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a bright and ardent flame; faith contemplates with rapture the stupendous plan of mercy ; while all our enraptured powers unite their efforts to adore the great Redeemer's name.
Lord, what is man, that thou art thus mindful of him; or the son of man, that thou so regardest him ? 0! how wonderful is the love of God towards lost rebellious sinners.
6 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage ? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us ; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea."
The religion of Jesus is a religion of peace. The angels sang, “glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men,” when they announced to the wondering shepherds, the glad tidings of the Saviour's birth. Wherever the power of the Gospel is felt, there joy and peace reign. - The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom, as a rose. It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice even with joy and singing."
Christianity displays the wisdom of God. “Happy then is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding; for the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay ld upon her; and happy is every one that retaineth her."
Take then to thyself, O! mighty Saviour, thy great power; and reign over all the earth! Fulfil thy promise to thine ancient Israel, and to the benighted millions of the heathen world. Let Satan no longer maintain his empire in the human heart. Hurl him from his seat. Dislodge him from his citadel. Command him into the deep; for thou hast said, “ All Israel shall be saved." And “the Lord shall be the king of the whole earth.”
Adorable Emanuel, Prince of peace, sovereign of souls! take away the veil from the heart of the
poor Jews, who have so long been “scattered and peeled;" “ without a king, without a prince, without a sacrifice.” Hear the prayers of gentile Christians on their behalf, that they may look upon thee whom they have pierced, and mourn, till their sorrow, through thy forgiving grace, shall be turned into joy.
Open the eyes of the perishing heathen, that they may see the misery of their condition; the hard bondage under which they labour; the cruel tyrant whom they serve; and the awful doom which awaits them in another world.
O! do thou reveal to them, through the preaching of the Gospel, “thine agony and bloody sweat, thy cross and passion;" all the mysteries of Gethsemane and Calvary. Shew them the crown of glory which thou hast purchased; the kingdom which thou hast prepared; the inheritance incorruptible and undefiled; which is reserved for all who live a life of faith in thee. Endue them with strength to renounce their sins, and to burst the chains which bind their captive spirits. Shed abroad thy love in their hearts, and transform them into thy own most holy image
And, O! thou loving Saviour, have mercy upon those thousands of nominal professors of the Gospel, who are by thee esteemed the worst of sinners.
These, 0! Lord, do unto thee the greatest dishonour. They hear of thee without emotion. They talk of thee without affection. They know thy Gospel, speculatively; but experience nothing of its power. They call thee, Lord, but do not obey thee. They have the light shining around them, yet love darkness rather than light. They hear the sweet sound of grace, yet find no chord of unison within. They see the waters of life flowing on every side, yet never taste of its refreshing stream. They have a name that they live, and yet are dead. They profess that they know God, yet in works deny him. They have the form of godliness, yet deny the power thereof. They express a self-complaisant pity for the poor Jew and Gentile, whilst they themselves are in a far more wretched state than these objects of their commiseration,
O! that the Spirit may be poured out from on high, that the wilderness may become a fruitful field; that every heart may experience the trans forming power of thy sovereign grace, and the whole earth be filled with thy glory. Thou hast said, « Surely I come quickly—Amen, even so come, Lord Jesus."
Eternal God, thy power display ;
Thy dying love, O! Lord, reveal,
Arise, thou Sun of righteousness,
Inflame our cold affections, Lord,
XVIII. ON NEGLECTING THE GOSPEL.
This declaration of the apostle, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ?"-is both a solemn question, and an awful conclusion. Those who hold in fidel principles, who live in a total disregard of religious ordinances, and who persecute the followers of Jesus, despise the salvation of God.
But there are other marks equally legible to the discerning eye, though often unseen by the persons who bear them, on account of the blinding nature of sin, which point out the neglecters of salvation.
The three following should excite alarm, and call forth the important exercise of strict self-examination.
1. If we are living in the allowed indulgence of one known sin, whether that sin be internal or external; whether it be cherished in the secret recesses of the heart; or whether it ripen into overt acts; we are neglecting the salvation of the Gospel. We may have
knowledge, and zeal, and gifts of various kinds ; we may do much in active exertion to
promote the general cause of religion; we may associate with pious characters, and be ourselves esteemed pious; we may be regular at church; maintain family worship; and, like Herod, do “ many things :" yet if, after all, we are living in the allowed indul. gence of one known sin, we are neglecting this great salvation ; and, dying in this state, must inevitably perish. Should we knock and say, “Lord, open unto us,” Jesus would profess unto us, “1 never
knew you; depart from me, ye workers of iniquity.” How awful is this consideration, and yet how just! We may destroy all the refuse of the Amalekites; yet if we preserve Agag and the rest of the flock alive; if we retain some beloved lust in the heart, we manifest a spirit in direct opposition to the will and command of God.
2. If we are building upon any other foundation in whole or in part, than Jesus Christ and him crucified, we are neglecting his great salvation. To be saved from the dreadful consequences of sin, we must build simply and entirely on that foundation which God hath laid in Zion, without daring to bring any of the materials of corrupt nature to mix with it. On this foundation we must pray for grace to build gold, silver, and precious stones. This must be done by adding to faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly-kindness, and to brotherly-kindness charity. If these things be in us and abound, they make us, that we shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; whilst an entrance shall be ministered to us abundantly into his heavenly kingdom.
3. If we are preferring any earthly object of whatever kind to Jesus Christ'; if our affections are placed on any other being in opposition to him ; or if we are seeking our delight in any created thing, as distinct from him and independent of him, we are neglecting his great salvation ; yea, setting up idols in our hearts. We must love the adorable Saviour with a supreme affection ; and we must love other objects only for his sake. Our temporal blessings must be enjoyed as flowing from him ; our friends and domestic comforts must be received as gifts