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ral helplessness have not yet sought | whom he hath himself convinced of the Saviour-and those who after they sin-to him also doth he open a way have sought him are mourning under to his mercy-seat. True, he may not peculiar sin or walking in peculiar be able in words to make known his darkness. Let us consider each of grief-true, his petitions may be rude these cases and apply to them the con- in language and poor in knowledge, solations of the text.
yet his very sighs his Maker underAnd first let us consider the case of standeth—his very tears he will gathose who are convinced of their own ther up and accept for the Redeemer's natural sin and helplessness, but who sake as though they were the richest have not as yet sought their Saviour. of supplications and when that Holy In the system of operation upon the Spirit teacheth him to pray, he teachmind, which God hath ordained to bring eth not the eloquence of human oraback the wandering heart of man to the tory, but he maketh intercession for true fountain of its joy, the several steps him with groanings that cannot be follow not each other in regular and in uttered, and he that searcheth the certain order. In many instances, hearts knoweth what is the mind of more particularly in the case of those the Spirit-for even thus doth he make with whom, whether from education or intercession for the saints according to from other causes, great knowledge of the will of God. Be not then cast the plan of salvation precedes a saving down because of thy new knowledge acquaintance with the Redeemer, there that thou hast sinned, neither be thou is frequently very little of distress. In cast down because thou canst scarcely all cases, it is true, one of the leading pray, but cast thyself upon thy Re. offices of the Spirit is to convince of deemer, and he will save thee, and he sin, but in some he appears almost will comfort thee-and as thy God completely to blend this conviction of hath given thee new sorrow, even so sin with a sense of the all-sufficiency will he give thee new joy. “ For a of that sweet and rich atoning blood little moment I hid my face from thee, which was shed on Calvary. He no but in great mercies will I gather sooner inflicts a wound, than he ap- thee, saith the Lord, thy Redeemer." pears to heal it. But in other instances But, oh! let not them trust in their -in many other instances—it is not God who still hanker after sin-faint so. Many suffer very great affliction, they may be and weary, but let them exceedingly great affliction—from the look to it and repent, lest their pain sense of sin, before they are enabled to here be only a type and a forerunner apply for help and consolation to their | and anteparte of their pain hereafter, Redeemer. The depression—the dis- | But the consolations of the text be. tress occasioned by a sense of sin- long also to those, who, after they that merciful God from whom our way have sought, after they have found, is not hid will assuredly heal. All our their Saviour, are mourning under pe. duty is in patience to wait on him culiar sin, or walking in peculiar darkto plead his own promises--to plead | ness. During his pilgrimage in this pre. the merits of his Son of which he loves sent world, far indeed is the believer to hear—and he will deliver us. And from being free from sin. True, in his surely this task is easy. To wait on measure, he walks with God-true, he a God so gracious can be no difficult strives after conformity to his Saviour task. There may be to the proud a —but sin, though mortified, is not dedifficulty in approaching unto God. stroyed. Ever and anon will it attack Them doth God resist; but to him him, and obtain not unfrequently an advantage over him. But in this does through thy folly, thou hast become he especially differ from what he once weak; but pray with Sampson to the was ; that sin in which he once de- | Lord, and he will strengthen thee, lighteth is now the source of his that thy latter end may be better than greatest grief. Nay, so sensitive is thy beginning. Thou art fearfulhe-so acute has his conscience be- trust in him and thy fear shall be come, that the smallest transgression turned into love; or if thou still fear. he deplores ; nothing renders him so est, thy fear shall only be lest again unhappy as to offend against his God; thou grieve that Holy Spirit; thy fear and God, too, if he sin in any degree shall not be the terror of a slave, but wilfully, or without immediate re- the loving solicitude of a son; and pentance, will take away the light of fear not even thus, so much as to be his countenance from him, and cause painful to thee, but trust singly to him, him to walk in darkness and sorrow and he will lead thee by the hand, and of spirit. And not unfrequently, in guide thee, and if still thou walkest addition to inward trouble, he will weeping, there shall be more sweetness thus visit him with outward affliction, in thy tears than in the world's joy. Oh, and