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and there alone can he escape from the wrath of an offended God. To him it should convey the highest joy to know, that the way is yet open, and that through faith in Jesus Christ, he can obtain those blessings which are able to make him happy, and without which no outward circumstances can ever produce real and lasting joy.
The reader who has perused the preceding pages, must have discovered that the leading object of the writer has been to show, that none of the difficulties particularly noticed in this work as arising from the state of society and of the Christian church, can form any argument against true religion, or furnish any excuse for neglecting inquiry respecting the affairs of the soul.
But formidable as these obstacles may be, they are not, even when united, so great as the difficulties to be found in every human heart. It is because there is so much opposition to God and to spiritual things in the soul of man naturally, that the circumstances of life present so much discouragement. Had the pride of the heart been humbled, had its enmity been slain, had the love of sin been subdued, and the infinite importance of eternal things fully perceived, advice would have been less required, and entreaty to persevere in the pursuit of truth would have been altogether unnecessary.
While the heart remains unchanged, we cannot wonder at outward difficulties discouraging the inquirer. There are other cases, however, which exhibit the evils of the human heart more strongly, and strikingly prove the truth of the Scripture declaration : “ The carnal mind is enmity against
God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."* Thus, even when the convinced sinner is placed in the most favourable circumstances for receiving religious instruction, and hardly exposed to one of the difficulties referred to, in the preceding pages ; though surrounded by friends, who have for years directed his mind to religion ; though encouraged by their approbation, and assisted in judging of true religion, by their holy and consistent example, yet it will be found, that his heart is powerfully opposed to religious truth. The pride of his heart, will rise against ́ the humbling doctrines of the Gospel ; his self-righteous spirit will be opposed to the righteousness of God; his natural unwillingness to submit to the divine authority, will be shown in refusing to obey the selfdenying precepts of God's word, and the doubts and fears of his mind, will form an excuse for not believing with all his heart, the record which God has given concerning Christ. In addition to all this, every effort will be made by Satan, working on the unbelief of the heart, to prevent attention to the concerns of the soul. His aim is, tó discourage from inquiry altogether, by producing disappointment and disgust; or to lull the conseienee into a soft and dangerous security, by the suggestion that enough has been already done.
If then it be true that in circumstances outwardly favourable for religious inquiry, such difficulties are to be surmounted, we may fairly conclude that, when in addition to these, the world, friends, and
. Rom. viii. 7.
enemies, present obstacles ; the inquirer needs much assistance. Indeed every view that we can take of the present subject forces upon the mind a conviction of the necessity of divine help. Let this be instantly sought, for, in the possession of this, all difficulties can be overcome.
But it may be, that the reader is not greatly interested in these matters. Let him be earnestly and affectionately entreated to examine and consider the statements of the Bible respecting his real situation. Let him also consider what God has done for sinners, in giving his Son to die for them; and in promising his Holy Spirit, to make his own gift accepted, and efficacious. Let him seriously reflect on the danger of a continued love of the world and of sin; the utter hopelessness of escape, if he will not believe in Christ, and the awful aggravation of his guilt, in hearing of salvation and yet rejecting it.
Surely the pardon of sin is worth seeking ; peace of conscience is worth possessing ; the favour of God is of some value, and the soul would surely be happier saved than lost. And yet what is the man saying, who continues unwilling to attend to these things, or who allows the difficulties of life to prevent him from going forward in the pursuit of truth. He is practically declaring that forgiveness is not worth seeking ; that peace of conscience is of trifling importance; that the divine favour is of no value; and that the soul may as well be lost as saved. Let not this be the language of your conduct. Let a serious and heartfelt concern about your soul take possession of your mind, and never rest satisfied till
you have found salvation in the Gospel of Christ. He has said, “ I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me." “ Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me." “ Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” May this divine
. rest be the inheritance of the reader and the author.
EDINBURGH: PRINTED BY A. BALFOUR AND CO.