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of our neighbors. This is not a natural con- consulted than their comfort, at first. Full submis. viction, nor a convential maxim : it is a divine sion to the righteousness of Christ, as well as countpersuasion wherever it is a deep feeling. It is a ing all things but loss to be found in it, must be transition, not, indeed, into “marvellous light,” produced, before we are prepared to sing meekly but still out of that gross darkness which covers or prudently, “ Thou hast covered me with the the people (and they are many) who are satisfied robes of righteousness and the garments of salwith not being worse than others.
vation.” No lips ever sung this well, until they I would not attach undue importance to even a had often sighed in the dust of self-abasement, deep conviction of the necessity of being better and breathed in fervent prayer, the cry, “ Unclean, than others; but I must say, that it is a march unclean! God be merciful unto me a sinner.” (and not a dead march either) gained upon mere The Spirit is, however, convincing of righteconscience, and thus a good sign.
ousness, when he convinces of sin, because of The man who is led thus far in judging for him- unbelief: for then, our felt need of pardon, and self how good he ought to be, is, to say the least, our felt unworthiness of the pardon we need, in the fair way to discover his need of a better equally tends to draw and fix our attention upon righteousness than his own. Indeed, this disco- the question-how can a just and Holy God par. very is usually made by trying to be good. That don me? We are not far from being convinced effort is either so unsuccessful, or its success, in a of righteousness, when we are convinced that few small things, is accompanied with such fail. God, for Christ's sake, can pardon us, without disures in great things, and with such a sight of the honoring his law, or his character. More seals many things which must be added, that the re- than one or two, of the book of righteousness are forming man becomes afraid, and begins to doubt opened to us by the Spirit, if we see clearly that whether his own power is able to carry out his God can be just, and yet the justifier of the unown purposes.
godly, when they believe in Jesus. Any one can It is often at this point that the need of a per- say thus: but he who can see its truth in his own fect righteousness begins to be felt. The sinner, case, whilst luoking at all his own ungodliness, with all his trying, cannot make his own robe sees “afar off,” and has had the eyes of his unbroad enough nor long enough to cover him. derstanding enlightened by the Spirit of wisdom Place it and stretch it as he may, it leaves some and revelation. part naked; and the more it is drawn upon one Can you see “ this great sight,” after looking point, the more naked others are made. He may at all the greatness of your guilt and unworthinot yet think it a “filthy” rag, but he cannot help ness? Does your eye turn to it, and repose upon feeling tha
it is only a “rag,” both in its dimen- it, even with hope, having read the catalogue sions and strength; for it tares when it is stretch- of your sins from top to bottom, and seen all the ed, and falls off when let alone. This is not more plagues of your heart, and all the weakness of quaintly expressed than it is literally true. We your character? Is this your Goshen of light, try to establish our own righteousness until we when all around you is Egyptian darkness ? weary or despair of it: and then, did not the Spirit you may well admire the love of the Spirit, and of God turn our attention to Christ, we should warrantably believe that he has convinced you of give up religion altogether, as a hopeless under-righteousness, in no small or superficial degree. taking, in our own case. It is only by seeing But, perhaps, your conviction of it does not go something suitable or encouraging in the Saviour all this lengtli yet. You may rather be looking at that this is prevented. Religion would be aban- your own need of a justifying righteousness, than doned by every man who had tried hard and fails at the sufficiency or freeness of the righteoused utterly, did not the Spirit step in at the moment ness of Christ. Well; even in that case, the of extremity, and show him something of the per- love of the Spirit towards you, is no doubtful matson and work of Christ.
ter. For, who opened and salved thine eyes to “There may be help for me yet, in him who is see the need of “ while raiment,” to clothe thy mighty to save,” is the candle which Peradven- naked soul? The time was,—when you did not ture ho!ds to Hope, and Hope to Resolution, at see that you were naked, or poor, or wretched. this crisis.
