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as one utterly DEAD, without any particle of merit to recommend him to Divine favour! We are apt to introduce something between the grace of God and the unmixed sinfulness of man. This robs grace of its true character. Were there any merit in the sinner, it would prevent the exercise of grace. If he merited salvation, salvation would no longer be a gift, but a right which he could claim. If the slightest atom of desert or merit come between the sinner and eternal life, that life is no longer a gift. In such a case, God would be the debtor and man the creditor, and not man the debtor and God the Giver.

But who can tell what grace is ? Or who can describe Divine love? I sometimes try to solve the question, Why did God love man?" I know that God's nature is perfectly pure, and that He loves what is pure,

and holy, and good. But man was not pure, or holy, or good ; man was depraved and corrupt. God loves what is gracious and grateful in His creatures. But man was ungracious and ungrateful. And, moreover, God loves those that love Him. did not love God. The sinner in his natural, carnal mind, never loves God, but is enmity against Him. Why, then, did God love the sinner?' That He did love him, and does love him, is plain as revelation can make it. To say that God does not love the sinner until the sinner loves God, is a lie against Him-a doctrine of the devil. It is one of the hardest stones which have to be hammered out of our hard hearts. That God loves the sinner as he is, is the Gospel. Anything less could not meet his case, seeing he is

corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,” and, in his very essence, enmity against God.”

We may learn a little of what grace is in God, by seeing what it is in man. And we may know, in some measure, how it affects the sinner who receives it, by a glance at its effects as produced by one person on another. Let me suppose a case in illustration.

But man

I had long wished to be the bearer of life to some condemned cell. My wish was granted me. It was on a Tuesday that a poor sentenced criminal was to be hanged. He was within one day of the fatal drop. But on the Monday, all unexpectedly, I was summoned to take him his life! I had succeeded in obtaining a reprieve—a paper signed by our gracious Sovereign, giving him back his forfeited life. This, as I have said, is what I had long wished for. So wonderful a privilege was it to be in a position to give life !

My first thought was, Where is the train that can bear me swift enough to the cell ? I dreamt not of delay. Delay appeared cruel; until, at the very threshold of the prison, I bethought me thus—How can I tell him ?. The news will kill him. The man will die if I tell him, so great will be the revulsion. He has died, so to speak. He is dead in law. And he is already in the bitterness of death. So, with his life in my hand, I stand before the victim in his cell. His face is wan.

His knees feeble. His vacant eyes have no tears, but are red, and look as if, with dry, hot grief, they had burned down into their sockets. Melancholy picture! She who owned him as her husband had just been carried out from the last separation-still, and seemingly a corpse, unconscious of the strange, last kiss which a murderer had impressed on her lips. The expectant orphans, after their wretched farewell, were crying over the yet motionless form of their mother.

My poor man, can you read ?” “ Yes,” was the reply. But fearing to break the good news to him too suddenly, I added—“ Would you like your life?”

. “Sir," he responds, “ do not trifle with me." life is sweet-is it not?” “Sir, I would rather you would not speak to me. “ But would you not like me to procure your life ?"

66 It is of no use; I'm justly condemned. I'm a dead man." " But the Queen could give you your life.” He looks inquiringly at me, but is silent.

“ Can you read this ?”

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And now those hot eyes are directed down upon

the paper. As he intently reads, putting my arm around

. his shoulders, I say—“ There, my poor man; there is your life !” No sooner had I uttered the words than, as I expected, he dropt down at my feet. There he lies, as it were, dead! It was more than he could bear. Ah, you who are cold and dubious about God's work, this is something for you. How often of late, when

you
have seen the revulsion of mind in

poor

sinners when first getting a glimpse of Christ, of life, have you cried out, “ Excitement! it's all excitement.Out upon this charge of excitement! What! when a man to whom a reprieve is announced, granting him a few more short years of natural life, falls down as dead, may not a sinner, who finds he is not to be lost, is not to be damned, but that now, on believing, he is saved_he has Christ, and heaven and everlasting life-I say, may not he weep? Yea, cry? Cry for joy; and be, as it were, in a swoon of love a half delirious ecstacy of life.

