2. That, as a Free Agent, man has life and death set before him, with the liberty of choosing the one, and rejecting the other. As a fallen creature, he is an enemy of God, and without the provision of mercy in his Son, would for ever remain such. Descending to the abode of the Devil and his angels, as a company of kindred spirits, he would for ever unite with them, in their unhallowed opposition to their common creator. Mutual crimination and joint blasphemy against their maker would render them as miserable as their capacity would admit. But now the announcement of pardon and restoration invites him to return. “Come, now, let us reason together saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow: though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” “Ho! everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat: yea, come buy wine and milk without price.”

As moral agents, for whom there is hope, I call upon you, then, fellow sinners to turn to the Lord, For he saith the Lord; “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his evil way and live; turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?” Your God commands, invites, entreats. Open your ears–hear “the word of this salvation, Which is sent unto you.” “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.” As disobedient subjects, as prodigal sons, come back. Your sovereign is ready to receive youyour father’s arms and house are open to embrace, and entertain you. Come, then, the fatted calf shall be killed for you, the best robe shall be put on you, joy and gladness shall thrill your ransomed heaven born souls. The Church on earth shall rejoice. Attending angels shall bear the tidings to the throne of the eternal, and the holy company of Cherumbim and Seraphim in his presence, shall make all Heaven resound with hallelujahs of praise to God and the Lamb.

But if ye refuse the invitations of love and mercy, and will not have the man Christ Jesus to reign over you, if ye will continue in sin, you must receive its wages–deatheternal death. You must see, that man Christ Jesus on the judgment seat, and hear from his sacred lips, the sentence–“Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.” But you will be your own destroyer; the Judge will only, as the organ of insulted justice and violated law, pronounce sentence, which you will have already drawn down upon your head.

Now, Now, O fellow sinners, you have it in your power to place yourselves under influences, that are spiritual and saving; or under influences that are carnal and damning. You can read the Bible, or the book of infidelity; the sermon of truth, or the novel of fiction; you can attend the party of sinful pleasure, or the meeting for holy prayer; you can go to the midnight revel, or to the house of God. You can lift up the prayer of the publican, or the howl of the bacchanal. You can utter the praise of the Most High, or belch out the blasphemy of the Arch fiend. How solemn the responsibilities that are upon you. Under what awful accountability does your free agency place you? The freedom to chose is the freedom to reject. O! Exercise this freedom aright. Pause, consider your latter end. “Chose you this day whom you will serve.” Difficulties attend the decision. For their removal, search the scriptures, implore the teaching of that Holy Spirit, whom God will give to all that ask for in sincerity. And oh may He enlighten the eyes of your understanding, and give you to see Christ in the scriptures as your “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.”

William Bullein Johnson, The Sovereignty of God and the Free Agency of Man: A Sermon Delivered Lord’s Day, May 30, 1842 (Published at the request of the Congregation, by William Bullein Johnson), 25-27. [Underlining mine.] [Note, Johnson was the first president of the Southern Baptist Convention.]

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