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God is a great and awful Being: the Lord God Omnipotent; the Sovereign of the universe: and well may mortal man shrink from his presence, and "fear to look on God!" But the awakening penitent is driven by his necessities, and urged on by his very fears, to seek the Lord his God. Without Him I must be for ever miserable: only in his favour can I live; only by reunion with him can my soul be saved. I search, therefore, for admission to this favour; I inquire the way into his presence; I draw near to the confines of his court I press, in my anxiety, even to the hall of audience. And what do I behold? The King in his glory; the long array of shining worshippers; the thousand thousands ministering unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand standing before him; the elders falling down before the Throne, and crying, "Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come; and my spirit faints within me, and
I cry, "Woe is me! for I am a man of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts:" I have come unprepared into the presence of the Holy One: and how can I-a man, an unworthy and wretched and miserable manattract his favour! I see the dazzling glory round the throne: I veil my eyelids before the light that no one can approach unto, and there remains no strength in me! But, lo! a Being standing by the throne in mildest majesty! his countenance the countenance of love; his eye the eye that penetrates yet soothes the soul! He is advancing towards me he is stretching out his handand I hear the whisper of his voice: "Come unto me, thou weary and heavy laden, and I will give thee rest: 66 I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man cometh to the Father but by me." And this is Christ! this is the softened Image of the Holy One; the Form of his compassion; the Revealer of his mercy: and he will bring me near
unto the King; he will be my Mediator with the Father; be will introduce me to his favour.
But, I approach the sacred Throne; and all again is fear and terror, for there I see the dread insignia of justice. It is my Judge, my righteous Judge, as well as my Almighty Sovereign, that I have sought! The judgment is set, and the books are opened and there I see my name, and all that I have done; and there is written against them, Banishment! I have come before His piercing eye who searcheth the hearts and trieth the very reins; and I stand in mute dismay to hear the awful imprecation issue from the judgment-seat, "Depart, thou cursed, into everlasting fire !" He, the mild and the compassionate, is still my friend! I see him blot the record from the fatal book; I hear his whisper of compassion, "Be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee:" and I join the voice of harpers harping with their harps, and the song of praise and exultation "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever! Amen." Who is he that condemneth? it is Christ that died; yea, rather, that is risen again; who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for me. I am an unworthy and helpless creature, but He has introduced me. I am sinful and guilty, but He has reconciled me. I have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus; I have access with confidence by the faith of Him.
Here, then, is the removal of our dread of God, our terror of his majesty, and our apprehension of his righteous justice. The impediment, so to speak, on the part of God, is taken away. By Christ we have admission to the Father's favour by him we have privilege to become his sons.
But, secondly, how shall we realize this privilege in our hearts, and derive from it the benefit which
it conveys? By faith in Christ: for says our text, "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace." This is the yet remaining element essential to our union with the Father. Besides what God has done for us by the work of Christ, there must be that which is done in us by the Spirit of Christ; and this Spirit is received from him by faith. Our dread of God is chased away through faith in the atonement of his Son; our distaste of God is banished by the renewal of his Spirit: and this Spirit is the gift of Christ, and comes down to us through faith in Christ.
1. It is the gift of Christ.-At his removal from the earth, Christ promised to impart this Spirit to all who should believe in him, to form the medium of communication with his people. "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you; and at that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you." By him the aversion of the natural mind from God is removed, and the shrinking fears of the sinner are changed into a holy confidence, and we regard him as our Father, and there is peace and intercourse between us. "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, 'Abba, Father;'"-the outward and vicarious work of Christ having procured for us the privilege of the adoption of sons, and opened the way of access to Divine favour; the inward work of the Spirit implants in us the spirit of adoption, and encourages and prompts us to enter by that way: "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." And thus, personally as well as by privilege, actually as well as per
missively, "through Christ we have access, by one Spirit, unto the Father." The fear of wrath is succeeded by the hope of favour; the coldness of dislike by the warmth of filial love; and we thus "draw near, with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience."
