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There may be much mystery in some unto me, all ye that labour and are of the bearings of this question ; but in heavy laden, and I will give you rest?" those features of it in which we are most Did he not announce the grand truth, deeply interested, everything appears to
that “the Son of man came to seek and be very plain and perspicuous,-clear, to save that which was lost ?" indeed, as the sun shining at noon- And how did his apostles act? Did day.
they content themselves by preaching Why, then, is it not of man's will and to the people of God? Or, did they not effort, but of God's mercy manifested to everywhere call sinners to repentance ? sinners, that they are saved ?
Was not their language to all who heard Is it because there is not virtue suffi- them, “We pray you, in Christ's stead, cient in the atonement for the salvation be ye reconciled to God?" Did they of all men? How can we imagine this, not place Christ and him crucified before when we reflect upon the nature of the men, as the only sure foundation on Redeemer's sacrifice, and upon the in- which they could build, and then enfinitely glorious character of him who courage them to put their whole trust in presented it? Is it not distinctly re- his finished work? The gospel, assuredly, corded that his “blood cleanseth from is good news to all. It “proclaims all sin?” Is not the merit of that sacri- liberty to the captive, and the opening of fice boundless? Can human thought or the prison to them that are bound.” It imagination reach it? Is not Christ | points every sinner who hears it to "the "able to save them to the uttermost that Lamb of God which taketh away the sin come unto God by him ?” Did he not
of the world.” It announces to every die "for the ungodly ?” Did he not child of guilt and woe that God is love. “make his soul an offering for sin," as
It is an unconditional exhibition of the such? Did he not“ taste death for way of pardoning mercy to the very every man?" Did not “God so love " chief of sinners." the world that he gave his only-begotten If we look, then, for the reason of the docSon, that whosoever believeth in him trine which the apostle asserts in the words might not perish, but have everlasting under consideration, we cannot discover life?"
it in any insufficiency of the work of The reason, then, of the doctrine as- Christ, or in any limitation of the offers serted in the text, is not to be sought for of Divine mercy to the guilty; they are in the limited sufficiency of that atone- both unlimited, and they both partake ment, which could wash away the guilt of a character of infinity, answering to of worlds upon worlds, and which it the source whence they spring. would be the height of blasphemy to Still it is true, that "it is not of him limit by any of our finite conceptions. that willeth, nor of him that runneth,
Or can we attribute the statement of but of God that showeth mercy.” How the text to any restriction which attaches is this? What are the true reasons ? to the offer of salvation in the gospel? | They appear then to be twofold. The Assuredly not. Did Christ restrict that first reason is with the sinner himself; offer ? When he was teaching the highest and the second is with God. doctrines of Divine sovereignty, did he 1. The one reason is with the sinner not say, “Whosoever cometh unto me, himself. He always wills wrong, because I will in no wise cast out?" Did he not his will is corrupt and depraved. He is stand and cry, “On the last great day guilty for this, just because he does will of the feast at Jerusalem, If any man wrong; but “Who can bring a clean thirst, let him come unto me and drink?" | thing out of an unclean?—no, not one?” Did he not say to the most prejudiced of If the sinner's will moved aright towards his nation, while they were yet clinging God he would no longer be entitled to to Jewish rites and ceremonies, “Come the designation of a sinner; but would
rank with those holy beings who delight single exception, and, therefore, they to do the will of God, and who live be- cannot become their own Saviour. neath his perpetual smile. But just be- But, cause the sinner's will is wrong, because 2. The other reason is with God. For he inclines continually to that which is it is not more certain that "it is not of evil, it is a moral impossibility that his him that willeth, nor of him that runsalvation should ever come of himself. neth," than that is “of God that showeth
