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for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? “ Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This is to preach the “ good tidings; ” and gladly would I confine myself always to them, if all sinners might be so prevailed on to repent; gladly would I throw a veil over “ the terrors of the Lord,” as our compassionate Saviour did on the occasion we have been speaking of, if there were not some to whom it is necessary to display them. But when mercy is rejected, when love cannot soften, when promises fail to allure, what is to be done? If men are deaf to the “ still small voice ” of the gospel, they must be forced to hear the thunders of the law. But I will not mingle these opposite persuasives now; I will rather dismiss you with the hope and the prayer, that you may “ taste and see how gracious the Lord is,” and that joyfully and gratefully accepting the offer of mercy, so freely made to you, you may
“ have peace with God,” happy and tranquil minds, remission of all your sins, and “ inheritance among them that are sanctified through faith that is in Christ Jesus ;"_to whom, &c.
CHRIST PREACHING AT NAZARETH.
ST. LUKE iv, 17, 18, 19.
And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias : and when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
In compliance with my promise, I will now enter on a more particular consideration of the text on which our blessed Saviour preached in the
synagogue of Nazareth.
You may see in this beautiful and affecting passage of scripture, the whole character of the christian dispensation ; its features are love, joy, consolation, liberty, pardon, illumination, accept
ance with God. How wonderful it seems, that such good tidings should have been sent down from heaven to this sinful world ! Let us suppose for a moment that the gospel had not been revealed, that we knew only something of the holiness and justice of God, and of the obedience and reverence due to him from man; let us suppose that, under these circumstances, a messenger, (like John the Baptist,) were sent merely to inform us, that there would shortly be a new revelation, and to bid us prepare for the reception of it; what could we before hand expect the nature of that revelation to be? Could we anticipate any thing favourable ? Could we look for a proclamation of amnesty and mercy? Should we see any thing in the moral and religious state of mankind to lead us to hope that God was about to declare his approbation of their conduct, and to offer them, in consequence, some signal token of his high regard ? Or rather, (for I am supposing the world to be even more sunk in wickedness than it now is, I am supposing the case of the gospel not having yet been published,) should we not apprehend that some dreadful message was about to be communicated ?
On looking around and seeing how “all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth,” how “ the earth was defiled under the inhabitants thereof,” how iniquity of every kind and degree abounded, how God was forgotten, despised, or daringly defied, should we not naturally conclude that God now intended to put a period to his forbearance and long-suffering ? That he had said, “Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries?” " Shall I not visit for these things ? Shall not my soul be avenged of such a people as this ? ” and that he was therefore now on the point of making a
" revelation of his righteous judgments, “and of denouncing indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil ?”
Such would very reasonably be our expectation on the supposition which I have spoken of; but how different are the ways of God from our ways! With us, when offended, the first impulse is generally that of anger; the first act that of retaliation. But God tries love first, and resorts
The revenge that he takes upon rebellious man, is to make him the most unbounded offers of pardon and mercy, to win him by every expression of kindness and compassion, to encourage him by promises, to dispel his fears, to inspire him with confidence to come boldly to the throne of grace.
But the most astonishing circumstance remains to be mentioned, -the half of God's goodness has not yet been told. If it had been a
to anger last.