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me; and yourself being judge, it is better than none. It is in the promises of the Bible; in the voice of inspiration ; in the resurrection of the Redeemer ; in his assurance that his people shall be with him ; and nothing yet has occurred in regard to the influence of his gospel, to the living virtues or the dying peace of his friends, to shake my belief that it will be so. them die just as if they were going to heaven---so peaceful, so calm, so happy, that I cannot doubt that they are safe. Knowing what are the terms on which God bestows eternal life, they have conformed to those principles, and their lives and death have been all that could be demanded on the supposition that they were going to heaven.

(4.) My fourth consideration is, that the arrangements by which God proposes to save men are not unreasonable, or such as to throw any insuperable barrier in their way, and they should therefore conform to them. It was no impracticable thing that was required of the man with the one talent. Was it beyond his power to put the money to the exchangers ? So we say of the terms of salvation. Are they impossible to be complied with ? Are they so stern, so severe, so much beyond the human powers as to put eternal life beyond our reach ? I could make a long argument on this point, but I shall not enter now upon it. I will settle it by two or three questions :- Who are they that believe and are saved ? Children; the ignorant; slaves, as well as the learned and the great. Is that impossible for you which may be done by your child ?—that, beyond your power, which has been done by many a poor, benighted heathen, by the savage, by the man in bonds ? What does God require of you? Does he say, Go on a pilgrimage over oceans to visit some far distant shore? No. He says, “ Come unto me!" Does he ask money? No. “ Come without money and without price." Does he ask painful penance ? Just as much as you do of your child, when he has done wrong, that he will confess and forsake it. Does he demand a hard service ? He asks confidence in the great and glorious Saviour; a pure heart and life; a meek, gentle, holy walk; hands free from bribes, and a heart without covetousness and sensuality; a spirit of kindness, and forbearance, and forgiveness ; love, pure, glowing, steady to himself and to all mankind. Is this hard ? Is it stern? Is it severe ?

We are conducted to these conclusions :

(1.) Religion requires humility. It demands of us that the intellect should be bowed and the will subdued. We must bend, and not God; our hearts must yield, and not his principles of government; we must accommodate ourselves to the settled

us.

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course of events, and not require them to be accommodated to

As the first thing in religion, therefore, we may say that humility is required, and we might go on to say of it, as Demosthenes said of action, that it is the second thing and the third thing. And yet it is no more than is required anywhere else. It is the condition of our being the law of our na

--nature. We must yield to the settled course of events on our farms, in commerce, and in our health, and why should we not in religion? Why pause and hesitate only here?

(2.) Yielding must be wholly on our side. God will not yield, nor should he. His terms are settled and understood, and he will not depart from them, nor should he. The universe would not be safe should he depart from the great principles of his administration, nor is there any reason why he should do it. If we have any safety, it is in the assurance that he does not change, and that the principles of his government are always the same.

(3.) Finally, the sum of the whole matter is this :—We must comply with the terms which he has provided for salvation, or be lost. Those terms must be met exactly, and nothing can be substituted in their place. He demands of us repentance, and faith in the Lord Jesus. He solemnly assures us that “he that believeth not shall be damned,” and has said, “ Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” There is, therefore, my friends, a simple question before your minds at this time--a question as I believe of vital interest to your souls. It is, whether, knowing the principles of the Divine government, and the terms on which God will save men, you are willing to accommodate yourselves to those terms and be saved, or whether you will, dissatisfied and murmuring, bury your talent in the earth. That question is now before you for decision. That it is a momentous question I need not say. Believing, as I do, that on it depends the eternal weal or woe of every one who hears

that the decision is to enter into all that there is of joy or woe beyond the grave; that we are sinners, lost, ruined, and condemned, and that these are the terms of pardon, and these only, how can I neglect to urge it upon you with affectionate entreaty? The great, the momentous subject I leave with you. Above us is heaven and inimortal glory, to be obtained by us only on certain conditions, which God has made known. Beneath us is the world of despair, to be avoided only on certain terms, which God has prescribed. Just before us is the grave, where there is no work, and in which no offer of life and salvation is made on any terms, and where the everlasting doom is sealed for ever. Dying friends, oh how soon shall we be there !

me

now;

SERMON IX.

THE STATE IN WHICH THE GOSPEL FINDS MAN.

MATT. xviii. 11.-" The Son of man is come to save that which was lost."

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ALL men, with exceptions too few to be taken into the general account, have some scheme of salvation. The exceptions relate to the very few cases where individuals are in a state of despair ; or where, either from physical disease, or from some perverted view of the truths of religion, they have abandoned all hope of happiness in the world to come.

