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and peace which sweetly blends in the heart of the penitent believer, and excites the soul to praise, even when the eye is moistened with the tear of grief. Sorrow for sin, and joy in the Saviour, form that peculiarity of feeling which a stranger intermeddleth not with. Lord! may I daily know more of it. Give me a saving knowledge of thyself, and a growing taste for spiritual blessings.
All the angelic beings are under the perpetual influence of the highest love and reverence for God, and all of them delight to do his will. spirits of just men made perfect in heaven, are actuated by the same exalted principle of love. The Church on earth is taught by her divine Lord to pray, "Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” The families in heaven and earth are one.*
If, then, a soul under the influence of this guilty disinclination of heart to love and serve God, should, in such a state, be called out of time into eternity, how could it be fit for the society of saints and angels, whose bosoms burn with everlasting love? How could such a soul enter into their enjoyments or employments? Heaven would present a blank. It would be no place of happiness to such a soul. Every thing around it would run counter to the evil principle within; and hence it is evident that, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
There are few delusions which men more successfully practice upon themselves than this:-the hope of going to heaven when they die. This, like some healing plaster, is universally applied to ease the conscience. No matter how evil the life may be; Satan still whispers, as he did of old,-" Ye shall not surely die." The sinner, trusting in the father of lies, goes on in his wickedness; thinks that God is too merciful to punish through eternity, the frailties committed in time; and that all will end well at the last. Hell is truth seen too late.
O, my soul, pray without ceasing to be saved from these wiles of Satan; from this wretched state of alienation from God. The more I meditate on this important subject, the more I see the necessity for my being made a New Creature in Christ Jesus, before I can possibly relish or delight in the purchased possession. Many are apt to suppose, they must necessarily be happy, if they can only gain admittance into the celestial city, without considering what constitutes the bliss of heaven. Without love to God, without a delight in his service, without a hatred of sin, heaven would be no heaven, could they be admitted into it. The pure in heart shall see God. "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." Vain, then, are the hopes of the hypocrite. Nothing can enter the unsullied regions of glory, that worketh abomination or maketh a lie. Against such, the door will be for ever shut. Lord, renew my soul in righteousness. Give me a delight to do thy will. Guard me against the deceitful workings of unbelief. Enable me to resist the wiles of the devil. Shine upon my path, and guide me, by thy Spirit, to the realms of glory.
Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."* Blessed declaration! Had it not been so, wretched would our condition now have been! We should have lain in the darkness of despair, waiting for the blackness of darkness for ever! But, light has sprung up; the voice of mercy is heard, and sinners may rejoice in God their Saviour. The God of all grace invites us to the mercy-seat. The Spirit of Grace conducts us thither. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."+
How wonderful is the work of grace in the heart. It is a progressive work. It springs from God, and leads to God. The first operation of the Spirit in the soul of the sinner is LIGHT. "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,
hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." This light being a spiritual, searching light, produces conviction of the evil and turpitude of sin. This CONVICTION being of an awakening, softening nature, causes the feeling of deep contrition on account of original and actual transgression. CONTRITION, when abiding, leads to confession, to an humble, heartfelt acknowledgment of guilt and misery. CONFESSION, when flowing from a believing view of the Cross of Christ, ends in a blessed CONVERSION Of soul to God, an entire surrender of the heart to him who claims it. When conviction, contrition, confession, and conversion, have formed the new creature in Christ Jesus, through the power of the Holy Ghost, then comes CONSOLATION,-a loving spirit; a joyful spirit. Consolation being of a strengthening nature, produces CONFIRMATION in the ways of God, stability and strength. "The joy of the Lord is our strength."+ The whole ends in a full and final CONSUMMATION of all blessedness in the region of celestial glory.
How precious are the ascending steps from earth to heaven. How glorious is the work of grace in the soul of man. Here wisdom, power, and love, are richly displayed. Pride has no share in this blessedness. God is the Author and Finisher of Salvation. To Him be all the praise throughout all ages. Amen and Amen.
"If I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."-Rom. vii. 20.
SIN, in all its forms, is hateful to God. He beholds
it with abhorrence, and hath declared that "the soul + Nehem. viii. 10.
崇 2 Cor. iv. 6.
that sinneth it shall die."* All men are dead under the Law, because all have sinned; and had not God graciously sent his dear Son into the world to pay the penalty due to sin, and to die the just for the unjust, the whole human race must have perished everlastingly. Even now, none shall be saved, who have the blessing of a preached Gospel, and of the Scriptures of Truth vouchsafed to them, except they repent and believe in Jesus, are born from above, and walk before God in newness of life. The state of the heathen, who have never heard the joyful sound, and to whom Christ is unknown, will be righteously determined by Him, all whose ways are judgment, and whose paths are equity and truth. Enough is revealed, to awaken our fears respecting them, and to quicken our endeavours, to make known unto them that Saviour, who so graciously said to Saul of Tarsus, "I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee; to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God; that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified, by faith that is in me."+ How clearly is the state of the heathen described by the Saviour of the world.
In unison with this message to Saul, was that given to all the Apostles just before the ascension of our Lord. "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature."‡ "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."§
* Ezek. xviii. 4.
Acts xxvi. 16-18. § Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.
Mark xvi. 15.
Had the ignorance of the Gentiles been their security, this message need not to have been delivered. The very words of Christ convey the strongest expression of danger, and the necessity for his being declared-THE ONLY SAVIOUR OF SINNERS -to the ends of the earth.
It is not uncommon to hear persons speak of the comparative safety of the heathen, since they cannot reject what is not offered, nor disbelieve what is not made known unto them. Thus, many excuse themselves from aiding Missionary Societies, as if we were carrying a curse instead of a blessing to the Gentiles, inasmuch as their guilt will be greater by refusing the offered Saviour.
This reason would equally have operated against the coming of Christ into our world, because all men have not faith, and millions, to whom the Gospel is preached in vain, will perish! Unbelief lies at the bottom of these objections. How different were the feelings of the angelic host on their announcement of the Saviour's birth to the shepherds, when they sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.' How different were those of Paul when he wrote to the Ephesians,"Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ."+
Oh! that my heart may be warmed with love to the Saviour, and with a tender concern for the perishing millions of mankind. Blessed Lord, let me never desire to be wise above what is written, or to set my reason against thy Wisdom, or my will, against thy Sovereignty. May I receive the Gospel by a loving faith, and labour to make it known with a loving heart. Thou hast said, "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." Enable me to offer up this prayer, for the extension of thy kingdom,
* Luke ii. 14.
+ Chap. iii. 8.
Matt. ix. 37, 38.