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be, like John the Baptist, pointing abruptly to his passing Lord, that cannot be a faulty digression which directs their hearers to behold the Lamb of God.
The fact that Jesus Christ was peculiarly his own subject, teaches us that he ought also to be ours; and that aspect of his character which he most delighted to exhibit, must be the feature to which we should give especial prominence; and what was that but tender compassion for the souls of men ? Approach, then, and look upon him; nature in which you behold him clothed is truly your own; he has assumed it that he may dissipate all your fears; that he might taste death for you;
absorb and carry away all your sorrows; that he may claim kindred with you; that he
that he may discharge for you all the kind and beneficent offices of brotherhood ; that he might make it impossible for you to doubt his love. Approach, and behold his hands and his feet; those are the wounds which he received when he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, when the chastisement of our peace was upon him, that by his stripes we might be healed. Urge nothing in excise for not coming to himn ; lose not the time necessary to utter it; for whatever your guilt or weakness, your wants or unworthiness may be, his
grace over rules and provides for the whole. He knows the value of a religious principle too well, as well as the dangers to which it is exposed, to despise it on account of its weak. ness; he does not wait for a time, to see whether the spark of piety will increase or vanish ; but he watches it, and solicits and feeds it, until it rises into a pure and steady flame of devotion towards God. He does not disregard the piety of the poor and destitute, because they are unable to advocate his cause, or to contribute to its support more than two mites, or to adorn it with earthly splendor; the arms of his love embrace alike the obscure and the more useful; and if you are only conscious of a desire to love him, a concern to please him, you share a place in his heart in common with the angels around his throne. When the back-slider relapses into a state from which he had been rescued, and seems even to prosecute his sinful course with renewed avidity, he does not as man commonly does, regard him as lost. He goes after him into the wilderness; sends afflictions in pursuit of him; and waits to see the effect which trial and reflection produce. And if, like the prodigal, the sinner should come to himself and say, • I will arise and return,' and actually begins to retrace his steps, the Saviour delays not in order to see how far he will return-he sees him yet a great way off, and runs to meet him-he is delighted at the first indications of penitence, anticipates his intention, assists him in returning, and re
, joices over him as one who was dead and is alive again. We ourselves can trace the mightiest occurrences back to sources the most insigificant; and, with intuitive ease, the Saviour beholds, in the first emotion of the penitent, the first symptom of an endless life, the first step in a career of glory, honor, and immortality. He does not, therefore, despise the day of small things. And how many thousands of the blessed, who are now surrounding his throne above, are constrained, on looking back to the weakness of their early religious impressions, and the hesitation with which at first they advanced in the path of life, to bless him that he did not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. O that you knew the unutterable interest which he takes in every serious emotion of your soul, you would love him more, and resort to him oftener, and repose in him all the confidence which he asks.
Finally : let those of my readers who have been hitherto regardless of the ineffable compassion of the Son of God, remember the melting tones of remonstrance with which when looking round upon such as you, he said, in all the grief of defeated mercy, “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.' You can go to others, and inquire the way to happiness : you can believe what they say; you do follow their advice; but to him who has laid out himself for your welfare, who alone could make the vast provision necessary for your immortal happiness, and who has made it at the expense of an infinite sacrifice, to him you
will not come. He has to complain of you, that while you have been always ready to yield to the solicitations of the world, to follow the first beck of tempation to accept of any invitation in the shape of worldly pleasure, yet his call you will not obey. He has to complain of you, that you put him off with mere professions, and make him to serve with the mere semblance of friendship; that though you have for years frequented his house, and heard his invitations, and been pressed to accept them, you still remain on terms as cold and distant with him as ever; that you never come to his footstool as suppliants, nor to his table as friends, nor walk in his ways as devoted disciples. But he will not let you go : though he feels your obstinate refusal to come to bion ; feels it as an insult to his
grace; feels it as a deep disappointment, à grievous frustration of an object on which his heart was set, yet once more he comes to you; and, 0, mark and admire the gentleness of the terms in which he expostulates—it is the melting rebuke of mercy chiding you into its embrace
- Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.' There is a sense, perhaps, in which, owing to your prolonged and stony indifference to his claims, you may be said to have closed your hearts against him; but he seeks to surmount even this obstacle; 'Behold,' saith he, “I stand at the door and knock.' He knows what unholy guests are within, what sins are entertained and regaled in the chambers of your hearts, while he is kept standing without and refused admission. But still, by the instrumentality of his gospel, if by nothing else, he continues to knock and to urge you to come to him; or he tenderly upbraids you that you
will not. Bit why does the blessed Jesus thus expostulate ? • It is not,' saith he, that I receive honor of men; it is not that I seek to be gratified with the barren applauses of men, or that I hope for human requital: but these things I say unto you, that ye might be saved.' Yes, Saviour of sinners, this is thine only object, that they might be saved : the object of all thou hast said to them, and of all thou hast done for them; the object which is always present to thy mind. For this thou hast surrounded thyself with convincing proofs of thine appointment and power to save ; and, O, surpassing grace, thou even consentest to wait for their decision till they have examined the evidence of thy claims in detail. For this thou hast with held nothing, not even thy blood, thy life; thou hast done so much for them that iofinite love can do no more.
Behold, then; behold, in the boundless love of Christ, a sufficient inducement to repair to him at once. He may be regarded, at this moment, as standing before you, with the hoarded love of eternity in his heart, offering to make you heirs of all its wealth : nor is it in your power to grieve him more, than by disregarding the gracious overture. He fears nothing but your neglect; deprecates nothing but your inattention; The first look you direct towards him, would not escape his notice; the first step you take towards him, would bring bim more than a step towards you. All things are ready for your reception; he will meet your weakness with his almighty, strength, your emptiness and poverty with his inexhaustible fulness.
THE PRACTICALNESS OF OUR LORD'S TEACHING.
'Blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it.'
I. CONSIDERED as a teacher of holiness, our Lord Jesus Christ exemplified his wisdom, not only in the light which he imparted, but also in what he withheld.
'1. Pretenders to a divine revelation have seldom omitted to infuse into their systems of error a large proportion of the marvelous. Calculating on the credulity, and ravenous curiosity of the multitude, they have been graphic and unsparing in their disclosures of the invisible and future. Besides pandering to the prevailing passions of mankind, they have aimed to establish their dominion by stimulating and engrossing the imagination with wonders; and having raised the veil of mystery to its utmost height, they proceed to measure the infinite, to paint the inconceivable, and to materialize and subject the spiritual to the senses.
But he who came forth from the bosom of the Father, and who could therefore have dazzled and astounded the world with celestial visions, practised a wise and gracious
He came, not to astonish, but to instruct and to save; and to instruct solely with a view to save; and knowing that to feed curiosity is only to increase its appetite, that to impart a particle of knowledge more than is essential to our advance in the path of holiness, would operate as a diversion from that path rather than an incitement in it, he limited his communications to the exact measure of practical utility. He kept his hand,