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is nothing that appears so difficult to a convinced sinner as his own salvation. But the question is not whether you can
save yourself, but whether GOD can save you.
You kuow He can. Every moral difficulty has been removed by His infinite love in the gift of His Son, &c. True, you have broken the divine law, &c., but Christ has honoured and fulfilled it, as your substitute and representative, &c. Therefore the forgiveness of sin is consonant with God's righteousness as well as His mercy (Rom. iii. 24-26). Nor can there be any effectual opposition made by Satan to the sinner's
He is mighty, but Christ is almighty—“ Able to save to the uttermost, &c.”- Alfred Tucker.
been with His Church wherever there has been believing prayer and effort. It is this that is lacking: not prayer and effort, but believing prayer and effort. It is unbelief that shortens God's hand, and it only (Matt. xiii. 58). (a)
II. TO COMFORT THE PEOPLE OF GOD.
1. In seasons of providential trial. Such seasons are common. But Good has engaged to support or deliver His people whatever may be the nature of the trial through which they are passing. He is equal to every emergency. Rely upon the promises of God. He has sustained, comforted, and delivered, and He will. Faith argues from the past to the present and the future (1 Sam. xvii. 34-37 ; Ps. Ixiii
. 7 ; 2 Cor. i. 8–10; 2 Tim. iv, 17, 18). " Walk on the waters of trial by a living faith, and you shall find them solid as marble beneath your feet. Hang upon the simple power and providence of God, and you shall never be confounded."
2. In seasons of doubt and fear in relation to their final salvation. God's people are sometimes doubtful and desponding respecting their eternal safety. When they contemplate the difficulties and dangers, the temptations and the snares that beset their path, heaven seems to be an uncertain inheritance, and they are ready to conclude they shall never reach its happiness and glory. Opposed to them stands the power of Satan ; the allurements of the world, the forces of evil within, the cares and afflictions of life, &c. But we have promises and examples that are calculated to dissipate every doubt and to banish every fear that we shall not eventually triumph. Abraham, Job, David, Paul, &c. Divine grace has been, and still is, all-sufficient (H. E. I. 1066, 23632377).
III. TO ENCOURAGE THE ANXIOUS INQUIRER. Though desirous to be saved, many are full of doubts and difficulties and questionings. There
(a) There is nothing too hard for God. When we look at the human side of the ques. tion, difficulties and obstacles rise on every band, and hedge our way and binder our progress; and if our view is only a human view, we sink discouraged and dismayed. But if, on the other hand, we will take a look at the Divine side of the question, how soon fears vanish, and our difficulties disperse ! With God all things are possible, and the faith that takes hold upon His arın partakes of His omnipotence.
There are many things wbich men have done that seemed impossible at the first. The power
of mechanical or chemical forces, directed by scientific intelligence, exceeds by far the bounds of ordinary belief; but when we pass from this sphere into that upper realm where the Almighty rules and presides, surely nothing is beyond the reach of His almighty hand!
Hence, in estimating possibilities or probabilities of success in any course, it is for us to inquire first of all, What is the will of God concerning the matter? Does He undertake the cause? Is He upon the side of its success? Are we doing His will rather than our own? If the work we undertake is His work, and if He has appointed us to do it, we may move on in all the calmness of a living faith, without one doubt or fear, knowing that He "who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” cau give us victory. The thing which God wishes to be done can be done, and, if we will be workers with Him, shall be done, for neither men nor devils can restrain the arm of our wonder-working God.
Let us, then, have courage, and banish fear. Let us work the works of God, confident that our labour will not be fruitless, and that our victory is assured by Him before the fight begins.-A. T.
THE POWER OF GOD.
1. 2, 3. Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, &c. There are other declarations of like duals, systems, worlds beyond worlds, purport in the prophecies of Isaiah scattered in boundless profusion (ch. li. 9, 10, 15, lxiii. 11-13). They through the wide realm of space. speak to us of Divine power. The They sprang forth at His voice, and mighty works referred to could not they are sustained by the hand of be performed by any false god. The God. All are vouchers of Omnideliverance of God's ancient people potence !'” (Gen. i. 3; Ps. viii. 34 ; from Egypt was attended with such Isa. xlii. 5, 8, &c.) Pythagoras called amaziny miracles, and with such a those fools, who denied the power of sudden destruction of their foes, that God. none but an Almighty Being could 2. In the goverument of the world. have performed it.
