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may assail them, friends may forsake them, but no real harm shall befal them, and every present disadvantage shall be over-ruled for their ultimate good. As for the latter, they may blaspheme his name, scoff at his religion, and persecute his people, but they cannot injure his cause, or thwart any of his purposes. If they become not trophies of his mercy, they shall be made victims of his wrath. To the joy of the one, and dismay of the other, the First-born shall yet be seen seated on the throne of judgment, arrayed in awful majesty. Then all who bowed to his sceptre shall glory in him as able to substantiate every promise he made, and realize every hope he inspired ; while all who would not submit to his authority, shall tremble at his ability to execute every threatening he denounced. Would you, at that eventful period triumph with his friends, not tremble with his foes: make his merits the ground of your confidence, his law the rule of your conduct, his example the pattern of your lives, his coming the object of your hope.
“ To them that look for him will he appear the second time unto salvation;" and “ when He shall appear, then shall
with him in glory." Amen.
GOD'S TESTIMONY TO THE GOSPEL.
By tae REV. JOHN MACFARLANE, HAMILTON.
Acts xiv. 3.
The term grace signifies free favour-unmerited mercy. Mercy pre-supposes suffering; grace pre-supposes unworthiness. Between man and man it often occurs that favour is bestowed as a mark of esteem, or in return for favour received, and that suffering is relieved because of the moral worth of the sufferer; but every blessing bestowed by God upon man, must be a free gift. Man as a sinner has no claim upon
the favour of od. If he had, then God's blessing would be the result of debt or of justice, and not of grace; and man might claim the divine favour as that to which in debt or in justice he was fairly entitled. It is true, we have all heard of the rights of man--the phrase is familiar to us—and though in connection with a well known political revolution, it is almost uniformly associated with infidelity, anarchy, and bloodshed, yet is it founded in truth. As. men, we have claims upon our fellow-men. The subject has a right to protection—the slave to liberty-the servant to his hire the mechanic to the fruit of his industry—and all to untrammelled freedom of conscience in the worship of God. Such claims we inherit by birth-right, and such, by every
scriptural means, it is our imperative duty to assert and vindicate.
But it is obvious that these claims may be forfeited—a rebel has no right to the protection of law, or a felon to liberty. If the one is pardoned, and the other permitted to walk at large, it must be of grace: and equally obvious must it be that to man who had forfeited by sin every
title to the divine favour, grace must be the source of every blessing communicated. And there is nothing in the moral character of man to attract the divine regard—the very reverse. Plainly,. therefore, the blessing of God must be a free gift—the fruit of free, sovereign, unmerited mercy.
All this is exemplified in the case of our first parent after he had sinned. He had broken the commandment, he had despised the authority of God, he had put forth his hand and taken and tasted of the fruit of the forbidden tree, and incurred the penalty, death, as a consequence. Thus, therefore, he had forfeited all claim upon God's favour. But in this state did he act in such a manner as to attract the divine regard did he seek after God did he confess sin, and with tears of contrition implore mercy ? No! He fled from his presence—he concealed himself amidst the thickets of Eden --and when discovered and constrained to stand in the presence of Him whom he had offended, he endeavoured to roll the blame of his transgression upon God himself.
6 The woman," said he, “whom thou gavest to be with me, gave me, and I did eat." Yet it was even in these circumstances, that God, while wrath was deserved, remembered mercy unmerited, and gave him the promise,“ The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent." By grace
ye are saved.”
In the text, the gospel is styled the Word of his Grace ; and what I purpose is, in the First Place, to show in what respects the gospel is of Grace: and, in the Second Place, How it is that God gives testimony to the gospel.
Ist, I observe that the gospel is a dispensation of grace. In illustration of this, attend to the fact that upwards of twothirds of the human race are unacquainted with the word of God. Over millions, and hundreds of millions of our species in Asia, Africa, and the New World, a darkness deep as night impends. And whilst we and others are walking in the sunshine of revealed truth, they absolutely know nothing of what they are to believe concerning God, or what duty God requires of man. And what is the consequence? Look, for example
, to the savage hordes of Africa wandering over their native plains, and through their native thickets, as wild and uncultivated as the desert where they vegetate. Their minds are without culture—their passions without governmenttheir bodies without clothing-their children without discipline—their lands without tillage—their mines without produce. The breeze blows, but it wafts not the freighted ship
to their coasts—and the brook runs by; but all idly,—it falls Bu
not on the mill-wheel to grind their provender. No science
Now, wherefore this difference? Wherefore to us are the any blessings of civilization, the light, liberty, security and count
or in the den of a beast.
less privileges of a land under the meridian of gospel illumination, whilst they are doomed to the darkness and misery of savage life? Wherefore is it, that we hear the glad sound of the gospel, peace on earth and good will to men, whilst they listen only to the senseless song that is chaunted to an
idol, or the war-whoop rousing to revenge? Are we better than they ? No! And if God, according to our desert had dealt with us, we, to say no more, would at this day have been worshipping the senseless logs of Africa, or the feathered gods of the South Sea Islands, and maiming our bodies, and falling down before the chariot wheels of our bloodstained idols, and offering our first-born in sacrifice, and burning our widows in the dark places of the earth, the abodes of horrid cruelty. We deserve not the gospel. It is of grace free and unmerited that it comes to us.
Let us be grateful for the invaluable privilege, and live to the praise of that grace which has distinguished us.
But here it has been objected, that if the gospel be necessary to the salvation of all, why to all has it not been given? Why is not the remedy commensurate with the disease—why has not the antidote extended as far as the bane has flowed ?why, in short, represent the Deity as partial and capricious towards his creatures-withholding from one, and giving to another that is equally undeserving ? Now, as on this principle of partiality and injustice, the gospel dispensation, it is alleged, proceeds; therefore, it is inferred, that it cannot be of divine origin. But, on the same ground, it ought to be maintained, that every country under heaven should be alike fruitful; and that it argues injustice on the part of God, that one man should inhabit the ice-bound regions of the North, and another the palmy plains of the East-one man the snowy mountains of Greenland, and another the vine-clad valleys of France. Nay, on this principle, it should be maintained, that mankind universally should be possessed of equal advantages; and that it is unjust, that this man should be born lame, and this blind, and this dumb; whilst others in the bodily structure are perfect-unjust that one man should be constitutionally diseased, pining under the pressure of sickness, from the cradle to the grave; whilst, strangers to every malady, life to others is an unchequered scene of enjoyment.