« הקודםהמשך »
and faith, and love, and holiness, and hope, will all be settled on the right foundation, will be more lively and active, and will (through the merits of your Redeemer, and the aid of the Holy Spirit,) be finally effectual to the saving of your souls.
To those, on the other hand, whose consciences are distressed and alarmed, who think themselves so imperfect and unworthy as to bave no hope of the favour of God or the happiness of heaven, who when they search their hearts and examine their lives, find such evidence of frailty and sin, that they fear they must be outcasts, abandoned, reprobate, lost, -to them also as to the others, but with a different motive, I say, remember the name of him who would not have come into the world, but because men were in that miserable condition in which you perceive yourselves to be—it is JESUS. The angel who addressed the shepherds would say to you, “ Fear not, for behold I bring unto you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people, for unto you
is born a SAVIOUR." You are conscious that you cannot save yourselves, that there is nothing whatever in your hearts, nothing in your lives, nothing that you ever did or can do, that merits as a right, any favour, still less eternal life, at the hands of God. Exaggerate your sinfulness as you please, you cannot think too humbly of yourselves ; but at the same time you cannot think too highly of the mercy of God, or of the merits of your Saviour. Here is your encouragement and consolation, not in lightly regarding your offences, nor in over-valuing your sincerity and endeavours in religion, but in this assurance, that however much sin may have abounded, grace has abounded much more, and that Christ is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him.
You have no hope but in God's mercy, and the satisfaction of his Son; and you do right to entertain no other hope ; but that hope is fixed on a firm foundation, and will never make you ashamed. Cling to it, and let it not go. You are sinful and infirm, and for this very reason a Saviour came to redeem you; and the conviction that you are sinful and infirm should lead you to that Saviour for refuge and for safety. were not so convinced, I should say, you are far from the kingdom of God, for you will receive no pardon, unless you perceive your need of it; but because you are convinced, therefore I say, you are assuredly objects of inercy, and in the way of salvation. God will love you the more for so magnifying his mercy, and exalting the gracious work of his blessed Son's atonement, by your humility and deep conviction of sin. But
If you be cautious not to depreciate or dishonour either by despairing of salvation ; for were all the sins of the whole world accumulated in your own person, God could still forgive, and Christ could save; fruitful repentance, and living faith in Christ, could wipe them all away.
Remember this, and may you derive all the comfort which you need, and which was intended for you,
from the sacred and consoling name of JESUS; for he was so called because he should “save his people from their sins.” « And the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace
in believing, that you may abound in hope through the
power of the Holy Ghost ! ”
THE BELIEVER's UNION WITH CHRIST.
ROMANS xiv. 7, 8.
For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself
For whether we live, we live unto the Lord, and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
A Few words will be sufficient to explain how these most important Christian maxims are connected with the passage in which they occur.
There was a dispute among the Jewish and the Gentile converts about the necessity of observing certain Mosaic ordinances. The Jews who embraced Christianity, in general retained so strong a prejudice in favour of those ceremonies which they had been taught to esteem as essential parts of religion, that they could not easily be