« הקודםהמשך »
versations; why his benefits meet no kind returns, his blessings win no gratitude.
Such were the thoughts which presented themselves to my mind. And if these suggestions cannot reach the soul, and force a way, through every obstacle, to the seat of conscience, where, alas ! shall we look for motives to rouse and animate the lukewarm breast? Yes, there is one consideration, which can act when every other fails, and which, to them that believe, is the power of God unto salvation: I mean the sufferings and death of the Redeemer.
The sacrifice upon the cross, was the means ordained by heaven to satisfy the divine justice, to vindicate the divine law, and to clear a passage for God's mercy to this fallen world, without the compromise of his unchangeable righteousness and truth. But the rerelation of that stupendous mystery, and its exhibition before the eyes of men, was manifestly intended to serve a purpose altogether of another nature.
It was not to soften the heart of God, it was to soften the heart of man, that the Scriptures have so circumstantially detailed all the hardships of the Saviour's life, and all the agonies of his death. It was not to draw forth pity from the divine bosom, or to call down the
compassion of God upon the sufferings of his beloved Son; it was to win our affections, and to gain our hearts, that Christ is set forth in these unerring pages, as, emphatically, “ a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief ;” as enduring all the extremities of a hard and afflicted lot, of distress, contempt, indignity, and pain. Yes, my brethren, read these records for yourselves: behold there and see, if “any sorrow was like unto his sorrow.” The question then is, do you really believe that Christ has drunk to the dregs this cup of misery? Do you believe that he bore all his pains and agonies for you? Do you believe and acknowledge him to be your Saviour and your God? What suitableness, then, is there in the measured movements of the lukewarm, to such inconceivable, overwhelming obligations ?
God claims, indeed, the affections of an undivided heart: but what has he not done to win our hearts? What has he not condescended to, that he might gain our confidence and love? What has he not suffered, which could disarm even enmity itself, and turn the heart of stone into a heart of flesh ?
If we still resist these motives—if we still despise God's goodness, his last best means to lead us to repentance--we have then been brought fairly to the test; the sovereign re
medy has been tried, and it has failed; we are weighed in the balance, and are found wanting, and will be lost for ever. And when the final doom of lukewarmness is sealed, how may God appeal to a wondering universe, and say, What means have I neglected to save these souls ?--what could have been done more for my vineyard that I have not done in it? And how may the indignant murmur go round the countless myriads, and pass along all the ranks of the angelic host—“ Lo, these are the dege“ nerate and apostate spirits, for whom God “ delivered up his Son, and for whom the “ Lord of Glory died; but they rejected that “ great salvation, and are now departing into “ everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and “ his angels.”
Upon that tremendous day, a far different generation will appear at Christ's right hand. In their Judge they will behold their Saviour, their Deliverer, and their friend. The glad tidings of redeeming love had reached their ears in life----they had ears that heard, and hearts that understood. God's goodness had not been lost on them. Their affections were engaged, their hearts were won their souls, and all the powers within them, became a willing sacrifice, and whole burnt offering unto God. Their salvation had begun on earth.
Eternity had dawned upon them. The love of God had opened paradise in their souls. Christ was their confidence in life, and at the hour of death. They now can trust him in the day of judgment; and wait in calm repose, and deep tranquillity of soul, to hear his final benediction“Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the “ kingdom prepared for you from the foundation “ of the world."