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have been as a man astonished, as a mighty man sorrow, of our firm apprehension of the mercy of that cannot save; and yet thou, O Lord, art still in God in Christ, and of our rightly founded resoluthe midst of us, and we are called by thy name.' tions of new obedience. There we are the priests to O leave us not to the consequences of our iniquities, offer those sacrifices of broken hearts and contrite thou forbearing, long-suffering God of our salva- spirits with which God is well pleased. There tion. How unremittingly, anxiously, and prayer- we lay the spiritual wants of our households befully should we ponder these truths, which we fore the hearer of prayer, and transmit their confeel cannot be disproved or denied. We have fessions, their thanksgivings, their wishes, and left the path of duty; ‘we have loved to wander their vows to heaven. The believing Christian in ways that are not good; we have not refrained parent, engaged in the act of adoration and supour feet, and justly may we fear that the Lord plication before his God and Saviour, and the will not accept us, that now he will remember our partner of his life, and children of their love joininiquity and visit our sins. Our only refuge is ing with him in this delightful exercise, form a in Christ, whom the · Father bruised and put to scene on which angels look down complacent, and grief, that when he made his soul an offering for and to whose prayers the Father of Jesus and sin, he might see his seed, and prolong his days, their own reconciled Father bends a listening ear, and that the pleasure of the Lord might prosper and smiles. He commissions his ministering in his hand.' Whether then but to him can we go spirits who minister for them that are heirs of with any hopes of deliverance from our aggravat- salvation,' to guard them through the wilderness, ed guilt? He only is the way, as well as the and to conduct them at the end of their journey truth and the life.' Let us enter into our cham- to the land of rest, where they shall strike the bers, and shut our doors about us. Let us hide harps of seraphs, and their song through eternity ourselves, and confess our sins under a deep im- be Alleluiah. Unto Him that loved us, and pression of their multitude and malignity, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and wrestle for pardon till we are assured by the Lord, hath made us kings and priests unto God and his who meets us there, that the indignation is over- Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever past. Let the domestic circle also be the witnesses and ever. Amen.' of our convictions of unworthiness, of our godly
from the effects of his omnipotence, displayed
around them, and within them, they glorified · Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they him not as God, neither were thankful. Hence
which commit such things are worthy of death, the dreadful statement of their sins which immenot only do the same, but have pleasure in them
diately follows, and grows blacker in its progress, that do them,' Rom. i. 32.
till it concludes with the most terrible picture These words form the closing charge in the cata- that can be drawn of depravity consummatedlogue of infamy here presented by the great compelled to stop because it can go no fartherapostle, to our attentive consideration. The that of men knowing the judgment of God, that several items composing the amount of guilt de- they who commit such things are worthy of scribed in this passage, were supplied by sinners death, not only do the same, but have pleasure of the Gentiles, who even in their heathen state in them that do them.' were without excuse, because the invisible things We must not for one moment suppose that we of God from the creation of the world, are clearly have no personal concern in the awful truth here seen, being understood by the things which placed in such a vivid light before us. We must are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.' not for an instant Aatter ourselves that it is imThe Lord's ways' then, “ were equal,' even when possible it can be realized in our individual experihe had communicated to them no special, direct ence. If the heathen could be, and were guilty revelation of his will. But their ways were of the sin here denounced, with their comparanot equal,' inasmuch as when they knew God's tively imperfect acquaintance with what God is.
