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unviolated, and his holiness untarnished, Janew unto good works, that we may be the and all the high attributes of his eternal and workmanship of God in Christ Jesus our unchangeable nature unimpaired, to hold Lord. These are the leading and essential out forgiveness to the world,--that propi- peculiarities of the New Testament. This tiation was made through the blood of his is the truth of Christ; though to the geneown son, even that God might be just, ral mind of the world it is the truth of while the justifier of them who believe in Christ in a mystery. These are the paraJesus. It is to make it possible for man to bles which the commissioned messengers love the Being whom nature taught him to of grace are to deal out to the sinful children hate and to fear, that God now lifts, from of Adam,-and dark as they may appear, his mercy-seat, a voice of the most beseech- or disgusting as they may sound in the ears ing tenderness, and smiles upon the world of those who think that they are rich, and as God in Christ, reconciling the world unto have need of nothing, they are the very arhimself, and not imputing unto them their ticles upon which hope is made to beam trespasses. It was utterly to shift the moral on the heart of a converted sinner,-and constitution of our minds,--an achievement peace is restored to him, and acceptance beyond any power of humanity, that the with God is secured by the terms of an unSaviour, after he died and rose again, obtained alterable covenant,--and the only effecthe promise of the Father, even that Spirit, tive instruments of a vital and substantial through whom alone the fixed and radical reformation are provided; so that he who disease of nature can be done away. And before was dead in trespasses and sins is thus, by the ministration of the baptism of quickened together with Christ, and made the Holy Ghost, does he undertake not only alive unto God, and renewed again after to improve but to change us,-not only to his image, and enabled to make constant repair but to re-make us--not only to progress in all the graces of a holy and amend our evil works, but to create us spiritual obedience.
“If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean: Yet shalt thou plange me in the
ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me. For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any day's-man betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both."-Job ix. 30-33.
To the people of every Christian coun-levidence of that practical ascendency which try the doctrine of a Mediator between God Christian truth is sure to exert over the and man is familiarized by long possession; heart and the habits of every genuine bethough to many of them it be nothing more liever. than the familiarity of a name recognized. In the midst of all that dimness, and all as a well-known sound by the ear, without this indolence about the realities of salvasending one fruitsul or substantial thought tion, it is refreshing to view the workings into the understanding. For, let it be ob- of a mind that is in earnest; and of a mind served, that the listless acquiescence of the too, which, instead of being mechanically mind in a doctrine, to the statement or to carried forward in the track of a prescribed the explanation of which it has been long or authoritative orthodoxy, is prompted to habituated, is a very different thing from all its aspirations by a deep feeling of guilt, the actual hold which the mind takes of the and of necessity. Such we conceive to hav doctrine,-insomuch that it is very possible been the mind of Job, to whom the docfor a man to be a lover of orthodoxy, and trine of a Redeemer had not been explicitly to sit with complacency under its ministers, unfolded, but who seems at times to have and to be revolted by the heresies of those been favoured with a prophetic glimpse of who would either darken or deny any of him through the light of a dim and distant its articles,--and, in a word, to be most te-futurity. 'The state of his body, covered as nacious in his preference for that form of it was with disease, makes him an object words to which he has been accustomed ; of sympathy. But there is a still deeper while to the meaning of the words them- and more attractive sympathy excited by selves, the whole man is in a state of entire the state of his soul, labouring under the dormancy; and delighted though he really visitation of a hand that was too heavy for be by the utterance of the truth, exhibits him ; called out to combat with God, and not in his person, or in his history, one struggling to maintain it; at one time, che
Par s, and
tempted to measure the justice of his cause la mistaken efficacy should be ascribed to with the righteousness of Heaven's dis- snow water, in the country of Job's resipensations; at another, closing his com-dence, where snow, if ever it fell at all, plaint with the murmurs of a despairing ac- must have fallen rarely, at very extraordiquiescence; and at length brought, through nary seasons, and in the more elevated parts all the varieties of an exercised and agitated of his neighbourhood. This rarity, added spirit, to submit himself to God, and to re- to its unsullied whiteness, might have given pent in dust and in ashes,
