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God forgive His enemies ? so do we. Is God kind to the unthankful and evil? so, Christ says, must we be if we are His. Is God truth? so must we be truthful. Is God just ? so must we be just, and scrupulously give to all their due. All this must be if we are made in Christ the righteousness of God.
God's righteousness is not a name. It is a reality. It is the reality of goodness, mercy, holiness, justice, and truth ; and if we are made this in Christ, we must be made in very deed, good, merciful, holy, just, and truthful, because God is all this.
Now if a man be not all this, or is not earnestly desirous of being all this, and prays not for it all, and makes no effort to have this character of God in heart and life, and yet thinks that he is reconciled to God, he is under a delusion, and the sooner he is roused from it and disabused the better.
So that, if you think that you are reconciled to God because you think you realize the work of Christ, just see to it that you are also living in habits of self-examination. See to it that you constantly look into the whole state of your heart and life : see to it, for instance, that you forgive: see to it that you speak no evil: see to it that you think no evil, of others.
And lastly, there are those whose hearts are right with God, who yet feel not the reconciliation which reason and Scripture alike assure
them that there really exists between them and God. Some speak as if sinners have no right to look for the secret consciousness of pardon, but, if so, why has God and the Church taught us to sing, "Let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our Salvation ?" or why should God and the Church have put a hymn into our mouths beginning, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour ?"
If it is not intended that we should have a deep abiding sense of reconciliation, why should we mock God and ourselves by using such words as, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word : for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation ?"
How is it, then, that some of those whose hearts and souls are in unison with God do not experience what many others, very far their inferiors in goodness and holiness, say that they do ?
I think there can be little. doubt that it is because such do not dwell sufficiently in heart and soul on the Evangelical truths of the New Testament. “We joy in God,” the Apostle says, “through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” If a Christian is to feel and rejoice in reconciliation, he must fix his interior eye on all that part of Christianity which has to do with reconciliation. He must let his soul and spirit feed on the truth of the Incarnation of the Eternal Son; on the loving aspects of His sojourn among men ; on the atoning, reconciling, propitiatory nature of His Death; on His Resurrection as a pledge that His Sacrifice was accepted; on His Ascension as the pledge of His perpetual Intercession. He must set before his soul's eye the truth contained in such an Apostolical assertion as, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” He must not look at religion as a system of mere duty, but rather as a system of grace. It is full of duty, but it is grace before duty. It is God loving us before we love God.
Take the Sacraments. They are not primarily, at least, things in which we do something, but in which we receive something. If you persist in looking at the Lord's Supper as a duty which you perform rather than a rite in which you receive ; if you persist in looking upon it as a something in which you profess your faith, or your assurance, or anything else; or if you persist in regarding it as a thing in which you merely makea memorial—then you, of necessity, do not realize sufficiently its Evangelical or Gospel aspect. Christ calls the cup," the cup of the New Covenant in His blood," or His “ blood of the New Covenant shed for many for the remission of sins."
You are assuredly one of this “many," and so, in partaking of that cup with a true penitent heart and lively faith, you partake of the New Covenant in His blood, that is, of forgiveness; for the New Covenant is, “Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” Realizing this, you realize what it is—the most Gospel of all ordinances; and you are in the way, at least, to realize conscious reconciliation; to "joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom you have now received the atonement."
GOD'S GOODNESS AND SEVERITY.
ROMANS xi. 22. “ Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness : otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”
God, in making known to us His will in His word, seems to be under a difficulty. What! one may say, is there anything difficult with Omnipotence? Is there anything too hard for God? Well, not actually; though we know that to redeem us the Second Person in the God-head had to take upon Him our nature. But though God may not have anything answering to our difficulties, yet He undoubtedly appears to have. And particularly He appears to have a difficulty in convincing us sinners of two things respecting Himself, which, if we accept His word, we must hold together-His goodness and His severity.
The whole Gospel of God's grace is designed to draw us to God, by making known to us God's goodness. “ God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have