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warming, and enlivening, and blessing everything that comes in its way. But, alas ! how has the crown fallen, and the fine gold become dim! Where now is the fellowship of Eden—the love of Paradise ?
Are you in the habit of calling God your Father? Do you know Him thus, or do you think of Him only as an enemy or a judge? Have you never spoken to Him as your friend ? Have you been living all these years without God, without communion, without prayer, as if God had never been keeping you in life, preserving you from accident, watching over you, guarding you from evil?_God only knows how you have forgotten Him. This is His charge against every one who is living without God—who does not call upon Him. You have had words; but words, of themselves, are not prayer. Prayer may be without words; as the poet says
“ Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,
Utter'd or unexpress'd-
That trembles in the breast.
The falling of a tear ;
When none but God is near.'
Prayer is the looking of the heart towards God. rivers on their way look along the earth, towards the the abysses of the deep; so a soul that knows God turns towards Him, longs for Him, and desires to be with Him and in Him. But God says to thee, O sinner, “ Thou hast not turned towards me; thou hast made me a mere myth; thou hast counted me as dust; thou hast trampled me under thy feet; thou hast brought me words indeed, but not prayer—profession, but not reality; thou hast love for the creature, but not for me; thou hast gone after others, but thou hast not even called on me :" and
66 Thou hast wearied me." Is this in the Bible ? that the mighty God who rolls the hoar floods of the deep in their beds, as in the hollow of His hand—who formed the stars, and keeps them in their courses—is He weary? Is it in truth that He says to man,
6. Thou hast wearied me”? Wonderful language! God is wearied! With what? With watching thee? No. Loving thee? No: but with thine iniquities. No wonder He is weary. He says, further,
“ Thou hast made me to serve with thy sins.” Ah! if
you had faithfully served another, and he paid you back with sins—defamed your character, robbed you of your due, betrayed your confidence-would you not be wearied? Ah! dear fellow-immortal, that is what you have done : you have wearied God with your
have made Him to serve with sins. The figure is remarkable: it is God who takes the place of servant: God has been serving you, and you have repaid Him with forgetfulness; you have forgotten Him-you have denied Him.
And oh, dear people, does He not serve us? Each morning, in the past, when you awoke from gentle sleep, who caused you to come back to day? The great Father in heaven. But you did not even look towards Him. And during the day, who strengthened your back for its burden—" to bind sheaves to your bosom”—was it not God? But you paid Him in unbelief, in forgetfulness, in drunkenness. These were the wages you gave Him-you paid Him with sins! And when night came, who gave you to lay your head down upon its resting-place, and closed your eyes in unconscious sleep? Who took charge of the functions of being and life-Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday-aye! all through the week-a year of weeks— for twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years—shall I go on ?sixty, seventy years ? And you have given Him nothing but sins—sins! Says God, “ Thou hast made
me to serve with thy sins.” You ought to have loved Him-to have been grateful—to have owned Him : there is not a blade of grass that does not own Him—not a lakelet, or a dewdrop that does not reflect the blue skies that overshadow it-not a flower that does not tell of Him—not a living insect, not a fly even, that does not tell of His existence—they pay Him back with all that they have: but you have paid Him in what? Says God, “ Í have laboured for you night and day, but you have paid me back in cursing and lies; you have denied me: you have made me to serve indeed, but you have paid me poor wages-miserable wages; you paid me only in sins.”
“ You brought me no small cattle.” In the margin it is - lambs.' “ Thou hast not brought me lambs for thy burnt-offering.” From age to age the Levitical sacrifices typified Christ, “the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.” Says God, “ You have not called upon me-I complain of that ; but when I gave you the Son of my love gave Him from
— my bosom to die-to cover, by atonement, the guilt of the sinner—you did not bring Him to me; you came in your own religiousness : you have lived twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years, without taking Him into your bosom, the Son of my love: you have brought me no lamb." “ This is my sore charge.” My friends, is this true of
I know how true it was of me. I brought Him myself, my sins, my fears; but I did not bring Him Christ. But again, in this indictment
“ Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, This, too, is Jesus—the fragrance of Jesus. He so glorified God, in the salvation of the sinner, His righteousness as well as love, that God is well pleased. Tell me a man is a murderer, and it would be lawlessness to let him go free. How, then, man being a sinner, can he go free? How is this? Why, clearly, when Jesus died, righteousness had full force in condemning sin;
and grace full exercise in embracing the sinner. Hence, as God had loved the sinner, and desired his salvation, the death of Jesus was as sweet incense to God. The Levitical lamb represented the cross, where love and justice were both satisfied; it is Christ's death and obedience as Son which is as sweet incense. You know that the more spices are bruised, the more odoriferous they seem: when the stripes due to us were laid upon Him, then it was “ He was bruised for our iniquities. “ It pleased the Lord to bruise him;" and now you are to bring, not your wretchedness, not your prayers, not your tears merely, but the Lamb-Jesus. It is right to
pray, but praying does not save you. What would be the good of a man in a court of justice praying to his judges! They must condemn him according to law. Law must condemn the guilty, but it is grace which can give life.
God acts in both. Justice had its way when Jesus died, and now grace can give life to the sinner who believes; it gives life on the ground that Christ died.
Redemption is God's greatest work—His masterpiece. You say of the great poet that “ Paradise Lost" was his masterpiece—that St. Paul's was the masterpiece of Sir Christopher Wren, and the Crystal Palace of this age in which we live. So redemption is God's grandest—His greatest work. There is nothing like it; there never was, and there never will be. In all His other works, in the loveliest flower we see His skill; in the fruitful seasons His bounty; in the afflictions of His children, His correcting hand: but on the cross you see His whole nature displayed: you see His love to the sinner, while you see righteousness punishing the sin; you see His wisdom, which led Him to
ing in a substitute, and such a substitute, to die ! you see His holiness as well as His love-mercy and love, and grace and truth, all there. The cross provides us with everything. I want life: Christ died,
and I have it. I was separated from God and heaven; but since He died, He has opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers, and on the ground of Christ, I am reconciled to God. And this good news of God is free as the light of heaven, or the air we breathe. Sinner, look at it. He complains that you have passed it by, as a tale that is told, never to be recalled. God complains of this, and that you never brought Him Jesus. You have brought Him yourself, your sins, your religiousness; but not Jesus. Without Him, all the rest is useless. You have left out the one object acceptable to God; and in despising Him, the glorious Gift, you despise the glorious Giver.
A poor criminal, condemned by King Admetus, but not knowing how to escape, for he deserved his doom, saw, on his way to execution, an infant, the child of the king, just outside on the glade and he said, “I will take this child in my arms, and plead for my life in the name of the king's child.” He brought him in, and the king was so overcome, that he did actually forgive him. Ah! sinner, will you not take Christ thus? Yet that forgiveness was on the ground of simple affection which the king had for his child; but in our case, when we take the “sweet spices," the Son of God's love, to the throne of righteousness, we can point to His punctured hands, where the nails tore His flesh; we can point to the scars on His brow, and on the ground of justice can claim our exemption from death-claim it because of the full and complete satisfaction made for us by Him.
If a man were in prison for some money liability, and another came and paid the amount, he could claim his liberty, could he not?-he could walk out from his bonds free as the air. If his creditor or others doubted, what should he bring them ?—the debt itself, or his old fears about the debt, or his promises never to be in debt again? Ah! no; he must bring them the settled ac