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glorious Gospel of the incarnate God: on which account he justly styles himself "a worker together with God;" and, in this character, he earnestly besought the Corinthians, as I now affectionately exhort you, "not to receive the grace of God in vain." For we, brethren, every one of us, like Saint Paul, are pensioners upon the free grace of God, as, I trust, was proved in my discourses last Sunday and this morning, to all, except those, who "wilfully turn their ears from the truth."
The kindness and love of God our Saviour were the subject of those discourses; and happy shall I be, if, by God's blessing, I may have been the humble means of comforting any heart that was utterly cast down by dread of the divine vengeance. The mercies, nay, the tender mercies of our heavenly Father, we know are over all his works; and we learn from the whole tenor, as well as the express declarations of scripture, that Jesus Christ came down from heaven, and "suffered death upon the cross, that all men, through him, might be saved." Surely, then, believing, penitent, sinners may cherish the hope that they, even they, like Saint Paul, may be saved. Their case, and that of hardened unbelieving infidels, are widely dif ferent. For, what saith the Word of Truth?— "He that believeth on the Son, hath life-and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life,
but the wrath of God abideth on him." awful are these declarations! "God is provoked with the wicked every day"—not the thoughtless, ignorant, wicked, but the thinking, self-wise, wicked, are the objects of his aversion. Against them he hath bent his bow, and made it ready; he hath also prepared for them the instruments of death." How hopeless a warfare, then, does the sinner undertake who fighteth against God! Who ever thus encountered and prospered? What stronghold or secret place is there, where the enemies of Jehovah may be safe?" them try the whole creation. Ascend to heaven; and He is there in the brightness of his majesty: go down to the regions of darkness in hell; and He is there in the severity of his justice: take the wings of the morning, and fly to the uttermost parts of the sea; there his boundless dominion extends; yes, even there, sinner! his right hand shall hold thee, a prisoner to his vengeance. Go ask protection from hosts of angels and archangels, and they will tell thee they have no power to save, that there is none other name but that of Christ, which can do it; they will tell thee also that one sin, even rebellion against God, ruined myriads of their companions; how, then, should they protect thee from the penalty of unnumbered transgressions? and if such exalted beings cannot afford the impenitent sinner the least assistance, "surely in vain is salvation looked
for from the hills and from the mountains of infidelity; "-hills and mountains, (supposed munitions of strength,) which will crumble into dust, "at the blasting of the breath of God's displeasure." No: it is the arm alone of that Saviour, before whom devils trembled, that can save: but even he can profit us nothing, till we receive him into our hearts by faith; and, as a proof that we are his disciples indeed, do the things which he commandeth. Wherefore, let
me beseech you, brethren,-not to render the grace of God abortive to yourselves, by sneeringly reflecting on the exalted happiness of those, who, having repented truly of their sins, and relied entirely on the mercy of a compassionate Saviour, through grace, have obtained it.
Much is it to be feared, that many thoughtless transgressors, in their reckless folly, "make a mock at sin," and deride the fears of the contrite and the penitent. But let such go and ask the penitent and pardoned sinner, in what estimation he holds the benefit of forgiveness, and remission of his sins. How highly he values "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding!" Let them hear the honest confession of one who thus spoke from deep and thorough conviction: "Blessed is he," says the psalmist, "whose transgression is forgiven, and whose sin is covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity." "O Lord, my God, I
cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me: thou hast brought up my soul from the grave; thou hast kept me alive that I should not go down into the pit; thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness: therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O Lord, my God, for ever."
But this forgiveness, precious and invaluable as I have shewn it to be, is only the introductory blessing, bestowed on those who are enabled to give the grace of God a full and cordial reception. Being no longer enemies of their own. souls and of the cross of Christ, they are restored to peace of mind and to the friendship of their Redeemer. The God whom they had offended condescends to be called their Father; nor is he reluctant to confer upon the reconciled, the blessings and honours which pertain to his children. Hence the rapturous expression of Saint John:
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." Though our desires soar to the greatest height,-though we stretch our imaginations to the utmost,-yet the benevolence and liberality of God will be far more unbounded. His bounty will be an everlasting fountain, which will prove an eternal source of consolation to his redeemed: "for he that spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely
give us all things?" Read the farewell discourse of our Lord to his disciples before he suffered, and learn from it what ye are authorised to expect, through his atonement, from a reconciled Father. It tells you, that all your prayers shall be heard that the "Comforter, even the Holy Ghost, shall come into your hearts, and lead you into the knowledge of all truth:" that, being made fruitful in the works of righteousness, God himself, by his grace, shall make his abode with you; that ye shall be safe in this world, under the shadow of his wings; and, at last, being exalted where your divine Redeemer is, ye shall behold his glory, and be blessed with his presence for ever and ever.
Are these considerations insufficient to determine your choice? If so, wonder not at the unbelieving Jews, who persecuted and slew the Lord of Life. Their scorn of him was excited by his mean appearance; and they "hid their faces from him," because "he took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man. But wonder indeed, at your own wickedness and ingratitude, whilst ye behold the Son of God clothed in all the mild glory of an exalted Saviour, and stretching forth his hands to bestow all the blessings purchased by his most precious blood:-tremble indeed, for yourselves, while ye despise and reject him. Yet, notwithstanding sinners have cause to tremble,