will leave him even to be harassed then, be not sad, but trust in thy God. and tempted of the devil, till with Alarm not thyself with the examples holy David he exclaim, “Thine arrows of others stronger than thou, who stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth have fallen to rise no more, or who me sore." And in this state he may have risen grievously wounded and expect to remain till his tribulation grievously debilitated. They looked hath brought him to repentance-till not simply to their God. The yonths he remember whence he hath fallen, shall faint and be weary, the young and repent and do his first works. men shall utterly fall, but they that But then, the promise of the text ap- wait on the Lord shall renew their plies to him. “The Lord giveth power strength. to the faint, and to them that have no By temporal sorrows, too, he may might he encreaseth strength.” He sorely grieve thee, but much more afflicted only that he might comfort, mayest thou trust him in them. “A). he wounded only that he might heal. though the fig-tree shall not blossom, Let the sorrowing and the penitent neither shall fruit be in the vines, the believer apply again now afresh to his labor of the olive shall fail, and the Saviour as he did at the beginning. fields shall yield no meat, the fock The blood which once washed away shall be cut off from the fold, and his sins, can remove them again. there shall be no herd in the stalls : Once only was the blood shed, but yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will not once only doth it cure—“He will joy in the God of my salvation.” not alway be chiding, neither keepeth Trust him, then, in all thy sorrows, he his anger for ever.” Nor let the lean in confidence upon his protection, truly penitent believer fear that he and he will keep thee; and, finally, hath sinned beyond the reach of after giving thee to taste the joys of mercy-that he hath crucified the Son his presence here below, he will take of God afresh, and put him to an open thee to dwell with him—to be like him shame. His God is still merciful- whom thou hast here loved to see “ I cannot set thee as Admah,” saith him whom unseen thou didst adore. the Lord to repenting Israel, “ I can- and, with holy John, to lean on thy not set thee as Admah, I cannot set Saviour's bosom, a disciple whom hee as Ze boim." Like Sampson, Jesus loveth.
AT BROADMEAD CHAPEL, BRISTOL, 1828.
Colossians, iii. 2.—"Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth." In this epistle the Apostle had been cupies with regard to this earth, but taking pains to eradicate certain pre- this is the language that has pervaded judices which had been implanted by va- all nations, and is incorporated in the rious Jewish professors in the church New Testament as well in the Old of Corinth, teaching them to lay great Testament; so that heaven, the seat stress upon certain services of a cere- of the Divine Majesty, is ever repremonial nature which had been done sented in local habitation as that away with by the Gospel, and thereby which is above. When John speaks bringing them back to the beggarly of the superiority of Christ to himself, elements of this world, and estranging he says, “He that cometh from above, them from the glorious realities of is above all : he that is of the earth is Divine truth and consolation found in earthy, and speaketh of the earth : he Christianity. In the chapter which that cometh from heaven is above all.” precedes the words of the text, he had There it is plain, that to be from heatold them the things on which they ven, and to be from above, are equi. had set their affections were things of valent expressions. a ceremonial nature, and consequently, When we are commanded " to set of transitory moment in the church of our affections on things above,” it inGod, which had been supplanted and timates the same thing that is exsuperseded by the advent of Christ, pressed by the foregoing precept. “If who was the substance of the law, and ye then be risen with Christ, seek who terminated by his death all the those things which are above, where ceremonialism of that shadowy dis-Christ sitteth at the right hand of pensation. "If ther ye be risen with God.” In the former passage he exChrist, seek those things which are horts us to seek these things; in this above, where Christ sitteth on the he points our attention to the manner right hand of God.” Instead of going in which they are to be sought. They back to the rites of an abrogated wor- | are to be sought by giving to them a ship, he invites them to Christianity- deep place in our affections—by culto direct their prospects towards futu- tivating familiarity with them—by rity-to elevate their eyes to the celes- making them much and habitually the tial world—to meditate upon the glories subject of our thoughts. It is by these there awaiting them; and then adds, means only that we can pursue our “Set your affections on things above, eternal interest to advantage. If they not on things on the earth.”
