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guilt and alienation amongst you-take | which you were suspended. It is not the overture of peace that is now brought enough, that the word of God, compared to your door, and you will add to that to a hammer, be weighty and powerful. kingdom which He came to establish, and The material on which it works must be take away from that kingdom which He capable of an impression. It is not came to destroy. The freeness of this enough, that there be a free and forcible gospel has the honour of Him who liveth application. There must be a willing suband was dead for its guarantee. The se- ject. You are unwilling now, and therecurity of the sinner and the glory of the fore it is that conversion does not follow. Saviour are at one. And, with the spirit To-morrow, the probability is, that you of a monarch who had to fight his way to will be still more unwilling-and therethe dominion which was rightfully his fore, though the application be the same, own, will He hail the returning allegiance the conversion is still at a greater distance of every rebel, as a new accession to His away from you. And thus, while the aptriumphs, as another trophy to the might plication continues the same, the subject and the glory of His great undertaking. hardens, and a good result is ever becomBut, amid all this latitude of call and ing more and more unlikely-and thus of invitation, let me press upon you that may it go on till you arrive, upon the bed alternative character of the gospel, to of your last sickness, at the confines of which we have often adverted. We have eternity-and what, we would ask, is the tried to make known to you, how its en- kind of willingness that comes upon you couragements rise the one above the other then? Willing to escape the pain of hell to him who moves towards it. But it has this you are now, but yet not willing to its corresponding terrors and severities, be a Christian. Willing that the fire and which also rise the one above the other your bodily sensations be kept at a disto him who moves away from it. If the tance from each other-this you are now, transgressor will not be recalled by the for who of you at present would thrust his invitation which we have now made hand among the flames? Willing that known to him, he will be rivetted thereby the frame of your animal sensibilities into deeper and more hopeless condemna- shall meet with nothing to wound or to tion. If the offer of peace be not enter- torture it-this is willingness of which the tained by him; then, in the very propor- lower animals, incapable of religion, are tion of its largeness and generosity, will yet as capable as yourself. You will be the provocation be of his insulting treat- as willing then for deliverance from matement in having rejected it. Out of the rial torments as you can be now-but there mouth of the Son of man there cometh a is a willingness which you want now, and two-edged sword. There is pardon free which, in all likelihood will then be still as the light of heaven to all who will. more beyond the reach of your attainThere is wrath, accumulated and irre-ment. If the free gospel do not meet with trievable wrath, to all who will not. "Kiss the Son, therefore, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way when His wrath is kindled but a little, blessed only are they who put their trust in Him."

your willingness now to accept and to submit to it, neither may it then. And we know not, my brethren, what has been your experience in death-beds; but sure we are, that both among the agonies of It is the most delusive of all calcula-mortal disease, and the terrors of the maltions to put off the acceptance of the efactor's cell, Christ may be offered, and gospel, because of its freeness-and be- the offer be sadly and sullenly put away. cause it is free at all times-and because The free proclamation is heard without the present you think may be the time of one accompanying charm-and the man your unconcern and liberty, and some who refused to lay hold of it through life, distant future be the time of your return finds that, in the impotency of his expirthrough that door which will still be open ing grasp, he cannot apprehend it. And for you. The door of Christ's mediator-oh, if you but knew how often the word ship is ever open, till death put its unchangeable seal upon your eternity. But the door of your own heart, if you are not receiving Him, is shut at this moment, and every day is it fixing and fastening more closely and long ere death summon you away, may it at length settle Immoveably upon its hinges, and the voice of Him who standeth without and knocketh, may be unheard by the spiritual ear -and, therefore, you are not made to feel too much, though you feel as earnestly as if 'now or never' was the alternative on

of faith may fall from the minister, and the work of faith be left undone upon the dying man, never would you so postpone the purposes of seriousness, or look forward to the last week of your abode upon earth as to the convenient season for winding up the concerns of a neglected eternity.

