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earth, to spurn the guiltiest away. Ile pitied whom others spurned; he received whom others rejected; he loved whom others loathed. Let the vilest, meanest, most wretched outcasts, know that they have a friend in him. A mother's door may be shut against them, but not his. It was his glory then, and it is his glory still, to be reproached as the friend of sinners. He faced contumely to save them; he endured death to save them. And be you groaning under a load of cares or guilt, of sins or sorrows, kind and gracious Lord! he says, Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
John, the disciple whom Jesus loved," which also leaned on his breast at supper," and lingered by his cross, and was entrusted with the care of his mother, and more than any of the others enjoyed his master's intimacy and knew his mind, says, not as one who balances his language, and carefully selects his words, lest he should compromise and commit his master too far, If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous :" adding, “and he is the propitiation for our sins ; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." The whole world! ah! some would say, that is dangerous language. It is God's language. It binds a zone of mercy around the world, and perish the hand that would narrow it by a hair's breadth. Beneath his grace in Christ, as beneath that ample sky, there is room enough for all the men and women in the wide world. None shall be damned but they who damn themselves. What were it but to make God a liar, should we doubt that our sins can be pardoned, ay, and shall be pardoned, if we seek their forgiveness ? Within its widest shores the vast ocean has its bounds,
and so has the far-travelling sun within his orbit; but this pardon is confined within no limits of time, or age, or guilt, or class, or character, and is clogged with no conditions but that you accept it.
One might fancy that now all are certain to be saved. Who will not accept of it? Offer a starving man bread, he will take it ; offer a poor man money, he will take it ; offer a sick man health, he will take it ; offer an ambitious man honor, he will take it ; offer a lifeboat in the wreck, a pardon at the gallows, oh ! how gladly he will take them. Salvation, which is the one thing needful, is the only thing man will not accept. He will stoop to pick up a piece of gold out of the mire, but he will not rise out of the mire to receive a crown from heaven. What folly! What infatuation ! May God by his Spirit empty our hearts of pride, and take away the heart of unbelief! Vain here is the help of man. Arise, O Lord, and plead the cause that is thine own. Break the spell of sin, and help us to say with the man of old, Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief!
2. There is all fullness of grace to sanctify in Christ.
"My leanness! my leanness!" is a lamentation which God's people, as well as the old prophet, have often used in mourning over their spiritual condition. It may be very low, very sad; presenting the contrast of a soul famished, and a body luxuriously fed ; increase of earthly, but a diminution of sacred joys; at the year's end more money in the bank, but less grace in the heart; the tide of worldly fame flowing, and the tide of God's favor ebbing ; gardens, and orchards, and woodlands, and the fields of nature, green, gay, and beautiful, but barrenness of soul within ; graces withering, prayers dull, faith weak, love cold, desires feeble,
spiritual appetite failing ; much to alarm the saint, and send him to his knees crying, My soul cleaveth to the dust, quicken thou me according to thy word.
But why is it, why should it be so? Why burns the virgins' lamp with such a flickering flame? Why runs the stream of grace so small, shrunk to the size of a summer brook? Why are the best of us no better, no holier, no happier, than we are ? Hath God forgotten to be gracious ? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies ? No. The supplies are not exhausted, nor is the fountain empty ; nor is our Father fallen into poverty, that his children are so scantily supplied, and have to go about meanly begging a share of the world's enjoyments. It is easy to know why many poor children in this city come to have misery stamped on their .young faces, and look as if they had never smiled in this world, nor found this world smiling on them; a tyrant rules at home, harsh, stern, cruel, forbidding. Hapless creatures, they wander shoeless and shivering on our frosty streets, and with hunger in their hollow cheeks, and beggary hung on their backs, they hold out their skinny hands for charity ; their father is poor, or dead, or, worse than dead, the base slave of a most damning vice, a drunkard, from whose imperious voice they fly, whose reeling step they tremble to hear. But what have God's children to do with unhappy looks?
God is love. Fury is not in me, saith the Lord. With him is fullness of joy and pleasures for evermore. What do you wish or want? Go tell it to your Father. They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. Can he who justified not sanctify? Can he who enlisted us under his holy banner not provide munitions of war enough to secure, though there may be a hard fight for it, the final victory? Can he who led the
march out of Egypt not beat down our foes, and conduct our triumphant way through a thousand dangers and over a thousand difficulties on to the promised land ? Oh, yes; there is all efficiency and sufficiency in Jesus Christ to crown the work of grace, and to complete what he has begun. There is his Holy Spirit to sanctify you ; there are stores of grace which, like the widow's barrel that grew no emptier for all the meals it furnished, will appear the fuller the more you draw on them. As with an arch, the grace of God stands the firmer, the more weight you lay on it; its sufficiency, at least, will be the more evident; the more clearly you will see the truth of the promise, My grace is sufficient for thee. With the well ever full and ever flowing, our vessels need never be empty. Whether, therefore, you want more faith, more purity of heart or peace of mind, more light or love, a humbler or a holier spirit, a calmer or a tenderer conscience, a livelier sense of Christ's excellences or of your own unworthiness, more tears for Christ's feet or more honors for his head, fear not to draw, to hope, to ask, too much. No earthly fortune will stand daily visits to the bank, but this will. You may ask too little, you cannot ask too much ; you may go too seldom, you cannot go too often, to the throne ; for in Jesus dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
III. There is a constant supply of pardoning and sanctifying grace in Christ.
It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell ; dwell, not come and go, like a wayfaring man who tarrieth but a night, who is with us to-day, and away to-morrow; not like the shallow, noisy, treachcrous brook that fails, when most needed, in heat of
summer, but like this deep-seated spring, that rising silently though affluently at the mountain's foot, and having unseen communication with its exhaustless supplies, is ever flowing over its grassy margin, equally unaffected by the long droughts that dry the wells, and the frosts that pave the neighboring lake with ice. So fail the joys of earth ; so flow, supplied by the fullness that is in Christ, the pleasures and the peace of piety. It cannot be otherwise. If a man love me, says Jesus, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
I have read how, in the burning desert, the skeletons of unhappy travellers, all withered and white, are found, not only on the way to the fountain, but lying grim and ghastly on its banks, with their skulls stretched over its very margin. Panting, faint, their tongue cleaving to the roof of their mouth, ready to fill a cup with gold for its fill of water, they press on to the well, steering their course by the tall palms that stand full of hope above the glaring sands. Already, in fond anticipation, they drink where others had been saved. They reach it. Alas! sad sight for the dim eyes of fainting men, the well is dry. With stony horror in their looks, how they gaze into the empty basin, or fight with man and beast for some muddy drops that but exasperate their thirst. The desert reels around them. Hope expires. Some cursing, some praying, they sink, and themselves expire. And by and by the sky darkens, lightnings flash, loud thunders roll, the rain pours down, and, fed by the showers, the treacherous waters rise to play in mockery with long fair tresses, and kiss the pale lips of death.
But yonder, where the cross stands up high to mark