poses him to additional penalties; for "he that believeth not is condemned already; and condemned chiefly because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God." But let us proceed,

In the second place, to consider that description of the gospel which is given us in the text "The dead shall hear"-hear what?" The voice of the Son of God," and that voice is no other than the word of Christ, in and by the gospel.

It is generally understood that, at the great day, the Son of God will descend from heaven in great glory, and then, according to the twenty-eighth verse of this chapter, "all that are in their graves shall hear his voice and come forth." We conceive as we ought, very highly of that majestic voice, accompanied, as it will be, with the exertion of power truly Almighty; when all the countless millions of the dead, long before mingled with the dust, shall reassume the human form, and, re-animated with the human spirit, shall ascend to stand at the tribunal of Christ. To this is compared, in our text, the voice of the Son of God in the gospel. How great and glorious then is that gospel, which is "the power of God unto salvation :" for, observe, it is the same voice which shall hereafter raise the dead bodies of men from the grave, which now raises the dead soul from its state of nature and sin.

Our blessed Lord once resided on our earth; he travelled about Judea and Galilee, preaching the kingdom of God from city to city, from town to town, from village to village; in the temple, in the synagogue, on the mountains, in ships-wherever he had an opportunity-wherever an audience could be collected: but he has long since left our world, and transferred this work to other and meaner hands. The apostles were his first messengers; and when their labours were finished, the great work devolved on the ordinary pastors and teachers

of the churches. Preaching the Gospel is a divine ordinance, to be continued to the end of time; and those whom he has qualified for it, and called to it, he will bless in the discharge of their duty; according to his gracious promise, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Let every divine truth, then, though declared by the lips of fallible men; men of like passions with yourselves, be received, not as the word of man, but, as it is in truth, the word of God: (1 Thess. ii. 13.) and let the apostolic admonition be duly regarded, "See that ye refuse not him who speaketh from heaven;" for the Gospel, though it may be uttered by fallible lips, is a record or testimony, from heaven, witnessed by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; (1 John, v. 10.) and it is at our peril that we neglect it.

Consider also the inestimable value of this word. It clearly informs us, concerning the great things which belong to our peace; and "the entrance of this word" into the mind "giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple." This word likewise faithfully warns us; it kindly sets before us the dreadful danger that awaits the impenitent sinner ; according to that which was stated to be the proper business of the prophet of old, when God said to him, (Ezek. iii. 17, and 18.) "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me: when I say unto the wicked, thou shalt surely die, and thou givest him not warning, nor speaketh to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thine hand." The apostle Paul felt the force of this admonition; and he told the Ephesian elders, when he was taking leave of them, (Acts, 20) that he was 66 pure from the blood of all men, for he had

not shunned to declare unto them the whole counsel of God"-that "he had not ceased, by the space of

three years to warn and beseech every one of them, night and day with tears." Undoubtedly, the same is still the duty of every minister of the Gospel.

In this word also, he affectionately invites us. He bids us "seek him, while he may be found;" he assures us, that if "the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, the Lord will have mercy upon him, and abundantly pardon.” All things needful for the salvation of man, being prepared and proposed, he invites all, even those who are to be found in "the high ways and hedges,' to come and partake of the Gospel feast," all things being ready :"-yea, he says, Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest."


In this word also, he graciously and faithfully promises a ready welcome; yea, he says, (and what more could we have wished him to say) " Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." We are,

In the third place, to consider the application of this word to the heart with divine power-" the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God." The dead hear? This is an extraordinary thing indeed! -The dead hear? How can this be? No human sounds; not the shrill blast of the trumpet, nor the horrible roar of the cannon, nor the tremendous peal of thunder, can affect the ear of the dead: yet, "the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, for that which is impossible to men, is easy to God.

On one memorable occasion, our blessed Lord visited the grave of his friend Lazarus; and when amidst a numerous company, surrounding the tomb, Jesus cried with a loud voice, Lazarus come forth" behold, with astonishment, "he that was dead, came forth." This is amazing! Lazarus hears the voice of the Son of God, and lives; he comes forth, and entertains the Saviour in his house. It is doubtless in allusion to such an effect of divine power as this on a dead body, that our

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Lord speaks of the resurrection of a dead soul ; and does it not plainly intimate that nothing less than such a power is sufficient for this purpose?— If we know the scriptures; if we know ourselves, we shall readily admit that men are so profoundly and wilfully ignorant; and oftentimes so hardened in their feelings; so wedded to the world; so full of enmity against God and religion; that nothing less than almighty power can effect the change here described," the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God."

In this case, the person feels, for the first time, à disposition to hear and regard the word of life, however strong his prejudices might have been before. It is said of Lydia, who was converted to God at Philippi, that "the Lord opened her heart, so that she attended to the things which were spoken of Paul." Had not the Lord opened her heart, she would not have attended to them: for it is marvellous that the word of God is not heard even where it is spoken; and were you to go from pew to pew in our places of worship, you would find very few who heard it with attention, and fewer still, with understanding. The birds of the air take up the seed as soon as it is sown-it has no abiding in the heart of man-I once told you of a person I conversed with when dying; she had been brought up under the word all her life; but she assured me that she never heard but one sermon, which was the last. She had never regarded the word at all. And thus many persons attend to hear sermons, who never do hear. O what sin is committed in all our places of worship while the sermon is preaching.

Others are attentive, in some degree; yet they do not understand what they hear: but when the Lord speaks to the heart, he causes his voice to be distinguished, and his people know the meaning of it; as the apostle speaks of the Thessalonians, that "they received the word, not as the word of man, but as it is, in truth, the word of God."

And here is the difference between carnal and spiritual hearers; the carnal hearers go to hear the man; the spiritual hearers go to hear Christ through the man; their language is—" Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth."

When the word is heard to purpose, it is heard with faith. The word never profits, unless it be "mixed with faith." (Heb. ii.) It is received as the testimony of God, divinely and infallibly true; and he who hears it as the voice of the Son of God, affixes his seal to it, and thereby declares his belief that God is true.

And if the word be thus mixed with faith, it will also be "received with love," with cordial esteem and affection. "As new-born babes," the children of God imbibe "the milk of the word;" and each of them can truly say, "How sweet are thy words to my taste; they are sweeter than honey and the honey-comb." "O how love I thy law !"

Once more-He who hears the voice of the Son of God in his word, will hear it obediently. When Saul of Tarsus first heard this voice, and knew whose voice it was, he very properly said, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Such will be the language of every true believer; there will be a cordial approbation of the divine commandments, as "holy, just, and good," and he will say, with sincerity, "Lord have mercy upon me, and write all these thy laws upon my heart, I beseech thee."

I proceed now to the last particular before us, and that is the happy effect of all this; "the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live." As Lazarus lived, from the moment that Christ uttered his voice, and said "Lazarus come forth," so sinners, having heard the quickening voice of Christ in the gospel, commence a new and spiritual life, which shall never cease, but shall issue in life eternal. We said, at the beginning of this discourse, that religion

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