Page images


God is a great and awful Being : unto the King; he will be my Methe Lord God Omnipotent; the diator with the Father; he will introSovereign of the universe: and duce me to his favour. well may mortal man shrink from But, I approach the sacred his presence, and “ fear to look on Throne ; and all again is fear and God!” But the awakening peni- terror, for there I see the dread intent is driven by his necessities, and signia of justice. It is my Judge, my urged on by his very fears, to seek righteous Judge, as well as my Althe Lord bis God. Without Him I mighty Sovereign, that I have sought! must be for ever miserable : only in The judgment is set, and the books his favour can I live ; only by re- are opened : and there I see my union with him can my soul be name, and all that I have done ; saved. I search, therefore, for ad. and there is written against them, mission to this favour; I inquire Banishment! I have come before

way into his presence ; I draw His piercing eye who searcheth the near to the confines of his court ; hearts and trieth the very reins ; I press, in my anxiety, even to the and I stand in mute dismay to hear hall of audience. And what do I the awful imprecation issue from behold ? The King in his glory; the judgment-seat, “ Depart, thou the long array of shining worship. cursed, into everlasting fire !" pers ; the thousand thousands minis. He, the mild and the compassionate, tering unto him, and ten thousand is still my friend ! I see him blot times ten thousand standing before the record from the fatal book; I him ; the elders falling down before hear his whisper of compassion, the Throne, and crying, “Holy, , “ Be of good cheer, thy sins be holy, holy Lord God Almighty, forgiven thee:” and I join the which was, and is, and is to come ; voice of harpers harping with their and my spirit faints within me, and harps, and the song of praise and

• Woe is me! for I am a exultation “ Unto Him that loved man of unclean lips ; for mine eyes us, and washed us from our sins in have seen the King, the Lord of his own blood, to Him be glory and hosts : " I have come unprepared dominion for ever and ever! Amen.” into the presence of the Holy One: Who is he that condemneth ? it is and how can I-a man, an unworthy Christ that died ; yea, rather, that and wretched and miserable man- is risen again ; who is even at the attract his favour! I see the daz. right hand of God, who also maketh zling glory round the throne : I veil intercession for me. I am an unmy eyelids before the light that no worthy and helpless creature, but one can approach unto, and there He has introduced me. I am sinful remains no strength in me! But, lo! and guilty, but He has reconciled a Being standing by the throne in me. I have boldness to enter into mildest majesty! his countenance the holiest by the blood of Jesus; the countenance of love ; bis eye I have access with confidence by the

eye that penetrates yet soothes the faith of Him. the soul! He is advancing towards Here, then, is the removal of our me—he is stretching out his hand- dread of God, our terror of his and I hear the whisper of his voice: majesty, and our apprehension of “Come unto me, thou weary and his righteous justice. The impediheavy laden, and I will give thee ment, so to speak, on the part of rest : “I am the Way, the Truth, God, is taken away. By Christ we and the Life; no man cometh to the have admission to the Father's faFather but by me." And this is vour: by him we have privilege to Christ! this is the softened Image become his sons. of the Holy One; the Form of his But, secondly, how shall we compassion ; the Revealer of his realize this privilege in our hearts, mercy: and he will bring me near and derive from it the benefit which

I cry,

[ocr errors]

it conveys? By faith in Christ: for missively, “through Christ we have says our text, “ By whom also we

access, by one Spirit, unto the Fa. have access by faith into this grace." ther.” The fear of wrath is sucThis is the yet remaining element ceeded by the hope of favour; the essential to our union with the Fa- coldness of dislike by the warmth ther. Besides what God has done of filial love; and we thus “ draw for us by the work of Christ, there near, with a true heart, in full asinust be that which is done in us by surance of faith, having our hearts the Spirit of Christ; and this Spirit sprinkled from an evil conscience." is received from him by faith. Our 2. And how, then, does this unitdread of God is chased away through ing Spirit become ours? By faith in faith in the atonement of his Son; Christ. Apart from him, and ignorant our distaste of God is banished by or mistrustful of the work which He the renewal of his Spirit: and this has wrought, the condition of the Spirit is the gift of Christ, and soul is dark and dreary. The more comes down to us through faith in we feel the majesty of God, the Christ.

