Imágenes de páginas

dation of this single wanderer, who had strayed, an outcast and an alien from the habitations of the unfallen: And that it now turns upon his own choice, whether he will abide among the paths of destruction, or be readmitted to all the honours and felicities of the place from which he had departed. There is nothing surely wanting to complete the warrant of such an individual, for entering into hope and happiness; and yet, ye hearers, it is positively not more complete than the warrant which each and which all of you have at this moment. To you, individually to you, God is holding out this gift for your acceptance—you is He beseeching to come again into friendship with Him. With you is He expostulating the cause of your life and your death; and bidding you choose between the welcome offer of the one, and the sure alternative of the other if the offer is rejected. He is now parleying the matter with every hearer; and just as effectually, as if that hearer were the only creature in the world, to whom the errand of redemption was at all applicable. There is nothing in the multitude of hearers by whom you are surrounded, that should at all deaden the point of its sure and specific application to yourself. The message of the gospel does not suffer, in respect of its appropriateness to you, by the ranging abroad of its calls and its entreaties over the face of the whole congregation. The commission is to preach the gospel to every; and surely that is the same with preaching the gospel to each. It does not become

less pointedly personal in its invitation, by its being made more widely diffusive. The dispersion of the gospel embassy over the face of the whole world, does not abate, by one single iota, either the loudness or the urgency of the knock which it is making at your door. This is a property which no extension of the message can ever dissipate. It cannot be shipped off, either in whole or in part, by the missionary vessel which carries the news and the offers of salvation to other lands. Your minister speaks with no less authority, though thousands and thousands more are preaching at the same moment along with him. Your bible carries no less emphatic intimation to you, though bibles are circulating by millions over the mighty amplitudes of population that are on every side of you. God, through the medium of these conveyances, is holding out as distinct an overture to you, and pledging Himself to as distinct a fulfilment, as if you were the only sinner He had to deal with; and whether He beseeches you to be reconciled, or bids you come unto Christ on the faith that you will not be cast out, or invites you weary and heavy laden to cast your burden upon Him and He will sustain it, or sets forth to you a propitiation and tells you that your reliance upon its efficacy is all that is needed to make it effectual to you-be very sure that all this is addrest as especially to yourself, as if you heard it face to face by the lips of a special messenger from heaven-that God is bringing Himself as near, as if He named you by a voice

from the skies-So that if you, arrested by all this power and closeness of application, shall venture your case on the calls and the promises of the gospel, there is not one call that will not be followed up, nor one promise that will not be fully and perfectly accomplished.

The thing offered in this passage is, that you shall be instated in the righteousness of Christ. Let me crave your attention to the substantial meaning and effect of such an overture. The technicals of theology are so familiar to the ear, that they fail to arouse the understanding; and the thinking principle often lies in complete dormancy, while there is a kind of indolent satisfaction felt by the mind, at the utterance and the cadency of sounds to which it has been long accustomed. The proposal that Christ's righteousness shall become your righteousness in such a way, as that you will be honoured and rewarded and loved and dealt with by God, just, as you would have been, had this righteousness been yielded in your own person and by your own performances-this, ye hearers, is the very jet and essence of the gospel; and could we only prevail on you to entertain the wondrous proposal and to close with it, like a man translated from beggary to some exalted order of merit that had been won for him by another, might you instantly be clothed in the glories of a high and splendid investiture recognised by God Himself, and by all the subject ranks of His administration, as the occupiers of a dignity and a

constitutional standing, to which all the homage due to worth and excellence and lofty prospects may rightfully be paid. You would become kings and priests unto God; and, like many of those sublimities of nature where the noblest efforts often spring from the simplest of causes, is this princely elevation of guilty and degraded man brought about by the simple credence which he renders to the testimony of God respecting His Son-on which it is that he passes from death unto life, and according to his faith so is it done unto him.

This is the way of being translated into a condition of righteousness with God, and there is no other. We are aware of the tendency of nature to try another; and that, in the obstinate spirit of legality, it is her constant forth-putting to establish a righteousness of her own-an object, in the prosecution of which, she is ever sure, either to dissipate her strength in a fatigue that is unavailing, or at length to sink down into the repose of a formality that is altogether lifeless and unfruitful. This positively is not the way. The way is to lay your confident hold on the merit of Christ as your plea of acceptance with God. It is to take your determined stand on the basis of His obedience, all the rewards and all the reckonings of which, are held out to you in the gospel. It is to go at once to the justification that Christ hath wrought out for all who believe in Him; and, entering upon that region which is lighted up by the Sun of righteousness, there to offer yourself to the notice of the Divinity,

not in that tiny lustre which is created by the feeble sparks of your own kindling, but in that full irradiation which is caught from the beams of a luminary so glorious. God, to see you with complacency, must see you not as shining in any native splendour of your own; but as shone upon by the splendour of Him who is full of grace and truth. It is only when surrounded with this element, that a holy God can regard you with complacency; and, to complete the triumphs of the gospel administration, it is only when breathing in this atmosphere, that you inhale the delights of an affectionate and confiding piety-that the soul breaks forth in the full triumph of her own emancipated powers, on the career of devoted and aspiring obedience—that life and happiness shed the very air of heaven around a believer's heart-and make the service of God, before a drudgery, its most congenial employment-Evincing, that, as to be in Christ is to have no condemnation, so to be in Christ is to become a new creature with whom all old things are done away, and all things have become new.

« AnteriorContinuar »