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view. I tell
you may get them cured; I speak of your sins, that you may obtain pardon for them; I lay open to you the degeneracy and original corruption of your nature, that you may seek a remedy for it,—that you may pray for its restoration, and bless God that an atonement has been made for its guilt. You are past recovery,
do not see the danger you are in. I point out that danger to you that you may escape it. There is a escape,” my brethren. We are all sinners, both by nature and by act, and therefore enemies to God and ourselves. But there is reconciliation made for the worst of us, if we will accept the mercy; only if we do not know that it is necessary, we shall never be reconciled, but remain enemies for ever ; and it will be a desperate warfare to be found “fighters against God.” Is not he a friend then, that will warn you of your peril, and show you how you may be safe? Is it not the hand of kindness, that would pull you back from the brink of a precipice, on which you wander blindfold, although the check be somewhat rude and violent? If you were asleep when your house was in flames, would you not thank him who should rouse you from that fatal slumber? “Can I become your enemy then, because I tell
the truth?” You will think me your friend, if you shall be convinced that it is the truth :- it is the truth, be assured. We are all of us in danger, in the most imminent danger that can be conceived, unless we are aware of our sins, repent of them, and pray to God both to forgive them for Christ's sake, and to assist us with his grace, that we may purify our hearts, and lead new lives- lives worthy of our Christian profession.
Are you desirous to go to heaven, my brethren? Surely you must be. But how do you propose to go? With all your sins about you? Alas, do you
not know that " without holiness no man shall see the Lord ?” . Upon the merits of
your own lives then, will you build up a Babel for yourselves, and so aspire to heaven? That is as hopeless as presumptuous a scheme. Will you then seek to “ climb over the wall as a thief?” You cannot do this; whoever would enter in, must seek the door, and our Saviour says, the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved ;” and again, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
There is but one way therefore, of going to heaven, and that is through faith in the merits of Christ; that way is infallible, and open to all the world, for “ He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him,"—but mark the words “them that come unto God." You cannot withdraw from God.
66 I am
230 THE CORRUPTION OF THE HUMAN HEART.
and be saved by Christ; and you are not coming unto God, if you are living in your sins; you would not present yourselves before your king to ask a favour, with the sword of rebellion in your hands ; neither can you appear before God, to petition for the mercies of redemption, with the spirit of rebellion in
" the prayer of the wicked is an abomination to me.” You must come unto God therefore with repentance, as humble suppliants for an undeserved blessing. You must “ arise and go to your Father, and say unto him, Father, we have sinned against heaven and before thee, and are no more worthy to be called thy sons.” In that case he will come forth to meet you, even while yet you are a great way off.” He will forgive you all
your past wanderings. He will assist and lead you towards your home; and if
you do not perversely forsake him again, he will always direct and guide you by his Holy Spirit, so that you shall remain his obedient children upon earth, until he shall exalt you to be his glorified saints in heaven.
St. MATTHEW i. 21.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS; for he shall save his people from their sins.
Every thing that is related in the scriptures concerning that holy person, whose birth we commemorate in the joyful solemnities of this day, is interesting and important. I have selected for the subject of our present meditations, what might appear at first sight to be but a trifling circumstance, though in reality it is replete with instruction, and affords scope for much serious and useful reflection—the name by which he was called. You will find, as we proceed, that it was not given without a purpose worthy of the wisdom and goodness of God; and you will acknowledge, I trust, that it is highly to be valued, and ever to be praised and had in honour
by all the followers of him who so deservedly bore it.
All names, whether of persons, places, or things, were in all probability originally expressive of the nature, character, or properties of the objects to which they were applied ; so that as soon as a name was mentioned, people would have some idea of that which was represented by it, just as a picture placed before the eyes presents an image that bears more or less of a resemblance to some actually existing reality. Of this you will find numerous instances in the holy scriptures, which I will not now particularize. To those who spoke the languages in which the word of God is conveyed, many of the names that occur in it were not merely arbitrary signs whereby they might distinguish the persons and things to which they were attached, but were also brief descriptions of certain peculiarities for which they were remarkable; and I do not know whether, in a few cases, it might not have been useful if the names too had been translated into the English tongue, that we also might have enjoyed the same advantage; for many scripture words, in themselves very significant, being retained in the original tongue, are to us unmeaning sounds.
The Divine Founder of our religion is called by various titles in the sacred writings, and all