and required of them, what shall we answer now- our actual disobedience, the blood of the Lamb and, 0 how shall we appear before him on the of God shed on Calvary, and sprinkled on the judgment day when we reflect that our sins are heart and conscience by the Spirit of holiness, committed in the full knowledge that we are cleanseth from all sin.' Let us lay hold as with transgressing his laws explicitly delivered, and a miser's grasp on this blessed truth, and not let powerfully sanctioned? We dare not plead it go till we feel in ourselves that it is indeed ignorance of the consequences, as an apology for glad tidings of great joy. Let us ever rememour perseverance in our keenly-contested race ber that it is the peculiar work of the Holy for perdition. We know well that conscience is Ghost to apply to the objects of the Father's against us. We have often felt its accusations everlasting love, “the redemption purchased by wringing our souls with agony, and rendering Christ.' He must convince the transgressor of what was designed by our Maker as the scene of sin, before he can perceive its enormity. He our Christian warfare and Christian triumphs, must exhibit it in all its loathesomeness to the the birth-place of our coming, certain, and ever- revived moral sense of the spiritual sleeper, before lasting punishment. We know equally well that he can feel its extreme bitterness. He must the revealed laws of the Most High, are in direct | humble the lofty looks and bow down the' opposition to our ungodly practices, that as pro- natural haughtiness of man before the Lord fessing Christians we pretend to be governed by alone can be exalted,' and he must display in all these laws, and that if we fail in our obedience, its attractions to the lately. carnal mind,' the fulwe must pay the penalty expressly threatened by ness and freeness of the covenant of reconciliation, the great Lawgiver against the wilful, infatuated, before the ransomed captive can have his chains presumptuous, and incorrigible offender. We are burst asunder, and rejoice and be - exceeding glad, sinning against mercies, and judgments, and and stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ warnings, and expostulations, and entreaties; hath made him free. It is now that repentance crucifying to ourselves afresh the Son of God' hath its perfect work. It is now that Jesus is by our transgressions, and putting him to an contemplated in the character of an all-sufficient open shame' by obstinately refusing to turn from Saviour. It is now that his offer of salvation is them. We are doing despite to the Spirit of seized on, and pressed to the believer's heart, as grace, by constraining him to strive' no longer the pearl of great price,' and it is now that the with
us, and counting the blood of the covenant forgiven soul is persuaded that neither death, an unholy thing' by delighting or taking pleasure nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, in the society,conversation, and friendship of those nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, who, like Ephraim of old, are joined to their nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to idols,' and to whom the Lord may be saying, in separate him from the love of God which is in token of his being about to leave them for ever, Christ Jesus his Lord.' · Let them alone.'
Is it possible that sinners of this description can be pardoned ? that they can be restored to soundness of mind, made to receive cordially the
First Day.-EVENING. offers of the gospel, and to rejoice in that faith
And that servant, which knew his lord's will, which they once speculatively rejected and practically destroyed ? Behold, the Lord's hand is
and prepared not himself, neither did accordnot shortened that he cannot save, neither his ear
ing to his will, shall be beaten with many heavy that it cannot hear, and though our ini
stripes. But he that knew not, and did com
mit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten quities have separated between us and our God, and our sins have hid his face from us, that he
with few stripes. For unto whomsoerer much
is given, of him shall be much required, Luke will not hear, till we are brought low and see
xii. 47, 48. our wretched state, and declare that there is salvation in no other,' He has still the same The perfect justice of the principle here laid almighty power, and the same divinely benevo- down by Him who spoke as never man spake, lent anxiety to deliver. • The blood of Jesus because · in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Christ cleanseth from all sin.' It matters not Godhead bodily,' is beyond all challenge and conwhat may be the number of our transgressions, troversy. • That servant who knows his lord's and their aggravations, the heinousness of our will, and prepares not himself,' for the duties original apostacy, and, as flowing from this corrupt required of him, in consequence of this knowspring, the frightful and condemning amount of ledge, neither doeth according to bis lord's will, though he is completely acquainted with it, and | We have been invited by our bibles, by Christ's enabled by him who has revealed it to act in ambassadors, by Christ's Spirit, and by Christ's terms of his requisition, shall be beaten with friends, among our brethren, to ·
