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sins.” We turn from these mysteries, and say, “ In him we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins ;" and “ besides him there is no Saviour;" “ for there is none other name given under heaven amongst men whereby we can be saved.” Brethren, a man may be saved without understanding all the mysteries of natural theology; but if a man believe not in the Lord Jesus Christ, he cannot be saved; “ for he that believeth shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Wherefore I take God to record this day, that, profound as have been the mysteries at which we have dared to look, I am clear of your blood, as it regards your final salvation, since I have preached to you the cross of Christ. And, whilst this cross is to the Jew a stumbling block, and to the Greek foolishness; whilst they scorn and despise its simplicity; whilst they consider it an object rather of meanness and contempt; to them that believe, whether Jew or Greek, whether Barbarian or Scythian, whether black or white, whether bond or free, Asiatic or European; to every one that believeth in England and in India,-round the well-peopled world ; to them that believe it is the power of God and the wisdom of God, whosoever he is that cries, “ Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief !”
Learn patience. It may be dark now, but it shall be bright by and bye. This night of time will soon be over, and then the day of eternity will dawn! And in that day, who can tell, when the light of eternity is shed over the scenes of time, the mysteries of providence, the dispensations of grace, and your vision shall be strengthened, and your powers of perception be exalted to an extent hitherto unknown: who can tell what wonders we shall then behold, when studying the cross of Christ at the foot of the eternal throne, and looking back at the glories of the exalted Redeemer, that shall surround us and fill us with ineffable delight, on the sufferings of his cross, and the ignominy of his earthly pilgrimage.
Finally, learn submission. Pry not into the secrets of the Almighty! neither dare to meddle with his arrangements! Shall I give you some reasons why you should submit to the arrangements of God's holy providence? First, then, they are perfect and complete, and you cannot improve them. Secondly, they are infinite and vast, and you cannot understand them. In the third place, they are fixed and immutable, and you cannot alter them. And, finally, they are framed for the government of the divine conduct, and not yours; and therefore you have nothing to do with them. It is your business, it is your busniess, to obey. “ Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” — AMEN.
DELIVERED BY THE REV. DR. STYLES, OF BRIGHTON.
JUDGES, iii, part of the 20th verse.I have a Message from
God unto thee."
You will favor me with your attention whilst I address you this evening as the Messenger of your God,-standing before you under this character I feel my awful responsibility. There is a heavy woe denounced against me, if I do the work of the Lord deceitfully; if I refrain from declaring His whole Counsel. Hear what He has said to one of His servants. “Son of Man, I have made thee a Watchman unto the house of Israel, therefore hear the word of my mouth and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked thou shalt surely die, and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way to save his life, the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity, but thou hast delivered thy Soul.” How mysterious is the import of the blood of Souls !—I know not how to feel it!—I know that the Soul of Man is not a corporeal substance,—that it is not capable of receiving a mortal termination. The sensations inflicted on being accessory to the death of Souls. I assure you my brethren make the very blood to curdle in my veins;—but my sensations on this subject are not the only feelings which I now cherish, for I remember that you are in danger, and I feel compassion for your misery. It is possible, it is but too probable, that there are individuals in this assembly who at the last day will hear that tremendous sentence pronounced against them, “Depart, ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels.” Now when I reflect upon the uncertainty of life, that you are hastening with all the rapidity of time to this dreadful tribunal,--I am sure you will bear with me, if, on this occasion, I am more than usually earnest; concerned as I am for my acceptance at the bar of God, I cannot help feeling a lively interest in your welfare; and if ever I prayed in my life, I do pray at this moment, I do pray that I should preach as though I ne'er should preach again, and as a dying Man to dying Men!-By reading my text, you will see that it was uttered on a peculiar occasion, and that I have chosen it, as applicable to the peculiar character in which I stand before you. Every faithful sermon delivered from the pulpit, is a message from the great God, for I do not stand here because I have placed myself in the situation uncalled; Woe is me, if I preach not the Gospelnecessity is laid upon me, and I have a message from Godma message to you.
great God; for uncalled; Woe is me have a message
For the sake of perspicuity, and that I may have an opportunity of addressing every character apart, I shall divide my hearers into five classes, and address a Message from God unto each:-To the CHRISTIAN I have a Message of exhortation and encouragement:
To the BACKSLIDER a message of tenderness:
To the CARELESS SINNER my message regards sin, righteousness and judgment:
To the INFIDEL it is a message of expostulation and to the HYPOCRITE a message of warning. May God, the Eternal Spirit, point the arrow of conviction, that it may reach every conscience, every heart, and that there may be some trophies of His victory, some evidence that He has not sent His messengers to labor in vain, and spend their strength for nought.
