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cially meets, to restore and comfort us. It is here,
when we have sought in vain amongst all human Psal. iv. 6. systems with the inquiry, Who will show us any
good, in this respect? that the Lord lifts up the light of his countenance upon us, and gives
us peace. Here it is, when (as it were) our Cf. Psalm nursing fathers and mothers—the schools of the
philosophy of this world-have forsaken us, that the Lord taketh us up.
Man did not want, before the Gospel, in
genious and plausible theories of virtue, nor subCf. Lect. v. tle analyses of the powers of the mind, as far as II. §. 2.
the investigations of mere science can extend: but he failed in application of the knowledge which he possessed, from want of a thorough discerning measure of his own true natural spirit. He needed a clew to unravel this ; a standard to settle and enforce moral obedience ; he needed to know himself, in relation to his Maker. These master-lights the Gospel effectually supplies. Man is revealed, “ alienated from God, by the
“ waywardness of a corrupt and rebellious spi2 Cor. v. “ rit :" God is revealed, in Christ reconciling
the world unto himself, through the ordeal of Cf. Loct. ii. a moral and spiritual probation. The “standard”
of conduct, which was needed, is supplied also; the standard of “ individual responsibility at the “ bar of a future and unerring judgment." And a
just view of man, in relation to his fellow-crea2. Cor. v. tures, follows together; because we thus judge, 14, 15.
that if one died for all, then were all dead : and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
To me it seems, that, to a thoughtful person, born, by God's blessing, in a country where the light of the Gospel is not hid ; day unto day should utter speech, and night unto night show the certainty of the word which Christ hath spoken, and which hath been spoken concerning Christ. Such a one communeth with his own Ps. iv. 4. heart what all that mystery of wickedness may be, of which be both feels the elements existing within himself, inwardly; and the effect prevailing all around him, outwardly. And no answer can satisfy his questionings; no answer speaks in a voice or manner worthy of reasonable acceptation, except the saying ; that by one man Rom. v. 12. sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. He accepts this answer, because it is, at least, no matter of doubt or disputation, that sin and death are in the world, and it is a truth, to be declared again and again, as of the very utmost importance to man's welfare, that the heart which does not acknowledge, in humility, its own natural propensity to wrong, can have no true knowledge of itself, nor (as yet) any just perception of the most ordinary workings of experience.
With this conviction, then, of sin, in the first instance, testifying of the need of one that might restore all things, let the awakened spirit come and stand before the CROSS OF CHRIST. May not two voices, as it were, be heard from
thence speaking continually ? on the side of Lament. i. suffering, a mournful challenge; Is it nothing to
you, all ye that pass by ? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in
the day of his fierce anger : on the side of vicJohn xix. tory, a triumphant strain ; It is finished;- the Cf. xvii. 4. work, which manifold offences had made it needMatt. ix. 2. ful to do: but be of good cheer now; thy sins
are forgiven thee! And the refreshed spirit then departs, accordingly; no longer believing only
upon trust, because of any man's saying ; but CE. John iv. because it has itself heard, and knows, that it
has indeed found the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
Observe, as we proceed, how the love of God—that first, and best, and universal, and enduring principle of action, thus arises naturally, and with understanding ; not from the pert appetency of a disproportionate and unholy familiarity; but from a sincere sense of conscious obligation, springing out of the fountain of deep humility.
Take another step, and contemplate the Redeemer rising from the grave, in victory. Is
not this, and the conclusion it involves, congenial to the wants and wishes of man: I forbear to dwell upon a point so clear. But let it not be overlooked, that a higher calling, thus laid open and made sure before him, brings to the believer, with it, higher views and stricter obligations. The Almighty has neither depressed the work of Job x. 3. his own hands in capriciousness; nor exalted him again to any just pretence for pride. No: the Christian, with the hope of glory thus surely made his own, will now set about his proper work, as a thing in natural order; even the work of following the steps of his blessed Master, in a life of personal holiness, and of active good-will (in his degree) towards his Christian brethren. Cf. Lect.
Observe, again, how. thus the second great 752 commandment hangs itself inseparably upon the first ; what is the harmony, order, and proportion between the love of God and the love of our neighbour.
Observe another thing; how clearly, now, the exhortation given at “ baptism” to his sureties comes round upon the believer himself, with a full and perfect understanding ; viz. " that Bap- Ofice for
Baptism. “ tism doth represent unto us our profession ; Exhorta“ which is, to follow the example of our Saviour tion. 66 Christ, and to be made like unto him ; that as “ he died and rose again for us, so should we Cf. Rom. vi. “ who are baptized die from sin, and rise again “ unto righteousness." O beautiful and most
affecting watchfulness of our parent Church; by which (as now we come to perceive) she piously took care to place us in the arms of God's mercy and of Christ's atonement, even long before we ourselves could have the knowledge who was accepting, or who restoring us! And shall we now say coldly, that she frustrated or made of none effect the grace of God, because we see that so many have refused the health whereunto they were reclaimed? Forbid it faith, and hope, and charity!
But to proceed, Suppose a case to have ad. vanced thus far: is this all that is wanting unto man? and does Christian doctrine leave us here? -God forbid! for who should then walk stedfast unto the end, through all the weaknesses of his own purpose, or through the unkindness and resistance of the world-No: we have not been thus far tempted by promises, only to find ourselves flattered and betrayed, as difficulties might
increase around us. We serve one who knew us Cf. John better; who, as he loved his own in the beginning, xiii. 1.
so loveth them unto the end; and has not left us Id. xiv. 18. comfortless. The Spirit helpeth our infirmities ; Rom. viii. and we know, that all things work together for
good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose ; even that purpose, I believe, by which a merciful Creator desireth not the death of any of his creatures, but that all should come to everlasting life. Add to