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will not do it. The angels in heaven rejoice over you, your groans of self-reproach and cries for pardon are sweetest harmony to their ears. Jesus the faithful purchaser and sovereign disposer of free forgiveness claims you as his own.
Believe, O believe the good will of God towards you, and be at peace. There is rich provision made in the gospel for you, a precious blood of such atoning power as to cancel all your guilt; a perfect righteousness to clothe and present you without spot or blemish before the throne of glory with exceeding joy; an almighty spirit to take up his abode in you, as
, a teacher making known to you God's loving kindness in his dear Son, and assuring you of the personal possession of the unsearchable riches of Christ; as a sanctifier subduing your rebellious spirit, producing in you a conformity to the image of Jesus Christ and preparing you for the enjoyment of God in glory: as a comforter supporting you under all the trials and difficulties of this present world, and as a guide directing your steps into the paths of peace.
3. Finally the truth before us is applicable to those also who have made progress in the Christian life, and who have good reason to hope that they are established in the gospel, rooted and built up in Christ. You complain frequently of a coldness of spirit, a want of life and animation and energy in your devotions.
May not the cause of this evil (in part at least) be your not having repented of your past backslidings? You have provoked your jealous God to anger: you have abused perhaps those very
ordinances of his religion which were intended for your edification, and which he will not suffer you to treat lightly with impunity.“For this cause many are weak and sickly among you and many sleep.” For this, my Christian brethren, you must be sharply reproved, that
ye may repent, and avert the evil, “ Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do thy first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, saith the Lord, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place except thou repent.” Hear what St. Paul said to his Corinthian convicts “ I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I should be found unto you such as ye would not; lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults. And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have no repented of the uncleanness, and fornication, and lasciviousness, which they have committed.” Should this sort of address offend you, I can only repeat doest thou well to be angry? dear brethren search the scriptures whether these things be so. But should it but that you
make you sorry after a godly sort, I shall rejoice, not that you are made
sorry, sorrow to repentance, for godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation not to be repented of. “ Behold what carefulness it will work in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge, yea, what restoration to joy and peace in believing, for when you repent and turn from your evil
ways God will repent of the evil that he had said that he would do unto you, and he will not do it.”
GOD AN ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGN DOING ALL HIS
DANIEL iv. 35.
And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, what doest Thou?”
We are sometimes told that it is dangerous, or at least inexpedient to examine into the deep and mysterious things which are revealed in the Book of God; that the plainer and less controverted truths of scripture are sufficient for salvation; and that we ought to confine our attention and our preaching to them.
My brethren, among the blessings for which we have been solemnly praying to Almighty God this morning, one was, that He would grant to
us in this world, knowledge of his truth.” Now, it is very generally admitted, that when we pray, it becomes our bounden duty to use the best, the most probably successful means in our power, for the at
tainment of our object: because, that if we pray, without at the same time using means, we prove ourselves insincere, we tempt God with idle words; or else we are convicted of the enthusiastical absurdity of expecting to have miracles wrought in our behalf. What are the best means we can use for the
purpose of arriving while in this world at a knowledge of God's truth? Surely a patient and candid examination of that only record of truth which it has pleased God to place within our reach. If then there be any parts of that record which we deem dangerous, and a discussion of which we desire to avoid ; consistency would call for a change in our prayer upon the subject. We should implore our heavenly Father to grant us in this world knowledge of a part of his truth; only a part, because there are other parts into which we are determined not to examine, and for a knowledge of which we cannot therefore conscientiously pray. I conceive that this single argument, if we had no other, ought to make every intelligent member of the church of England feel it his duty to inquire according to his ability and opportunity into the whole truth, the whole revealed counsel of God, without any exception or reservation whatever.
It will not, perhaps, be denied, that the character of God himself, is one of the most important branches of revealed truth.