~~p^ Conf Pam 12mo #575
[tor THE SOLMDRS.] No. 29.
MY SPIRIT SHALL NOT ALWAYS SJRlVl
EY REV. J. It. FOWI.ES, OF S. C.
There is a period in the life of man, to which if he live in
a state of perverseness and impenitence, his cup of iniquity
will be full ; and to him " there remaineth no more sacrifice
for sin, but a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indig-
nation." There is Borne series of rebellious
which, when committed, constituted a point beyond which no
ray of mercy will ever reach him.
So perverse and so sinful is the lieart'of man. that, left to
himself, perdition will ensue. So bent is he. on transgression,
so alienated from God and holiness, that unless God induces
him, by the aid of Iris Spirit, to forsake and rebent of sin, he
will persist in iniquity, and perish. That soul from whom the
Spirit has taken his final flight, ie
This truth is taught explicitly in the word of God. "My
Spirit shall not always strive with man." " My people would
not hearken to my voice, so I gave them up unto their own
hearts' lusts; and they walked in their own counsels.''
Though they cry unto me, 1 will not hearken unto them:"
"Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host
of heaven." "For this cause God gave them up unto vile
affections." " For this cause God shall sCnd tinshr stroifg
delusion, that they should be*Hve a lie; that (hey all might
be damned who believe not t\m truth, but have pleasure in
unrighteousness. " "Ephraim is joined to his idols; let him
alone." They rebelled and vexed the Holy Spirit ; therefore
he was turned to be their enemy and fought against him."
Thus the word of tie Lord establishes the truth, that there
is a period somewhere in the progress of man through this
world, to which if he live in rebellion against his Maker,
God's forbearance and mercy will be extended to him no
longer; beyond which the Spirit of the Lord is ''turned to
be his enemy, and lights against him ;" beyond which his
damnation is sealed.
I MY .SPIRIT SHALL NOT ALWAYS STRIVE.
The sinner knows not at any moment, whether he ftfcvc
already passed the line which .separates the land of hope, from
the land of despair; whether it lies i'ar in the region of the
future, or whether he stand on its verge. God has fixed this
line, hut to none other has he revealed where it lies. The
impenitent trangressor goes onward in life at the hazard, and
under the imminent peril, at eaeh step, of passing the hound*
of the region ot hope and barring on himself e tern all) the
doors of the kingdom of heaven. The next immoral act, for
aught that ia revealed, may he the .act which nils to overflow-
ing the cup of his iniquity. A vessel nearly filled may run over
by adding another drop. Though the sin may not he of so
deep a dye as a series of others of which he has been guilty,
yet this added to the long catalogue of his former crimes, may
close his probation. This as the last crowning act of rebell-
ion, may seal his doom.
A benevolent father may for ever disinherit his son forisome
seemingly venial act of transgression. This act is the occa-
sion, net the cause of his disinheritance. A long series of re-
bellious acts may have evinced a spirit of irreconcilable aver-
sion and hostility to the parent. Repeated persuasions and
reproof have been tried, but hestiil continues in his wayward
course. Repeated acts of disobedience, enhance his guilt,
The father now determines to execute his. threatening on occa-
sion of the next transgression, The son persists ; he commits
an act, not perhaps as glaringly vicious as some which have
preceded it, butstill evincing aspirt of insubordination. The
lather fulfils his threatening, and disinherits him for ever.
So God on the occasion of some seemingly venial sin — but
be it remembered, no sin is small-- may determine to dry up
the fountain of his mercy; when the sinner eries, not to
hearken ; to " laugh at his calamity, and mock when his
fear c^mi-th." May, refusal on the part of the sinner to com-
ply now with the call of mercy, and yield his heart to God,
may he the act, which when connected with the heinous sins
already noted in the great book of remembrance, Jehovah
determines to make the occasion of his Spirit's final flight, ami
of the sealed perdition of the soul.
