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all things for our good,—that He will nation, as the only, but the effectual, give grace and glory, and that no means of reconciling and redeeming good thing will He withhold.
the lost souls of men. And this work, Now here is indeed a blessing, if it which from all eternity He covenanted can be but realized, of unspeakable to do, He hath completely done, and value. How richly suited to our ne- reconciled a ruined world to God; so cessities! Oh how directly and fully that whosoever will, may now drink such an offer meets the want and mi- of this stream of salvation from death sery of the human heart,- how com- and hell, this splendid privilege of pletely fitted to fill the void ! With- eternal life, and holiness, and happiout expecting any one to be prepared ness, without restraint and without to seek it; without imagining it at all alloy. Christ is “the way, the truth, likely that the moral tendencies of and the life,” to every one who will all men would lead them to look ear- receive Him. nestly after a life of holiness and con- This eternal life is in the Son of formity to the will of God, yet we God, as the sole meritorious cause ask, is there not that in the offer of it. He is the Person for whom which ought to make it unspeakably alone, and in virtue of whose sole acceptable? If we could rise above merits, this blessed redemption and those sensual and unholy inclinations deliverance is vouchsafed. A guilty which fetter us to earth,-if we could world lay before God burdened with throw off the dread bondage of in- unpardoned sin ; none of us could do iquity,-is there not in this eternal anything towards removing either our life, in a perfect conformity to the sin or our sinfulness; we were perishwill of God, and an unclouded enjoy- ing, we were going down to the grave ment of His presence,-is there not and to hell, when this divine and grathat which would do more to make us cious Saviour undertook our cause, happy than all which we elsewhere plunged into the very depths of our know? If we could follow the best ruin, snatched us as brands from the and wisest convictions of our own burning, and opened for every one minds, and seek a destiny really wor- who will now avail himself of these thy of our original powers, does not ample means of grace a joyful dethis present to us a sphere of opera- liverance. Nothing appears here in tion infinitely more satisfactory than the way of merit, or ransom, or aid, the highest pleasures of this present but in the person of the Saviour himworld?
self. He is the victim, the sacrifice, Secondly. But then comes the the propitiation, the surety, the requestion, How far is this blessing ac- deemer, the advocate, the intercessor. cessible to us,-how far is any man He stands alone, the One Mediator warranted to hope that it is attainable between God and guilty man, wearing by him? Where is the point of meet- the nature of the ruined race, and ing, where he may be brought in con- wearing it to make by His death an tact with this extraordinary privilege? effectual atonement. If one soul is And the Scripture answers, This eter- saved, the whole good of that salvanal life is in the Son of God. God tion from the deserved penalty is due the Eternal Father sent His Son into to Christ alone; and so of the many the world by an extraordinary incar- millions in all ages. " There is none other name under heaven given then we are indeed safe and happy. among men, wherebý we must be As a scion of a vine is grafted into saved.” All mercy to the guilty race the tree and bears fruit, so he who flows through that one channel, and really believes is grafted into Christ, in that channel it flows effectually and receives of the root and fatness and freely. It is God as a Sovereign of the tree; and as the living graft is .extending the sceptre of pardon and made part of the tree, and receives of peace to the rebel that awaited an its vital nourishment, and is identified everlasting destruction.