You once took for granted, that you had only to Our first cheering views of Christ seldom amount try, in order to be as good as the best ; or, at least, to more than this. It is not at once that the as good as could be expected in your case. You Spirit convinces the soul that Christ is “the end expected to look well, and to feel very warm too, of the law for righteousness :" nor is it exactly in in the robe you were manufacturing for yourself. the way we expected, even when he does so. He And now you are as much ashamed of your righieleads us into all truth now, very much in the same ousness, as of your unrighteousness; and more manner as he made the apostles and disciples afraid of being judged by your good works, than wise unto saivation, step by step, as we can bear the natural man is of being judged by his evil the truth. Every Christian both needs and finds works. a day of Pentecost, to enlarge, mature, and con This is no accident. It is a conviction which firm, his knowledge of justification through faith. even your utter failure, when trying #0 establish Perhaps no one ever understood this grand truth your own righteousness, did not, and could not of the gospel at once. Even when it is under- produce. He is convinced by the Spirit, who is stood, it can hardly be believed for joy! It seems convinced that he himself can do nothing towards too good news to be true.
his own justification. He is “taught of God,” This is, I have no doubt, one reason why it is who sees and feels that God must justify him, en80 gradually opened up to the penitent. They tirely and freely, if he ever be justified at all. must be kept penitent. Their safety must be more This is not untrue nor doubtful, even if the con
victed sinner has but a very slender hope, at first, I can sympathise with you, in this uncertainty and of being clothed with the righteousness of Christ. suspense. Let us not, however, question the love His deep sense of his need of that “spotless robe,” of the Spirit, even if he has not yet been our and Jis strong desire to be clothed with it, are comforter in this matter. There may be love in both produced by the power of the Holy Ghost. his delay. There is love in delaying comfort
, on That power has wrought mightily and graciously the question of justification, if the kind of comfort in the man, who lies self-condemned and self-emp- we have been seeking is not promised, or if the tied at the feet of God, saying nothing but, promised comfort is looked for from a wrong quar"Guilty, guilty; vile, vile; unworthy, unworthy : ter. The comfortable hope of our justification, -mercy, mercy! for the sake of Christ!” The can only come from the same source, that our conSpirit is not exactly his comforter then ; but even viction of the need of a justifying righteousness then, he is as much his friend, and as truly his came from. Now that conviction came from the helper, as when he commanded the angel to “ take word of God. The Holy Spirit fastened our ataway the filthy garments” from Joshua, the high tention upon the revealed fact, “that, by the deeds priest, and to "clothe him with change of raiment,” of the law, no flesh living can be justified;" and and to “set a fair mitre upon his head.” It is in- thus upon the experimental fact, that all our own deed, other work, to humble and empty the soul : righteousness is as filthy rags, 'Thus it was truth, but it is the same mighty hand, guided by the that he plied our understanding and conscience same warm heart, that lays the soul down at the with, in convincing us of our need of justification foot of the rock of ages, and that lifts it up to the by grace. He made our belief of this, stand on summit, or into the munitions of that rock. The the word of God. He showed us our guilt, and weeping penitent, and the rejoicing saint, are danger, and weakness, as we had never seen them equally the “ workmanship” of the Holy Spirit. before: but still, only as they are depicted in the They are stars, differing from each other, in the Bible. He did not reveal to us a law, not written degree of grace; but showing equally the glory there; nor a curse, not threatened there; nor a of the Spirit's love.
want, not declared there : he just made us wise You would, of course, prefer such a conviction up to “what is written” of sinners, and against of righteousness, as would enable you to sing, sinners; and led us to apply that to ourselves. “He hath covered me with the robe of righteous- Well; is it not likely, yea, more than probable, ness.” This is a very natural, and not at all an that he comforts, just as he convicts, on the subimproper desire, after having passed through many ject-by the truth? Consider! The facts and painful exercises of mind, by turning over and over promises of the gospel are as able to comfort, as the question,—how can I be just with God? It is the demands and threatenings of the law to alarm. not wrong, after having thus suffered awhile from Why then should not the Spirit speak peace to the terrors of law, and the sting of conscience, to the conscience by the gospel, as well as terror to wish, even very much, to be established, strength the conscience by the law? The glad tidings of ened, and settled in the hope of pardon, and ac- the former, are as true as the sad tidings of the ceptance through the beloved. They have not latter. The heart can be healed by cheering suffered much yet, from law or conscience, who truth, as well as broken by awful truth. are not very anxious to “ know" that they “ have Has this, however, been the way in which you, eternal life."
