Abbildungen der Seite


Have you

him, and having made Blastus, the king's cham. berlain, their friend, desired peace. proceeded in some fuch way as this, in seeking at God's hand the life of your souls? Do you seek his favour through the mediation, the satisfaction, and the intercession of Jesus? He has rendered the divine throne approachable by finners. He is. the way, the truth, and the life; no man can come to the Father but by him. He hath delivered sinners from the wrath to come, having made peace by the blood of his cross. He gave himself, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. Joseph said to his brethren, “ Ye shall not fee my face, unless ye bring your brother Benjamin.So, in effect, the Lord says to us, “ Expect no favour with me, but only through him in whom I have declared myself well-pleased."

Do you then make it the business of your lives to seek the blessings of grace through the Redeemer ? Do you daily come to the Father by him, entreating his favour with your whole hearts ? Jesus is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto the Father by him. *


# We consider the inspired writings as exhibiting a full, free, and everlasting falvation, by Jesus Christ, for the chief of finners; we consider the testimony


Permit me to ask you another question; What tokens of favour have you received from that God whom you thus seek? Have you experienced those powerful convictions of fin which we have


of God concerning his incarnate Son, as a complete warrant for the most guilty and ungodly to believe in him. The word of grace, respecting the perfectwork of Christ, being viewed in this light, is deservedly, and by way of fingular eminence, called, The glad tidings.

Nothing is requisite, in order to a participation of Christ and his benefits, but a grant from God. It is not under the notion of possessing any virtuous disposition; of being, by good habits and qualities, distinguished from other men ; of being well humbled for fin; or of being deeply awakened in conscience, that finners must first believe in Jesus. No: but as transgressors; as in a perishing state; and as having nothing to preserve them from despair, except what the scripture says concerning Christ, his offices, and his grace.

But there is a great and palpable difference between persons, while in their native state, being authorised to believe in Jesus; and their being warranted, while in that condition, to conclude themselves to be in the favour of God, and to expe&t final happiness. It is a grafs mistake, to suppose, that whoever is warranted,


mentioned above, as common to all the saved of the Lord ? When you have read some portion of the sacred fcriptures, or heard the word preached, hath the Holy Spirit set home upon your hearts and


[ocr errors]

to believe on Christ, is, at the very fame instant, merely on the same ground, and while an unbeliever, equally authorized to expect everlasting life.

For he that believes on Christ, looks to him as justifying the ungodly; but he who, on scriptural grounds, hopes for future felicity, expects it as a believer; as in a justified state; as having a turn of heart, in fome degree suited to the employments and enjoyments of heaven. Because without holiness no man fhall fee the Lord.

Did Paul, for instance, believe in Jesus? It was under the confideration of himself, as a blasphemer, a persecutor, and the chief of finners. Did he rejoice in hope? It was, as having received the atonement; as bearing the image of Chrift, and as having a spiri.tual relifh for heavenly things. The finner believes : the believer hopes.

Nor can any man believe in Christ, and continue a rebel against God : for sovereign mercy, when it relieves the conscience, alters the bias of the heart, and forms the character anew. God, in the exercise. and manifestation of pardoning grace to rebels, makes them his friends.. Thus divine goodness leads to re


consciences, what you have read or heard, saying to you, as Nathan to David,

66 Thou art the man?" The Lord dwells with those, in the manifestations of his favour, who tremble at his word; who hear and read it with holy awe, humble reverence, and godly fear. Has this been your case? Hạs the word of God dwelt on your hearts with abiding ef. ficacy and energy? It is heard and read by many others, but it dwells in them that believe, and works effectually in them. This is an indication of special favour.

Do you experience the gracious operations of the blessed Spirit in the private exercises of religion? How do you find it with you in the duties of prayer, meditation, and self-examination ? What humiliation for fin, what elevation of desire, of hope and trust, do you experience from time to time? If we are interested in the divine favour, the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, making intercesfion for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered; and he that searcheth the hearts, knoweth


pentance, to holiness, and to hope of everlalting happiness. There is forgiveness with God that he may be feared.

This subject is very, judiciously handled in Mr. Booth's Glad Tidings to perishing Sinners.

what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh interceffion for the faints according to the will of God. The drawing, the melting, and invigorating influences of the Spirit, in your retired moments, are unknown to men, but they are known to him with whom you have to do; and most certainly they ought to be reckoned among the tokens of his favour.

Are you abidingly impressed with a sense of the excellence and the beauty of holiness? Is the religion of Jesus, amidft all the difficulties and trials which attend it, that which you most sincerely and heartily approve? Do you chuse to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin which are but for a season? Though you are often in heaviness through manifold temp

tations, yet perhaps there are seasons when wifdom's ways are attended with pleasantness and peace to your souls. The truths and promises of the gospel are the joy and rejoicing of your hearts. . Surely these are indications of favour. It is not thus with those whose minds are alienated from the life of God.

You perhaps experience, at some seasons, gracious and comfortable returns of prayer. ' In darkness, trouble, and perplexity, you have poured out your complaint before God, and he has wrought


« ZurückWeiter »