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the atoning sacrifices, and by faith in the typified Redeemer. When Simon the Pharisee disdained the weeping penitent, who washed the Saviour's feet with her tears, our Lord did not vindicate her character or palliate her guilt; but graciously noticing her repentance, faith, and love, he declared, that, “ her sins though many were forgiven.” This is the uniform method of scripture: but numbers endeavour to encourage trembling sin, ners, by arguing them into a more favourable opinion of themselves, or by pointing out certain good actions or qualities, which may counterbalance their offences. Such are physicians of no value. They administer fatal opiates to the lethargick, when they have been in a measure awakened: and they prolong the distress of the contrite and poor in spirit.
No man is terrified merely by the opinion that his sins are numerous and heinous; but through unbelief, ignorance, or indistinct notions of the divine mercy, and of the blessed gospel of God our Saviour. These are therefore the subjects, on which we should principally insist, if we would bring the distressed in conscience to permanent comfort and stable peace.
“ Faith comes by hearing:” and while we point out “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the “ world,” we do our part to apply " the live coal “ from the altar” to the trembling sinner's lips. For when a man is brought to seek encouragement, not from himself or any of his services, but from the infinite mercies of God, through the
atoning blood of Christ; and to perceive the Saviour's power and willingness “ to save unto the "uttermost all that come to God through him;" he will soon rise superior to his desponding fears, and
possess a good hope through grace,” that his “sins though many are forgiven;” or at least, that his iniquity will at length be purged away.
But whoever may be the messenger of peace to the broken in heart, the Holy Spirit is the Author and Giver of this blessing. “When the Comforter ” is come,” saith the Lord Jesus, "he shall convince 6 the world of sin:” and “He shall glorify me; “ for he shall receive of mine and shew it unto
you'.' When humiliating convictions have prepared the heart to welcome a free salvation, the divine Comforter enables the sinner to see the glory of God, and the harmony of his attributes, in the person and redemption of Christ : thus he finds
peace and joy in believing, and at length “ abounds in hope by the power of the Holy “Ghost !" This consolation is the effect of regenerating grace, and accompanied by a new creation of the soul to holiness. The faith that justifies is living and active: it works by love of God and man; purifies the heart, and overcomes the world; and thus renders the believer fruitful in good works, to the glory of God through Jesus Christ. The live coal from the altar may therefore be considered as an emblem of those spiritual affections, that are kindled in the believer's heart by the Holy Spirit,, which prepare, animate, and even constrain
! John, xvi. 8.-15.
him, to devote his talents to the glory of God, and to employ them according to his commandments. This is the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and of fire, with which Jesus baptizes his true disciples : these sacred influences penetrate and enlighten the mind, warm and elevate the affections, consume the dross of low and carnal passions, and transform the whole soul into the very nature. of that divine Agent by whom they are produced.
IV. Then let us proceed to consider the effects of this encouragement, on the prophet's disposition and conduct.
The vision had struck him dumb, filled hini with consternation, and indisposed him for his prophetical office. But now, hearing the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will
go for us?” he answered without hesitation, "Here I am, send me."--Neither the consciousness of his unworthiness and insufficiency, nor the prospect of difficulties, perils, or self-denial, produced the least reluctancy to the important and ·arduous 'service. His love to the Lord, and zeal for his glory, rendered him willing to go any whither, to any person, or on any message. He was ready to face a persecuting tyrant or an enraged multitude; to travel over mountains and seas, or through inhospitable deserts. He declined not hardship, poverty, or neglect; but was so desirous that the name of God should be hallowed,
his kingdom promoted, and his will done on earth even as in heaven, that he exulted in the thought of being employed as an instrument in such a work. He could not indeed equal the fervent zeal and rapturous worship of the Seraphim : but lie desired to emulate the promptitude and alacrity with which they performed the commands of their Creator. Nay, he made no objections or excuses when he was sent to pronounce the condemnation of the rebellious Jews, and to be an occasion of their judicial blindness, for a warning to all others who “ hate the light because their deeds are evil.”
These effects of genuine encouragement to the broken in heart were by no means peculiar to the prophet. They will not indeed follow from an unscriptural assurance of forgiveness: but they are inseparable from comfort obtained by the exercise of living faith in Christ, under the teaching and influence of the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul, speaking of his abundant labours and sufferings, adds, “Having obtained mercy, we faint not;" and afterwards, “For the love of Christ constrain" eth us: because we thus judge, that if one died “ for all, then were all dead : and that he died for " all, that they who live should not henceforth " live to themselves, but to him who died for “ them, and rose again'.” It was “ his earnest
expectation and hope,—that Christ should be " magnified in his body, whether by life or death*;" other things moved him not, neither counted he " his life dear unto himself, so that he might finish
• 2 Cor. iv. l. v, 14, 15. 2 Phil. i. 20, 21.
“his course with joy, and the ministry which he “ had received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the “ gospel of the grace of God'.” Deep humiliation for sin; firon confidence in the mercy of God, gratitude to the divine Saviour, “who loved “ him, and gave himself for him;” zeal for his glory, and compassion for perishing sinners, combined in rendering him superior to all other hopes and fears, and prepared him for most unwearied exertions and patient sufferings, in making full proof of his sacred ministry.
We allow that the subject applies with peculiar propriety to the case of those who are engaged in the same good work: but all Christians “ are
bought with a price, that they may glorify God “ with their bodies and spirits which are his.” They all love the Lord Jesus Christ on the same grounds, though not in equal measure; they partake of “ like precious faith" with that of the apostles; and “ If any man have not the Spirit of
Christ, he is none of his.” When therefore the deeply humbled sinner has been delivered from gloomy fears of deserved wrath, and enabled to rejoice in Christ and his pardoning love: he will certainly enquire,“ What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits?" Nor will he, when under the lively impressions of admiring love and gratitucie, be disposed to think any sacrifice too costly, any labour too great, or any danger too imminent, to which he inay be called, in his attempts to serve
* Acts, xx, 24.