« PreviousContinue »
works; “ few and far between” have been my successful endeavours, in comparison with my transgressions. I have given myself up to my unruly passions; I have offended God; I have outraged my Benefactor more and more, and in a manner wantonly. The law, however, is positive--" The soul that sinneth, it shall die;" “God will render to every man according to his deeds"_“ tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil;" and how many times have I done evil! Therefore, O my
God! I must be punished by thee, cast off by thee, perhaps for ever. Whom shall I find to calm my anguish, and bring me peace? My fellowsinners, who tremble for themselves, can do nothing for others: it is in vain that they say, “ Peace! Peace!” while conscience declares o there is no peace.'
What then can we devise to reconcile God to us? Shall we sacrifice victims ? “ shall I give the fruit of for the sin of my soul ?” But the Lord “ hath not as great delight in burnt-offerings, as in obeying the voice of the Lord;” and his voice we have scorned ; we have resisted his Spirit,
and our sins are, as it were, heaped up like a mountain, before him. O misery! our terrors then will go on increasing-increasing with our years—increasing to our death-bed; and even there we shall encounter only despair, and the dread of appearing before our Judge.--Such are the doleful cries of trouble and of anguish which ascend from the earth-the cries of man, without a revelation, left to contend with his
But what mean those rejoicings and festive celebrations, published from one end to another of the Christian world? The God of Mercy hath had pity upon his creatures--he hath beheld our afflictions—his compassion is awakened- he hath revealed for us a Saviour from heaven. We were unable to pierce the depths of futurity, and read the secrets of the Almighty, in regard to our lot, but CHRIST. unfolds them to us; we could not tear asunder the awful and impenetrable veil which concealed from us the Divine decrees-but Christ has withdrawn it; we knew not how justice and mercy could be reconciled--but Christ has undertaken to reconcile them; we could do nothing for ourselves—but Christ has done every thing for us : “ He has suffered the Just for the unjust,”—“ he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed,” Upon the cross he displays the immensity, and accomplishes the mysteries, of Divine love. He invites us all to fly to Him for protection; he tears asunder the writing of our condemnation; his dying voice proclaims pardon for the sons of men; from the heaven of heavens, where he reigns in glory, he is even now—this day--this very instant-interceding for us, as the appointed Mediator between God and man; nor can the pleading of the Son of God be in vain. Methinks I hear a heavenly voice, which says to me: Believing soul, be calm, thentroubled conscience, be at rest; thy covenant, and receive thy pardon, at the sacramental feast: “ there is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus;
cording to the riches of his grace.” Oh the compassion of my Redeemer! the love of my God! I may yet be restored, then, to peace and hope-my Almighty Father does not utterly reject me: he extends his arms; he invites me to throw myself upon his bosom.
Such are the benefits of the dispensation under which we live. Such are the light and the consolation which, undiscovered by the wisest of mankind, and hidden from the greatest intellects of antiquity, visit and rejoice the humblest member of the Christian commụnity : they find their way alike into the palace and the hovel: that atoning cry which went forth from Calvary, hath been heard afar-it hath resounded through our hearts--we joyfully repeat with the Prophets and Apostles :
:-“ How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! Blessed be God, which, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.'
Yea, blessed indeed be God! Obedient to the commands of Isaiah, we raise the song of triumph in honour of Him who “hath visited and redeemed his people.” We call upon all mankind to unite with us, on this day of rejoicing. Inhabitants of the earth, whose infant generations have for centuries been washed in the waters of baptism, and the latter days of whose aged ones have been gladdened by the blessed rays of the Sun of Righteousness, join yourselves to those nations who are younger in the faith ; lift up your hands and hearts towards the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to bless him for having given his Son to the world, and to beseech him to hasten the time foretold by the prophets, when the earth shall be covered” with the blessings of the Gospel, “as the waters cover the seas.” Kings of the earth, Rulers of the people, bless the KING OF, Kings, the Saviour of your souls. You, who groan in bondage, victims of the tyranny or the mistakes of your fellow-creatures, bless that God who sends consolation into your dungeons, and who comes to exchange your miseries for immortal expectations. Children of