If you look attentively to the text, you will find, that there is something more than a shade of difference between being reconciled and being saved. Reconciliation is spoken of as an event that has already happened-salvation as an event that is to

come. The one event may lead to the other; but there is a real distinction between them. It is true, that the salvation instanced in the preceding verse, is salvation from wrath. But it is the wrath which is incurred by those who have sinned wilfully, after they had come to the knowledge of the truth-"when there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries." Jesus Christ will save us from this by saving us from sin. He who hath reconciled us by His death, will, by His life, accomplish for us this salvation. Reconciliation is not salvation. It is only the portal to it. Justification is not the end of Christ's coming-it is only the means to an ultimate attainment. By His death He pacified the Lawgiver. By His life He purifies the sinner. The one work is finished. The other is not so, but is only going on unto perfection. And this is the secret of that unwillingness which we have already touched upon. There is a willingness that God would lift off from their persons the hand of an avenger. But there is not a willingness that Christ would lay upon their persons the hand of a sanctifier. The motive for Him to apprehend them is to make them holy. But they care not to apprehend that for which

they are apprehended. They see not that the use of the new dispensation, is for them to be restored to the image they have lost, and, for this purpose, to be purged from their old sins. This is the point on which they are in darkness-"and they love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil.' They are at all times willing for the reward without the service. But they are not willing for the reward and the service together. The willingness for the one they always have. But the willingness for both they never have. They have it not to-day-and it is not the operation of time that will put it in them to-morrow. Nor will disease put it in. Nor will age put it in. Nor will the tokens of death put it in. Nor will the near and terrific view of eternity put it in. It may call out into a livelier sensation than before, a willingness for the reward. But it will neither inspire a taste nor a willingness for the service. A distaste for God and godliness, as it was the reigning and paramount principle of his life, so it may be the reigning and paramount principle of his death-bed. As it envenomed every breath which he drew, so it may envenom his last-and the spirit going forth to the God who gave it, with all the enmity that it ever had, God will deal with it as an enemy.


And not only so, but we also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."

IN the whole passage from the commencement of this chapter, we have an account of the new feelings that are introduced by faith into the heart of a believer. The first is a feeling of peace with God, of whom we could never think formerly, if we thought of Him aright, but with the sensations of disquietude and terror. The second is a feeling of exultation in the hope of some glory and enlargement that are yet unrevealed-whereby we shall attain such an enjoyment in His presence, and in the view of His perfections, as we can never reach in this world. The third is a feeling of exultation, even in the very crosses and tribulations of our earthly pilgrimage, from the process which they give rise to in our own characters-a process that manifests a work of grace here, and so serves to confirm all our expectations of a harvest of glory and blessedness hereafter. And indeed how

can it be otherwise, the apostle_reasons. He hath already given us His Son, will He not with Him freely give us all things? He hath already evinced His regard by sparing not His well-beloved-but surrendering Him to the death of a sore and heavy atonement for us, at the time that we were adversaries. And now that He has done so much in circumstances so unlikely, will He not carry on the work of deliverance to its final accomplishment when circumstances have changed ?— when we who at one time stood afar off have now drawn nigh; and when He, who at one time shuddered with very appre hension at the dark vale of agony before Him, has now burst loose from His imprisonment, and finally escaped from the grief that was put upon His soul-has now a work of grace and of gladness to carry onwards to its full consummation? It is thus that the believer persuades himself

