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Although salvation thus belongeth unto the Lord, through the counsels of God the Father, and the achievements of God the Son, yet still there must be another sense in which it is true, or man could never inherit the glory. Although God the Father hath provided for the salvation of all, and God the Son hath redeemed all, yet no single sinner could ever be saved, had not the Almighty proceeded one step further in the work of redemption. For God is a being of unsullied purity, and can never be approached by the sinful and the depraved. Though the way hath been opened freely for all to return again to the fold, yet we are by nature both unable and unwilling to walk therein. The prison door is set open by the death of Christ Jesus; but men love darkness rather than light, and cannot, and will not, of themselves, enjoy the full liberty of the children of God. Though the penalty of sin has been paid by another, we are all still criminals; and, without a change of nature, can never be admitted to pardon and forgiveness. The Almighty enters into covenant with the Mediator, on behalf of mankind; if we comply not with the conditions of this covenant, we shall never partake of its blessings. “ Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” To this end, the Most High hath given a revelation of his will; and we must listen reverently to this revelation, and bow our stubborn wills to its authority. We must repent bitterly of sin, and bring forth fruits meet for repentance. We must put faith in the Gospel message, and believe the record which God hath given of his Son.

But then comes the important question-Are we able of ourselves to repent and believe? Have we not all erred and strayed like lost sheep, and become alienated from the life of God by wicked works ? Can we change our own hearts, or give ourselves true repentance, or lively faith. The Holy Scriptures (and the articles of our Church deduced therefrom) are very clear on these points ; and we have often been taught, that of ourselves we can do nothing towards performing the demands of the law, or complying with the invitations of the Gospel. Though the light of life shine about us, we are spirituaily bind: though the gateway of life be wide open before us, we cannot take one step towards its threshold.

To supply these our necessities, arising as they do from the first fatal transgression, God again offers us his all-sufficient aid: and as the Spirit, the Comforter, undertakes to enlighten the soul, to arouse it from its death-sleep, to shew it the things that belong to its peace, to warn it of its danger, to sound an alarm for its safety, and to guide it to its rest, he thus introduces it, as by a second birth, into the family of the sons of God; and by acting upon all its mental and moral powers, fits it by a sanctifying process for the blessedness of future reward.

Since, then, salvation is represented to us in Scripture, as springing from the boundless love of God the Father, wrought out for us by the sufferings and sacrifice of God the Son, and applied to us by the converting power of God the Spirit; and as the sacred Three constitute but one úndivided Jehovah, have proof sufficient of the Psalinist 8 assertion—that “ salvation belongeth unto the Lord."

Whenever we approach this point of practical divinity, namely, the operation




of God's Spirit upon man's spirit; we are treading upon the very verge of mystery. Though we may adhere closely to the words of Scripture, yet must we ever pray for the right understanding of these words-going forward humbly and teachably in the fear of the Lord. Yet inasmuch as except a man be born of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven," we are all interested in inquiring how we may ourselves be admitted. To have known for long years that God the Father willeth our recovery, and that God the Son hath died to purchase it, will avail us nothing at the last great day, if we fail in our anxiety to have saivation personally applied to us. To know that we may sit upon the throne, and tune the harp, and grasp the diadem, and then to find ourselves shut out, through carelessness of the way of access, or through attempting to carve out a way for ourselves-this is of all things most keenly distressing.

If then we would avoid so awful a destiny, let us give heed to the scriptural account, first, of our state by nature; secondly, of our state by grace.