more we tremble at the thought of 1. It is the gift of Christ.–At him. The more we learn of guilt his removal from the earth, Christ and danger, the more we shrink promised to impart this Spirit to all from meeting Him who is our Judge. who should believe in him, to form Without faith, therefore, though the medium of communication with Christ has removed the impediment his people. “I will pray the Father, without, and opened a new and and he shall give you another Com- living way to God, yet the impediforter, that he may abide with you ment within is not removed, and for ever ; even the Spirit of Truth; we are as distant from God as ever. whom the world cannot receive, We enter not by the way which has because it seeth him not, neither been provided for us; we use not knoweth him : but ye know him, the privilege vouchsafed to us; we for he dwelleth with you, and shall remain still far off, in the gloom of be in you. I will not leave you alienation ; the secret distaste of comfortless; I will come to you; our nature prevails ; and we live and at that day ye shall know that without God in the world. But I am in my Father, and ye in me, does there come to us the Gospel and I in you." By him the aversion of salvation ; do we learn the fact of the natural mind from God is re- that He, the Son of God himself, moved, and the shrinking fears of has undertaken our cause ; and do the sinner are changed into a holy we value and believe the blessed confidence, and we regard him as tidings ? then with faith comes our Father, and there is peace and hope ; and with hope comes relenting intercourse between us. “ Because of the mind, the warmth of returning ye are sons, God hath sent forth the life, the yearnings of a new affection, Spirit of his Son into your hearts, the strugglings of the heart towards crying, 'Abba, Father;'”- the out. Him who has so loved us : “the ward and vicarious work of Christ love of Christ constraineth us :" having procured for us the privilege “we love God because he first of the adoption of sons, and opened loved us:" and there is born within the way of access to Divine favour; us that new spirit of adoptive freethe inward work of the Spirit im- dom, which expands and animates plants in us the spirit of adoption, the heart, and diffuses a new tide of and encourages and prompts us to life throughout the man. “We be enter by that way: “The Spirit called, according to God's purpose, itself beareth witness with our spirit by his Spirit working in us in due that we are the children of God.” season ; we, through grace, obey And thus, personally as well as by the calling; we be justified freely ; privilege, actually as well as per we be made sons of God by adoption; we be made like the image of tations of God's compassion in his only begotten Son Jesus Christ; Christmay be admired and be praised, we walk religiously in good works; but never will be realized, and bring and at length, by God's mercy, we

forth fruits of peace and righteousattain to everlasting felicity.” Oh the ness, but by personal, active, approvalue, therefore, of that faith which priating faith. works this personal transformation! And do you ask for warrant and Oh the blessedness of that inward encouragement to such a faith? work of the Spirit, which applies Where shall we find it, if not in the work of Christ, and gives us him who has come forth as our experimental access to the Father's Friend and Mediator? if not in love and friendship! It is in the that one act of his, which not only exercise of faith that the first move. procured, but which assures to us, ments of the spirit of adoption the introduction which we need ? quiver in the soul; and here be. Shall men repose themselves on gins that spiritual communion with human friends—frail, weak, and Clirist which connects us with him uncertain as they are—and not on as our living head; and thereby this divine, all-faithful Patron ? connects us with the Father who is Do we yield our doubts and fears, one with him, and makes the Spirit and calm our anxieties, upon the of the Father and the Son the in. assurances of man; and can we mate of our souis.

stand out against the promises of Would you, then, have the lise Christ, the Son of God? What of God within you? Seek that life can hold, if these fail ? What single in Christ. Would you 'realize the act of friendship can be trusted in, blessing he has freely opened to if this, which is the aggregate of all you, and be introduced to personal acts of friendship, is to be mistrusted? coinmunion with your God ? Be- this, which is commended, too, by lieve in Him who has procured every variety of figure and illusthese blessings, and, through this tration; which is not merely profaith, they shall be yours. Thus claimed to us with solemn annun. only shall we realize access to God ciation, but is repeated, argued, by him. For what is this access of clothed with every form that can which our text speaks ? It is not attract; which not merely shines merely a right and privilege pro. out upon us in one broad ray of cured for us by another (that had heavenly consolation, but is reflected been spoken of just before, in the on us from every side, by every first verse of the chapter); but it is means of repetition, till its full cona personal blessing, to be enjoyed centrated force shall melt the very by ourselves. It is not a change soul into adoring faith. of state alone from banishment to For the varied statements con. acceptance, from condemnation to cerning Christ as our Mediator, the favour ;—but it is a change of mind names and titles which are assigned from fear to hope, from aversion to him, the several characters which love, from distance to communion. he assumes—all draw the mind to And this change can be wrought this one point, He is our Mediator only by the application of the bene- with the Father. And again : the fit, the believing of the blessing, various figures which set forth the the receiving of the gift, the trusting work of Christ, the images under with confidence in the privilege which it is expressed, and the forms vouchsafed. All the assurances in by which its hidden and transcendthe world concerning a person's ant substance is made comprehenkindness cannot quiet an anxious sible by our understandings and mind, till it is convinced by them, influential on our hearts, run up believes their sufficiency, reposes on into one most simple truth, that by their truth; and all the manifes. Christ we have access to the Father,

and are introduced to the personal Lord ? Then hear the argument enjoyment of his favour. In a word, of the Apostle Paul : “ Christ being various cases, in which men have come, a high priest of good things exercised or can exercise trust, are to come, by a greater and more made the symbols and the repre. perfect tabernacle, not made with sentatives of this spiritual truth hands, neither by the blood of and certainty; and various states of calves and goats, but by his own mind, in which men most completely blood : he entered in once into the realize certainty, and enjoy its cor. holy place, having obtained eternal responding peace, are made illus- redemption for us. For, if the blood trative and experimental of that of bulls and of goats, and the ashes state of mind which is higher than of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, all other confidence and peace. sanctifieth to the purifying of the

