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your wicked companions to take advantage of that time of rest to work uncleanness with greediness; and whereas the lawful occupations of the week prove some restraint upon you, it may truly be said, that the sabbath instead of God's day has been in a peculiar degree, the Devil's day with your souls; you have harboured, indulged, recalled impure and licentious imaginations; you have joined in idle, yea, foul conversation; you have sung obscene songs, you have outraged female delicacy; nay, some of you have gloried in your shame making a boast of your adulteries and fornications; these things have been your delight: again and again before you retired to rest at the time you should have been reading your Bibles or on your knees before God, you have been like true brethren of Belial busy in your father Beelzebub's work of lust; you have dishonoured your parents and superiors; you have deceived, and defrauded and slandered your neighbours; all this you have done through the evil days of the years of your lives, and God is a just God, and God is angry with the wicked every day, God is also a powerful God, able in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye to execute his just judgments against his enemies. "None can stay his hand." Proud hardened sinners live and speak as though they defied God, they harden their necks, they

rush as Eliphaz the Temanite describes them, upon the thick bosses of the Almighty's buckler. * But what are they like? They are like heaps of chaff preparing to stand against the whirlwind: they are like nests of ants climbing one upon another into a pile to resist the progress of a waggon wheel: they are like groups of lunatics hanging out curtains towards the east to hide from the world the light of the rising sun. Ye fools, and blind, why will you fight against God? How can you resist God? Where can you fly from God? You will lie down presently in the grave, but darkness cannot cover you, darkness and light to God are both alike; you will call upon the rocks and hills and mountains to fall upon you and hide you from his wrath, but rocks, hills and mountains fly at his command, and leave the sinner naked in the hands of an angry God. Consider my dear perishing fellow sinners: with eager reiterated earnestness I beseech you in the name of God most high to consider your deplorable condition. A just God has given you a holy law, which during all the days of the years of your life you have broken, for each transgression you deserve damnation, you have broken each of the ten commandments a thousand times, you justly deserve ten thousand times damnation. Hell is ready.

* Job. xv. 26.


devil is upon the watch. Why are you not plunged into the gulf? Because God sustains you, the God whom you have offended, the powerful God, the just God, the angry God, even he still keeps you up, he still keeps your lungs in play, your blood in motion, he still suspends the stroke of his justice. Nay more, he raises in your ears the voice of mercy, he proclaims himself a Saviour! willing to receive you, helpless sinner as you are, to blot out all your iniquities, to forgive you freely, to establish you upon a rock, to clothe you in the righteousness of Jesus Christ his dear Son, and make you a partaker of everlasting glory.




ISAIAH XLV. 21, 22.

A just God, and a Saviour: there is none beside Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the


ends of the earth.

THUS did the Almighty reveal himself by the prophet Isaiah, and what he then was, he is now, and ever shall be " a just God and a Saviour." This is a most comprehensive character, and contains the true key to the whole volume of scripture Old Testament and New. A just God! here lie all the unspeakable terrors of his holy law, which he will not suffer to be broken with impunity. And a Saviour! here in one word bursts forth the glory of the everlasting gospel, where mercy sits enthroned without a rival: free, unbounded, unconditional mercy.

To human apprehensions, light and darkness are not more opposed than justice and mercy. We cannot conceive how they can meet together; for so long as strict justice is executed no mercy is shown, and the very moment


mercy is extended, there is an infringement upon the claims of justice. When a criminal is tried and condemned by the laws of our country, if the just sentence pronounced upon him by the judge be permitted to remain in force; then he receives simply what he deserved, he is treated with strict justice, and there is no mercy in the case. But if the king interpose, and exercise his prerogative to set aside the sentence of the judge, and pardon the convict; then the man receives simply what he did not deserve, he is treated with free mercy, and there is no justice in the case. The king is permitted to be unjust on the side of mercy, and it is only by reversing the sentence of justice, that his mercy can possibly be exercised. He may, indeed, confer a distinguishing favour on one of his subjects without any injustice, but this is not what we usually understand by mercy. Mercy implies previous guilt and exposure to just punishment; and we repeat the important statement, that it is only by reversing the sentence of justice, any human authority can extend mercy to the guilty. But "God's ways are not as our ways;" God can exercise mercy to the uttermost, without reversing the slightest jot or tittle of the sentence of the most even and inexorable justice. He is just God," leaving not the smallest possibility of escape to the smallest sin: and he is


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