Page images

Lord's side, though it was not suffered for a time to be heard: and he has enjoyments to look back upon, with which a stranger never intermeddled. He can remember, not only the dreadfulness of a state of utter distance from God by nature, but also the blessedness of being brought nigh by the blood of Christ. He knows what it is to live under his smiles, and by his influences. And now, that the charm which deceived him is desolved; now that he has leisure for reflection; now that he is separated from his very idols, no wonder he resolves, if possible, to return to a state in which it was better with him than now.

And, let those who have been led astray, and have fallen by their iniquity, adopt immediately the same resolution. While you consider the melancholy change that has taken place in your experience, remember two things: First, that it cannot be better with you than it is till you return to God; since it is by your departure from him that you have sustained all these losses, and incurred all this misery. "Set thee up waymarkss make thee high heaps; set thine heart toward the highway, even the way which thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities." And, secondly, while with weeping and supplications, you are disposed to seek him again, guard against that despondency which would tell you that it will be in vain.


is not vain. "There is hope in Israel concerning this thing. He waiteth to be gracious, and is exalted" to have mercy upon you, "Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God. Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the

multitude of mountains: truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel."

Have any of you been restored? Turn not again to folly. Has it not cost you enough already? After all this, will not the very appearance of evil terrify you? Live near to God. Your welfare depends upon it.

And, as for these young converts, who have just subscribed with their own hand, and surnamed themselves by the name of Israel; let these also beware. Now, perhaps, you think there is very little need of this caution. Such at present is your attachment to the Saviour, and his way, that it seems to be impossible for you ever to forget the one, or forsake the other. But how many who once had the same confidence with yourselves, have since denied him, or followed him afar off? "Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall. Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation: the spirit, indeed, is willing, but the flesh is weak."

"Now, unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you, faultless, before the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy; to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen."




Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.-Acts v. 31.

ELEVATION is necessary to influence. Of what advantage is a candle under a bushel?-but place it in a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house. While the sun is below our earth, all is dark and cold; but, when he arises, there is healing under his wings; and, from his loftiness in the skies, he scatters his enlightening and enlivening beams. When the shrub rises up out of the ground, it rather requires than affords support and assistance; "But, when it is grown, it becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof." A man in the obscurity and contractedness of private life, may feel dispositions prompting him to do good; but, he can only pour forth benevolent wishes, and shed ineffectual tears. But, give him pre-eminence; place in his hands the reins of empire, and at his disposal the treasures of the state, and lo! thousands are refreshed by his shadow, protected by his power, and enriched by his bounty; his fame spreads encouragement: prayer also shall be made for him, and daily shall he be praised. Thus "Jesus ascended far above all heavens, that he might fill all things."

Or, take another illustration. The life of Joseph is not only affecting as a history, but also important as a type.-Joseph was hated of his brethren; and they sold him as a slave to a com

pany of Ishmaelites, in order to prevent the fulfilment of his dreams. But the means used to hinder his advancement, terminated in the promotion of it: and, in process of time, he was made ruler over all the land of Egypt. And it is worthy of our regard, that his elevation was--not only the aggrandizement of himself—but, also, the preservation of thousands, and, in a peculiar manner, the salvation of his father's house. He was the only dispenser of supplies, to those who were perishing with famine and Go unto Josephwas the order given by Pharaoh to every petitioner.

But a greater than Joseph is here. Thus Jesus suffered from the hands of sinners; and they acted only as enemies-but the curse was turned into a blessing. His sufferings led to his exaltation; and this exaltation was-not only a personal reward-but a relative glory. He is made head over all things unto his body, the church. He has power given him over all flesh, "That he should give eternal life to as many as the Father has given him." And him, says the apostle to the Jews, "Him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."

Thus he is advanced as Mediator to the grandeur and resources of his present station, not only to govern, but to save; and to save by governing. Some are exalted as princes, who are by no means saviours: they do not study to secure the common rights of mankind. They do not set examples of temperance, humanity, and social affection. They do not cultivate harmony and peace. They seem only raised up to oppress and to destroy.

[ocr errors]

Murder and desolation mark their progress. The ruins of towns and villages, the tears of widows and orphans are the materials of their glory.They sacrifice the lives of their subjects to save their own-yea, they frequently sacrifice them to gratify their pride, their vanity, their avarice, their revenge. But He sacrificed himself for the welfare of his subjects.I give my flesh for the life of the world." They are princes of warbut he is the Prince of peace. They are princes of death-but he is the Prince of life. They are princes and destroyers-but he is a Prince and a Saviour. He takes us under the wing of his protection; redeems us from the curse of the law, delivers us from the wrath to come, saves us from our sins. He makes his subjects holy and happy. For, "He gives repentance unto Israel, and forgiveness of sins."

Let us take three views of these blessings. Let us consider their meaning-their connexionand their source.

I. Let us consider their meaning.-What is repentance? Every one will see the propriety of making this inquiry who only reflects that every thing excellent admits of counterfeit that there are specious resemblances, not only of every moral virtue, but of every Christian grace-and that Pharaoh, and Ahab, and Judas, and others, are said to have repented, and after all died in their sins. Perhaps a better definition of repentance was never given than by an old divine-one excellency of which is, that it is easily remembered. He tells us, that "genuine repentance consists in having the heart broken for sin, and from it."

Be it then remembered, that the subject of it

« PreviousContinue »