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any soul has been redeemed, peace and joy shall come to you, aud you shall start up again as new beings, having around your brow the already.commencing radiance of heaven chaunting the melodies of anticipated immortality—“I nave obtained mercy! I have obtained mercy !"
And finally, let those among you who have not yet “obtained mercy be careful to ask for it now. Ah! there are perhaps many here, young and old, who have not obtained mercy, and who think but little of it. My brethren, ponder the mighty issues which are suspended upon your recipiency of this high and heavenly boon. If you obtain inercy you will be happy; if you do not obtain it you will be miserable. I will tell you very plainly, so that children and ignorant persons can perfectly understand—and I speak upon the authority of the Bible: if you obtain mercy you will go to heaven; if you do not obtain mercy you will go to hell. And yet you have not obtained it, nor sought for it. What a state! You are amiable, moral, having a fair and honourable reputation among your fellow men; but you have not obtained mercy. The sunshine of prosperity is upon you; and the light of Providence has beamed kindly and benignantly upon your path ; but you have not obtained mercy. You hare families growing up around you, apparently as the comfort and the prop
of your declining age; you have no prodigal children who are bringing down your hairs with sorrow to the grave; they all tend and nourish you as you proceed towards the land of immortality; but you have not received mercy. You are young and buoyant; the glow of health and the bloom of beauty are on your cheek; you follow in a track of admiration; and where you go you are loved and honoured—but you have not obtained mercy. Sinners, I ask you a question, pausing in a field, the sphere of which is extending almost to an interminable extent around you: and with this I must close: What will you think, if, when the probation of time is ended, and when you stand before the burning throne of righteous and eternal justice, you shall just gaze for a moment upon the ineffable splendours of the Judge, and confess_“I have not obtained mercy!" And then
“ Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and
did not regard; I now will laugh at your calamity; I will muck when your fear cometh." What will be the mockery, and the laughter, and the derision of God! His Spirit is brooding amongst us; Jesus is bending in all the intensity of the unsatisfied travail of his soul; and he asks you, “ See if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow." Ask, and ye shall receive: the Father is ready; the Son is ready ; the Spirit is ready: the ministering angels are watching to see if there shall be joy over one sinner brought to repentance. Shall it be, or shall it not! The whole universe waits and invites : shalı the whole universe wait and invite in vain? My brethren, your consciences and your destinies shall render the reply: it is but the prayer of the preacher and the prayer of hundreds of Christians on your behalf, that you al.
may obtain mercr, Amon.
God will say,
THE SUFFERINGS AND GLORIFICATION OF BELIEVERS.
REV. F. G. CROSSMAN, A.M. CARLISLE EPISCOPAL CHAPEL, KENNINGTON, FEBRUARY 1, 1835.
“ If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."-Romans viii. 17.
As the kingdom of grace is directly opposed to that of nature, and as all that appertains to it passes through different channels, and applies itself to different objects, so are the ways, and precepts, and dealings of God, essentially dissimilar to those of men. And there is an obvious reason why these things are necessarily so. We are the slaves of sense and feeling; and our expectations and desires spring out of these. We act under false impressions, because our notions are all framed in the dark. We have eyes, but they see not: we have understandings, but they perceive not. We fancy an object, and our immediate endeavour is to secure it, without any regard to the intrinsic worth of it, or the bankrupt circumstances of the soul; which needs something higher and holier to support it, than the passing shadows that catch the eye.
But God in his adorable mercy interposes to save us from ourselves. If we were left by Him to be controlled by our own passions, and to be led by our own wisdom, we should do our utmost to pervert the right ways of the Lord, and to throw all his gracious arrangements into disorder : we should change times and seasons; and instead of scattering the seed as a necessary step to harvest, make the bold attempt at believing that the reaping time was to arrive first; and instead of placing in their proper order, the Christian's warfare in the fore-ground, and the crown and the resting-place behind it, we should unquestionably do what numbers are doing now, take our rest in this day of mortality, and forget the warfare altogether. Man's way is to consult his present case : God's way is to provide for his everlasting happiness. The sinner looks to the things that please him ; the Lord of sinners to the better things that will eternally profit him. The creature would fain leap into heaven with his unholy affections still about him.; but God constrains him to continue a pilgrim until he lays them in the dust; because “ without holiness, no man can see the Lord.” Every one who is not made wise by grace fearlessly believes, whatever he is, that he shall pass from death into the hands of a God of mercy : but Jehovah's word utterly crushes such an idea, and declares, as in the text, this we shall do, “ If so be that we suffer with Christ, that we may be also glorified together.” May we find, brethren, both the light and the truth of God in this Scripture. Without these accompaniments of the spiritual man, my preaching will be but beating the air, and your hearing a thing to flatter the soul, but not to profit it.
