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comfortable and as blest as possible. This is the true character of God as represented to us by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Read the Scripture; "Moreover the law entered that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom. v. 20. 21.
Sin was never the occasion of any enmity in God towards mankind. This is easily perceived. "God manifested his love to us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." Rom. v. 8. Now, God could not manifest love that he did not possess. He must have loved us while we were yet sinners, or he would not have sent us such a blessing as is Christ. Again, Christ says, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son," &c. And so love is the author of every other gift. The idea, then, that God entertains wrath towards mankind, is erroneous, and always has been erroneous. "But" says the objector, "according to this doctrine, it certainly matters not what we do; for if God is to be our friend while we transgress his law, as well as our friend while we obey his law, then it is no matter whether we obey or transgress." This is a mistake most injurious to community. Must we believe that because God has no enmity towards us, it is no matter whether we obey him or not? This is most injurious to soci ety; and I will apply this doctrine to your family government. When a child disobeys you, must you persuade that child, that on account of its disobedience, you are its enemy, or say to the child, it is no matter what it does? You know you love the child though it disobeys you, but is it no mat
ter what the child does? This is not the fact. It is necessary the child should obey the parent. For what? Because your requirement of obedience embraces the happiness of the child, and the child cannot be happy in disobedience. Man can never be blest without obedience, but he is blest in obedience, and in obedience alone.
The love the father of the prodigal had towards the prodigal, was the same. It was the same when the prodigal returned, as it was before he went aBut would you say, if that father still loved the child, it was no matter what the child did? That it was no matter what disobedience it was guilty of? This is a wrong sentiment and tends to the injury of society. "Know ye not that it is the goodness of God that leadeth you to repentence?" Rom. i 4. Is it not gratitude to God that forms the basis of religion and devotion? Shall we teach man to worship him from slavish fear? Shall we not rather say as St. Paul does in his argument to the Romans; "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the merices of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Rom. xii. 1
He besought them by the mercy, not by the tyrany, wrath and vindictive justice of God. He besought them by the mercies of our heavenly Father, in all the simplicity of a friend going into your house, and saying, "Children, I beseech you by the tenderness, by the kindness, and by the compassion of your parents to obey them, and devote yourself entirely to their wisdom, experience, and knowledge.
It is desirable to look into the scriptures to see what they require us to believe. When men write creeds, they write many articles; but Jesus Christ
says; "Believe in God; believe also in me." That seems to be the whole faith. What is this belief? To believe in God, as the allwise author of our being, and in Jesus Christ as our deliverer from sin and death. Believe in this, and believe in the whole extent of it, and believe God is destitute of partiality and of any power to make this division among the human family, as he is represented as the father of all, and you will enter into rest. The moment you believe this doctrine you have peace, You will not serve him because you are afraid of torment, but because you love him-because you have peace and enjoyment in obeying the commandments and requirements of God. It is a false notion that it is no matter what we do if God loves us; because all that God has done for man, stands up as evidence of God-as evidence of his goodness and immutable nature, and stands as an inducement to us to honor and glorify our maker. Let us observe, the blessings of faith must be enjoyed while faith lasts. The christian church expects to receive blessings in the future world as a reward and compensation for its faith in this. Here is a strange notion. My friends, you must enjoy the blessings of your faith while you have your faith; and you must suffer the consequence of your unbelief while your unbelief lasts.
As I have just time to represent this in a simile, simple and natural, I will suppose that some poor creature in the circle of the society in which you move, should believe that the sun will never rise again, nor glorify the day, nor any longer give light to the world, and this gloomy soul should persuade many others to think the same. The rest of society believe that the sun will rise as he did this morning, and pass on as he always has done. Now,
how long are you to be blessed in consequence of believing the promises of God, that day and night shall continue? When do you receive that blessing? During the light? No, not after the sun rises, because then it has come. On the other hand, when are those tormented, who are in unbelief? It is impossible they can be tormented with unbelief when they see the sun rise. The inconvenience of unbelief must be only during the night; for the moment the evidence of a glorious morning appears, and the sun begins to shine, their gloom and unbelief are dissipated together, and they break out in joy and acclamations of satisfaction. The words of St. Paul are applicable to this subject; "What if some did not believe? shall the unbelief of man, make the faith of God of no effect? God forbid." God is just as good, my brethren, when men are unbelievers, as when they are believers, but by believing we enter into enjoyment. We believe the testimony of the gospel through which our blessed Savour has brought life and immortality to light, not created it, but brought it to light— he has manifested it, and we believe in this state of life and immortality. We do not expect immortality because we believe, but peace of soul. And, my dear friends, if you believe in the unchangeable, impartial kindness of God towards the human family, and in the resurrection of his Son, our Saviour, from the dead, and that he is made unto us, wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification; while you believe in this, you will enter into rest, and enjoy peace and comfort, by that belief.
And now, may God Almighty grant that we may duly appreciate the blessings bestowed upon us, enter into rest, and enjoy all the sweets, comforts, and consolations of the gospel of peace.
JAMES I. 25.
BUT WHOSO LOOKETH INTO THE PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY, AND CONTINUETH THEREIN, HE BEING NOT A FORGETFUL HEARER, BUT A DOER OF THE WORK, THIS MAN SHALL BE BLESSED IN HIS DEED.
A description of the perfect law of liberty is the first subject to which the attention of the hearer is invited. Though it has pleased our heavenly Father to reveal himself in a vast variety of forms or methods, yet in all his dispensations he is the same being and is possessed of the same character; and though at different periods he may have instituted different rites and ceremonies, as the means whereby the people should exercise themselves in holiness, and in the spirit of divine worship, he was always the same and must ever remain the same; and though different names are given to different dispensations recorded in the scriptures, yet the law of the All-wise Creator never has varied, and never can vary. God, being the Father of all ra tional, intelligent beings, has but one unchangeable law, by which to govern them, and that law is the law mentioned in the text. We hear of the law given to the house of Israel, by the mediator of the first covenant, and we read of the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus. My brethren and friends, these are the same laws; for the law of Moses is all summed up and explained in these