For example: Did the Israelites Aesh, how much more shall the believe the assurances of God when blood of Christ, who through the he was about to send abroad the eternal Spirit offered himself withdestroying angel, and to slay the out spot to God, purge your confirst-born of the Egyptians ?' Did science from dead works to serve they sacrifice their lamb in hope, the living God?” Such as was the and sprinkle of the blood upon legal atonement to the re-admission their dwellings, and rest in quiet- of the Jew to worship God, is Jesus ness within, assured and certain Christ to your admission to the that “when the Lord passed through Father, to his love, and to his serto smite the Egyptians, and saw the vice. blood upon the lintel and upon the Or, again (for various symbols two side-posts, the Lord would


are vouchsafed for our encourageover the door, and would not suffer ment ; general as well as special the destroyer to come in unto their ones): Does an enemy, a banished house to smite them ?” Did they rebel to his prince, hail with gratimaintain their peace in that tre- tude the amnesty vouchsafed him, mendous night ; and, if a momentary and joyfully accept the reconciliamisgiving came across their mind, tion offered him ? « God was in remember the blood which they had Christ, reconciling the world unto sprinkled, and sink again to rest ? himself, not imputing their tresThen, remember, “Christ, our pass passes unto them." Or, does a over, is sacrificed for us !" « Be- criminal, whose mind is awed and hold the Lamb of God, which taketh softened by the dread array away the sin of the world !" Such as tice, leap for joy at the announcewas that blood of sprinkling to their ment of a free and gracious pardeliverance from the destroyer, is don? “ We are justified "-acJesus Christ to the saving of our souls. quitted ; the charge against us can

Or, again : Did the Jews, when celled; our punishment remitted they had sinned against their holy -" we are justified by faith in law, and were unclean, and banished Jesus Christ our Lord.” Or, is from the presence of Jehovah, pro- there yet one state of mind more ceed in faith to use the remedy pre- exquisite than all these representascribed by Moses ;-did the peni- tions will image to us; one in which tent bring the sacrifice appointed, the fullest confidence and peace are to the altar, and lay his hand upon yet mixed up with the deepest rethe victim, and look up in trembling verence and obedience : one which hope to the ministering priest, who contains within itself the impussislew for him the animal, and sprink- bility of being abused, and, while it led its atoning blood before the vail sheds the most inspiring freedom of the sanctuary ; and then return in through the heart, impels it in the sweetest quietude, rejoicing in the path of holiest devotedness ?– is CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 345.

4 A

of jus



there the quietness unspeakable of in which the lady was placed; inthe filial mind reposing on the stead of offering, for the use of the bosom of its Fatlıer, one with him sex at large, a general direction for in thought, affection, will? Then, contravening their secondary duties. Christians, recollect, “ As many as But I proceed to particulars. received Him, to them gave he It is urged, that we are bound to power to become the sons of God, listen to a minister, because he is even to them that believe on his bound to preach; that, as the comname; which

were born not of mission confided to him is universal blood, nor of the will of the flesh, --for he is commanded to preach nor of the will of man, but of God.” the Gospel to every creature—the

obligation to hear him is universal also. This comprehensive command, however, when applied to an individual, obviously and reasonably receives a limitation to that parti

cular sphere which the providence Tothe Editorofthe ChristianObserver. of God has allotted him. If it be

not so understood, I cannot see how I wish to submit to the deliberate we stand excused for not acting judgment of your readers a few fully on it, and going out into the remarks respecting the letter from streets and highways to proclaim “6 a well-known Minister," sent by our message in the ears of every

A BARRISTER,” and inserted in passenger. But if a minister of the your Number for July. Such use, Church of England is required, as a Í apprehend, may be made of it as matter of duty, to preach to those the pious writer never intended. It persons only “ who are committed may be pleaded in opposition to to his cure and charge," no obligaparental commands, by young ladies, tion is laid on him respecting others : members of the Church of England, all correlative argument, therefore, as an authoritative apology for for- respecting the duty of strangers to saking their parish minister, and him falls to the ground. If he is attending some other, whose ser- not bound to preach to them, they mons

to their taste. are not bound to hear him. An That duties, as the writer states, imperfect obligation cannot have a are correlative; that ministers are perfect correlative. bound to preach the Gospel, and There is another observation to the people equally bound to hear ; be made respecting this argument. and that God is to be obeyed rather The lady is informed that her duties than man; are axioms so generally involve corresponding obligations acknowledged as almost to deserve on the part of her husband or the name of truisms. But the great father : she is led to inquire whedifficulty in this, as in many other ther those obligations are fulfilled : cases, is to apply with sound dis- she will certainly determine in the cretion general rules to particular negative, because, ex postulato, he instances. And I consider it a defect, throws impediments in the way of resulting, not from want of ability her duty to God. In my view, or right intention in the writer, but then, it was expedient not to stop from the nature of his subject, that at this point, but to guard against a he is unsuccessful in laying down mischievous result, by broadly layadditional landmarks, by which de- ing down another truth, certainly pendent women may pass without not better known than our claims offence along this intricate path. on relatives :— that the violation of The advice ought to have been con- duty by one party does not cancel fined to the particular circumstances the correspondent obligation on the

are more

« PreviousContinue »