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Nor does it palliate the representation which we have now given, that a God, in the fancied array of poetic loveliness-that a God of mere natural perfection, and without one other moral attribute than the single attribute of indulgence-that a God, divested of all which can make him repulsive to sinners, and, for this purpose, shorn of all those glories, which truth and authority, and holiness, throw around his character-that such a God should be idolized at times by many a sentimentalist. It would form no deduction from our enmity against the true God, that we gave an occa sional hour to the worship of a graven image, made with our own hands-and it is just of as little significancy to the argument, that we feel an occasional glow of affection or of reverence, towards a fictitious being of our own imagination. If there be truth in the Bible, it is there where God has made an authentic exhibition of his nature, and if God in Christ be an offence to you

moured with this, that the God who created | must at length be brought out to its adeyour mind, and all the tastes which are quate condemnation. And on that day, within it, and all the objects which are with- when the earth is to be burnt up, and all its out it, and which minister to its most ex-flatteries shall have subsided, will it be seen quisite gratification,-this God, we say, may of many a heart that rejoiced in the apbe turned away from with a feeling of the plause and friendship of this world, that, most nauseous antipathy, and you may give alienated from the love of God, it was inthe most substantial evidence of your hatred deed in the gall of bitterness, and in the to him, by ridding your thoughts of him al- bond of iniquity. together. Or, lastly, it may be what the world calls a virtuous occupation, even that of a mind bustling with the full play of its energies, among enterprises of charity and plans of public good. Yet even here, wonderful as you may think it, there may be a total exclusion and forgetfulness of God; and, while the mind is filled and gratified with a rejoicing sense of its activity and its usefulness, it may be merely delighting itself with a constitutional gratification,-and God the author of that constitution, be never thought of, or if thought of according to the holiness of his attributes, and the nature of that friendship, opposite to the friendship of the world, which he demands of us, and the kind of employment which forms the reward and the happiness of his saints in eternity, even the praise and the contemplation of himself,-if thought of, we say, according to this his real character, and these the real requirements that he lays upon us,-even the man to whom the world yields the homage of virtue may think of his God-if you dislike this way of approach—if with feelings of offensiveness and disgust. you shrink from the contemplation of that There is nothing monstrous in all this, to Being, who bids you sanctify him in your the men of our world, seeing that they have hearts, and who claims such a preference each a share in that deep and lurking un-in your regard, as shall dispossess your af godliness, which has both so vitiated our nature, and so blinded all who inherit this nature, against a sense of its enormity. But only conceive how it must be thought of, and how the contemplation of it must be felt, among those who can look on character with a spiritual and intelligent estimation. How must the pure eye of an angel be moved at such a spectacle of worthlessness, and surely, in the records of heaven, this great moral peculiarity of our outcast race must stand engraven as that, which of all others, has the character of guilt most nakedly and most essentially belonging to it. That the bosom of a thing formed should feel cold or indifferent to him who formed it, that not a thought or an image should be so unwelcome to man as that of his Maker, that the creature should thus turn round on its Creator, and eye disgust upon him, that its every breath should be envenomed with hatred against him who inspired it, or, if it be not hatred, but only unconcern, or disinclination, that even this should be the real disposition of a fashioned and sustained being, towards the hand of his Preserver, there is a a perversity here which time may palliate for a season, but which, under a universal reign of justice,

fections for all that is earthly-if you have no relish for the intercourse of prayer, and of spiritual communion with such a Godif your memory neither love to recal him, nor your fancy to dwell upon him, nor he be the being with whom you greatly delight yourself, the habitation to which you resort continually, then be assured, that amid the painted insignificancy of all your other accomplishments, your heart is not right with God; and he who is the Father of your existence, and of all that gladdens it, may still be to you a loathing and an abomination.

