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"GIVE ME THINE HEART."
teaching of the Holy Spirit, may, by repentance and faith in Christ, find a place among his happy friends, and the guilt of twice ten thousand sins be thus washed away in a moment. He would be to thee all that a lost sinner, with an immortal soul, can want. He can save to the uttermost, Heb. vii. 25; has saved many, and would save thee. He is an everlasting Friend. They that are accepted in him may joyfully exclaim, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?-Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Rom. viii. 35, etc. On him you will look with joy or dismay when days and years are past; “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him." Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," Rev. i. 7; Matt. xxv. 34, 41, etc. That joyful welcome, or that dreadful sentence, you will hear. With everlasting joy you will look upon the eternal Judge, or with terror join the cry to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb." Vain cry! there will then be no hiding-place. Oh, give him now thy heart, believe in him, trust him, love him, and he himself will be thy refuge then!
Not only is this gift requested for him, but, stranger still, it is requested by him. He invites the offering when he bids all the heavy-laden come to him and promises to give them rest, Matt. xi. 27–29. With condescension still more wonderful, the blessed God beseeches you to take him for your friend: “ Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God," 2 Cor. v. 20. Amazing words of heavenly mercy! God, as it were, a suppliant to wretched rebel man, intreating him to lay aside his enmity, to welcome salvation and be blessed.
Undone immortal! God desires thy happiness when he says, “Give me thine heart." Vain, where eternity is concerned, is everything short of the surrender of the heart to God. An accomplished young lady, supposed to be pious, though she made no open profession of religion, was taken ill, and death seemed near. A minister of the gospel went to her sick-chamber, expecting to find her possessed of peace and hope; but to his surprise he saw her countenance expressing agony of mind. “I am glad,” said she, “ you are come; I cannot bear to go out of the world a deceiver ; but I am unable to tell the sad secret of my heart to those about me; it would be too much for them to bear. Ah, what have I to undergo? I am not religious; I have talked about religion; my passions have often felt the powers of the world to come, but, amidst all, my own heart has never loved religion as a personal thing. Indeed, I have never concerned myself about it for myself, and now I must die without any of its prospects, and be for ever shut out from any of its enjoyments. Is not this wretchedness ?” The minister urged on her to confess her sins, and even then to seek mercy by believing in Christ, trusting wholly to him. “No, Sir,” she replied, “ spare me, spare yourself; my character is finished. What I am, that I shall be for ever. The tree is even now falling. It is too late to direct the point to which its trunk shall be extended on the earth.” Thus, full of despair, she died.
Reader, as you would avoid such wretchedness, give your heart to Christ. There is but the alternative before you of giving or refusing your heart to him. Give, and yield to the strongest claims of the blessed God and gracious Saviour. Refuse, and you trample on them all. Give, and you take the course which God, and Christ, and angels, and perfected saints, and dying Christians, and even dying sinners, approve. Refuse, and you take the course which pleases Satan and those who are led captive by him. Give, and obtain all spiritual blessings in Christ,pardon, peace, adoption, and blissful hope. Refuse, and you live and die accursed, without peace, without God, without Christ, without hope. Give, and travel to heaven, and secure in Christ a mansion there. Refuse, and you spend a life of base rebellion, and vile ingratitude towards a heavenly Friend, and of cruel madness to your own soul. In short, comply and be for ever blessed. Refuse, and you will be for ever lost. The matter comes to this point, you must give or refuse. No half-giving will avail. Indecision is refusal. Delay is refusal. Why should you delay? Is Satan so good a master that you should be loth to leave his service ? Can you find a better friend than God? Can you find another Saviour than Christ? Now pray, resolve, decide, ask the Holy Spirit's help, without which no one ever gave the heart to God. Fall on your knees before the mercy. seat, and vow to the Lord of all, “This heart is thine; O Lord, it shall be thine.” “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed." “ Choose you this day whom ye will serve :--As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” Josh. xxiv. 15.
“ HINDER ME NOT.” So said Abraham's servant to the family of Laban, as they were trying to persuade him to tarry longer with them; and so, reader, should you say to every one and to everything which would hinder you in subinitting your heart to Christ. You may meet with many hindrances, but they all must be overcome by faith in Christ, with firmness and resolution. What are the hindrances, and how should they be overcome?
The opposition of a wicked heart hinders. “The heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Their sinful affections carry them away in a course of disobedience, and if they go not after iniquity in one form, they will in another. This, sinner, is your condition. You will not come to Christ. Your wicked heart keeps you away from him. You strengthen yourself against conviction with all your might; and for this, if you repent not, and believe the gospel, God will judge and condemn you in the last day.
