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that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all long suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to everlasting life.* And you, wicked Ephesians, hath he converted, and committed the account of it to writing, and left it upon record, and handed it down to posterity that sinners in all after ages may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it. He wills that sinners of the deepest stain should be told of it, and be encouraged to hope and pray for conversion and forgiveness: therefore there is not a creature living, not even the long-forsaken and degraded heathen, for whom there is not in the heart of God an inexhaustible depth of riches, of kindness, and love. O! who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage?t Let this be our song; let the Lord see that we sinners in these latter ages have, according to his intention, seen the exceeding riches of his grace, and do ardently long to praise him. Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious; long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.I Let us stand with Moses and listen, while the Lord descends in the cloud and proclaims his rame: The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering' and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping, mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression and sin.
* 1 Tim. i, 15, 16.
+ Micah vii, 18.
#Ps. Ixxxvi, 15.
It will be the burden of our song in another world; for in the ages which are to come, when time shall be no longer, God has designed to shew the exceeding riches of his grace. The place which is reserved for us in heaven might have been filled with new orders of angels, but God has willed that the vault of heaven should resound with the Hallelujahs of redeemed souls: souls once lost, but now found -once dead, but now quickened--perishing, but now saved! He has shewn to the universe examples of his goodness in all his other proceedings: his works of providence and creation; but now to delight the minds of his angels, and unfold more of his perfections, he will open to them more of the mysteries of his . boundless love, by letting them see how the power of his mercy and love, operating by his Son Christ, can elevate souls from the dregs of sin, the abyss of guilt to be equal to the angels-how it can make them worthy, in the worthiness of Jesus, and meet, by the in-dwelling of the Spirit, to partake the inheritance of angels: nay, even to sit down with the Son of God on his throne.
This display of love will be the theme of endless contemplation, and endless praise; and the angels, who never stained their robes, and sinners, who have washed them white in the blood of the Lamb, shall with one heart, and one song of admiration and gratitude, join in casting their crowns before the throne, and saying, “Worthy is the Lamb; Salvation to
Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, for ever and ever!"
Amidst all our joys, one might almost think that one of the first reflections we shall make on our arrival there, will be, what degrading, thoughts have we hitherto entertained of this God of love! Let this be a concluding reflection, subjoined to what we have been saying, What a low, mean, disgraceful opinion do we habitually maintain of the blessed God! We have been hearing what God hath done for us, in quickening and raising us with Christ to hope and holiness, to faith and enjoyment, and that, in the most honorable and safe manner, in Christ; that when there was no call for all this from any thing in ourselves, he found a sufficient motive in his own divine tenderness and love; that he has determined our salvation shall be so purely of grace, and so full of glory, that men and angels shall be wrapt in everlasting astonishment at love so great! We have tried to say something on these things, but as men uninspired must ever do, we spoil what we touch of God and his love: yet still under all the disadvantages in which it comes to us, is it not unaccountable that the love of God should excite so little corresponding love in our hearts? How cold are we at this moment! but yet at other times, how proud and indifferent!
Brethren, if it be unbelief that checks the flow of affection, strive by all means against it-be not slothful but giving all diligence, to
the full assurance of hope unto the end. From this and other subjects, gather comfort and confidence. If there be the least spiritual life in you, it came not thither by accident, but by the love where with he loved you-for his great love wherewith he loved you.
If the pure minds of the saints need to be thus stirred up by way of remembrance, what shall be said to the unthinking part of the world who, because they hear of a just and holy God, think of him with suspicion and dislike? O righteous Father! said Christ, the world hath not known thee. He that came from the Father and was in the world, seems in the close of his farewell prayer to have summed up his reflections on mankind in these words, “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee;" did they but know thee, they could not but love thee. All then that is asked of you is this, Learn to think rightly of God: your views of all things will then be rectified: you will acquaint yourselves with him and be at peace.
MATTHEW xxviii, 18-20. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, AU
power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, , even unto the end of the world.
It is a favorite maxim with the world, that provided we be punctual in fulfilling the moral duties of life, it is a matter of comparative indifference what doctrines we believe. Some hold that the more mysterious articles of faith, such for instance, as the Trinity, are purely speculative. Others indeed there are, laying claim to the name of Christ, who take upon themselves to deny them absolutely, and assert openly that they may be received or rejected at pleasure. Notions, so contrary to reason,