“through the Spirit,” have "waited for the hope Let us not forget, however, that hope would / of righteousness by faith?” Have you not rather never have been so very dear to us, had we not waited for some impulse-emotion-or inward suffered a good deal from the want or from the sense of pardon, apart from the outward, or writweakness of it. We should have been farther off ten promise ? Have you not waited for the Spifrom “ a good hope through grace,” than we now rit, rather than on the Spirit ? Have you“ minded are, had we not been led so far down into the val- the things of the Spirit,” (which are chiefly his ley of humiliation. The Spirit has led and kept promises and counsels) as much as you have mindus there, not for the sake of paining us, nor yet to ed his sweet influences, which are the dew of try our patience merely; but chiefly, that we them? Have you sown to the Spirit the good might be driven out of al refuges of lies, and even seed of hope and holiness, as well as looked for out of sight of them all, until we saw nothing be- the early and latter rain of his grace, to make it tween us and perishing, but just the cross of Christ. fruitful ? For his work, be it for ever remembered, is to This is close, almost cross, questioning : but it "glorify Christ ;” and Christ is not fully glorified is wanted. For, how unlike the Saviour's own in us or by us, until he becomes "all in all,” in account of the way of bringing home the hope of our hope and desire : and that, we do not make righteousness to the heart, is the creed--the him, until we come fully to the point and spirit of scheine (what shall I call it ?)—the notion of the cry, • Lord, save; Í perish."
many, who, in other respects, are as willing as Have you come to this point and spirit often, Paul or Peter, to be entire debtors to Christ for and yet never been able to lay hold upon “the justification! The whole soul is set upon owing hope of righteousness by faith?” Are you still, every thing, as to the ground of their acceptance, after all your renunciations of your own righte- to his cross; but, as to the knowledge of their ousness, and, after all your prayers to be justified acceptance, they seem, somehow, unwilling to be freely by grace, quite uncertain whether you have indebted to his word for that ; or doubt whether found mercy to pardon? Is it the case that, his word be warrant enough, for taking up and whilst you can hardly doubt that you have found cherishing a good hope through grace.
grace to help in time of need," you yet doubt Do, look again, to the Saviour's own account of very much whether you are “justified by grace ?" the process by which the Comforter is promised to
THE LOVE OF THE SPIRIT IN RECONCILIATION.
convince of righteousness. “He shall convince grand proof that we may “return, and welcome" of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and to the Father by him. I, therefore, leave you ye see me no more.” John xvi. 10. This refers, with the word and the Spirit before you, to ponder unquestionably, to the sufficiency, perfection, and and pray over that oracle—“He that believeth is freeness of the righteousness of Christ, to justify justified:” for the righteousness of God " is unto all who believe, from all sin. The proof that such all, and upon all, them who believe.” Rom. iii. 22. a righteousness was needed, lies in the solemn fact, that Christ came from the Father, into the world, to magnify the law by his obedience, and to make it honorable by his death; and the proof
No. IV. that his obedience and death did work out a perfect righteousness, lies in the sublime fact, that he was welcomed back to the Father by all the armies of heaven, and by the Father,—who was well- Paul says, that “the carnal mind is enmity pleased for his righteousness' sake! Now - by against God:” and it is neither a contradiction this fact,” Christ says, " shall the Spirit convince nor an exception to this awful truth, that some of righteousness; or lodge in the mind, such a persons, who make no pretensions to spiritual. persuasion of the infinite merits of his work, and mindedness, and others who deny the very being of the infinite good-will of the Father, that no of the Holy Spirit, yet profess a high regard and new or different revelation of the love of the veneration for God. For, it is not God, as he has Father or the Son, can wanted, (in order to revealed himself whom they admire or love ; and, warrant the hope of salvation,) by any one who therefore, the more they admire and love the chadesires a holy salvation, and is willing to be in-racter they ascribe to God, the more they hate his debted to Christ for it.
real character. Now, I will not ask, what feeling, impulse, or It is not very easy to see this, when men of inward sense, can compare with this outward fact. genius, science, or taste, pay high compliments to I durst no more allay your solicitude to feel aright the wisdom, power, and benevolence of the Deity than I dare refrain from calling upon you to judge for the same language from the lips of a Chrisaright. Whoever has no concern to feel hope, tian, would be an expression and a proof of his peace, and comfort, is not much concerned about love to God. How, then, is it a proof of enmity his guilt or danger. I want you and myself,—and against God, when a mere philosopher, poet, or I avow it, and proclaim it, without apology to the sentimentalist utters it? God is as wise, as ological stoics or worldly maxims,-to feel the mighty, and as glorious as they say. His eternal good hope of pardon and acceptance: I should, power and godhead are to be seen in all the however, only perplex or mortify you, were I to works of creation, which they examine and adcall for such feelings, without reminding you that mire. And they do admire and enjoy what they the facts and promises of the gospel, both create praise. They are not pretending, when they say, and warrant them. By pothing else does the holy - The heavens declare the glory of God, and the Spirit produce in the heart, love, joy, peace, or firmament showeth his handiwork.” How, then, any of the peaceful fruits of righteousness. He can they be traitors, whilst they utter truth?is too much a comforter—too concerned for our Why does revelation class them with the haters real comfort-and has too much love to the Sa- of God, seeing they love the works of God, and viour's glory and our good,--to make impressions speak well of the divine persections displayed in on our minds by mysterious impulses, when he these works? Are they not, at least, less averse, can make them, equally well, by plain and glorious and more reverential to God, than those who study truths, which are always at hand to be read, and neither the Bible nor nature ? always easy to be understood.
