Imatges de pàgina
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loved the world as to give his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Thus hath he revealed life and immortality;' thus hath he opened the way for our escape from sin and its consequences, and our entrance into the regions of endless bliss. If therefore men are lost eventually, it will not be on the ground of our natural depravity; for this may be washed away by the blood of Christ. Nor on the ground of our actual transgressions, however numerous and aggravated, for all these shall be pardoned to him that believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. But he that is finally condemned, will be so for his voluntary and obstinate rejection of that salvation which Christ died to purchase for him, and which he is called by the gospel and by the Spirit of God to seek and to enjoy. For this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.'




Lord, we are waiting now. Is there not seen
A little spot upon the distant sky,
A small, light, floating cloud? Oh, let it be
The herald of a mighty shower, the pledge
Of fruits and ripened harvest; let it be
The blessed harbinger that thou art near
With the rich droppings of thy saving love.
Thou hast been passing, Lord! Thy chariot wheels
Have left a glory in their path of light,
Yet thou didst pass along! There was a band
Of ministering spirits with thee, and their hymns
Were full of heavenly love, of grace, free grace,
Through thy redeeming righteousness to man;
Yet thou didst pass along! Oh, now descend
And pass us not again till we are blest-
Powerfully, richly blest. Let us but touch
hy gracious garment, and our souls shall live.
Yet, let thy voice be mighty in our midst,
And pass us not again till thou hast laid
Thy conquering hand of love upon thy foes,
And made them all submit! Oh, shed abroad
The wonders of thy grace in every heart,
And let Bethesda’s pool be open'd here
To heal diseases of the soul.
In all thy majesty, in all thy power;
Destroy the mighty holds of sin and death,
The tempter's fortresses, and let us breathe
The pure air of thy kingdom, pure and free
As the redeemed in paradise. Oh come,
Thou star of Bethlehem, thou Sun of peace,
Thou Glory of the highest heaven of heavens,
Come now and bless our souls; behold we wait
In solemn, trembling readiness; behold
Our eyes are turned from vanity and sin:
In waiting for thy presence, let it come;
Thy saints are weeping here; they mourn, Oh Lord,
And long for thy approach: here they have knelt
Around a covenant altar, and have made
A solemn, awful promise not to cease
Their agonies and pleadings at thy feet,
Till thou dost come and bless: then, Oh descend,
And disappoint them not. Lo! here is found
The trembling sinner, too,-the frighten'd soul
That sees its awful guilt, and now would hide
Beneath thy shielding righteousness. Oh come
Dear, mighty Saviour, come. What can we do
If thou withhold thy presence? Come and bless!

Oh come,

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Submit yourselves therefore to God. James iv. 7.

We are commanded when we pray not to use vain repetitions. Whether the words we use are vain, that is, unmeaning; or whether proper words are vainly repeated, will make but little difference in the case; either will be inconsistent with rational devotion. But if our public devotions should be performed in plain and explicit language, we ought most certainly to avoid all ambiguous and unmeaning terms in our public teaching ; because the design of teaching or exhortation, is to instruct the mind as well as to persuade the heart. Nor is it sufficient that we use proper words, or even scripture phrases ; but that we use them properly, and with a design at least, to be expressly understood ; that our hearers may be fed with the sincere milk of the word.

I will not say that the words of our text have been used without any meaning; but I do fear that they have been frequently used in exhortation and other religious discourse, without conveying any distinct ideas of duty or obligation.

The exhortation Submit yourselves therefore to God 'necessarily involves two important points of doctrine.


By the moral agency of man, we understand something more than the simple fact that he is a sentient and rational being, possessing physical and intellectual powers. We mean that he is capable of perceiving moral duties of right and wrong, of virtue and vice; that he is not only conscious of moral perceptions, but he can think, reason, decide and act according to his sense of moral duty.

To constitute a moral agent, two things are necessary; that is power and liberty. The power must be adequate and proper in its kind, for it will not follow, that because he has power to walk, therefore he can fly; no more will it follow, because man has power to think and reason, that he has power to decide and act ; or in other words, man's having intellectual or physical power to perform an action, without the moral qualities required in the performance, does not constitute him a moral agent, nor the action itself a moral action.

It is not necessary at present to inquire how he obtains this power, but to show that without moral power, he cannot be a moral agent. And of this, our plain perceptions and practical feelings, are the best proof that can be given. For without this moral power there could be no consciousness of obligation, nor guilt for the neglect of duty. We might as well exhort the beasts that perish to submit to God, as to exhort man if he is not a moral agent, or if he does not possess moral power to obey..

In connection with this moral power, we must keep in view, that the object to which it is directed, must be within its reach, and circumstanced to the capacity of the agent. For it will not follow that if man is a moral agent, he is able to perform the highest duty of angels, or even that fallen man is capable of making honorable the perfect, but violated law of God. This none could do but the Son of God himself.

Although it is not necessary to a moral agent, that he should be in a probationary state, where the incentives to evil are many, and the performance of good difficult, yet, it certainly is not inconsistent with moral agency; and this is the very circumstance in which we must contemplate man in his present state of being.

Liberty is as essential to moral agency as power. As power in an agent is useless, unless the object on which that power is to act be placed within the reach and circumstances of the agent; so power, without liberty to act, would be unavailing. By liberty, however, we do not mean the bare permission to do or not to do, but that self controlling energy by which we will, or not will. Of this liberty we feel the most perfect consciousness in all our decisions. Nor is this sense of liberty fallacious or deceptive, but must be relied

upon with the same certainty, that we do upon all our other perceptions and feelings. The schoolmen have fallen into great contention, and almost endless subtleties, on the subject of man's willing; and they have darkened council by words without knowledge. Many systems both of philosophy and divinity have taken their rise in the mists of these metaphysical speculations, and their advocates have arranged themselves either on the side of free will, or necessity; but they have all agreed in one thing, which may be considered the cause of all their perplexity and error. The phrase13


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