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is ever lurking in the recesses of our heart a dread and a misgiving about God-the secret apprehension of him as our enemy-a certain distrust of him, or feeling of precariousness; so that we have little comfort and little satisfaction while we entertain the thought of him. Were that a mere intellectual error by which we hold the favour of God to be a purchase with the righteousness of man, and so failing in the establishment of such a righteousness, we remained without hope in the world; or were that a mere intellectual error by which we continued blind to the offered righteousness of Christ, and so, declining the offer, kept our distance from the only ground on which God and man can walk in amity together; then, like any other error of the understanding, it might be done conclusively away by one statement or one demonstration. But when, instead of a fault in the judgment, which might thus be satisfied by a single announcement, it is a perverse constitutional bias that needs to be at all times plied against, by the operation of a contrary influence→→→ then it might not be on the strength of one deliverance only, but by dint of its strenuous and repeated asseveration, that the sense of God as both a just God and a Saviour is upheld in the soul. This might just be the aliment by which the soul is kept from pining under a sense of its own poverty and nakedness-the bread of life which it receives by faith, and delights at all times to feed upon: and just as hunger does not refuse the same viands by which, a thousand times before, it has been met and satisfied, so may the doctrine of Christ crucified be that spiritual food which is ever welcomed by the hungry and heavy-laden soul, and is ever felt to be precious.
The Bible supposes a tendency in man to let slip its truths from his recollection, and, in opposition to this, it bids him keep them in memory, else he might have believed them in vain. It is not enough that they may, at one time, have been received. They must be at all times remembered. "And therefore," says Peter, "I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them and be established in the present truth." To know and to be assured is not enough, it would appear. They may at one time have consented to the words which were spoken, but the apostle presented them anew, in order that they might be mindful of the words which were spoken. Those doctrines of religion which speak comfort, or have an attendant moral influence upon the soul, must at first be learned; but not, like many of the doctrines of science, consigned to a place of dormancy among the old and forgotten acquisitions of the understanding. They stand in place of a kind and valuable friend, of whom it is not enough that he has once been introduced to your acquaintance, but with whom you hold it precious to have daily fellowship, and to be in your habitual remembrance. And this is eminently true of that doctrine which is so frequently reiterated in these Treatises, "that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures." It is the portal through which the light of God's reconciled countenance is let in upon the soul. It is the visitor that ushers there the peace and glory of heaven, and, forcing its way through all those cold and heavy obstructions by which the legal spirit has beset the heart of proud yet impotent man-it is the
alone truth that can at once hush the fears of guilt, and command a reverence for the offended Sovereign. No wonder, then, that its presence should be so much courted by all who have been touched with the reality and the magnitude of eternal things-by all who have ever made the question of their acceptance with God a matter of earnest and home-felt application; and who, urged on the one hand, by the authority of a law that must be vindicated, and on the other, by the sense of a condemnation that, to the eye of nature, appears inextricable, must give supreme welcome to the message that can assure them of a way by which both God may be glorified and the sinner may be safe. It is the blood of Christ which resolves this mystery, and it is by the daily application of this blood to the conscience that peace is daily upheld there. When the propitiation by Christ is out of the mind, then, on the strength of its old propensities, does it lapse either into the forgetfulness of God, or into a fearful distrust of him. And therefore it is, that every aspiring Christian prizes every intimation, and every token of remembrance, by which to recall to his mind the thought of a crucified Saviour. And he no more quarrels with a perpetual sense of him who poured out his soul unto the death, than he would with the perpetual sunshine of a brilliant and exhilarating day: and just as a joy and a thankfulness are felt at every time when the sun breaks out from the clouds which lie scattered over the firmament-so is that beam of gladness which enters with the very name of Christ, when it finds its way through that dark and disturbed atmosphere which is ever apt to gather around
the soul. The light of beauty is not more constantly pleasant to the eye-the ointment that is poured forth not more constantly agreeable in its odour-the relished and wholesome food not more constantly palatable to the ever-recurring appetite of hunger the benignant smile of tried and approved friendship not more constantly delicious to the heart of man, than is the sense of a Saviour's sufficiency to him of spiritual and new-born desires, who now hungers and thirsts after righteousness.
This may explain the untired and unexpended delight wherewith the Christian hangs upon a theme which sounds monotonously, and is felt to be wearisome by other men: and this is one test by which he may ascertain his spiritual condition. There is much associated with religion that is fitted to regale even a mind that is unrenewed, if open to the charms of a tasteful, or pathetic, or eloquent representation. And thus it is, that crowds may be drawn around a pulpit by the same lure of attraction which fills a theatre with raptured and applauding multitudes. To uphold the loveliness of the song, might the preacher draw on all the beauties of nature, while he propounds the argument of nature's God: nor need the deep, the solemn interest of tragedy be wanting, with such topics at command as the sinner's restless bed, and the dark imagery of guilt and vengeance wherewith it is surrounded: and again, may the fairest tints of heaven be employed to deck the perspective of a good man's anticipations; or the touching associations of home be pressed into the service of engaging all our sympathies, with the feelings, and the struggles, and the hopes of his pious family.
It is thus that the theological page may be richly strewed with the graces of poetry, and even the feast of intellect be spread before us by the able champions of theological truth. Yet all this delight would require novelty to sustain it, and be in full congeniality with minds on which the unction of living water from above had never yet descended. It is alto gether diverse from that spiritual taste, by which the simple application of the cross to the sinner's conscience is felt and appreciated-by which the utterance of the Saviour's name is at all times welcomed like the sound of sweetest music-by which a sensation of relief enters, with all the power and freshness of a new feeling, so often as the conception of his atoning blood, and of his perfect righteousness, is made to visit us-by which the reiteration of his sacrifice upon the ear, has a like effect to disperse the habitual distrust or lethargy of nature, that the ever-recurring presence of a friend has to disperse the gloom of a constitutional melancholy. It is no evidence of his vital Christianity, that a man can enjoy a kindred recreation in those embellishments of genius or literature of which the theme is susceptible. But if its simple affirmations be sweet unto him—if the page be never lovelier in his eye than when gemmed with Bible quotations that are both weighty and pertinent-if when pervaded throughout by a reference to Christ, and to him crucified, it be felt and rejoiced in like the incense of a perpetual savour, and he, withal a son of learning and generous accomplishment, can love, even in its homeliest garb, the oft-repeated truth; and that, purely because the balm of Gilead is there,-this we should hold the