Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ance. He saw nothing in himself, as Du Boso expresses it, but ground for, despair— The seduction of Bathsheba, the blood of Uriah, and the numbering of his people. He knew, if the Lord were to mark iniquity, that in his sight no man living could be justified: As to the depth of his contrition before conversion, we need say nothing : it is in this case quite sufficient for your encouragement that, though now a saint in glory, he was once a stranger to himself, and his carnal mind enmity to God: and in this awful situation are all the progeny of Adam without exception. The great God beholds from the height of his glory, all of them wandering far from him in the paths of iniquity and of death. Some, wallowing in sensual pleasures; others, delighted with gilded baubles exhibited by the world, to catch the eye and fascinate the heart. Some, grasping after riches as the whole of human happiness ; others, climbing the steep ascent of honour, and of applause: some busied about one thing, and some another; but none that seeketh after God: he is not in all their thoughts. Every

thing else is viewed as desirable and pursued with avidity ; but the one thing needful is neglected or forgotten.

But while the objects of discriminating grace are, with others, thus wandering far from their heavenly Father in pursuit of sublunary bliss, he views them with unspeakable compassion; he stops them in their mad career, and says, by his word, or his providence, Hitherto shall ye go, but no farther. He shows them that they are walking in a path that is not good: he turns them back greatly ashamed; and mercifully brings them to the knowledge of himself by a way which they knew not. But who, I ask, are the men whom the Lord thus turns from the erróur of their ways, and to whom he graciously makes known the benignity of his heart ? Are such only, or prin. cipally, the objects of attention who are comparatively moral and devout; who, because, they are less vile than others, are more proud, and think that, in consequence of this negative goodness, they have a right to monopolize the felicities of glory? No; quite the reverse.

Persons of this description'are, in conformity to the estimate which they make of themselves, denominated in scripture, whole-just persons that need no repentance ; and before whom, publicans and harlots enter into the kingdom of heaven. I came not to call the righteous, said the compassionate Redeemer, but sinners to repentance.

To the same purpose speaks the great apostle of the Gentiles. It is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners ;' of whom, he immediately adds, I am chief. “Return, saith the Lord, for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity; thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thy help.' To whom should you carry your complaints ; to whom unbosom yourself, but to the Father of mercies? There is none else to deliver, and besides him there is no Saviour. Let not the number nor the greatness of your sins excite discouragement. When a profligate woman Christ, in the days of his humiliation, no mena tion was made either of the multitude, or the

came to

magnitude of her crimes; but the answer given to the pharisee, who brought them as an objection against her, is ;

-Her sins, which are many, are forgiven.'

As no comparative worthiness in the sinner can induce God to bestow mercy; so no demerit can frustrate the benevolent intentions of divine goodness. Salvation is of the Lord: it is the effect of his own sovereign pleasure. To say, 'I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion,' is the prerogative of Jehovah : and why the inestimable blessing should be conferred on any of the sons of Adam, no reason can be given but this; that salvation, in its origin, completion, and bestowment, may redound to the praise of the glory

of his grace.

Could you exhibit a catalogue of the blackest crimes that ever stained the records of history, or disgraced the character of man ; these crimes could not be urged as too great, or too complicated for the blood of Christ to

the great

expiate. To a truth so animating, and so honourable to the riches of

grace, apostle of the gentiles repeatedly bears unequivocal testimony. Of this, we have a striking instance in his first admirable epistle to the Corinthian church. After having reproved the brethren for going to law with each other before the unjust, he reminds them of their former situation by reciting enormities, the commission of which had made them deservedly the reproach of men, and justly the objects of divine abhorrence. 'Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. Now, had the faithful re. membrancer stopt here, we might, perhaps, have considered these Corinthian profligates as without the verge of divine forgiveness. But the sequel proves, that among these abominable wretches there were many vessels of mercy : and therefore he immediately adds-' Such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in

« AnteriorContinuar »