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might have, if you could always go for yourselves to the word of God; and compared with what you would have, if you valued spiritual blessings as you ought?
3. Lastly, while we are considering these types of Christ, let us never for one moment forget, that this is not a mere matter to amuse us,—that we do not come to church, or read the Sacred Scriptures, for entertainment alone: no, our souls, our precious souls, our immortal souls, depend upon what we have now been hearing of Christ. It is no matter where, or how, Christ may be found in the Old or New Testament, unless we make Him our own by faith. It is no profit to us, if we understand all mysteries respecting Christ, unless we experience the power of Christ in our own hearts. Again, I say, our salvation depends upon it; OUR ETERNITY, yours and mine,- our heaven or hell, depends upon it. If you know not Him as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world; if you rest not your souls, and all your hopes on Him, you are lost for ever. May God, of his infinite mercies, grant the power of his Holy Spirit to the words which have now been spoken; and may Christ be formed in the heart of each one among us, the hope of glory!
THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY.
2 Cor. v. 20, 21.--Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as
though God did beseech you by us : we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
It is an amazing and most grievous consideration, what infinitely great and glorious things are revealed to us in the word of God, and how little we regard them; or rather, how entirely many disregard them. Holiness and happiness, heaven and hell, eternal happiness or eternal misery, the love and tender mercy of God, the incarnation, life, and death of the Son of God, and the infinite blessings following thereupon,-these are the the things that they make so light of; these are things of which they hear, and go away, one to his farm, and another to his merchandize, as unconcerned as if it were all an idle tale. And all the while, these are the things which the angels, those holy and happy spirits above, are desiring to look into. Salvation,—the salvation of man, is the grand object of their wonder and their songs :
but man, the being for whom this salvation was wrought out, man is utterly insensible about the whole. Tell him the news of the day, tell him of something which may gratify his appetite or advance him in the world, and he is interested in what you have to say. Speak to him of his soul and its concerns; and, alas, the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them; they are spiritually discerned : * i.e. man, by nature, is both disinclined to search into, and unable to understand, the things of God. And, my friends, it is the blessed Spirit of God alone, that can either incline your hearts, or open the eyes of your understanding, to understand these things. We have received, says the apostle, the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God.f Pray, therefore, with me, that the Holy Spirit may be with us, while we attempt to enter into some of these glorious truths. May He bring them near to our hearts; may He make them effectual for our conversion and edification, that they may produce in us holy, useful lives on earth, and fit us for the presence of God in heaven!
In the words which I have read as a text, there is mention made of reconciling people to God. We pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled unto God. But who, then, you will say,
is at enmity with God, that you should speak of reconciling them to God? Ah, my friend, whosoever you
* 1 Cor. ii. 14.
t 1 Cor. ii. 12.
may be that ask that question, you show that you know little of a world that lieth in wickedness, * little of your own heart, little of the Scriptures. All the world, by nature, and unless born again of the Spirit, are at enmity with God. Is it I who say
this ? or do not the Scriptures say the same? Look at the general character given by S. Paul of men of the world. In the Epistle to the Romans, i. 30, you find one point of the character is this, that they are haters of God. And again, Romans viii., he tells us that the carnal mind is enmity against God. And S. James tells us that the friendship of the world is enmity with God. Whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. You are ready, perhaps, to say, “ No, my heart is not so bad as that: I have forgotten God, I know; but surely I have not hated Him. Now, if you are only brought to think upon the subject, that is something; and I pray you to listen, while I endeavour to show you that, awful as this representation is, it is most certainly true. Feelings, you know, may be in our hearts, without our knowing it: for instance, you may dislike a man; and yet, if he keeps out of your way, and you are not at all reminded of him, you perhaps never think of him at all, and so your dislike sleeps, as it were ; and you may be showing your dislike in a hundred ways, all the time that you are unconscious of it. Now, so it is with us.
Perhaps you have never yet been brought to think seriously about God: but yet,
surely you have shown your dislike of Him. In the first place, you show it by your dislike to hear of God. You come, indeed, to church, and you hear of Him there ; but you may come to church from habit, or because you do not know what else to do with your time on a Sunday, or to show your dress and ornaments; or because you think it is a duty, and dare not omit it. But how would you like a neighbour to come into your house, and begin speaking to you of God,of a holy and jealous God, who hates sin, and will finally condemn the unrepenting sinner?
say, would you not feel this conversation irksome, and be glad when such a troublesome neighbour was gone? Then it is plain you hate to hear of God. --Again, how do you like the holy laws of God? Do you not think them needlessly strict and severe? For example, that Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment ; * or that, whosoever shall say to his brother, in anger, Thou fool,—whosoever shall so give way to anger as to break forth in one angry expression, shall be in danger of hell-fire.t Do you not think such laws hard ? And ah, my friends, search your hearts, and see whether you do not hate the holy God who made them. But I need not go to the strict law of God,- I will speak of his mercies. Do you enjoy the thoughts of a life spent in communion with God,--the thoughts of feasting, in your private meditations and prayers, on the love of God ? the thoughts of
* Matt. xii. 36.
+ Matt. v. 22.