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they had often confessed it did, then they stood convicted of great impiety in withholding their full allegiance from that Redeemer by whose mediation the perfections of the divine nature and government had received so eminent an illustration. Thus, whilst the apostle indulged in the warm emotions of his love to Christ, he constructed, out of the tribute which he rendered, the amplest materials for confuting the errors he deplored among the converts whom he loved.
And does not all this apply with tenfold force to us, who, while we denounce the Galatian errors, may be in more danger than we think of from a Galatian spirit? Should not the subject we have contemplated, tend to enkindle and invigorate our love to Christ, who has given such demonstrations of his love to us? Should it not deepen our enmity against our sins, which were the procuring cause of our Saviour's sufferings ? Should it not guard us against the encroachments of worldly-mindedness, from whose obscuring shadow our spirituality and devotion often suffer so dark and disastrous an eclipse ? Should it not, above all, create a just and salutary alarm in the minds of those who undervalue this great salvation, since, in the practical rejection of Christ and the proffered blessings of his sacrifice, God deems himself disowned and set nought? If it be written in the irreversible decrees of heaven, “that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father," does it not follow, by inevitable consequence, that “ he who honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father ?" And must it not appear to be a most fearful thing to the pure spirits above, for any inhabitant of this world, by settled impiety and unbelief, to trample under foot the Son of God, and account the blood of the Covenant a common, or unholy thing
" Which blood, like sacrificing Abel's, cries
Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth,
To heaven for justice, and for chastisement ?" “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh, for if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven,”
(To be continued.)
II. SAETS CEIJCV CV TEE DUTY OF CONTEMFINDETE U ETERNITY.
LAST PONS I. 9. 423 2335TX NCT 12 LAST END. THEREFORE SHE CAME
Dey WONDERFILY."* Cewicm reaks the prophetis ut Babylon. Athens, Tyre, crime? Vrut Jerusalem. Presumption is the precursor of run. Ia die Istory of acons, as of individuals, “pride goeth betrre destrucco, za a bagety spirit bercre a fall.“ This is written in cautars ut in the history of the Jews. Boasting or the Disneäscurecnitert in the security of their national privileges-ike Jews de:ther listened to the voice of conscience, the voice of proçbeer, ace the voice of God.
SW pene noernd ut her listen; therefore she came donen recmuerfucy. Sce was smitten with a biow that resounded through the world. Her till wes as wonderful to others as to herseit. - The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the enemy should have entered Jerusalem." She presumed on furmer deliverances. In Hezekiah's time, the Assyrian was not permitted to cast an arrow against the city ;-but an angel went forth and destroyed 180,000. So sinners presume on their past impunity, on their past exemption, and their past escape. He tattereth himself in his own eyes till his iniquity be found hateful.” “Because sentence against an evil work is not speedily executed, therefore the heart of the children of men is fully set in them to do evil." But a reprieve is not a pardon; and merey abused only makes the judgment heavier when it falls. She came doren wonderfully; and of the house built upon the sand, it is said, The ruin of that house was great.
We shall found upon these words the following considerations. Observe, 1. THE EVILS CONSECTED WITH FORGETFULNESS OF OUR NEAR
APPROACH TO ETERNITY. 1. It implies great folly, for there is every thing to remind 113 of it;- in the constitution of our frame-in what we observe of the state of society–in the universal ravages of death-in the direct testimony of God's word. What folly, when we are the dying inhabitants of a dying world, to presume on long life-to leave, to the mercies of a moment, the vast concerns of an eternal state! Life is compared to a story-a flood-a sleep! to an eagle hasting to the prey—to swift ships—to a vapour passing away. Some affect to despise death and to scoff at its terrors, but there is fear in their very mockery. There is no wisdom in contemning the laws of our nature. To despise death is to despise God, whose minister and messenger it is !
2. It involves great guilt.-It arises from sin, and it leads to greater sin. God calls us to the care of the soul and the concerns of eternity. The same God who calls for obedience at all, calls for obedience non-for faith non-for repentance now. Where does God give liberty to any man to put off his repentance till to-morrow-or to delay the care of his soul till to-morrow? He that assures us of salvation if we repent, assures us not a day to repent in.
