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It will be the appeal of Love. “God is love." The Gospel is love. Christ loved us even to death. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoso believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Speaking for God we must speak in love.
Such, then, is our appeal. We only ask you to read it, and to ponder it; to reject all you can prove to be false, and to hearken to all you feel to be true. Our motto is
GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST,
AND ON EARTH PEACE,
We are all interested in news, especially in times of excitement like the present. But in much that is called news we are not personally interested. It concerns foreign lands and distant countries. It does not personally concern us.
The news we refer to does. It concerns every creature. Reader, it concerns you. Do you ask what it is ? It is just this, that God has sent us a Saviour, and that Saviour no less a person than his own Son. This is just what we need. We have sinned, and are therefore doomed to die. To die is not to be annihi. lated, but to suffer for ever the just desert of our crimes. To sink into bell. To experience for ever the just wrath of an offended God. To endure the vengeance of eternal fire, To endure for ever the lashings of a guilty conscience, and the indescribable horrors of black despair. This is our desert. God could inflict on us no less if. he remain just; for there is nothing in all God's creation so evil, so fearful, so dreadful as sin.
But God has pitied us. He has devised a way for our escape. He has sent his own Son into our world to be our substitute,—to become a sacrifice for sing—to make an infinite atonement for transgression. The atonement has been made—it is accepted,—and now the good news of salvation is sent to every creature. The vilest may be saved. The most guilty may obtain a pardon. The most filthy may be cleansed from all sin, and become pure as an angel of light. Salvation is easy. It is free. It is for whosoever will receive it. “For whosoever believeth in Jesus shall have everlasting life.” Reader, you are a sinner. Your sing deserve everlasting banishment from God. The laun threatens you with endless woe. But the gospel, the good news, tells you how you may obtain everlasting life. You need a Saviour, and Jesus can save you. You need a Saviour who will deliver you from all sin and condemnation, and Jesus will save to the uttermost, and for evermore. You need a Saviour who will save you freely, and Jesus will save you without money and without price. Do you ask, How can I obtain
this salvation? In this simple way. You must feel that you are a sinner, that you deserve to die. That you cannot save yourself in whole or in part. You must fix your thoughts on the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe that he came to save those who, like you, cannot save themselves. That he did all the law required of sinners, and suffered all that was deserved by guilty transgressors. You must go and kneel in private before God, there confess your sins, and beseech him to pardon you for the sake of what Jesus did and suffered. You must trust in the work of Christ alone, and expect to be saved only on the ground of what Christ hath done and suffered. This is the way in which God saves. In this way he will save you. But he will save in no other. He will save you to-day if you apply to him; but we are not sure that he will to-morrow. As therefore nothing is so important as salvation, seek it at once. Live no longer in rebellion against God. Surrender immediately. Believe the good news he has sent you. Seek the salvation he has to bestow. Look to the Lord Jesus alone, and expect to be pardoned because he suffered; and to have everlasting life because he died. “He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for
LIBERTY. Europe is now resounding with the shout of “Liberty!” England catches the sound, and her sons, hitherto personally freer than foreigners, demand to be politically as free as Frenchmen and Germans. We honour the demand. Long may the love of liberty ennoble the heart of every Englishman, and soon may perfect political and religious liberty reward all who seek it by means worthy of the end. But now, my brother, a word of truthful kindness. Are you as free as you might be? Are you the Lord's freeman ? You entered on this strange world a bondsman. You were born a slave to the worse part of your nature. You have lived long enough to be, "through fear of death, all your lifetime subject to bondage."* Perhaps you have ubeyed your passions and desires, forgetful that so doing is the vilest of all slavery. The submission of conscience, of reason, of understanding, to your animal nature, or to money-getting, to pleasure, or to vanity !- -no political slavery, no personal bondage, is 80 degrading as this. The slave who has conquered his sing is a nobler man than his cruel oppressor who is mastered by evil passions. The slave who can say, “O death! where is thy sting ? O grave! where is thy victory?” is a happier man than the tyrant who can destroy, indeed, the body, but after that has no more that he can do. ther, are you, then, Christ's freeman ? Are you freed by the grace of
* Hebrews ii, 15.
