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most solemn; and I would speak to you, beloved, “ as a dying man to dying men.” Oh! that the little health and time left to me in my life may be spent so that dying men may become living souls !
Many there are who have very narrow ideas of what salvation is. I know that some have very little farther notion of salvation than this, that if they were saved, then they would not care about death; or that if they were saved, God would not be against them; or that if they were saved, they would go on in comparative peace while they live, and when they come to die, BE SAFE.
I would not underrate the value of such peace or safety : it is a grand thing for a man to know that he is safe, ready to go out of the world when God gives him the call. Ah! yes-1 have preached it a thousand times; no man has any right to a present happiness unless he knows he is safe for eternity. For oh, you may die soon; you may be a stiffened corpse in your bed to-night! And I repeat it, what would it profit you if you were to gain the whole world and lose your soul? You may have a mitre or a coronet on your brow, but God takes you; and you become dust; what of mitres or coronets if you lose your soul? I say any man who does not know himself to be saved has no right to even a modicum of peace, for he does not know but that in this very hour he may die, may go out into eternity a lost one for ever.
Others have no higher idea of salvation but that when they die they will get TO HEAVEN. Shall I underrate this either? No, indeed.
No, indeed. It will be a blessed thing to be admitted to heaven; but we shall have far more than simply being in heaven. Angels may be in heaven, but they have not the salvation of God. Oh! our salvation !--the salvation we have rises infinitely above anything that mere place could give, or that the highest angel could conceive, had he not known it by the revelation of God in His Son, and in the Church,
His body. Yes, angels will for ever learn redemption from its Alpha down to its mighty Omega, when we shall sit with Christ on His throne. And therein also will they learn of God Himself, what He is, His love, and grace—the length and breadth, and depth and height of it.
Let me, now, then, for a brief time glance, first, at the grand SOURCE of salvation, which is God ; secondly, at the SUBJECTS of it, namely, SINNERS; thirdly, at the TIME of it, for it is a PRESENT salvation; and then, in the last place, PROCLAIM IT TO YOU ALL for your acceptance.
Oh! may God, the God of these Tuesday mornings ! -the God of these “times of refreshing," when His paths have indeed dropped down fatness in our midst 1 may my God, who is love, with His own truth be with you to-day, and with me!
I.-THE SOURCE OF SALVATION.-SALVATION IS OF GOD. It comes from God, and gives the greatest and grandest estimate formed of God by the whole intelligent creation. One hardly knows where to begin or where to terminate; (may God direct our thoughts !) but with regard to God Himself, it was no thought-no impulsive act—but hud eternally its place in Him. If we only knew it, it was the chief glory of His mind—that which eternally manifested His exceeding grace. The marvel is, that God saved usthat we should have so come in in His eternal love. He might have saved angels, or He might have gone to some other lost world than ours; but He took up the most worthless thing, the most distant of worlds, the prodigal world. Can you conceive anything more distant than man without God—a man infidel towards the God that made him-a man who denies, even hates, the existence of God?
We look at the drunkard, or at the man on the drop,
a murderer about to expiate his crime; we 'look at the
poor New Zealander in his uneducated condition, unable to interpret the shining of a star, benighted in mind and cannibal in life; we behold his degraded body, and we think of him occupying God's love! God, for ages of ages, out of the fulness of His own grace, thought of him and of us for Himself; and so thought of us, “ that He gave His only-begotten Son, that believing in Him we might not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God is the source of the whole thing; and the source of it not only for man, but for Himself. Yes, as we have said again and again, it was as if God wanted some special opportunity whereby to display the resources He knew to be in Himself.
Let me suppose, for example, that you were possessed of vast mind and wealth ; and that there existed no one on whom or for whom you could use those resources, it would seem almost as good for you to have had none. The mind, for example, would be good in itself, but it could have no suitable aim; no one could know of it. God, speaking after the manner of a man, wanted an opportunity, the very greatest, for manifesting HIMSELF, His own mind, and love, and holiness; He found it in the sinner. Oh, let us, then, think more of God, and less of ourselves.
Believe me, as there is nothing new in God, salvation with Him was an eternal delight—and I say it with reverence—the very highest thought that could come of God, has been, in it, revealed to us of Him. Why? Because there is no gift of His love so vast as His Son—no other boon He could confer on us so great as the Son of His love. God so loved the world that He gave His Son to die—His only-begotten Son,
— that we might have life-might have salvation; and then, besides this, the salvation thus is the highest display ever given of God; and results in His greatest glory.
Everything needed for the accomplishing of this salvation has come from God. I am a sinner; I have sinned. As such I am under the condemnation of God. But, then, the punishment due to me-am I to take it? Nay—I find it provided for on the Cross by God. So I find from out of God Himself salvation; God is my salvation; it comes of God. God provided the substitutionary victim. I am like another
. Isaac : said God to Abraham, “Stay that knife on Isaac, I have provided a sacrifice;" and there was the ram in the thicket. God it was provided Christ for me.
Then I not only want this punishment to be taken for me—I want atonement. God finds the one where He found the other. He finds it in His suffering, slain Son. Moreover, I want peace.
Where do I get peace? I get my peace just where I get my condemnation; I get my peace just where I get the victim that took my condemnation, that took the punishment due to me. I, as a sinner, have no peace; I am unhappy, I am miserable, because I am a sinner against God. God comes down in the person of His Son, and says, the sinner is not at peace with
me, but I want him to be so. Jesus dies the expiation and the atonement for me, pays the penalty, and then comes, as He did to the disciples, and 'says, “I have made peace, I give this peace to you.” He came as the substitute, as the representative of the sinner; and having died an atonement for sin, there is for the sinner, for the guiltiest here, on believing, peace. Says Jesus, “ I give you that peace.”
I want a third thing. I have my condemnation exhausted on the victim of God's providing, and I have peace; I now want righteousness which shall entitle me to be at rest and joy in the VERY PRESENCE OF God; a righteousness which shall make it consistent for God to have me there; nay, for Him to place me there in association with His own Son on the Throne on which He Himself will sit, and to be with Him in the same glory. Oh, this is wonderful! He might have given me peace, but not the righteousness of God, which secures this also. “ The righteousness of God"
” is of God's own providing, as the term intimates; I have it in Christ, and am as He is. Oh, what a height is this ! higher than angels. An angel never had the peace the Son calls His own; He said, “My peace I give unto you”—the peace of the Son. An angel never stood in “ the righteousness of God;" he stands in angelic righteousness—in his own righteousness. An angel never claimed association with the Son of God; he claims to be an angel; but the sinner redeemed will be in actual association with the Son of God, will sit down with Him on His own throne, associated with Him in all the riches and glory of His inheritance. An angel ranks high, but I could never say that he is a joint-heir with Christ.
Now for such a height, I want all these, and find them all in God; I see God providing all in the Cross of Jesus, and in the Gospel, putting them down at my feet. It is not that I am merely saved from the condemnation of a lost eternity, and brought back to the condition from which Adam fell; but, in virtue of the Son of God coming down and taking hold of my nature, I am taken up to the throne on which He will sit-far higher than the first Adam in paradise am I raised—I am raised to the height and glory of the second Adam. Oh! brethren, time and utterance would fail me to explicate this. Paul calls it so great salvation, , and it is a great salvation. Oh, the greatness of its Author ! the greatness of its gifts! the greatness of its treasures ! the greatness of its peace ! the greatness of its righteousness! the greatness of its duration ! it is all great as long as all eternity we shall be in glory, unsearchable and ineffable. We cannot now