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cerned, the court was become empty. The more important and weightier matter of the law for a space is left untouched, save and except the coming of the commandment, which was found unto death, and had fully shown itself as a killing letter. Still to such an inquiry some reply must be given, and in what way more comprehensive than in the short and simple truth, "No man, Lord." We conclude, that as Paul afterwards stated, "That no man can call Jesus Lord but by the Holy Ghost," so this poor woman had so far been enlightened while the self-condemned transgressor standing before Jesus, as to see that he was both Lord and God, and in the liberty of the Spirit calls him so. How unadorned and clothed with the greatest humility was her reply given. No attempt at denial, much less attempt to justify herself. No vindictive feeling towards them who had dragged her, to make of her a public example. She asks not for revenge; simply states they had not dared to condemn and then having committed her cause into his hands, or in other words, he having undertaken the cause for her, waits until he shall bid her go.
If angels rejoice over the repenting sinner, was this not one of the most sublime to which it were possible their attention could be directed? If in salvation work degrees are allowable, it surely goes beyond Matthew from the receipt of custom, Saul from the highway, or the thief from the cross; seeing that the malice of her foes who drew her from the den of infamy, and brought her to Jesus, had all their evil intentions and designs overruled, and were the very instruments made use of for bringing her into the presence of him who came to seek and to save that which was lost." "Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God; how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out" (Rom. xi. 33).
Pause a moment longer, and view if possible the convulsive throes of that breast, while the dreadful conflict between hope and fear was going on. True, she had escaped the condemnation of her earthly compeers; and is now standing before him with all the guilt and horror of one who was brought to see there was no hiding from him the vile and filthy state she was in, and from whom had gone forth the precept, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Yet in his lips the law of kindness is found, and instead of delivering her over unto the law adversary to be punished, proclaims a full and free pardon in and by his own name. "Neither," says he, "do I condemn thee." Was there ever love like unto this? He who alone had power to do it, lays aside the same, and declares he will not condemn.
This is not all; the captive must be let go. She had been long bound, and like all others, gloried in her captivity; nor would ever have thought of deliverance, if not arrested by one of those divinely-appointed agents, who was to act under authority in bringing the thing to pass. Her pardon sealed, signed, and delivered, not merely into her hands, but written by the same finger that wrote the general mittimus of her accusers, and impressed indelibly upon the living tablets of her heart, never to be erased in time or eternity, she receives with the illuminated superscription, "Go and sin no more."
And now, dear child of God, wherefore was this interesting history of this poor woman given in the word of God, if it be not for our instruction? Have we not already stated how she stood as the representative of all? And do you in her case behold thine own, as brought by all thy accusers of law and conscience, and standing like Joshua of old clothed in filthy
garments? Yea, in how many acts of spiritual adultery hast thou been found, when as a treacherous wife thou hast departed from the best of husbands? Yea, with an unhallowed determination to go after thy lovers; and when thou hadst played the harlot under every green tree, he not only filled thee with self-accusations, but gathered together thy accusers of law and justice, together with the accuser of the brethren, who accuse them before God day and night; and thou wast brought to stand before him as a guilty culprit. Thou hadst no plea of justification to put in ; yea, thou wast dumb, and opened not thy mouth. In the greatest of agony and distress thou wast led to expect the pouring out of his vials of wrath, tribulation, and woe, due unto thee for transgression, not able to decypher the writing upon the ground; and because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart seems fully set to do evil. But how did he cause thine astonished eyes to behold all thy accusers leave the court, unable to move judgment against thee; and thou wast left alone with him. Let me ask thee, if those moments will ever be forgotten, or the eye become dim to the sight, when Jesus lifted himself up, and placed himself in the court of thy conscience, and exercised for thee the sweet character of Law-advocate? Does not the sound still vibrate on thy ear, "Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?"
Once again be reminded, that these are the footsteps of the flock, as they encamp in this wilderness. The law enters to show the aboundings of sin; but the entrance of the word giveth light and knowledge of it. And such the extent and nature of it, that it detects every one in the very act of transgression; and the law saith, the soul that sinneth shall surely die. In this state we stand, and until all the accusers are cast out, we know nothing of that non-condemnation state which pertaineth to all who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. viii. 1).