Now, in pressing upon men the truth that we are very far gone from original righteousness, we would not deny that man hath still many amiable, and illustrious, and heaven-born qualities, which may add a grace aud charm to society. He hath been permitted to keep much of the lovely and the noble which graced the early days of his innocence. The prowess of reason, the breathing of love, and all the social charities of home which God hath spared to gladden man's heart in this vale of weeping-all these may belong to the natural man; but then they can never recommend him to God's favour. All these have been forfeited by the fall; and though hung about with the splendours of early grandeur, they are all used in throwing dishonour on the God who gave them. Scripture represents the soul as actually dead in trespasses and sins; and if we consider it as the tenant of the spiritual and eternal world, just as the body is the tenant of the temporal and material world, we may more easily understand the necessity for the life-giving power of the Spirit. The body is said to be dead, when the eye sees nothing of the beauteous landscape, and the ear hath no fellowship with melody. So the soul is dead when, by reason of its love of sin, it holds no intercourse with the eternal world to which it belongs. As the dead body can never bring itself back to the toils it hath left, or the kindred it hath loved; so the soul wrapped up as it is, and shrouded, in death, can never achieve its own resurrection, and touch and taste of the food of life. And if ever it be stirred, and roused, and waked into active life, it can only be by the breathings of God's Spirit.

And when once the soul passes from its state by nature to its state by grace, through the victory of the Spirit over the power of Satan, and the indulgence of its lusts, then what sincerity of repentance, what tears of contrition, what gems of faith, what dawnings of hope, spring up and flourish! The promises of the Word becomes its own; the Spirit unites it by faith unto the Mediator; and hence the renewed man becomes justified and sanctified, and gradually made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. Being a branch of the vine, and a member of the body of Christ, the believer hath new principles, new motives, new pursuits. And if there be one motive which stimulates him to be careful that his faith work by love, and produce abundantly the fruits of righteousness, it is the promise of future reward. Strange, indeed, that, having

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just impressed you with man's feebleness and deadness, we should venture to speak of reward! Yet thus it is. Upon thee, O man, mysterious compound of spirit and of dust, fitted up afresh as Jehovah's temple, shall be bestowed the treasure that wasteth not, the crown that fadeth not, and the glory that endeth not: and all this according as thou shalt take the sword of the Spirit, and contend earnestly against every enemy of thy soul within, and every enemy of thy God without. And if the doctrines of grace be thus set forth with this looking forward according to the intenseness of effort, who shall accuse them of giving licence to sin? Who shall not see that they establish the law; and confess on bended knee, and with thankful emotion, that there is much of comfort and much of practical holiness in the truth that “ salvation belongeth unto the Lord ?"

When we inquire into the extent of the Holy Spirit's operations, then do we approach subjects the most difficult of all. Some few truths there are which are prominently put forward ; and though we cannot prove their harmony, we are bound to shew there is no actual discord. We believe that sufficiency of grace is offered to all, though special grace may be given to some. Though we must distinctly hold with St. Paul, that “ Election belongeth unto the Lord," yet must we most strenuously contend that in every sense, “ Condemnation belongeth to man." God hath done enough for the world to save all; and if any perish, they perish through their own iniquity. If there be still gross darkness over the lands of heathenism, and but murky twilight over the lands of Christendom, the fault must be wholly with man, who for so many centuries has resisted the strivings of God's Spirit, and torn up the vineyards of his planting. If all shall be condemned through want of faith in the Redeemer, who shall say that sufficiency of means have not been granted us ? As far as we are concerned, it is perfectly clear that, if at last we perish, we perish selfcondemned. We have been baptized into a true Church during infancy-have been brought up in its doctrines and discipline~have been acted upon by the silent whisperings of conscience, by the secret strivings of the Spirit, by the visitations of afflicting providence, and by ten thousand warnings and entreaties to forsake sin, and follow after holiness. There is, we contend, a warfare ever carrying on between God's Spirit and man's spirit. It is this which makes salvation possible ; it is this which makes condemnation just. Let us, then, brethren, be on our guard, lest we quench the Spirit, and provoke him to depart; and inasmuch as we can materially retard our spiritual progress, there is a very important sense in which “ Salvation belongeth unto man !"

