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I want to tell out this matter simply and boldly this morning. And why? Not only on account of present advantage, for many a poor sinner hearing me may see it and be saved; but also because of the ignorance which everywhere exists respecting it. What is the Gospel but the news of this love of God? The Gospel is not that the sinner, before it can be received or believed by him, must undergo a certain change qualifying him for it. No, indeed. We are weary of that wretched mixture of things ever and anon presented to the sinner as divine truth, and which goes under the name of the Gospel. A change in a man before God can love him! Or, a change in him in order that God may love him! Or, worse again, when a man has come to feel and confess his sins, then God will love him ! Wretched doctrine, and inoperative for good as it is wretched. This is an evil to be dealt with now-a-days. The Gospel has to be extricated from out of such melancholy error. But men notwithstanding do ask for the Gospel, and wonder that sinners are not saved. And, truly, as to numbers, they are not saved. What is the cure for this ? Say some, “ We must have earnestness-zeal.Zeal! Why, the more zealous, if wrong,


worse it will be. There is much said just now on the question, How is England to be evangelized ? — how are the masses to be reached ? But a prior question meets one, With what are we to evangelize? Anything less than the Gospel will never evangelize- never

This is the matter to be dealt with not who will go, but what are we to preach.

There are some, alas ! in these lands, who, instead of pouring out to the dying sons of men a full manifestation of God's love to the lost, elaborate a theme which, instead of revealing, obscures that love, leaving the poor sinner in a life-long ignorance of it.

I must be intelligible here. A problem of some


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interest to us all has yet to be solved. How is it that men really, and even newly, converted among us, no sooner are they converted than they become the means of the conversion of others. Everywhere over these lands, and elsewhere, God is giving them souls. They alight on our darkest counties, and the tidings reach us of the salvation of sinners. They are not trained in our schools. They are not much known to the churches. They carry no human credentials; but they are converted men, and preach the Gospel; and, through God's power accompanying their preaching, sinners are continually being saved.

This surely is a thing to be looked at. These men, who go out on their own charges, go nowhere that sinners are not converted. Now, how is it that, as at this present time, a cloud of salvation seems to burst over them wherever they labour. The fact is, they have a

a clear knowledge of what the Gospel is, and they simply and boldly proclaim it in its great and grand essentials.

The question should be fairly and boldly met. Of what avails money, machinery, messengers, if the message be wanting? Says Paul, “I am separated unto the Gospel"—the good news" of God;" and again, “ Necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel.” If I do not bring God into the scene—if I do not tell His feelings of love towards sinners, as manifested in the fact that He gave His Son to die for them, it is no Gospel, and can never save. But this God Himself does-He commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, CHRIST DIED FOR US–DIED FOR THE UNGODLY.

Now let us, first of all, inquire as to who the Being is who commends His love toward us.

It is none other than God-the God who made us; who has to do with us—the God who fixed us in the age in which we live, and who will hold us responsible for the

life He has given, and the privileges with which the age is laden; the God whom we have soon to meetyea, if we died to-night, to meet to-night; the God who is to judge the quick and the dead. The God who commends His love to us is the Being of whom the sinner, because of his sins, is naturally afraid, especially under thought of dying, and of going into His presence; but of whom, if he knew the Gospel, he could affirm that he was not afraid—that is, with a slavish fear. And why? Because he would see that God is for himthat God it is who, on the ground of Christ having died, justifies the ungodlythe God from whose throne there is no higher court of appeal, from whose decision no question can be raised. Oh! it is a wondrous thing for a poor sinner like me to stand as mouth-piece for God, in the presence of you all, simply, lovingly, intelligibly, and boldly declaring the love which God hath toward us. It is well for us to know who and what He is. We are so intimately associated, that, for our peace, a knowledge of what are His feelings toward us is indispensable. I could not go on with any ordinary person with whom my interests were bound up, unless I knew what were his feelings toward

We do know what God's feelings are-He commends them to us; they are favourable toward usbeing, from eternity, full of grace and love.

Let us further inquire into the character of this love. In the first place, it is eternal. If it be in God it must be eternal. God, who is perfect, could have nothing that would be new. God is love_not newly so, not of later times, but from all eternity—“the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.” The unchangeableness of God is one of the greatest and grandest of truths. His love, like Himself, is not new—is not an impulse, not an attribute merely, but God in His nature and essence is love.

And, therefore, if I am an object of His love, it is


with an eternal love God hath loved me. You have a beautiful illustration of this in the answer given by an aged saint when he was asked how old he was. He said, “I am ninety years of age.” On astonishment being expressed at this, he said, “I am far older than that. I am as old as the purposes of God—as old as His love, for He has loved me with an everlasting love.” Of course it must be so. God's love to us is from all eternity; a love which did not commence at the Cross. The Cross was but the development of a love that was older than the heavens. Did I say the heavens ? Why the heavens, in comparison of it, are new, and the so-called eternal hills are but of yesterday; but from everlasting to everlasting is the love of God.

But if it found not its beginning at the Cross, still less—and this is important did it find its commencement from anything in us. It is a poor Gospel to say that the Shepherd loved the sheep only when the sheep had returned from its wanderings, or that the Father loved the prodigal only when the prodigal, returned, now loved Him. Did the Shepherd, think you, only love the sheep when the sheep was in His fold ? or did the Father, think you, only love His child when that child, safe in His arms, first loved Him? We trow not. The Gospel is, that the Shepherd loved the sheep, not only before he wandered, but also all the while he wandered. So it is with God: the Gospel is, that He loved His prodigal whilst he was wandering as well as before he was wandering. Nay, it was the fact that the sheep had wandered from the fold, that led to the special mission of the good Shepherd, among the far mountains, for his recovery; and it was the fact that the son was lost, which manifested the deep sense of love toward him which was in the mind of the Father.

Neither the wandering of the sheep, nor the sins of the prodigal, separated from such love! Oh,

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sinner! that ill-requited, unchanging love! the harvest for the knowing of which, for salvation, will soon for ever have passed. It will be one of the chief stings of that prison-house of woe, that God, notwithstanding sin, had loved us, and had sent the message of that love, but which message, along with the love, had been rejected and despised.

But this love of God is not only eternal, it is according to the fulness of His grace. There was nothing in us

to deserve or merit it. Our desert was, that having wandered from Him, God may leave us to our wanderings—that having despised, and even hated Him, He may leave us to perish in our sin. Such seems to have been His manner toward sinning angels. It is not said, God so loved them that He gave His only begotten Son—but God so loved the world. Nothing, it appears, could prove an obstacle to it. But there was nothing in us to merit God's love. What I mean by merit is this : it is a thing of right for God to love the beautiful; but man, morally, is deformed. It is right for God to love the sinless; but man is corrupt. And it is right for God to love those who love Him; but the natural man—“The carnal mind is enmity to God"- therefore man has no claim on God's love; he has nothing wherewith to merit it. Oh, it is a bold assertion to make (bold yet true) when I assert, on the authority of God, that there was nothing in man which proved an obstacle to his being the object of the love of God. The lost condition of the sheep did not prevent or hinder the compassion of the Shepherd; and the ingratitude of the prodigal —his forgetfulness of his Father, his crime, and misery_did not alter or bar up from him the long-felt love of his Father.

This, we say, in itself is good news to the guilty. It is a Gospel full of solace to such as have been led to a deep sense of what a bitter and dreadful thing sin is. Oh, let me say to you, if there be a sinner here whose

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