Further, when this great work has thus passed for us in the court of conscience, and we are brought to see that Jesus only is with us, we can in the exercise of a living faith return for answer, "No man, Lord." Still the silencing of the whole host of accusers is a source of no greater joy than the casting out or subjecting of the devils to the disciples in the day our Lord was upon earth. Their names being written in heaven, was to be with them the only true cause for joy. So also the withdrawing or casting out of all accusers can only be secured unto us by the Lord's own and most blessed assurance, that neither will he condemn us. Cheer up, my brethren; what does it matter who and from whence cometh our accusations? We are verily guilty of every point by the breakage of one; but we stand before and with Jesus, the cause is his own, and he will 'Open his mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction" (Prov. xxxi. 9).
Thou hast a little while longer to contend with fears and fightings; a few more tossings to and fro; once and again ye might be ushered before the council, and even be in perils amongst false brethren. Keep in mind the Master's watchword, "Go, and sin no more." The clock of time is nearly run down, the alarum of eternity will soon be heard; the cottage in the wilderness shakes with every breeze; the house of our Father stands firm as a rock; earth's props suffer from rot; the three-fold cord cannot be broken. Walk then at large, and let all know because the Son has made you free, ye will "Go and sin no more." Newick.
AN ALPHABET OF CHRIST,
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord."— REV. i. 8.
(Continued from page 76.)
G. A Gracious Christ for guilty souls.-Yes, there is grace in Christ, -not only goodness, but grace; for goodness is love to those who desire and deserve love, but grace is love to those who repel, and are unworthy of love. And Christ is the golden casket which contains this glorious jewel-grace. For," says the apostle, "ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be made rich" (2 Cor. viii. 9). Previous to the revelation of God's eternal purposes of mercy to his fallen and rebellious people-grace, Jehovah's darling attribute, the key-note in the grand harmony of his perfections, and the crowning glory of his divine character, was a sound which had never fallen upon a creature's ear. Till Adam fell there was no such thing as grace known in the universe, its first whisper was heard in the garden of Eden when God said, "He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Gen. iii. 15). Before this God was known to be just,—Satan had sinned and had perished; angels (how many we know not, perhaps myriads), had fallen and were left under all the horrors of eternal wrath: this was righteousness, but not grace; it was justice, but not mercy. God was known to be good,-He had created angels, and he loved them, for they were holy and obedient, but even this was simply goodness, not grace, for I repeat, grace is love to the disobedient and unholy. Adam was created in the moral image of God, and as a holy creature he was the object of Jehovah's love, but still this was kindness, not compassion-it was goodness, but not grace. But man sinned, he lost his Creator's image, brought himself under the curse of the law, rendered himself utterly unworthy of the love of a holy God, deserving only of his wrath and condemnation. And in Adam's ruin the Church was involved. Of this truth, even without the express declarations of Scripture (see Rom. v. 13-19; 1 Cor. xv. 22, 45; Heb. ii. 14, 15), we had had a melancholy and conclusive evidence in the fact that the elect equally with the reprobate are subject to death. For death is the "wages" (or the inevitable result) "of sin" (see Rom. vi. 23), and had sin not entered into the world, man at least would not have been subject to it; for it is written, "Sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. v. 12).
But this awful juncture only afforded an opportunity for a new and sublimer exhibition of Jehovah's character than had ever been displayed before. Then grace came forth-free love to the fallen, the rebellious,
The covenant Headship of Christ and Adam differ in this, that whereas in the covenant of works, Adam was the covenant head and representative of the whole human race; in the covenant of grace, Christ is the covenant Head and Representative of the elect alone.
the hell-deserving! Then an inner chamber was opened in the heart of God-a new fountain began to flow from the bosom of the everlasting Father all the tender compassion-all the boundless and unchangeable love-all the rich grace which had had its habitation therein from all eternity was poured forth, and God was seen and known to be not only the God of Power, the God of Justice, the God of Goodness, but-most glorious of all-the GOD OF Grace!
