to be much concerned in this invita-
tion of the only Saviour of the world.

The reason is this : None are concerned to look out for

[Luke 5. 31, help, but such as are sensible they want help: "They that

are whole (saith our Lord) need not a physician, but they

that are sick." " I came not (saith He) to call the righteous,"

such as think themselves safe, " but sinners, to repentance."

And indeed it is with the diseases of our souls, as it is
with those of our bodies. If we feel little or no pain, we are
not much concerned ; and yet a dead palsy, or a lethargy,
are as mortal as a wound that makes us feel smart, and gives
us pain. Thus it is with regard to the diseases of the soul.
And it is certainly one of the heaviest of God's judgments
for a man not to be afraid for himself.

It concerns, therefore, every man to know what reason he
has to be afraid for himself, and to know that he stands
in need of help. This was the case of the church of Laodicea ;
Rev. 3. 17. "Thou sayest that thou art rich, and wantest nothing; and
knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and
poor, and blind, and naked." This is a sad case, and yet it
is the case (God knows) of too many christians, as appears
plainly by that great unconcernedness to be seen in the lives
of christians; who generally satisfy themselves, and place
their hopes of safety and happiness, in being free from
scandalous sins, such as the magistrate would punish; in
observing the outward duties of Christianity, such as the
most unconverted person may perform, without being sen-
sible of the bondage of sin, and that their religion must
mend their corrupt nature before they die, or they must
never expect to be saved.

It was in order to awaken such as would attend, and to
prevent such delusions, that you were, in the first part of
this discourse, put in mind of the account we must all give,
how we have spent our lives here, and of the happiness or
misery that will certainly follow such an account.


And this was clone, in order to persuade you, every man
for himself, to endeavour to work out his salvation with fear
and trembling ; that is, with a concern of one whose soul is
at stake J that jou may be prepared to hearken to the in-
vitation of Jesus Christ to make you happy.

" To this man (saith God) will I look, even to him that is Isa. G6. 2.
poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word."
A true sense and confession of our misery will, you see, move
the pity of God ; a deep sense of our own weakness, and
inability to help ourselves, will engage His power to assist
us; and a sense of our own unworthiness will move His

Whoever, therefore, among you feareth God, to you is this
invitation of Jesus Christ made ; " Come unto Me all ye that [Matt. ii.
labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." So
that it will be our own fault entirely, if we are not freed from
all our fears of perishing eternally ; if we have not all the
assistance that our hearts can desire, to bring us to heaven
and happiness everlasting.

Let us therefore consider, what it is to go to Christ. It is
to believe Him to be the Son of God, sent by His Father,
out of pity to His poor creatures, to deliver them out of
slavery and bondage, into which they were most miserably
fallen. It is to become His disciples ; to receive Him as our
Teacher, in making known to us the will of God for our
salvation. It is to receive Him as our Priest, who hath re-
conciled us to God, by offering up Himself a sacrifice, to
satisfy the Divine Justice, and who is continually making
intercession for all such as go unto God by Him. And
lastly, it is to acknowledge Him as our Lord and King ;
that as such we are to obey His laws, and suffer Him to rule
and govern us.

All, therefore, who will effectually close with this gracious
invitation of Jesus Christ, must receive Him, as our Lord,
to govern us by His Gospel ; as our only Mediator, to pre^
vail with God for our pardon ; and as our only Redeemer,
who laid down His life for us.

You see, my christian brethren, the gracious methods
which God has made use of to awaken us, and to raise in
our minds a spirit of fear, by letting us know, that we are to


s R R jr. give an account for all the things we have done in the body,

— '■ — whether they have been good or bad ; to the end that we

may more gladly hearken to the merciful invitation of Jesus
Christ, who knows the exceeding danger we are in without
His help ; and our souls being precious in Ilis sight, He
therefore most kindly invites us to come to Him, for light,
for direction, for help, and salvation. And He has graciously
promised to give rest and peace to all that come to Him, and
are sensible of their wants and danger. He will convince
them, that He has made their peace with God. He will assist
them by His Spirit, so that sin shall not get dominion over
them. And He will intercede with God, to grant us that
happiness for which we were at first created.
Jer. 3.12,13. / am merciful, saitli the Lord, and I will not keep anger
for ever : only acknowledge thine iniquities, and that thou hast
transgressed against the Lord. This is the language of God
[Ps. 51. 17.] to sinners: A broken and a contrite heart He will not

What now is required on our part to make this gracious
invitation of Christ a perfect blessing to us ? Why, to believe
in Him with all our heart ; for whoever believeth in Him
shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

But then, this faith must be such as shall purify our
hearts ; such as shall lead us to repentance ; such as shall
bring forth fruits answerable to amendment of life.

