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degree. It requires us to have no other God, than JEHOVAH, and to love him with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength; and also to love our neighbours as ourselves. The law being spiritual, extends to the thoughts, de. sires, and motives of the soul. Its demand is, that every motion of the mind, every word of the lip, and every action of the life, should spring from, and be influenced by, love; pure, unselfish love. God must be preferred, his will must be approved, and all his ways and works must be justified. We must constantly present to him a holy heart, and a righteous life. If we do not, we sin; and sinning, all that the law has to say to as is, that we must be punished. It condemns us, and delivers us over to the executioners of God's judg. ments. If therefore we break the precepts, wo incur the penalty, and incurring the pen. alty, the law delivers us to be cast into prison, until the penalty be paid.
The office of the law therefore now is to convict of sin, to bring in guilty, and stop the sinner's mouth. It cannot save, it cannot give life, it knows nothing of mercy. It says, “ Do and live-fail to do, and die." Its requirements are so 'reasonable, that no crea. ture can justly object to them, and therefore no one can complain. Consequently one de. sign of the publication of the law now is, " that every mouth may be stopped.” Stopped from boasting, for how can a criminal, proved to be guilty of breaking the best, and most
benevolent law in the universe, boast ? Stopped from pleading any of its own performances, for what can a rebel plead, who is tak. en by the officers of justice, in arms against his rightful sovereign ? Stopped from excusing itself, for what excuse can a transgressor make for breaking such a law ? Every attempt at excuse would only aggravate his guilt. Excuse himself for hating his maker! Excuse himself for wilfully despising, neg. lecting, and breaking the law of his bountiful benefactor! There is no excuse. Even the heathen are said to be without excuse. Rom. i. 20. The Jews were declared to be without excuse. John xv. 22. And we, like the man without the wedding garment, at the supper of the great king will be speechless, if found under the law, or out of Christ. Matt. xxii. 12.
The law pronounces the whole world to be guilty before God. Guilty of wilfully, repeatedly, obstinately breaking the good law of God. No one is, what God created him. No one is, what God required him to be. God has not one loyal subject, one obedient child, or one consistent creature, by nature. “ They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no not one.” The whole world is guilty, and “become subject to the judgment of God.” We must plead guilty. We must submit to God's sentence. We must acknowledge God's absolute sovereign
ty, which extends not only over his offending subjects, but over all his creatures. There is therefore no hope for us in the law. Salvation cannot be by works. But if there is salvation at all, it must be by an exercise of Divine sovereignty. Here then we all lie at God's mercy. If all perish, God is just. If any are saved it is because God is merciful. We have no claim. We can have none. If God does not save us, in the exercise of his sovereign clemency, we are lost-and lost for ever.
Let us not then attempt to excuse our. selves, or plead any thing we have done, or fancy we can do, but let us appeal to mercy, and cry with the publican, “God be merci. ful to me a sinner.” God in his sovereignty has provided a Saviour, that Saviour made an atonement for sin that atonement is infinitely meritorious on the ground of the infinite merit of that atonement, a pardon is proclaimed to all, and solemnly promised to every one, that believes on his name. We may therefore be pardoned. We may be reconciled to God. We may become righteous before God. We may be fitted to dwell for ever with God. In one word, as guilty, lost, and ruined by sin; we may be saved fully, freely, and for ever, by grace; and so have the mouth opened to praise and bless God for ever,
WHAT IS MY TESTIMONY?
We, as believers in Jesus-as the children of God as those who are taught by the Holy Spirit-are called upon to bear witness for God. To every one of us God says, “ Ye are my witnesses." By our conduct and conversation, by our spirit and temper, we bear our testimony, and all around us hear or see it. We profess to bear witness for God, and in favour of real religion, but, what is our testimony? The world pays more attention to our conduct than it does to our words. If we say that in comparison with Christ we esteem gold as dross, and yet devote our principal energies, most of our time, and all our talents to the getting of gold, they will not believe us. Or, if we say that to sit at the feet of Jesus, hear his words, and hold communion with him is the “ one thing needful ;” and yet allow our time to be swallowed up in pursuit of earthly good, they will not give us credit for speaking the truth. Let us then for a few minutes attend to this question, “ What is my testimony ?”' Am I understood P
What is my testimony in my family? Do I practically testify to all about me that I esteem all God's precepts in all things to be right, and that I hate every false way? Am I scrupulously honest-truthful-sincere ? Do I show by my general conduct that I consider nothing vile but sin, or degrading but deceit? Is it clear to all about me that I realise the omnipresence of God, and desire to please him above every thing beside ? Would my children, if they spoke honestly, say, “ Well, my father, or my mother, be. lieve the Bible, and make it their daily rule. They live as if God were present, and as if they considered it their highest honour and their greatest happiness to please him.” Or, would our servants say, if they spake truly, “ Well, my master, or my mistress, are certainly what they profess to be ; for they always act as in God's sight, and as if they considered it the chief end of their life to serve and glorify him." Such should be the case, and such would be the case, if we felt that it was the chief end of our life to honour God and convince the world that the holiness God requires is beautiful ; and the love which the Bible says God has displayed, is a great fact. Let us therefore seriously inquire, What is my testimony in the family? And, is my testimony understood ?