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We would yet further ADDRESS this invitation to
1. Those who are careless and indifferent about salva. tion
[How lamentable is it, that Jesus should thus invite sinners, and they be altogether inattentive to his yoice !-Ye'careless and supine, consider Jesus as addressing you upon his first entrance into the world : “ Look unto me, and see how I have humbled myself for you: though I am God, yet have I taken upon myself your nature, that I might save your souls: I am come from heaven to seek and save you; O let not such condescension and love be lost upon you”-Think again that ye hear him speaking to you from the garden of Gethsemane: “ Look unto me, and behold how I am overcome with agony, and bathed from head to foot in a bloody sweat: this, sinners, is for you; it is your guilt that weighs me down, and your curse that I am now enduring: reflect a moment on the evil and danger of your state; for “ if these things be done in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?”—If sin has so overwhelmed your incarnate God, how will ye endure the punishment of it to all eternity !-Suppose him yet again calling to you from the cross; “ Look unto me, ye perishing world : see what a multitude of sorrows encompass me; and how my heart in the midst of me is even like melting wax, so utterly is it consumed by the fire of divine wrath: see, how I am forsaken by my own Father, and am shortly to expire in the midst of all this shame and torment: but it is for you; to save you from everlasting death: and I shall be satisfied with all the travail of my soul, if only you will look to me for salvation: let me but have the joy of saving you, and I am content: but oh, let me not pay the price of your souls for nought”Once more ; view him seated on his throne of glory, and con. sider him as addressing you from thence; “ Look unto me; it is for your sakes that I am exalted to his throne; it is that I may impart that salvation to you, which once I purchased for you: as once I governed every thing in my divine nature, so now in my mediatorial capacity is all power committed to me, that I may raise you also to a participation of my own glory: and all that I require of you is, to look unto me: 0 sinners, turn not a deaf ear to my intreaties; but let me save you with an everlasting salvation”
Are there now any so obdurate as to disregard his voice? Say, beloved, is salvation so slight a matter that ye are indifferent whether ye ever obtain it or not? Or are the terms, on which it is offered, so grievous, that ye cannot bring your minds to submit to them? What easier terms can God himself propose than those, “Look and be saved ?- delay no longer, but say with the Prophet, “I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me”
2. Those who, through a sense of their unworthiness, dare not accept the salvation offered them
[Persons, who are deeply convinced of their guilt and misery, are apt to think themselves too unworthy to be the objects of divine mercy; and to exclude themselves from the number of those who are invited: “ Can it be true, say they, that Jesus speaks to me; and that I have only to look unto him in order to insure my everlasting salvation? Surely this invitation cannot be for such a wretch as I am: gladly would I accept it, if I dared; but I shall be only as a dog snatching at "the children's bread"-But, beloved, why should any of you exclude yourselves? Does not Jesus address himself to sinners of every description, even to “all the ends of the earth?" And did you ever hear of one whom he rejected? If none ever applied to him in vain for the healing of their bodies, shall any look to him in vain for the saving of their souls?--When he
gave this invitation, was he not aware how unworthy you were? Did he not know the extent and efficacy of his own atonement? Did he not consider whether there was any thing in your case that was too hard for him to sur'mount? Or did he issue this invitation only to mock and disappoint you?-Let it be granted, you have some reason to doubt his power or his willingness to save you: yet, at least, put him to the trial, and see whether he will fulfil his word or not-Of this you are sure, that if he cannot save, no one else can; and that, if he will not, you will, at least lose nothing by accepting his invitation-But you need not fear; he is God; and “his mercy as far exceeds your sins, as the heavens are higher than the earth;”—Put away then your desponding thoughts, and “encourage yourselves in the Lord your God” -Thus shall you be numbered with his redeemed; and spend eternity in singing, “Salvation to God and to the Lamb”-]
i Mic. vii. 7.