Now there certainly is a difference of form, beBesides; he will “glorify” Christ ; and not tween the enmity of the philosopher to God, and your faith, nor your feelings. You want to have that of the sensualist; and between the enmity of a very high opinion of your own faith—as living, the man of taste, and that of the worldling. The and saving—and of divine “operation :” and he latter are “enemies in their minds by wicked wants you to have a very high opinion of Christ; works ;” and the former, “ by vain and evil imagiwithout whoin faith would just be as unequal tó nations:”—a difference, however, amounting to your justification, as works. And as the Spirit nothing more, so far as God and eternity are conwill " not testify of himself,” he will not,-depend cerned, than that which subsisted, in ancient on it-testify of you, (even to yourself,) that times, between the idols of savage and civilized there is any thing in the nature or the degree of nations. The polished Greeks and Romans, who your faith, which is any cause of, or claim for, your worshipped no idols but such as were cut from justification : but he will so shut you up to the ful- Parian marble, with statuesque perfection, were ness, and freeness, and sufficiency of Christ to as much idolaters, as the barbarians who bowed save, that Christ himself
, and not your faith, shall down to hideous monsters, and vile reptiles.have all the glory; and you, yourself
, shall attach " The glory of the incorruptible God” was equally no importance to your faith, but just as it thinks changed, whether, as in Athens and Roine, it was of nothing-realizes nothing-rests upon nothing "changed into an image made like unto corruptibut the doing and dying of Christ.
ble man;" or, as in Egypt and Babylon, “unto I will not, therefore, mediate for you, upon the birds, and beasts, and creeping things. The Ju. Saviour's reason for the hope of justification. It piter of Rome, and the Juggernaut of India ; the is before you, as before myself. He returned to Apollo of ancient Greece, and the Thor and Wo. the Father and was welcomed by him, as the den of ancient Britain, are equal proofs, that the
men who invented them, and the men who wor- trinity of the Godhead, merely as trinity, to proshipped them, “ did not like to retain God in their voke or offend, however it may baffle. The mind knowledge;" but were, in fact, equally haters of does not, indeed, like to be baffled: but then, it God."
does not escape from this mortification, by taking So it is still. There is as much real enmity to up with the absolute unity of God. The incomthe revealed character of God, in natural and sen- prehensible prevails in that, to a degree which, if timental religion, as in the grossest superstition. as much dwelt upon, would be equaliy baffling:The former despises the Bible, or dispenses with What offends, therefore, is not the mystery of the it ; and the latter neutralizes or makes it void by trinity, as mere mystery ; but the redemption inthe traditions of men. Be not misled nor amazed, volved in the fact. Accordingly, the Unitarian altherefore, when you read or hear high eulogiums ways discards redemption from his theory of the upon the Divine Character, from men who reject divine nature and government. He rids himself Divine Truth. That Truth pays all the homage, of more than mystery by rejecting the trinity. He they can do, to God as a Creator: and, therefore, throws off, along with that, the fear of perishing, they must dislike the homage it pays to him, as a the need of a mediator, and the use of a sancılawgiver, and as the God of Salvation. For, they fier. cannot pretend, (at least they cannot prove,) that Why have you not done so? You do not comthe Bible does less justice to the glories of crea- prehend the trinity you believe: but it does not oftion, than philosophy. They have produced no fend you. You can both say and sing, poetry yet, that rivals, in natural beauty or sublimity, the psalms and hymns of inspiration.