For the same reasons, the sinner runs mercy." And what is the lesson that wrong. His conduct and his character this declaration teaches us, in the conare as much in fault as his will. He nection in which it stands? It is a lesson walks “according to the course of this which high doctrinalists would be unpresent evil world ; according to the willing to unfold, but which it is delightprince of the power of the air, the spirit ful to proclaim; viz., that God takes that now worketh in the children of occasion from the utter inability of man to disobedience.” He runs in the way of save himself, to stretch forth the arm of folly, rebellion, and unbelief. He“ runs his mercy and might to rescue him from with a multitude to do evil.” And when his lost and ruined state. It comes, then, he runs even in the direction of religion, to this, that man's necessity is God's opit is not in the path which God hath portunity. By no effort of will, and by pointed out to him; but in some by-path no act of obedience, can any child of of his own invention, by which he hopes Adam become the instrument of his own to become his own Saviour. If you salvation ; he must be lost then eternally could suppose a sinner willing aright, and if God does not interpose; without rightrunning aright, you might then imagine eousness and without strength to what it a thing possible that he could be saved; refuge can he look? to what source of but the very idea of such a thing is a hope can he cling? If he look within, contradiction in terms. A sinner can what can he discover but darkness, guilt, only will and run like himself; and as and despair? If he look back, what can he is essentially sinful, he will ever will he trace but the footsteps of a transand run in the direction of evil, and in gressor from the very womb? If he look that course which leadeth to destruction. forward, what can he see in the boundless Do not, then, suppose him willing aright, future but “the blackness of darkness and running aright, and yet not saved; for ever?" If he look to the creatures but as always willing wrong, and running around him, with one voice they prowrong, and, therefore, not saved. There claim, “Salvation is not in us.” But if he is surely no very great mystery in all turn away from all, and look to God, he this. Especially, when we call to re- he
may then recognise an all-sufficient membrance, that every sinner from the source of hope and deliverance. We beginning has willed wrong, and run cannot believe that the text was ever wrong. There has been no exception to intended to act as a ground of discourthis state of things hitherto, and we may agement to sinners; but to teach them be sure that there never will be. If the this momentous doctrine, that, though stream rises higher than the fountain, it salvation is not of the creature, it is the must be by reason of some impelling high prerogative of God to save. It is force; and if ever any sinner begins to not upon man's vain effort to save himwill aright and to run aright, we may be self that salvation depends; but upon equally sure that some influence foreign Him that “showeth mercy.” Every other to depraved nature has begun to act upon doctrine but the doctrine of grace, exhim.
hibits salvation as a thing impossible ; This, then, is the first reason of the but in this Divine scheme we see that doctrine of the text-sinners will wrongly salvation is not only possible, but that it and act wrongly, and this without a l is an event in the history of our world which brings glory to the triune God, tells him this, however he may seek to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. God will stifle and pervert its testimony. claim to himself to be “the God of 2. Another sad abuse of this doctrine salvation.” “He will have mercy on is that of neglecting to appeal to sinners, whom he will have mercy; and he will because salvation is of the Lord. have compassion on whom he will have This plan is so directly at variance compassion.” The doctrine of grace is with the teaching of Christ and his the only star of hope to a dying world. apostles, that it might be left with It shuts every other avenue of promise thoughtful men to refute itself. It is to sinners, that it may lay wide open to founded in the miserable fallacy, that their view the boundless love of God in there is nothing in fallen man to which Christ Jesus. It proclaims all men to be we can appeal. Now, on the contrary, in an undone and sinful state, that they the gospel is so constructed, that it is *may look to the one and only hope of divinely adapted to the state of sinners. salvation, which beams from the throne It is made for them; it is revealed to of eternal love.
