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with the tongue, and performed mi-, prince, and without a sacrifice, and racles with the hands, and with the without an image, and without an feet, and with the Spirit of the Lord ephod, and without teraphim. AfterJesus Christ. The whole province of ward shall the children of Israel reJudea was a theatre of divine glory. turn and seek the Lord their God, God was to be heard now, and God and David their king; and shall fear was to be seen at another time, and the Lord and his goodness in the latGod was to be felt by every man, ter days.” which were the miracles of the Lord However, it is very obvious, that Jesus Christ. And, then, thirdly and there is a general principle likewise finally, this fear may have been ex- in these words ; not only a principle cited by an apprehension which, un- of temporary and local application, questionably,existed, but which ought but a general universal principle; and not to have existed—that the end of it is my wish now, my brethren, to the world was very near at hand. invite your attention to meditation on This might have arisen from the na- that for a short time. The principle tural aspect of things; there were is this, THAT THE GOODNESS OF GOD great changes in the heavens, and in THE GOSPEL IS CALCULATED TO great signs in the heavens, as we PRODUCE FEAR. * They shall fear the learn from the prophecies of Joel, Lord and his goodness in the latter and from the history of Josephus. days.” And why? There was an astonishing force ac- First, Because this goodness throws companying the destruction of the fresh light on the terrors of sin. city of Jerusalem, a peculiar assem- Secondly, Because this goodness, bled force; and, in addition to this, as it is exercised for the salvation of those who had not studied the Old man, is an extraordinary act of JehoTestament, and had not entered yet vah, and arises from absolute soveinto the merciful intentions of the reignty, from God's free-will, He is Lord Jesus Christ, might have well not bound to do it; therefore, men inferred from the aspect of things in ought to fear when they seek it. those days, that Christ would soon And, finally, Because it attaches come to judge the world. When Christ the most tremendous responsibility to referred to his second coming, he re- those who are permitted to enjoy this ferred principally to the destruction goodness. I receive such a treasure of Jerusalem; and looking some time to my hand; if God gives it me not beyond that, his mind passed on to only for my own use, but the use of the general judgment, and fixed on it others, it must strike every reflectthe attention of his hearers.
ing mind, that my responsibility must I think these were the three princi- increase proportionably to the value pal reasons why the first exhibition of of the gift which I receive ; therefore the Christian dispensation produced I ought to be careful and fearful how the emotion of fear on the minds of I use it. Jews and Gentiles. So, then, we per- But we assert, in the First place, ceive that its introduction has been THAT THE GOODNESS OF THE GOSPEL actually accomplished and did take PRODUCES FEAR, BECAUSE IT THROWS place. There was great fear existing FRESH LIGHT ON THE TERRORS OF SIN. in the church; there was great fear Now fear, philosophically defined, existing out of the church. “
For the perhaps, is this, a painful sensation children of Israel shall abide many produced by the apprehension of imdays without a king, and without a minent danger, and that danger may
be the loss of present enjoyment, the produced in the mind by the sight of ear of future disappointment, or the those visions, which the goodness of infliction of positive injury. Fear is God in the Gospel unfolds to the one of these three things, and some- mind; that is the meaning of this fear. times it employs all these things in a It is a holy, reverential, and even combined influence. Now, every one pleasing emotion which is rising in must admit, that that is not the fear of the mind by seeing new visions unwhich we read in the text. There is folded to us of the goodness of the nothing painful here—the definition gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, we have given to fear, and which we one of the visions is, the vision of sin conceive to be the only right defini- in all its terrors : and a vision which tion of it, as a natural effusion of the cannot be unfolded by any power in heart, cannot possibly apply to this. heaven, or any power in hell, much It is not, for instance, like that con- less on earth, except the Gospel of sternation which is produced in the the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, the mind by earthquakes, by volcanic goodness of God in the heavens leads eruptions, by inundations, by confia- the mind to contemplate the terrors grations, and by the sudden appear- of sin in the heart—the terrors of sin ance of floating armies and flying in the world--the terrors of sin in the banners. It is not, for instance, that universe. superstitious horror which causes men When divine light pierces the darkto tremble, even at their very sha- ness of the soul, the soul sees itself in dows. It is not that terror which a state in wbich it never saw itself causes the superstitious man to mangle before ; the mind sees its guilt, feels his own body, and, perhaps, to murder its pollution, apprehends its terrific his own children. It is not that fear and awful doom. Before, all was which the criminal feels when he is dark, and, consequently, if there was detected in his guilt, or which the nodisquietude, is there was no anxiety, culprit feels when he is led to the if there was no apprehension in refergallows. There is nothing of that ence to the future, there was no unnature which belongs to the fear that easiness in reference to the present. I am describing. There is nothing in But when the bright light of heaven it that may be compared to those fears beams upon the darkness of the soul, which were experienced by the antedi- its very vividness produces the first luvians, for instance, in that dark day emotion-fear will be produced. And when the clouds of heaven burst forth I much question if any man has ever in showers of wrath on their guilty been converted, or led to God, withheads. There is nothing in it which out, first of all, feeling the sensation can, for one moment, be compared to of fear. It is a fear which is, indeed, the sensation of Judas, when the ter- transitory and evanescent in its conrific guilt of his own mind drove him tinuation ; but it is a fear which conto seek refuge in death and the flames stitutes the very beginning of a career of hell. There is nothing in it that which is never to end—a careerof truth can for one moment be compared to a career of holiness-a career of the sensation of Dives, when he endless bappiness. The mind sees opened his eyes, being in torment, itself in a light similar to that in which and cried out for a drop of water to the hearers of Peter saw themselves, cool his tongue.