And this faith, being the gift of God, must be begged of
Him with the earnestness of a soul that is weary and heavy
laden, and such shall most certainly find rest unto their

In one word ; our great and only comfort is, in all our
troubles, after all our miscarriages, under all our fears, that
we have a Saviour to go to, who even invites us to come to
Him. A Saviour, who came down from heaven to seek and
to save His lost creatures. A Saviour, who has redeemed us
by His precious blood ; who has made our peace with God ;
who is at the right hand of God, making intercession for us ;
who invites all, none excepted, to come to Him ; and to
whom none ever did go, as they ought to do, but found rest
unto their souls.

But it must be Thou, O Jesus, who came to seek and to


save those that were lost and gone astray ; it must be Thou,
O Lord, who dost so graciously invite us, who must lead us
to Thyself, or we shall surely miss the way.

Direct, gracioiis Lord, all such as desire to come to Thee.
As Thou givest them a will, be Thou their guide, their Ught,
and their supjjort, till they come to Thee, and to that inherit-
ance which Thou hast prepared for all those that obey Thy
kind invitation. And this we beg for Thy promise sake ; for
Thy mercy^s sake ; and for the sake of that love which Thou
hast had for our souls.

For which, all glory, and praise, and thanks, be ascribed to
Thee, together with the Father and the Holy Ghost, by us
and by all Thy faithful servants, for ever and ever. Amen.



Blessed Jesus, Who came into the world to save sinners, direct and guide
me by Thy good Spirit, that in this and all my labours for the instruc-
tion of my flock, I may set forth the mercy, the glory, and the goodness
of God, and that by so doing, I may save myself, and those that hear me.

1 Tim. i. 15. Tit. ii. 14. 1 Tim. iv. 1.

See Matt. 7. Cltrist Jesus Came into the world to save sinners : and gave Himself
y;'iCor.i(). for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and ^nirify
3' 3 ;" Gal.' ■^''^^^•^ Himself a peculiar people, [that is, a people peculiarly con-
1.4; Rev. secrated to Him] zealous of good works. Now the Spirit speak-

eth expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the
faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils ;

and [Jude iv.] turning the grace of God into lasciviousness.

What I would now recommend to your serious considera-
tion, are these following particulars : First ; the great and
merciful design of the Christian Religion. Secondly ; how
sadly, and by what means, this gracious design of God has
been hindered or perverted. Lastly ; what is like to be the
consequence of this sad apostasy to christians of all denomi-
nations ; and how every christian may contribute towards
restoring Christianity to its great design of saving sinners.

Now, the design of Christianity, the Apostle tells us, is, to
save sinners, and that Jesus Christ came into the world for that
very end. And that the only way of saving them was, by re-
deeming them from all iniquity : forasmuch as all mankind
were slaves to the devil, and to his temptations, to the world,
and its wicked customs, and to their own corrupt inclina-
tions ; Jesus Christ therefore came to redeem them from


this slavery, and from eternal misery and death ; and to gain
to Himself a people who should be consecrated in a peculiar
manner to His service ; and that being purified by an holy
life, and good works, they might be capable of heaven and of
eternal happiness.

This was the great design of God in sending His Son into
the world. And happy would it have been, if this gracious
design had been universally closed with, and had not been
perverted by the weakness of men, and by the wiles of the

The Spirit of God foresaw this, and, by His Apostle, gives
christians warning of it, and that, " in the latter times, men
shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits,
and doctrines of devils ; turning the grace of God into lasci-
viousness /^ that is, accommodating and suiting the doctrine
of the Gospel to the corrupt inclinations of men.

We shall see, in the history of Christianity which I shall set
before you, how these seducing spirits have succeeded in all
ages, in this attempt; that christians may beware of falling
into the snare of the devil, and may be careful to have the
true design of the Christian Religion always in their eye;
which is, to make men holy, that they may be happy.

All men being by nature sinners, as such God could take
no pleasure in them. ISIan had passed through several states
of trial before the publishing of the Gospel by Jesus Christ ;
in a state of innocence before the fall; in the state of nature
after the fall, with all the advantages of reason and free-will ;
and lastly, under the Law, with all the helps of outward ordi-
nances. And the conclusion always was, as the Apostle ob-
serves both of Gentiles and Jews, "They were altogether [Rom.3.i2;
abominable, 'there was none good." 53.1.] '

Almighty God, therefore, Whose justice could not let
wickedness go unpunished, and Whose infinite goodness
would not let His poor creatures be lost, in His good time


ners out of this sad condition.

Online LibraryThomas WilsonThe works of the right reverend father in God, Thomas Wilson, D.D., Lord Bishop of Sodor and Man (Volume 2) → online text (page 18 of 49)