First I shall show, that we may largely partake of sufferings, which are wholly irrespective of Christ. Secondly, I shall attempt to describe the peculiar sufferings of a true believer : and lastly, what is meant by being “ glorified together with the Lord.”
Sin and corruption have made the very nature that we wear, a suffering nature: it would not be fleshly and mortal if it had an exemption from the common evils that beset this wilderness of life. We suffer, not because God willed it, but because iniquity, when it first travailed with mischief, gave it existence. We suffer not because it was a necessary part of the creation of man, but for a reason that we are less willing to admit, namely, that when the creature fell from his integrity, sorrow, and wretchedness, and afflictive thorns, sprang out of its ruin. The Lord's hand had no inore to do with the planting of these, than you with the establishment of the heavens. He is a God of love, and it is not in love to act upon the principles of a destroyer. Take this word, brethren, and believe and reinember it, that whatever good distinguishes the sinner from others, is to be ran up to the full free fountain of God; and whatever of evil, to be charged home upon ourselves.
Now, in speaking of human suffering, irrespective of a contrite or a broken heart, you may find it in every estate of man. First, in his tears. Nature has wept as bitter tears, as ever were shed upon the earth. There are indeed feelings so deeply hardened that they melt at nothing: but in ordinary cases, they will not refuse to sympathize; nay, they will rush out towards some object of their idolatrous regard, and by their impetuous flowing, throw the whole man into agitation. I cannot imagine that insulated being who has not his cherished objects to weep over, as well as to rejoice in; who has not emptied his full agonized soul over a mere body of clay: who has not fancied too, at the moment, that his earthly all was dissolved, in the dissolution of a jewel which he had grasped so fast as almost to make it a part of himself. Yes, brethren, thousands so believe, so weep, so feel; but their object is that which is of the earth, earthy. They have not one sigh of remembrance for the soul's condition, and they consider not, whether it is on the bosom of Christ, or in a lake of fire-in a peaceful, or a tormenting eternity. It is a selfish trouble, as David's was for the loss of Absalom; but the lamentation is not carried out to the extent of the soul. This is suffering, but of what kind? There is that in it which distresses, but not which sanctifies; it makes a wound, but not one for Jesus to heal.
But perhaps some of you have a better hope in respect to your sorrows, and will challenge me upon a point which you believe cannot be gainsayed. You will say, that so far from having only afflicted yourselves, for the loss or removal of the things of this world, you have bitterly taken to heart the sufferings of Christ himself: that you have again and again followed him in imagination through all the dark places of his toilsome and perilous journey; and have been ready to say with Peter, when he beheld him with the yet untasted cup in Gethsemane, and hastening to the yet unfelt cross of Calvary,
“ These be far from thee, Lord.” Alas! brethren, such tokens do but ill express the true state of the heart; they are scarcely more than the tithings of the Phari
-the mint, and the cummin, and the aniseed, if they are not accompanied
with the weighter matters of the law. They are as the grass that withereth, and the flower that fadeth, if there is not something more substantial than this glow of feeling. Any sensitive constitution may, by the force of circumstances, be excited to tears, and a tale of fiction would as easily, and as powerfully affect it, as the bleeding body of Christ. Those were, without doubt, and piercing cries which the women of the city poured out when they saw Jesus hurried away to his crucifixion: but he turned round to them with a word of reproof, which may still find hearts for application—" Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children." As if he had said, “ Away with this false sensitiveness, which can neither advantage me in my passion, as one whom it behoves to suffer; nor profit you, who should be mourners after a godly sort. To weep for me, who am on my way to victory to achieve the last conquest of grace, is the act of a weak and darkened mind : but turn ye rather to where your tears may more profitably flow-to your own souls, which need to be brought lower by a spiritual crucifixion, and to your children, which are not yet advanced above the rudiments of the world."
