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thousand influences are constantly at work for thy welfare, without any trouble or anxiety, or even scarcely a wish of thine. The earth on which thou treadest is thy storehouse filled with good things, and constantly yielding thee nourishment from its bosom. The sun is thy companion to light thee to thy work, till thou art tired, and then he leads thee to rest, by bringing on the darkness of night, which is most favorably adapted to thy repose. To say the least, there are a thousand things adapted only to the gratification of man. Every season pours forth its peculiar treasures, and furnishes an agreeable variety, without which life would be tasteless and wearisome. And then, thou comest into the world full of disaffection to thy God; with a heart full of sin, and thou deservedest to die the moment thou didst enter the world; yet He spared thee-lengthened the days of thy life and brought thee up to man's estate; and though a thousand lessons have been furnished thee, and the tenderest care has watched over thy footsteps, whilst thou hast abused the goodness and forbearance of thy Maker by the most presumptuous crimes, and He might justly have stept forth in the midst of His vengeance-while a thousand voices have cried out again and again, Cut him down! Cut him down! Cut him down!-Yet He has spared thee, and has stood before thee with a shield, to guard off the fiery darts of Satan, and the stinging accusations of conscience, and the horrid recollections of guilt, and the direful anticipations of His wrath! How kind has he been to thee in keeping thee from gnawing cares and distressing solicitude, about a world which would otherwise have made thy life miserable; and He has given thee cheerfulness and filled thy heart with gladness above measure; and when thou was laid upon a bed of sickness, He has visited thee and restored thee to health again, and has given thee friends to cheer thee; and He has given thee talents-and talents and learning are His gifts; for great men are not always wise, neither do the aged understand Judgment.
Understanding does not come from labor and experience; but there is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding. All thy taste and thy mental acquirements came from Him; and this is what he has done to the meanest and poorest of you! Yes, you have lived upon the riches of His hand! He has likewise bestowed upon many of you the superfluities of life and riches,—or industry and skill to acquire them. O, may these things impress thy heart! Though thou art a traitor, and guilty of the foulest and blackest treason, He has spared thee, and loaded thee with favors, for this purpose, that they might all lead thee to repentance; and that thou mightest escape thy condemnation, and enjoy the unknown joys of the heavenly world.
Now then-gird up thy loins, and answer me like a man,-tell me, tell me what has been thy behaviour to this God?what
return hast thou made Him for all this goodness and forbearance, and long suffering,? I must go a little into this matter for thee! -hast thon not converted thy body into an instrument for sinning against Him?-thy tongue, the glory of thy frame,—has it not been used to insult His goodness, if not to blaspheme His name? —and thy money;-has it not been to feed thy lust and thy food;—I say, has it not made thee capable of sinning against Him in a more vigorous manner? long, long has He waited for thy repentance, and often hast thou promised Him repentance; but there has been nothing but broken resolutions on thy part, and frustrated expectations on His!-Now may He indeed say "judge now betwixt me and my vineyard; what could have been done more to my vineyard than I have done in it? Wherefore when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes."-Not only for three years, but for thirty, for forty, for fifty, and three score years, and ten, has He come to you, seeking fruit and finding none; and still you console yourself with the idea, that you will repent at last, and will give Him the dregs and the sediments of your life!—When you come to a state of perfect inanity, or, when you become a burthen to others, then you will give yourself to God! Is that the way you think of recompensing Him? Oh, foolish people and unwise! Do you thus requite the Lord?-Is He not your father and your friend? Surely you have sunk lower than all besides in nature!-There is in all things something of gratitude! We love them that love us! But why do we not then love God?—Why not serve Him ?—What makes us rebel against Him?-Is it His continued goodness to us?-As Christ said to the Jews "many good works have I done, for which of these do ye stone me?"-So may I say to you, “innumerable are the benefits which you have received from your heavenly maker;—for which of these do ye make so ungrateful a return?" Do not think that God has been indifferent and regardless of your sins!—No, they have pained Him to the very heart! He has often been displeased and sore vexed with you and grieved over you, when He has met you going to the scene of dissipation and debauchery! He has often been pained when He has met you in the way to the tavern and other resorts of sin, and His wrath has been roused, and His hand has been put forward to destroy you, but mercy has restrained Him and He has preserved you to the present hour! Do not, I say, think that God has been indifferent to your sins. No, but He has been long suffering, not willing that you should perish, but that you should come to repentance. He has devised means however if you do not repent to be fully avenged upon you. The apostle says in this verse, that every crime you have committed will treasure up wrath against you in the day of wrath; and why is it called the treasury of wrath? Simply because it is hidden-it is concealed-you know nothing of it-you have no idea at all of what is coming upon you if you
remain impenitent. No, it is a treasury of wrath hidden from you, but God knows it, He looks down from heaven, and He sees that your day is coming, that day when you will have to answer for all your sins. Oh! what then will you have to say? Will you appeal to mercy? Why it is that you have abused, that you have insulted all your life long!
Now I put the question to every individual here; I dare speak to every individual person; and I address it likewise, at the same time, to my own heart. "Despisest thou the goodness and forbearance and long-suffering of God, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance; but after thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up to thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God?"
