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the effects of future transgressions. Reason assents to the demands of conscience, as right, and as affording the only grounds for peace.
The question then arises, Can God pardon the sinner, and receive him to his favour? And if so, in what manner? On these points, reason can give no information : she may afford some obscure hints about the possibility and the probability of such interference on the part of heaven ; but all is conjecture, and conjecture built upon the slightest foundation. Hence conscience, being unappeased, troubles the sinner, and gives him no rest. To this cause was it owing, that the ancient heathen flew from altar to altar, and added rite to rite, but found peace in none. This also accounts for the varieties in the worship of those who in the present day are without God and without hope. Without a satisfactory knowledge of the way of pardon for sin, and of acceptance into the favour of God, there can be no solid peace of mind. So long as we have any doubt, however trifling, that the Lord of heaven and earth is our enemy, we must be restless. His displeasure follows us as the shadow does the substance. In the midst of the feast, oft-times the secret hand-writing on the wall will terrify us; or the imagination, goaded by conscience, will perceive embodied the sins which we have committed, calling for vengeance.
It is an eternal truth, that there is no peace to the wicked; for they have no sense of pardon, no hope of heaven. There can be no peace, while we are under the condemning sentence of divine justice; whilst the law, in the name of God, denounces us cursed. In vain do men resort to refuges of lies, for these fail them in the hour of trial. In vain do they adopt theories of their own, for these can do them no good. It is pardon they need ; and pardon they must have, or care nestles in their bosom, and expectation of judgment corrodes their frame. They may strive to banish reflection ; but reflection will return, an unwelcome guest, sometimes in the midnight hour of retirement; sometimes at the side of a friend's. sick bed or at his death ; sometimes in unusual providences; sometimes in seasons of temporal misfortune ; sometimes when they themseves are brought down in the midst of
their days, and shaken over the grave. The stoutest of them, when they grapple with death—when they feel his damp, cold, benumbing grasp, would give worlds to experience peace. They may not be convulsed with horror, but they labour under the awful effects of doubt or ignorance about their own state beyond the grave; and this doubt relates to salvation ; this ignorance is ignorance of the favour of God. Can there then be any thing like comfort in the soul ? No; the Comforter is gone, and the con- , science is oppressed with the weight of unpardoned sin.
I will not attempt to describe scenes, the recollection of which still chills my blood, of the deadly anguish, the horrible pains, which doubts about the favour of God, and fear of his wrath, have produced in dying sinners. Over them I would rather cast a veil, beseeching the God of mercies to save every one of you from such an end. To do this, recollect that the things which belong to your peace, are the pardon of your guilt, and the renewal of your nature. On these subjects, you are not left in the dark. You need not ask in despair, How shall
REDEEMER'S TEARS (SER. IL sinful man be just with God? You enjoy the revelation of God, and the means of his grace. This brings me to the
II. Truth taught in the text, which is, That the things which belong to our peace, may be known in a certain day.
The day to which Christ refers, when he calls it in the subsequent verse, “ the time. “ of the Jews' visitation," is that period in which God“ by his Son last of all” warned them of their danger, and exhorted them to repent. They professed to be the Lord's people, and cherished the hope of Messiah the Prince. Yet when he came, they rejected him; when he called, they refused. The time of our Lord's ministry was emphatically their day, because he preached to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He went from place to place, making known the will of Heaven, and inviting his rebellious people to come to him. As the truths which he taught were afterward published in his name by his apostles, and constitute his Gospel, so we may safely say that the day in which the things belonging to our peace may be known is the Gospel day. .
In a more restricted sense, as in the
case of the Jews addressed in the text, the term day may refer to a particular season of grace, which is mentioned in other parts of Scripture; as “ Now is the " accepted time, now is the day of salva
tion.” : As the Jews enjoyed such a day during Christ's personal ministry, so also all who enjoy the light of the Gospel have their day, or special season, in which the things necessary for their peace may be known. Both the extensive and the restricted sense of this term will be explained in order.
1. The day in which the things belonging to our peace may be known, is the Gospel day, or that period of time in which the truths of the Gospel are made known to a people, or to individuals. · These truths include all that belongs to our peace; for they exhibit to us the source from whence our want of peace has sprung, and the remedy by which that want can be supplied. To be more particular,
First. The Gospel exhibits to us the rise, the nature, and the fruits of that rebellion against God, which has deprived us of our peace. . We have fallen in Adam. He was con