Words worth reading — from Richard Johnson, first Chaplain to New South Wales

Posted on December 7, 2023 
Filed under Good News, History

“The faith whereby a sinner receives Christ, and becomes a partaker of all the blessings of the gospel, is the sole gift of God, wrought in the heart by his Holy Spirit (Eph. ii.8). This Holy Spirit produces an inward change in the soul, called, in the scripture, the new birth, regeneration (John iii. 3-7), or conversion, and thus enables a sinner, convinced of his sin and misery, to look to Jesus, and to believe on him.

But though repentance and faith are the gifts of God, which none can obtain by any endeavours of their own, yet we are encouraged and commanded to pray for them (Luke xi. 17).

All who have thus, through grace, believed, and are daily living a life of faith in the Son of God, shall be saved: but such as carelessly neglect, or wilfully reject this gospel, must be damned (Mark xvi. 15). Think, I beseech you, of this! Remember, that it is the solemn declaration of the Lord Jesus Christ himself.

Now is the time to obtain the blessings revealed in the gospel, and which are set before you when it is preached. Many have had these gracious declarations made to them, before we were born, and they will be repeated to many after we are dead. But this is our day. Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation (I Cor. vi. 2.). Hurry — for you and I may not live to see tomorrow. Today; if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts (Heb. iii. 7,8). My brethren, it is your duty, your wisdom, and will finally prove to be your greatest happiness, to seek an interest in this salvation for yourselves. It is your personal, and must be your heart concern, to make your calling and election sure (2 Pet i. 10).

For death will soon put a period to all the overtures of grace and mercy, with which many, and particularly you, are now favoured. It is, as I have said, both my duty and my pleasure, to preach and proclaim these glad tidings. But to whom? Not to the dead, but to the living; even to you (Acts xv. 22). To you is the word of this salvation sent. But, alas! should you still put it from you, and should death at last find you in an unprepared state, it will then be too late for you to begin to cry for mercy. (Eccl. ix. 10).”

– Extracted from Richard Johnson’s “An Address – to The Inhabitants of The Colonies Established in New South Wales and Norfolk Island”, 1792. PDF here.

Photo: Moore College.