But further yet; we may suffer in those pangs of conviction, which seem almost to make a rent in the spirit, so piercingly do they cut through it; and still we may be far from suffering with Christ. That manslayer, Cain, under the agony of such a wound, exclaimed that his punishment was greater than he could bear : and Judas, driven nearly to madness by the tyrant power of his unsanctified convictions, had no sooner received the price of blood with one hand, than he cast it away with the other: he was in actual possession of his wages, but his taskmaster, Satan, gave him not a breathing moment to enjoy them. And to draw examples nearer—from our own doors, and which may be responded to by our own experience—is it not as clear a case, as that Christ has the government upon his shoulders, that some of you have been painfully and alarmingly convinced that God is prepared to execute the fierceness of his wrath; that your lamps are without oil; that the loins of your mind are loose and ungirded ; that you know not the holiness which becometh the Gospel of Christ; and that you have been, from time to time, grievously agitated by this unsatisfying knowledge, and, notwithstanding, that both in mind, and soul, and spirit, you are as little transformed, as if these terrors had not come nigh you? Then is it not virtually with you as it was with Cain, though you have not the marks of blood upon your consciences ? And is it not with you as it was with Judas, though you have not betrayed the Son of man with a kiss? You have been sufferers in the fiery furnace of conviction, but you have not suffered with Christ. Deep waters have risen up, and washed away every plank and reed from your outstretched hands; but you have seen no Christ walking upon those troubled waters, and offering his everlasting arm for your encouragement. It is not the sharpest fits of conviction that prove any conformity to the will of God, or to the image of Christ. It is not what you feel of terror, in alarm at some coming desolation ; but it is what you are actually experiencing of present peace, of abiding joy, of love richly shed abroad within you. It is the sense of these bright spiritual consolations, that is the best treasure of the believer: and they are in no wise inconsistent with, but rather confirmatory of, a previous suffering with Christ. There is more implied in holy, child-like suffering, than either bodily or mental anguish. Pain, disease, and death, come alike to all; who can pronounce of these, They are plagues that shall not come nigh me?" But of those special sufferings which are absolutely identified with God's grace and an indwelling Saviour, the whole class of unbelievers, with one accord and voice, denounce them as enemies of their peace; with a vain reliance on the security of their strong holds, they strive, and plunge, and kick against the pricks, ana enink to escape their uvininion
But I am, in the second place, to attempt a description of THE PECULIAR SUPPERINGS OP THS BELIEVER. The Apostle in this chapter is expatiating largely on the privileges of a sinner's adoption. He shows to what we are debtors, and of what we are receivers. He speaks in contrast of the carr.ally and spiritually minded; and whilst he passes judgment upon the former, as enmity against God, he gives the latter the unspeakably precious titles of children," “ heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." But lest the ungodly liver, and the forgetful hearer should, in their presumption, take to themselves these glorious and privileged names, he adds a word of limitation that cannot be mistaken :" “ If so be that we suffer with Christ, that we may be also glorified together. Now, here we have to do with a very simple expression, and a very distinct command: we are to suffer with Christ. It is clear that this must apply, in its principle, not to those particular sorrows that he had to encounter, not to his buffettings, his revilings, or his imprisonments (for many of the redeemed Church are exempt from these); but to those general acts which he did for our imitation and example; acts that involve the great essentials of the Christian life, and from which no disciple of his can have an exemption : hear them, my brethren, for they are worthy of all acceptation. First, he emptied himself of his glory when he came to do the will of God; and, secondly, in every feature of his mortal character, he appeared clothed with humility. These are the very garments that must adorn the Christian ; and in them we become like the king's daughter, “all glorious within.” There is a sad fountain of pollution in all our hearts, from which every sinner in the whole earth, who is to be an inheriter of the Lord's kingdom, must be emptied. The extent of this pollution is unknown even to the most discerning of the Lord's people. Limited as the heart is, the corruption within it is unlimited; narrow as the space is where the thoughts, and desires, and imaginations are conceived, they comprehend evil enough to ruin a world. We must be emptied of our glory.
This was the way in which the Son of God opened the channels of his grace, and in no other way can we become partakers of the divine nature. He laid by that which was the very excellency and purity of heaven; we have to reject nothing but dross; nothing but what would for ever shut us out from the presence of the Lamb. It is possible that some of you, my hearers, may not recognize any of your besetting sins under the name of glory : you know not where it lies, or to what it refers. I can understand this. You know not the interpretation, nor the seat of human giory, because you know not yourselves. If the heart were not above all things deceitful, you would not let blind ignorance so lord it over you; you would not be so untaught, and yet so unwilling to be made wise. Every natural man glories in his nature. He does not tell you so; but the acts of every day are positive declarations of his state of feeling. Is there no glorying in his reason, his understanding, wis euiura