(1.) In natural government, or preI. Let us attempt with reverent servation. God is the great Father of humility to form some conception of the universe, to nourish as well as the nature of God's power (H. E. I. create it (Ps. xxxvi. 6). He keeps all 2269–2274).
the strings of nature in tune, &c. (2.) 1. The power of God is that ability In moral government-restraining the or strength, whereby He can do what- malice of Satan and the wickedness of ever He pleases—whatever His infinite man, &c. (3.) In His gracious governwislom directs, and the perfect purity ment-delivering His Church, effecting of His will resolves (ch. xlvi. 10; Ps. His great and glorious purposes by cxv. 3). It is almost superfluous to the simplest means, &c. say that the Almighty cannot do any- 3. In the miracles recorded in the thing which implies or involves a Scriptures, and in suspending or recontradiction, nor anything repugnant versing the usual laws of nature on to His own perfections, either in rela- special occasions. These the tion to Himself or to His creatures, &c. hidings of God's power. Submissive
2. The power of God gives activity nature yields and obeys (Ps. cxiv. to all the other perfections of His 5-7). nature. "God hath a powerful wisdom 4. In the work of our redemption to attain His ends without interrup- by Jesus Christ. Our Saviour is tion, a powerful mercy to remove our called “the power of God.” His nisery, a powerful justice to punish incarnation, miracles, resurrection, &c.; offenders, a powerful truth to perform the publication of redemption by such all His promises."
feeble instruments; the wonderful 3. This power is originally and success of their ministry. essentially in His nature—underived. 5. In the conviction and conversion “Power belongeth to God.” “He is of sinners, the perseverance of His the Source, Centre, Assemblage of all people amidst all the temptations and the night that is; containing in afflictions to which they are exposed. Himself the unfathomable depths of III. Let us consider with prayerful Omnipotence, as of Being."
concern the practical lessons which 4. It follows that the power of God this subject teaches, is infinite. Nothing can be too diffi- 1. The fear of God (Jer. v. 22, &c.) cult for the Divine power to effect If God be against us, it matters not (Gen. xviii. 14). A power which who they be that are for us. “ Fear cannot be opposed (Dan. iv. 35). Him," therefore, "who hath power to II. Let us view with reverent cast into hell.”
“On this ground, as astonishment the manifestations of well as on the ground of His other God's power.
perfections, we should bow before Him 1. In Creation. “Examine indivi. with lowly reverence, and while we VOL. IL
2. The assurance that all His plans and purposes will be finally accomplished (Ps. xxxvii. 5).
tremble to place ourselves in an attitude of antagonism to Him, we should seek His favour, protection, and blessing." Confidence in God amid all the conflicts and afflictions of this probationary state. All needful assistance and comfort, &c., will be vouchsafed (2 Cor. ix. 8; Eph. iii. 20).
“Engraved as in eternal brass,
The mighty promise shines ;
- Alfred Tucker.
THE APPEAL OF ALMIGHTY POWER,
1 2, 3. Wherefore, when I came, was there no man ? &ca. Review the circumstances under treated so shamefully, He still speaks, which this appeal was addressed to strives, pleads, &c. sinful Israel of old. The principles of 2. But sinners do not regard Him. Divine truth and religion the same As of old, they heed not the Divine under all dispensations.
calls, they slight His gracious offers, I The Lord comes and calls sinners they reject the messages sent, &c., as to repentance, but they do not regard unworthy their regard, &c. Him.
