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in the last days,' is that they would walk after | you have pierced,' by your sins, each of your their own lusts.' The gospel levels with the sins and O how many wounds must have been dust the natural pride of man. The gospel inflicted on such a Saviour!— and mourn.' The declares goodness of heart, till it be 'created anew door of mercy is still open, and your impenitence in Christ Jesus,' a fiction, and self-righteousness only can shut it. From his side' still issues 'a broken reed,' which will pierce and kill the blood and water;' blood, without the shedding soul,' of him that 'leans' on it. The gospel pro- of which there can be no remission,' and ' water,' claims Jesus a perfect Saviour, and allows no by which, as typical of the washing of regeneramerit to be mixed up with his, in the sinner's tion and renewing of the Holy Ghost,' you are salvation. The gospel lays restraint on every cleansed,' refreshed, strengthened, and enabled to passion, and pronounces the smallest deviation go on your journey, 'faint' it may be at times, from the law, as a rule of life, a ground of God's 'yet' still pursuing.' Every step you advance displeasure. And therefore the gospel, and its in your progress Zionward, will convince you doctrines, and duties, are disliked and hated by more and more, that wisdom's ways are ways the unbeliever. He rejoices in his youth, his of pleasantness, and that all her paths are paths heart cheers him in the days of his youth. He of peace. My lips shall greatly rejoice, when walks in the ways of his heart, and in the sight I sing unto thee, and my soul which thou hast of his eyes, but' he will not know, that for all redeemed.' these things the Lord will bring him into judgment.' 'I have loved strangers, and after them will I go. Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned. For the Lord hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them.
Will such scenes as these which thou art contemplating, O hardened, presumptous sinner, continue to smile for ever? Will thy sun shine always without a cloud? Is there no danger of his setting in everlasting darkness? Thou art not placed here in a garden of delights, where the fruit is abundant and tempting, and thou mayest pluck when thou pleasest, and eat. Thou art indeed only of yesterday, but to-morrow thou art not, even though death should lay his cold hand upon thee, to cease to be for ever. Thou art not then, thou pilgrim of a day, to enjoy the little sunshine as thou listest, and permit no flower of the spring to pass thee by. Eternity is not a mockery, and a future judgment is not the churchman's dream. Heaven and hell are not the visions of fanatics to embitter the cup of humanity. Conscience is the minister of God, when he arises to take vengeance on his adversaries; godliness is a reality, and Christian ⚫ virtue,' any thing but an empty name.' 'Consider this, ye who forget God.' Stop in your headlong, sinful career. 'Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.' Remember who it is that hath said, 'He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. Look unto him whom
‘And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born,' Zech. xii. 10.
As the Jews are here represented to feel and act, when they are brought to a knowledge of their guilt in having crucified the Lord of glory, so will be the feelings and actings of every sinner who has been awakened to a just apprehension of his state, and has had Jesus set before him in all his sufficiency and willingness to save. The promise of his Spirit is the plea which he uses in prayer for the fulfilment of it. Jehovah hath spoken, and pledged his faithfulness to do as he hath said. No doubt remains to cloud the believer's mind, or to shake his confidence in the divine veracity. He experiences what it is to have his heart enlarged, his views more exclusively directed to heavenly objects, and his desires more steadily, warmly, and reposingly fixed on the glory which is to be revealed.' The shadows and the vanities of time disappear, and the certainties of eternity are brought before him with a vividness, and an overpowering sense of their importance, which testify that the Spirit is triumphing gloriously,' detaching his thoughts from the earth, and the earth's concerns, and making Jesus and his salvation all that should engage the attention of a soul redeemed. But he rejoices with trembling.' The