with it, so the man who really believes But, again, this eternal life is in the testimony of God to the salvation Jesus Christ the Son of God, as in a that is in Christ Jesus, is really and treasury or a fountain, out of which truly united spiritually to this blessed we may receive it. We are told that Saviour, and receives the blessed in“it hath pleased the Father that in fluences of His Spirit, which are the Him all fulness should dwell;" and emanation of an eternal existence; he the whole character of the christian is made a partaker of the divine nadispensation is the putting of honour ture. The believing in Christ, which upon the Son of God, by the grace of is itself a mercy bestowed on the once this redemption, that He may be glo dark and dead soul, is the preoise rified thereby. The purpose of God point of reconciliation ; and when is to "gather together in one all things that point is gained, then the spiritual in Christ, both which are in heaven blessing flows to the soul continually, and which are in earth," and to glo- like a ray of light from the sun, and rify the eternal Son of God by mak- gradually enlightens it, and prepares ing Him the centre, and the source, it for eternal glory. It is the breath and the channel, and the eternal ful of the living God coming upon the ness, of all spiritual blessings. And soul, and giving it a new life, the life to Him therefore only we are to come of God, that it may live holy and for salvation. There is no other means happy with God for ever. of access to the Father. The atten- Thirdly. Let us notice the way in tion, the affections, the devotions, of which this blessing of eternal life is men, are to be directed to the incar- presented to us. It is a gift,-a free, nate Son of God, as the only point unmerited gift. God has given to us on which our minds are to rest with eternal life. We have seen that there the hope of peace and safety. Turn is no merit whatever in man; that his where we will, all else is to be unsa- circumstances were those of sin, hutisfactory, dark, and desolate, The miliation, and curse; that there is not whole range of creation is appointed in him one point of character or corto refuse us that fulness and repose duct on which he could safely venture which we need; but we are to look to build a particle of hope for eteron Jesus Christ as “the way, the truth, nity, and for acceptance at the bar of and the life," and to believe that “no God. We have no means of propitiman cometh unto the Father but by ating an offended God. We had no Him ;" but that if we are really power to bring down a Saviour from brought by the teaching of the Scrip- heaven; no means of over-ruling our ture and of the Holy Spirit to a right own prejudices, or our unbelief; no kpowledge of the doctrine of Christ, means of controlling that dislike
'which we all have naturally to spi- and the truth of the inspired revelaritual and eternal things; no means tion, and then, great as is the offer, of making obedience to the law prae- and unseen and untried as the blessticable or pleasing. And in these ing yet is to us who still live upon the circumstances God appeared for us, earth, we must receive it with simsent forth His Son as a willing Savi- plicity, and with joy and gratitude. our, gave us in the erucified Jesus We grant it is an extraordinary gift, this His inestimable gift, and calls bestowed through an extraordinary upon us to believe that in Him we channel. Eternal life in the glorious have eternal life; that by His blessed mansion of the blessed God, given to work of obedience and suffering all us as guilty rebels, through the conthe evils of our state are done away; descension and suffering of the Son and the heaven of heavens,—the life of God in the flesh, is an unspeakable of everlasting holiness and glory,– gift. If, as wanderers on the face of opened to us, as the pure, undeserved the earth, and about hortly to leave gift of our Heavenly Father's love. it by the agonies of death, we can
This is certainly a most wonderful once believe this, we may well look truth, but so are all the truths around at it with wonder. No language can us, if we would consider them rightly. adequately express the richness of The whole system of created things is that mercy which provides and offers most extraordinary; almost every such a blessing, and enables each one point of creation baffles our keenest who receives it to say, “He hath intellectual acumen. We cannot fa- saved me, and called me with an holy thom the creation of a blade of grass. calling, not according to my own It is vain, then, to object to the free- works, but according to His own purdom of divine grace, because it is ex- pose and grace, which was given us traordinary; we might as well object in Christ Jesus before the world beto the many mercies which daily gan; but is now made manifest by crowd upon our path, and refuse to the appearing of our Saviour Jesus partake of the universal comforts of Christ, who hath abolished death, and life, because we cannot see why they hath brought life and immortality to should be given to us, and because light through the Gospel.” He hath the hand that bestows is far above shewn me that my sin is blotted out; out of our sight. Certainly the gift of that, lost and degraded as was my eternal life to sinners, through the soul, and wretched as was my prosSon of God, is the most sublime and pect for eternity, He has cancelled splendid of all God's gifts; but we the debt, He has blotted it out for grant this,—we admit this, without ever, He has torn the accusing page qualification, -only we say that is no out of His book, He has nailed the reason for denying and refusing it. handwriting of accusation to His Surrounded as we are by mercies, it cross, and I am pardoned, redeemed, is no reason to resist any one mercy, numbered among His chosen and because it seems greater than all sanctified children, and a heaven of others;
it is the greatness of it in happiness and glory awaits me at the our great necessity which makes it hour of death. suitable. No, we have only to satisfy Now this is the main statement of ourselves of the reality of our need, the revealed word of God. It is a declaration of peace and mercy to the