II. The Lord gives astonishing 1. He does this in manifold ways. proof of His ability and willingness (1.) By the voice of conscience. Re- to save, yet sinners do not believe presentative of the
it, and trust in Him. Behold, at inward monitor, &c., ever urging the my rebuke," &c. He who by His abandonment of the sinful and the mere threatening word has dried up adoption of the true and pure, &c.
and turned rivers into a (2.) By the events of Providence. hard and barren soil, so that the The whole system of Providence is fishes putrefy for want of water, and in operation for none other than re- eclipsed the lights of heaven, can ligious ends and purposes. Mercies with infinite ease come with a gospel are sent to allure, judgments to alarm of deliverance from sin and punish(H. E. I. 56–59, 66-70). (3.) By ment. He can perform stupendous His Word. The Bible is God speak- miracles of grace-save sinners to the ing to man, &c. Everywhere it calls very “uttermost." No limit can be set to repentance, &c. (4.) By His
to His omnipotent grace. ministers. He speaks tó man, by Yet sinners will not believe it. Like
Samuel thought it was only a condemned criminal who will not the voice of Eli that called him, but believe even when he sees the Queen's it was God's voice. The true minis- pardon. If sinners will not believe ter is God's ambassador (2 Cor. v. God's Gospel, how can they be saved ? 18-20). (5.) By His Son. “ His We may as well expect a man to be servant"—the Saviour, so often in- fed by bread that he will not eat, or troduced in these prophecies with to be cured by medicine that he will dramatic directness, as speaking in not take, as expect a
to be His own name (Matt. xxi. 37 ; John saved by a Gospel that he will not i. 10, 11; Acts iii. 13; Heb. i. 1). believe. (6.) By His Spirit. Speaking to the Or they neglect it. Like the old ear of the inner man by the ministries miser who is so busy with his ledgers of friendship, or the incidents and and gold bags that he does not heed intercourse of common life ; by sick- the alarm of fire, and therefore ness, &c., stirring up an unwonted perishes. So with the worldling. anxiety about the things which belong We tell them of danger and of salto our peace.
Though He has been vation, but they are so busy, &c., they
just leave the matter alone they love, &c. As a faithful father, &c. neglect it.
A just complaint. Such conduct is Or they despise it. Like a poor but manifestly unreasonable, shamefully proud man who despises relief when ungrateful, exceedingly sinful, imoffered, because he must go and re- minently dangerous, &c. (Prov. i. ceive it as a gift. If sinners could 26). It keeps back the blessings take their little, petty, paltry doings which God is ready to confer. It and buy God's salvation, they would is highly dishonouring to God. It have it, but because they must have disputes the Divine Word, rejects the
å gift, they will not receive clearest evidence, limits the Omniit.
potent One, &c. Think of this. Hear IIL The Lord justly complains and obey the Divine call. “Repent that He is thus disregarded and and believe the Gospel.” If you doubted. “Wherefore," &c. Not ject it, the responsibility rests upon the language of anger, but sorrowful you, and you must give account to lament, wounded friendship, grieved God. - Alfred Tucker.
THE SOLAR ECLIPSE
1. 3. I clothe the heavens with blackness, &c If there be sermons in stones, there sends a flood, famine, war, plague, &c. must be a great sermon in the sun; It is just the same with you your and if there be books in the running own private concerns.
