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us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus : that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us, through Christ Jesus.” And again: “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus, ye, who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” And once more, take the record of the Apostle Peter, in 1 Peter, ii. 9, 10: “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him, who bath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Which, in time past, were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now hare obtained mercy.
My Christian brethren and sisters, apply these statements to yourselves ; remember what you were, and what you are: and when you contemplate the change which has been wrought upon you, are you not, even now, in contemplating its nature, lost and overwhelmed in astonishment and joy; made, as you are, the subjects of a high transformation, which renders you new creatures in a lost world? It is with wonder, then, in this respect, that we must exclaim, " I obtained mercy."
And again, my brethren, it will be observed, that this grateful admiration is also rightly excited by contemplating the circumstances under which the change was accomplished. The circumstances under which the Apostle of the Gentiles was caused to receive mercy, are those of a very singular and extraordinary kind. You are aware, at the time of his conversion, he was engaged in a relentless malignant crusade against the interests of the infant Church of Christ. “Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaugʻater"—for such is the description introducing the event, in Acts, ix.—“Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring the bound unto Jerusatem. And as he journeyed, he came near to Damascus ;"—he was close to the spot where he was about to rage and let loose the hell-hounds of his fury; and now mark—the eagle was struck at the very moment he was about to pounce; the lion was seized, and tamed, and hushed, in the very delirium and madness of his thirst for blood :-" and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou Lord ? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the inen which journeyed with him, stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no one. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was
three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink." And during the time of physical blindness, the eyes of his understanding were opened, the prey was taken from the mighty, and the humble captive was delivered, and Saul the persecutor, became throughout immortal ages, the triumphant monument and pattern of the sovereign grace of God.
My hearers, the introduction of man to the enjoyment of spiritual blessings, does not often involve a train of events, singular and extraordinary, like those which occurred in the conversion of the Apostle Paul. And yet I might venture to affirm—and I would appeal to the experience of all converted persons now in the presence of God—that there never does occur a single conversion, without the man in whom that conversion was accomplished, having reason for the excitation of grateful wonder and admiration. Yes, my brethren, whether it be the conversion of those who have been stained by flagitious and flagrant enormities, or those who have been habitual and regular in the discharge of moral and social duties—whether it be the conversion of the opulent or the poor, of the aged or the young-whether it be conversion accomplished as amidst the earthquake, the whirlwind, and the fire, or amidst the whispers of the still small voice; whether as amid the rushing and outpouring of the flood, or as amidst the gentle and spontaneous droppings of the dew ; whether in such a mode of thunder, that the transition becomes marked and palpable at once, or by such a gentle and insinuating process, that the transition is scarcely discoverable, excepting by its results; in all cases the facts and the doctrines are the same. I speak especially to Christians this morning; and I earnestly request that all Christians will look back upon the season, when they were brought from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. Remember the way by which the Lord your God hath led you ; think of the spot-for, perchance, many can refer to it—when the arrow of conviction reached you: and think of the spotfor many of you can refer to it—where the healing balm was poured from the hands of the divine compassion upon that wound, so that you were healed and were redolent with joy. And when you think of the way in which your chains were broken, and your spirits were made to go free, and mercy shed around you all her ambrosial fragrance, and all her vivid and celestial lights-has not your astonishment risen higher, and become more refined, when you contemplated in this view, “ I obtained mercy ?"
