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chosen him ? for has he not bestowed upon every individual present privileges of which millions know nothing ? Have
you not, for instance, been admitted into the visible Church by baptism ? Have you not from your infancy had the means of grace afforded to you? And have you not, at this moment, the invitation of the Lord, saying, “ If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.”
Surely these are all tokens of divine favour, which may well inspire, in every person desiring salvation, the blessed hope that the Lord has purposes of grace towards them.
They who take but superficial views of the subject, imagine that the salvation of a sinner having its origin in the free grace of God is a discouraging truth ; but they who rightly view the Divine character, see it in a far, far different light; they behold it as a truth “ full of godly consolation.”
Supposing, for instance, any thoughtless or wicked person should have come casually into this Church this morning. If you desired that any good impression should be made on his mind, how would
think that impression most likely to be produced ? -by the natural inclination of his own heart, or by the free bounty and loving kindness of God ? —even of Him who "so loved the world as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life ?” Assuredly you would say, it is more likely that the Lord, of his abundant mercy, should choose him ; than that he, with his natural hardness of heart, should choose the Lord. We
therefore—in answer to the question, Wherefore is it that any choose the good part ? -It is to be traced to the previous choice of the Lord, or the fulfilment of that delightful declaration recorded in the prophet Jeremiah :* “I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee."
There is yet another important question connected with the subject-though others
* Chap. xxxi. 3.
might be mentioned—which is this,—WHAT ARE WE TO UNDERSTAND BY THE EXPRESSION," 6 SHALL NEVER BE TAKEN FROM HER?” It is an expression which we can use of no created good. There is nothing we can grasp in our hands, or twine around our hearts, of which we can thus speak.
can thus speak. Every thing earthly is either taken from us, or we from it! Beauty fades, strength decays, riches flee away, our dearest friends depart and die. “ He is gone to the grave !" is the lamentation over “ the desire of the eyes," and the friend of the heart. But it is otherwise with this good part-once truly ours, it remains ours for ever. Many Scriptures teach this truth. Thus it is written, “ Incline your ear, and come unto me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” “ An everlasting covenant, you
observe—not one that is only for a day; but, like Him who makes it, of eternal duration. How strong the expression of St. Paul, “ who shall separate us from the love of Christ ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword ? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long ; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us ; for I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities,nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” But without referring to these particular texts which declare the perpetuity of this good part, consider Him who speaks the word, —“Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken from her." It is “ the faithful and the true witness”—even him who says, “Heaven and earth shall
words shall not pass away.” And it is He who, whilst his truth binds him to accomplish his word, has power to fulfil it;-yea, more than this, has love to put this power into exercise: and this a love manifested in the most striking manner: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends;" but God commendeth his love to us, that “whilst we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” As sure, then, as truth is his, and power is his, and love is bis ; so sure are you, choosing this good part, of enjoying it for ever. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my
hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand : I and my
In such circumstances, then, how interesting should the inquiry be to each of us, Have I obtained this “one thing needful,”this “good part” which never can be taken from me ? Here is the turning point in our destiny. Of what avail will it be to have been rich, or great, or talented, without this possession ? The most wealthy person, without this one thing needful, will at last be unable to purchase even “adrop of water to cool histongue.” And the wisest of the sons of worldly wisdom, who has not obtained this good part, will, with all his boasted knowledge, only “ rise to shame and everlasting contempt.”