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most lovely—the plague of an evil heart must be acknowledged ; sin must be felt, must be deplored, must be confessed before God, or the great work is undone, the Saviour is not clearly seen, the reconciliation to God is not effected.
My brethren, I would beseech you to apply this to your own souls. Have you ever enjoyed, do you now enjoy, such a sight of your Redeemer, by the eye of faith, as compels you to confess your sinfulness, and to cry for pardon ; to acknowledge from your heart “that you have left undone those things which you ought to have done, and you have done those things which you ought not to have done, and there is no health in you ?" If this has never yet been the language of your soul, be assured that you have not seen him, neither known him. “You may have heard of him by the hearing of the ear,” but you cannot say, “ Now mine eye seeth thee.”
O! seek unceasingly
for this spiritual vision ; pray that you may be able to say,
6. Whereas I was blind, now I see.” It is the sight of Jesus which, speaking not from the experience of an individual, but from the testimony of all ages of the church of Christ, alone possesses a converting efficacy here--it is the same blissful sight which shall alone possess a transforming efficacy hereafter ; for mark the testimony of inspiration itself to this important truth : “ Now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be ; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him ; POR we shall see him as he is.” 6
No sooner had Peter made the confession of which we have been speaking, than we read that Jesus said unto him, “Simon, fear not, from henceforth thou shall catch men: And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.”
61 John iii, 2.
Observe in these words the two-fold lesson they impart; the tenderness of the Saviour-" Fear not;" the obedience of the new disciple—“ He forsook all, and followed Jesus.” When we speak to you of a Saviour, blessed be God, we speak of a being unchanged and unchangeable, “the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.” Were these his words to Peter ? and are they not, then, assuredly his words to you? Yes; even to you, and to your children, to the end of time. There is not an individual to whom I now address myself, who has ever said, or who shall ever say, from the bottom of a broken and contrite heart, “I am a sinful man, O Lord;" to whom that Lord shall not reply, “Fear not.” How blessed an assurance to the truly penitent ! how comforting a declaration to the sorrowful soul! Are
you saying, with the deeply repentant Psalmist, “ There is no soundness in my flesh, because of thine anger; neither is there
any rest in my bones, by reason of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head : as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me to bear."? Then hear the reply of that gracious Being to whom you complain—" Fear not ?” “ though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool : “ for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.' Are you not only deploring the guilt of your sins, but lamenting at the same time the weakness of your faith? " Fear not,” says the all-powerful and compassionate Redeemer, “my grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness."! Be assured, therefore, upon
9 the testimony of that revealed word which cannot alter, and shall not fail, though heaven and earth shall
pass away ; be assured upon this evidence, that the believing penitent has no ground
7 Psalm xxxviii. 3, 4. 8 Isa. i. 18.
9 2 Cor. xii. 9.
for fear; that the same Saviour addresses you, at this hour, in the same accents of tenderness and compassion, which he addressed eighteen hundred years ago to Peter ; and that His pardon, His grace,
, His glory, are your own.
Fall low before his feet, as Peter did, with a humble and a contrite spirit; plead before His throne of grace with the out-pourings of a full heart, and He will raise you as he did this convicted sinner, and be Himself your portion for time and for eternity.
But, my Christian brethren, we may not finish here ; the love of the Saviour is indeed infinite, and unutterable, and entire; but remember that he is "become the author of eternal salvation unto all them ” only " that obey him."! “ Peter forsook all, and followed Jesus.” Are you endeavouring to imitate so exalted an example ? to forsake, not a portion of that which is offensive to the
1 Heb. v. 9.