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SOMETHING TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
heart. Now suppose that friend's excellences were all to be increased a hundred-fold—would you not love him more, and find more pleasure in his love? Suppose he were to become a hundred times kinder than he is a hundred times richer, or more powerful-or suppose him to become all, and more, than your fondest desires could wish him to berwould not your heart settle upon him, and your happiness be bound up inseparably with him? The most satisfying reflection you could enjoy would be that you and he were one-one in tastes, one in sentiment, one in pursuits, and one in destiny.
Now, the Almighty God, our Maker, has called us to such a friendship with himself. He invites us, in his amazing condescension, to love chiefly and supremely, the substance rather than the shadow. All good in our fellow-creatures is but a faint image of the good which centres in him. He is only good--there is no blemish in his nature. He is unchangeably good—" with him is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." He is inexhaustibly good-for, we can never see all in him that is worthy of our admiration and affection. If we love him, we may love on throughout eternity, and never tire in our love. Would not his friendship, then, be “ something to your advantage ?"
It is, indeed, wonderful, most wonderful, that the blessed God, who possesses such a fulness of happiness in himself, should be concerned that we might share it with him. And that he is so, his works, and his word, abundantly prove; whatever he has done, and whatever he has said, he has done and said with a view of making himself known to his creatures, in order that they may love him, and enjoy his love.
Look at this world! Why has God made it so beautiful ? Why has he framed the laws of nature on purpose to meet and to anticipate our desires ? Why has he made the sun glorious ? Why has he made the earth teem with fruits for our subsistence? Why has he clothed the mountains, or painted the flowers, or ordained the tides of ocean, or scattered on every hand his blessings? Why, but to show us how wise, how powerful, how kind, how glorious he is, and, by this means, to let us know how worthy he is of our love.
His word is sent us for the same purpose. The gospel is “good tidings of great joy"-and we are told that “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent."
Yes! Jesus Christ. For, reflect a moment. We are rebels. We have cast off God. We have exposed ourselves to his anger, and just indignation. We have wantonly, wickedly, ungratefully, flown in the face of our Creator, and hurled defiance at his throne. And, under such circumstances, it is a matter of the first importance to us, that we should know what is his mind, and what are his
intentions, towards us, considered as sinners. Now, this is just what Jesus Christ, his only begotten and beloved Son, came to unfold to us. In him we see the Almighty God, acting through man-showing us through our own nature—by living a mortal life, and suffering a shameful death—what are God's thoughts towards us, and what (if we may so speak) is in his heart respecting us.
* And what does the whole life of Jesus testify—and what, especially, his agonising death? What does it all amount to but this—" As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that he should turn from his way and live.” To convince us of the terrible evil of sin, how hateful it is to God, and how destructive of man-to impress upon our consciences a sense of the awful punishment we have deserved to make us aware of our deep and everlasting ruin-and, at the same time, and by the same means, to call us back to him, to acquaint us with the extent of his pity, the tenderness of his benevolence, the wondrous depths of his love-Christ came into this world; took upon him our nature; lived, laboured, suffered in our midst; and at last poured out his precious blood as a ran. som for sinsiers. If, therefore, we would know God so as to love him, to admire him, to trust in him, to adore him, we must study what he is in the life and death, in the person and the work, of Jesus Christ his Son. For he is “ the image of the invisible God.”
And now, reader, remember that all this has been revealed in the Bible to persuade you to seek your happiness in God's friendship and favour. Oh that ever you should have despised the message! What ingratitude! What perversity! What sinful ignorance! What deplorable folly! Fall down at his feet, at once, and, in brokenness of spirit, confess your hardness of heart, and your criminality of behaviour ! Lift up your souls to the Prince and Saviour, who stands ready to bless you; and pray to him for his life-giving Spirit, that you may understand and receive the truth as it is in Jesus—and then " search the Scriptures” with all diligence, in confident expectation, that you will discover in its sacred pages “ something to your advantage."
'Tis religion that can give
HOW MUCH ARE YOU WORTH? This question, courteous reader, is not put by one who expects your answer—it is only for yourself. Be not in haste, neither be content without some thinking on this question. It is not, of course, your income, or your fortune, that is to be considered. Whatever that may be, it is not you. To judge of your value, meditate for a few moments on what you are.
It were but a poor account to give of you, to say that you are an animal; though it is true that your frame is composed of flesh and blood, and bones and nerves, and obeys the same laws of life and death with the animals around you.