3. It entails great ruin.—“She came down wonderfully.” To meet death unprepared, and suddenly, adds fearful horror to an hour that requires no additional terror. How dreadful when death takes unconverted men by surprise-fresh from pursuits of evil, without a breathing time for prayer, and carries the offending spirit to the Judge! Death comes suddenly, come when it will. Christ's coming is at our midnight-takes a thoughtless world by surprise.
4. It must produce intolerable anguish, self-reproach, and regret.—The soul once lost is lost for ever.
II. ADVANTAGE OF HABITUAL CONTEMPLATION OF DEATH AND ETERNITY.
1. It is favourable to a just estimate of life.-It reduces it, by comparison, to its proper dimensions; it quickens us in the work of the day, by showing us how sensibly it is declining.
2. It prompts to an earnest concern for the business of salvation. What concern is like the concern of the soul ? A saving interest in Christ will then appear beyond the wealth of
worlds. See what estimate God forms of your salvation, by the great price at which it was furnished, and the perfect subordination of all things to it in his dispensations. I urge this from the time of the year. When nature has had her harvest, Death begins his.
3. It aggrandizes and ennobles the mind that indulges it.It is enlarged by its thoughts; it is elevated by its conceptions; it is made more solid by the weight of its meditations.
4. It robs death of its terror, and even lends it an inviting aspect.—To change the narrow river for a spacious ocean-to go from the regions of death to live for ever-to have also our release from the toils of time, and our perfect security and bliss in the Saviour's presence, must be unspeakably joyful.
LAMENTATIONS III. 32, 33.
THOUGH HE CAUSE GRIEF, YET WILL HE HAVE COMPASSION ACCORDING TO THE MULTITUDE OF HIS MERCIES ; FOR HE DOTH NOT AFFLICT WILLINGLY, NOR GRIEVE THE CHILDREN OF MEN."
We often lose the force of scripture expressions, and deprive ourselves of a rich harvest of edification, by neglecting to observe the circumstances of the writers, and omitting to place ourselves in the exact position in which they stood. The same words which would be comparatively unimpressive in some circumstances, have a depth of meaning and of wisdom in others. We should always admire the prayer of the dying thief; but the strength of his faith is much more impressive if we remember, that he acknowledged the messiahship of Christ, when the whole Jewish nation, with its scribes, and priests, and rulers, and learned men, rejected him; and committed his immortal interests to his charge in the very moment when our Lord seemed aban. doned of God and man. We should always be struck with the bold reply of the three children in Babylon, “ We are not care
ful to answer thee in this matter;" but it is infinitely more affecting when we consider that the furnace was immediately in view, and the attendants of the despot ready to cast them into it. Thus we should always have admired the text, as an independent proposition, but it strikes us with far greater force and moral sublimity, when we recollect that it was uttered in the most overwhelming circumstances, in the dark hour of Israel's wreck and destruction. Jerusalem was now overthrown, the temple burnt, the throne of David shattered and in dust: the yoke of oppression was upon the necks of the people, and the seal of heaven upon their calamities. Yet even then the prophet's faith could
say, “He doth not afflict willingly,” and he vindi. cated not only the rectitude, but the benevolence, of the divine dispensation. Like Milton in his blindness, he could still
“ Assert eternal Providence, And justify the ways of God to man." It is easy to say in prosperity, “ Thy will be done;" easy to trust Providence when the cup runs over; and to pray, “ Give us this day our daily bread,” when the wheat is in the barn, and the provision near at hand. It is easy to say, when the sword is in the scabbard, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him ;” but to say this when the sword is made bare, and the hand lifted up to destroy—“here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” And this is the encomium of Jeremiah.
View afflictions with regard to,
I. THE SOURCE WHENCE THEY PROCEED.-—“ He causes grief :" -not the enemy of souls, but the Friend of sinners; not the tyrant of the hour, but the eternal Sovereign of the skies. Our afflictions flow from the source whence our blessings flow. The same hand that opens the fountain of our joys, opens also the fountain of our griefs; the same power that designed our salvation, marks out all the steps that lead to that end.
“ He doth not afflict willingly”—NOT FROM HIS HEART. He doth not grieve the children of men willingly, how much less his own children. Not a needless sigh ascends from the human bosom; not one unnecessary tear, which God originates, flows down the face of man. We are sure of this,