currency to an idea of its efficacy as a puriThere is a darkness in the book of Job. fier, beyond what actually belonged to it. He, at one time, under the soreness of his certain it is, too, that snow water, like calamity, gives way to impatience; and, at water deposited from the atmosphere, in another, he seems to recall the hasty utter- any other form, does not possess that hardance of his more distempered moments. (ness which is often to be met with in spring He, in one place, fills his mouth with argu- water. But however this be, and whether ments; and, in another, he appears willing the popular notion of the purifying virtues to surrender them all, and to decline the of snow water, taken up by Job, be well unequal struggle of man contending with founded or not, we have here an expedient his Maker. He is evidently oppressed suggested for making the hands clean, and throughout by a feeling of want, without the man pure and acceptable in the sight of the full understanding of an adequate or an God,-a method proposed within the reach appropriate remedy. Now, it does give a of man, and which man can perform, for higher sense of the value of this remedy, making himself an object of complacency when we are made to witness the unsatis- to his Maker; a method, too, which is quite fied longings of one who lived in a dark and effectual for beautifying all that meets the early period of the world, -when we hear discernment of the outward eye, and which him telling, as he does in these verses, l is here set before us as connected with the where the soreness lies, and obscurely object of gaining the eye of that high and guessing at the ministration that is suited heavenly Witness, with whom we have to to it,--nor do we know a single passage of do. This is what we understand to be rethe Bible which carries home with greater presented by washing with snow water. effect the necessity of a Mediator, than that it comprehends all that man can do for where Job, on his restless bed, is set before washing himself, and for making himself us, wearying himself in the hopeless task of clean in the sight of God. Job complains arguing with God, and calling for some of the fruitlessness of this expedient, and day's-man betwixt them who might lay his perhaps mingles with his complaints the hand upon them both.
reproaches of a spirit that was not yet subThe afflictions which were heaped upon dued to entire acquiescence in the righteJob made him doubt his acceptance with ousness of God. Let us try to examine his Maker. This was the great burden of this matter, and, if possible, ascertain whehis complaint, and the recovery of this ac-ther man is able, on the utmost stretch of ceptance was the theme of many a fruit- his powers and of his performances, to make less and fatiguing speculation. We have himself an object of approbation to his one of these speculations in the verses Judge. which are now submitted to you; and as Without entering into the metaphysical they are four in number, so there is such a controversy about the extent or the freedom distinction in the subjects of them, that the of human agency, let it be observed, that pássage naturally resolves itself into four there is a plain and a popular understanding separate topics of illustration. In the 30th on the subject of what man can do and of Verse, we have an expedient proposed by what he cannot do. We wish to proceed Job, for the pupose of obtaining the accept- l on this understanding for the present, and afice which he longed after: "If I wash to illustrate it by a few examples. Should myself with snow water, and make my it be asked, if a man can keep his hands bands never so clean.” In the 31st verse, from stealing, it would be the unhesitating We have the inefficacy of this expedient;l answer of almost every one that he can do "Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and (it,--and if he can keep his tongue from mine own clothes shall abhor me.” In the lying, that he can do it, -and if he can con32 verse, he gives the reason of this ineffi- strain his feet to carry him every Sabbath cacy; "For he is not man, as I am, that I to the house of God, that he can do this should answer him, and we should come also,---and if he can tithe his income, or together in judgment.” And in the 33d even reducing himself to the necessaries of Verse, he intimates to us the right expedient, life, make over the mighty sacrifice of all under the form of complaining that he him- the remainder to the poor, that it is certainly self has not the benefit of it: “Neither is possible for him to do it, and if he can there any day's-man betwixt us, that might keep a guard upon his lips, so that not one lay his hand upon us both.”