them; it is to be “preached” to them Thus, then, there are two grand rea- "for the obedience of faith.” It appeals sons, why salvation is not of us; the one to all their hopes, and fears, and inreason is with man himself, and the other terests; and it is in the very act of is with God. Salvation “is not of him preaching Christ to sinners, that we have that willeth, nor of him that runneth," any reason to look for that mighty opebecause man's will and man's way are ration of the Spirit, by which only they always corrupt; and, therefore, it is that can be quickened to spiritual life. It is man's only plea free and sovereign His work to unfold the grace of God to grace, and that his only refuge is in Him the sinner's heart; but this he does whose standing memorial it is that he through the medium of that testimony "showeth mercy.” “It is not of him which it is the duty of ministers to prothat willeth, nor of him that runneth, claim, in the tone of invitation, persuabut of God that showeth mercy." And sion, and love. The prophet was to pronow
phesy to the dry bones, and so must we. III. We PROPOSE TO GUARD This Doc. We are to "pray sinners, in Christ's TRINE AGAINST THE PRACTICAL ABUSE TO stead, to be reconciled unto God." That WHICH IT IS EXPOSED.
is not a gospel ministry that does not 1. It is a great abuse of this doctrine, deal with sinners as such, and that does when the apostasy of man is pleaded as not call on them with all earnestness to an excuse for his guilt.
repent and believe the gospel. No page of Scripture warrants such a 3. It is a serious perversion of this use of the doctrine of grace. That doc- doctrine which would so explain it as to trine, indeed, is a refuge for the guilty make it a ground of discouragement to -the only refuge to which they can be- sinners. The sovereignty of Divine grace, take themselves; but it was never in- properly viewed, is the only beam that tended to excuse, but to proclaim their illumines the sinner's path. There is no guilt. Sin is not a misfortune, but a other hope for him but the mercy of crime. Every sinner is a wilful rebel God. Sovereignty, not equity, is the against God; and if he dies out of Christ sinner's only plea. Nothing springs from he will be treated as such to all eternity. this sovereignty but gifts of love. Who It is very awful when sin is spoken of as shall dare, then, to fix on any sinner of if it were something that the sinner is mankind, and say, there is no hope in compelled to commit. The real truth of sovereignty for you. Let the sinner but the case is, that the sinner "loves dark- turn from the broken cisterns, that can ness rather than light, because his deeds hold no water, and he will find in soveare evil;" and every sinner's conscience reignty a fountain ever full and ever free. Let him learn the Divine lesson, know that he will be handed over to that “it is not of him that willeth, nor equity, and that God will deal with those of him that runneth,” and he will then in justice who would not be debtors to see with a clear and joyful eye that it is his sovereign and distinguishing grace. “God that showeth mercy.” If the May the Lord abundantly bless his word sovereignty of Divine love is trampled for Christ's sake!
J. M. upon and disdained, then let every sinner
POWER OF MORAL PAINTING IN SERMONS. [The following paper was written by words what the correspondent art does the late Rev. J. H. Smith, missionary at by the pencil and canvas.. Common Madras. Those who knew him well, language has not this power, as even will perceive that in the train of thought the words which stand for defined and that runs through it, the paper is very well-known objects do not in general characteristic of his mental habits. Re- suggest an image. We think of the name, ligion was not with him a mere theory, not of the thing. But figurative language, it was reality, living reality, full of life or vivid description, awakens the imaginand power. His life, labours, and cha- ation; the words become things; and the racter are worthy of a record among objects pass before us. Thus in the dethose of departed worth from the mis- scription of Satan : sionary field. He was zealous, active,
“ The foe of God and man, enterprising, catholic, and prayerful. He From his dark den blaspheming, drags his chain, was originally a pastor of a Congrega- | And rears his brazen front, with thunder scarred; tional church at Hulme, Manchester ;
Like meteors in a stormy sky, how roll
His baleful eyes." and was fifteen years a missionary in the Presidency of Madras. He left his chosen Where an individual is not specified, and loved work, that of a missionary, there may be an image: about the 20th or 21st of May, 1843,
“ Why did I not pass away in secret like a for the mansions his Master has prepared flower for all his disciples. He had gone from
Of the rock, that lifts its fair head unseen, and
Shows its withered leaves on the blast." Madras to Vizagapatam to assist at the ordination of a missionary, and embarked And in the following: on board of a small vessel bound from
His hand the good man fastons on the skies, the latter port to Madras, but on the
And bids earth roll, nor heeds its idle whirl." above dates one of those fearful gales well known in the Bay of Bengal in- | The imagination can create an image gulfed the ship, and he found a watery where there is no archetype in nature : grave. “The sea shall give up its dead,"
“ See how the morn, in russet mantle clad, and then he shall, with “the small and
Walks o'er the dew of yon eastern hill." great, stand before God.” The Rev. M. Winslow, American missionary, preached And in the following most moving dea sermon, which is published, on the scription from the Book of Job: occasion of his death, and from which a “ In thought from the visions of the night, sentence or two is taken in this short When deep sleep falleth on man,
Fear came upon me, and trembling, notice. We know of no other notice of
Which made all my bones shake. any length of his character and excel
Then a spirit passed before my face; lences. From a Correspondent.]
