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cred duty according to the measure of example; and confer a substantial the means vouchsafed to you to join in benefit on your country. Would you this work. Thus may you please God- be blessed ? consider these poor-resave these little ones from being tossed gard and do good to these otherwise to and fro, and carried about with destitute lambs of the flock. every wind of doctrine, every vicious
DELIVERED BY THE REV. C. BRADLEY,
AT CLAPHAM, MARCH 13, 1831.
Luke, xxiv. 46, 47.—“ Thus it is written, and thus it behored Christ to suffer, and to
rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
You remember it is said of Peter on himself. O, how unlike his disciples ! his first conversion at the lake of Ge-0, how still more unlike us! We know nesaret, that he left his nets and fol. not what he gave up for his church. It lowed Christ, for he and Andrew his was more glory, more bliss, than any brother were fishers. This was the mind save his own can understand. sacrifice which he made. Now it might We know almost as little what he enbe supposed, that in the service of such dured. But what does he say of it all ? a master, he would never have men- How in the retrospect does he estimate tioned these things again or thought this weighty sacrifice? He speaks of it of them ; but not so, months after in this chapter as a thing of course, as wards, we find him speaking of the a mere matter of duty, as something sacrifices he had made, as something that we might have anticipated, and marvellous, worthy even of Christ's ought to have looked for. “O fools," admiration. “Lo,” says he to him, says he to his wondering disciples in as though he and his companions had the twenty-fifth verse, “O fools, and cast all the possessions of the earth slow of heart to believe all that the away, and trod thrones and sceptres prophets have spoken! Ought not underneath their feet, “Lo, we have Christ to have suffered these things." left all, and followed thee.” Now And again, in this verse, “ Thus it Peter does not stand alone in this behoved” it was right and proper, vaunting feeling : we are often like him. Thus it behoved Christ to suffer;" How high have we sometimes thought and he goes further, instead of repreof some little sacrifice we have made senting his offers of mercy to mankind for Christ. We say here, that the in their true colour, as the manifestawhole realm of nature, were it ours, tion of a love that passeth knowledge, would be two small a gift to offer as a love that might have led earth to him; but let some trivial loss or suf- wonder for ever, he says “ It behoved fering be actually incurred for his sake, Christ to suffer, and to rise from the some slight danger risked, some emp- dead the third day, and that repentty companion, or still more empty ance and remission of sins should be pleasure abandoned, and we begin to preached in his name among all nabegrudge immediately.
tions beginning at Jerusalem.” But look now at the blessed Jesus There are Three points for our con
sideration in these words. First, , and conduct corresponding with it. What the doctrines were which the It includes grief, or sorrow, or conApostles of Christ were to preach? trition, or self-love, or self-detestaSecondly, How they were to preach tion, that no other grief can equal in them. And THIRDLY, Where? bitterness or duration. But it includes
First, what were the APOSTLES more, it involves a desire to escape out TO PREACH? Now, if we turn to the of the misery it breathes now. It is, last chapter of the Gospel of Mark, we in fact, the return of the revolted sinshall find the Saviour, in a passage ner from sin and Satan, from the somewhat similar to this, commands world itself to God. Thus is the ofthem to preach the Gospel, “ Go ye fended Father to be supplicated, the into all the world,” he says, " and insulted law-giver to be appeased, his preach the Gospel.” Here, he says, sovereign law to be obeyed, his orithey must preach repentance and re- ginal, his best, his only portion to be mission of sins. We apprehend from enjoyed. these two passages thus brought toge- Remission of sins, the second of these ther, that repentance and remission of mercies, is another word for forgivesins are the same as the Gospel, that ness of sins. It regards God as a they constitute the Gospel, or at all moral governor. In this character he events, are the mercies that most gives his creatures a law, and sancdistinguish and characterize the Gos- tions that law by denouncing punishpel : they undoubtedly are The ment against those who violate it. one describes the grace revealed in the Man has rendered himself liable to Gospel as it appears working in the this punishment by his many daring human heart; the other looks up to it transgressions; he has contracted guilt,
a manifestation from above of and become subject to the penalty desovereign goodness. The first, repent- nounced against guilt : and he can ance, is something done on earth in do nothing to escape this penalty. man : the second, remission, is some- He cannot undo his sin, he cannot thing done in heaven for man. atone for it, he walks about the world
You know, brethren, what the first of bound over to a fearful condemnation these, repentance, is. It is not what the the moment he leaves the world. Now world deems it—it is not a mere ac- forgiveness removes this obligation of knowledgment of sinfulness-not a punishment. It does not render the few tears shed once or twice in a man's