With these very few exceptions, there are none who do not expect to be happy beyond the grave. The proof of this is plain. It is found in the composure with which men look at eternity; the indifference which they manifest when warned of a coming judgment; the cool and unperturbed spirit with which they pursue the things of this life, whether they are serious things or mere trifles; the unconcern which they evince when told of eternal sorrows. It requires the utmost strength of human hardihood when a criminal looks with no paleness of the features, and no trembling of the limbs, on the gibbet where he is soon to be executed and no man could look on eternal sorrow with a belief that it is to be his own, and be unmoved. When we see men, therefore, wholly unconcerned about their eternal state ; men, though professing to believe that there is a place of future woe, wholly unalarmed and unmoved, the fair inference is, that not one word of the statements about future woe is believed, and that they have some secret scheme by which they hope to be saved at Lust. Either by works of righteousness which they have done ; or in virtue of the native amiableness of their character ; or because they have done no injury to others; or because they believe that it would be wrong for God to consign them to an eternal hell; or because they confide in what they regard as the illimitable compassion of God, they expect to be saved, and, therefore, give themselves no trouble about it. It is not, it cannot be human nature to believe that eternal pain is to be our portion, and still to sit unmoved. Still less can men believe this and be cheerful and gay. Every man, therefore, must have some secret scheme by which he hopes to be saved.

Yet, there can be but one method of salvation that is true. If the Christian plan is true, then all others are false; if they are true, then that is false. If there are other schemes by which man can be saved, then there was no need of the Sacrifice on the cross, and the scheme proposed in the gospel is an imposture. The admission, then, that the Christian religion is trueman admission which sinners often so readily and so thoughtlessly make-is a condemnation of all other systems, and shuts out all who are not interested in the plan of the gospel from all hope of heaven.

On this account, if on no other, therefore, it cannot but be a matter of importance to know what the plan of salvation proposed in the gospel is. The previous discourses have been designed, in part, to prepare the way for this by considering certain states of the mind in regard to religion ; by removing certain difficulties felt by men on the subject, and by stating certain presumptive claims which Christianity has on the attention of men. It seemed proper to do this before attempting to show specifically what the plan of salvation revealed in the gospel is; and having done that, the way is now prepared for a more definite statement of the scheme of salvation proposed in the gospel, or the mental process through which a sinner passes when he embraces the plan. In doing this, I wish to take out this scheme from all others, and to show what it is, so that a man who asks what he shall do to be saved, may understand what, according to this scheme, is to be done; what is required of him ; what hindrances he will meet, and what encouragements will be held out to him : what, in one word, according to this scheme, is the method by which God proposes to bring a sinner to heaven.

I begin, of course, with a consideration of the state in which the gospel finds man; and the general statement which I make on this point is, that God's plan of saving men is based on the fact that the race is by nature destitute of holiness. If this were not so, there would have been no necessity for the scheme. Men would have possessed full capability of saving themselves. If men before or since the promulgation of this plan had any elements of holiness in their character, or any traits which could by their own skill be wrought into a texture of righteousness; or if there was remaining in the human soul any germ of goodness which could by culture be developed into holiness; or if there was any slumbering spark of piety that needed only to be uncovered and fanned into a flame, then the design of interposing in the manner revealed in the gospel would have been unnecessary, and would not have occurred. For then all that would have been needful would have been to leave the race to themselves, with only such moral encouragement as would stimulate them to effort, or with such aid as would enable them to unfold the germ of piety in the soul, as they now cultivate the intellectual powers, or as they cultivate a plant from a seed sown in a garden. This is very far from being the gospel scheme.

But it is of the last importance that we should understand what is meant when it is said that God's plan of saving men is based on the fact that the race is destitute of holiness. There are things which men try to do in religion which they cannot do, and are, therefore, not required to do; there are instructions given to men seeking to be saved, which the nature of the human mind forbids any one to follow, and which ought not to be followed; there are statements made on this point which no man can believe to be true, hard as he may try to think them true, and much as he may endeavour to blame himself because he does not; there are acts for which a man thinks he ought to condemn himself, when after all his struggling he cannot work himself up to feel one particle of guilt; and there are doctrines which men are sometimes taught that they ought to believe, which are so obviously and palpably false, that in trying to believe them they become disgusted with the entire system, and renounce the whole together. After all the efforts which men make to credit absurdities, there are things which the human mind can believe, and those which it cannot; there are things which we can repent of, and those which we cannot. In a certain state of mind, and under a certain kind of teaching, a man often works himself up into a belief that he ought to feel guilty, when he cannot; and often blames himself in this respect, when he ought to feel that he is acting perfectly right. And so, on the other hand, there are cases where a man resists the conviction of guilt when he ought to feel it, and does just as much injustice to his own nature by refusing to be penitent, as he did in the other case by trying to repent. How, then, is a man who wishes to be saved to regard himself on this point ? What is he held to be guilty of ? what not?

In the answer to these questions, I shall, first, state to you what you are not to regard yourselves as guilty of; and then, secondly, what is to be regarded as the real state of the soul by nature in respect to God and religion. I can most conveniently, and with no want of respect for you, use the style of direct address.

(1.) First, then, you are not held to be guilty of the sin of Adam, nor is repentance for that, in any proper sense, to enter

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