Christ from the love of sin ? Are you freed, by faith in Christ's precious blood, from the terrors of a guilty conscience ? Are you a freeman of the celestial city? Is your name enrolled in the register of heaven? All honour to those who labour and suffer to achieve their earthly freedom; but, my brother, at night, on your pillow, in secret silence between God and your soul, ask yourself this plain question, “What shall it profit me if I do gain my political freedom, but live and die in the bondage of sin ?” My brother, the gospel of the blessed Saviour teaches your richer neighbours to give you freely the civil rights they like to have for themselves, * but it insures to the poor in spirit a happier, a more glorious liberty than the haughtiest rich man knows.t Sincerely do I wish for you the fullest civil freedom; it is your birthright; but a far more precious birthright is the freedom which Jesus opened to our race when he was born into the family of man, when he died for its sins, and rose again for its salvation. Are you, then, my brother, Christ's subject? Do not scorn, do not evade the question. To obey lawful authority, is the very essence of freedom. Christ's is the supreme lawful authority. His servants are the only freemen. When I see a man getting rich, I ask, “Is he rich towards God ?” When I see him gaining any object he desires, I ask,“ but has he gained the one thing needful ?” and so when I see him labouring for Political Freedom, I ask, “but is thy Soul Free?" Oh, how many will feel, at the day of judgment and throughout eternity, “Had I but sought the freedom which Christ bestows, with half the zeal I displayed in obtaining the Suffrage, I should now have been a freeman of the heavenly city for ever, instead of being the bondsman of eternal terrors !” Seek, then, my brother, the earthly freedom to which you aspire; but, oh, seek, with tenfold earnestness, the eternal, the holy, the happy freedom of the Gospel. Gain, if you can, the blessings of hetter and cheaper legislation, but give yourself no rest till you have gained the infinitely better blessings of the kingdom of God.
THE GREAT SECRET. A friend wished me once to attend the execution of a man who was hung as a ringleader in the Bristol Reform Bill riots. I could never make up my mind to witness such a scene; indeed, I think the mur. derer should be cut off from society, but not from life and possible repentance. On his return, I asked him how the people near him behaved. He replied that a working-man near him, when the executed man had ceased to struggle, said, “Now he knows the great secret." The unhappy criminal had professed during life to be an infidel, and was said even to have burnt the bible before his companions! In his condemned cell, however, he had earnestly sought counsel of the ministers of the bible, and now he knew by experience the great secret of which the bible alone tells us all we know.
* Matt. vii. 12. † John viii. 31-36.
The GREAT Secret. Well did that working-man express the truth. Of all secrets hidden from us, what secret so great to us as what fol. lows upon death! Secrets of state,-secrets of business,—secrets between man and man,—what are they to this secret ? Yea, of all the secrets kept so closely till the fitting moment by creation and providence, what to us are they all compared with that great secret-what I shall be when I cease to breathe ?
The Great Secret. A secret which no living man has ever penetrated; no dead man ever returned to tell. Not the dearest friend, not the most beloved partner of our life, has ever broken the solemn secret of the dead. They all know it,—none of us don—every one of us soon will.
The Great Secret. Yet not a mere lottery secret. Not a secret in which our efforts will make no difference. There is no chance about this secret. What we shall be, is profoundly secret in one sense, absolutely certain in another. We may insure here, that the secret there, when known, shall be a most joyful one for us. We may insure, alas! that it shall be an unutterably wretched one. Greatly happy, or greatly unhappy, is this awful secret.
The Great Secret. Yes. Because to secure its turning out a happy secret, is the Great Business of our life. To this end God hath spoken to us throughout his whole word. To this end the Son of God died, was buried, and went himself to visit this secret world. To this end He now looks down from heaven inviting us to look up to Him, The Conqueror of Death.
The Great Secret. Before it all naturally fear and tremble. Before it the Believer in Jesus alone has well grounded hope. He may truly say,
“Death is swallowed up in victory:
And the strength of sin is the law;
But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory,
“SERIOUS THINGS TO-MORROW.”
So said a distinguished individual, against whose life a plot was laid. But one of the confederates relenting, sent a notice of the plot, by a messenger who had particular instructions to deliver it personally, and to state that the letter must be read immediately, as it was on a very serious matter. The messenger, however, found the person, against whose life the plot was laid, in the midst of a convivial feast. The letter and message were both faithfully delivered; but the man of mirth and wine laid it aside, saying, "SERIOUS THINGS TOMORROW !” The morrow he never saw, for that night the assassin plunged the deadly weapon into his heart.
Reader! art thou one of those who put off serious things till the morrow? This man had been warned, but he disregarded the warn. ing and perished; you, too, may often have been warned. Parents may have warned you;-teachers may have warned you ;--ministers may have warned you ;-afflictions may have warned you;--the death of friends and neighbours may have warned you;-conscience must have warned you;—and if you still disregard these warnings, there is a fearful passage of scripture which once more warns you, “He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." (Prov. xxix. 1.)
Think of the plot laid against your Soul! Your own sins, an ungodly world,-a tempting devil, are plotting your everlasting ruin ! Oh, how anxiously you would seek to secure yourself against the assassin who designed to kill the body! ought you not to be much more careful to avoid these destroyers of the soul ? And do you say, “What must I do to be saved ?" Our reply is, Repent, and forsake thy sins; go to Jesus with the Publican's prayer, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” It would be a serious thing if you should die an unconverted sinner to-morrow! It would be a serious thing if you should be in hell to-morrow!. “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Poor sinner! covered as you are with guilt, flee to the hope set before you in the gospel !
“Trust in the mighty Saviour's name,
THE BEAUTIES OF CREATION.
I praised the earth, in beauty seen,