If you care at all for these things—if you would hereafter be numbered among those who have overcome through the blood of the Lamb-you must be engaged while here in the contest with sin and with the world. The very Apostle who urges most strongly the sovereignty of grace, contends most anxiously for the necessity of holiness in all his converts. We must be “ giving all diligence to make our calling and election sure ;" and " pressing towards the mark for the prize of our high calling." And is it “ giving all diligence," to be careless and indifferent to our soul's health? Is it “ pressing forward towards our heavenly prize," to be turned aside by any trifling worldly pursuit? If wo arouse not, and give ourselves afresh to the strivinge of prayer, and the doings of love, putting our trust solely in the finished sacrifice of our Redeemer, we


must perish amid all that can promote the certainty of our rescue. Our whole duty may be summed up thus : first, to do nothing in procuring salvation for ourselves ; and then to do every thing because salvation hath been applied to us. Love unto Him who hath so loved us as to give his life a ransom for ours, must be the main spring of our activity. We cannot recommend ourselves to God's favour, nor atone for sin, nor justify ourselves, nor sanctify ourselves. How mysterious the actings of God's Spirit on man's spirit! It is the man who believes, and the man who repents; and yet the Spirit produces both the faith and the repentance. Here are duties to be done—here arc promises of succour: the contest may be arduous, but the victory is certain, and the prize secure. Even the sparkling jewellery and the splendid mansionry, now laid up, hereafter to be confessed before the assembled universe as the glorified followers of the Lamb.

And if these things move you not to seek the one thing needful, then must we remind you that judgment belongeth unto the Lord. He who came once on an errand of mercy will come again as Judge of all men, attended by the pomp of cherub and seraph, to take to himself the kingdom of the saints, to rule over this renovated globe, purified afresh by the deluge of fire, and to slay with the sword of his vengeance the despisers of his loving kindness. He who died for you, loves you in your lost estate, and longs to bring you to his own bright dwelling place; now, he offers the freest pardon—then, he will exact the sternest penalty. Now, it is possible for thee to escape the wrath, and to win the crown -then, the overwhelming of his fury shall come down upon the faithless.

A solemn day will that be of the gathering of all the tribes that have ever trod the surface of this earth, coming up from the tomb in resurrection bodies. You, and I, and all here present, must be there. The grand business of that day will be to prove, while eternal life is a gift, eternal death is wages : the one due to the free mercy of Jehovah, the other earned in the service of Satan. Then shall it burst with effulgence on creation, that, while in every sense, “ condemnation belongeth unto man," "salvation beinngeth unto the Loruh

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We have now, my brethren, to speak and to hear concerning what is written of a blessing, which so far transcendeth every other attainment, that all comparison must be perfectly futile and useless. Some are accustomed to rejoice in the accumulation and acquisition of riches, or of rank, or of fame, or of power, or of knowledge: but let riches be as accumulated, and let rank be as elevated, and let fame be as honourable, and let power be as mighty, and let knowledge be as extended, as human nature can enjoy when once they are compared with that which we are now to exhibit, they must be regarded as lighter even than vanity. This, my brethren, you observe, is the revelation of a boon, the value of which will be known when all worlds have gone, and perished: “I have obtained mercy."

The person by whom this delightful narrative was propounded, was, as yon perceive, the Apostle Paul. In the verses which are connected with the text, he gives a beautiful statement as to his own personal experience—an experience, as many of you are well aware, involving many events most remarkable and striking in their order. Yet, you observe, here he does not advert to his personal history as, in itself, separate from that of others, or as exhibiting characters in which others did not participate. He adverts to it as being-to use his own emphatic phrase " a pattern," comprehending principles of supreme importance to the highest interests of mankind. It is in this public view-a view sanctioned by the context, and also by the general analogy of Scripture that we have now to enter upon, for the purpose of illustrating the expression which has been selected as the object of your regard. And we desire to explain our intention by the four following observations, which, as you will observe, while applied to the individual case of the Apostle, are at the same time, of the utmost extent in their application, and in their force. We propose to observe, first, that all men are naturally in need of mercy; secondly, that God has appointed a method by which men may obtain mercy; thirdly, that mercy, when obtained by man, justly becomes the subject of grateful admiration and wonder; and lastly, that all those who have obtained mercy, are placed under obligations instrumentally to effect the communication of mercy to others.

First, we are to remark that ALL MEN ARE NATURALLY IN NEED OF

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