2. And how, then, does this uniting Spirit become ours? By faith in Christ. Apart from him, and ignorant or mistrustful of the work which He has wrought, the condition of the soul is dark and dreary. The more we feel the majesty of God, the more we tremble at the thought of him. The more we learn of guilt and danger, the more we shrink from meeting Him who is our Judge. Without faith, therefore, though Christ has removed the impediment without, and opened a new and living way to God, yet the impediment within is not removed, and we are as distant from God as ever. We enter not by the way which has been provided for us; we use not the privilege vouchsafed to us; we remain still far off, in the gloom of alienation; the secret distaste of our nature prevails; and we live without God in the world. But does there come to us the Gospel of salvation; do we learn the fact that He, the Son of God himself, has undertaken our cause; and do we value and believe the blessed tidings? then with faith comes hope; and with hope comes relenting of the mind, the warmth of returning life, the yearnings of a new affection, the strugglings of the heart towards Him who has so loved us: "the love of Christ constraineth us:" "we love God because he first loved us:" and there is born within us that new spirit of adoptive freedom, which expands and animates the heart, and diffuses a new tide of life throughout the man. "We be called, according to God's purpose, by his Spirit working in us in due season; we, through grace, obey the calling; we be justified freely; we be made sons of God by adop
tion; we be made like the image of his only begotten Son Jesus Christ; we walk religiously in good works; and at length, by God's mercy, we attain to everlasting felicity." Oh the value, therefore, of that faith which works this personal transformation! Oh the blessedness of that inward work of the Spirit, which applies the work of Christ, and gives us experimental access to the Father's love and friendship! It is in the exercise of faith that the first movements of the spirit of adoption quiver in the soul; and here be. gins that spiritual communion with Christ which connects us with him as our living head; and thereby connects us with the Father who is one with him, and makes the Spirit of the Father and the Son the inmate of our souls.
tations of God's compassion in Christmay be admired and be praised, but never will be realized, and bring forth fruits of peace and righteousness, but by personal, active, appropriating faith.
And do you ask for warrant and encouragement to such a faith? Where shall we find it, if not in him who has come forth as our Friend and Mediator? if not in that one act of his, which not only procured, but which assures to us, the introduction which we need? Shall men repose themselves on human friends-frail, weak, and uncertain as they are-and not on this divine, all-faithful Patron? Do we yield our doubts and fears, and calm our anxieties, upon the assurances of man; and can we stand out against the promises of Christ, the Son of God? What can hold, if these fail? What single act of friendship can be trusted in, if this, which is the aggregate of all acts of friendship, is to be mistrusted? Be--this, which is commended, too, by every variety of figure and illustration; which is not merely proclaimed to us with solemn annunciation, but is repeated, argued, clothed with every form that can attract; which not merely shines out upon us in one broad ray of heavenly consolation, but is reflected on us from every side, by every means of repetition, till its full concentrated force shall melt the very soul into adoring faith.
Would you, then, have the life of God within you? Seek that life in Christ. Would you realize the blessing he has freely opened to you, and be introduced to personal communion with your God? lieve in Him who has procured these blessings, and, through this faith, they shall be yours. Thus only shall we realize access to God by him. For what is this access of which our text speaks? It is not merely a right and privilege procured for us by another (that had been spoken of just before, in the first verse of the chapter); but it is a personal blessing, to be enjoyed by ourselves. It is not a change of state alone-from banishment to acceptance, from condemnation to favour; but it is a change of mind from fear to hope, from aversion to love, from distance to communion. And this change can be wrought only by the application of the benefit, the believing of the blessing, the receiving of the gift, the trusting with confidence in the privilege vouchsafed. All the assurances in the world concerning a person's kindness cannot quiet an anxious mind, till it is convinced by them, believes their sufficiency, reposes on their truth and all the manifes
For the varied statements concerning Christ as our Mediator, the names and titles which are assigned him, the several characters which he assumes—all draw the mind to this one point, He is our Mediator with the Father. And again: the various figures which set forth the work of Christ, the images under which it is expressed, and the forms by which its hidden and transcendant substance is made comprehensible by our understandings and influential on our hearts, run up into one most simple truth, that by Christ we have access to the Father,
and are introduced to the personal enjoyment of his favour. In a word, various cases, in which men have exercised or can exercise trust, are made the symbols and the representatives of this spiritual truth and certainty; and various states of mind, in which men most completely realize certainty, and enjoy its corresponding peace, are made illustrative and experimental of that state of mind which is higher than all other confidence and peace.
Lord? Then hear the argument of the Apostle Paul: "Christ being come, a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, neither by the blood of calves and goats, but by his own blood: he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For, if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Such as was the legal atonement to the re-admission of the Jew to worship God, is Jesus Christ to your admission to the Father, to his love, and to his service.