Neither does it palliate the representation. which we have now offered, that we do many things with the direct object of doing that which is pleasing to God. It is true, there cannot be love where there is no desire to please; but it is as true, that there may be a desire to please where there is no love. Why, I may both hate and fear the man, whom I may find it very convenient to please; and to secure whose favour, I may practice a thousand arts of accommodation and compliance.. I may comply by action-but instead of complying with my will, I may abominate the necessity which constrains me. I may be subject to his

pleasure in my person, and in my perform-testify against me?" You may fear him; ances-but you would not say, while hatred you may heap sacrifices upon his altar: rankled within me, that I was subject to him you may bring the outer man to something with my mind. A sovereign may overrule like a slavish obedience, at his bidding, but the humours of a rebellious province, by till your heart be subdued, by that great the presence of his resistless military--but process, which all who are his spiritual subyou would not say that there was any loy- jects must undergo, you are carnal, and alty in this forced subordination. He may you do not love him. Your obedience is compel the bondage of their actual services like a body without a soul. The very prin-but you would not say, that it was in ciple which gives it all its value, is wanting. this part of his dominions, where the prin- It is this, which turns the whole to bitterciple of subjection to him existed in the ness. It is this, which, with all the bustling minds of the people. We have already af- activity of your services, keeps you dead in firmed, that though our will went along with trespasses and sins. It is this which mars a number of performances, which in the every religious performance, and imparts matter of them were agreeable to God's the character of rebelliousness to every one law-this was far from an unfailing indica- item, in the list of your plausible and ostention of love to God; for there may be a tatious duties. There is not one of them thousand other constitutional principles, which is not accompanied with an act of the residence and operation of which in the disobedience, and that too, to the first and heart may give rise to these performances, greatest commandment, by which we are while there was an utter distaste, and hos- called upon to love the Lord with all our tility on our part to God. They may be heart, strength, and soul. Though the hand done, not because God wills the doing, but should be subject, though the mouth because the doing falls in with our humour, should be subject, though all the organs or our interest, or our vanity, or our in- of the outer man should be subject; yet it stinctive gratification. But now we are pre- availeth nothing, if the will of the mind is pared to go farther, and say, that they may not subject. I could sell all my goods to be done, because God wills the doing, and feed the poor. I could compel my hand yet there may be an utter want of subjec- to sign an order to that effect,-—and I could tion in the mind, to the law of God. The keep my hand from reversing that order terror of his power may constrain you to till it was executed. But all this I may do many acts of obedience, even as the call, says Paul, and yet have nothing, because I "Flee from the coming wrath,” told on the have not charity. It is not the act of welldisciples of John the Baptist. But obedience doing to your neighbour, but a principle of may be rendered to all the requirements of love to your neighbour, on which God this prophet. Thieves and swearers, and stamps the testimony of his approbation. sabbath-breakers, may, under the fear of the In like manner, it is not the act of wellcoming vengeance, give up their respective doing to God, but the principle of love to enormities, and yet their minds be alto- God, which he values ;—and if this be withgether carnal, and utterly destitute of sub- held from him, you are carnal; and with jection to the law of God. There may all your painful and multiplied attempts at be the obedience of the hand while there is obedience, your mind is not subject to the the gall of bitterness in the heart, at the law of God. necessity which constrains it. It may not be the consenting of the mind, to the law of him whom you delight to please and to honour. Now, this is the service for which it is the aim of Christianity to prepare you. It is by putting that law, which was graven on tables of stone, upon the tables of your heart, that it enables you to yield that obedience which is acceptable to God. He is grieved at the reluctancy of your services. No performances can satisfy him, while your heart remains in shut and shielded alienation against him. What he wants, is to gain the friendship and the confidence of his creatures; and he feels all the concern of a wounded and mortified father when he knocks at the door of your heart and finds its affections to be away from him. He condescends to plead the matter, and with the tenderness of a disappointed father, does he say, "Wherein have I wearied you, O children of Israel,

We shall conclude, at present, with two short reflections.

First, If any of you are convinced of the justness of the representations which we have now given, you will perceive that your guilt in the sight of God, may be of a far deeper and more alarming kind, than men are generally aware of. And such a view of the matter may be quite intolerable to him who nauseates the peculiarities of the gospel,-to him who has a contempt for the foolishness of that preaching, of which the great burden is Jesus Christ, and him crucified,-to him, in a word, whom the true description of our moral disease, must terrify or offend,-seeing that he carries a distaste in his heart toward the alone remedy, by which the disease can be met and extirpated.

