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MARK xvi. 15, 16.
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to
every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned,
AFTER preaching the law for the discovery of sin, and the fearful ruin sin has brought upon us, I must needs come to you with the offer of the Gospel, that ye may know your case is not desperate, that ye may hear the glad tidings of salvation, that ye may lay hold on eternal life. It is not the ultimate design even of the law to wound, but by opening the deadly disease of sin, by making the smart of it felt, that it may be a means of directing to the Gospel for a cure. So both Law and Gospel speak the same gracious language, and the one and the other points out glory to the sinner. Has the law done its part ? Has the law shown you, my dear brethren, that ye are sinners, guilty sinners, condemned sinners, helpless sinners ? Has it shown you the plague of your nature, how sensual, earthly, and devilish, how atheistical, ungodly, and impious, ye came into the world, have lived therein more or less, and
your wretched hearts still are ? And are you looking about where to fly; where to cast your guilt ; where to get peace with God, peace of conscience, deliverance from the fear of death and judgment, and the fire that shall never be quenched ? where to find help against sin, and power to master its influence, and to become again like unto God in the temper of your souls and the conduct of your lives? Are ye intent upon this search after salvation, as having seen that your all, your eternal all, depends upon it ? that if your guilt be not remitted, your sentence be
not reversed, your peace with God be not procured, your spirit be not sanctified, you are undone, utterly, eternally, undone, and have not the least glimpse of hope in that other world into which time is swiftly carrying you, and where you will live ages unnumbered by any but God, infinitely more than the blades of grass that cover the fields of the earth, the drops that compose the vast ocean, the sands that lie on the shores of it ? Are you looking with awful concern upon this amazing scene ; and, knowing what you are, and what God is, and that it is but a hand's breadth before death will be upon you, do you find this momentous thought pressing upon your heart, “ What shall I do? I, whither shall I go? Ah! that the Lord would have mercy upon me, would turn away his eyes from beholding my sins; that the eternal God would look on me as a child ; that he would rid me of all my fears and all my sins ; that I might behold his face in glory, and live in his favour in that heavenly kingdom that is to come! Surely my soul should bless him, his mercy should be all my song, and I would be as loud and earnest as any of the blessed inhabitants of that everlasting city in showing forth his praise.” And is this indeed your wish ?
? Would you esteem yourself happy could you look on God as your friend, death without fear, judgment as the day of your hope, the joys above as your inheritance ? Why all these things are to be had in Christ, they are all laid up in him ; pardon, peace, adoption, resurrection, life, glory, are all laid up in Christ ; and, what is more comfortable, more encouraging, you may have them all as freely as you will ask for them. Nay, they are all offered you; nay, you are pressed to receive them ; nay, you are commanded to do it; yea, your refusal of God's free gift will be taken so ill that you shall be damned for not accepting it.
I am not now to tell you who Christ is, or what he has done ; 6 how for us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven," and by his obedience unto death both fulfilled the law and satisfied the curse of it. At the time when Christ spoke the words of the text, he was risen from the dead, and it was manifest thereby to the very eyes of his Apostles that the great work of redemption which he had undertaken was actually completed. It remained only to make it known. His personal presence was required in heaven ; and therefore he commissions them to publish, declare, and offer this redemption to sinful men. "Go ye into all the world,' &c. I will just open the words in the order wherein they lie, and then apply them.
