The gist of the message by Jefferson’s pastor is that before a holy God, sinful man is in trouble. That’s why Jesus came to be our Savior.
Rev. Charles Clay
God, The Adversary of the Sinner [continued]
Agree with thine adversary quickly whiles thou art in the way with him, lest at any time the Adversary deliver thee to the Judge, and the Judge deliver thee to the Officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence till thou hast paid the utmost farthing.
The substance of the first head is this – the eternal God is made our Adversary by original sin and active transgression. Every man by nature is at enmity with God. I would then ask every sould in this congregation ( and may the eternal God enable you to answer aright) are you yet in your natural state or are you not? Have you felt the weight of sin, and are you sincerely desirous to be freed from it by the (blood?) of Jesus Christ? If so the Spirit of God is at work on your hearts. The lord is bringing you out of your natural darkness into his marvellous light. If not, if you have never yet seen the evil of sin, if you have never mourned ove the corruption of your hearts, but on the contrary are thoughtless of eternity, indifferent about salvation and unconverned about your souls, you are in a state of nature.
Nay though you may perform the outward duties of religion and appear very exemplary in the sight of men, yet if your hearts are unrenewed by the Spirit of God you are still in a state of nature; you are no better than painted sepulchers, awhich appear beautiful outward, but within are full of corruption and uncleanness. Your inward man is corrupted and defiled with sin, however specious your outward deportment may be. Hear this (you?) natural men and tremble; for whover you are the eternal God is your Adversary ( ). My brethren how powerful an enemy you have to deal with. No wealth can bribe no subtlety can deceive, no strenth can overcome him. Remember while you are at enmity with God, that all nature is at enmity with you. You are under the curse of God. Your wealth is often a curse, since it is too frequently the means of hardening you in your sins, and drawing you from God. And unless you are reconciled to him the sorest of his vengeance will light upon you. And if he should be pleased to make bare his arm upon this guilty land (as he has done on other countries) to whom, to whom, my brethren can you apply for shelter? What must be your grief! How great your horror of soul when you recollect that these judgments are the instruments of that Being whom you have wantonly made your foe? That they are sent to hurry you into the regions of despair? I fear too many of you my brethren however you may flatter yourselves I fear too many of you are in this dreadful situation, viz. in a state of enmity with the Lord of Hosts. Good God, how can you be easy! How can you enjoy one moment’s peace while this tremendous being is unappeased? How can you venture to close your eyes to sleep when you know not but with the rich man, ou may open them in everlasting burnings? My dear unhappy man you are nder the curse of almighty God. And can you then be safe? Can you evade his anger? Can you resist omnipotence? O no! The nations of the world compared to him, are no more than a drop of the bucket. This may be an unpleasing truth, but truth it is; and unless your hearts are renewed by God’s holy Spirit (if God be true) he is to you a consuming fire.
You would judge that sentinel to be deserving of the severest punishment who should neglect to give notice of the enemy’s approach! The same fault should I be guilty of was I to neglect to tell you of your danger.
And what means so likely to cause you to humble yourselves as by convincing you of the danger you are in? What season so prosperous as the present, when we have all the reason in the world to expect some signal instances of the Divine displeasure? However all I can say is but a dead letter unless the Spirit of God be pleased to animate it, and to carry it home to your hearts. May he therefore open the eyes of your minds, athat you may see your danger. May he dispose your hearts to apply to the means of reconciliation with your almighty for, while I endeavor in the second place to show in what manner and at what time we are to agree with him. “Agree with thine Adversary quickly whiles thou art in the way with him.”
Now some think to agree with this adversary by the practice of morality; which however useful and amiable in its proper place; can by no means answer the end designed. For as I observed before as long as the heart is a polluted fountain, the streams that flow from it must necessarily be impure also. If we believe the Scriptures there is only one method of reconciliation with God. There is no other name under Heaven given among men – [but the] name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are the means of the sinner’s reconciliation with God. By bidding us agree with our adversary then, our Lord exhorts us to repent of our sins, and to believe in him. By nature we are sinful and polluted, and have made the eternal God our adversary.