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we shall no longer feel any difficulty in understanding why the apostles have declared a knowledge of Christ crucified, to be so inestimable a blessing. We must also recollect, that the evangelical truths are admirably calculated to awaken the most animated feelings and affections of the heart; in doing which, they not only open the deepest fountains of satisfaction, but communicate a power and energy to the soul, which makes the attainment of the most perfect graces of holiness almost as delightful as their exercise.
The doctrine of the atonement is, I am persuaded, acknowledged, and its value in some degree felt, by a very large proportion of those who profess any seriousness at all on the subject of religion. It is too cardinal a truth to be overlooked ; too comfortable an one to be wilfully neglected. We find, therefore, the satisfaction which Christ has made for sin mentioned by many, with a certain expression of trust and thankfulness, who, on the whole, are living very carelessly, and have exceedingly inadequate notions of the dispensation of grace in its other parts. This doctrine, however, can hardly be well understood, or cordially received, except by those who have known the burthen of sin; who feel their need of a Mediator, and love Christ, not merely as a being perfectly excellent and amiable, but as their Redeemer. This is the nearest relation that subsists between Christ and his people. He has made, he preserves, he guides, protects, and blesses us; but all this he would have done though man had con
tinued upright. To have become the Saviour of a guilty world, its deliverer from bondage and death, invests him with a character far dearer, because far more necessary, to all who can estimate its value. And what but the blindness, the death-sleep of sin, can hide its value from us? We may speculate, if we please, on the moral government of God, and marvel (it is, indeed, very marvellous) that he should have permitted a whole world to be sunk in guilt and ruin. We may estimate, if we will, the palliation wbich our offences receive from the infirm nature we inherit, and the evil examples that surround
But, when our philosophy and our moral calculations are exhausted, let memory and conscience speak. Have you loved your Creator and Benefactor with your whole heart? Have you indeed preferred his favour before the pleasures of sense, of reason, of fancy, of ambition, of affection ? Have
you cordially believed, and acted on the belief, that to serve him with every faculty and every feeling, is true wisdom, and will issue in perfect happiness ? Have you
been holy and humble, just and pure in every thought and word and work? Happy, happy they (if any such there be,) who can honestly answer, Yes !—but not unhappy those, who knowing their sins, and confessing their unworthiness, have taken refuge in the sanctuary of a Redeemer, from the power and persecution of their enemies. I do not say that they who need a Saviour little will love him little: that is impossible: but surely those who feel that they need him much must love him ardently. Let them cherish the holy fervour. It will pour gladness into their hearts. It will purge them of every low thought, every selfish and worldly affection; as the sun, ascending in the rear of darkness, scatters the mists that lie heavy on the earth, and sheds upon every object the same glad and peaceful radiance in which his own glory is for ever enshrined.
There is one common and capital error on this subject, which must not be left unnoticed. Persons who do not live strictly are very apt to imagine that the Gospel is a mitigated law, and the death of Christ principally effective in softening the rigour and relaxing the straitness of the old commandment. This is a most fatal misapprehension of the whole matter. So totally is it at variance with the whole tenor of Scripture, that (if it were not presumptuous to speculate on the possible proceedings of God,) we might venture to say, if the law of perfect holiness could have allowed of any abatement, Christ had never died. That law, like its Author, is immutable. God is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. “ Be ye perfect,” is the precept of both Testaments. It is among the most sublime and characteristic features of revelation, that, even in a scheme of condescension by which sinful beings are to be restored, and some provision therefore of necessity made for infirmity and corruption, the perfections of God are never compromised. The Scriptures never lower down the standard of holiness to the imperfections of man, but strive to raise his weakness to that noble and celestial height.
Every thing is in the ascendant. Sursum Corda, Sursum Corda. The doctrines, the precepts, the examples, the images, the language of the Bible all breathe a tone of sublimity that ill harmonizes with low pursuits, sensual appetites, and worldly affections. Let us follow whither they lead us. He only is truly happy, who has happiness within himself; whose soul is free, and whose wants are satisfied: holiness alone is liberty ; the favour of God, the only source of perfect and abiding satisfaction.
ON SUBMISSION TO GOD.
WHEN we consider the relation in which we stand to that Almighty Being, who created us by his power, and who preserves us during every moment of our existence by the unceasing energy of his wisdom ; it seems of all truths the simplest and most obvious, that we ought to be subject to his disposal. When we recollect that He, who is our Sovereign by nature, unites in his adorable character every attribute which can attract our veneration, or claim our confidence, or win our love, duty seems too cold a term to express the regards which are due towards him. But when we reflect, that He who formed us by his power, and blessed us by his goodness, left not the world he made to perish in its wilful apostacy, but purchased again his own creation by the blood of his dear Son ; what language can adequately describe the feelings of glad obedience and grateful adoration, which should animate every child of this wise and gracious, insulted and indulgent Parent! Yet man, fallen unhappy man, can forget alike the obligations of duty and of gratitude! Thousands pass on from youth to age