man innocent of the crimes he has life over some great transgression committed, but it cancels the sentence not that feeling which rises in the denounced against those crimes. It sinner's heart in the morning, when leaves man guilty, but it saves him the night preceding has been a night from the penalty of his guilt. It is an of more than usual transgression; it is act of mercy whereby his guilt is done a powerful, deep, and abiding change away, completely and for ever done upon the whole soul—it is a state of away, and he restored to liberty, and mind suited to man's character and safety, and favour. He moves about man's circumstances. He is a sinner,
now secure from condemnation, as a great sirner, a condemned sinner, a though there were no law in existence ; lost sinner, an attainted sinner, nay, no more in danger of the wrath of more, a helpless sinner. Repentance God, as though that wrath were anni. is the discovery of this, the feeling of hilated, as high in the favour of heaven it, and such a feeling that leads to
as the angels who have never sinned. emotions and desires and purposes Forgiveness is a single mercy, the
mercy that the sinner first receives | sired his favour, one who might unfrom the hand of a God of grace. It fold the standard of revolt in his own might seem the smallest of Jehovah's kingdom. It would never do either gifts, but it is the germ of every mercy. to place among those who love him It sets the door wide open of the great one who would have no communion fountain of God. It is the holder of all of interest, no community of feeling happiness that the created heart can be with him, one who took no part in made to hold. It is the placing of the their employment, and no share in sinner where every good can be ob- their joys. Such a proceeding might be tained, and every bliss enjoyed. mercy, but it would be mercy triumph
And these two things are here men- ing over grace and wisdom and justice tioned together. They are so men- and every thing else. It would look like tioned, because they are inseparably connivance in God at sin, or at least, united. There is a connection be- indifference toward sin. God, therefore, tween them so close that they have humbles the soul before he saves it, never in any instance been severed. lays the rebel at his feet when he parRepent, and you have not forgiveness dons him, carries him up into heaven to wait for. It is not a blessing that submissive, obedient, and burning may come, that may be had; it is with grateful love to the Redeemer he yours, yours already, as assuredly shall see there, and ready in one moyours, as faithfulness and unchange- ment to begin an eternal song in his ableness and eternity are God's. Hence praise. springs also the necessity for repent- Such then, are the two great merance : there is no forgiveness without cies which the first preachers of the it. We might as well expect the light Gospel were to take for their subjects. of day without the sun; or motion, The only mercies, observe, which are health, and enjoyment without life. But at all mentioned; the whole effect and mark these things are not connected as substance of the Gospel is included in cause and effect. We are not to look them. Every sermon, therefore, a miupon repentance as deserving or pro- nister preaches, if he is a faithful curing forgiveness : we are not to sup- ' minister, must have reference to these pose that our sins will be forgiven be- things, he must habitually recognize cause we repent. This would be a death- them. It follows too, that if we blow to the great design of the Gospel, preach them, both of them, we preach it would detract from that richness of the Gospel in its first elements, its Jehovah's grace which the Gospel is minor lesser mercies, but exactly that intended to display, it would tarnish, part of it, those mercies, which in it would almost destroy the Redeemer's Christ's estimation are of the highest glory, it would silence half of the importance. It follows again, bresongs of heaven. The only connec-thren, that you are to be addressed tion between repentance and remission and constantly addressed as sinners; is a connection of propriety, a con- each of these mercies we are to speak nection that the great God has estab- of implies your sinfulness. We call lished from a regard to his own cha- you to repentance, we talk to you racter, or rather, I may say, from a about remission of sins, because every regard for moral fitness. Now it one of you without exception needs could never accord with the wisdom repentance, because you must all be of God to take up into heaven a rebel pardoned or perish, because there is in arms against him, one who has guilt on every head here, and sin in never asked for his mercy or even de every heart. If these things are so I
might ask you what becomes of those does not even command it. It says, who describe one minister as legal“ Do this and live.” If this is not because he urges submission, another done, in the event of transgression, it as half taught because his own par- denounces its curse, it condemns the doned soul cannot lose sight of for- transgressor and then leaves him. It giveness and precious mercy, and a holds out to him no encouragement, third as harsh, dark, and discouraging, no motive to repentance. It allows because he forces his hearers to re- him neither liberty nor ability to member they have fallen. I would repent. But the Gospel gives him only say, pray with your ministers, all these, and it does this because brethren, that they may ever speak Christ hath purchased all these things to you of repentance and forgiveness for his lost children. “ It behoved of sins. Other subjects may amuse you, him to suffer,” says the text. And may cheer you, they may instruct you why? because his suffering was the and benefit you, they must not be for- appointed means of obtaining the Holy gotten ; but as for these, the conver- Spirit, with his converting and resion of your hearts, the pardon of newing grace for lost men.