when they cried out, “ What shall we There is, on the other hand, a holy, do?” Why such an ejaculation now? reverential, and even pleasing awe, What is the matter? What change
has taken place? Are ye not now, you know what you hate); you know what ye were yesterday ?—and yes- whether this book is precious to your terday what ye have been for years? mind, you know whether it has been Aye, but that is an aggravation of our bound to your heart; you know condition,—what shall we do? This whether you can venture not only was the general cry, and the cry of time but eternity, not only the welthree thousand souls. It is something 'fare of the body, but the interest of similar to that which the Philippian, the mind upon the precious principles jailor felt, when he said, not only, , contained in this blessed book? Do “ What shall I do?" but added, you love the book? Have you re“ What shall I do to be saved?” Iceived the Gospel? Are you not have forfeited my situation under the ashamed of the Gospel of the Lord magistrates, I am in danger of being Jesus Christ? Do you glory in his turned out of office, but there is dan-cross? Do you make it the theme of ger deeper and greater than that. your conversation? Do you make the “ What shall I do to be saved?” It spreading of it the highest pitch to is a sensation which the Apostle Paul which it is possible for you to rise ? described, when he says, “ I was Then you are a repentent man-you once alive without the law."_“I was are a man that is acquainted with alive,” mark the expression, “ with your own heart—you are man, who out the law; but when the com- seeing the depravity of your own mandment came,”—when the law of heart, has been led to receive the grace God in its purity and eternity, and that is freely offered in the Gospel. immutability flashed its vivid light- But
, secondly, I observe, that it is ning on my soul, what was the con- by the exhibition of the goodness of sequence ?—“ sin revived”-I saw the Gospel that we see the terrors of sin wherever I went, I saw not only sin in the world. Who is the man that sin covered the surface of the that sees sin in his own heart? I have mind: but that it had, like the dew, said, the man who has received this inserted itself into every part—" Sin light. And, pray, who is the man revived, and I died.”
that detects, mourns over, and atNow, my brethren, it is impossible tempts, by God's help, to remove the for any man to be impressed with the sin that is in the world? The very depravity of his own mind, unless he same individual. Who is the man is impressed with the excellence of that is anxious for the conversion of the Gospel. I would not ask you the world? The man who is anxious whether you confess yourself to be a about the conversion of his own soul; sinner.— I would not ask you whether and the man that is not truly anxious you have repented many times.—I respecting his own soul, cannot be would not ask you whether you have sincerely or permanently so in refera continued disposition of repentance ence to the salvation of his fellowfor sin.— I would not ask you whether creatures Now, where does the sinyou are seeking forgiveness from ner look?
