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one says that God is careless or powerless, the other says that He is loving.
This belief, this faith in God's love shown or proved to us by Christ's death, is the only way by which we can enjoy that peace of God which passeth all understanding. For it tells us that God is at peace with us already, we have only to be at peace with Him. It tells us that we may rely confidently on His help to overcome all our temptations, because He loves us. It tells us that it is His desire that we should be victorious, and have all things that we need in order to win the victory, because He loves us. It tells us that it is His desire that we should be with Him for ever because He loves us. And does it not tell us also, that we may go on our way rejoicing, and full of strength and earnestness to put down all our spiritual enemies under our feet because He loves
And now for those among us who having believed this already have been encouraged by it, as is natural, and have overcome many of their sins, and are struggling with the rest, and have walked with God with something of the feeling of a child towards his father, cannot you now believe in God's love yet more, and do you not feel how the consciousness of it is indeed a peace which passeth all understanding? Do not you perceive how this
faith hallows every worldly blessing of which you are tasting so many, because it teaches you to regard each as the gift of God? And as for those who have not yet believed it, and whose hearts are so full of sin that they are in no disposition to believe it, yet it is no less true even of them at this moment that God loves them. Infinite indeed is that love of the Most Holy, which regards us not only after we are turned to Him, but while we are yet in our sins, with no thought looking heavenward. God loves even such, and has given His only begotten Son to save them. Believe it while it is yet true, for if you will not believe it, it will not be true for ever. And that will be a thought of intolerable misery, when God's face being utterly turned away from us for evermore, we shall say to ourselves, "Now He has fulfilled what we believed, we thought that He cared not for us, and behold it is now true: but yet a little while past and He loved us even as He loved those whom He will love for ever, and had we believed His word when He told us so, He would have loved us still, and we should have been His children, and He would have been our Father for evermore.'
December 19, 1841.
CHRIST'S WARNING TO THE YOUNG.
ST. MARK, X. 21, 22.
Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and
come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great pos
You will wonder perhaps why I should have chosen these words as the text on which to address you to-day. Or remembering that this is the first Sunday in Lent, and that I have sometimes at this season reminded you of the duty of giving to the poor, and that there is a box at this time put up in the chapel to receive the alms of such as are disposed to give, you may think that I took this text to urge you to almsgiving, and not to resemble the young man in the Gospel, who when called
upon by our Lord to give, could not make up his mind to part with what he loved so dearly. But indeed I had no such meaning; I chose the text for another purpose than this. Your almsgiving is a source of great pleasure to me, but I was not particularly thinking of that to-day. Seeing you here once again assembled, to remain here together in the natural course of things for a period of four months, it seems to me that something deeper and more general must suggest itself concerning you, than the wish to see you practise any one particular duty. For as St. Paul has truly supposed, that a man might give all his goods to feed the poor, and yet be nothing, much more is it possible that one might give, and even give liberally, out of his superfluities, and yet be nothing. And then what are we profited by such giving? Much rather, seeing you all, so many living souls, for whom we must give account, and who must also give account for yourselves; the one thought that rises in the mind is the earnest desire that you be not nothing but something; that you should give your account with joy and not with grief; that you should be not enemies of God, nor murmuring slaves, but His true and loving children, forgiven and accepted in Jesus Christ.
Then the application of the text to us this day becomes clear and striking, taking it not in its letter but in its spirit. There came a young man to
Christ, to ask Him what he should do to inherit eternal life; and Christ named to him some of the ten commandments, to which the young man replied, "All these have I observed from my youth." Then says the evangelist, "Jesus beholding him loved him." This is, as it were, the first part of the story, and surely this case is very like our own. Are not we here come avowedly to learn of Christ, to be brought up in Christian truths and principles for this life and for life eternal? And if Christ were to ask us of our knowledge and of our practice, surely a large proportion of us would be able to answer that they knew the main truths of the Gospel and the main distinctions between good and evil; and many of us might go farther, and say, not indeed that all their common and most obvious duties they had followed from their youth up, but at least that they had followed many of them, and desired still to follow them; that from much evil they had been accustomed to shrink, and purposed and hoped to shrink from it still. And so great is the tenderness of our Lord Jesus Christ to all his peo
ple, and especially to the young, that when He sees any of you so living as I have described, living, that is, respectably and amiably, guilty of no gross sins, and doing many duties, loved by your friends, and affectionate to them in return; it is not too much to say that Christ loves you;