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That point of time will result in the eternal salvation and happiness of the sinner, which is the moment when he season. ably begins to repent and be reconciled to God, or to trust in Christ. Or if the sinner neglects to do this, that point of time will result in his eternal perdition, which is the last moment in which he might have seasonably begun to pursue the way to heaven, but refused to do it. Oh, with what regret and anguish will the lost sinner reflect on abused time—not only the last moment in which he might have made his peace with God, but all the years, the weeks, the desecrated Sabbaths, which shall have filled up the season of his probation !
In conclusion since this life is a season of probation for eternity, the condition of those who hear the Gospel preached is solemn and interesting. If you have received the truth in faith and love : if you have acceded to the terms of the Gospel, and thus secured an interest in its promises, that event which will terminate the season of your probation, will introduce you to the mansions of the blessed, where you will enjoy the presence, behold the glory, and participate in the everlasting love of your blessed Redeemer. But, in the meantime, let it be your aim to perform with fidelity the service which he requires of you. He has committed to you talents, and he requires you to occupy till he come. So live that you may adorn his doctrine, recommend his holy religion, and honor hi name. While life lasts the season of your probation continues, and your conduct will effect your eternal condition. Great is your reward in heaven! But it will be more or less great according to the degree of your faithfulness. Especially consider the infinite worthiness of your Lord, and the preciousness of his cause, and realize the the obligations which you are under to him.
But the reflection that this life is a 'season of probation for eternity is unspeakably solemn to you who have not obeyed the Gospel. There is danger that the preaching of the Gospel will ultimately be to you a savor of death unto death. It will unavoidably be so, if you abuse the remainder of the season of your probation as you have the past. That remainder consists of fleeting time. It may be a short, a very short space. Whether you are aged or young, your probationary term may soon expire. Oh, beware lest you have occasion to lament at last that the accepted time and the day of salvation have for ever closed : “ That the harvest is past, the summer ended, and you are not saved." TITANJIM
A BUSE OF CHASTISEMENTS.
BY THE EDITOR.
If afflictions do not subdue and reclaim, there is nothing like thern to confirm men in their evil ways, and render them hopeless. They will break the spirit of rebellion and bow us in penitence, or so sear the conscience and deaden all moral sensibility as that nothing can alarm or make an impression. And hence, the Lord not unfrequently ceases to chastise the guilty, for the simple reason that they will only "revolt more and more.” He has used the rod upon them in vain. He has re
ked and chastised till the discipline has become an injury and not a benefit, and then, in righteous anger he gives them over as incorrigible. And when a man or a nation gets into so obdurate a state as that afflictions fail of their chief end, we may well despair of their salvation.
The judgments of God in this world are, no doubt, mainly disciplinary. They are visited upon men in mercy, and not in wrath ; they are a Father's chastisements, aud not the awards of a Lawgiver. They are meant to deter men from further sinning, or to reclaim them from evil ways into which they have fallen, or to soften the heart and prepare the way for more signal blessings. They are chosen to this end, and wisely adapted in their particular nature, and time, and manner of visitation, to secure it. They are means in the hands of God, of precaution, correction, reformation, obedience, and even growth in grace. They are effectual often, we know, when mercies have failed to win; when the goodness of God is all lost upon us; when the Spirit, operating through gentle means, has failed to accomplish towards us God's morciful designs.
But alas ! how many brave out the judgments, as well as pervert and abuse the mercies of God! They despise reproof, and wax worse and worse under the discipline of the rod, however mercifully and severely employed. They are made to feel the wrath of God on account of their sins, and yet they will not give them up. One after another, he takes away their friends by death, and still they are unyielding. He ruins'their fortunes, and disappoints all their earthly hopes, and reduces them to poverty, and yet they hold out, and only murmur in sullenness and despair. He lays his hand upon their persons, and takes away their strength, and brings them down to the borders of the grave, but, so far gone are they in evil, that, with death hanging over them, and their fears, it may be, very much alarmed, they will not repent and give glory to God. He lifts over our cities and over our borders, the sword of the destroying angel, and thousands fall on every side ; but they will not learn righteousness; even in their distress, they will not acknowledge and seek God. And then the Lord God takes them away, with a stroke of vengeance, or, giving them up as past recovery, leaves them to their chosen ways, to fill up the measure of their iniquities. This is the melancholly experience of millions of individual sinners, and of not a few families, cities, and nations. The Lord chastises till his chastisements, like his mercies, tend only to evil-embitter the spirit-harden the heart into adamant-sear the conscience and arm the soul to make a more desperate resistence : and then, weary of chastising, and weary of the blindness, and hardness, and fault-finding, and blaspheming of the miserable and guilty being who are proof alike against mercy and judg. ment, love and wrath, he pronounces their doom “Ephraim is joined to idols ; let him alone."