Perhaps it is natural for GoD.-I would only put this ques- him, first of all, to direct his mind to tion,-you see the beauty of Chris- those parts of the world where the tianity,--you see the light and the light of the Gospel, that has shone on glory of the Gospel shining on your him, has never yet shone ; and what mind; you must know that, (do not does he behold there? He beholds, say that you do not know it, you must indeed, what may be termed religionknow it; you know what you love, but what is that religion ! A religion which while it attracts by the form of road to hell-he sees others sinning its worship, by its pomp, and by its on the road to hell-he sees others parade, at the same time, directs its madly dragging others along with poisoned arrows to the very soul of them on the road to hell. This is the man. He sees religion there, but plain matter of fact. There is one what is the religion which he does man, and the blood of the Lord Jesus see? A religion that burns the oracles is trampled under foot every step he of reason-a religion that erects the takes. The love of the world, the altar of licentiousness and vice in all love of sin, the love of self, sway their its forms—a religion which digs a malignant sceptres over his heart; grave, and then buries, what may be and the curse of an insulted Saviour, termed, virtue in the human mind or like a dark cloud over his head, is human character—a religion that in- ready to stream forth in liquid flames sultingly takes a block of wood, or a to destroy him; and can he behold piece of stone, puts it upon the throne this and not feel? He cannot; but of God, bows before it, and then pays possessing the spirit of the Saviour and it homage. What sort of religion is the spirit of the apostle, he would it! A religion that changes the in- say, addressing one another, “ I would finite God to the form of a man, and to God, that not only thou, but all changes man to a brute, and even that hear me this day, were both alworse than a brute—and can the soul most, and altogether such as I am, see this and not feel? Many do see except those bonds:” and to the eneit, and why? I have only one solu- mies of the cross of Christ, for whom tion; still the reason is, because the the Apostle wept, “My heart's desire light of heaven has never pierced and prayer to God for Israel is, that their own minds. The moment the they may be saved.” Apostle Paul saw the light from My dear brethren, let us be alive heaven, he fell down, and what did to the real state of things in the world ; he say? “ What wilt thou have me and let us not, for a moment, judge to do ?” And what was the reply? religion by the geographical distinc“ Rise and stand upon thy feet, for I tions, and unmeaning lines which huhave appeared unto thee for this pur- man policy has drawn. Let us look pose, to send thee to the Gentiles to to individuals, and let us view the turn them from darkness to light, and mass of those individuals in their from the power of sin to God.” And bearing on Christianity-in their bearnot one day did he lose, till he died ing on the eternal world. What do a martyr, without being anxious to we see ? Armies fighting. What do spread the light of divine truth. And we see? Slaves groaning. What do I am well aware, my Christian we see? Provinces burning. What brethren, that there is nothing which do we see? The church of Christ can keep alive missionary zeal in the asleep. God forbid that I should be minds of men, except a communica- a libelist against man in the image of tion between experimental religion, the Lord Jesus Christ by grace! But and the heart. When this is the case, I ask the question,-is it not true man cannot rest.
that we are all in danger, and that But does not sin elsewhere appear we have fallen into the danger of in its terrors ? Indeed it does. Man sleeping? After thinking that great looks over Christendom, as it has been things have been done, five hunfoolishly called, and what does he see dred, out of eight hundred milthere? He sees men sleeping on the lions of human beings, have not
even the means of the Gospel of the why should we fear? Or if our salkingdom of God. One may say, vation depended upon the absolute
Oh, let the world alone, it is very justice of God,—if God could not well;” another may say,“ there is no have been just without saving us, danger in speculative religious error;" why should we fear? If God were another may say, “I dare say the bound to do it, and if God's characpagans will be as well off as ourselves ter were originally and essentially in the end;"_let others say, “ men pledged to do it, why should we fear? of the world, who have no religion, But is such the fact? No, such is may do as well, and, perhaps, better not the fact. The fact is, that God than those in the last days.” If it be saves us purely and exclusively bethat which is justified by the Bible, cause he wishes to do it-he is not then, I would say, this Bible does not bound to do it. By sovereignty, I justify our general exertions, feeble as always understand, when I use the they are; nor does it, indeed, justify the term, God's right to do whatever is sums of money that are expended with not inconsistent with his nature, but a view to spread the light of divine what does not naturally arise from love in this country and in foreign his perfections; that is, I mean by lands. But to the Bible let us come. sovereignty, he might do it, or he The judgment of man! what is it might not do it. There are some before the judgment of the Almighty ? | things that God is bound to do. He The decision of man ! what is it before is bound to be faithful to himself-he Him that is seated upon the throne is bound to be true-he is bound to be of the universe, and who asks not the just. But there is no such binding-no counsel of man, but moves on in his authority in reference to the act that I great, undisturbed course, seeing the am speaking of-of saving mankind. end from the beginning ? To the He might have not done it. He does word, and to the testimony I come; and it. He does it not because his nature while I there receive the spirit of the originally instituted it, although he book, and receive the letter of the does it in perfect compatability with book, let me, likewise, catch the spirit every perfection of his divine nature. of the book, and let me die pitying Now, before I proceed to offer a others, and rejoicing in the discoveries few remarks on the sovereignty of of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. God, it may be proper, perhaps, to
I proceed now, my dear brethren, observe, that it is not what many conto consider, in the Second place, that sider it to be, and what some repreTHE GOODNESS OF GOD IN THE GOSPEL sent it to be. Some consider the PRODUCES FEAR, BECAUSE, AS EXERCISED sovereignty of God to be this God's FOR OUR SALVATION, IT IS AN EXTRA- making his creatures happy or miser
OF JEHOVAH, AND able, without any regard to reasons ARISES FROM ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY. in hiniself, without any regard to Favor me with a continuance of your character in them. Such is the soveattention on this most important sub- reignty of man, not of GOD—such is ject, though we have time only to the sovereignty of an earthly despot, touch on it. Now, if our salvation but not the sovereignty of the lovely were in our own hands, and if our Monarch of the universe.
God does own hands, exclusively, were capable whatever he does from reason, from of bringing it about, why should we propriety, because, on the whole, it fear? If we had a power superior to appears to his own mind better than any power hostile to our salvation, that he should have done otherwis l.