into a still more settled assurance of the | God-to have delight in this feeling-to love of God to him than before; and triumph in God as you would do in a whereas, in the second verse he only re- treasure that had come into your possesjoiced in the hope of the glory of God as sion-to dwell upon Him in fancy and it will be revealed to him in future-he, with fondness, just as one friend dwells in this eleventh verse, expresses a present on the pleasing remembrance of another rejoicing in this same God-delighting to reach the extacies of devotion, and himself even now in the assurance of His find that the minutes spent in communion present regard; and approaching Him with the heavenly and unseen witness, are with affectionate confidence even now, far the sweetest and the sunniest intervals under the sense of a present reconciliation. of your earthly pilgrimage-to have a The apostle in this passage makes use sense of God all the day long, and that of such terms, as are expressive of a gra- sense of Him in every way so delicious as dation in the feelings of him who has ad- to make the creature scem vain and tastemitted the faith of the gospel into his mind less in the comparison-to have His can-each rising above the other, and mark- dle shining in your heart, and a secret ing an advance and a progress in Chris- beatitude in Him of which other men tian experience. It is well, in the first in- have no comprehension-to bear about stance, to be set at rest from all that tur- with you that cheerful trust in Him, and bulence and alarm which conviction stirs that cherished regard to Him, which chilup in the sinner's restless bosom-so as dren do to a father whose love they rejoice that he has "peace with God through Je- in, and of whose good-will they are most sus Christ our Lord." But it is better still, thoroughly assured-to prize the peaceful when he can not only look at God as dis- sabbaths and the sacred retirements, when armed of all enmity towards him-but your soul can wing its contemplation draws near unto Him, in the confidence toward His sanctuary, and there behold of a positive favour and friendship towards the glories of His character, at the very him, which will afterwards appear in some time that you can exult in confidence glorious manifestation. By whom also before Him-thus to be affected towards we have access by faith into this grace God, and thus to glory and be glad in wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of Him, is certainly not a common attainthe glory of God." And it argues a still ment; and yet we do not see how any higher strength and steadfastness of feel- true saint, any genuine disciple can be ing, when it can maintain itself under vis- altogether a stranger to it. "Rejoice itations, which, to flesh and blood, would evermore," says the apostle of the New be otherwise overpowering. "And not Testament; and "the Lord reigneth, let only so, but we glory in tribulation also." the earth rejoice," says the venerable And lastly, when there is both the positive patriarch of the Old. It is easy to walk experience of a gift in hand, even the in the rounds of a mechanical observaHoly Ghost shed abroad upon us; and the tion. it is easy to compel the hand to resistless consideration that He who recon-ohence, against the grain and inclinaciled sinners by death, will, now surely that they are reconciled, fully and conclusively save them, seeing that He is aliv again-does the apostle, upon the streng'n of these, carry forward the believer to a still higher eminence in the divine life, where he can not only see afar off to the glorious regions of immortality and be glad; but where, in foretaste as it were of the joy of these regions felt by him now, he is glad in a sense of the already possessed friendship of God, glad in the intercourse of love and confidence with a present Deity.


There is much, we think, to be gathered from the consideration, that joy in God forms one of the exercises of a Christian mind-a habit or condition of the soul into which every believer is or ought to be translated-a spiritual eminence that may be gained, even in this world, and where the heart of man may experience a relish, and imbibe a rapture, which the world most assuredly knoweth not. To feel as if you were in the company of

n of the heart. It is very easy to bear owards God the homage of respect, or fearfulness, or solemn emotion; and to render Him the outward obeisance, and even something of the inward awe of worshippers. It is somewhat natural to feel the dread of His majesty, or to be visited by a sense of His terrors, or to be checked by the thought of His authority and power. And, under the weight of all this impressive seriousness, it is even somewhat natural and easy to pray. But it has been well remarked, that praise is not so natural, nor so common, nor withal so easy as prayer-that delight in God is a rarer and a loftier condition of the soul, than devoutness of feeling to God-that the sigh of repentance may be heard to ascend towards Him in many cases, while the singing of the heart towards Him may only break forth in very few-that to cultivate with God as a matter of duty, is a habit of far greater frequency, than to do it as if by the impulse of a spontaneous feeling-Šo that to serve IIim as a master

course, at a greater distance from that state of alienation which you all occupy by nature. The very description of such a godliness may serve to convince us, how wide the disparity is between the moral element of earth, and the moral element of heaven; and this is a lesson which we should like to urge on two classes of hearers-endeavouring to sum up the whole by a practical conclusion, ere we bid a final adieu to a passage on which for so many sabbaths we have detained you.