“I love the incarnate mystery!" jecting the Bible, therefore, their reason cannot be found in the spirit or the style, in which it ce. Why? Because there you can put your “trust.” lebrates the natural perfections of Deity. Indeed, It is the trust-worthiness of the Lamb of God, by their own confession, nothing is so lofty in sen- which reconciles you to the trinity of the Godtiment or language as sacred poetry.
head. The Holy Spirit has thus shown you the We thus get at the real cause of their unbe need of a salvation, which no theory of Unitarianlief: it is enmity against the moral perfections of ism furnishes; and satisfied you that TrinitaGod, as these are revealed in the Bible. How in- rianism alone, provides for the wants of your soul. veterate then is the enmity of the human heart,
This is from the love of the Spirit! Had he seeing it can admire the divine goodness in na. not convinced you of sin, and of righteousness, ture, and hate it in grace : trace it in creation with and of judgment, you too might have rejected the enthusiasm, and trample on it in redemption, with gospel
, under the pretence of its mysteriousness. contempt : laud it in a star, and laugh at it in the Many are left to do so: and, who can wonder ?“Sun of Righteousness !"
They will not take the word of the Spirit, upon This is fallen human nature, when it raises it- the subject of their sin or danger; and, therefore, self highest, without the gospel. It merely re- he will not work for their conversion. They will fines its enmity, and systematizes its pride. No not take truth just as he has written it; and he wonder, therefore, if the gospel pour as much will not do that for them, which they can do for scorn upon human wisdom, as upon huınan crime. themselves. Both hate God alike, although for different rea Observe, now, how the Holy Spirit has recon
ciled you, by the Cross, to the sovereignty of the Thus the necessity of reconciliation to God is divine will
. Nothing, perhaps, is more appalling universal
. And as the best forms of the human or repulsive to the natural mind, than the idea of mind are, by nature and tendency, the proudest, being entirely and eternally at the disposal of the no wonder that reconciliation is always by the mere will of God! The heart rises and writhes power of the Holy Ghost, as well as by the blood at such absolute dependence. It would shake it of the Cross. “The Ministry of Reconciliation" off, if it could. To have no claim to be saved, succeeds in its Beseechings, because it is “the and no vote or voice, but the voice of begging ministration of the Spirit.
prayer, in the matter of our own salvation, is a It will increase your love to the Spirit, to trace galling chain to the spirit of man. Nothing but the love of the Spirit, in reconciling you to God, the power of the Spirit of God could reconcile any by the Cross. Now, by it, he has reconciled you man to this chain. But that power does reconto the incomprehensible mysteries of the divine es- cile to it! When we are convinced of the evil of
You do not cavil with them, nor turn them sin, we are soon convinced that God is not necesinto excuses for neglecting the divine will
. This sarily bound to pardon it, and that he would not is done, however, by many. They entrench them- be unjust, even if he refused to pardon it. This selves amongst the mysteries of the trinity, when is both felt and confessed, whenever the evil of sin they are plied with the claims of the gospel; and is thoroughly brought home to the conscience.demand explanations of the twofold nature of Then, our difficulty is, to see how God can do any Christ, when they are blamed for unbelief. They thing else than allow the law to take its course wield all the things hard to be understood, against us. We have not only nothing to say for against both “the one thing needful,” and the ourselves, in bar of its sentence; but we are even things which belong to their eternal peace; and afraid to plead the death of Christ against the because they cannot comprehend, refuse to obey: curse; because we feel that we deserve condem
Mystery is not, indeed, the sole, nor the real nation, quite as much for our sins, against Christ, reason of their aversion to the gospel. That lies as for our sins against law. And there is no predeeper than they choose to acknowledge. It is tence in all this? We do not aggravate our guilt no calumny to say so: for there is nothing in the lor danger, in order to conciliate God by an excess 87
of humility. We do not take the worst view of there is no other name given under heaven, wherc. our case, in the hope of inducing God to take the by we can be saved, but the name of Jesus. It best view of it. We are not bribing mercy, when is,-that other foundation (of hope) can no man we declare our utter unworthiness of any mercy. lay, than that is laid; even Christ. Now the utNo; whatever homage the selt-condemnation of most that unrenewed nature will cordially allow, a penitent pays to the majesty of law or justice, is is, that this may be one way of salvation, and a disinterested. It is the honest verdict of con- very good way for those who like it. But, that science, and in nowise a stratagem to evade pun- it is the only way of getting to heaven, is denied ishment.
by more than one half of those who have the BiSo it is also in the submission of a real penitent, ble in their hands. The popular maxim is, that to the sovereignty of divine grace. His professed there are as many ways to heaven, as there are submission to the good will of God, is not a clever roads to London ; and all equally safe, if the tranor covert plan of making that will good in his vellers are only sincere.