promise realized leads to sorrowing over his sins. They are now a burden difficult to be borne; for they rise up before him in all their multitude, and with all their aggravations. Not one of them is left unnumbered-not one of them does he attempt to explain away, or even to modify. They are set in order before his face,' and all of then tending to this conclusion as to a centre, that he has crucified' the Lamb of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.' The lovely and glorious Jesus has been wounded in the house of his friends,' and 'pierced' to the quick by one whom he loved, even unto the death.' How deep the mourning! and how agonizing the groans bursting from a heart that is now subdued, and made susceptible of every good impression, when the sinner, now a saint, recals the wonderful work which has been wrought in his soul, and dwells on the character and doings of that Saviour, whose arrows were sharp in him' as an enemy, before he displayed in his redemption the riches of his grace! No coldness or indifference on his part could quench, or even allay for a moment the Redeemer's love. As Jesus revealed himself to those who surrounded him, when he hung on the cross, and amidst the tortures of his dying hour, prayed to his Father for pardon to the inflictors of his pains, so does he still manifest himself as full of compassion and ready to forgive; and in the unutterably benevolent and affecting petition which he then presented, the mourning believer sees and feels the source of his hopes, and of his ⚫ strong consolations.' The very words, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,' are a balm to his wounded spirit. When he contemplates such a scene as this, and listens to such expressions as those, and is persuaded that he was not only the cause of the Saviour's sorrows, but has an interest in this, the Saviour's prayer, which has been graciously answered in his individual case, surely he will look on Him whom he has pierced' by his ingratitude, and mourn for him, on account of what he has done by his sins, to repeat the Redeemer's ignominy and agony, as one that mourneth for an only son' in whom all his hopes were centered, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born,' the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power. The very identification of himself with the accusers and 'murderers of the holy One and the Just,' is a powerfully constraining motive to view every sin which he has committed as adding another thorn to the crown of mock royalty which lacerated his Saviour's sacred head, as putting another bitter ingredient into the draught that was presented to his parched lips, as giving another excruciating
wrench to the nails which transfixed his hands and his feet, and as whetting to a sharper point, and causing a more deadly plunge to the spear which penetrated his side, and forth with came thereout blood and water.' If this be the truth, and nothing but the truth, and if we are convinced that it is so, the effect must be that sin will appear to us in all its hatefulness, in every aspect in which it can be looked upon, an entirely new train of emotions will be awakened within us, by the change which has taken place in our moral perceptions, and estimate of a Redeemer's love, and the language of our hearts be that of the keenest remorse for our having, by our every transgression, increased the load of Messiah's physical sufferings, and given greater poignancy to the mental anguish that wrung his righteous soul, when for our sakes, and in our stead, he bowed his head and gave up the ghost. Such, O my soul, are the reflections called forth by the Spirit of grace, and of supplications poured' on thee from on high, in causing thee to take into thy serious consideration thy grievous guilt, when viewed in connection with the vicarious humiliations, sufferings, and death of the Son of God. It must be beheld in the scenes which it produced in Gethsemane and on Calvary, if thou wouldst see it in all its essential and unqualified wickedness, baseness, and malignity. It must be regarded in the effect which it had on Him, who knew no sin, that thou mightest be made the righteousness of God in him,' if thou wouldst feel the full force of the Lord's questions to the prophet Ezekiel, and through him to thee, 'Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah, that they commit the abominations which they commit here? Is it a small matter to weary men: but will ye weary my God also?' Hast thou experienced what it is to be agitated and disquieted with a sense of thy sins, even after thou hast received the remission of them? flee more anxiously to Jesus, and cleave still more closely to him as thy strength and thy Redeemer. Plead gospel promises, and rest assured of gospel blessings. Trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon thy God.'
For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee,' Psal. lxxxvi. 5.