whisper of malignity shall escape from 1. It is not to be wondered at, that even I them, that he can also prescribe this task to
himself, and is able to perform it,--and if over my organs of sense, as to command a he can read much of his Bible, and utter liking, or a taste for the performance. The many prayers in private, that he can do it, illustration is homely; but it is enough for
--and if he can assemble his family on the our purpose, if it be effective. I may acmorning and the evening of every day, and complish the doing of what God bids; but go through the worship of God along with have no pleasure in God himself. The forthem, that all this he can do,-that all this cible constraining of the hand, may make lies within the compass of human agency. Jout many a visible act of obedience, but the
Let any one map do, then, what all men relish of the heart may refuse to go along think it possible for him to do, and he will with it. The outer man may be all in a wear upon his person the visible exhibition bustle about the commandments of God, of much to recommend him to the favoura-, while to the inner man God is an offence ble judgment of his fellows. He will be and a weariness. His neighbours may look guilty of no one transgression against the at him, and all that their eye can reach may peace and order of society. He will be cor- be as clean as snow-water can make it. But rect, and regular, and completely inoffen- the eye of God reaches a great deal farther. sive. He will contribute many a deed of He is the discerner of the thoughts and inpositive beneficence to the welfare of those tents of the heart, and he may see the foularound him; and may even, on the strength ness of spiritual idolatry in every one of its of his many decencies, and many observa- receptacles. The poor man has no more tions, hold out an aspect of religiousness to conquered his rebellious affections, than he the general eye of the world. There will has conquered his distaste for wormwood. be a wide and most palpable distinction of He may fear God; he may listen to God; character between him, and those who, at and, in outward deed, may obey God. But large from the principle of self-control, re- he does not, and he will not, love God; and sign themselves to the impulse of every while he drags a heavy load of tasks, and present temptation; and are either intem- duties, and observances after him, he lives perate, or dishonest, or negligent of ordi- in the hourly violation of the first and nances, just as habit, or the urgency of their greatest of the commandments. feelings and their circumstances, may hap-1 Would any parent among you count it pen to have obtained the ascendancy over enough that you obtained a service like this them. Those do not what they might, and from one of your children? Would you what, in common estimation, they can do; be satisfied with the obedience of his hand, and it is just because the man has put forth while you knew that the affections of his all his strenuousness to the task of accom- heart were totally away from you? Let plishing all that he is able for, that he looks every one requirement, issued from the so much more seemly than those who are chair of parental authority, be most rigidly beside him, and holds out a far more en- and punctually done by him, would not the gaging display of what is moral and praise- sullenness of his alienated countenance turn worthy to all his acquaintances.
the whole of it into bitterness? It is the II. I will not be able to convince you heart of his son which the parent longs afhow superficial the reformation of all these ter; and the lurking distaste and disaffection doings is, without passing on to the 31st which rankle there, can never, never be verse, and proving, that in the pure eye of made up by such an obedience, as the God the man who has made the most co- yoked and the tortured negro is compelled pious application in his power of snow- to yield to the whip of the overseer. The water to the visible conduct, may still be an service may be done ; but all that can iniobject of abhorrence; and that if God enter | nister satisfaction in the principle of the into judgment with him, he will make him service, may be withheld from it; and appcar as one plunged in the ditch, his though the very last item of the bidden perrighteousness as filthy rags, and himself as formance is rendered, this will neither mend an unclean thing. There are a thousand the deformity of the unnatural child, nor things which, in popular and understood soothe the feelings of the aftlicted and the language, man can do. It is quite the general mortified father. sentiment, that he can abstain from stealing,' God is the Father of spirits; and the and lying, and calumny,--that he can give willing subjection of the spirit is that which of his substance to the poor, and attend he requires of us. “My son, give me thy church, and pray, and read his Bible, and heart;" and if the heart be withheld, God keep up the worship of God in his family. says of all our visible performances, "To But, as an instance of distinction between what purpose is the multitude of your sacriwhat he can do, and what he cannot do, let fices unto me?" The heart is his requireus make the undoubted assertion, that he ment; and full, indeed, is the title which he can eat wormwood, and just put the ques-prefers to it. He put life into us; and it is tion, if he can also relish wormwood. That he who hath drawn a circle of enjoyments, is a different affair. I may command the and friendships, and interests around us. performance; but have no such command | Every thing that we take delight in, is min
istered to us out of his hand. He plies us quiesce in what he reckons to be the ex-
of solitary prayer? The mind may have It is not easy to lay open the utter naked- enough to interest it in church; but does ness of the natural heart in reference to the secret exercise of fellowship with the God; or to convince the possessor of it, Father bring no distaste, and no weariness that, under the guise of his many plausi- along with it? Is it any thing more than bilities, there may lurk that which gives to the homage of a formal presentation ? And sin all its hideousness.