But secondly, There is another class of people, whom such a view of the actual state of human nature ought to tranquillize,

And we know not a more blissful or a more memorable event, in the history of the human soul, than, when convinced that there is no other righteousness than in the merits, and no other sanctification than in the grace of the Saviour, it henceforth glories only in his cross; and now, that every other expedient of reformation has been tried, and failed of its accomplishment, it takes to the remaining one of crying mightily to God, and pressing, at a throne of grace, the supplication of the Psalmist, "Create a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me."

by bringing their minds out of perplexity, lessness;-you become desperate of salvainto a state of firm and confident decision. tion in one way, and you are led to look for There are often in a congregation, a set of it in another way. The question, whether hearers not yet shut up into the faith, but salvation is of grace or of works, receives approaching towards it,-with a growing its most decisive settlement;-when thus taste for the Christianity of the New Testa-driven away from one term of the alternament, but without a full and a final acqui-tive, you are compelled, as your only reescence in it,-with an opening and an source, to the other term. You feel that enlarging sense of the importance of the nothing else will do for your acceptance gospel, but still halting between two opi- with God, but your acceptance of the of nions respecting it; who, in particular, are fered Saviour. You stand at the foot of not sure where their sole dependence for the cross,-you make an absolute surrender salvation should be placed, whether singly of yourself to the terms of the gospel. upon their own performances, or singly upon the righteousness of Christ, or jointly upon both. Now, we trust that the lesson of our text may have the effect with some, of bringing this unsettled account more speedily to its termination. You may have hitherto, perhaps, been under the impression, that the condition of man was not just so bad as to require a Saviour, who must undertake the whole of his cure, and bring about the whole of his salvation. You have attempted to share with the Saviour in the matter of your redemption. Instead of looking upon it with the eye of the Apostle, One thing is certain; you are welcome, as being all of grace, or all of works, you at this moment, to lay hold of the righteoushave in some way or other, attempted a ness of God, in Christ Jesus; you are welcompromise between them; and this has come, at this moment, to the use of his prethe undoubted effect of keeping you at a vailing name, in your prayers to the Father; distance from Christ. You have not felt you are welcome, at this moment, to the your entire need of him, and therefore you plea of his meritorious obedience, and of have not leaned in close and constant de- his atoning death: and you are welcome, pendence upon him. But let the torch of a at this moment, to the promise of the Spirit, spiritual law be lifted over your characters, given unto all who believe, whereby the and through the guise of its external de- enmity of their carnal minds will be done cencies reveal to you the mountain of ini- away,-God will no longer be regarded quity within; let the deformity of the heart with antipathy and disgust, he will appear be made known, and you become sensible in the face of Jesus Christ as a reconciled of the fruitlessness of every endeavour, so father, he will pour upon you the spirit of long as the consent of a willing cordiality is adoption,-you will walk before him withwithheld from the person and authority of out fear,--and those bonds being loosed, God; let the utter powerlessness of all wherewith you were formerly held, you will your doings, be contrasted with the per- yield to him the willing obedience of those versity of your stubborn and unmanageable whose hearts are enlarged, and who run, with desires, and the case is seen in all its help-delight, in the way of his commandments.


The Power of the Gospel to dissolve the Enmity of the human Heart against God.

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Having slain the enmity thereby."-Ephesians ii. 16.

II. We shall now consider how it is that ever. For, do you think that the delivery the gospel of Jesus Christ suits its applica- of the law of love, in his hearing, as a posttion to this great moral disease. tive and indispensable enactment coming The necessity of some singular expedient forth from the legislature of heaven will do for restoring the love of God to the alien- it? You may as well pass a law, making ated heart of man, will appear from the it imperative upon him to delight in pain, utter impossibility of bringing this about by and to feel comfort on a bed of torture. any direct application of authority what-Or, do you think, that you will ever give a

