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is produced. With whatever wisdom human laws are compiled, they continually require revision. The penalty affixed to peculiar offences, varies with the state of civilization; and the very same action, which in one age is permitted without restraint, in another may be visited with the utmost severity of punishment. In order to live according to human laws, it is necessary to know the time when they were made, as well as the persons who imposed them. They are, like their authors, liable to change. With the law of God it is not so. What is therein written, is written. When we read the Bible, we read not only the words of truth, but the words of unchangeable truth.
Since, then, there is revealed the means of salvation by the unchangeable purpose of God, with what earnestness does it become us to search the Scriptures, in which that purpose is declared. Whenever we do search them, with a sincere desire to live according to their holy precepts, we shall discover, that in many things we have all offended; and are, consequently, exposed to the punishment which is therein denounced. If, then, we would escape this sentence, which we know will neither be reversed nor modified, we must ourselves change. The wicked must
forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and he must return unto the Lord, who has promised to have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.e
Let not the contrite sinner despair. God is unchangeable in his purpose of redemption, as well as in his declaration of punishment upon unrepented sin. The humble penitent must contemplate with devout reverence, not unmixed with fear, "the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning;" but he knows that the unchangeable "Spirit also helpeth our infirmities," and "maketh intercession for us:" and he will still lift his eyes to the Redeemer, "that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God," "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever."
• Isai. lv. 7.
Rom. viii. 26.
James i. 17.