"When we lay exposed and friendless,
This was help in time of need;
"Yes, 'twas grace beyond all measure,
And determined to forgive.
But he chose our helpless case,
Beloved, we love only those who are desirous and deserving of our love, but God loves those who are utterly unworthy of his love, and because he loves them he makes them worthy. True love will stoop to raise the objects of its affection even from the dust. Long before the foundations of the round world were laid, Christ loved his Church-his people. As we read in the 8th chapter of the book of Proverbs, “Then" (while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world,' ver. 26, "I" (Christ the "Wisdom of God;" see Cor. i. 24) was with him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable parts of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men" (verses 30, 31). "But by sin we became utterly disqualified for his communion and purity, Did he not cease to love us then?" No, still he loved us. "But we be"But we were
came vile, polluted, guilty creatures." Still he loved us. in open and impious rebellion against his Father's government and glory.” Still he loved us: yes, and he stooped down from heaven to raise his fallen guilty children "in the arms of his mercy." Oh, the compassion of Christ! the love of Christ! the grace of Christ! Our love is a partial love, but God's love is a free love; our love is a constrained love, but God's love is a sovereign love. "Greater love hath no man than thisthat a man lay down his life for his friends" (John xv. 13). "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet peradventure (i. e., it is possible that) for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth HIS love toward us, in that, while we were yet SINNERS, Christ died for us (Rom. v. 7, 8). Oh, matchless grace! And remember, beloved, that as Father, Son, and Spirit are one in power, will, and purpose, the love of the Son is the love of the Father and the love of the Spirit. That the grace of Christ is the grace of Jehovah-Israel's covenant Triune God; that the same grace which caused Him to enter into the everlasting covenant on behalf of his people, and to bear the vengeance due to their trangressions, moved the Father to send his only begotten Son to be the Saviour of the elect world (see John iii. 16); and leads the Holy Spirit to take up his abode in their miserable sin-polluted
hearts, to give them spiritual life, to call them from darkness to light, to reveal Christ to their souls, and to make them "meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." Thus we see that salvation is entirely of grace-free, unmerited, sovereign grace. Electing grace in the Father, redeeming grace in the Son, and regenerating and sanctifying grace in the Holy Ghost.
Oh, reader, is he not "a gracious Christ for guilty souls?" And if so, why should he not be gracious to you? Art thou a sinner? Well, it was for sinners Jesus died; he came, as you have already heard, "not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." Art thou a great sinner? Well, Christ has saved even great sinners-a perjured publican (Luke xix. 1-10); a harlot with seven devils (Luke viii. 2); a dying thief (Luke xxiii. 39–43). Nay, art thou the greatest sinner that ever lived? Paul would dispute the sad pre-eminence with you; for he has appropriated to himself the title of "chief of sinners" (see 1 Tim. i. 15), but let it be supposed that thou art indeed the very chiefest-still Christ's blood hath virtue enough to wash away thy crimson stains, Christ's righteousness can cover even thy mountains of iniquity, and Christ's grace will be especially glorified in loving and saving so enormous a trangressor as you! Christ is a boundless ocean of grace in which all the sins of his people are sunk and lost for ever: Christ is the divine focus in which all the grace of Jehovah is collected: Christ is the golden conduit through which the love of God flows down to sinners: Christ is the sun of grace -gloriously does he shine in the firmament of his Church, and upon all "who fear his name, he will arise with healing in his wings." If, dear reader, you have any love for Jesus, any desires after him-if you long for him as they that watch long for the morning-it is a blessed sign that the Sun of righteousness is already rising upon your soul, that his early beams already appear above the horizon, and soon, very soon, you shall "taste and see that the Lord is gracious, and that they are blessed who trust in him" (Ps. xxxiv. 8). Oh! "take with you words, and turn to the Lord : : say unto him, Take away iniquity, and receive us graciously" (Hosea xiv. 2). "He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee. And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you; and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you; for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him" (Isa. xxx. 19, 18).
"This pardon, this peace, which none can destroy;
"Sick sinner, expect no balm but Christ's blood;
The great and solemn question is-" Art thou willing to be saved BY Christ and IN Christ?"
(To be continued.)