practical establishment to the law of love, has it yet begun to dawn upon the mind, by surrounding it with accumulated penal- and spread its salutary and composing ties? This may irritate, or it may terrify, charm over that dark scene of conflict, unbut for the purpose of begetting any thing der which many a sinner has to sustain the like attachment, one may as well think of burden of the wearisome nights that are lashing another into tender regard for him. appointed to him? You may seek for love Or, do you think, that the terrors of the to God throughout all the chambers of his coming vengeance will ever incline a hu- heart, and seek in vain. The man may be man being to love the God who threatens acting such reformations as he is driven to, him? Powerful as these terrors are, in and may be clothing himself in such visible persuading man to turn from the evil of his decencies, as he feels himself compelled to ways, they most assuredly do not form put on, and may be labouring away at the the artillery by which the heart of man can drudgery of such observances as he thinks be carried. They draw not forth a single will give him relief from the corrosions of affection, but the affection of fear. They that undying worm, which never ceases to never can charm the human bosom into a goad him with its reproaches; but as to the feeling of attachment to God. And it goes love of God, there is as grim and deterto prove the necessity of some singular ex- mined an exclusion of this principle as pedient, for restoring man to fellowship ever,--that avenue to his heart has never with his Maker; that the only obedience been unlocked, through which it might be on which this fellowship can be perpetu- made to find its way,-every former arguated, is an obedience which no threatenings ment, so far from having dissolved the barcan force, to which no warnings of dis- rier, has only served to rivet and to make pleasure can reclaim,-which all the solemn it more unmoveable. And the difficulty proclamations of law and justice cannot still lies upon us,-how are we to deposit carry, and all the terrors and severities of in the heart of man, the only right princia sovereignty resting on power, as its only ple of obedience to God,-and to lead him foundation, can never subdue. The utter- onward in the single way of a pure, and ance of the words, Thou shalt love the spiritual, and substantial repentance? Lord thy God, or perish everlastingly, can This, then, is a case of difficulty, and, in no more open the shut and alienated heart the Bible, God is said to have lavished all of man, than it can open a gate of iron. the riches of his unsearchable wisdom on Multiply these arguments of terror as you | the business of managing it. No wonder may,-arm them with tenfold energy, and that to his angels it appeared a mystery, make them to fall in thunder on the sin-and that they desired to look into it. It ner's ears,―tell him of the God of judgment, and manifest to him the frown of his angry countenance,-lay before him the grim aspect of his impending death, and spread a deeper mantle of despair over the vast field of that eternity which is on the other side of it;-you may disquiet him, and right that he should be so, you may prevail on him to give up many evil doings; and right that the whole urgency of the coming wrath should be employed to make him give them up immediately,-you may set him a trembling at the power of God, and better this than spending his guilty career, in thoughtlessness and unconcern, about the great Lawgiver;-but where, in the midst of all this, shall we find obedience to the very first and greatest commandment of the law? Has this obedience been yet so much as entered on? Has love to God so much as reached the infancy of its existence in that heart which is now beginning to be agitated by its terrors? Amid all the bitterness of remorse, and all the fearful looking for of judgment, and all the restless anxieties of conscious guilt, and anticipated vengeance, tell us, if a single particle of tenderness towards God has any place in this restless and despairing bosom? Tell us, if it act as an element at all, in this wild war of turbulence and disorder? Or,

appears a matter of direct and obvious facility to intimidate man,-and to bring his body into a forced subordination to all the requirements. But the great matter was, how to attach man,-how to work in him a liking to God, and a relish for his character;-or, in other words, how to communicate to human obedience, that principle, without which it is no obedience at all,-to make him serve God because he loved him; and to run in the way of all his commandments, because this was the thing in which he greatly delighted himself. To lay upon us the demand of satisfaction for his violated law, could not do it. To press home the claims of justice upon any sense of authority within us, could not do it. To bring forward, in threatening array, the terrors of his judgment, and of his power against us, could not do it. To unveil the glories of that throne where he sitteth in equity, and manifest to his guilty creatures the awful inflexibilities of his truth and righteousness, could not do it. To look out from the cloud of vengeance, and trouble our darkened souls as he did those of the Egyptians of old, with the aspect of a menacing Deity, could not do it. To spread the field of an undone eternity before us, and tell us of those dreary abodes where each criminal hath his bed in hell, and the cen