come to the many stripes, '—shall be severely punished here, waters,' and yet we have shut our ears to the and if his lord's mercy prevent not, eternally affectionate call, and will not drink of the saluhereafter. • But he that knows not his lord's brious, refreshing, and invigorating streams. The will,' because he has not been pleased, in right of Lord has spoken, and still speaks to every feel. his sovereignty, to make it known to him, by a ing by which human beings can be affected; he particular communication from heaven, and com- addresses every motive by which creatures desirinits, through ignorance, things worthy of stripes,' ous of happiness can be influenced; he threatens, • shall be beaten with few stripes,'—is still held and entreats and expostulates with us, in all the guilty to a certain extent, and must not expect warnth of divine solicitude, for our eternal wel“ to escape unpunished. Now there cannot be fare, and still we “refuse him that speaketh to us the smallest shadow of a doubt, to which of these from heaven. We still continue to reject in two classes of servants' we belong. And it reality, whatever our professions may be, the oft most nearly concerns us to inquire what are our repeated and earnestly pressed offers of mercy, and privileges, and how we have improved them. remain insensible of the extent, as well as fervour We cannot, with any appearance of honesty, or of that love which passeth all understanding. Do even of decency, assert that we have not oppor- we not then deserve many stripes? And how tunities of knowing our Master's will. In this dreadful the thought that they may, and if we land, enlightened by the beams of the Sun of consider not our ways, that they will be inflicted, righteousness, the scriptures are, or may be in without diminution, without interruption, and the hands of all its inhabitants; the means of without end! Let us apply this admitted truth to education are abundantly supplied to every one our own state, and then our attention will be withwho chooses to use them, and religious ordin-drawn from curious and unprofitable speculations, ances are regularly administered, and may be respecting the purposes of God towards the attended by each individual, whatever be his heathen,—whether he will save or condemn them, station or cirer mstances, who has been taught by according to their use of the light which they enjoy, the word of God to value them. With such and fixed upon ourselves. “The Lord hath dealt advantages, if we attempt to plead ignorance most bountifully with us, and crowned us with of the things which pertain to our peace, we loving-kindness, and tender mercies, and if there must stand condemned as guilty, by our own be no return of gratitude, love, and obedience on confession, of the most glaring, degrading, and our part, corresponding, in some measure, to the sinful negligence. We are placed, as it were, benefits which we have received, and are daily, beside the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,' nay, with every breath we draw, receiving, .it the precious fruit is within our reach, and if we will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the will not take, and eat and live, we must not day of judginent, than for us.' · The men of endeavour to transfer what is entirely our own Nineveh, and the queen of the South, shall rise fault, to any want of goodness in the arrange- up and condemn this generation, for they repented ments of God's providence, or to some imagined at the preaching of Jonas; and she came to hear defects in the humane institutions of our country. wisdom from Solomon, and behold a greater than It cannot be denied that we are in possession of Jonas and Solomon is here.'
These explicit inestimable privileges, and neither can it be declarations of him, through whom we are made denied, that many of us have grossly misim- partakers of every blessing, and to whom we proved, and still more of us have altogether must account for every blessing with which oui neglected them.
cup runneth over,' are of vast importance, and Christ has been, and is statedly proclaimed to the state of our spiritual health may be ascerus as the wisdom of God, and the power of God tained, from the impression which they produce unto salvation, to every one that believeth,' and on our minds. If they are attended to, with an yet we have either kept at a distance from the interest in any degree proportionate to their place where the message is delivered, or if we intrinsic value, and their bearing on our true haphave entered the house of prayer,' we have piness, they will lead us to strive’ more prayerheard as if we heard it not, the wonderful history fully and vigorously, to enter in at the strait of a Saviour's meritorious sufferings, atoning gate,' impelled not only by the consideration, that death, triumphant resurrection, and glorious ascen- many are called, and few chosen,' but encoursion to the right hand of the throne of God. aged by the gracious assurance, that Jesus,
because he continueth ever, and hath an unchang- | mercy, is a God unjust.' For on the unsupable priesthood, is able also to save them to the ported, wild, and dangerous supposition, that “a uttermost, that come unto God by him, seeing he God all mercy' did exist, the Lord Jehovah ever liveth to make intercession for him.' would be divested of part of his attributes, and
of course, cease to be perfect; the distinction between right and wrong, in human conduct,
would be abolished, and piety and virtue end in SECOND DAY.-MORNING.
