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How is this to be explained? Why because he does not apply one word of the discourse to himself. How vain to hear in this way!—"take heed how

hear.” You


hear a thousand of the best of sermons and be no nearer to the kingdom of God;- that only does you good which you take to yourselves ;--and not that, unless in humble acknowledgment of its truth, and with earnest prayer for God's blessing upon it, you endeavour meekly to turn it to your spiritual improvement.

But I have too long delayed to enter upon the consideration of our Saviour's text, which I intended to make a more prominent subject of my discourse, but must now reserve for a fuller consideration on a future occasion ; let us however return to it once more.

That beautiful passage of the prophet which he selected, most faithfully describes the object of his mission, and the general character of his preaching. We can readily imagine that the sermon which he delivered on such a text was "gracious” indeed ; no doubt it was full of comfort to the sinner, of free invitation to all to come to him, of love, of affectionate expression, of anxiety for their salvation, of most merciful promises and gentle persuasion. Perhaps in the course of it he said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; “ Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out;” “for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” " God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” Perhaps he said “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven ;-blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted ;-blessed are the meek,' for they shall inherit the earth ;-blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled ;-blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Perhaps he related to his hearers the parable of the prodigal, or of the lost sheep which was found again, and restored to the fold, and added “there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

We are sure at least of this, that since he said “ this day is the scripture fulfilled in your ears,” he must have gone on to show them how it was fulfilled, by preaching the glad tidings of his salvation. And there is a circumstance, well worthy of remark, which makes it evident that in that discourse he spoke only of mercy, and of those considerations which should win them to him by the constraining power of love. If you turn to the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah, from whence our Saviour chose his text, you will observe that immediately after those words at which he stopped, (" to preach the acceptable year of the Lord,”) it is in the prophet thus, “and the day of vengeance of our God.” It seems therefore as if out of tender compassion towards his hearers on that occasion, he made it a point to abstain from any argument of an alarming nature, and would address them only in the language of kindness and conciliation. And this is the grand feature of the gospel;—it is a dispensation of joy, peace, and mercy ;-from the time that the first promise was made to Abraham, “in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed," down to the time when, on announcing the birth of Christ, the angel said to the shepherds, “ fear not, for behold I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people;' there was hardly one out of the numberless prophecies of the Messiah, that did not speak of the happy consequences of that great event, and point to it as a most joyful period. And thus should we regard it still ;- it should not be our first or prevailing impression concerning the gospel, that it reveals “the day of vengeance of our God,” nor concerning Christ, that he came into the world to condemn the world ;--

but we should ever recollect that “gospel” means “glad tidings, and that he who mercifully brought that good news from heaven, was “called Jesus, because he should save his people from their sins."

Why then do we stand aloof and tremble as if before a God of vengeance, when we are so encouraged to come unto him with confidence ? Why do we “fear and quake,” as if we were at the foot of the dreadful Sinai, when we are called to ascend the “fair hill of Sion," and to enter into the new Jerusalem, “ the joy of the whole earth?” Why, when God says he will be to us a Father, and we shall be to him as sons and daughters, do we look upon him as a severe master and hard oppressor? Why do we make ourselves miserable, when the whole Gospel invites us to be happy? I say this to those, who, under the conviction of their sins, do not find comfort from faith in Christ.

What more can he


to you be convinced, do you think, of his merciful



could hear the gracious words that he preached at Nazareth? But will not this very text satisfy you? Are you poor in spirit ? He declares that he was anointed to preach the gospel (the good tidings of mercy,)

broken-hearted, oppressed and afflicted by the burthen of your iniquities ? He

you? Would

Are you

to you.

assures you that he came to heal your wounded conscience. Have you been captives of the devil and bruised with the galling chains of sin? He says that he came to deliver you from the power of the enemy, and to set you at liberty from the wretched bondage. Have you been blind to your danger and to your true welfare ? He


that he came to open your eyes, and to turn you from darkness to light. It is all encouragement, it is all promise, it is all mercy, if you will but accept it as such. Perhaps I can add an argument calculated to give you greater assurance than any thing which Christ himself preached at Nazareth. He never but in a very slight and obscure way taught the doctrine of his own atonement for sin, because it was not suitable, nor would it have been intelligible, before his sacrifice had actually taken place; he left it for his apostles to explain fully the scheme of salvation, when it should be complete, when the victim should have been slain, and the Holy Spirit should have descended to guide them into all truth. Therefore he who “publisheth salvation” now, can say even more than Christ said in the days of his flesh; he can point to the cross, and say, behold the certain proof of God's mercy towards you

there displayed. “Why are ye so fearful, O ye of little faith?” “He who spared not his own Son, but delivered

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