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whole matter in a few words ; let us hear them with attention, for they are the words of eternal life. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest ; take my yoke upon you, learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Shall we reply to this language of Jesus, and say to him; If you are our Saviour, why do you require us to save ourselves ? If you are the gate of heaven, why do you not place us in its enjoyments ? By such a reply should we not plainly show that we think that the kingdom of heaven may be enjoyed without righteousness? But the kingdom of heaven is righteousness. Therefore, whoever wants heaven, and yet does not desire righteousness, is in love of that for heaven which he is already in possession of, which is sin, condemnation, and death. Wisdom says; “ All they that hate me love death."
Will you now object to this reasoning and say, that it renders salvation uncertain; by resting it on the obedience of man? Will you say that our arguments go to prove, that unless we come to Christ we never shall be benefited by him ? And if we do not learn of him, we shall never find rest to our souls ? You feel certain that such conclusions must derive from what we have so plainly proved from the testimony of truth. You reply, most certainly these conclusions must follow Why then, my dear hearers, do we not read these conclusions drawn from the passages which estab. lish our premises ? Why did not the Saviour say ; But he who will not come unto me, and learn of me, and take my yoke upon him, shall never find rest to his soul ? It is generally believed and argued, that this conclusion is necessarily implied in all such scriptures, and perhaps many of you may now think the inference suggested is a necessary result of the passage quoted; but let us listen to the testimony of Jesus still further; “And I, if I
be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. And him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.”
My Christian Brethren, will any of you contend that a real, true manifestation of the blessed Saviour, can fail of drawing the soul to hiin? You who love his name, who feel his grace, I ask you, can you believe that there is one soul in the vast family of man, that could see the divine beauty of the Redeemer, and not love him ?
Dr. Watts, who was often led to sing the true honour of Jesus, says;
“ Did all the world my Saviour know,
Then all the world would love him too." Now what occasion had Jesus to draw the conclusions which we have noticed ? If he had determined to draw all- men to himself, he certainly had determined to give rest to all men, for he promises rest to all who come to him.
In drawing all men to himself, Jesus is the gate of heaven, he is the way, the truth, and the life, he is the Lord our righteousness. Observe his words>" I will draw all men unto me.” Such are the powers exerted in the gospel of Christ as ensure the gathering together in one all things in Jesus.
As we have spoken of the reward of well doing, as a necessary ingredient in the government of the house of God, it may be expected that something will be suggested concerning that retribution which, in the order of God's house, is inflicted on the disobedient. Respecting this subject too, I have occasion to be particular, because it is erroneously reported of us, that we do not believe that sin is punished.
Observe then, with caution, that all the punishments of which we have information in the word of God, are the necessary chastisements which belong to the government of his house ; and as they belong to the house of God, they are the gate of heaven. “Now, no chastisement, for the present,
seemeth joyous, but grievous; but afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness in those who are exercised thereby.” Again ; “ If ye were without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons.' Now says the hearer, the speaker has certainly contradicted himself; for he says, Jesus is the gate of heaven, and he says also that chastisement is the gate of heaven! Reply: Jesus, who is the gate of heaven, who is the Lord our righteousness, who is the way, the truth, and the life, who says, I will draw all men unto me, says, likewise, that he will reward every man according to his work. He that knoweth his master's will and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes. But how does it become the Saviour to have the disobedient beaten with many stripes ? Answer: in order to make them obedient. This brings them to him and to rest.
Let us now notice the provisions which the house of God affords for his numerous family. We can understand this by adverting to the promise which the Lord made to Jacob at the time to which our text directs us “ Thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth ; and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the sonth ; and in thee and in thy seed, shall all the families of the earth be blessed."' This is the covenant which God made with Abraham and Isaac. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the promised seed, in whom all the families of the earth were to be blessed. Here again, we find the house of God and the gate of heaven. Jesus is said to be God's covenant of the people, and a light to the Gentiles. All that we have proved to belong to the family of God, are here, in this covenant, provided for in the most ample manner.
Now wherever it pleases God to make known to the heirs of salvation, this divine covenant, this promise concerning all the families of the earth; wherever he makes a display of Jesus the
promised seed, who is the Lord our righteousness, and who is our peace, there is the house of God and the gate of heaven.
Let the space, locally speaking, be great or small, it is large enough and none too large for this house of God. In your hearts, my brethren, if you love God, and your neighbours as yourselves, there is room enough for this house of God, in which there are provisions for all the families of the earth; yes, and room enough too for all nations to meet together and feast for ever on the bread of life. Jesus says ; “I am the bread of life ; he that cometh unto me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” This divine truth is Christ in you the hope of glory. How widely he spreads his arms, how affectionately he cries, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and you that have no money, come buy wine and milk without money and without price." This is the language and desire of every true believer in Jesus.
Do you ask your humble servant where he finds the evidences that there are grace, mercy and truth for all men ? He replies, he finds them in the house of God; they are in the covenant which our Father in heaven made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ; they are in Christ who is this covenant ; they are in every believer's heart, where Christ the hope of glory resides.
But says the hearer; I believe in Christ, but I have not the evidence that all men are the subjects of his grace. We must say you are under a mistake. You have this evidence if you truly love God; for if you love him you love all men, and this love testifies that all men are its object, and you are under the necessity of contradicting this testimony of divine love in your own souls, in order to maintain your creed. And we furthermore say, that until you believe in a doctrine of grace which will comprehend all men, you will not believe in one that comprehends yourselves.
Make your creed large enough for your own souls, and it will be large enough for all mankind.
Furthermore, these evidences appear, as cloud of witnesses,” in the testimony of those angels, who ascend and descend on the Son of man. These renowned messengers, who have delivered to us the glad tidings of the gospel, comprehend all God's holy prophets since the world began, who have spoken of the coming of the Messiah, and of the glory which should follow, and the final restitution of all things ; also “the faithful and true witness” himself, and the Apostles whom he appointed to bear his name to all nations. And to all these may be added those celestial messengers, who have been permitted to taste the heavenly pleasure of announcing salvation to man.
There is such a peculiar harmony in all this testimony, delivered during many hundred years, and such a perfect agreement with the covenant of promise, which was announced to Abraham four hundred and thirty years before the law by Moses, that it appears evident, that if Jacob, in vision, saw so bright a cloud of glory, it must have affected his physical system, ended his slurrihers, and opened his eyes.
In accordance with this covenant of promise, which gave assurance that, in Jesus, all the nations, all the families, and all the kindreds of the earth should be blessed, the sweet singer of Israel testified as follows ; " All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.”
The evangelical Prophet, Isaiah, ascending Jacob's ladder to celestial heights of divine wisdom, and descending to earth with the glad tidings of universal favour, bears the follwing testimony ; " And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills ; and all nations shall flow