But, thirdly, this emotion of grateful admiration must also be excited when we contemplate the results which this change has secured. Some notice has been made of the results of obtaining mercy already: but we must now refer to them more distinctly and more fully. And, my hearers, in this record, “I obtained mercy," there are involved all the blessings which can elevate and gladden the undying spirit of man. Shall we tell you briefly in what they consist ? While every transgression is blotted from the book of the divine remembrance, and is to be written there and recognized no more, there is an introduction into the divine family; the spirit of bondage is taken away, the spirit of freedom and of adoption are given; and the sinner who once quailed and trembled when he thought of the madness of the universe, now lifts up his hands and his eyes without doubting, crying, “ My Father, my Father." There is an interest in the exceeding great and precious promises—these promises which are yea and amen in Christ, and are secured by oaths and by blood. There is the security
of the confict over sin, and all its penal consequences, when the victory is given to the Reucemer upon whom we have reposed. And then there is the destined inheritance of the world of light and splendour, where the glory of the Redeemer 18 revealed in unveiled majesty; where his people are caused to assemble, and assimilated to his image, the partakers of his joy-made partakers of honours and happiness, which eye hath not seen, and which ear hath not heard, and which the mind of man hath not been able to conceive-and to continue in the possession of these honours and these enjoyments,
"While life, and thought, and being last,
Mercy gives earth, and mercy at last will impart heaven. Think, my brethren, What did I deserve? The curse, the fire, the worm; the curse never to be rolled away-the fire never to be quenched-the worm never to die. And what have I received? Mercy; spiritual blessings; all spiritual blessings; so that all things are mine, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come-they all are mine; for I am Christ's, and Christ is God's. Do we not already pant to render the grateful admiration of the skies, finding tongues too feeble, and earth too narrow? Aye, my hearers, and in yonder world of glory, wonder and admiration will live throughout its perennial ages; and there is not a harp that is struck, and there is not a note that is sounded, and there is not a joy that is felt, and there is not a melody that is breathed, but what arises from perpetual wonder on the part of those who are redeemed: "I obtained mercy.” And this thought, "I obtained mercy! I obtained mercy!" will kindle the Hallelujahs for ever of "salvation unto God and to the Lamb."
We have now to observe, fourthly, that THOSE WHO HAVE OBTAINED MERCY ARE UNDER OBLIGATION INSTRUMENTALLY, TO ATTEMPT THE COMMUNICATION OF MERCY TO OTHERS. You will remark, that the Apostle, whose case forms the foundation of ail our deductions, entered upon a plan and sphere of exertion in the cause of the Gospel, and for the welfare of his fellowmen, as soon as his conversion had been achieved. What his subsequent life was, you well know. He went forth at once, preaching amongst the Gentiles "the unsearchable riches of Christ;""counting not his life dear to him, that he might finish his course with joy, and the ministry which he had received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God:" and in spite of peril, and in spite of to., and in spite of infirmity, and in spite of Satan, he continued a marvel and a pattern of zeal and of labour, to the close of a long-continued life; and then be quietly laid down the weapons with which he had fought the battle: looking to his own conflict he said, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course. I gave kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day.”
My Christian brethren, we have received no commission from the visible splendour of the shekinah, or by the audible voice of the Redeemer. There was no light from heaven which shone over our path; there were no melodious sentences which we recognized as coming from the Redeemer of mankind; and yet it is our ordained, and our distinctly ascertained duty, having ourselves btained mercy, to go forth as the instruments in the hands of that Jesus by whom we have been redeemed for the purpose of endeavouring to bring ou
fellow-men to the enjoyment of the same privileges and principles, that they too may not perish, and that they too may have everlasting life. Permit me to ask you, my professing Christian friends, how, in past time, this duty has been performed by you as the recipients of mercy ? To how many have you proclaimed the sinfulness of sin? To how many have you proclaimed the desert of sin, and the punishment of futurity? To how many have you lifted up Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world ?" To how many have you displayed the mercy of free and everlasting grace, and invited, and conjured, and exhorted, that you might present them perfect in Christ Jesus ? What is the state of your families, your parents, your children, your sisters, and your brethren, your dependants, and your friends ? What exertions have you employed in connexion with the great public institutions of the age, which are intended for the education of the young, and the instruction of the poor, for the circulation of the Scriptures, or for the diffusion of the preaching of the cross to the utmost boundaries of the earth ? Recipients of mercy! the obligation of this morning's service is made to press especially upon you; and I ask you solemnly, and charge you to remember, and faithfully to reply, as in the presence of the living God.
