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measureless excellence, the priceless estimation, the inseparable and all-hallowed ties which are intimated by language like this? The ideas which it embraces are too lofty for our perception. They reach even to Heaven, and are lost amid the boundless expansion, and the incomprehensibilities of eternity.
We can approach such a proof of tenderness, as the gift of God's blessed Son for our salvation, only through what we know of our imperfect selves. We know, for example, that a father can give no higher proof of his patriotism than by arming an only son, in whom his strongest assections centre, and on whom his proudest hopes repose, and bidding him go forth and shed his blood with freedom in fighting his country's battles. We see God sending one, on whom he bestows the most expressive appellations of endearment, and the loftiest titles of even supernal dignity; see Him sending such an one to assume the condition of a servant, to toil for his daily sustenance; to be poor and homeless; to be reviled, persecuted, condemned, and crucified ; and, in the most intolerable moments of a most intolerable death, to be forsaken, and to bear alone and unsustained his accumulated sufferings ; and this, and all this, that his soul might be an offering for sin, and through his chastisement our spiritual maladies be healed.
My hearers, arguing as a finite being from such examples as our n li re and history can furnish, might I not say, was it possible even for Heaven to do more? But I forbear ; I know that I am trespassing on the mysteries of an unseen and a future world, and leave the subject for heartfelt awe, and silent, yet overcoming admiration.
And now,—to return to the position for which these reflections upon the divine government and its administration have been brought to view --if sin be the resistance of the commands and claims, the motives and expostulations, the grace and mercy, of One who has given us such illustrious proofs of his paternal regard and goodnees--can it be other than rebellion? Can it be other than rebellion of an aggravated, nay, my hearers, of a most aggravated character? The inference is dismal—is tremendous !-this is readily allowed; but can it fairly and logically be avoided ? Would to God it might be, for it falls upon each and all of us
with a weight well nigh insupportable! but where is the acumenindeed where is the sophistry which can evade it? To sin is to offend One, whose highest aim, in all his injunctions, and in all his discipline, is to train us for honor, and glory, and immortality. To sin is to offend One, whose forbearance prolongs a ten, a twenty, a hundred, a thousand times forfeited, space for repentance. To sin is to offend One, who gave his Son (unspeakable gift!) for the redemption of the lost. Alas! my hearers, search the world, search the universe through, and where shall we find an offence against higher authority, longer patience, or purer love, than the sin of a child of man against his Heavenly Father? The consideration should silence every whisper of pretension to meritorious virtue, and stir up the sentiments of profound contrition. It should take every symptom of stubbornness away, and make us self-accusing, lowly, and brokenhearted. My brethren, we call God Father, and it is an invaluable privilege that we are permitted so to do, since it assures us of mercy, when mercy otherwise were hopeless; but when we think of the aspect which his paternal relations to us give to sin, I know not the word throughout the Bible which should so prostrate and abase us.
What! are we transgressors of a father's wisest and most lenient precepts? abusers of a father's most enlarged long suffering ? contemners of a father's richest love? Oh, if God himself had not said otherwise, I should say, we must all, all despair. And does God bid sinners; does he bid us (as I dare not bid you nor myself to do, but on his own authority), does he bid us hope? And will we not seize that hope, and cling to it? Will we not rest and fully rely upon that Savior who is its sure foundation ? Will we not implore the patronage of that Spirit who can increase and perfect it?
Then, verily, I know not whither we can go, nor where we can find salvation! Then, verily, I fear the Gospel is hid to us, and we are lost!
ON THE OFFICES OF CHRIST.
'T is from the treasures of his word
Bright image of the Father's face,
The King of kings, the Lord most High,
Where grace can neither melt nor move
But when for works of peace
With tender pity in his heart
At length the Judge his throne ascends,
THE REBEL'S RETURN TO GOD.
When with my mind devoutly prest,
Would past offences trace ;
The power of changing Grace.
This tongue, with blasphemies defiled,
In heavenly league agree.
Should ever lead to thee!
These eyes, that once abused their sight,
And weep a silent flood:
In pure redeeming blood.
When round the festive board;
And press to hear thy word. Thus thou art served in every part: 0, wouldst thou more transform my heart,
The drossy mass refine, That grace might nature's strength control, And a new creature-body, soul
Be, Lord, for ever thine.
BY THE REV. BENJAMIN B. SMITH, D. D.,
RECTOR OF CHRIST CHURCH, LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY.
Romans viii. 32.—" He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how
shall he not, with him, also freely give us all things ?".
If ever intelligent and sensitive creatures were placed in a condition to need a hope above them, to strengthen their hearts in the day of trouble, we, dwellers in the dust, find ourselves in that condition. Children, in their utter ignorance, and total blindness to the future, do not more need the provident care and watchful kindness of a father, than we need the guidance of a reconciled God. Widows, in the extremity of their helplessness and dependence, are not more worthy objects of compassion than all of us are every moment of our lives. And shipwrecked mariners need not strain their eyes more to look out for help from the land, or tax their energies more to grasp the floating fragments of a wreck, than we to look up to the hills "from whence cometh our help," and to cleave to the promises of God in Christ Jesus. Take man, in his very best estate, when his mind is keen to discern and his energies mighty to execute, the best and wisest plans of worldly aggrandizement -- and yet, man at his very “best estate is altogether vanity." What can be do for the best interests even of those who are dearest to his heart, or most dependent on his care? How can he avert from them, or from himself, the most desolating and terrible afflictions? How can he save his own life from destruction, or provide a ransom for his own soul ?