Or, again (for various symbols are vouchsafed for our encouragement; general as well as special ones): Does an enemy, a banished rebel to his prince, hail with gratitude the amnesty vouchsafed him, and joyfully accept the reconciliation offered him? "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." Or, does a criminal, whose mind is awed and softened by the dread array of justice, leap for joy at the announcement of a free and gracious pardon? "We are justified "—acquitted; the charge against us cancelled; our punishment remitted
For example: Did the Israelites believe the assurances of God when he was about to send abroad the destroying angel, and to slay the first-born of the Egyptians? Did they sacrifice their lamb in hope, and sprinkle of the blood upon their dwellings, and rest in quietness within, assured and certain that "when the Lord passed through to smite the Egyptians, and saw the blood upon the lintel and upon the two side-posts, the Lord would pass over the door, and would not suffer the destroyer to come in unto their house to smite them?" Did they maintain their peace in that tremendous night; and, if a momentary misgiving came across their mind, remember the blood which they had sprinkled, and sink again to rest? Then, remember, "Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us!" "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!" Such as was that blood of sprinkling to their deliverance from the destroyer, is Jesus Christ to the saving of our souls. Or, again: Did the Jews, when they had sinned against their holy" we are justified by faith in law, and were unclean, and banished from the presence of Jehovah, proceed in faith to use the remedy prescribed by Moses;-did the penitent bring the sacrifice appointed, to the altar, and lay his hand upon the victim, and look up in trembling hope to the ministering priest, who slew for him the animal, and sprinkled its atoning blood before the vail of the sanctuary; and then return in sweetest quietude, rejoicing in the CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 345.
Jesus Christ our Lord." Or, is there yet one state of mind more exquisite than all these representations will image to us; one in which the fullest confidence and peace are yet mixed up with the deepest reverence and obedience: one which contains within itself the impossibility of being abused, and, while it sheds the most inspiring freedom through the heart, impels it in the path of holiest devotedness?-is 4 A
there the quietness unspeakable of the filial mind reposing on the bosom of its Father, one with him in thought, affection, will? Then, Christians, recollect, "As many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
ON ATTENDING THE FREACHING OF THE GOSPEL.
in which the lady was placed; instead of offering, for the use of the sex at large, a general direction for contravening their secondary duties. But I proceed to particulars.
It is urged, that we are bound to listen to a minister, because he is bound to preach; that, as the commission confided to him is universal
for he is commanded to preach the Gospel to every creature-the obligation to hear him is universal also. This comprehensive command, however, when applied to an individual, obviously and reasonably receives a limitation to that particular sphere which the providence
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. of God has allotted him. If it be
I WISH to submit to the deliberate judgment of your readers a few remarks respecting the letter from "a well-known Minister," sent by A BARRISTER," and inserted in your Number for July. Such use, I apprehend, may be made of it as the pious writer never intended. It may be pleaded in opposition to parental commands, by young ladies, members of the Church of England, as an authoritative apology for forsaking their parish minister, and attending some other, whose ser
are more to their taste. That duties, as the writer states, are correlative; that ministers are bound to preach the Gospel, and the people equally bound to hear; and that God is to be obeyed rather than man; are axioms so generally acknowledged as almost to deserve the name of truisms. But the great difficulty in this, as in many other cases, is to apply with sound discretion general rules to particular instances. And I consider it a defect, resulting, not from want of ability or right intention in the writer, but from the nature of his subject, that he is unsuccessful in laying down additional landmarks, by which dependent women may pass without offence along this intricate path. The advice ought to have been confined to the particular circumstances
not so understood, I cannot see how we stand excused for not acting fully on it, and going out into the streets and highways to proclaim our message in the ears of every passenger. But if a minister of the Church of England is required, as a matter of duty, to preach to those persons only "who are committed to his cure and charge," no obligation is laid on him respecting others: all correlative argument, therefore, respecting the duty of strangers to him falls to the ground. If he is not bound to preach to them, they are not bound to hear him. imperfect obligation cannot have a perfect correlative.
There is another observation to be made respecting this argument. The lady is informed that her duties involve corresponding obligations on the part of her husband or father: she is led to inquire whether those obligations are fulfilled : she will certainly determine in the negative, because, ex postulato, he throws impediments in the way of her duty to God. In my view, then, it was expedient not to stop at this point, but to guard against a mischievous result, by broadly laying down another truth, certainly not better known than our claims on relatives:-that the violation of duty by one party does not cancel the correspondent obligation on the