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rest and fear. Whereas love and forgiveness, free pardon, generous and merciful invitation, should surely operate with a more powerful influence upon a rational mind: they should bow down the most stubborn spirit, and melt the hardest heart into contrition and a sense of its duty; And O, may these motives have awakening influence upon you!
The example of the repentant prodigal is before you—may it not have been presented to you in vain. Think it not too early or too late to return to your Father's house, when such a gracious reception,—such infinite mercy, awaits you. Delay not, I beseech you,—when, to delay, be fatal to your peace;—but now, while
have time, “arise,” and, in the broken contrite spirit of the prodigal, go to your heavenly Father,—declare your utter unworthiness in his sight—and confess that ye have indeed, oft-times, “sinned before him.Thus go to him, with “the prayer of faith,” and ye shall find, to your unspeakable joy, that “ with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.” Yes, my brethren, ever let each of us remember that, “in many things, we offend all:"deeply-heartily, therefore, let the very best of us repent;—for there can be no pardon where penitence is wanting ; and where that, joined to a true faith, is found in the heart, forgiveness through Christ is sure. Who, then, shall venture to delay his repentance?
Who can say how soon the door of mercy may be shut, and shut for ever? Now is the time to return to our heavenly father. He is now waiting to be gracious : justified by the blood of a crucified Saviour, we may be happy if we will. . Should we lose the present opportunity, who can say we shall ever have another. Let us, then, thankfully embrace it, and, by God's grace, through the merits of our adorable Redeemer, we may be pardoned here, and hereafter be blessed for ever and ever,-in “the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ." Amen.
ON GOD'S LOVING KINDNESS TOWARDS ALL
1 TIMOTHY II. 4.-“Who will have all men to be saved,
and come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
THE real wants of all mankind, in every region and at every period, are substantially the same.
All are continually dependent for existence on the Supreme Ruler of the world. All equally stand in need of a Sanctifier because all inherit a corrupt nature; and all require a Redeemer, because all have sinned, and without an atonement would finally “come short of the glory of God.” He is no local or capricious deity, circumscribed in knowledge, in power, or in will; and therefore partially confining the blessings of redemption to families, or to nations. He sets up no groundless and arbitrary distinctions, between those who are alike his children.
Hence, the relation which Jesus Christ bears to men, in the execution of his mediatorial office, is represented as equally commensurate with that of the Creator to his creatures. As God created all men, so is Christ the mediator of all
On these grounds St. Paul expressly declares it to be the divine will, that “all men should be saved.” None, then, are excluded from the benefit of Christ's redemption. None, except through their own wilful and continued disobedience can be placed entirely beyond the reach of its influence. For, the word of truth says, gave
himself a ransom for all ;” not for a single generation, but for all the generations of men ; not for a few distinguished and favoured individuals, but for every individual of the human race. Now, this doctrine harmonises with the purest conceptions we can form of the moral attributes of God; while the opposite opinion is utterly irreconcileable either with his justice or his mercy.
Nor are we left to infer so momentous a truth from a single passage of Scripture, how unambiguous soever be its language, and how definite soever its meaning. It accords with the original purpose and ultimate object of all the divine promises, respecting the great Redeemer. It is most consistent with the views of his office and mission, as they were delineated in the writings of the prophets, long before his incarnation. In the New Testament
it is more fully and distinctly unfolded. His birth was announced as “good tidings of great joy to all people,” and as promoting “ peace on earth, and good will towards men.”
The baptist pointed to Jesus, as “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world ;” and the Saviour himself declared that he “ came to give his life a ransom for many."
After his resurrection, when “all power had been given to him in Heaven and in earth,” he commanded that “ repentance and remission of sins should be“ preached in his name among all nations ;" and accordingly, St. Peter declares, that “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance;" and the beloved disciple assures us, that “Jesus Christ the righteous is the propitiation for our sins; and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” St. Paul asserts, that Christ “ tasted death for every man;" and, reasoning from the effects of Adam's transgression, to those of Christ's redemption, assumes that they are co-extensive, and both in the strictest sense universal. If such be the clear, strong, and oftrepeated declarations of Christ, and his inspired apostles, who shall limit the benefits of his Saviour's passion, or deny the possibility of eternal salvation to any of the sons of men ? Especially, who shall dare to shut, against an incalculable majority of his fellow men, “ those