Hear, then, Christ's commission to his disciples. And if his commission, then he speaks by them. Go; it is I send you. Deliver this message in my name. Should any ask you by what authority you declare these things, say you are sent by me, and show them these words of mine by which I empower and command you to go ; you and all after you that I shall send forth to preach the Gospel. 'Go into all the world ;' not to the Jews only, but to the Gentiles, to people of every name and language under heaven. Your commission is unlimited, I will have none excepted. Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature ;' you shall carry the offer of salvation with you, and make a tender of it to every soul. I will have every creature told he may be saved if he will. I will have every creature invited to accept eternal life in me. You are to pass by no one, neither circumcised nor uncircumcised, Scythian nor barbarian, bond nor free. Let them know that all and every one of them is welcome. I will have my Gospel preached in all the world, and offered to every creature wherever you go. Offer it to the sick as well as the whole, to the bad as well as the good. I will have no one on any pretence passed by ; for all are welcome : and I will have all told so in my name, and convinced that they are so by this commission which I give you to show them. And to you I declare further, what I require you also to declare wheresoever you go preaching the Gospel, • He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.' Whatever sinner heartily accepts this my salvation, preached by you and others unto the end of the world, so as to become my disciple indeed, receiving the Gospel in the whole fulness of it, as a salvation from the guilt and power of sin ; and, so believing, is baptized in token of his faith in me and dependence upon me, not only putting away the filth of the flesh, but having the answer of a good conscience towards God; I tell you, and will have you declare publicly, that that man, whatever he has been before, shall be saved. But he that believeth not shall be damned.' That I will have you remember yourselves, to quicken your diligence in preaching the Gospel
. And that I
will have you declare in all places as an encouragement to the broken-hearted, that they may know from my mouth, that nothing else but unbelief shall damn men ; and to alarm those who lie dead in trespasses and sins, and those who will not receive me: Go therefore into all the world, and say to every creature, He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be damned.'
You see now the force of the words, and the authority we have as Christ's messengers to offer the Gospel to you. I am guilty therefore of no presumption, and go not a jot beyond my orders, when I tell you that I am sent to you by Christ Jesus the Lord of all, the Judge of quick and dead, to offer unto you the forgiveness of all your sins, perfect peace and reconciliation with the Almighty God, and all the blessings of the kingdom of heaven in him. And in the name of Jesus, and by the commission which you see he has given me, I do this day offer this whole glorious salvation to all of you, and to every single soul of you here present. By the same authority I declare to you all this day, that if ye accept the offer, and deal sincerely with God in it, all and whoever among you does so shall be saved. And further, in the name of Jesus, I do also this day charge and require you all to accept it, upon pain of the eternal displeasure of Almighty God, and of your own endless damnation. And remember that no excuse will be allowed ; you may not keep back because you are guilty, nor refuse because you have the pleasures or interests of this world upon your hands ; for I am bid to tell you in the plainest words, that if you believe not, and whosoever among you believeth not, shall be damned.
Thus I deliver my message. And now I desire to persuade you that you will accept the offer. And here I will mention two points
First.— The certainty of your ruin out of Christ, and of your salvation in him.
Secondly.--The greatness of your ruin if you slight his offer, and of your salvation if you close with it.
First. - I beseech you to accept the offer this day made you, by the consideration of the certainty of your ruin out of Christ, and of your salvation in him. Neither of these stands upon probabilities or peradventures, the one and the other being as certain as the unchangeable truth of God. For what doth the word of God say on the one part and the other ? It says, “On the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.'* It says, “Though hand join in hand, yet sin shall not be unpunished.'t It declares, · The wages of sin is death.'1 And insists, There is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved, but only the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.' On the other part, it speaks with a like fulness; • Whosoever believeth on him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.'|| 'He that hath the Son of God hath life.' There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."** There is no question about the matter on either side ; so that it is alike certain you are ruined without Christ, and may be saved in him. Now therefore consider: the facts against you are incontestable; you have sinned; it is as certain you were born in sin as that you were born at all; as sure that you have lived in sin more or less as that you have lived at all. Then there is no denying God's declarations against sin ; and you are not stronger than he to frustrate them, and reduce them to nothing. You are a dying man, and you cannot help it ; you must appear before the judgment-seat, and cannot avoid it. But you will perish for ever, unless you have an interest in Christ, as surely so as you live, as surely as you must die, as certainly as you shall be called out another day before the Judge of the quick and the dead. And is it true also that you may be saved and live for ever if you will ? as the Son of God died for the ungodly? Has he commanded that the offer of his salvation be made to you? Is that salvation firmer than the heavens, and will it last longer than they ? United to Christ, will you see the earth passing away with fervent heat, and the heavens wrapped up like a scroll, yourself the happy witness of a new heaven and earth, the region of righteousness, and your habitation for ever? Are these things indeed so? And will you hesitate a moment whether