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forbearance! Ah, if He were here, how would He speak? He would not use exuberant trope or eloquent measure; He would not speak in words of mere noise or turbulence; not in furor of delivery, or in levity of soul, but in calmness and intelligence, in sobriety and earnestness of soul. He would not speak of hell in a careless way, or of heaven as of a light thing. How He would compel you, and with what love, what tenderness, what long-suffering, spending a whole day at the well of Jacob, with a poor Magdalene sinner; and what unselfishness; even on the cross, when He might have said, “Do not speak to me, the nails are in my hands, my mouth is full of clotted
gore and noisome gall; don't speak to me in my agony.' But no; with a mind at leisure from itself, even in that dark hour, with what a calm irresistible force He turned to the poor malefactor at His side, and said, “This day shalt thou be with me in paradise." In Christ's stead !-as it were His representative-doing the will of the Father, in the power of communion, as He; delighting in drawing out the affections of sinners towards God, even as He; and towards Himself, for, as flowers open to the unveiling of the sun, so do our affections open to the Lord when He Himself is unveiled. Ah, then, with what a sense of reality in the soul does He make known the riches of His grace, the wonders of His love.
May the Lord bless you ; the blessed Spirit of God awaken the unawakened, and comfort the awakened ! May He show you God reconciled, Christ as having died, the fountain of His blood as opened for our sins !
HOW TO HAVE PEACE.
I create the fruit of the lips ; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to
him that is near.”—Isaiah lvii. 19.
It is not to give any explication of these words that they are now chosen, but simply to show that it is God, and God alone, who is the root or source of true peace.
You have been singing, beloved, “ A mind at perfect peace with God," and I would like to tell you how we get a mind at perfect peace with God. We get it, first, by knowing what God is to man, or to one who is afar off-a sinner in his sins; and, secondly, by knowing what God is to the new man, or to one who is near.
On these grounds, we may know what “perfect peace with God” is; or, in other words, we may know it by believing what God is to the sinner ; and what He is to the believer. Or, if you put it still otherwise, we get it by knowing Him in His aspect towards the first Adam, and by knowing what He is to us in the last Adam. Oh, that God, beloved friends, may now give me an abundant utterance for His truth, and give you the understanding heart !
Let us dwell, then, for a little, on what God is to man; to you, as a natural man. -a sinner. God is love towards the sinner. When I was younger
than I now am, I used to think that, towards the sinner, God was simply and only austere; that He was simply and only a Judge, and that His justice was still inevitably against me as a sinner. I had an idea that the Lord Jesus Christ loved the sinner; and that it was a belief in His cross that
rise to the love of God to the sinner; that, in fact, God only loved us when we loved Him. But the truth is, that the love of God, and the grace of God, lie at the root of the cross, and not the cross at the root of them. A friend lately said to me, “When I heard you speak of the love of God to the sinner, it gave quite a new turn to my whole life. I had been for years reading books, hearing sermons, and seeking to obtain peace in my soul, that I might have the love of God; but when I saw His love to the sinner, as revealed by the cross, that it was God Himself who was at the foundation of things, the alone source of a plan to save the sinner, and to save him wholly, in consistence with righteousness, and holiness, and perfectness, my life became a new life." And now, know
” ing and believing this love of God to the sinner, that friend is with us to-day, singing, as we have done, “ A mind at perfect peace with God.” Ah, not as an after state of mind in God, but millions of millions of ages ago, He loved us; and, that He may save us, He formed His own estimate of the blood; saw that it met every demand of holiness, of justice, and of righteousness. It was God who, in His own eternal grace, beheld our nature as the elect nature. I say the elect nature—for such it is—elected by Hiin as that in which He would manifest His riches, and in which He Himself would dwell. There is the sinner, there are angels; but the sinner was the farther removed from God. Like a mighty
a surgeon, who discriminates and says,
- Such is a case
any one might take up; but here is one which has baffled all ordinary skill. It is that I will take up.". Or, like a mighty shipwright, with a hundred disabled vessels brought in; he finds that any shipwright can take up ninety-nine of these vessels. But there is one, such a wreck, that all other builders have passed it by, as not being capable of repair. He says, “I will bring my skill to bear on that. Nay, I will make it my elect vessel, expend my resources upon it, and dwell in it, as in my most desired dwelling.” And he so brings his skill to bear on that vessel, that it soon sweeps the sea, a more beautiful one than any of the rest. So is it with God.
Oh, beloved, it is as if God had said, “ The sinner is not hopeless; I have resources in me adequate to save him. I have holiness in me; I have righteousness in me; I have justice in me; I have perfectness in me; I have love in me-nay, I am love ; and I look
; on the sinner; I look on that dark sinner; that wretched, miserable sinner; that poor, prodigal sinner ; _that polluted, Magdalene sinner. Ah," says God, “I can yet embrace him, can save and acknowledge him before all heaven and the universe as saved. This is what
my love and grace can do.” Ah, yes, it is thus; God hath so loved us.
For, seeing that holiness, law, justice, all stood in the way of His embracing the sinner, He showed the riches of His grace in the gift of His Son. For, mark, the blessed Jesus Himself, in His love to the Father and to the sinner, says something like this:—“ I see my Father's love to the sinner; but it cannot embrace him.” And why? “ Because the law has pronounced death on the sinner. But He said, “I will die." But can Deity die? How can the Son of God die? Herein is wisdom. Wisdom
says, “Let Deity come and lay hold on humanity.” So He passed by the nature of angels, and took on Him the nature of man-was man that He
might suffer, was God that He might satisfy—satisfy infinitely, not only the love, but the righteousness and holiness of God. Ah, I may well pause here, and wonder; for you know the sequel. He died! He took the sin of the sinner on His own person; He bore the guilt, and took the stripes of the sinner on the cross. Justice plunged her sword in Him; so was expiated the sin of the sinner. There, see, this book, representing the sinner; and this book, laid on it, his sins; and now, see, the Lord takes the cursed load, and bears it on His own body on the tree. Where, now, are the sinner's sins? The sinner, believing, is free from his sins. Not only now, beloved, when I know it, but in the purposes of the Eternal, in those ages of ages of His illimitable past; millions of ages ago God had thus His own purpose in the blood. He saw its merit, its efficacy, and power to open a way for the sinner into His presence. For our liberty to enter is in the blood. The blood is there for us. And whatever that is in the estimate of God, that I am before God. Oh, it is eternal life to know it! And, mark, God's love embraces the sinner now; yea, God's righteousness embraces the sinner now, and God's holiness, and God's justice, embrace the sinner now. He is well pleased, for His Son's sake, to accept the sinner. “Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” This, then, is what I know God to be towards me as a sinner-as a lost child of the first Adam. Oh, it is a glorious gospel to preach—a gospel the belief of which gives instant peace with God.
But I must know not only what God is towards me as a sinful man, but what he is to me as a new man. Many Christians know not what He is to them as such. They are like a man who has simply escaped being hung; which, though much, is the utmost he gets; for, on receiving her pardon, he is not the Queen's son; he does not dwell in a palace. He is simply released