The persuasions of impenitent friends hinder. They desire companions as unmoved and unconcerned as themselves. Does one of them by any means become serious, they ply him with every motive which can drive out the thoughts of God and a concern for his salvation. They soothe him with the deadly thought, that he is in no danger, or the specious plea, that there is time enough yet; that there is now no need of damping the joys of life by the gloomy subject of religion. Oh, how many are persuaded in this manner to turn from the path of uprightness, and to walk in the ways of darkness until their steps take hold on hell!
The hopes of ambition and love of earthly greatness hinder multitudes from submission to the Saviour. All are naturally trying to rise. They cannot be content to be lightly esteemed and neglected for the sake of Christ. They will not forego the distinctions of earth for the approbation of God and the crown of glory which fadeth not away. They barter their souls for the miserable enjoyments of sinful pride, and, at length will lose both in the end. “ Whosoever will be the friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
The cavils of unbelievers hold many in doubt and suspense all their lives. They hear so many objections against the truth of the gospel, that they do not decide in its favour; and yet such are the convictions of reason and conscience, that they dare not decide against it. The caviiler is ever busy in pointing out some imaginary flaw in the evidences of Christianity, some fancied absurdity in its truths, or inconsistency in the lives of its professors. His own dark, deluded mind raises fancied difficulties where there are none in reality, and seeing everything through a mist, he imagines inconsistency, where all is light, and harmony, and glory, in the view of those who love God. Like the serpent, the caviller strikes ere he is perceived in his true character, and the deadly poison is spreading through the unsuspecting soul, and sinking its victim in eternal ruin, before he is aware of his danger. Thousands are thus prevented from escaping for their life, and embracing the offers of mercy.
Others are hindered by the ridicule of the openly vicious. Ridicule is a weapon often hurled at the young and unguarded. Oh, what numbers are now lifting up their eyes in torment and wailing in hopeless despair, who, under the guidance of an evil heart, were brought to that world of woe by a banter or profane jest which they had not the moral courage to withstand, nor the wisdom to despise! Reader, remember that ridicule is not argument; it proves nothing; it stabs in the dark. Shun him who would turn the realities of eternity into a jest, as you value your soul: “ As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, so is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am I not in sport ?" Prov. xxvi. 18.
Others are hindered from submitting to Christ by the cares and pleasures of the world. Probably more souls are lost by yielding to the pressure of business, and the calls of vain pleasure and fashionable amusement, than by all other causes. Men of business, take heed lest under the plea of being diligent in “HINDER ME NOT."
ion of unrighteousness," and thus God be shut out, and that soul be lost. And ye followers of sinful pleasure, hear the declarations of God's word respecting such as you: “ Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;" “ Deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures ;" and, “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth,” 2 Tim. iii. 4, Titus iii. 3, 1 Tim. v. 6.
How then are we to overcome these and all other hindrances to embracing Christ, and securing our salvation ? Say to them unhesitatingly, “ Hinder me not."
God commands your immediate repentance and submission to Christ. He says to you as to Lot," Escape for thy life."-"Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.”—“ God now commandeth all men everywhere to repent."-"Submit yourselves therefore to God.” In this urgent and forcible manner the Lord of heaven and earth commands you to turn immediately to him. He who has made you, and given his Son to die for you, who claims your obedience by the most tender and overpowering obligations, bids you forsake your sins and embrace the Sariour.
Think of the numerous mercies and favours which God has bestowed upon you, ye who are impenitent. How constantly has he preserved your lives from destruction! With what powers of mind has he endowed you, with which to love and serve him! What rich means of grace has he conferred upon you! How has he opened the way for you to come to him for salvation through the blood of his Son! And how has he followed you with the pleadings of his Spirit, and of his word, saying to every sinner, as he said by the prophet to Israel, “ Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel ? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye,” Ezek. xviii. 30-32. Oh, how inexcusable, how criminal will you be, if you do not immediately act up to this invitation, and resolve in the strength of the Lord,
“ Through duty and through trials too,
I'll go at his command ;
To' Immanuel's blessed land.” Consider the alarming providences of God. A once blooming young woman, of high hopes, who had often joined in worldly scenes of dissipation, but who at last felt the chilling hand of death upon her, said, “Oh, what shall I do? I am not prepared to die. Oh! I have been such a sinner, there is no mercy for me. Could I live to get well, I would make it my first business to