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sonable encouragement had not been afforded, the very intention of the vision would have been counteracted, and he unfitted for the arduous services to which he was called.-We consider then, III. The relief and encouragement which he received.

We are not indeed warranted to expect direct assurances by immediate revelation; yet the emblems of this vision aptly represent the way in which the convinced sinner finds peace and hope, connected with increasing humiliation.-It has been remarked that the scene of this vision was the temple: the altar of burnt-offering was therefore full in view, on which the daily sacrifices and occasional oblations were consuming, by the fire that came down from heaven. The blood of numberless innocent animals slain in sacrifice, and their bodies consumed to ashes, that guilty men might be pardoned and blessed, were constant declarations that sinners deserved death, and the fiery wrath of god in another world; and that deliverance could be obtained only by faith in the promised Redeemer," the Lamb slain from the foun"dation of the world," From this altar one of the seraphim took a live coal, and applied it to the prophet's lips, assuring him that his " iniquity was "taken away, and his sin purged."

No endeavours were used to comfort Isaiah by persuading him, that he thought too ill of his own character and services: no intimation was made, that the vision had bewildered his mind, and inspired groundless alarms. On the contrary, the heavenly messenger of peace seemed to allow that "he was a man of polluted lips," and that his pre

sent judgment of himself was according to truth: but he assured him that his guilt was removed by the atoning sacrifices, and by faith in the typified Redeemer. When Simon the Pharisee disdained the weeping penitent, who washed the Saviour's feet with her tears, our Lord did not vindicate her character or palliate her guilt; but graciously noticing her repentance, faith, and love, he declared, that "her sins though many were forgiven." This is the uniform method of scripture: but numbers endeavour to encourage trembling sinners, by arguing them into a more favourable opinion of themselves, or by pointing out certain good actions or qualities, which may counterbalance their offences. Such are "physicians of no value." They administer fatal opiates to the lethargic, when they have been in a measure awakened: and they prolong the distress of the contrite and poor in spirit. No man is terrified merely by the opinion that his sins are numerous and heinous; but through unbelief, ignorance, or indistinct notions of the divine mercy, and of the blessed gospel of God our Saviour. These are therefore the subjects on which we should principally insist, if we would bring the distressed in conscience to permanent comfort and stable peace. "Faith cometh by hearing:" and, while we point out" the Lamb of God that taketh away "the sin of the world," we do our part to apply "the live coal from the altar" to the trembling sinner's lips. For, when a man is brought to seek encouragement, not from himself or any of his services, but from the infinite mercies of God, through the atoning blood of Christ; and to perceive the Saviour's power and willingness "to save

sonable encouragement the very intention of the counteracted, and he un vices to which he was c III. The relief and received.

We are not indeed assurances by immedia blems of this vision a which the convinced s connected with incr been remarked that t the temple: the altar fore full in view, on occasional oblations that came down from berless innocent ani bodies consumed to be pardoned and b tions that sinners wrath of god in a rance could be ob mised Redeemer, "dation of the wo seraphim took a prophet's lips, ass "taken away, al.

No endeavour persuading him. character and s

that the vision 1 spired ground' heavenly

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rass, to give us the light of the know-
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he assigned the real cause of the lowly
re which eminent saints have ever entertained
of themselves: and a want of this divine illumi-
nation gives occasion for that favourable estimate
which numbers form of their virtues and charac-
ters. If then this be the case, or if there be the

least probability that it is so; would it not be wise in vou, my penis, to intrest the Lord that he

your understandings to understand

would
the scripturs

would it be improper for

frequenthalate with fixed attention on

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ections and holy commandments me affectionately beseech you to uties with the standard of holy writ own hearts, while engaged in them; ne impartially your motives in those which you annex some confused idea d which you hope will make amends. least, for the undeniable defects of your

A day approacheth, in which every behold a far more glorious scene than .ch overwhelmed the mind of the prophet The divine Saviour will appear in his glory, and in the glory of the Father, with s holy angels." Then every action will be I in an impartial balance; every character fully made known; and every unpardoned ressor will be struck dumb in the presence Judge, or will be only able to say, 'Wo is I am undone!' while the awful words, part ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared or the devil and his angels," shall fill him with ror and sink him into despair. But at present re is hope: and those discoveries of guilt which id to humble us, and prepare us for welcoming e salvation of God, should be considered as intimable mercies, the forerunners of "joy unspeakable and full of glory."

But perhaps these subjects have rendered you neasy and dejected; and you have on that account deemed it best to divert your attention from them, and at any rate to keep on good terms with your own consciences. You therefore neglect the scriptures, and such books, company, or preaching, as formerly disquieted you; and, hearkening

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occasic that can berless in bodies con. be pardoned tions that si wrath of god i rance could be mised Redeemer, "dation of the wo seraphim took a li prophet's lips, assuri "taken away, and his

No endeavours were persuading him, that he character and services: à that the vision had bewila spired groundless alarms. heavenly messenger of peace "he was a man of polluted lip

62

SERMON III:

a labourer, a servant, in deep poverty, o
state of slavery. And whatever be the
outward situation and circumstances,
aim to serve the Lord Jesus by a
attention to his peculiar duties, in
ness, and contentment; he wil
"adorn the doctrine of God his
certainly meet with a gracio
he were sent, like Isaiah an
message to the church and
The performance of rel
the most unkind return
integrity under heavy
stances; patience and
and injuries: are in
the prophet's alacr
service allotted 1
believer can uni
and fervent zes
ing to the co
tunities or ad
warp his st
negligenc
find him
perilou

ragen

the

SON

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