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thou hast-given me, be with me where I am ; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world-Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.'
From considerations so animating, the dejected christian perceives there is forgiveness with God, that he may be feared. Neither the multitude nor the magnitude of his sins gives reason for despair. The price of his release from condemnation is already paid by the blood of Immanuel. Not a sin remains uncancelled unforgiven-and he may rest assured of a full, and everlasting discharge from the accusations of a guilty conscience, and from the righteous claims of a violated law. The work of Jesus as a surety is complete—is allsufficient—so that the believer may say, in reference to interest in the perfection of his work, as the apostle did concerning the supply of his own necessities, 'I have all, and abound'--for what can he want to whom Christ is made of God wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption ?
Believe and live
THE fears suggested in your last, in reference to pardon, evince a suspicion that the love of God cannot be extended to any objects except those who are, in some way or other, more deserving than yourself. You are ready to say, · Had I a heart to love God like David, had I talents to glorify God as Paul; were I like Nathanael, an Israelite without guile; then might I hope, with them, to have my imperfections pardoned, my person accepted, and my services rewarded. But this heart, with which I should love God, is carnal and not spiritual ; my talents and abilities with which he should be glorified, are few, if any. My sincerity, which should be conspicuous in every duty, is strongly tinctured with hypocrisy and selfishness. With what confidence then can such a wretc draw near to Christ, or ever expect a welcome reception?'
But this reasoning is fallacious: it proceeds, not on the ground of justification being an act of grace to the absolutely unworthy ; but a reward conferred in consequence of pious dispositions or devotional duties, than which nothing can be more erroneous nor more dangerous. The supposition is repugnant to the very genius of the gospel, which signifies glad tidingsgood news. But would either of the epithets accord with the wonderful intelligence, if, in order to share the invaluable blessings it reveals, the man to whom this gospel comes must previously possess inherent righteousness, or evince by exteriour conduct that he really deserves it? • Can he be clean before God, that is born of a woman? -- Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints ; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?-Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? not one.'. Circumstanced as we now are, the tidings, so far from being good, would be quite the reverse. I say quite the reverse ; because, to be interested in the good they contain, I must be the subject of qualifications which I never had, which I am unable to acquire, and which no human efforts can produce. A consideration, therefore, of my own deficiency, respecting these prerequisites, and of my utter inability to remedy the defect, would have a natural tendency, not to excite hope, but to generate despair.
What qualifications did Saul of Tarsus possess when the glory of Christ shone into his heart on the road to Damascus ? He says himself, in reference to this astonishing transaction, I was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy. These, says a celebrated foreigner, are the preparatory deserts the apostle produces; for nothing intervenes between his having been all this, and his obtaining mercy, as the cause, or