| have not a deep and abiding place in By“ things above,” we are evidently our hearts, in our affections, in our to understand, the things of the hea. memories, in our attentions and purvenly world. Heaven is, by the uni- poses, it is in vain for us to be proversal consent of all mankind, consi- fessing to seek these things. They dered as above. This is not only to must have their seat in the heart or be considered as to the position it oc- they will never make our conduct worthy of the Gospel, or effect the piety, his language is, “Rejoice algreat end of our heavenly calling. ways; and, again, I say unto you,
There are those who would explode rejoice.” all affection in religion; and although But let us in considering these this is not the proper passage from words, with a view to our present which the contrary may be evinced, benefit, endeavour to show what there yet, at the same time, it is abundantly is in the things of which the apostle evident that nothing is more erroneous speaks to excite and demand the exerthan such a conception. If we banish | cise of our affections, and induce us affection from religion, we banish all supremely to set them on the things that is substantial, and elevating, and that are above, that is, on the objects consolatory in it, and leave nothing of the heavenly world. but the shadow. It is in this alone In the First place, we ought to set the good of religion can be enjoyed. our affections on things above, because The more thinking and intellectual those things are in themselves transpart of man is not capable of being in cendently excellent. Whatever is exa state of enjoyment. It is only in cellent is on that account entitled to proportion to the affections tending to our regard ; in proportion to its excelor recoiling from, certain objects, that lence, as reasonable creatures, we we are capable of enjoying them. He ought to attach a value to it, and if who knows our frame has addressed capable of being enjoyed by us, ought our affections, our fears,' our hopes— to engage our pursuit. The things of He has addressed these in his sacred the heavenly world are transcendently word, and it is presumptuous in us to excellent—they are beyond any combe wiser than the wisdom which dic- parison with the highest form of earthly tated the Holy Scriptures. And if we good. We may be assured of this look at the joy of the most eminent from their being heavenly things ; for men, we find it lay in the affections,“ heaven is God's throne, and the the peace and joy of believing, the earth his footstool.” Heaven is the peace that passeth all understanding. scene of the Divine manifestation in its The apostle Paul and Silas, when they brightest form. Earth is not entirely sang in the prison and praised God, destitute of bis presence; yet it is not their feet made fast in the stocks, the immediate scene of his presence, evinced their religion by their af- , it is a part of his empire distantly fections. It was religion that filled illumined by that sun which he has them with the highest degree of joy in caused to shine on the just and the the midst of their sufferings ; and unjust, but in no part illumined by his when the same apostle would enjoin immediate presence. on Christians the cultivation of practical
(To be continued.)
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AT JOHN STREET CHAPEL, KING'S ROAD, JULY 31, 1831.
Isaiah, xl. 1.-—"Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God." This chapter begins, if one may so I will perceive that not only is comfort speak of it, one of the most interesting proclaimel, but it is thrice asserted : sermons in the word of God. It is “ Comfort ye, comfort ye-speak ye the Gospel sound-it is full of the Gos- comfortably to Jerusalem.” As if pel throughout-it is the Gospel to the the ministers of the Gospel were advery end of the prophecy. It begins with dressed and reminded that they may the proclamation of Christ, “ Prepare be too much afraid of proclaiming ye the way of the LORD, make straight comfort—that there is much more in in the desert a highway for our God. the heart of God to proclaim comfort Every valley shall be exalted, and every than there is in their hearts-that they mountain and hill made low : and the need to be reminded that it is in the very crooked shall be made straight, and the heart of God to speak comfort to his rough places plain. And the glory of people. And it is also worthy of our the LORD shall be revealed, all flesh observation, and our admiration too, shall see it together : for the mouth of that the place where comfort was the LORD hath spoken it. 0, Zion, to be proclaimed was Jerusalem-the that bringest good tidings, get thee bloody city—the guilty city—the murup into the high mountains : 0, Jeru- derous city-according to God's great salem, that bringest good tidings, lift grace, “that where sin hath abounded, up thy voice with strength : lift it up, his grace shall much more abound.” be not afraid : say unto the cities of May he lead us by his Holy Spirit Judah, Behold your God," And being to-day, guide us to those things that the proclamation of the coming Sa- may be profitable, keep us from things viour, no wonder it is full of com-trifling, things speculative, and direct fort. “ Comfort ye, comfort ye, my us to things holy, searching, spiritual, people, saith your God. Speak ye and edifying for Christ's sake. comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry! The first point to which I would deunto her, that her warfare, her ap- sire your consideration is,THESPEAKER pointed time, is accomplished, that then remark, THE PERSONS ADher iniquity is pardoned : for she hath | DRESSED-then, THE ADDRESS OR EXreceived of the LORD's hand double for HORTATION ITSELF. all her sins.” In which passage you THE SPEAKER is God himself.is