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a sinner he is both by nature and by practice, so that he loathes himself in his own sight,29 he heartily repents of and is sorry for his misdoings. The remembrance of his sins becomes grievous to him; and being self-condemned and self-abhorred, he thankfully accepts that mercy which is set before him through our Lord Jesus Christ. Such is the case of the man who is brought to know himself by the teaching of the Spirit of God. Has this knowledge of ourselves been given to us? It is a branch of knowledge which it is most painful to acquire, but it is salutary, for it is absolutely necessary to be attained in order to our having peace at the last.

There is another branch of knowledge which is intimately connected with this right knowledge of ourselves, and to which this is intended to lead; and that is, the knowledge of God. Man by nature is totally ignorant of his Creator and his Judge. As far as he has any ideas of the Almighty, the terror of Him makes him afraid. He says unto God, Depart from me, for I desire not the knowledge of Thy ways.30 However extraordinary it may seem, it is evidently the fact, that notwithstanding he may profess to entertain some reverence for the Deity, by an attendance on His house and worship, he does not like to retain God in his knowledge. He is


29 Ezekiel xx. 43. 30 Job xxi. 14. 31 Romans i. 28.


therefore constantly substituting the form of godliness for the power of it, and endeavouring to divest himself of the idea of the omnipresence of the heart-searching God. Until the knowledge of Christ is communicated to the soul, no man can arrive at the true knowledge of God. But the sinner who is led by the Divine teaching of the Spirit of God to the knowledge of himself, is also taught to know the Lord Jesus Christ as the Redeemer and Saviour of the lost; and to put his trust in Him for pardon and reconciliation with God, and for all the blessings which accompany salvation. The ignorance of God under which mankind labour is that which makes religion wear such a gloomy aspect in their eyes. Having lost the knowledge of God, they seek happiness in the error of their ways. Having forsaken the fountain of living waters, they hew out for themselves. cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.33 They turn to the things of time and sense for pleasure, instead of seeking it in the favour and friendship of the God of heaven. But the things of time and sense will not bring a man peace at the last. They will leave him destitute and helpless when he stands most in need of consolation. They were not designed to satisfy the desires of the immortal soul; and therefore those who seek happiness in them are wearying themselves

32 2 Timothy iii. 5.

33 Jeremiah ii. 31.


for very vanity, which will issue in bitter vexation of spirit.

The man who is ignorant of himself, of his own natural state and condition; and ignorant of God, is truly in a most pitiable situation. He is a dying creature, and yet he has no good hope beyond this mortal life. But, alas! what numbers are there, who, it may be feared, leave the world in this state of ignorance and sin; and go to appear before the tribunal of God, without having acquired that knowledge of Him, which is needful in order to the attainment of everlasting life and salvation. Sinners may delude themselves by supposing that there is no need of seeking for the pardon of their sins by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ; no necessity for being made partakers of the Divine influences of the Holy Spirit; that they can be happy without enjoying communion and fellowship with the God of heaven, and without living in His fear while on earth: but it will be found eventually that there is no peace to the wicked;35 no peace to the man of the world, who is seeking his portion in this life,36 no peace to them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. May our understandings be enlightened by the Spirit of God, that we may know the things which belong unto our peace, so as

34 Habak.ii.13. 35 Isaiahlvii. 21. 36 Psalm xvii. 14. 372 Thess.i.8.

to be blessed with the salvation that accompaWe are to observe Secondly, The blindness of mankind in wilfully disregarding that which it is their highest interest to lay to heart. This may also be illustrated by the case of the Jews. In the text our Lord Jesus Christ lamented that the things which belonged unto their peace were then hid from their eyes. Notwithstanding the instructions which He delivered were confirmed by miracles, such as no other man ever did; yet they obstinately persisted in rejecting all the evidence which was brought before them of His being the Messiah; whose coming, to be the Redeemer of mankind from the bondage of sin and Satan, their prophets had foretold. And is not something like this, the state of many in this day of Christian light and profession? Are there none who shut their eyes against the light? None who are not ashamed, even in a Christian land, to avow their hatred of true religion, and their contempt of its professors? None who hate the light, and come not to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved?38 None who are hearers only, and not doers of the word ?39 Alas! it is to be feared that such characters are not uncommon. Are there no persons to be found who occasionally hear the gospel, and yet dislike and reject it? who see the change

nies the knowledge of them.

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produced by the cordial belief of Christianity in those who are around them, and manifest their displeasure at it? The state of such persons is most lamentable. Oh! that their eyes were opened to see the error under which they labour, before the things which belong unto their peace, are for ever hid from them. In the text, our Lord Jesus Christ expressed his compassion for persons who are in this awful condition; which is to be noticed in the

Third place. If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace. Although our blessed Saviour knew that at this time He was to be given up into the hands of His enemies, to be put to death by them; yet He dismissed from His mind the thought of what they would inflict upon Himself, and wept over their ignorance and blindness, and the misery that would overtake them in consequence of it. He had before given utterance to His anxious desire for their welfare, in the most pathetic language: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not.40 Oh! that more of this compassionate disposition towards the ungodly, and those who are perishing for lack of

40 Luke xiii. 34.

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