« הקודםהמשך »
now destroyingy ou ! Consider what sin is. It is rebellion against God. It is an evil great enough to spread misery throughout a universe which the Almighty has ordained to be a habitation of blessedness and joy. Presume not to point out to the Most High the method which He must adopt in order to wash away sin, and to blot out its stain from the fair creation of his hands. Go to the cross of Christ, and there acknowledge, in humility of soul, at once God's justice and his love ! Consider also what sin is within yourself. Learn how it has blinded your understanding, and enfeebled or perverted all the faculties and affections of your soul. Look upon your errors and failings,-your broken vows-your defeated
purposes and resolutions of amendment,—your ingenuity in excusing the neglect of duty,—your aptness to cloke and dissemble your transgressions,your love of pleasure or the world ;-look carefully upon your soul as it is at this moment within you,--and cease to reject the message which declares to you that you cannot reform yourself ;that you
must be endued from above with a principle of spiritual life ;--that the Almighty must work within you, both to will and to do, or that you will be for ever unable to obey from the heart the commandments of your Saviour, and to walk before God in righteousness and true holi
Accept the whole of God's mercy in the way in which it is proposed to you. Comply willingly with all that scheme of salvation whereby Christ is made unto you “of God wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”
Again ;-Naaman's servants appear to have urged upon their master a consideration of the freeness and kindness of the proposed method of cure. “How much rather then,” said they, “when he saith to thee, Wash and be clean?”—And a powerful argument of this kind may be advanced in favour of the gospel method of redemption. Surely, how manifest soever are the misery and ruin of man, no less manifest are the mercy and kindness of God in the method of man's redemption. To a soul that is conscious of its necessitous condition,-weary and heavy laden with a sense of its guilt and helplessness, -and ready, perhaps, to practise any austerities, or to renounce any possessions, for the purchase of its peace with an offended God, -well may we appeal in behalf of the faith of a crucified Redeemer, and say, How much rather then, when Jesus saith unto thee, Come unto me and I will give you rest? How costly was the ransom which the Saviour paid, and yet how freely is the salvation offered unto you! Rich and invaluable as are the blessings of the gospel, yet how liberally are they bestowed on all who will accept them !“ Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” (Isaiah lv. 1.) My Christian brethren, we do not say
that the blessings of salvation are to be obtained without any effort or care on the part of the receiver. Pride must be exchanged for humility, and self must be renounced, before these blessings can be ours; and therefore “strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” But we say that salvation is of free grace, because in all your humility and self-renunciation, there is not any satisfaction or atonement for transgression; and because an atonement has been made, not by any efforts of your own, but by the obedience and sufferings of the compassionate Redeemer. We
that it is of free grace, because even your humility and selfrenunciation, and that faith to which they will conduct you, are wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit in your heart. We
that it is of free grace, because when God calls on you to abandon pride and to renounce self, he bids you only to forego that which must work your ruin, and to cease to be your own destroyers.
May we all be enabled, by divine grace, to listen
to those powerful appeals in favour of the gospel; -“How much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash and be clean!” “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ?”
THE CONDUCT AND CHARACTER OF BALAAM.
2 ST. PETER ii. 15.
Balaam, the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of
The Bible not only sets before us the actions and history of men, but often also lays open to our view the secret bias and inclinations of their hearts. And in this way, as well as in others, it becomes “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim. iii. 16, 17.)
In the words of our text we have a short, but plain, description of the true character of Balaam ; and an interpretation of that portion of his conduct which is recorded in the book of Numbers. The whole history in which his name is so conspicuous has been written for our learning; and