« IndietroContinua »
mazement at thofe treasures of mercy which have already been expended upon us, and the overflowings of that goodness by which we are at this moment fupported and preferved. How many of our companions have long ago been fummoned away to receive their doom? yet we still live in the arms of mercy. "How often has death been prefented to our view, and the fentence (in our own apprehenfion) just ready to be executed, Cut down this cumberer of the ground; when, lo! mercy interpofed, and prevailed for a farther refpite and trial? What fhall we fay then? "He is God, and not man; " and therefore it is that we are not confu"med.”—O let our fouls, and all that is within us, be stirred up to bless him, because he is good, and hath not executed sentence against our multiplied offences.
Let convinced finners, in particular, take encouragement from the patience and longfuffering of God. It is one of the deadly artifices of the adverfary, who continually
goeth about feeking whom he may de
vour," to difcourage the newly-awakened foul, by whispering, that the season of mercy
is past, that the door is fhut, and he is come too late. But be not difimayed, you are on the way to the fountain of love and grace; go on, and you fhall find more than it is poffible for you to conceive.--You are going to him, "who came to feek and to fave that "which was loft;"- --that good Shepherd who laid down his life for the fheep, by whofe merit and interceffion you have been kept alive to this hour; who invites the chief of finners to come to him and hath exprefsly faid, "Him that cometh to me, "I will in no wife caft out."-He is "the "Lamb of God," meekness and gentleness itself." He will not break the bruised reed,
nor quench the fmoking flax." Did he fpare you, while your heart was as hard as a ftone and will he deftroy you, when, by the convincing influences of his own Spirit, it is foftened, nay broken, with forrow?-Impoffible !-Go forward into his presence; caft yourself at his feet; implore his protection; and as God liveth, thy foul fhall be fafe.
To conclude, The patience of God affords the strongest confolation to those who are
already reconciled to him through the great Mediator. He who waited fo long upon you, and at length gained your confent, will most affuredly keep you, and perfect his own work in your complete falvation. The mercy he is ftill exercifing towards enemies, teacheth his friends what they may lawfully hope to receive. Great are your privileges; but, at the fame time, great and manifold are your obligations. Hath much been forgiven you? then you ought to love the more, and to show the truth and favour of er your love, by an unreferved refpect to all
his commandments. "Be followers of God, 66. as dear children." Remember that nothing is more unfeemly, nothing more offenfive, than the provocations of fons and of daughters.
"See, then, that ye walk circumfpectly, not as fools, but as wife;"and let the fame goodness which led you to repentance, be continually present to your minds, that under its fweet, but powerful influence, you may bring forth in rich abundance, all those fruits of righteousness, which are by Jefus Chrift, to the praise and glory of God. Amen.
2 CORINTHIANS iv. 5.
We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jefus the Lord; and ourselves your fervants, for Jefus fake.
HEN God defcended upon Sinai to
give laws to his ancient people Ifrael, the awful tokens of his prefence, the thunderings and lightnings, the found of the trumpet, and the fmoking of the mountain, ftruck the whole camp with fuch confternation and dread, that they were constrained to remove and and afar off. They could not bear the exceeding luftre of his glory, notwithstanding the thick darkness with which it was veiled; and therefore addreffed Mofes in these remarkable words: "Speak thou with us, and we will hear "but let not God fpeak with us, left we die." From
*Preached at the introduction of the Reverend Mr Charles Stuart to the Church of Cramond, the Sabbath after his ordination, 1773.
From which authentic piece of facred history, we may justly conclude, that our nature is too weak, in its present ftate, to fuftain an immediate intercourfe with the Deity For which caufe, God, in great condefcenfion, is pleased to speak to us by men. like ourselves; that, on the one hand, we may not want the benefit of his inftruction ; and, on the other hand, that we may not be overpowered by the too dazzling splendour and majefty of the Teacher.
Under the old difpenfation, besides the stated minifters of religion, God," at fun
dry times," fent extraordinary messengers on fpecial errands to the Jewish church; furnishing them with fuch credentials of their mission, as were fufficient to convince that highly-favoured people, that they came from God; and confequently, that in every thing relative to their particular meffage fo attefted, they were bound to hearken to them as unto God himself.This we have no warrant to look for under the gofpel: The whole counfel of God, so far as it regards the children of men, is clearly revealed, and committed to writing,