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lips. I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for mine anger is turned away from , him.” Are you in great darkness of mind, saying, “O that I knew where I might find him. I would go even to his seat?” To you this invitation is expressly sent: “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. Ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with your whole heart.” And you, my beloved young friend, whose parents long to see your heart given up to Christ, and are praying day and night for your salvation, behold a promise to you full of strong affection; read it, and be amazed. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” And to you, O sinner, who have never trodden in his paths, nor ever courted, but shunned his acquaintance; you
who have had so many mercies, so many warnings, so many narrow escapes from death, and made so many vows; “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” If you still think I have not specified your character, take this summary invitation. “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” Honour him by believing his word. Set it down in your minds that he is faithful, that he means what he says. Put him to the test, and you shall know he does not mock you. Believe not the men of the world, nor your heart, when they tell you it is all enthusiasm. Make the trial for yourself; for there is no reason why you should not acquaint yourself now with him, and be at peace, that good may come unto you.
Retreat beneath his wings,
And in his grace confide;
Than all your works beside.
ON THE ADVANTAGES OF ACQUAINTANCE
The advantages are suggested by two expressions, in the passage at the commencement of this volume; “Be at peace:” and, “good shall come unto thee.” The first of these may be read either as an injunction or a promise. “Be at peace:” that is, lay down the weapons of your unlawful warfare, and become friends. You are now fighting against God, and can know no quietude in such a battle. “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked: they are like the troubled sea, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” No sinner can have peace with God, but by embracing his Son, whom he has set upon his holy hill of Zion; for he is our peace. Nor until then can he have any peace
in his conscience; he is necessarily subject to alarms. And if he is actually undisturbed, it is a false peace, built on a treacherous foundation; “as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that sleepeth upon the top of a mast.” Though he may fancy himself secure, he is not safe. The meaning therefore is, Fall in with God's terms. Cease your opposition to his plan of mercy, and be at peace.
The phrase, however, implies much more. It imports that peace is the happy result and blessed effect of the course enjoined. Acquaintance with God and peace with God, are two links in one chain, inseparably connected. You *cannot possess the one without the other. By this acquaintance then, you shall have,
1. A DELIGHTFUL FREEDOM FROM THE ACCUSATIONS OF CONSCIENCE.
He that has been convinced of his condition by the Spirit of God, and has seen by the law of God the dreadful punishment to which he has been exposed, knows something of the pangs of an accusing conscience.
How sweet is deliverance from such tormenting bondage! How blessed is that man who feels himself released from the law as a covenant of works; walking at large without his prison fetters; no longer having the sentence of condemnation sounding in his ears, nor the prospect of everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord before his eyes; but holding in his hand the title-deed of a glorious inheritance; having within an earnest of a paradise more beautiful, fragrant, and durable, than the fabled gardens of Adonis; one that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for him. He is no longer the King's prisoner, but the King's son, with liberty to dwell in his palace, sit at his table, partake of his embraces, and be made fully like him. For that same spirit, which was before tossed with tempests, and not comforted, having the billows of his wrath going over it, and the arrows of the Almighty sticking fast in it, the poison whereof drank it up, now to hear, “Thus saith thy Lord, the Lord, and thy God, that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold I have taken