to whom you are bound in the way of obligation, is more the tendency of nature, than to serve Him as a friend to whom you are bound by the willing affections of a heart that freely and fully and fearlessly loves Him. Is not the latter the far more enviable habit of the soul, the one to which you would like best to be translated?-to have the spirit of adoption and cry out Abba, Father, rather than to drivel before Him among the restraints and the reluctancies of a slave ?-to do His will here upon earth, just as it is in heaven, that is, not as if by the force of a compulThe first class consists of those who sory law, or as if under the stipulation to care little about the matters of the soul discharge the articles of a bond, or as if and of eternity; who have never with any pursued by the unrelenting jealousy of a degree of seriousness entertained the questask-master, who exacts from you work, tion; who have been acting all along, not just as one man exacts from another the on the computation of those elements into square and punctual fulfilment of a bar- which sin and salvation and death and gain? This is the way in which God's will immortality enter-but have just lived and is apt to be done, or attempted to be done, are continuing to live, as if the visible on earth; but it is really not the way in theatre which surrounds them were their heaven-where He receives a willing all; and the platform of mortality wherehomage from beings of a nature congenial on they walk, and underneath the surface with His own-where the doing of His of which they see acquaintances sinking pleasure is not a drudgery for the per- and disappearing every day, were to formance of which they get their meat hold them up and that firmly and prosand their drink, but where their meat and perously for ever. We are sure we speak drink itself is to do the will of God- to their experience when we say, that all where, instead of a duty from which they they mind is earthly things, and that their would like to stand acquitted, it is their conversation is not in heaven; that joy in very heart's desire to be thus employed, God through Jesus Christ is a feeling and that without respite and without ter- which they never had, and of which they mination-above all, where the presence have no comprehension; that the extaof God ever enlivens them, and their own cies of those, who are so inspired and so pleasure is just His pleasure reflected back actuated, are beyond the range of their again. To carry onward the soul, from sympathy and understanding altogether. the cares and the exercises and the mani- And give them a warm habitation in time, fold observations of an outward godli- and stock it well with this world's comness, to such an inward and angelic god- forts and accommodations, and surround liness as we now speak of, were to work them with a thriving circle of relations upon it a greater transformation-than to and a merry companionship, and let the recall it from abandoned profligacy, to animating game of a well-doing business the punctiliousness and the painstakings abroad be varied by the flow of kindness and all the decencies of a mere external and the songs of festivity at home-and reformation. And we again ask, whether they would have no objection, if, thus you would not like to break forth upon compassed about and thus upholden, to be this scene of spiritual enlargement; and done with God and done with eternity for be preferred to this nobler and freer ele-ever. When the preacher tries to demonvation of character; and to walk before strate the utter wofulness and worthlessGod as an attached and rejoicing friend, rather than as the slave of His tyranny and of your own terrors-in a word, to joy in the light of His benignant countenance, rather than to tremble under the apprehension of His frown; and, instead of submissively toiling at what you feel to be a task, to spring forth on the career of obedience with the alacrity of one whose heart is glad in God, and who takes pleasure in all His will and in all His ways?

You all see the one style of godliness to be of a far higher and more celestial pitch than the other; and therefore, of

ness of their spiritual condition, we know what the kind of question is with which they are prepared to assail him. We pay our debts; we can lift an open and unabashed visage in society; we follow the occasional impulses of a compassionate feeling towards the necessitous; we love our children; there is nothing monstrous about us, possessed as we are of all the instincts of humanity, and maintaining the full average of its equities and its decencies and its kindnesses. What then is the charge, on which you would stamp a sort of moral hideousness upon our characters; and on which you pronounce