nothing but “vanity and vexation of spirit;' · Let no man deceive you with rain words: for, native deformity, and in its ruinous consequences,
the heinousness of sin, would not appear in its because of these things cometh the urath of God upon the children of disobedience,' Eph. v. 6.
and the crown of glory be thus torn from the
sacred head of “Jesus, the author and finisher The 'things' which the apostle is so very solicitous of our faith. Admitting these to be the statethat the converts at Ephesus should avoid, are ments of scripture, let us be careful to know the the particular violations of the divine law which truth, and begin and accomplish a diligent he had just enumerated, and pronounced deserv- search' of our own hearts, and by the guidance ing of exclusion from the light of the Redeemer's of the Spirit we shall find out exactly how countenance, and from the society of the spirits matters stand between God and us, and be of just men made perfect' for ever. Influenced induced to "flee' immediately, ‘from the wrath by that spirit of self-dependence, the most difficult to come.' In all his dispensations, the Lord is to be subdued of any of the dispositions which 'war manifested as supremely benevolent and merciagainst the soul,' we are strongly inclined, instead ful, but at the same time, consistent, holy, and of trusting in God, to lean to our own under- just. His goodness prompted him to save us, standing.' We endeavour to represent him, whom but he could not forgive the guilt which had we cannot by searching find out unto perfection,' excluded us from his favour, without asserting the as so good and benevolent, that he will not be holiness of his nature, and vindicating the rectistrict in marking our iniquities, or severe in pun- tude of his administration. We could not give a ishing them; that he has created us weak and sufficient ransom, or any ransom at all, for our fallible, and placed us in a world full of tempta- souls. He looked to his angels, who excel in tion, and therefore, that the trivial failings by strength, and who do his commandments, hearkwhich we regret to say our conduct is now and ening to the voice of his word,' but none of them, then distinguished, will be overlooked by a being nay, not all of them, were able to redeem the who remembers our frame, and who knows that fallen race of men from the curse of the law to step aside is human. The causes in addition which they had transgressed. The hand-writto those already mentioned, of such an unscrip- ing' remained uneffaced, and ineffaceable, by tural, irrational an opinion as this, are either an creatures, whatever might be their rank or their excessive sentimentalism in the persons who en-power. • The book was still • shut, sealed with tertain it, whose delicate sensibilities are shocked seven seals,' and no created intelligence could by the very enunciation of the terms malignity, open it, neither look thereon. There was one satisfaction, substitution, and retribution, or the plan only, which could be successfully adopted, influence of what are called—how justly we for executing the astonishing scheme of man's leave others to determine-philosophical prin- recovery from the penal consequences of his ciples, or what we believe is most frequently the rebellion, and of his restoration to his forfeited reason, a wish in men to make the Almighty privileges and expectation. A being equal in just such a being as suits their own interest, dignity to the Lord, who had been so grievously because they are conscious that if justice and offended, must become the substitute of the judgment are the habitation of his throne,' they offenders. A sacrifice of infinite value must be must exist the suffering victims of sinning offered up, as an atonement for sin committed against him for ever. This selfish theory, which against a God of infinite purity. The lion of lies at the foundation of the efficacy of sincere, the tribe of Judah’ must interpose, and take though imperfect obedience, as a ground of unto him his great power,' and subdue Satan, safety, is not more at variance with the word of and redeem his captives, and reign as mediator, God, our only infallible standard of faith and till all his enemies shall be made his footstool. duty, than that which is founded on vague notions It was thus, and thus only, that mercy and truth of the divine goodness. It has been strongly could meet together, righteousness and peace but truly said, by the poet, that a God all I kiss each other. •Truth, in the person of the
Saviour, must spring out of the earth, as a root pure, enlightening the eyes; that the fear of the out of a dry ground, and then, but not till then, Lord is clean, enduring for ever; that the judgcould righteousness, well pleased, look down fromments of the Lord are true, and righteous altoheaven. • The scripture hath concluded all gether.' Every precept contained in the law then under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus has his authority and sanction, and He, yes, even Christ, might be given to them that believe.' He who is, who was, and who is to come, cann Our hope of salvation depends altogether on the suffer “one jot or tittle’ to be taken from it or “to glorious fact, that the sacrifice required, and pass away, without breaking in on the perfectness without which there could, and can be, no remis- of the Godhead, and giving up a part of that masion, was both offered up and accepted. Bless jesty that supports his throne. • Be ye holy for the Lord, O my soul.'
