Page images

the case to-day! How often have we ourselves besieged you with testimonials of the Saviour's grace and goodness; while Jesus Christ has recorded his own assurance that you have no helper but himself; and has solemnly addressed you by all your hopes of heaven and fears of hel] to fly to him without delay; and has declared with all earnestness that if you came you should in no wise be rejected; and has plead with you and assured you that bis yoke is very easy and that he would make your burden light. And now before the omnipresent God we ask you, what is your state to-day!

Presumptuous mortals! will you venture to prescribe the terms or the tone in which the Most High shall dictate the message of salvation? Behold the omnipresent God! You live in him: you move in him. And after you have abused the goodness that upholds and the bounty that supplies you, you deem it an indignity to be addressed in any terms but those which are calculated to flatter and allure. Is this the temper of a mortal or of a fiend? What! when "the heavens are not clean in his sight, and he chargeth his angels with folly: what! when he holds creation in his grasp, and all its glories fade before his brightness: must he too be cautious, I do not say when he taxes a puny mortal with its offences, but when in surprising mercy he offers to rescue it from impending ruin--must he too be cautious lest he should tread too closely on the dignity of manhood, and offend by plainness when he might have succeeded by greater courtesy and caution! We cannot give an answer to such unheard of requisition. It confounds, it stupifies us. But we can

But we can tell you one thing that may prove useful if you will ponder it. If God be so great and you so very little; if he be independent, and you all


dependence, the bible appears in a light of the utmost consistency, when it states in the plainest and most authoritative terms the will of God for your salvation. You must have observed the stubborn and unaccommodating character of all its communications. There is no anxious accommodation of its doctrines or directions to the tastes, or prejudices, or passions of mankind. It unveils with e. qual plainness every feature in the character of God, whether of an inviting or forbidding kind. Of his plans and purposes and sovreignty it speaks, without manifesting the least deference for human wishes or opinions. And in all its requisitions, you see yourselves called upon to bow to his disposal, and to come up to his standard. There is no middle ground; there is but the one alternative, obedience or perdition. What then do you expect of the ministry of Jesus Christ? That they should deal softly with your prej. udicest that they should be tender of your feelings? that they should do homage to your intelligence? that they should flatter yourself-importance?-And all these for what purpose? That puny mortals, creatures as guilty and polluted as they are weak, may be coaxed and flattered into an acceptance of salvation. Nothing too awful in the character of God must be shewn them: nothing too rigid in the requisitions of his law must be stated to them: nothing too unpalatable in the doctrines of christianity i.e. in the principles of the divine government, must be laid before them: nothing that might reflect on their ignorance or unworthiness must be suggested to them: Lest perhaps they should be disgusted with the preacher, and kick at the offers of salvation. God of omnipresence, hast thou witnessed these demands! Away! away! Atom as thou art, thou art a mountain of presumption. Luet pagan philosophers make court to the pride and prejudices of humanity: let them cautiously and cunningly study the wishes of their hearers, lest they lose their admirers and make shipwreck of their fortunes. Let unprincipled sycophants, who usurp the titles of the christian ministry, conceal or dilute the doctrines of revelation, as suits the corruption of the audience and the base selfishness of the preacher. A christian must bow to the supremacv of heaven; and the man who really studies the interests of your salvation will simply declare “the truth as it is in Jesus:" for to flatter is not to save you. In order to be saved, you must learn to bow to the supremacy of heaven. God is dictator: it is a mortal's part to obey. We have nothing to do with modeling christian doctrine. We have no authority to accommodate the messages of mercy to the exorbitant de mands of human presumption or perverseness. Here are the living oracles. Here is God's statement of his plans and purposes. Here is his estimate of human character. How readest thou? We stand but as the messengers of Almighty God. God of omnipresence, thou hearest us, thou upholdest us, while we speak thy message! All these are upheld by thee while they hear thy message! Shall they dictate? shall we conform?—No. We have only to repeat the questions: “how readest thou?" what sayest thou? And then we leave the issues in the hand of God. If indeed you will humble yourselves in the presence of his glory, if you will come take up the cross, if you will come and wear his yoke, O fellow sinners, fellow confessors, fellow labourers, he will hail your accession to the church of Christ; we will aid you; we will weep with you; we will rejoice with you; we will bear with your Mfirmíties, remembering that we also are in the flesh, and il compassed about with manifold infirmities:" we will Imitate the Saviour who is só tender and gentle among his little lambs. But here we stand, the ministers of God, and in his own immediate presence. We will never compromit the dignity of his message, or veil the majesty of him in whom you live, to flatter or allure you. If a mor, tal will not bear the light of heaven's own truth, if the Saviour's voice must be modeled to his liking: why let him keep aloof from the gentle lamb of God: but know that thou shalt meet him rampant as a lion, in the day of God Almighty.

But have wě lead you to this mountain, the omnipresence of the Deity, only to discover to you such a scene as once affrighted the whole camp of Israel, earthquake, and thunders and lightnings, and the voice of the trumpet sounding loud and long? Christians! cannot you tell both of consolation and of safety flowing from the sense that God is every where?

In afflictions does it not console you? For as all hearts and all agencies are in his own hand, no evil can befall you without his cognizance, without his permission. It is in fact his own hand that leads you into these distresses, that he may humble you and try you, and shew you what is in your own heart. And you know that he is merčiful and of very tender pity: "he afflicteth not willingly, nor grieveth the children of men."

In sickness does it not cheer you? The Lord is ever nigh, and in all your sickness he will smooth your bed.

In difficulties does it not encourage you? You have an Almighty friend at hand. "Cast thou thy burden on the Lord, and he will sustain it for thee.” “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he will direct thy paths.”

In persecutions does it not arm you? He "makes the Wrath of man to praise him; and the remainder of wrath he will restrain.” To him you can lift your supplication, sideliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword: from men, which are thy hand, O Jehovah:” And no creature may withstand him if once he issue his mandate, "touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm."

Amid dangers does it not embolden you? He led Joseph like a flock, he conducted Israel through the howling wilderness: "in all their affliction he wax afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them, and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old." He is here, he is every where, he is ever ready to compass you with the shield of his salvation.

In your prayers does it not animate you? Though you enter into your closet and pray in secret, your Father sees in secret, and he can work his answer openly. You can lie prostrate at his feet: you can almost entwine your arms around him: you can pour out your heart with earnestness, when you feel that he is present.

In your duties does it not quicken you? You remember that his eye is on you: he sees the way you take: and as heaven's cherubim are faithful, as they do all his will with cheerfulness, and delight to promote his service under his own benignant eỹe, you too can feel the impulse of such a thrilling thought, and conduct in the very temper with which you are taught to pray "thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."

In témptations may it not preserve you? If you saw him kface to face,” would you go aside from his commandments or trample on his law? If you heard his awful voice, would you turn upon your heel and give audience to the tempt

« PreviousContinue »