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I might possibly think of the matter at some future periodnext year, or the following year, or the year succeeding; and that when I did I would let you know, as also with respect to the result. Behold, alas! the result in my present unhappy condition! It is the vindication of your wisdom, and the condemnation of my own folly! We know not what shall be on the morrow ! Instead of the years I so wantonly contemplated, my offended Maker has scarcely vouchsafed me as many months! The avenger has at length overtaken me.
• Rarò antecedentem scelestum
Deseruit pede pæna claudo."" Here, overcome by his emotions, the unhappy man burst into tears.
“ • Behold the Lamb of God,” said his pious guest, in deep sympathy for his mental as well as corporeal sufferings,"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.'* Let me direct your attention," he said, with the most soothing accent of voice, “to that most precious pearl, on the string of Scripture texts, which you will find in Romans, and which is, indeed, an 'ornament of grace' around the neck of the believer :-'He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things ?'t Think of the immeasurable compassion of Him who spared not even His only begotten Son, but tore Him as a leaf out of His own heart, and offered Him up for the world! If God, then, has given to his creatures, for their deliverance, the stupendous ransom of the 'body and blood of Christ,'—for us men, and for our salvation how is it possible that He can refuse, to his penitent and praying people, any spiritual gift whatever, which may enable them to lay hold of the glorious prize set before them in the Gospel of the Saviour ? Having bestowed upon us the heavenly • John i. 29.
+ Rom. viii. 32.
fruit, from the tree of life, how can He withhold Himself from giving the leaves also, which are for the healing of the nations ?' *
“ The great ‘I AM' of the Jewish Dispensation, as, thank God! of the Christian also, graciously inviteth all—' whosoever will'— to take the water of life freely.' The Lord God of the Hebrews, who sent Moses, his chosen servant, in the days of old, on a divine legation to the children of Israel, to deliver them from the grinding oppression of Egyptian bondage; hath, in these latter times, sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem mankind-Gentile as well as Jew—from the more intolerable bondage of sin, and death eternal. Hearken to the appeal of that boundless compassion which thus
“'Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread ? and your labour for that which satisfieth not?
“ "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near :
“ 'Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him ; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.' +
Hearken, again, to the words of redeeming mercy. Obey the gracious call to which that mercy invites you,-repent, and believe, and live for ever :-'Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' I
“ 'He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be His God, and he shall be My son.'S • Rev. xxi. 2.
+ Isa. lv. 1-7. * Matt. xi. 28.
Rev. xxi. 7.
“ Think what it is to be 'a son' of the everlasting Father!'
“ Implore God, then, my dear sir,” continued Mr. Gracelove, “in penitence, humility, and faith, for the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide and sanctify you, and fear not that your supplications will be refused. Confide in God, and you will finally be led into all peace and joy in believing. Pray and doubt not. · Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.'
This is a gracious promise of our Lord Himself. These things saith the AMEN, the faithful and true witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.'”+
“ It is, indeed, a gracious promise,” responded the agitated sufferer ; " and I cannot but feel deeply indebted to you for thus administering to me the consolations of the Gospel in my present severe affliction. And yet,” he said, —wishing, like all worldly men, to justify himself, in some measure, by the merit of his good works—" although I confess I have committed many and grievous sins, of which I heartily desire the forgiveness of God, I have, at the same time, performed many acts of charity and kindness. I have bestowed large and frequent sums of money on benevolent institutions, as well as in private almsgiving; and I trust that I may be permitted to plead this merit in my behalf, however small the degree to which it may extend."
My dear friend," exclaimed Mr. Gracelove, “ there is no merit whatever but that of our blessed Saviour. The blood of Christ alone cleanseth from sin; alone entitles His creatures, through faith in His atonement, and sincere penitence towards God, to pardon for their sins, and to the precious gift of eternal life. If human merit can atone for in, then has Christ died in vain ;--then has the stupendous sacrifice of the * Matt. vii. 7,
+ Rev. üi. 14.
incarnate Son of God, which has fixed the wondering and adoring admiration of angels and of men, been vainly accomplished, and that by an omniscient, all-wise, and beneficent Being. No! my dear Mr. Stately, the supposition is utterly impossible. The adorable Redeemer cannot be robbed of the smallest portion of that divine meritoriousness by which He sayes his people from everlasting death, but at the fearful hazard of the immortal soul! But to accept the atonement of Christ to the extent only of supplying our own deficiencies, and rejecting the rest ;-to receive His heavenly grace simply to atone for the excess of our sins over our visionary merits, while we falsely imagine that the latter will assist in blotting out our transgressions; and to believe that, in such degree, the Saviour's blood is not required—this is, indeed, to rob God of His glory, but at the desperate peril of the soul. No! my friend, the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin,'* and alone cleanseth us. Human merit is a crafty device of Satan ;-a delusion of the devil, to insnare and destroy his wretched victims, who suffer themselves to be taken captive at his will.
“Let me beg of you to listen," said this Christian instructor, turning over the leaves of his Bible, "to what St. Paul declares of his pretensions to save him, in the third chapter of Philippians. The apostle of the Gentiles, so honoured of God, so zealous, so holy, thus expresses himself on this subject :
“ 'Though I might also have confidence in the Aesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
“Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee ;
# 1 John i. 7.
"'Concerning zeal, persecuting the Church ; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
“ ' But what things were gain to me, those I counted los for Christ.
“'Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord : for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
“'And be found in Him, not having mine own righteous. ness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith :
“That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death ;
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.'*
Here, then,” observed Mr. Gracelove," you behold a map, consecrated to his sacred office of apostle by the revelation to him of the very presence of his Lord and Saviour; who, if any one could boast of his works, and apply them in the way of a personal, meritorious righteousness, in substitution, or in aid of the sacrifice of Christ, was the very being to do so; yet absolutely disclaiming, without the smallest reserve, every notion of his own merit, as a ground, or even as an aiding cause, of his salvation. He regarded his own righteousness as 'filthy rags; nay, with a still stronger term of loathing and abhorrence. He ascribed all the honour and glory of his redemption to his divine Lord and Master, who had died for him, as for all penitent believers; and who is risen again to justify bim from all things from which he could not be justified, as the apostle well knew, by the law of Moses. The unqualified renunciation, therefore, thus made by the apostle, we are as strictly bound to
# Phil. iii. 4-11.