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the beings with whom we converse, or amongst whom we are conversant, we may be said to understand something: at least they are familiar to us: we are not surprised with appearances which every day occur. But of the world and the life to which we are destined, and of the beings amongst whom we may be brought, the case is altogether different.
Here is no experience to explain things; no use or familiarity to take off surprise, to reconcile us to difficulties, to assist our apprehension. In the new order of things, according to the new laws of nature, every thing will be suitable; suitable to the beings who are to occupy the future world : but that suitableness cannot, as it seems to me, be possibly perceived by us, until we are acquainted with that order and with those beings. So that it arises, as it were, from the necessity of things, that what is told us by a divine messenger of heavenly affairs, of affairs purely spiritual, that is, relating purely to another world, must be so comprehended by us, as to excite ad, miration. iz vi: lii
But secondly; partially as we may, or perhaps must, comprehend this subject, in common with all subjects which relate strictly and solely to the nature of our future life, we may comprehend it quite sufficiently for one purpose; and that is gratitude. It was only for a moral purpose that the thing was revealed at all; and that purpose is a sense of gratitude and obligation. This was the use which the apostles of our Lord, who knew the most, made of their knowledge. This was the turn they gave to their' meditations upon the subject; the impression it left upon
their hearts. That a great and happy Being should voluntarily enter the world in a mean and low condition, and humble himself to a death upon the cross, that is to be executed as a malefactor, in order, by whatever means it was done, to promote the attainment of salvation to mankind, and to each and every one of themselves, was a theme they dwelt upon
with feelings of the warmest thankfulness; because they were feelings proportioned to the magnitude of the benefit. Earthly benefits are nothing compared with those
which are heavenly. That they felt from the bottom of their souls. That, in my opinion, we do not feel as we ought. But feeling this, they never ceased to testify, to acknowledge, to express the deepest obligation, the most devout consciousness of that obligation, to their Lord and Master; to him, whom, for what he had done and suffered, they regarded as the finisher of their faith, and the author of their salvation.
ALL STAND IN NEED OF A REDEEMER.
HEBREWS, ix. 26.
Now once in the end of the world hath he
appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
N former discourses upon this text I have
shown first, that the Scriptures expressly state the death of Jesus Christ as having an efficacy in the .procurement of human salvation, which is not attributed to the death or sufferings of any other person, however patiently undergone, or undeservedly inflicted; and secondly *, that this efficacy is quite consistent with our obligation to obedience: that good works still remain the condition of salvation,
This second discourse has not been met with.
though not the cause; the cause being the mercy of Almighty God through Jesus Christ. There is no man living, perhaps, who has considered seriously the state of his soul, to whom this is not a consoling doctrine, and a grateful truth. But there are some situations of mind which dispose us to feel the weight and importance of this doctrine more than others. These situations I will endeavour to describe; and, in doing so, to point out how much more satisfactory it is to have a Saviour and Redeemer, and the mercies of our Creator excited towards us, and communicated to us by and through that Saviour and Redeemer, to confide in and rely upon, than any grounds of merit in ourselves.
First, then, souls which are really labouring and endeavouring after salvation, and with sincerity
such souls are every hour made sensible, deeply sensible of the deficiency and imperfection of their endeavours. Had they no ground, therefore, for hope, but merit, that is to say, could they look for nothing more than what they should strictly deserve, their prospect would