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THE ENIGMA OF LIFE.
How full of mystery is life!
The wicked thrive, the virtuous meet
He will evolve, we know not how,
A CHRISTIAN physician, who was concerned for the spiritual welfare of an aged relative, addressed to her the following letter. He was fearful lest she should imagine that her amiable moral qualities, and her regular attention to religious observances, would form a passport for her into heaven; and therefore he wrote her a plain and concise exposition of the way of salvation. Will you read his kind and faithful epistle, as if it were addressed to yourself?
“**** And, now, my dear old friend, how stand you disposed for the other world ? For at the age of eighty-six your time necessarily draws nigh. I hope you are deeply convinced, with the heart as with the head, that it will avail you less than a straw to have been good to your neighbours; to have done no harm to any one; to have been regular and attentive at church; to have committed no great crimes; to have read your Bible and said your prayers regularly. To depend on these things would
be to depend upon your own good works. But what says God himself on this subject ? • There is none righteous, no, not one; there
, is none that doeth good, no, not one.'* So much therefore for your own righteousness. The explanation of this, you, I hope, know; namely, that it results from the original sin of Adam, whence no person can come to God of himself, because the carnal mind is enmity against God.' What then is God's scheme for saving lost mankind ? You know that God said that sin should be punished : * The wages of sin is death.'t He could not therefore refrain from punishing it without falsehood. But God, you know, is truth itself. God, however, is love also; and he extended that love to fallen man, notwithstanding his sin; for he designed a wonderful plan of grace, by which his justice should be satisfied, and yet a full, free, and perfect salvation be secured to all who would accept it; namely, God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' That Son suffered agonies in the garden and death on the cross, which were 'a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.' “But how can you get at this salvation? for,
* Rom. iii. 10, 12.
John iii, 16.
as stated above, you cannot obtain it by any works or merits of your own. He gives it as a free gift to all who sincerely desire and pray for it. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.* You must, therefore, pray for the Holy Spirit to enlighten your understanding, and enable you to see that you have ‘no money' and 'no price;' in other words, that your own righteousness is but as 'filthy rags,' and that if you have nothing else to depend upon, you are lost for ever. This, by the grace of God, will induce you to flee from the wrath to come.
You will then take refuge in the Saviour; you will believe in him, not only with your head, but cordially with your heart. You will receive him fully, and acknowledge him as 'your Lord and your God.'t This constitutes what is called faith in Christ, which when once you really possess, you are from that moment justified before God by Christ's righteousness being imputed to you; your sins are forgiven; and you are already, in this world, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven. The apostle Paul, speaking of believers, says:
Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.'I 'The just shall live by faith.'S
* Isa. lv. 1.
§ Gal. iii. 11.