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upbraiding any humble, serious Enquirer with his ignorance, or dulness. To such He was always mild and condescending. He received them kindly, and gave them the most gracious encouragement. Lay aside then your fears. Though ignorant, though heretofore negligent, you will not meet with reproaches. Go boldly to the throne of grace. Pray for wisdom : lift up your voice for understanding. You may condemn yourself; but God will not condemn you. You may be filled with self-upbraidings, but God is a God of mercy. He upbraideth not.

But after every thing which has been said, you may still have some secret grounds of distrust and fear. You may still think that there is reason to doubt whether God will hear your prayers. You may yet fear that He will not give you Wisdom. doubts and fears are certainly groundless. For in answer to every objection which you can urge, it is expressly said, “ It shall be given him.”

Now the promise standeth What God hath promised, He will most certainly perform. If any man lack Wisdom, let him ask of God and it shall be given him.

No imperfection or infirmity in the manner of asking, no previous guilt in him who asks, no secret decree of God shall prevent him from receiving this blessing. “ It shall be given him.” For as our

But your

sure.

Saviour hath elsewhere said, “ Every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth ; and to him that knocketh, the door shall be opened.” Be then of good courage. Plead this promise in prayer with God. Wait on Him to fulfil it to you. Doubt not that he will fulfil it: “ for He is faithful, who has promised.”

On the whole, my brethren, are we not most ready to admit that the passage, on which I have been discoursing, is of a highly important, and interesting tendency? How could the humble Enquirer after divine truth and divine assistance be more effectually encouraged, than by the assurance, that "God giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and that it shall be given him?" May all ye, who are seeking after heavenly Wisdom, take to yourselves the full encouragement which this assurance is able to minister. Rely firmly on it. Let the certainty of success engage you to persist in a faithful and diligent use of the means appointed. Keep close to the Word of God. Wait humbly upon him. Be instant in prayer. So shall you grow in grace and knowledge. Your doubts shall vanish. Your difficulties shall disappear. Your light shall shine more and more unto the perfect day. You shall become truly wise, even wise unto Salvation.

On the other hand, how can proud and

presumptuous objectors be more decisively answered than by the declaration in the text? They object to God as a hard master, as One who requires of them more than they are able to perform. They object to the precepts of Scripture as unreasonably severe, to the doctrines as above their comprehension. They say, . We have no abilities for understanding "the one, no strength for discharging the 6 other. We are unlearned. We know little

or nothing of these things : but our ignorance will be our excuse. God will not require us to do more than we know.' But to such reasoners it may be answered“ The Lord giveth Wisdom.” He “ giveth to all men liberally.” Have you asked it of Him? Have you earnestly and faithfully prayed to Him to take away your ignorance, to lighten your darkness, to deliver

you from " all hardness of heart and contempt of his Holy Word and Commandment?" Have

you desired to become truly wise? And have you humbly yielded yourselves to the teaching and guidance of God's Holy Spirit? If you have not done these things, if your own conscience tells you that you have never thus sought Wisdom from above: what do your excuses avail ? To what do your objections amount? They only expose the obstinacy and disobedience of your hearts. They only show that you love darkness rather than light.

Here is the sum and root of the matter. You are yet

in

your sins; you are yet in the flesh. Your are in a carnal and an unrenewed state. You have no faith. You must be born again. You must have that new heart and that new spirit, which God alone can impart to you. O pray to Him to impart it to you. Humbly pray to Him, that you may be born again of His Spirit. Seek the wis. dom which is from above. God is as ready to give it to you as to others. Why, when He offers it to you, do you refuse to take it? Why, when He invites you to Himself, do you refuse to come? My brethren, while I am speaking, may He mercifully turn and dispose your heart! So will you be turned indeed : so will you be disposed in truth to seek Him. So will He turn to you: and will be found of you, a God of mercy, truth, and love.

207

SERMON XIII.

THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR AND THE DAY OF

VENGEANCE.

ISAIAH, Ixi, 1, 2. in part.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,

because the Lord hath anointed me to proclaim the Acceptable Year of the Lord, and the Day of Vengeance of our God.

It has justly been remarked, that there are no denunciations of wrath, to be met with in Scripture more severe than those which were delivered by Christ Himself. In confirmation of this remark let us remember that the same lips which pronounced the gracious invitation, “ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest,” pronounced also that most aweful expostulation, “ Ye Serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of Hell?" He who declared, that whosoever “ believeth and is baptized, shall be saved," hath declared also, that he “ who believeth not shall be damned.” He, who

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