we conscious that we have offended guilty, and of sanctification to the the God who made us, and that we polluted, and of eternal life to the are strangers to Him? Do we look dying. It is an entire and effectual forward to death with natural horror, remedy for all the evil of our present on account of sin? and do we dread state; it meets us in our sin, our igno- to meet Him whom we believe that rance, our suffering,--and our expec- we must meet as our Judge? And tation of death, and judgment, and then, do these Scriptures come before eternal misery,-with the hope of de- us satisfactorily, as a revelation deliverance, founded upon the testimony claring to us the testimony of God? of God, that He has given to us eter- and if we regard those Scriptures as nal life, and that that life is in His speaking from heaven, do we admit Son; and that it is so in Him, that their witness, in all its fulness, to the whosoever believeth on the Son hath truth that Jesus Christ is “the Lamb life. We shall have occasion hereafter of God that taketh away the sin of the to take some other important views of world,” and that “whosoever believthe intention of this statement. eth on Him hath everlasting life, and
Now a grand and important ques- shall not come into condemnation?" tion occurs here, How far are we war
And do we now receive that testiranted to lay hold upon this hope and mony? Do we look to the cross of find peace in it? We take it for granted, Christ as the ransom paid for the as determined by painful experience, souls of men,—for our souls, individuthat here we have no peace. The ally? Are we ready to take God peace of thoughtlessness, infidelity, upon the strength of His own testiand reckless daring, is no peace at all. mony, and believe “the record that It is only the solemn pause before the He hath given of His Son," and beblowing up of a mine that spreads lieve to the saving of the soul? Cerruin all around. But the question is, tainly any one who will receive it, is How far are we individually author- warranted to receive it. The offer is ized to derive peace from this state- made to all, without qualification and ment of God's mercy? And here
conditions. No previous fitness or evidently the question is not how far meetness is required. The statement have we wandered from the path of is simple : you are lost, and God has rectitude, and what is the degree of made faith in the death of His Son impediment, for all have wandered so your remedy. “Believe the record.” far as to render certain their eternal “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. undoing; it is not a question of more and thou shalt be saved." or less of original iniquity, nor of We are fully aware that the power more or less sorrow on account of sin; of the Spirit of God must go with the but it is a question as to the reality preached word, to enable men to beof faith in the testimony of God to the lieve. But we believe that it does so gift of eternal life. Do we now be- accompany the word ; that the object lieve? Are we willing to believe? of the Scriptures and of the preaching Does our own lost case come before of the Gospel is to offer this salvation us as it ought, with deepening expe- to men, and that the agency of the rience of its evils, and with deepening Spirit of God carrying conviction to humiliation on their account? Are the heart enables them to receive it.
It is a
They feel, as they never did before, and know nothing whatever of the their guilt and corruption; they see, Gospel; but there are those who apas they never did before, the riches of pear to have a certain degree of hope Divine mercy; and they turn to God in the Gospel, but have little confiwith all their heart, as finding in dence and little real enjoyment, little Christ a relief, a hope, a peace, to sense of reliance upon the word of which before they were entirely God, and the richness and freeness of strangers.
His pardoning mercy.
These are Have we, then, so received the persons who are not faithful and statement of the revealed record ? Do honest to themselves; for if they rewe believe that we are saved,--that ceive the record, and believe the work we are ransomed, washed, justified, of Christ, and the freeness of His sanctified? Have we this conscious- grace, as given independent of any ness,—this assurance? Have we this merit in man, why is it that they con“hope as an anchor within the vail ?” tinue irresolute, doubting and disHave we the witness in ourselves ? tressed ? Purely because much is yet Does the Holy Spirit bear witness wanting on their own part. Nothing with our spirits that we are the sons is wanting in the gift of God. of God? Has the character of our pros- want of real, hearty faith, and unpects for eternity changed, through compromising acceptance of, and seour belief of the salvation of the Gos- parating unto the Gospel of God. It pel, so that we can commit ourselves is that the mind is darkened by with confidence to sleep at night, or worldly compliances and indulgences. to the various risks of the day, know- If there was simplicity of faith, there ing that however suddenly death may would be simplicity of joy. come, eternal life is our portion be- had really renounced this world, we yond the grave ? If we have not should see our interest brightly in the good hope of this,-a calm, and peace- other. If we had looked away from ful, and happy conviction and expec- things temporal, we should be enabled tation of this,
; -we do not say that we to rejoice in the prospect of things are not Christians, for in many cases eternal. that would be going beyond what we Let us then consider this as our are warranted, but that we are not all own case seriously, and rest assured that we ought to be as Christians; for of the issue, that whenever we give if we were, we would“rejoice in hope ourselves in faith unreservedly to the of the glory of God," and "rejoice salvation of the Gospel, our interest with joy unspeakable and full of in it will be clear, and our peace glory.” Many are not Christians at and joy full. all,—are totally destitute of belief,—
Φωνη τεθνηκότος. .