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compassion : but the breath of his mouth kindled the flames of their torment, and keeps, and will keep them raging for ever. Is there unrighteousness with God?
No. This was just, and no man, who believes the Bible, has ever had the hardihood to charge it as the reverse.
Had the rebellious race of man met with similar treatment, it would have been equally righteous: but herein is sovereign love, not that we loved God, and induced him to make a difference; but that God loved us, all ungodly as we were, and gave his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Matchless display of incomprehensible mercy and severity in Jehovah, according to his sovereign will! He casts rebellious angels into hell, without any remedy, without a glimmering of even distant hope: but for rebellious men, he spares not his own beloved Son, he awakes the sword of justice against the man that was his fellow, the appointed shepherd of the ransomed flock, in
, whom it was no presumption to claim equality with God: 'the creditor provides the surety : the offended Monarch gives the Partner of his throne to death, for the high treason of his subjects, and restores the attainted traitors to reconciliation, allegiance, and peace.
« God made Christ to be sin for us." " God hath quickened us together with Christ.” It is to
the sovereignty of God we are indebted for all the rich blessings of the gospel of our salvation. By an act of sovereignty, according to his will, and for which no other reason can be assigned, but that so it seemed good unto God; he who is declared to be a consuming fire, presents himself before us in the face of Jesus Christ as a God ALL LOVE!
“Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. Thou art worthy to receive glory and honour, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created.” And thou doest all things according to thy will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay thy hand, or say unto thee, what doest thou?
THE PARABLE OF THE SOWER CONSIDERED.
JAMES i. 22.
“ Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only
deceiving your ownselves.”
The education of his children is an object dear to the heart of every affectionate father, it excites much of his interest, and engages much of his attention; but behold! while they amuse themselves. by the river's edge, he sees the bank give way, and his dear cherished little ones plunged into the flood! How then does he manifest his affection for them? Is it by meditating on their education? Is it by laying down rules for their future conduct ? No, but by rushing to their rescue. First save them, first snatch them from the water, suffer none of them to be drowned. He succeeds and brings them all safely to the shore, and what then? Is he so engrossed by the recollection of their danger as to forget or neglect their education ? No, he teaches them immediately to be thankful for their preservation, and their future instruction again occupies his attention.
Thus it is with the children of God. The gospel of Christ as a kind parent has their education much at heart, but it sees them in a lost condition, perishing in the miry clay, in the deep waters of sin. What then is its first address to them? Does it come with a system of education, explaining and enforcing a long list of rules, commanding them to live “ thus and thus?” No! before such a system could be explained, the poor children would be drowned. Thanks be unto God, there is no such mockery in the gospel of his dear Son. Jesus Christ himself rushes into the water, grasps and saves, effectually, eternally saves every one of his poor drowning children. Look unto me, he cries to them, and be ye saved: you have destroyed yourselves, but in me is your help: grasp no longer at those straws which deceive you by the river's bank; the torrent will sweep them all away, and those who depend upon them, must perish with them; here, here is your rock, here is your anchor, here is your refuge, here is the foundation-stone laid in Zion, it stands alone in the waters, mark how firmly it stands though the torrent roars; venture on it, venture wholly, you shall not be disappointed, for thus saith the Lord God, “ him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out, whosoever believeth in me shall never be ashamed.” And now, when the children are
saved, snatched from the waters, and fixed upon the rock, what follows? Does the gospel neglect their education ? No, truly: it teaches them immediately to give praise for their preservation, it puts a new song into their mouths, even thanksgiving to their God, and it effectually provides for their further instruction, making them doers of the word, and not hearers only. This distinction is of the utmost importance. The preservation is one complete finished act of free grace, wrought for the sinner by Jesus Christ our Immanuel, God manifest in the flesh: and the education is a number of acts of the same free grace wrought progressively in and with the believer by Almighty God the Holy Ghost; in the believer, for the spirit taketh up his abode in the ransomed child; and with the believer, because the very first operation of the spirit is to make the child willing, willing to learn of God, willing to serve God, willing to run in the way of his commandments, so willing that his service is perfect freedom.
It could not be expected, that any thing so excellent as this, would either meet with a cordial reception, or escape abuse in a fallen rebellious world; and accordingly we find, that this holy gospel (the power of God and the wisdom of God) is rejected and abused, and disregarded by the children of men. It is in