Would to God that thousands, like my poor prisoner, were so overwhelmingly affected as to fall as dead with joy at the far more momentous and glorious announcement which I bring you to-day.

But now, revived, he asks—“Sir, who sent me this ?” “ The Queen sent it." “Why did the Queen send it to me?

It was grace in her-her act as sovereign. It pleased her to do it." - What have I ever done to the Queen ?” “Nothing, but break her laws.” “Could I see the Queen ? "

Why do you want to see the Queen ?”

At this the tears are in his eyes. What a sight! How refreshing to those hot sockets--- those weary eyes ! Ha! yes ; tears! What a tale they tell! A new life is coming! Hail to that life! Dear saved sinners, you understand me? He repeats, “could I see the Queen?” “What for?” “I don't know; but if I may – why, I would fall at her feet. I would embrace her

66

“I cannot say:

66 A man

grace is?

feet; I would like to kiss them—if but for once. And this life, I'd place it at her service.” “ Then your are not an Antinomian ?• What is that?” who

says he is saved, but that he may murder againthat though liberated he may live as he lists. Would you murder again ? or again break the Queen's laws ?" 66 Murder again! Break the laws again! Ah, no, no. If she were at war with her enemies, I'd go for her into the very thick of the fight. If I had a thousand lives, they are not mine." " Then you could die for

“ her ? "I could. My life is not my own, but hers. She has given it to me. Dear friends, do we get any inkling yet as to what

We, who are quickened together with Christ, were dead; dead in sins. To set us free from that death, He bore our guilt, our sins, on His own body on the tree. To know this is to know the Gospel, and also God, who had His own design in loving us. The analogy is feeble, but the Queen knew what feelings filled her heart. She was conscious of clemency—of grace. She felt compassion for the poor, miserable victim of crime; and she knew the murderer, when saved, would reveal all this—that he would be a mirror in which it would be reflected. She anticipated, also, what would be the effect of grace —that it would draw forth love; that the saved one, more than all her other subjects, would devote himself to her interests, and, if needful, would die in her service. Were he to shine among her peers as a member of her Court-educated and honoured-s0 much the greater wonder-so much the brighter witness would he be of her favour and of her grace. So God knew what was in Himself—resources that had never been brought out, which no eye had ever seen or heart conceived. There they lay—hidden riches of grace and love truly infinite.

But God said, I will work a work in saving the sin

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resources.

ner which, more than anything else, will bring out those

How could His compassion or His grace be shown in angels who never fell? or even His love and joy to the same extent as in redeemed sinners ? Where can we see holiness, or righteousness, or love, so displayed as at the Cross ? Angels are subjects, servants, standing before God in primal innocence; delighting to do His will and yield Him homage; but sinners redeemed from death and from the lowest degradation, by the precious blood of Christ,” are made one with Christ-loved by God as Jesus is loved

- to be glorified with Christ with the same glory, and to sit with Him on His throne as co-heirs of the same inheritance! Oh, marvel of marvels! wonder of the universe—displaying, as it does, “ the manifold wisdom of God,” and is the exceeding riches of His grace.”

In the illustration which I have used, it is rather the Queen that we should see, and not so much the saved murderer; especially if, besides having his life granted to him, he is now, as we have supposed, not only saved, educated, elevated, but brought into nearness to the throne itself, and with unmeasured honour made to share its highest confidence, its richest glory. Law would have consigned him to an ignominious death, and buried him a felon's

grave;

but

grace has in him erected a monument for herself, and has adorned that monument with beauty and great glory—a glory and beauty bestowed by her own lavish hand. Thus out of the marred and broken pieces of our ruin, in which the enemy found his triumph, God has collected and constructed a wondrous plate, on which He has pourtrayed, as it were, a portrait of Himself—His wisdom, His righteousness, His holiness, and His love!

Now, this is the God-ward side of truth; and very precious it is to him that sees it. It would have been beginning at the wrong end if I had gone into that felon's cell, and had said—“My poor man, you must

in

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