| when the business of devotion is thus unThe mere man of ordinances cannot ac- peopled of all its externals, and of all its
accessaries; when thus reduced to a naked | pentance, and called upon the people to exercise of spirit, can you appeal to the frame their doings, he told them of one longings, and the affections of that spirit, as mightier than he, who was to baptize with the essential proof of your godliness? And the Holy Ghost and with fire. do you never, on occasions like this, dis- And, Secondly, That you may be concover that which is in your hearts, and de- vinced of the utter necessity of such a baptect their enmity to him who formed them? |tism, let us affirm the inadequacy of all Do you afford no ground for the complaint the sairest virtues and accomplishments of which he uttered of old, when he said, nature. God has, for the well-being of “ Have I been a wilderness unto Israel, and society, provided man with certain feela land of darkness?" and do you not per-ings and constitutional principles of action, ceive that with this direction of your feel- which lead him to a conduct beneficial to ings and your desires away from the living those around him; to which conduct he God, though you be outwardly clean, as by may be carried by the impulse of these the operation of snow water, he may plunge principles, with as little reference to the you in the ditch, and make your own clothes will of God, as a mother, among the into abhor you.
ferior animals, when constrained by the We shall conclude this part of our sub- sweet and powerful infinences of natural ject with two observations.
affection, to guard the safety, and provide First. The efforts of nature may, in point for the nourishment of her young. Take of inadequacy, be compared to the applica- account of these principles as they exist in tion of snow water. Yet there is a practical the bosom of man, and you there find commischief here, in which the zeal of contro- passion for the unfortunate; the shame of versy, bent on its one point, and its one detection in any thing mean, or disgraceprinciple, may unconsciously involve us. ful; the desire of standing well in the We are not, in pursuit of any argument opinion of his fellows; the kindlier chariwhatever, to lose sight of efforts. We are ties, which shed a mild and a quiet lustre not to deny them the place, and the im- over the walks of domestic life; and those portance which the Bible plainly assigns to wider principles of patriotism and public them; nor are we to forbear insisting upon usefulness which, combined with an appetheir performance by men, previous to con- tite for distinction, will raise a few of the version, and in the very act of conversion, more illustrious of our race to some high and in every period of the progress, how- and splendid career of beneficence. Now, ever far advanced it may be, of the new these are the principles which, scattered in creature in Jesus Christ our Lord. We various proportions among the individuals speak just now of men, previous to con- of human kind, gave rise to the varied hues version, and we call to your remembrance of character among them. Some possess the exainple of John the Baptist. The in-them in no sensible degree; and they are judicious way in which the doings of men pointed at with abhorrence, as the most have been spoken of, has had practically monstrous and deformed of the species. this effect on many an inquirer. Since do-Others have an average share of them; ing is of so little consequence, let us even and they take their station amongst the abstain from it. Now the forerunner of common-place characters of society. And Christ spake a very different language. He others go beyond the average; and are unceasingly called upon the people to do; singled out from amongst their fellows, as and this was the very preaching which the the kind, the amiable, the sweet-tempered, divine wisdom appointed as a preparation the upright, whose hearts swell with honfor the Saviour. “He that hath two coats, ourable feeling, or whose pulse bcats high let him impart to him that hath none; and in the pride of integrity. he that hath meat, let him do likewise." Now, conceive for a moment, that the “ Exact no more than that which is ap- belief of a God were to be altogether expointed.”_" Do violence to no man; neither punged from the world. We have no doubt accuse any falsely, and be content with that society would suffer most painfully in your wages." Was not John, then, it may its temporal interests by such an event. be said, a mere superficial reformer? Had But the machine of society might still be he stopped short at this, he would have kept up; and on the face of it you might been no better. His teaching could have still meet with the same gradations of chadone no more than, is done by the mere racter, and the same varied distribution of application of snow water. But he did not praise, among the individuals who compose stop here. He told the people that there it. Suppose it possible, that the world could was a preacher and a preaching to come be broken off from the system of God's adafter him, in comparison of which he and ministration altogether; and that he were to his sermons were nothing. He pointed the consign it, with all its present accommodaeye and the expectation of his hearers full tions, and all its natural principles, to some upon one that was greater than himself; | far and solitary place, beyond the limits of and, while he baptized with water unto re-/ his economy--we should still find ourselves