JEHOVAH sits upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filleth universal nature as his
appropriate temple.' Above it stand the sera- | sentence of exclusion was executed. No creature, phim; ‘each one having six wings; with twain he covereth his face; with twain he covereth his feet, and with twain he doth fly.' And what are their acclamations? One crieth unto another, and saith, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.' A Being so unspeakably glorious and independent, is infinitely happy in the possession, exercise, and enjoyment of his own incommunicable perfections. He has no need of us, or of our services. He would have continued the same though man and angels had never been called into existence. Dwelling in unapproachable light, his uncreated splendour, because the reflection of himself, would have supplied the want of their songs of gratitude, and of their anthems of praise, 'for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.' But how much are our conceptions of the divine attributes enlarged, when we think on the condition to which we are reduced by the fall and our own folly? 'Shapen in iniquity, and conceived in sin; transgressors by imputation, and transgressors by practice, the image of God has been effaced from the soul. The seeds of all moral evil have been sown within us. The standard of rebellion has been raised; and by its inscription, as well as by our thoughts, words, and actions, we have proclaimed ourselves traitors. The entire inner man is struck with the spiritual plague. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.' A sinful generation, a people laden with iniquity, we have forsaken the Lord, we have gone away backward.' And yet though we have held fast deceit, and refused to return,' the Father, in terms of his covenant with the Son, 'is good and ready to forgive.' Though he hearkened and heard, but we spake not aright; no man repented of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle,' still the Lord is not willing that any should perish.' Yea, though the stork in the heavens knoweth her appointed times, and the turtle, the crane, and the swallow observe the time of their coming, but we know not, and will not know the judgment of the Lord,' still his language, by his own servant, is, 'Let Israel hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is mercy and plenteous redemption.' This is indeed the Lord's doing, and it should be marvellous in our eyes. The seed of evil-doers, we had forfeited his favour, and incurred his displeasure. The gates of Eden were closed against Adam and his lapsed posterity; and the Lord God placed cherubims, and a flaming sword, that turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. The
how exalted soever in the scale of being, could
ment of his friendship and love? He is fairer than the sons of men; grace is poured into his lips. Sweet is his voice, and his countenance is comely.' But let us remember that he has an arm strong to smite, as well as to save, and that if we continue in our unbelief, if the love of Christ do not constrain us thus to judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead, and that he died for all,' given to him by the Father, that they should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who died for them, and rose again;' and if we will not come unto him, that we may have life, and have it more abundantly,' his smiles will be changed to frowns, and his sentence on that day, when the secrets of all hearts shall be revealed, will be, Depart from me, I know you not' now, for you would not know me when I offered you myself and all my blessing, 'ye workers of iniquity. Lord, save us, we perish.' O say unto us,Fury is not in me. It is I, be not afraid.' 'We will take hold of thy strength, O God, the Father, that he may make peace for us with thee; for we know and rejoice in the knowledge, that he has made, and will make peace with thee for all that believe in his name.'
before the world was.' Of this glory in all its fulness and extent, he was now to resume the possession. In the presence of his beloved followers, whose faith, once wavering, was now as immovable as complete conviction produced by the Spirit could make it; and while in the impressive act of pouring out his benediction on those whom he had chosen and qualified as the heralds of salvation, he was parted from them,' and ascended a triumphant conqueror to his everlasting kingdom. Their eyes, it is true, could not follow their glorious Lord to his throne; for while they beheld, a cloud received him out of their sight.' But that he did then enter into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us,' is proved by the promised descent of the Spirit on the day of pentecost, when the disciples were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.' Nevertheless, I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you. But if I depart,'-and he was now gone I will send him unto you.' And what is his office as the Sent of the King of Zion?
When the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come. cap--and all things that the Father hath are mine— He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you.' The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound there
‹ Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led tivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them,' Psal. lxviii. 18. of, but canst not tell whence it cometh, or whether OUR Lord, at his last appearance to his disciples, it goeth: so is every one that is born of the reminded them of the repeated intimations which Spirit.' The operation is invisible, but its effects he had given them of the sufferings' wherewith are visible; for the fruit of the Spirit is love, his life of humiliation was to be closed, and of joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, the glory that was to follow.' He blessed them faith, meekness, temperance: against such there with the most satisfactory knowledge of the pre- is no law; and they who are Christ's, have dictions of the Old Testament as applicable to crucified the flesh, with the affections and himself, the end of the law for righteousness,' lusts.' These are the gifts which Jesus having and pointed out the necessity which there was purchased by his death, received for men,' when for their exact accomplishment, that the decreeshe ascended on high leading captivity captive,' of the Almighty might be executed, his justice and these are the very graces which the Spirit, vindicated, his mercy exalted, and his word have one with the Father and the Son, bestows on free course, and be glorified,' Luke xxiv. 45—the called according to his purpose.' It will 53. The guilt of God's elect had been expiated, tend greatly to exalt and sanctify our conceptions and 'a new and living way opened into the of the Redeemer's love to consider, and with parholiest of all.' Jesus, 'the resurrection and the ticular reference to ourselves, what they were life,' had been declared to be the Son of God for whom he has procured, at the expense of his with power, and became the first-fruits of them own blood, such astonishing, unspeakable, and that slept.' 'I have glorified thee on the earth; unperishable blessings. They were ‘rebellious' I have finished the work which thou gavest me in open hostility to their rightful Sovereign, to do: and now, O Father, glorify me with thine trampling on his laws, and setting his power at ownself, with that glory which I had with thee defiance. But he girded his sword upon his
and his tongue in our despondency encouraged us to trust in the Lord? The very name of such a generous friend must be ever dear to us, and his form, with all its attractions, ever before us. And if such are our feelings to a benefactor for blessings which perish in the using, what love, warm, burning, sin-subduing love is due to that Saviour, who has secured for us justifying righteousness, and a far more exceeding, even an eternal weight of glory.' O that we were authorised to say individually, 'Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.'
