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parts remains untold. Suppose a king has earnestly desired to save a rebel subject; suppose all difficulties surmounted, and offers of astonishing grace made : but the rebel stands aloof, and prefers his shackles, hates the mercy that is offered, and the hand that offered it, and mocks at all the messengers that bring the tidings to him. Surely this, more than any thing, should try his king's love. My friends, thus it is with us : Christ is offered to us; salvation is offered; pardon, reconciliation, peace, here; heaven and everlasting happiness, hereafter: and who accepts them ? No, the farm, the merchandize, the things that are to last the few poor years of this life,-nay, the trifle that is to last but a moment, these have our hearts and affections : such is our degraded and debased state. But the love of God shall not be thus frustrated. It is proof even against this foul ingratitude; it has provided even against this ob-' stacle. Behold another gracious Person at hand, even the Holy Ghost, that proceedeth from the Father and the Son; behold Him ready to subdue the enmity, to alter the taste, to change the will, to give a new heart. Hear the gracious promise, and observe how exactly suited to the case. Is your whole nature utterly without a relish of spiritual things? Do you find your heart hard ; and, notwithstanding all the representations of divine love, still unmelted ? Are you without any power to walk in the way of God's commandments? Well, then, here is the promise ; do not look upon these as empty words; thou
sands and thousands that are now in heaven, and thousands that are yet on earth, have found them true to their great and endless comfort. A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them.* Here is the blessed work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. And, oh, what is that love which shall bring Him into unholy hearts like ours! Think of the opposition between the evil tempers, the carnal affections, the foul passions therein; and that pure and heavenly visitant. Think of the striving which the unrenewed mind makes against him, of the wilful continuance in sin, of the quenching of his heavenly fires.
Let me illustrate again, that by things familiar to our apprehensions we may, if it be possible, enter a little into the deep things of God. Suppose some kind visitant should see a cottage full of misery, and poverty, and disease; and should enter there delighting to do good, and with the desire, in the fulness of his heart, of relieving the misery, and of giving medicines to heal the sickness; and suppose, instead of being welcomed there, the door should be shut in his face. This is the representation of our conduct towards the Holy Spirit. A man, for instance, finds certain misgivings in his heart, he begins to see that all is not right, that he is assuredly not in the way of life; that a life of holiness would be happier than that which he is leading: these are the strivings of the Holy Spirit with his conscience. What does the man do? Does he encourage these reflections ? does he welcome this celestial visitor? Alas! how often does he fly to any thing, any folly, any sin, that may drown such disagreeable and disturbing thoughts; thus grieving the Holy Spirit, and driving him, as far as in him lies, from his heart. And even in the true believer,-even when the great change has taken place upon the heart, the mistrust, the unkindness, even of the children of God, prove that, although a new nature has been given, the old one still lingers. And how has the Holy Spirit to bear with the perverseness, the hardness of heart, the unbelief, the mistrust, the unkindness, even of the children of God! How deeply must the true Christian daily feel the love of God! How do I, must he say, how do I constantly provoke the Holy Spirit to depart from me! how carelessly do I seek after Him! how carelessly improve the blessed moments of his presence ! how little do I endeavour to profit by his teaching ! how often prefer not to be taught ! What but the tenderest love could bear this! My people, saith God, by the prophet Hosea, are bent to backslidings from me; and yet he pursues, in the next verse, How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? Mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together. I will not erecute the
* Ezekiel xxxvi. 26, 27.
fierceness of my anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim : for I am God, and not man: the Holy One in the midst of thee.
Herein, then, is love,-in the great work of man's redemption : and may this imperfect view enable you to see, in some degree, why, Sunday after Sunday, you join in ascribing Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.” It is chiefly and principally because of the offices they have condescended to bear in your salvation. The work begins in love; I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee. When Israel was a child, then I loved him :* it is carried on every step by love; and finally it shall be completed in love. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.f What an image, to represent to us the love of God! When in the company of one whom we love, the feeling is sometimes too deep for language, and we remain in a silent and ineffable complacency and satisfaction. Such is the image used by God towards his favoured children, as the passage is rendered from the original in the margin of our Bibles, He will be silent in his love.
And to a person really interested in this love of God, all the blessings of life become gifts and pledges and signs of love. The bread, which is given by a rich man to a beggar with ordinary kindness, is given to his child with a smile of
Hosea xi. 1.
+ Zephaniah iï. 17.
endearment, and with tender expressions. And the love expressed is sweeter to the child than the bread given. And thus those blessings which are common to all mankind are covenant-mercies to the children of God. Yea, the troubles, and trials, and afflictions of life, how are we taught to consider them, but as the chastisements of a tender father? How ill would that child reason, who should say,
My father loves me not, for he punishes me.” Nay, but thy father loves thee, and therefore punishes thee. In indulging a child, the father follows the bent of his own inclination, he pleases himself; it is when he punishes him that he most shows his love, for then he crosses himself, he denies himself, he forces himself. Oh, blessed state, then, of the Christian, that whatever he enjoys, whatever he is deprived of, he sees and feels equally a father's love! There is no point in the horizon of his views, in things present or things to come, in time or eternity, that specks this bright expanse of love.
Let us now, in conclusion, add a caution to the unbeliever, and a word of exhortation to the real believer.
1. A caution to the unbeliever. The love of God has been a little opened before you, and all its fruits are offered,—this day offered, -to you. This day the Spirit and the bride say, Come : this day you are bid to the marriage-feast. But, remember, the day of grace may be trifled with too long. God may be provoked to swear in his wrath, They shall not enter into my rest. You have