« הקודםהמשך »
will come to at the last. Have you not felt miserable, lost, frightened, like the wandering sheep? Are not you within reach of the howling wolf, and the roaring lion; that is, the devil, who goeth about, seeking whom he may devour? If you have fears, as well you may, on account of your sins, then I rejoice at being able to speak to you of Jesus, that Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for the sheep.
“ The Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all.” When Jesus dwelt on earth, his errand was, to seek and to save them that are lost. Always full of pity, full of care, his very looks showed how tenderly he felt for perishing sinners. He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Little did his enemies, who crucified him, think that they were crucifying the Lord of glory. Little did they reflect, that he was at that time bearing the sins of the whole world. But think, O sinner! did he not at that moment bear thy sins ? Look not at others; but, look at thyself, and still look to Jesus. Let us look, till we mourn for sin, and hate it, and make war against it. Let us look, till the love of this, our dying Redeemer, draws our hearts to love him, and trust him with our burdened, perishing souls. Jesus is our only refuge; and this one promise is enough to comfort us, when sin lies heavy on our heart: “ He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.”
But who can give us this brokenness of heart for sin, and this faith in the love of our Saviour ? Jesus, who shed his blood for our sins, he alone can give us this mourning, this believing heart. And he has promised to pour out the spirit of grace and of supplication; to lead us to look on Him whom our sins have pierced; and fill our hearts with mourning, and bitterness, for our iniquities. I entreat you, then-yea, I would constrain you-to look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Fix your eyes on Him; and neverl ook off again. Though your sins are more in number than the hairs of your head, He is ready to pardon them all. Only let your prayer be, “ God be merciful to me a sinner! Pardon all that is past! Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me!” Be sure that Jesus will never cast out this prayer.
Blessed Jesus, our Lord and our God-our Life, our Hope, our Glory! O fix our hearts on thee, and make them wholly thine! Thou didst pity us, while sinners: thou didst seek us, when wanderers : and thou didst lay down thy life for our sake. God forbid that we should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ !
And, now, what shall we render unto the Lord, for this his unspeakable gift? Lord, we can only offer the sacrifice of a broken heart, which, thou hast said, thou wilt not despise. We present ourselves unto thee, to be made willing and obedient--an habitation of God, through the Spirit. O, accept us, Heavenly Father, in Christ, thy well-beloved Son ! And let the same mind be in us which was also in Him. Fill us with meekness, humility, and love. Ineline us to pity all wanderers from thy fold, even all our dying fellow-sinners upon earth. Teach us to seek them out, and bring them, by all means, to thee, O gracious Father ! that they may be saved.
And, whensoever we are tempted aside into forbidden pastures, O speedily cause us to hear and know the voice of Jesus; and incline our hearts to return again to this good Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, Jesus, our Lord and our Redeemer !
Isaiah lv. 6–9. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near :
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him ; and to our God, for he will abundanily pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your 'ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. All the works of God are great, and far beyond 'man's understanding. His creation is glorious : his providence is wonderful. All “bis thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and his
ways than our ways."
But the greatest of all his works, is the work of Redemption.
The hardest of all things is, to reconcile enemies. When men hate one another, we know how bitter they are—how they quarrel, and hate—how they fight, and are ready to murder one another, if they dared. And even if they are forced to keep the peace, yet their hearts secretly burn with cruel hatred. Which of us knows how to forgive an enemy? Who takes pains to reconcile him? Which of us would lay down his life for him; or even for a friend? But “ God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
And, oh! what bitter pains did Jesus endure, that he might reconcile us unto God? Remember how he left the bosom of his Father; how he dwelt on earth, “ despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” Was ever sorrow like unto his sorrow, wherewith he was afflicted in the day of God's fierce anger? Think how the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and how he bore our sins, in his own body upon the tree! Was ever pity and love like this? It is higher than the heavens, and far above all our poor thoughts !
None can tell the greatness of his converting grace, but those who are converted. When the heart of a sinner is changed by God's Holy Spirit, “ Yea, come,
he is filled with such a sense of the power and mercy of God, that he can only cry out with St. John, “ Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God !”
What makes it so wonderful, is, that we have only to come and take these blessings:— they are given freely. Those who have no money, are invited, in the Gospel, to come, buy, and eat. buy wine and milk, without money, and without price.”
Let me then ask, Is there any proof, in your heart and life, that you have chosen Christ for your Master? Have you forsaken all known sin? and do you desire to be free from all sinful thoughts, and to serve the Lord fully? If not, why do you not accept this gracious offer? Why will you not turn from sin to the Saviour ?
It is the voice of Jesus that invites, saying, “ Come unto me.” Say not, that you are afraid of coming to Christ, because your sins are very many, and very vile. On the contrary, the worse you are, the more eagerly you ought to come to him ; for the promise is, “ He will abundantly pardon.” There is nothing too bad to be pardoned, if only we repent, and believe in Jesus. 66 Where sin hath abounded, there shall grace much more abound.”
But, come to Him without delay. Come, hating and forsaking the sins, which have kept you from Hiin so long. If you waste the present moment, you may not have another. If you refuse this