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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 say to you? Would you be convinced, do you think, of his merciful
if you 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
to you. Are
assures you that he came to heal
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 says 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
there displayed. Why are ye so fearful, O ye of little faith?” “He who spared not his own Son, but delivered
him up 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.
Sr. 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 anvinted 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