CHRISTIAN I have a message from God unto you, it is of exhortation and encouragement. Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are frequently exhorted by the different writers of the New Testament; they have line upon line, and precept upon precept;-We find that they not only address sinners by reminding them to "flee from the wrath to come,” and to believe in Christ, but to Christians it it said “As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him." Can you not remember that momentous and interesting period, when you first received Christ Jesus the Lord?What simplicity of mind did you display?-you had but one object; it filled the whole compass of your mind; there was but one subject that attracted your Soul, and commanded all your affections; it was “Christ and Him Crucified”—What a deadness did you discover to the world—Did it frown, you were superior to itDid it smile and surround you with every encouragement, it had lost its accustomed charms, and you felt the mighty influence of Divine Love: you were neither intimidated with opposition, nor elated by applause. With what ardor, with what vigilance did you pursue the road to Heaven and Glory; you were ready to say in the face of every obstacle, hinder me not, I have one great thing to do, I must "Strive to enter in at the straight gate," I have to advance in the Divine Life, the Bible points me to a glorious inmortality, and I must “press forward to the mark of my high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”—Christian, do you not recollect such a character as this?—Cannot you call to mind some seasons of impression resembling what I have now described?—Then what is my message to you,—to all of you that have believed in the Lord Jesus?“As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him?-You are to advance, your ardor is not to abate, nor your zeal to cool; The earth is not to attract you; the things of Time are not to plead their importance;-You have set out, do not return; go on with the greatest zeal, and aim I beseech you at exemplary religion;—Never for one moment suffer your feelings to deaden, never suffer yourselves to be deprived of the holy ambition (if I may so call it) of going from strength to strength ;-do not wish to go unobstructed to Heaven ; do not desire to sit down contented, because you have some good hope that Heaven will be your portion; at least let it be your ambition to have an entrance ministered unto you abundantly into the Everlasting Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Be not saved as a wreck amongst rocks and quicksands and dangers, but get into the haven like a gallant ship, with every sail unfurled !-Yes, cherish the religion of the closet, converse often with your own heart, and hold communion with your God. Be exemplary in domestic religion, be an example to all around you, be regular in your attendances on ordinances; Wound not the heart of your minister, let him not have reason to mourn on your account, but may he joy over you, with joy unspeakable and full of glory. I could willingly dwell on this part of the subject, for I am sure you would suffer the word of exhortation, for I remember that in this life you are the subject of many trials; you are exposed to many difficulties, and though the ways of religion are pleasantness," yet there are many snares placed around your path; you frequently have reason to mourn in Spirit, and to cry out under the influence of temptation “O, wretched Man that Í am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death !”—The cares of the world perplex you; riches make to themselves wings and fly away ; Our dearest friends and relatives return to the dust from whence they were taken; your sorrows multiply with your years, and you sometimes say of human life, I loathe it, I loathe it, I would not live always !-but I have consolation for you—whatever may be the quality of your distress or the danger to which you may be exposed, I can as the Minister of God, afford you the richest consolation. God has offered you strength according to your day, He will sustain you, He will pour comfort into your souls ; if you are laden with heavy calamities or whatever may be your trials in this world, God can make them all work together for your Good, and you may justly reckon with the Apostle “ that the sufferings of this present life, are not worthy to be compared with the Glory that shall be revealed.” Every occurrence tends to your advantage, therefore your very sorrows are sanctified, they lay up for you a rich Harvest of Joy. Oh! yes, the time is coming, when you will look back on all the dangers which surrounded your path, and you will exult, rejoice and praise God for safe deliverance; you will admire His wisdom and grace that supported you. All is well, my friends, that ends well—This is the peculiar glory of that religion to which you have devoted yourselves, that whatever trials you may meet with in your progress, the end is Everlasting Glory; “ there is laid up for you an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled and that fadeth not away.”—Do you believe this ?-Yes, you do, but you are still appalled by the dangers and difficulties of the way.-Well, listen to what God has said—“fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed för I am your God.”—With such a promise as this in your hands, you can go even through the dark valley of the Shadow of Death.—Thousands of Christians have experienced this rich consolation, and why should you dispair ?-But what proportion of the present congregation can appropriate this part of my subject to themselves ?-How many genuine Christians are there, this night in the presence of God ?—There are some, no doubt, of a different character, and thus must I turn from the pleasing part of my duty, to one that is painful, and may God assist me, whilst I point out to the trembling BACKSLIDER, with feelings of affection, that he has dishonored the cause for which a Saviour died. Willingly would he sink into nothing and call upon some impenetrable shade to hide him ; he knows that the eye of God is upon him ; he has painful feelings in his own breast,” return ye backsliding children for I am married unto you, saith the Lord.”—There is more compassion and attention paid to a poor backslider in the bible, than to any other description of character. God seems to lay aside all His severity, all the just indignation which He might inflict upon them, in order to woo the wanderer, and solicit his return. How tender are His expostulations! Can you read the 2nd. chapter of Jeremiah without very peculiar impressions ?When you hear God addressing the Backslider thus, “Hast thou not procured all this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, when He led thee by the way? And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor ? Or what hast thou to do in the ways of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river? Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know, therefore, and see, that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts." Surely He did not deserve this at thine hand. When He was walking with thee, and thou wast coming up out of the wilderness leaning on thy beloved amidst so much danger, what could possess thee to do so ? Hast thou not procured all these feelings of wretchedness unto thyself. There is a natural timidity in guilt, a child who has offended a kind father dreads his displeasure, and though his soul yearns to experience his forgiveness, he durst not venture to ask it; some such feelings exist perhaps in the hearts of many a poor Backslider, who may be present this evening—but God has given you encouragement, and has sent me this Evening as His messenger, to tell you that if you will return, He will make no mention of the past, He will behold you with affection, He will cover your offences with the mantle of his love; His language is, “ Come now and let us reason together, though your Sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”