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given unto men whereby they can be saved, but the name of Jesus Christ? And then let us ask ourselves and others, How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God! It is an awful thing to despise the riches of the grace of God!
Perhaps it will be said, we see our opportunities and our privileges, but do we avail ourselves of them? Do we live up to them? Let us only observe the directions given by St. Paul. (ch. x. 19.) Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he hath consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, his flesh; and having an High Priest over the house of God let us draw near with a true heart,
⚫ in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water! "Observe," the heart is called unto the Saviour―not the mere formality of outward observance—and it is not presumptuous to look for a full assurance of faith when the affections and the life are thus spiritualized, How wonderfully close the application from the ritual
of the law to the spirituality of the Gospel! And then he adds this most awakening appeal-" Let us hold fast the possession of our faith without wavering, (for he is faithful that promised,) and let us consider one another to provoke unto love, and to good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." We are, then, to receive with gratitude the revelation of mercy made to us in the Gospel; and as by its doctrines we are to regulate our faith, so by its precepts are we to frame our lives : watching over our daily conduct, as those who must give an account. Thus the holy law of God will be reverenced, and we shall not sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth; we shall not tread under foot the Son of God, nor count the blood of the covenant, wherewith we are sanctified, an unholy thing, nor do despite unto the Spirit of grace. But accepting the offers made by a good and gracious God; disclaiming all merit and self-righteousness; accounting it our highest honour to
be the disciples of the blessed Jesus; looking to his blood for redemption, and believing in him as our only Saviour, and to the Spirit for sanctification, we shall have our portion with that blessed multitude who are represented as singing a new song, the substance of which is this, which we have been considering: "Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kingdom, and tongue, and people, and nation."
HEB. ix. 16.
For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
MANY of our greatest blessings take their rise from circumstances, which to the eye of sense appear the least likely to produce them. No man would naturally suppose that sorrow and affliction and trouble can be beneficial to the sufferer and yet an inspired apostle, himself experienced in the school of suffering, tell us, that these chastisements of our heavenly Father “yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them that are exercised thereby." No man, without a revelation from God himself, could look upon death with satisfaction; but life and immortality being brought to
light by the Gospel, the Christian can exclaim joyfully, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" The good land of Canaan flowing with milk and honey was given to the Israelites after many wanderings in the wilderness; and this delay of forty years, as they might term it, was to humble them, and to prove them, and to know what was in their heart, whether they would keep the commandments of Jehovah or not; and when in actual possession of the country, their enemies were not all driven out at once, lest the beasts of the field should prevail against them. Thus, my brethren, is it in this world: our blessings are preceded by trouble; our sunshine passes through a cloud; and, after a long dark wintry night, we hail with more than common gratitude the return of day.
When we, as at this season, are led to consider the sufferings and death of the ever-blessed Son of God, we are lost for a moment in wonder and amazement. It is the most awful, the most heart-rending, the most humiliating, and yet the most joyful event to the children of men. That mankind should by their sin call