Then, what are you? A spiritual being. You make use of those fleshly instruments in acquiring knowledge or pleasure, and in doing what you resolve. Without making use of these outward means, you can think-you can picture things afar offyou can call up the past—you can look partly into the futureyou can hope or fear — you can be brightened with joy, or you can be darkened by grief. This is what you are at this instant; and this is what you will never cease to be ; for though death will cover those sparkling eyes through which you look out upon the landscapes of earth, or the glorious sea, on the starry sky, on the wonders of art, or on the “ human face divine," death will not veil the eye of your soul. In the hour when you were born, you began a life that will not end. No sword can pierce it, no poison can touch it; it is a river that still flows on, on, and on, still flowing: it is like a flame that burns, and for ever will burn; it is a spirit's life-immortal! .
Ancient men thought it might be so; wicked men feared lest it should prove so ; Jesus Christ assures us that it is so. He tells us of the “ life and immortality" which he has brought “ to light”-of the unseen state into which we are passing of the solemn trial that awaits us after death-of the bliss and the woe, alike everlasting, in which the trial of that day will fix us. You are this. How much are you worth ? Remember of how much worth you have been thought. When your mother and your father smiled upon their babe, could they have told your worth to them? Think of all your friends have ever done for you—of what your country does for you—of what wise and good men have done for you ; especially think of what God has done, done for you-how carefully he has tended you, how richly he has provided for you-with what almighty goodness he has watched around your bed, and along your path. He has borne with you and spared you ; he has sometimes saved you from death, when others fell. He has given you the power of knowing him, and the means of knowing him, so that everywhere you may feel yourself to be in his temple, with his eye upon you, with his solemn voice speaking words of truth and love to you, and his glory all around you; and there have been times, surely, when you have been so impressed with this, that no signs nor sounds from heaven could have said more plainly to you, “ God is here!”—here to watch you, here to bless you, here to listen to the prayer of your heart. His is your body, fashioned by his power according to his perfect wisdom, and only He who made it knows its worth. His is your mind, your soul, your spirit; for it is the “ inspiration of the Almighty" that hath given you “understanding,” Job xxxii. 8.
And does it not seem a reasonable thing that you should spend a thought on the value of a being which is so precious to the Lord of the universe ? Were all the gold of the mines, all the pearls of the deep, all the spices of the east, all the treasures and royalties of the world, heaped together in one rich pile, you are worth them all. You would be worth them all, if such piles were as countless as the sands on the shore,
What are you worth? Come with me, in your thoughts, into yonder valley. Behind us is the crowded city, where amazing things have come to pass. Here flows gently through that river which has just been crossed by three men in the early
HOW MUCH ARE YOU Worth?
to the other two some words of sadness and of warning, and he leaves them, and goes deeper into the shade. He is alone. He prays. As he prays, he is in an agony; and in his agony, great drops as it were of blood fall upon the ground. Why does that “ Man of sorrows" bear this? He speaks of “ a cup." What cup? . It is not for himself he suffers. No. It is for the sake of God, that his holy character may be seen without a stain, his righteousness without a cloud, while he has pity on the miseries of those who have broken his laws, pardons their sins, and restores them to his favour. And it is for the sake of man, that he may have a ground of hope, a reason for expecting pardon, a title to salvation. Not only did the Son of God suffer in the garden for these ends, he had them before him from eternity, when he looked in love upon us; they were in his heart when he was made of a woman; they filled his thoughts throughout the holy life by which he “pleased God,” and in the awful hour in which he bowed his head and died upon the cross, offering “ himself without spot to God” as “a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." These great objects explain his rising from the dead; for that was the proof that the ransom was accepted ; and still he appears “in the presence of God for us,” making " intercession for us."
How much are you worth, redeemed at the cost of such a life, of blood so precious, of a death so accursed ? Till you can tell what Christ is worth, what his atonement is worth, how impossible it will be to say what you are worth!
It may be that when you think of what you are just now, remembering your sins, and looking with bitter sorrow on the time you have squandered in vanity-on the opportunities for doing good which you have thrown away-you wonder at the love of Christ, and you find it hard to conceive why he should love you so. B:it consider what you may become. It is something to be a penite it—" There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over onz sinner that repenteth :" it is more to be accepted in the Beloved, “reconciled to God by the death of his Son:" it is much more to be a son of God, made like him by his Spirit, daily seeking to please him, and by his grace subduing the evils that are within you, and walking in the footsteps of your Saviour's blessed examples Jesus died for us that we might become all this; and that you may become this, he is ever ready to bestow his grace upon you. Look, then, at what you are capable of being, before you answer the question that is now put to you:
See, then, what you may live to do. Rejoice to know that you may be made a blessing to many. You are called by the Saviour to show your gratitude, and to strengthen your love to him by doing all you can to honour his religion. Let it be settled in your heart that you are to do what you can for