When you were brooks, no doubt there is many a huge rejoicing in the brightness of your volume to be found in a sun suffering light, on a sudden a mid-day midnight eclipse. All things teach us, if we has fallen upon you; to your horror and have but a mind to learn. Let us see dismay you are made to say, “Whence whether this may not lead us into a does all this evil come upon me? Is train of thought which may, under this also sent of God ?” Most assuredly God's blessing, be something far better it is. Your penury, sickness, bereaveto us than the seeing of an eclipse. ment, contempt, all these things are as
I. Eclipses of every kind are part much ordained for you, and settled in of God's way of governing the world. the path of providence, as your wealth, In olden times the ignorant people in comfort, and joy. Think not that God England were frightened at an eclipse; has changed. It involves no change of they could not understand what it the sun when an eclipse overshadows meant. They were quite sure that there it. Troubles must come ; afflictions was about to be a war, or a famine, or a must befall; it must needs be that for terrible fire, &c. So it still is in the a season ye should be in heaviness East. By many an eclipse is looked through manifold temptations. upon as something contrary to the gene- 2. Eclipses also
occur in grace. ral law of nature. But eclipses are as Man was originally pure and holy ; much a part of nature's laws as the that is what God's grace will make regular sunshine; an eclipse is a neces- him at last. Some of you are in the sary consequence of the natural motion eclipse to-day. I hear you crying, “O of the moon and the earth around the that it were with me as in months sun, &c. Other eclipses happen in God's past,” &c. You are apt to say,
“Is providence and in God's grace. Here, this a part of God's plan with me? as in nature, an eclipse is part of God's Can this be the way in which God plan, and is in fact involved in it. would bring me to heaven ?” Yes, it
1. Let me invite your attention to is even so. In God's great plan of providence at large. How many times grace to the world, it is just the same. have we seen providence itself eclipsed Sometimes we see a mighty reformation with regard to the whole race
in the Church. God raises up
men who lead the van of the armies of “Show me wherefore Thou contendest Jehovah. A few more years and these with me" (H. E. I. 1644–1648). God's reformers are dead, and their mantle people are afflicted in order that they has not fallen upon any, &c. Think may not go astray (H. E. I. 66-70, not that eclipses of our holy religion, 190-194). or the failure of great men in the midst III. As all things that God has of us, or the decline of piety, is at all created, whether they be light or apart from God's plan; it is involved whether they be dark, have a sermon in it, and as God's great purpose,
for us, no doubt there are some sermoving in the circle, to bring forth mons to be found in this eclipse. another gracious purpose on earth What is it that hides the sun from us must be accomplished, so an eclipse during an eclipse? It is the moon. must necessarily follow, being involved She has borrowed all her light from in God's very way of governing the the sun month after month; she would world in His grace.
be a black blot if the sun did not shine II. Everything that God does has a upon her, and now she goes before design. When God creates light or his face, and prevents his light from darkness He has a reason for it. He shining upon us.
He shining upon us. Do you know any. does not always tell us His reason. thing at all like that in your own hisWe call Him a sovereign God, because tory? Have you not a great many comsometimes He acts from reasons which forts which you enjoy upon earth that are beyond our knowledge, but He is are just like the moon? They borrow never an unreasoning God. I cannot all their light from the sun, &c. Oh, tell you what is God's design in eclipsing how ungrateful we are when we let the sun; I do not kuow of what use it our comforts get before our God! No is to the world. It may be, &c. How- wonder that we get an eclipse then. ever, we are not left in
darkness 1. Let the Christian recollect another about other kinds of eclipses; we are
The sun is always the same, quite certain that providential eclipses, and God is unchangeable. and gracious eclipses, have both of them their reasons. When God sends
“My soul through many changes goos,
His love no variation knows." a providential eclipse He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of 2. A total eclipse is one of the most men for nought. It is to draw our terrific and grand sights that ever attention to Himself. Doubtless, we will be seen.
If on a sudden the sun should entirely forget God, if it were should set in tenfold darkness, and not for some of those eclipses which never should rise again, what a horrid now and then happen. Sometimes world this would be! And then the troublous times tend to prepare the thought strikes me—
Are not there world for something better afterwards. some men, and are there not some War is an awful thing; but, I doubt here, who will one day have a total not, it purges the moral atmosphere, eclipse of all their comforts? Whatjust as a hurricane sweeps away a ever eclipse happens to a Christian, it pestilence. It is a fearful thing to is never a total eclipse : there is always hear of famine or plague ; but each of a crescent of love and mercy to shine these things has some effect upon the
But mark thee, sinner, human race. And evil generally goes when thou comest to die, bright though to make room for a greater good. God thy joys be now, and fair thy prospects, has sent thee providential trouble. He thou wilt suffer a total eclipse. Can has a gracious design in it. Many you guess what the Saviour meant, men are brought to Christ by trouble. when He said "outer darkness, where Eclipses of grace have also their end there is wailing and gnashing of teeth ?" and design. Why has God hidden Hear me while I tell thee the
of His face from you?
It is that you
salvation.-C. H. Spurgeon : The Metromay begin to search yourself, and say, politan Tabernacle Pulpit, No. 183.