When a man has grown so bad that no trial, affliction, or threatening seems to make him better, but only worse (which afflictions never fail to do if they do not humble and convert the soul) he is in extreme peril; and the removal of the rod is but the proof of his abandonment to the work and doom of his transgression. He has reached a point at which hợpe turns back, and beyond which no goodness wins, or wrath or judgment restrains. What shall reclaim such an one? Past mmercies have only made him forgetful of God. Past judgments—it may be made severe, and oft repeated--have only made him more rebellious than ever before. And having past through so much affliction, and growing worse continually, what, short of death and and the thunder of final judgment, shall open his eyes and make him feel ? So with with families. If God visits a family with sore and repeated afflictions, and yet they will not call upon him or mend their ways, that house is nigh unito cursing;" and though he may forbear for the present, and smile on them in his providence, he will, when his own good time has come, pour out his “ fury” upon it. The same is true of nations. So long as judgments, threatened or executed, have a good effect upon the moral sentiments and feelings and conduct of a people, we have reason to expect that God will hold over them the rod, and inflict it just as often and j st as severely as is necessary to gain their attention, correct their errors, and fit them to prfit by his blessings. But nations have often, like Israel and Egypt, so rebelled against chastisements, peculiar and decisive, that in rightous anger God has withheld the rod, and left them to the dominion of pride, luxury, lust, unbelief, and every evil thing which they desired, and thus their prosperity has proved a snare, and their unrestrained indulgence brought slow but sure and utter ruin upon them, in the ordinary course of things ; or, provoked beyond endurance, he has by one terrible stroke of judicial vengeance, blotted them from the map of nations.
In these times of severe judgments, when God has seemed to come out of his place,” to rebuke and chastise the earth; when war, famine, and pestilence, the chief instruments of his punishment, have combined their force and terror to afflict our race, it becomes every man, every family, every church, and nation, to inquire : " Are these judgments of Almighty God disciplinary or retributive? Have we reason to think they are ordered in mercy or unmixed wrath, after mercies have failed and milder means proved fruitless? Are they doing for us and upon us the works of mercy-abasing our souls in the dust before the offended Majesty of Heaven, inducing repentance and forsaking of sin, and constraining the exercise of prayer ;-or are they doing the work of wrath, only serving to sink us into a state of greatly increased insensibility and profligacy?
To sin with a hard and unbelieving heart under such a visitation as the nation and the world have just received from the hands of God, is to defy him in the terribleness of his power and rush madly upon destruction. Sinners who remain stupid and unconverted through such seasons of trial, will have occasion to take up a doleful lamentation over their eternal prospects. Greatly do we fear that thousands will so have hardened their hearts in the day of our recent rebuke and peril, and will so quickly and thoroughly relapse into all thair evil practices from which fear may have deterred them for a little season, as that no means por motives shall hereafter have any power to bring them to repentance. At the close of this year of startling and terrible clastisement, the insulted and set at naught Jehoviah will say of them, in mingled grief and anger :
Why should ye be stricken any more ? Ye will revolt more and more.
“He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the
isles shall wait for his law."—Isaiah 42: 4.
The holy evangelist applies this prophecy to Jesus of Nazareth. It is a revelation of his untiring perseverance in his mediatorial work. Perseverance is a high virtue. We admire it even apart from its object. In a good cause it indicates a deep conviction of its importance, sincerity in principle, and fidelity in purpose. There are many noble examples of this virtue among men, but the most illustrious in history is the Son of God. Let us consider
THE PERSEVERANCE OF CHRIST IN ITS CONDITIONS, ITS ACTION, AND ITS TRIUMPHS.
I. THE PERSEVERANCE OF CHRIST IN ITS CONDITIONS.
1. His unfailing merit.—The necessity of merit in the world's Redeemer had its origin in the relation of man to law, and to salvation. The claims of law were imperative and unchanging on all that man possessed. Law, therefore, as the expression of im. mutable truth, must require the unreserved appropriation of his powers to the service of his Maker; and, as disobedience could have no tendency to diminish the extent of his obligations, its claims must have been as absolute in all respects after, as before the fall. Besides, as a single act of rebellion must imply contempt of Jehovah's authority and defiance of his justice, man must have been obnoxious to all the penalties of the law. And as no act of obedience can have any effect to counteract an instance of disobedience, and as the necessary result of rebellion was the de. pravation of the whole man, his condition as a sinner was legally hopeless. Finally, as the claims of law must be at each subsequent moment precisely what they would have been, if man had retained his original perfection, and as his disabilities must remain what they were in the fall, an infinite accumulation of guilt was legally certain. The relation of man to law was therefore that of a sinner under sentence of death, with no possibility of selfredemption.
In his relation to salvation, as guilty, he was a candidate for pardon; as morally dead, he was a candidate for regeneration; as