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scrutiny, and the person of the Judge, may
be clearly ascertained, by those who will examine the sacred records. And what is the use which we are commanded to make of these momentous truths ? what are the impressions which God purposes to produce upon our minds, by this revelation of his will ? “ God commandeth all men every where to repent.” He may indeed have once “ winked at the times of ignorance;" but he will no longer omit to visit with his displeasure those who refuse or neglect to improve the revelation of his will. He has now poured upon us such a manifestation of his divine light; he has now so exhibited to us his glory, and shown himself to be indeed not far from every one of us, that we need no longer seek him in uncertainty, if haply we might feel after him and find him ; but we now know him, in his loveliness as well as in his terrors; in his holiness as well as in his power; in his relation to us as our Judge, as well as our Creator. Let us not, then, like the philosophic Athenians, mock at these things. Let us not, then, like the merely curious auditors of the apostle, say, “ We will hear thee again of these things :" but let us lay them to heart ; let us acknowledge the deep conviction of their truth ; and let us anxiously endeavour to profit by their solemn lessons. Let us hear that voice which speaks of a resurrection from sin to holiness. Let us obey that
Mediator who now utters the words of life to our souls, as he will shortly call upon even our lifeless dust to awake. He who is our Saviour, will hereafter appear as our Judge; a source of unfeigned joy to those who love his appearing, and a cause of more deep dismay, and of more terrible shame to those who now despise the manifestation of his love, as they will shortly tremble at the manifestation of his wrath. O! could we learn to feel, as we shall one day feel, the realities of judgment and eternity, is it possible that we should be so negligent of our highest interests ? Could we bring ourselves to credit the solemn declarations of God's word, should we hear them from day to day,without one feeling of anxiety upon the results of judgment? Could you realize the conviction, that the dread sound of the archangel's trumpet may mingle even with the feeble accents of him who now calls you to repentance, where would be the listless ear and the languishing heart ?—where would be the vacant mind or the wandering eye?—where would be the presumption of him who strengthens himself in his wickedness, or the faith that almost faints while waiting for the consolation of Israel ? Yet we know not when the period of judgment shall arrive. Even now may the mighty angel be preparing to utter his awful summons; even now may his oath be registered in heaven that time shall be no longer.
Celebrate, then, the commemoration of your Saviour's advent in the flesh, with an especial reference to his advent in glory. Lay hold by unfeigned faith on those blessings which he came to give; and as you look for him to “ come the second time without sin unto salvation," let it be your fervent prayer and your earnest endeavour “ that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." Seek the life which he will graciously impart; that “when he, who is our life, shall appear, then may ye also appear with him in glory.”
NAAMAN THE SYRIAN.
2 KINGS v. 12.
Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Da mascus, better than all the waters of Israel ? may I not wash in them, and be clean?
THERE is no greater obstacle to the gracious purposes of Almighty God, than the pride of human reason. It has been the constant and the fruitful source of evil, ever since the first exhibition of its lamentable influence, in the ruin and the fall of Adam. It may, indeed, seem strange, that a finite, a weak, and erring creature should oppose the vanities of his own judgment, to the stedfast truths of everlasting wisdom. It may be acknowledged as inconsistent with the relation of man to God, that he should refuse to bow with submission to that mighty Being, from whose power he derives his existence; yet it is, nevertheless, matter of absolute experience, that even the most clear and express declarations of the revealed will of God are neglected, controverted, or despised by those whose passions, indulgences, or opinions they prohibit or contradict. “ Can any good thing come out of Nazareth ?” is often the supercilious cavil of prejudice, which is impatient of contradiction, and careless of information. It is not every one that makes this inquiry in the spirit of the guileless Nathanael, or is willing, like him, to render up
the affections of his heart, where he is compelled to yield the conviction of his understanding
The short and simple history before us will exemplify the truth of these remarks. It shows the unwillingness of the human mind to cast away its preconceived opinions, and to rest with due submission on the declarations of infinite wisdom. This unwillingness, even now, causes the preaching of the cross of Christ to be to one a stumbling-block, and to another foolishness; whilst, to the humble and sincere believer, it is the power
of God and the wisdom of God. This same spirit caused Naaman the Syrian to prefer the Abana and Pharpar of his own Damascus to that stream of Jordan, which God had appointed for the only means of his cure; and in the neglect of which he might have remained uncleansed, “ a leper as white as snow."
In examining the details of the narrative of