“ It beyour sins they are your light. Better hoved him to rise again,” says the for us if we had never been born than text. And why? That he might have to pretend to preach the Gospel, and this grace to bestow, that he might go yet to say nothing or even little about up to heaven to live, and bestow it. these things; better for you to be an. Had he not died, there would have nihilated this moment, than for you to been no forgiveness, and consequently hear of them, and not take good heed no place for repentance. Man would to them.
have stood in the same situation as a But let us go on to our Second fallen angel stands, suffering and sufenquiry. How ARE
ing on, with no prospect of relief.
Christ Had Christ not risen, there might have says in his name" It behoved that been forgiveness, but man would never repentance and remission of sins have sought it; there would have been should be preached in his name.” This no repentance, no genuine, true, spiexpression means that they should be ritual repentance, no repentance that blessings of his procuring and his could detach a man from the world and bestowing, that they should be re- lead him back to his God. ferred to him as their author and their Some sorrow for sin there might giver. Now, as far as forgiveness is have been, such as groans in hell, or concerned, we all allow this, we say at such as that of Judas which sent him once, there is no pardon out of Jesus thither, or sorrow which springs from Christ, we have redemption through fear, from remorse, and leads to dehis blood, even the forgiveness ofsins;" spair and death ; but it would have but not so with some of us as to re- been far from that repentance which pentance. There are those who re-humbles the heart, and which subdues present this as a legal thing, as as well as breaks. It must come down having little or no connection with our out of heaven, brethren, into your Lord Jesus Christ, as something de- breasts, I mean from the throne of structive of Christian liberty and God, ere you know it, or you shall never Christian enjoyment. There never was confess sin. That broken heart, tha a greater mistake. Repentance is un- contrite spirit, which God will not de. known to the law. The law has spise, God only can bestow.
We nothing to do with these things and cannot be persuaded into it. Moral
suasion cannot impart it; neither can | Gospel, you find these graces especially affliction drive it into us. Preaching characterize him. John, the forerunner can do no more to produce it than the of Christ, cried in the wilderness and howling tempest. It cometh down came announcing the coming Saviour. from above, and is as much the work And what was his message? “Repent of God, and is as much the gift of ye,” says he, “ for the kingdom of heaheaven as the light of day, and as ne
ven is at hand.” And when Christ himcessary to the present and eternal self came out of his obscurity, he came well-being of the immortal soul, as repeating the self same words, taking the material light of heaven is to illu- up the very message of John and reminate and cheer and bless the body. peating it word for word. Turn to the “ Him,” says Peter, speaking to the Gospelof Matthew : in the beginning of Jews of Christ, “ Him hath God ex- the third chapter you will find John alted to his own right hand to be a says, “ Repent ye: for the kingdom of Prince and a Saviour, to give repent- God is at hand.” And in the fourth ance unto Israel, and forgiveness of chapter you will find at the seventh sins.”
verse these words, “From that time But these mercies flow from an ex- Jesus began to preach, and to say, alted Saviour—they have both their “Repent; for the kingdom of God is origin in his mediatorial work—they at hand.” And when our Saviour had both arose with him out of the same gone up to the skies, and had sent grave—they both characterize his Gos- down his Holy Spirit on his Apostles, pel. If we possess them we must give and they began to preach his Gospel Him the praise—if we possess them in the streets of Jerusalem, they echoed not and want them we must seek them the very same words. They said to at His hand-none other in earth or the Jews, and said it again and again, heaven has them to bestow. Hence, if Repent and be converted, that your you look at the dispensation of the sins may be blotted out.”
(To be continued.)
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