Page images
PDF
EPUB

magnitude of her crimes; but the answer given to the pharisee, who brought them as an objection against her, is ;- Her sins, which are many, are forgiven.'

As no comparative worthiness in the sinner can induce God to bestow mercy, so no demerit can frustrate the benevolent intentions of divine goodness. Salvation is of the Lord : it is the effect of his own sovereign pleasure. To

say, 'I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion,' is the prerogative of Jehovah : and why the inestimable blessing should be conferred on any of the sons of Adam, no reason can be given but this; that salvation, in its origin, completion, and bestowment, may redound to the praise of the glory expiate. To a truth so animating, and so honourable to the riches of

of his grace.

Could you exhibit a catalogue of the blackest crimes that ever stained the records of history, or disgraced the character of man ; these crimes could not be urged as too great, or too complicated for the blood of Christ to

grace,

the

great apostle of the gentiles repeatedly bears unequivocal testimony. Of this, we have a stri. king instance in his first admirable epistle to the Corinthian church. After having reproved the brethren for going to law with each other before the. unjust, he reminds them of their former situation by reciting enormi. ties, the commission of which had made them deservedly the reproach of men, and justly the objects of divine abhorrence. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. Now, had the faithfui remembrancer stopt here, we might, perhaps, have considered these Corinthian profligates as without the verge of divine forgiveness. But the sequel proves, that among these abominable wretches there were many vessels of mercy : and therefore he immediately adds "Such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in

the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God.'

How wonderful the love, the grace, and the mercy

of God! In this list of detestable criminals, we perceive sinners of every class : sinners of enormous magnitude ; who, consequently, could have no moral worth to plead as a ground of forgiveness ; and yet their filthy souls were washed in the blood of Christwere justified by his righteousness, sanctified by his spirit, and made meet for the enjoyment of heaven. Surely such incontestable instances of the aboundings of grace over the aboundings of sin, must constrain us to acknowledge that Christ is able to save to the uttermost!

Having, therefore, indubitable evidence of the riches of grace in the salvation of such atrocious sinners, attempt not to limit its fulness or its freeness respecting yourself. Would you accept of pardon as revealed in the gospel for the relief of the guilty and the wretched, approach the mercy seat just as you are. Carry

with you all your sins—all your guilt, and frankly confess both before him that searcheth the reins and the heart. Adopt the supplicatory language of David: 'Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is great ;' or, rather, plead nothing in hope of forgiveness, but the blood of him in whose nanie you are exhorted to come with boldness. Stretch forth the hand of faith : lay it on the head of Christ, who is a sin-bearing Saviour, and he will carry all your transgressions into a land of everlasting forgetfulness.

Should you imagine, for a moment, that this merciful High Priest will not receive you as a perishing sinner; attend to his own compassionate words : Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out'-Were you chargeable with the adultery of David, the murder of Marasseh, the apostasy of Peter, and the blasphemy of Saul; the accumulated guilt of these atrocities could not be urged as an exception to the infinitely gracious declaration. Nay, were it possible to produce an individual, the turpitude of whose actions would exclude

from coming to Christ for mercy; or one that did come, and was afterwards rejected, the wonderfully encouraging assertion would not be true; nor could it be consistently affirmed, that he is able to save to the uttermost. But the Lord is the God of truth. He is not a man, that he should lie ; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good ?' The works of nature may dissolve: nay, they shall certainly perish; but the word of God remaineth sure, and his truth to all generations. The Lord hath graciously declared that he will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer: while, therefore, you acknowledge your unworthiness, and enumerate your own wants, remind him of his own promise ; iest he should complain, and say, as he did in another case, “Thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob ; thou hast been weary of me, and hast not honoured me with thy sacrifices. No longer doubt the love of Christ revealed for encouragement to the distressed and the guilty : reject the thought as highly dishonourable to

« PreviousContinue »