against us the awful doom of an angry | such to bestir themselves; and to beat as God and an undone eternity? The charge it were upon the confines of that spiritual is that you joy in the creature, and not at region, the occupiers of which have a all in the Creator; and, to verify the doom, taste for God, and so a foretaste of heaven we have only to read in your hearing, the in their souls; and many a weary strugfuture history of this world, in as far as gle may they make after this regenerait is made known to us by experience and tion; and perhaps, baffled in all their atrevelation. That scene, on which you tempts, have the same distaste for God and have fastened your affections so closely godliness as ever. For how can that hat you cannot tear them away from it, which is bitter become sweet unto me? will soon be torn away from you; and How can this religion which is a wearithis world, on whose fair surface it is that ness become a delight? How can I attain sense and time have spread out their be- a relish and a capacity for its spiritual witching allurements, and decked them exercises? or share in a joy which I have forth in colours of fascination, will soon never yet felt, and which certainly no be broken up; and your hold, as well as method of compulsion can establish withthat of all our species on the present sys- in me? tem of things, with all its pleasures and all its interests, will be everlastingly dissolved. It is then that God will step in between your soul and those creatures after which it has ever longed, but which are now swept away. And had your joy been in Him, then the heaven where He dwells would have been your fit because your joyful habitation. But as the tree falleth so it lies; and you rise from the grave with the taste, and the character, and the feelings which you had when you breathed your last upon your death-bed; and so all that is in your heart, carrying upon it a recoil from Him with whom alone you have to do, will meet with nothing there but that which must give dread and disturbance to your carnal affections; and these affections will wander in vain for the objects which solaced them upon earth. This intermediate place between heaven and hell will no longer be found; and the unhappy exile from the one, will meet with the other alternative as his portion for evermore. It is thus that he who soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption. The materials of his gratification will be withheld; and the sordid appetite remain unsated and restless and ever pursuing him throughout all eternity: And whatever the outward inflictions may be which a God of vengeance will lay upon him-there will, in the heats and the passions and the disappointed feelings of his own unregenerate bosom, be element enough to constitute a worm within that cannot die, and a fire within that never can be quenched. This may perhaps convince the first class of hearers of their exceeding distance from a right habit of soul for death and the eternity beyond it; and give them some understanding of the greatness of that transition which there is from the carnal to the spiritual; and bring even their own experience to testify for this announcement of the Bible, that unless they are born again they shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And it may lead some

Now this leads us to a second class of hearers, who, instead of being careless, are making the interest of their soul a topic of great care and great cogitation; who have recourse to active measures in the prosecution of this interest; and are all alive, to the great object of being right with God. It is indeed a most natural forth-setting of the whole man on such an occasion, to proceed on the principle of work and win;' and thus do they strive to establish a righteousness of their own, and by much labour to lay up a claim for wages on the day of reckoning; and in so labouring, they just feel as an ordinary workman does. It is not his work that gives him pleasure. It is only the receipt of his wages that gives him pleasure. He has no rejoicing in his master or in his service. His only rejoicing is in the reward that he is to get from him, and which is distinct from his service. And in like manner, is there many a seeker after life eternal, toiling with all his might, in the spirit of bondage and of much careful ness, who has no joy in God-satisfied if he can escape hell and reach the undefined blessedness of heaven; but who does not reflect, that it is altogether essential to this blessedness, to have such a taste for the divine character as to be glad in the contemplation of it-to have such a liking for the divine life, as that the life itself, with the necessary pleasure annexed to it, shall be reward enough for himto have such a delight in the Being who made him, that he counts himself rich in the simple possession of His friendship, and in the breathings of a heart that glows with regard and gratitude to the person of the Divinity. Without this, all he can do is but the bodily exercise that profiteth little; and that, instead of heightening his affection for God, may only exasperate the impatience, and aggravate the weariness and distaste that he feels in His service. And the question recurs-how shall he be translated into this right spiritual temperament? It is not by the laborious

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