CCCCXXXII. The duty Of HOPING IN GOD. Psalm cxxx. 7, 8. Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the
Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
THAT advice which flows from experience is at all times most worthy of our attention. In this view the
words.of our text claim peculiar regard. David, in the Psalm before us, records a very signal deliverance which he had recently experienced, probably from 'an overwhelming sense of his own guilt and corruption: and, having informed us what methods he had used to obtain deliverance, and how effectual they had proved for his restoration to happiness, he recommends the adoption of them to all the people of God under all difficulties whatsoever; and assures them, that they shall not in any in stance fail of success: “Let Israel,” &c,
He sets before us 1. Our duty
Hope in God, as men generally, use the term, is nothing more than an unfounded expectation that God will save us, whatever be our state, and whatever be our conduct. But a scriptural hope implies a suitable regard to the things we hope for, and to him in whom our hope is placed. It implies 1. That we pray to him with fervour
[This was united with the Psalmist's hope:a and it must also be with ours.b To pretend to hope in God while we neglect to spread our wants before him, is the grossest hypocrisy, and the most fatal delusion.] 2. That we wait for him with patience
[It was in this manner that David exercised his hope.d Nor can we act otherwise, if we be sincere in our profession.e To be impatient, is an unequivocal mark of unbelief, and despondency. But to wait patiently the Lord's leisure is the office and evidence of faith and hope.] 3. That we depend on him with stedfastness
[The promises of God to those who seek hím, must be the ground of our hope. We are not to regard difficulties of any kind, as though they could prove any obstacle to God. However circumstances, both within and without, may seem to justify despair, we must “ hope beyond and against hope,
Mi assured that, as nothing is impossible with God, so not one jot or tittle of his word shall ever fail.]
a Ver. 1, 2,
c Ezek. xxxvi. 37. d Ver. 5, 6
e Rom. viii. 25. Isaiah xxviii. 16. 1 Sam. xiii, 11, 12. & Hab. ii. 3. b Ver. 5.
i Tup'larida Rom. iv. 18. Job xiii. 15. Isaiah 1 10. YOL, IV.
This duty being of infinite importance, and of uni. versal obligation, let us consider II. Our encouragement to perform it
If we look inward, we shall find nothing but discouragement. But if, with David, we look to God, we may find abundant encouragement 1. In his attributes
[While justice bears a frowning aspect, mercy smiles on the repenting sinner. God has opened a way for the exercise of his mercy in perfect consistency with the demands of justice; and to exercise it is his delight. This attribute is as essential to his nature as wisdom, or power, or any other. Nor needs he to have it excited by a view of our misery; (much less by any meritorious services of ours) it is ever with him;" and is ready to manifest itself towards all those who call upon him.m] 2. In his works
[** Redemption" is the crown of all his works: and this also is with biin, that he may impart it to those who groan under their sore bondage. Yea, with him is “plenteous” redemption: ht himself as our near kinsman, (bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh") has the right of redemption vested in him:o and, having ability to pay the price, he wiil discharge our debt, and restore us, not only to liberty, but also to the inheritance which we have so basely alienated.] 3. In his word
[The declaration of his determined purpose by an inspired writer, is equivalent to an express promise. And, if the extent and certainty of this promise be considered, what an encouragement will it afford us to hope in God! There is no limitation whatever to the promise, provided, like " Israel" of old, we wrestle with God for the performance of it. However numerous and inveterate our iniquities may be, they shall * all be pardoned, and “all” subdued.') APPLICATION
1. To prevent any abuse of this subject, we shall
[The repetition of the name “ Israel” distinctly marks the characters to whom the text is more immediately to be applied. It is the praying, waiting, and depending sinner that is exhorted to hope in God: and it is he alone who can expect redemption at the hands of God. Let such therefore see their duty and their privilege: but let those who live in the habitual neglect of God know, that their “hope is as a spider's web, that shall soon be swept away with the besom of destruction.”']
k Mic. vii. 18. ? Eph. v. 30. ?
Gen. xxxii, 24-28.
I Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. in Rom. x. 12.
2. To impress the subject more deeply on our minds ive shall enforce it
[The advice here given is the most suitable that can be given, and if followed, will be productive of the greatest happiness. Were any of us directed to indulge an hope from our own endeavours, we should soon perceive the folly of such advice. Every day and hour would bring us fresh occasion for despair. But in God there is nothing wanting: he has the right, the power, and the will to redeem us. Nor, if we trust in him, shall we ever be confounded. Let us
therefore not limit either the mercy or power of our God; but putting away all self-righteous hopes, or unbelieva ing fears," let us repose an unlimited confidence in our merciful and faithful Redeemer.]
r Job viii. 13, 14.
& Isaiah xlv. 17.
CCCCXXXIII. THE GREATNESS OF GOD'S MERCY:
Isaiah xliii. 23–26. I have not caused thee to serve with an
offering, nor wearied thee with incense. Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities. I, even
I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put me in remembrunce: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.
THE sinfulness of man, and the goodness of God, are subjects, which mutually illustrate each other: neither can be viewed in its true colours, unless it be considered in its relation to the other: but both appear in perfection, when they are brought into immediate contrast together. This is the view, in which they are frequently presented to us in the holy scriptures, and especially in the passage now before us; in which we have