Do you ask, my brethren, what are the motives which ought to urge you forward, thus to be instrumental in communicating mercy to others ? Why do you think that in the present Christian assembly I would dare or condescend to argue with professed Christians, as to the motives for that benevolent and philanthropical exertion? We will just tell you, and proceed. The first motive is, gratitude to that Redeemer who has emancipated and who has bought you. The second is, a real concern for the glory and honour of your heavenly Father. The third is, a deep and intense compassion for the well-being of the souls of men. They are perishing; they are perishing at your very threshhold, and around your very dwelling : they are perishing throughout your country; and they are perishing throughout the mighty expanse of the world; and he who feels not, and who mourns not, and who strains not every nerve to emancipate and redeem them, by the power of the everlasting Gospel, has not a feeling but what humanity must blush to own, and even depravity refuse to record, except in the very blackest catalogue of its crimes.
My Christian brethren who have obtained mercy, for mercy's sake, I beseech you to kindle yourselves, by reflecting on the motives to which we have addverted; and for mercy's sake I pray you go forth to the full extent of property, opportunity, talent, and time,
" Anxious to tell to all around,
What a dear Saviour you have found." Never, my brethren, can you who have the lamp of life refuse to let it shine on those who are now groping their way in a worse than Egyptian darkness, to the borders of the last abyss. Never can you who sit around the daintics of the marriage feast refuse to go into the streets and lanes of the city, and into the highways and hedges, compelling men to come in, that they may sing with you, “He hath brought us to his banquetting house, and his banner over us is love." Never can you who sit beneath the shadow of the tree of immortality be guilty of placing around it a cherubim and flaming sword, lest other men should lift No, my
out the hand, and pluck, and taste, and eat, and live for ever. brethren, rather let us take some scions from that parent stock, and plant it in all nations. It will grow in every soil: the frosts of the North will not stunt it; the scorchings of the South will not blast it: the whirlwind shall not wither it; the tempest shall not uproot it. It will grow in the garden, and it will flourish upon the rock: in every region it will bring forth its foliage and its fruit, at once the medicine and the food of millions; until it shall have transforined the universe into one paradise of beauty, and made the wilderness like the Eden, and the desert like the garden, of the Lord. Carry forth the tidings ; and remember, that excepting you act according to the principles of gratitude, of zeal, and of compassion, you cannot tell but that, in some mysterious judgment, the blood of immortal souls shall be required at your hand.
And now, my Christian friends, look to yourselves. Let me exhort you how careful you should be that the evidence of your having obtained mercy should be preserved clear, distinct, and unequivocal. We hare, too, been magnified in the grace of God, that others may glorify God in us, not merely by onr zeal, but by our careful and constant obedience to the commands of that Jesus on whom our spirits repose for immortality. As we are bought by mercy, we must give our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is our reasonable service. We must be crucified to the world ; and let “
our lives which we live in the filesh be by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us, and gave himself for us." I beseech you, my brethren, by the bowels and by the tenderness of Christ, that you be diligent in the cultivation of that practical holiness which is required as the best and most satisfactory testimony, that we are numbered among the people of the Lord. He “ died for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works."
Then, again, let those of you who are in a state of broken-hearted penitence and conviction, see the encouragement against despondency and despair. Despair! What, while there exists a Redeemer like the one who has now been exhibited to your view ? Despair! while we can remind you of Saul the blasphemer, the persecutor, and the injurious one, who nevertheless “ obtained mercy ?" Despair! while we can tell you of the dying malefactor who hung by the side of the Saviour, and who in that last moment of agony turned his lingering and fading eye, with a last prayer, “ Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingilom;" and the Sariour, as it were, clasping him to his bosom as his best trophy, exclaimed, “ Verily, I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise ?" Despair! aye, penitent; despair when no olive branch of peace is held out from the throne of the infinite glory. Despair ! when the memory of the atonement is blotted out and annihilated for ever. Despair! when God the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit is dispossessed of the throne of universal power and grace. Despair! when the inhabitants of heaven are swept away from its fields of living bliss, and are transformed into the outcast fiends of perdition, the down-trodden rebels in a world of torment and eternal fire. But never, never, never, till then let the penitent despond and despair. Jesus yet lives, yet willing, yet almighty: and, penitents, bear your spirits upon the altar of his sacrifice, and as sure as that