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you have put it off-would you have forgotten it? Or, if it had been to make a good bargain, would you have neglected it? Alas! the heart is carnal, and its carnality appears, in the preference it gives to man before God, and to temporal things before spiritual. But if you did not meet JESUS on New-Year's Day, you must meet Him soon. Death will usher you into his presence, and then you must account for the neglect with which you have treated him, and the insults you have heaped upon him.
But you may meet him before that. Ho is still on the throne of grace. He is still full of compassion, and ready to forgive. He is still prepared to blot out your sins as a cloud, and your iniquities as a thick cloud. His patience is not yet exhausted. His invitation is not withdrawn. O come, come, come to Jesus then! Come now and seek his face! Come and obtain mercy at his hands! Come and be saved by his most pre. cious blood! Meet him in his house, meet him in his word, meet him on his throne. Meet him, nor leave his feet, until you obtain his blessing, which is life for evermore, He will meet you now in mercy. He will meet you now as a lamb. But, by-and-bye, if you refuse his word, he will meet you as a lion. He will meet you in his wrath, and punish you in his hot displeasure.
“Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.”-DEUT. viü. 5.
PUNISHMENT flows from justice-chasten. ing flows from love: the former is inflicted by the judge, the latter is administered by the parent. Believers in Jesus are often chastened, but they are never punished; because they are not under the law, but under grace. Being united to Jesus, being justi. fied by faith, to them there is no condemnation ; for God no longer treateth them as criminals, but dealeth with them as sons. From His infinite wisdom, from His tender love, and from His inviolable faithfulness, all their corrections flow. He rests in His love to them, and His love regulateth all His dealings with them. The words of Moses to Israel are sweet words, and they are equally applicable to us“Consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee." Deut. viii. 5. God is the Father, thou art the child, and but a child ; therefore, to form thy character, to correct thy errors, and to show His love, He correcteth thee.
FOR WHAT DOES THE LORD CORRECT THEE ? For thy wilfulness. He wishes thee to let Him rule thee, arrange thy affairs for thee, and make all His goodness pass be. fore thee. But you want your own way, to indulge your own fancies, and to gratify your own passions and lusts. You will not submit. You will not leave yourself and your affairs in His hands, and cast all your burdens, and all your cares on Him. This folly calls for strokes, and our Heavenly Father never spares the rod, to the spoiling of the child. For thy negligence. How many privileges you slight, and how many duties you neglect. While you attend to the trifling, you neglect the important. While you give the heart to the temporal, you pay little attention to the spiritual and eternal. You neglect the end of your election, the design of God in your salvation, even the glorifying of His great name. Your vocation is, to honour Jesus, to do His will, to magnify His grace, to spread abroad His glorious truth. You negleet your own heart, which should be kept with all diligence. You neglect your closet, where God waits to meet you and bless you. You neglect your Bible, in which God speaks to you. You neglect, at times, the Lord's ordinances, through which He communicates strength, comfort, and grace to you. For these things thy Father corrects thee, nor will His soul spare for thy crying. For thy inattention. Thou art inattentive to thy books He bids thee read His won. ders in His works of nature, His operations in the dispensations of His providence, and the clear revelation of His will, in the Holy Bible. The book of conscience should be daily attended to and balanced, and the book of remembrance should be looked over and improved. How inattentive we are to the monitions, promptings, and whispers of the Holy Spirit, and to the voice of God speaking by His servants and His Son. For this inattention, in order to make us scholars, and to teach us to profit, He corrects us ; not for His pleasure, but to make us partakers of His holiness. For thy rebellions. “ Ye have been," said Moses, “a rebellious people, since the day I knew you ;" and this testimony is as true of us, as of them. We have robelled and vexed His Holy, Spirit. We have manifested our rebellion by hard thoughts, perverse words, and un. godly acts. We have obstinately refused, at times, to bow to His authority, to do His will, or walk in His ways. We have tried to slip the yoke from our shoulders, our hearts have been wayward, and our tongues have muttered perverseness. We have wanted licentiousness, instead of libertylawlessness, instead of freedom, and our own way in perference to God's. This folly is · bound up in the heart of the child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
For thy worldliness. Duty said, “Be not conformed to this world.” Privilege said, “Set your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth.” Profession said, “I am a stranger, and a pilgrim on the earth, as all my fathers were." But conduct said, “The world is good, I admire it, I must be like it, I will enjoy it.” Thus God's Word was rejected, God's honour was disregarded, and the Saviour was wound. ed in the house of His friends. Judgments are prepared for such scorners, and stripes for the back of such fools. For God hath said, “I will visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquities with stripes." Then, “love not the world, nor the things that are in the world, for if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in Him.” Seek not the smile, the favour, or the friendship of the world; for if any man will be the friend of the world, he is the enemy of God. In one word, for thy sins. Nothing grieves God but our sins. Nothing brings down the rod of God upon us but our sins; for He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. Either to correct for sin, or to prevent our falling into sin, God uses His rod. Our secrets sins, which only God knoweth, those heart sins ; or our open sins, which others witness, and from which others suffer, causeth God to chasten us. Did He not love us, He might allow us to go on in sin. If we were not