He knows that he cannot force God This is said, indeed, good-humoredly ; but it is to save him-nor bribe God—nor circumvent God, a malignant sarcasm upon the character of God, in the matter of salvation. All that he knows, and a bitter reflection upon his word. Accordeven when he thinks most, is, that self-condemna- ingly the good humor with which it is uttered in tion is a becoming spirit on the part of a sinner, company, soon gives place to anger or scorn, when and the only spirit at all likely to find mercy. All the maxim is flatly denied. Then, it comes out, that he hopes, when he hopes most, at this stage both by words and looks, that a God who would of his experience, is, that his sense of utter un- only save in one way is not at all to the taste of worthiness may be the work of the Holy Spirit, the majority. They hate “such strictness !" shutting him up to the worthiness of the Lamb I speak of this maxim, not, of course, as it is slain. Accordingly, he casts himself simply upon applied to the forms or discipline of churches, the good will of God. He is reconciled to have no (but as it is extended to all creeds, and no creed. other warrant for hoping in Christ. He may wish It is perfectly true, that there are as many ways for some clue to the divine will—for some sign or to heaven as there are churches,) in which Christ token of eventual success: but he lies down at the is made "all in all” in salvation. The difference foot of the cross without them, leaving the issue of their government, does not hinder the Holy in the hands of God.
Spirit from blessing the preaching of the cross ; It is no objection against the simplicity or disin- and, therefore, it cannot prevent the “crown of terestedness of this submission to the divine will, glory.” But this is not true of all creeds. It is that the penitent would not be thus meek, if he not true of any creed, in which the cross is not thought that the issue would be against him. God the only refuge of the guilty, and grace the only has not called on him to think so. The Holy Spi- principle of piety. It is false, if the Bible be true. rit does not work on the heart, to reconcile the But how popular is this maxim, amongst those heart to condemnation, or to the loss of the soul. who do not think, and amongst those who plume He convinces, only in order to save the soul; and, themselves upon thinking freely and liberally! therefore, it is no part of a penitent's duty, and And you and I have been saved from it by the no part of a penitential spirit, to be willing to pe- teaching of the Spirit! We are glad to be o shut rish. It is a sin, to despair. It cannot, therefore, up” to Christ, for all our hope. Well we may ! be a virtue, nor a mark of grace, to be willing to And now observe, how the Holy Spirit has rebe lost.
conciled you, by the cross, to the revealed characThis is so obvious, that I know not how to ex- ter of God. The substance of that character is, plain the conduct of those, who make “willing- that “God is love.” And yet, strange to say, this ness to be lost,” the test of real humility. True; is the chief reason, why the natural mind is enthey qualify the requirement of such humility by mity against God. It hates his love far more than adding, “if it would be for the glory of God, that his holiness. And for an obvious reason: the you should perish." I do hope that we misunder- real love of God is paternal; and thus is seen to stand those who speak thus! They must, surely, claim the heart: it is redeeming love; and thus mean less than their words imply. The loss of a is seen to be humbling: it is sovereign love; and soul can bring no glory to God. He has "nothus is seen to be unmeritable. Were it love that pleasure in the death of a sinner.” Judgment is asked for little return of affection, and accepted of his strange work: and, therefore, although God still less obedience, men would, perhaps, be rather will be perfectly just in the condemnation of the pleased with it than otherwise; but claiming, as impenitent, he will never consider himself glorified it does their supreme love, and their immediate by it. Goodness is the glory of God! Accord confidence, they hate it because it leaves them ingly, when Moses requested to see his glory, he without excuse. They can question authority said, “I will make all my goodness pass before and cavil at justice, under the pretence of strictthee.”
ness or severity : but they cannot resist love, but But I will not argue this point; for I cannot be- by resenting it as needless or humiliating. lieve we understand the local meaning of the un Why else are sublime and lofty ideas of God, scriptural expression I refer to.
so much more popular in the world, than gentle Observe now, how the Holy Spirit has recon- and lovely ideas of his character? O, it is not ciled you, by the cross, to the exclusiveness of the from nobility of mind, nor from refinement of taste, divine plan of saving sinners. He has, indeed, that the grand is preferred to the gracious, and the taught you nothing upon this subject, but just sublime to the tender. The former let the heart what is written. What is written, is however, alone-let the conscience alone-let their sins very obnoxious to the natural mind. It is,—that I alone. The majestic and magnificent play around