The hair of my flesh stood up:
form thereof; Moral painting is presenting images to
An image was before mine eyes, the mind by language. It effects by There was a silence, and I heard a voice."
These examples, besides leading us to around him, and his harp fallen at his see the nature of moral painting, will aid side, admiring the half-formed moon us in getting some notion of its power. gliding down the heavens, with unnumThis must be great. It is the same in bered stars in her train, whose lustre is kind with historic painting, of whose hardly eclipsed by her softened rays, unmagic effect any child who has seen a til filled with the scene, he exclaims: picture may be sensible.. Objects of sight strike us powerfully, and a graphic
“ When I consider thy heavens, the work of
thy fingers, description may be transferred from paper The moon and the stars, which thou hast orto the canvass, as the following:
dained, “I have seen the walls of Balclutha,
What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
Or the son of man, that thon visitest bim?" but they were desolate. The flames had resounded in the hall, and the voice of I say, let this be done, let the whole the people is heard no more. The stream scene be brought vividly before the mind, of Clutha is removed from its place, by and the sentiment becomes another thing the fall of the walls. The thistle shook from what it would be without those atits lonely head. The moss whistled to tending images. It makes an impression. the wind. The fox looked out from the In illustrating, improving, and enforcwindow, and the rank grass of the wall ing truth, images may be brought forward waved round his head.”
with great effect. How clear is the folLanguage may even exceed the pencil lowing thought : in its effect; since the latter can present
“ And my hand hath found, as a nest, the images only in one attitude, while the
riches of the people ; former gives them motion and utterance. And as one gathereth eggs that are left, But whatever the effect is, the whole Have I gathered all the earth,
And there was none that moved the wing, or power of language to produce emotions
opened the mouth, or peeped." must be measured by it. Words enlighten the understanding, but only images the Images may be arguments. “It is heart.
the property of years to give wide and The importance of moral painting to immovable root to all passions. The eloquence is, of course, great. Where deeper the bed of the torrent, the more description is concerned it is everything. impossible to change its course.” And, It makes fictions realities. We see them." When we dip too deep in pleasure, we The objects live, move, and are embodied always stir a sediment that renders the before us. The orator attains his highest draught unsalutary.” point; for he gives to things distant and The common thought, that God will imaginary the power of real presence. punish the wicked, becomes forcible un
In abstract truths its influence is less der the pen of inspiration. “If I whet direct but not less important. It secures my glittering sword, and my hand take attention. This is the first object of the hold on judgment, I will render venorator. If it be not gained, nothing is geance to mine adversaries, and will regained. Without it the reasoning of a ward them that hate me." Truths very Paul or Apollos is no better than empty abstract may be hunted from their lurkdeclamation. It prepares us to receive | ing places, and brought to light by comimpressions. Let the interrogation of parisons. Some, indeed, may be too the psalmist, “ Lord, what is man that recondite for the search, and too dark for thou art mindful of him ?" be presented the rays of imagination ; but such have with the scenery in the midst of which no place in high emotion. This requires it was probably uttered. Let David, a that the words be things, and if they are youthful shepherd, be shown seated, dur- not they may be reasons, they may be ing the stillness of a clear midnight, on demonstrations ; but they are not the some hillock, with his sleeping flock constituents of eloquence. Imagination