Go, stand by the death- bed of the aged, obdurate sinner ;
watch his restless and impure spirit, which is about to be yield-
ed into the hands of him wdio gave it He writhes, it is true
under bodily torture, but this bears no contrast with the in-
MY SPlRIl SftALI SOI ALWAYS STRTVF.
ward fire. Despair is depicted in \n< countenance. \i^ al-
ternately eupplicatee arid blasphemes his Maker. He already
experiences the gnawings of "the worm that dieth not," and
of "the lire t.hat is notqiicnched." His doom is S'aSett, But
when' Perhaps not in his dying hour. In the mind of God,
it. may be his present despair and iuture torments are connec-
ted with some distant scene In the past, where, as he was
seated under the droppings of the sanctuary, listened to the
proclamation of the gospel, heard ihe chums of God in Christ
enforced thought of duty and the yielding of his heart — he
deferred obedience to the Spirit's dictates to a mote convent
en t season; and the heavenly messenger, thus grieved and
mocked, took his final flight.
Reader, the brevity and uncertainty of life are not the only in-
ducements to immediate repentance.
True, this lite is "a vapor, that appeareth for a little time
and then vanisheth away. " It is a.s " the flower of the grass
which before the burning heat of the sun, withereth." It is
indeed, when raoet protracted, but a short period to employ
in winning a crown of glory. Its uncertainty, too — for who
knowcth he shall see to-morrow? — is forcibly presented in
the Scriptures, to wean from sin and draw toduty now. But
with nil these warnings sounding in hia ears, under the delu-
sions of sin, man practically views this world as his eternal
home. He feels and rejoices in his present health and vigor,
and thinks not that his body will soon die.
Yet mark, impenitent fellow-man, God's grace is sovereign.
Though your life be protracted to the end of the world;
Though you were assured by God you should not die until
" the. heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the
elements shall melt with fervent heat," it becomes you not
to defer repentance to a future day.
The inspired truth, " Mow is the accepted time, behold,
now is the day of salvation," receives not all its solemnity
and f >rce from the brevity and uncertainty of life. It has
another and more fearful import: "My Spirit, shall not al-
ways strive with man." The Holy Spirit may "turn to be
thine enemy and fight against thee.*' The mandate may go
forth, "H« is joined to his idols; let him alone." Then,
like the barren fig-tree, you will be cut down while yet you
stand. In a world of hope, you will be in despair; in tho
4 MY SPXJaXT SHALL NOT ALWAYS STRIVE.
midst of life, you will be in death ; on this side the grave,
you will yet be in hell.
Suffer "me, then, affectionately, but honestly, to remind
you that your state id fearfully critical and dangerous.
Snares are .-beneath your feet. While remaining in impeni-
tence, you go onward, not knowing but the next step your dam-,
nation will be certain —irretrievable. Fellow-man, stay your
feet. Take not the fatal stop. It may be you are on the
verge of that line, beyond which all is darkness, despair and
death. The pressing calls of God, by his providence, his
word, and his preached gospel, to repent, you have rejected.
When aroused to the consideration of duty, you have heed-
lessly postponed its claims, and relapsed into listlessness and
sin. Days speed away ; Sabbath succeeds Sabbath ; year
after year is numbered with the past — and you are still the
enemy ol God. The time will come, if you persist, when by
some act of transgression, you will eternally mar the prospect
of your salvation. May not the present be that critical mo-
ment, and your next act the act which will destroy your soul?
May not the act be your neglecting now the offer of mercy ?
I shrink from the possibility of being made the instrument
of your ruin ; but this very warning, rejected, may seal your
doom. Oh, I beseech yon, in Christ's stead, suffer it not to
pass unimproved, adding despair to doubt, and endless death
The message is, "God in Christ Jesus is reconciling the
world unto himself." The command has gone forth from
God to all men everywhere, "Repent." The command to
thee, fellow-sinner, is, " Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,"
and the promise is, "Thou shalt be saved." But the fearful
alternative made known by God, immutably true, is, " If
thou believcst not, thou shalt be damned." Embrace the
offer of salvation now, lest it prove your last opportunity —
lest God lift his hand and swear, " You shall not enter into
my rest." After his irrevocable word is passed, your awful
doom may indeed excite the compassion of Cod; he may
lament over you, as over Jerusalem, " that thou hadst
known, even thou, in this thy day, the things that belong to
thy peace;" yet it will be no less certain, " they are hid from
thine eyes." Your doom will then be sealed. Your soul
lost — lost for eternity.