I am holy. We have here God's explicit command, which we must observe to do,' being strictly prohibited to add thereto, or to dim
inish from it. The law is enjoined on every Second Day.-Evening.
rational being wherever existing, in whatever cirFor whosoever shall keep the whole lar, and yet cumstances placed, or by whatever privileges dis
offend in one point, he is guilty of all, James tinguished. It respects not a mere external conii. 10.
formity to the will of God, but especially the
possession of religious principles in the heart. It One of the most common opinions entertained by engages by the strongest obligations, the whole soul the unregenerate is, that there is nothing very to the service of God, the complete surrender of all serious or at all condemnatory in many things its powers, volitions, and desires to his disposal, which are reckoned sinful by the righteous over the utter abandonment of every pursuit that would much. And therefore the truth here stated so interfere with his interests, and the utmost exerexpressly by the apostle, is remarkably difficult tion of every energy of which He, by his mighty for the natural mind to receive, nay, it will give working and upholding grace, has made it it no reception at all. That such is the fact, capable for the advancement of his glory. If any we have the testimony of every past age, and if one part of the law then be broken, the great Legiswe would speak out, and dissemble not, the evi- lator is dishonoured by the very act ; and as each dence of our own experience. It has its rise in individual statute is inseparably connected with the same troubled fountain whence flow the what goes before and follows it, the whole law various streams of spiritual error and moral de- is unquestionably dishonoured also. Take any generacy. It proceeds from the inherent unapt- member, or any joint of a member from the ness of fallen man, to the study of the divine human body, and it instantly ceases to be a comcharacter, and his innate disinclination to admit plete body. The law is a fence to hedge in our the universality of the divine law. It subjects path, and if a breach, however small, be made in the mightiest as well as the meanest to its per- any portion of it, there is an opening by which verting influences, who assuming that an all-per- we may go out, and wander where we please. fect God bears a striking resemblance to them. We are no longer under restraint; the fence is selves, attempt to make him see with their eyes, no more a fence, and it is to us the same thing as and would fain believe that his purity is to be if it were removed altogether. Who then is measured by the standard of their holiness. Such justified by the deeds of the law? None; no, gainsayers may hear, or they may forbear; “but not one. • We know that whatsoever things let God be true, and every man a liar. Let us the law saith, it saith to them that are under the consider the author of the law' as he is revealed law,' who are subject to its authority—and this, to us in his own word, and the law' itself as we have seen, is the real state of us all; that, contained in the lively oracles.' We there every mouth may be stopped,' which would learn that the Lord is a perfect Being, possessing venture to plead exemption from any of its enactevery attribute essential to one whose kingdom ments, and all the world,' from the force of conruleth over all,' that he is · Holy, holy, holy' in viction, may not only become,' but confess themhis nature, in his works, and in his ways, and selves guilty before God.' If this .account of therefore, that the law of the Lord is also per- man's condition in consequence of sin has not been fect, converting the soul, that the testimony of received by us as the declaration of scripture, it the Lord is sure, making wise the simple ; that is no wonder that we are still strangers to the the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the truth, that the holiness of God is such that he heart; that the commandment of the Lord is cannot look on iniquity in any of its forms, but