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ture. “ If thou hadst known," — he does not conclude what might have been the happy issue, for such an issue is past, irrevocably past, hid from their eyes; and therefore they could look only for heavy judgments. The prospect of their fate filled him with sorrow, and caused him to mourn. Need I say that that fate must be awful, which produced such sorrow in the Son of God! .
As we possess a nature equally depraved with that of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and are in danger of not knowing the day of our merciful visitation, in consequence of that depravity, the Redeemer's tears over Jerusalem demand our solemn attention. He therefore that hath an ear, let him hear the following truths, taught us in Christ's words:
I. That there are certain things which belong to our peace. · II. That these things may be known at a certain day.
III. That this day may terminate, and the things belonging to our peace be hid from our eyes.
IV. That the state of those who have past. this day, is unutterably awful.
My hearers, the topics of discourse are all important. Concerning too many of you, I am constrained to say, as Christ did of those whom he addressed, " I know you, " that ye have not the love of God in you”;" and I tremble when I think that I might possibly say of some of you, in the language of the text, “ If thou hadst known, even “ thou, man or woman in this assembly, “ the things which belong to thy peace, but “ now they are hid from thine eyes.”, Give me then your patient hearing, for I have a message from God, which relates to your eternal interests.
I. There are certain things which belong to our peace, not merely our temporal tranquillity, but also our eternal happiness.
The term here used, from the connexion, evidently refers to that reconciliation of our hearts with God, which is the foundation of all our happiness, and the cause or spring of all our obedience to God.. Naturally we are enemies of God, and thus destitute of real peace. The curse follows us in all our ways, and conscience embitters all our enjoyments. ... i ; 6
C John v. 42.. .
Reason teaches us that we are obnoxious to the justice of God, and therefore guilty; for God, who is good, would not punish us, if we were not transgressors. The heathen are convinced of this solemn truth ; for in every place they use certain rites to propitiate heaven. The use of sacrifices in ancient times, and the remains of it in the present day, among them, abundantly prove the general impression which they then had, and still have, that they are sinners, and therefore that God is displeased with them. They feel the want of solid peace; they sigh for assurances, that God is willing to forgive. They have some vague, undefined opinions, that he is placable; but are not certain of the fact, and know not the manner in which they can make their peace with him.
Traverse the earth from the Cape of Good Hope to the Frozen Ocean, and you will find a general belief, that something is necessary to secure peace with heaven; for there is a general acknowledgment of sinfulness, in some more full, and in others faint; and a general fear of punishment, on account of that sinfulness. This general sentiment of mankind, like all general sentiments, which point to some truths, refers us to the truth which has been stated, “ That “ there are certain things which belong to “our peace.” These things are not matters of mere opinion ; for, in that case, the result of different expedients adopted by men would have been successful. But as the contrary is fact, as experience proves that the various attempts which have been made to obtain peace have utterly failed, we must conclude, that the things necessary for this desirable object are to be found only in the revelation of God's will. What confirms this conclusion is, our consciousness of the character which we sustain in the sight of God. We are sinners; we cannot conceal the truth, we cannot destroy it. As sinners, we must make satisfaction to the justice which we have offended, and must be qualified for re-admission to the favour of God, which we have lost. Pardon, therefore, and a right disposition of heart, are two grand, indispensably requisite things for our peace with God. Accordingly, we find that among the ancient heathen, sacrifices were offered, to avert the stroke of divine justice, and
procure pardon; and the cultivation of pure morals, including such motives as were deemed correct, and such conduct as corresponded with these motives, was enforced by their sages, to make them acceptable to heaven.
Every rite of religion, among all those who are destitute of the Bible, if closely examined, will be found to have a specific reference to the obtainment of pardon ; and every moral action, to the cherished hope of its rendering him who performs it worthy of the countenance and blessing of the Power above us. This unanimity, as to the ultimate design of their religious ceremonies and their moral actions, is not the fruit of superstition, but of conscience witnessing to the truth, and of reason supporting its testimony. Conscience, in the name of God, accuses every sinner, and puts him under the arrest of justice. Reason, examining the state of the sinner, and his obligations to God, declares that he who acts as the sinner does, is worthy of death. Before conscience can be silenced, the arrest of justice must be remitted, pardon must be obtained, and a provision secured against