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ditates upon his calling, his language is, 'I am found of Him whom I neither loved nor sought. He is manifested to me, after whom I did not inquire.' He will say, 'I am known of God, I am apprehended of Christ, rather than I know God, I apprehend Christ.'
Thus to be called of God is an instance of reigning grace, and an evidence of distinguishing love. Happy are you, reader, if you know by experience what it is to be called by grace. If such be your state, it becomes your indispensable duty to walk worthy of your calling ; for it is high, holy, heavenly. Yes, believer, your calling is truly noble. You are called out of darkness into marvellous light; and out of worse than Egyptian bondage into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. You are called out of the world into fellowship with Jesus Christ. Called, you are, out of a state of open rebellion against God, and painful anxiety of mind, into a state of reconciliation and friendship, of conscious peace, and heavenly joy. What shall I say? You are called from the slavery of sin to the practice of holiness—into a state of grace here, and the enjoyment of glory hereafter. In short, it is the High God that called you; it is the way of holiness in which you are called to walk; and it is an unfading inheritance, an eternal kingdom you are called to enjoy. Here is your blessedness, and here is your duty. The consideration of these things, as a noble incentive to obedience, should fire your mind with godly zeal, should fill your heart with Christian gratitude, should direct your feet in the paths of duty, and manifest its constraining influence through your whole conduct.
To you that are uncalled, what shall I say " . Your state is awful. For, leaving the world in your present situation, you are lost for ever—you die to eternity; for none shall be glorified hereafter but such as are called here. If death should summon you hence before you are converted to Christ, what will become of you? As dry stubble you must fall into the hands of him who is a consuming fire. You may entirely neglect the concerns of your soul; you may, for a season, trifle with the affairs of religion, and hear the Gospel with a careless indifference; but if grace should not interpose for your rescue, dreadful will be the issue. The word of God, and the Gospel of Christ will be a swift witness against you another day, will be the savour of death unto death to your souls; while God, even God himself will be your eternal enemy. Consider this, ye that forget God, lest he tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.
If you attend on a preached Gospel, and frequent the house of God, do not take it for granted that you must needs be a Christian, because you make a public profession, and yield a cool assent to the truth. This thousands have done; this you may do, and yet perish-for ever. If not divorced from the law, if not renewed in your mind, and enabled to believe in Christ, as a miserable helpless sinner, it will soon appear, that you have only chosen a more decent, though less frequented path, to the regions of darkness; and that you are damned, with the single advantage of having left a respectable character amongst your fellow-sinners. A poor compensation this for the loss of an immortal soul!
and an awful issue of a religious profession God grant it may not be the case with my reader
Nor let any one mistake a set of evangelical notions, received by education, or imbibed under a Gospel ministry, for true conversion, and faith in the Great Redeemer. A mistake here is fatal, and has been the ruin of multitudes. A professor may be wise in doctrinals, and able to vindicate the truth against its opposers, while his heart is entirely carnal—cold as ice, and barren as a rock. Though I understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and have not charity—love to God, and love to his people—I am nothing. Wain, then, are the pretensions of all those, whatever knowledge they may have of the Gospel, who live in sin, who love not God, nor seek his glory. They may shine in religious conversation; they may display their talents, and feed their vanity, by defending truth, and refuting error; and, conscious of superior abilities, may look down with a solemn pride on persons of meaner parts and less understanding in the doctrines of grace; but their superior knowledge will only aggravate their future wo, and render damnation itself more dreadful.
Of Grace, as it reigns in a full, free, and everlasting Pardon.
PARDon of sin is a blessing of superlative worth, because absolutely necessary to present peace and future salvation. Without it, no individual of Adam's race can be happy. When the conscience of a sinner is wounded with guilt, and oppressed with fears of divine wrath, it is sought with ardour, as the most desirable thing; it is received with joy, as the first of all favours.
But great and necessary as the blessing is, had it not been for that revelation contained in the Bible, mankind would have lain under a sad uncertainty, whether there was any such thing as forgiveness with God. Being conscious of guilt, yet partial in their own favour, they might have pleased themselves with conjectures, that he would not finally condemn all his offending creatures; but they could never have arrived at certainty. For, by whatever medium they might have come to the knowledge of God, as the author of nature and Sovereign of the world; by the same means they must have known, that perfection is essential to the Divine Character; and, consequently, that the Deity must be infinitely opposite to moral evil. But whether such as had rebelled against their eternal Sovereign might be forgiven, consistently
with his perfections and purposes, and without impeaching his honour as'a righteous governor; this, unassisted reason could not have determined. Under what obligations then are we laid, to adore the condescension and goodness of God, who has not left us to grope in the dark, and to form a thousand wild conjectures about an affair of so much importance! For, possessing a divine revelation of the richest grace, we are taught with absolute certainty, that there is forgiveness with our Maker and Sovereign. This revelation of mercy is of great antiquity, and almost coeval with time itself. It was known to the patriarchs; it was exhibited in a clearer manner under the Mosaic economy. But, by the incarnation and work of the Son of God, it has received the highest confirmation, and shines in all its glory. Jehovah's pardoning goodness was loudly proclaimed to Moses, and makes a conspicuous figure in that sacred name by which the God of Israel was known to the church in the wilderness. And the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed THE NAME
And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, the LORD, THE LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; keeping mercy for thousunds, FORGIVING INIQUITY, TRANSGRESSION, AND SIN.
Yes, to the eternal sovereign belong mercies and for. givenesses, though we have rebelled against him.
This capital blessing of the new covenant is represented in the book of God by many strong metaphors, and in a rich variety of language'; yet all in exact correspondence to the different views which are there given of the dreadful nature and compli
OF THE LORD.