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knowledged yourselves undeserving of mercy, and have cried out, almost in despondency, “Wo is me, for I am undone." Or with Job on a similar occasion, “ I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee, wherefore I abhor my self, and repent in dust and ashes.”
Sinners, you also must feel these sentiments: happy will it be for you, if you feel them during the day of your visitation; but if you do not, you will experience them when you approach to the bar of God. When the glory that surrounds his throne shall flash upon you, you will then behold your deformity; you will no longer be able to conceal from yourselves your guilt, but, filled with terror and shame, will cry out in anguish, .Wo is me, for I am
, undone.' Ah! no seraph shall then fly to announce forgiveness to you; the time of mercy will be past, and the thunders that issue from the throne shall sink you to the gulf of despair !
3. The conduct of the angel who removed the fears of Isaiah, teaches us how such convinced souls must obtain consolation. The seraphim do not recall to the prophet his upright life, or good qualities, his honourable station as a messenger of God, or the labours which he had undergone in his prophetical office: no! such representations would have little comforted the dejected Isaiah, who saw the guilt that attended his best works: the angel concludes him under sin, but applies to his lips a coal, taken from the altar of burnt-offerings, on which were consumed the victims typical of that Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.
Mourners in Zion! seek not relief to your wounded spirits by endeavouring to palliate your offences and excuse your guilt; if you are truly abased and humbled, as was Isaiah, you can obtain a well-founded tranquillity only by faith in the Lamb of God, and by being a partaker of that regenerating grace, which will burn up your vicious affections, and kindle a pure love to the Lord. Whoever otherwise obtains peace for a troubled spirit, has abundant cause to distrust the foundation of his confidence.
4. “ By their fruits ye shall know them.” This was the criterion of piety established by the Saviour The propriety of it is illustrated by this vision. Isaiah, hearing the voice of the Lord, saying, “ Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” immediately answers, “ Here am I; send me.” No difficulties or dangers discouraged him; he was willing to undergo every thing in order to glorify a God, who had thus testified his love for him.
It is always thus, my brethren, when a person has obtained scriptural encouragement. Feeling his obligations to a God who has pardoned his sins, he cries out, - What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?" He is anxious to use all his influence to benefit the church of Christ, to extend the triumphs of grace. “Here am I; send me:" this is his cry. • Employ me to advance thy cause; command me as thou pleasešt, and I will hasten to do
5. Finally, Christians, behold your unspeakable privilege; you have as your friend, the Lord of Hosts! Those myriads of powerful intelligences minister to you on the part of God! If then you are in any affliction or distress, be not discouraged, but say, in imitation of your Saviour, · My Father could send legions of angels to deliver me, if the purposes
of his wisdom did not forbid it. Knowing his power, and confiding in his goodness, I will then be calm.'
And do you think of this truth, sinners? When you offend the Lord of hosts, you will in vain seek a shelter from his justice. The most powerful of creatures will become your enemies; instead of protecting you on earth, guarding your soul at death, and becoming your companions for eternity, they will become the executioners of divine vengeance upon you; they will tear your unwilling soul from your body, and hurl it to the regions of wo!
God grant that this may never be the case with any of us! God grant that, as he which hath called us is holy, so we "may be holy in all manner of conversation!"
FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD.
1 John i. 3.
Our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus
In what does true piety consist? What is that sincere godliness, which will secure for us the favour and protection of God during our lives; which will enlighten before us the gloomy vale of death; which will strip the judgment-bar of its terrors; and obtain for us a blissful eternity? Put this question to mankind, and a thousand different and contradictory answers will be given. That vain formalist will tell you,
that true piety consists in a diligent attendance upon all the outward ordinances of religion; in maintaining the orthodox creed, and in expressing an abhorrence of infidel sentiments and libertine principles. Now though all this is commendable, yet all this may be done without the least degree of holy love to God; all this is very far from constituting vital Christianity. That proud legalist will tell you,
that sincere godliness consists in honesty, temperance, benevolence to our fellow-men, and in a strict attention to all the social duties. Now, though without such conduct we cannot be Christians; though such conduct makes us love and respect the persons who practise it; though these virtues tend to the benefit of society, and obtain as their reward the approbation of society; yet they cannot obtain the approbation of God; they cannot be regarded as acts of piety, unless their source be holy, unless they flow from a renewed nature and a sanctified heart. That self-deceiving enthusiast will tell you, that true piety consists in certain glows of affection, in certain raptures of soul, in certain ecstasies and elevations of mind. Now, though the soul of the Christian is warm and fervent; though God sometimes favours him with blissful and transporting seasons; though he sometimes in a single moment enjoys a felicity which more than counterpoises all the pleasures resulting from all earthly objects-yet still pure religion is something distinct from, is something greater, than glows of passion and ardours of soul, which may result from natural causes, when the heart is a stranger to regenerating grace, and which may be wanting to the real child of God.
But it would be endless to mention the several replies which men, ingenious to deceive themselves, and to stifle the reproaches of conscience, give to this question. Let us then turn from them, and con
. sult the oracles of truth; in these we shall find it uniformly asserted, that true piety consists in fellowship with God, in communion with the Source of life, of joy, and of blessedness. Without this fellowship, all our fond hopes of heaven, however confident they may be, will be found delusive; will vanish, when God taketh away the soul, and leave us to bitter regret, to unavailing anguish; without this fellowship