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these truths firmly grasped by my mind, what has the world wherewith to fascinate or affright me ? I have escaped from its toils, I have attained an altitude far above its din and influence, the cords which bind me to the throne of the eternal exert their mighty energy, and I rise, to “ sit .... in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, I rise yet higher, and in the mysterious language of Peter, I the heir of corruption and once the bondsman of death, am made a partaker “ of the divine nature.”+
Let us bring this doctrine to bear practically upon all the affairs of life : let us view it, not as a mere intellectual belief or a cold abstraction, quite unfitted for the stern realities of business or the earnest “onward ” cry of the world; but let us ever consider it as having a vital connection with our smallest as well as our greatest transactions,—with it let us soothe every sorrow, and temper every joy ; let us be assured that it is a soulinspiring motive, calling us to duty and labour, not a dreamy intellectualism,-a heart-felt reality, not a philosophic abstraction ; but it is an inward vivifying principle, permeating our whole being and evidencing its presence and power in our every act.
See how this doctrine bears upon the false liberalism of the present day. Some would endeavour to persuade us that we can do quite well without any atonement, that in fact we do not need it, for the race is not fallen, and all that is necessary for man is that he be “ developed.” But what of all these systems of human culture and development,-elaborated in the misty brain of some dreamy German, and which can be realized only in " the paradise of fools”? What of Mr. Parker's “absolute religion." or Prof. Newman's “spiritual insight"? have they made men happier or holier ? have they converted one soul ? is * Eph. 11., 6.
+ II. Peter 1, 4.
the religion of their disciples more "absolute," are their aspirations more “spiritual” ?—no, no, they have only served to prove more distinctly the fact, plain to all who are not "absolutely" blind, or who are not deaf to the echoes of their “spiritual” consciousness, that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Apply this doctrine to the utilitarian tendencies of our age, -an age that seems disposed to reckon every thing merely at its marketable value, and would trample the finest feelings of our nature and the holiest emotions of the soul beneath the hoofs of a sordid selfishness ---still let us bring this doctrine to bear powerfully upon this spirit, and the votaries of Mammon will forsake their shrine, and abandon their unhallowed worship. Avarice turns pale, and ambition trembles at the sight of Calvary. The slaves of passion melt into tenderness and contrition, the prowling lawless spirit of Belial is thoroughly subdued, by the firm persuasion that through the death of the Mediator there is held out to the guilty the promise of a full, free, and immediate pardon. He upon whom the eye of pity has never fallen, and for whom no heart has ever throbbed with sympathy, feels that the eye of Jesus beams with mercy, and that His heart yearns over him with tenderest compassion. Oh yes! here is power,---power to break the adamant, power to subdue the rebellious, power to reclaim the wanderer, power to enkindle within the bosom the smouldering embers of love, power to re-beautify this ruined temple and make it a fit dwelling-place for the Holy Ghost, power that can reach to the depths of man's misery, and can elevate him to the dignity of à son of God; and this exhibition of power and love will, throughout eternity, constitute the doxology of
* Rom., III.,
that glorious anthem of the redeemed, “unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father ; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and SERMON X.
* Rev., 1., 5-6.
CONSOLATION IN TROUBLE.
BY THE REV. WM. PARKINSON, OF UTTOXETER.
ALTHOUGH THE FIG-TREE SHALL NOT BLOSSOM, NEITHER SHALL
FRUIT BE IN THE VINES; THE LABOUR OF THE OLIVE SHALL FAIL, AND THE FIELDS YIELD NO MEAT; THE FLOCK SHALL BE CUT OFF FROM THE FOLD, AND THERE SHALL BE NO HERD IN THE STALLS; YET I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD, I WILL JOY IN THE GOD OF MY SALVATION.” - HABAKKUK 111., 17-18.
It is the peculiar province of religion to support the soul in times of trouble and distress. And it is the special privilege of the christian to experience its high and holy consolations. No matter how severe the infliction,-how great the trial, ---or, how painful the dispensation, there is in true religion an energy equal to the exigencies of the case; so that he may not only endure with patience and resignation, but with the Apostle "glory in tribulations." True indeed it is, that “no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous : ” but if rightly taken, “nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby," so that he may even be as sorrowful yet always rejoicing.”
It is however, in seasons of overwhelming calamity, when every joy seems withered, and every comfort withdrawn, when the prospect before us appears dark, cheerless, gloomy,—when hope itself can scarce suggest a possibility of relief, or, impart a ray of consolation, that the chief beauty of religion is seen. It is then that the power of religion is most strikingly displayed, when, walking by faith, and not by sight, we rest secure in the covenanted mercies of our God, and calmly confident in his protection, dare alike the malice of Satan and the frowns of the world. We must remember, however, that this support is connected with the means and ordinances of religion, and, especially with the exercise of one means, involving all the rest, persevering prayer to the God of heaven.
The language of the text is that of the most exalted confidence in God, in the midst of a prospect the most dreary and discouraging. The prophet is, by inspiration from God, made acquainted with the overwhelming distress about to be inflicted upon the Jews for their unfaithfulness, by the hands of their enemies the Chaldeans. And he immediately draws near to the throne of grace, and presents his supplications to God on their behalf. The calamity,—that of captivity and bondage,-suggests to his mind the parallel case of the Egyptian captivity, and leads him to reflect upon the amazing interpositions of God for their deliverance from it, that he might if possible find some topic of comfort and hope. After having recounted the wonderful series of providences by which they had been then delivered, he returns to the vision of coming judgement which he had received from God, and describes the emotions of dismay and terror with which his