I give thanks to God for the hope I have, that many in this congregation have been led to repent and forsake their sins; I make no apology to such for introducing this subject; I think the consideration of it is calculated to reduce sin more and more, and to affect the heart with emotions of gratitude and love towards the Lord. But there is one display of the goodness of God, which I have not touched upon, and which far exceeds all you have heard: I mean THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST. Oh, my hearers, it transcends all you have heard, and exposes more than all I have stated of the sinfulness and ingratitude of your conduct! But so comprehensive is this subject that I must transfer the consideration of it to a future occasion (if spared), when I hope to shew you the goodness of God in a much richer and far higher degree, in the gift of his own Son, as a ransom for our sins! But, I beseech you, pray to your Heavenly Father that the feeble description I have this morning given you of the goodness of God, may affect your minds. I can state but very imperfectly the tender mercies of God to each of you individually, but you can fill up the picture in your closets; go home, and fill it up with your meditations; go, and consider; look back on the history of God's goodness to you. How often has he stept in betwixt you and death! You can tell, and you can say, how often his providence has operated in your favour, and how all things have worked together for your good, in remarkable deliverances out of perplexities and trials, which I cannot enumerate! Consult, however, as I before stated, the history of your life, and you will find in every page some traces of the goodness of your God; rnd then ask your own heart, "Shall I any longer despise the riches of his goodness and forbearance, and long suffering, seeing they lead me to repentance?" AMEN.
DELIVERED BY THE REV. H. MELVILL, A. M. AT CAMDEN CHAPEL, CAMBERWELL.
2 TIM. ii. 8.-" Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel."
WHEN persecution and calumny first harassed the church, the minds of Christians seem to have usually clung with a more than ordinary grasp to the declarations of Scripture, and to have searched with more than common eagerness into the hidden meaning of every portion of revelation. In proportion to their need of support was their vigour of perception; and with an ardent and with a steadfast energy, which would be deemed almost enthusiastic by the religious professors of modern days, did they pore over and ponder the sayings of inspiration; and they would gaze on the firmanent of the Bible with all the eagerness of astronomers scanning and searching the natural heavens; and whensoever the beauty and force of some obscure and difficult text broke suddenly on them, there was just the same gladness as that felt by the observers of the material canopy, if a new and brilliant planet should be observed on the horizon. It would not be so to persons of cursory acquaintance with the writings of our reformers (and well would it be if such acquaintance were more general; it would serve to show how grievously, in many respects, the churches have degenerated from the earliest elements of Protestantism), it would not be so to persons of cursory acquaintance with the writings of our reformers, without being struck with the pre-eminent value attached to the word of God by those illustrious men who laid down their lives in support of its doctrines. And if from among the mighty group of martyred saints it be lawful to select one more distinguished than the rest, by the characteristics to which I have alluded, then, I think, I might mention the name of BRADFORD, he who underwent so readily the tortures of the stake that the byestander said of him, "that he endured the flames as a fresh gale of wind on a hot summer's day;" I might point to him as a special example of a man who was always intense, and carefully diligent, in searching the mind of the spirit as disclosed to us by Apostles and Prophets. It is in exact accordance with this disposition that, in one of his letters to a dear friend, we meet with the following words, in reference to the text on which I propose to meditate:"Let me have your prayer at all times, that God would open my heart to feed and taste of those comfortable places of Scripture which to me are locked. Remember that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. This text (as a text, of more comfort the more it is needed; and when God will I
shall feed upon it) Paul sent to Timothy to be his comfort in all places."
Now the verse seems, at first sight, to contain nothing but a simple commemoration of a well known truth; and we might, consequently, be disposed to feel something of surprise, both at the difficulty which Bradford professes to have found in unravelling it, and at the consolation he expects, when elucidated, it would afford him. Bnt if you were to associate, as the martyr does, the words with the fact, that they are sent as a comforting message from the Apostle to his beloved disciple Timothy, you will admit there must be hidden some costly treasure, which is not to be discovered by a mere cursory glance at the surface of the subject. I first of all ask you, whether there can appear any human probability that Timothy, nurtured as he had been in the faith and knowledge of redemption, could be required to be reminded of the historical fact of Christ's resurrection. Was it a fact at all likely to escape the memory even of Christians far less familiar with the elements of the religion of Jesus than this distinguished convert? -and does not the very supposition than an actual necessity existed of admonishing Timothy to bear in mind an event, the forgetfulness of which is caused by nothing but infidelity-does not such a supposition go far to contradict every scriptural statement which has reference to the character of Timothy?—and is it not utterly at variance with all our previously existing conceptions of the man whom Paul addresses as his own son in the faith, and whom this Apostle greatly desired to see, that he might himself be filled with joy? I account it, therefore, undeniable that our text must include much more than the historical fact. that Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead; and it must have been the assurance that the Apostle's admonition was far mere energetic than such a reference can be commonly accounted, that Bradford so longed to fathom its consolations. I am persuaded that, with all the aspect of what might cover a common-place announcement, there is contained in our text a copious material of most profitable meditation; and the limits of a single discourse will, perchance, not permit of our investigating its several bearings.
I would premise, that I look upon it as a wonderful feature of the writings of inspiration, that they contain little or nothing of that redundancy of speech which serves, in merely human compositions, for the purpose of oratorical effect. There is generally a superabundance of language, words being oftentimes ostentatiously introduced, rather with a view to the harmony of the sound than the perfection of the sense; and it were consequently easy, without doing injury to the author's meaning, to abbreviate in many cases the author's expression. But when I take up any portion of the scriptural page, there is an end at once of all this liberty of cashiering or circulating the formulary of language.