shall wither and expire under the contagion of their ruffian example; and will patronize every step of that progress which leads from one depravity to another, till their ill fated proselyte, made as much the child of hell as themselves, shall share in that common ruin which, in the great day of the reve lation of the righteous judgment of God,will come forth from the storehouse of his wrath. in one mighty torrent, on the heads of all who boast of their iniquity. We have now

turies of despair which pass over him are not counted, because there no seasons roll, and the unhappy victims of the tribulation, and the wrath, and the anguish, know, that for the mighty burden of the sufferings which weigh upon them, there is no end, and no mitigation; this prospect, appalling as it is, and coming home upon the belief with all the characters of the most immutable certainty, could not do it. The affections of the inner man remain as unmoved as ever, under the successive and repeated in-touched on the limits of a subject of which fluence of all these dreadful applications. half its horrors are untold; but through There is not one of them, which, instead of which, the minister of the counsels of hea conciliating, does not stir up a principle of ven must clear his intrepid way, in spite of resistance; and, subject any human crea- all its painfulness. We will not pursue it ture to the treatment of them all, and to at present, but neither will we count the nothing else, and he may tremble at God, digression out of place, should a single paand shrink at the contemplation of God, rent among you be led, from what we have and feel an overpowering awe at the thought now uttered, to be jealous over his children of God, when that thought visits him with a godly jealousy, and not to suffer those, but we maintain, that not one particle of for whose eternity he is so deeply responsi influence has been sent into his heart, to ble, to take their random direction through make him love God. Under such applica-society, just where the prospects of busitions as these, we can conceive the crea-ness, and of worldly advantage, may chance ture, gathering a new energy from despair, to carry them; to calculate on the possiand mustering up a stouter defiance than bilities of moral corruption, as well as on ever to the God who threatens him. Strange the possibilities of lucrative employment; contest between the thing formed and him to look well to exposures and acquaintances, who formed it;-but we see it exhibited and hours of social entertainment, as well among the determined votaries of wicked-as to the common-place object of a situation ness in life; and it is the very contest which gives its moral aspect to hell throughout all eternity. There God reigns in vindictive majesty, and there every heart of every outcast, sheathed in impenetrable hardness, mutters its blasphemies against him. O hideous and revolting spectacle! and how awful to think that the unreclaimed sons of profligacy, who pour along our streets, and throng our markets, and form the fearful But the difficulty in question still remajority in almost every chamber of busi- mains unresolved. How then is this reness, and in every workshop of industry, generation to be wrought, if no threatenings are thither speeding their infatuated way! can work it,-if no terrors of judgment What a wretched field of contemplation is can soften the heart into that love of God, around us, when we see on every side of it which forms the chief feature of repentthe mutual encouragement,-the everply-ance, if all the direct applications of law ing allurements,—the tacit, though effectual and of righteous authority, and of its treand well understood, combination, sustain-mendous and immutable sanctions, so far ing, over the whole face of this alienated from attaching man in tenderness to his world, a firm and systematic rebellion God, have only the effect of impressing a against God! We are not offering an ex-violent recoil upon all his affections, and, aggerated picture when we say, that within by the hardening influence of despair, of reach of the walk of a single hour, there stirring up in his bosom a more violent anare thousands, and thousands more, who tipathy than ever? Will the high and sohave cast away from them the authority of lemn proclamations of a menacing Deity God; and who have been nerved by all his not do it? This is not the way in which threatenings into a more determined atti- the heart of man can be carried. He is so tude of wickedness; and who glory in their constituted, that the law of love can never, unprincipled dissipations; and who, with- never be established within him by the enout one sigh at the moving spectacle of gine of terror; and here is the barrier to ruined innocence, will, in the hearing of this regeneration on the part of man. But companions younger than themselves, scat-if a threat of justice cannot do it, will an ter their pestilential levities around them, and care not though the hope of parents, and the yet unvitiated delicacy of youth,

in the world. And when you talk of a good line for your children, just think a little more of the line that leadeth to eternity, and have a care lest you be the instrument of putting them on such a path of danger, that it shall only be the very rarest miracle of grace that your helpless young can be kept from falling, or be renewed again into repentance.

act of forgiveness do it? This again is not the way in which God can admit the guilty to acceptance. He is so constituted

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