thigh,' he the most mighty, with his glory and his majesty. And in his majesty he rode prosperously, because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness, and his right hand taught him terrible things. His arrows were sharp: the people fell under him. Omnipotent grace has conquered. Their weapons of war are thrown down, and they who lately asked proudly, who is the Lord that we should serve him? are now the believing, unyielding supporters of that government which they so very recently attempted to overthrow. And for what end has the Captain of the Lord's host' become so glorious in power? For what purpose has the eternal Spirit' wrought so irresistibly? That the Lord God,' the adorable. Trinity in unity, might dwell among them.' Are we then filled with love to God, when we 'Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be view him thus exercising towards us his unwearied a Prince and a Saviour, for to gire repentance loving-kindness, and his never-ceasing tender mercies? And do we really feel that if this principle to Israel, and forgiveness of sins,' Acts v. 31. did not spread its influence over our souls, and THE apostles, in consequence of their adherence to draw us, with the bands of a man,' to love the cause of Christ, and their determination to him who first loved us, and gave himself for us, preach salvation by his blood, had been imprisoned we should stand convicted of the most revolting by command of the high priest, and miraculously ingratitude by which our characters can be delivered by an angel. Immediately on their degraded, and could have no communion with release, they were found in the temple, as devothim on earth, and no share of his purchased edly engaged in their holy vocation' as ever. blessings, as these blessings are dispensed to his They were again apprehended, though without faithful servants in his own kingdom? Let us violence,' for their persecutors 'feared the people, remember also that the important design which lest they should have been stoned, and brought the God of all grace intends to accomplish by in and set before the council.' 'Did we not distinguishing us so remarkably by his goodness, straitly command you,' said the imperious presiis to lead us to himself, that we may serve him dent, that ye should not teach in this name, acceptably with reverence and godly fear.' Let and behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your our conversation then be in heaven from whence doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood we look for the Saviour.' Let us earnestly pray upon us.' But Jesus had breathed on his amthat that mind may be in us which was also in bassadors, saying, Receive ye the Holy Ghost,' Christ Jesus,' who fulfilled all righteousness,' and they were far superior to the fear of man. and is calling upon us, from his throne of glory, The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye to follow him by the way which he hath con- slew, and hanged on a tree.' You acted from the secrated, to the abodes of everlasting rest. He worst motives, and to gratify the worst passions; beholds in our lives, directed by his Spirit, of but God over-ruled all for the advancement of his the travail of his soul and is satisfied.' He died own glory; and employed you as the instruthat he might redeem us from the curse to which ments to do whatsoever his hand and his counsin exposed us. and to make us a willing people sel determined before to be done.' The very Jesus in the day of his power.' He lives as our inter- whom ye mocked, and scourged, and crucified, as cessor, that being made partakers of the Holy' an evil-doer,' even him hath God exalted with Ghost, we may, 'by a patient continuance in well- his right hand as Mediator, to be a Prince and a doing, seek for glory, honour, and immortality.' Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, and the Has a fellow-mortal conferred on us important forgiveness of sins.' Christ was despised, and favours of which we had no expectation, and to rejected of men;' but God hath highly exalted which we could lay no claim? Has he by his him, and given him a name above every name, that counsel enabled us to bear with patient minds at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and the pressure of misfortune, or by his beneficence every tongue confess, that he is Lord, to the caused our dejected spirits to sing for joy? Has glory of God the Father.' He rose from the his hand smoothed the bed of our languishing, dead; he ascended on high, leading captivity