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sufferer; and if God's hatred of sin be sions from the genial breathings of one so intense and overwhelming a thing, day, and the desolating simoom of the that, ere transgressors could be receiv- next. And though when I had thrown ed into favor, the Eternal Son inter- me down on an alpine summit, and lookposed and humbled himself so that an- ed forth on the clusterings of the grand gels drew back confounded, and en- and the lovely, canopied with an azure dured vicariously such extremity of that was full of glory; a hope, that my wretchedness that the earth reeled at Creator loved me, might have been gathe spectacle, and the heavens were thered from scenery teeming with imdarkened; why, shall there, or can presses of kindness, and apparently there, be harborage of the deceitful sending out from waving forests, and expectation, that if any one of us, the gushing fountains, and smiling villages, sons of the apostate, rush on the bosses the anthem of an acknowledgment that of the buckler of the Lord, and make God is infinitely beneficent; yet if, on trial for himself of the justice of the a sudden, there passed around me the Almighty, he shall not find that justice rushings of the hurricane, and there as strict in its works as it is stern in came up from the valleys the shrieks its words, prepared to deal out to him, of an affrighted peasantry, and the unsparingly and unflinchingly, the fiery torrents went down in their strength, portion whose threatenings glare from sweeping away the labor of man's hands, the pages of Scripture ? So then we and the corn and the wood which had may count it legitimate to maintain, crowned the fields as a diadem ; oh, that the truth of God being a just God the confidence which had been given is appreciated truth, and effective truth, me by an exhibition which appeared only in the degree that it is truth " as- eloquent of the benevolence of God. it is in Jesus:" and we add, conse- head, would yield to horror and trepiquently, new witness to the fact, that dation, whilst the Eternal One seemed the definition of our text describes walking before me, the tempest his truth accurately under its influential voice, and the lightning his glance, and and life-giving forms.

a fierce devastation in his every footWe may pursue much the same line print. of argument in reference to the truth But even allowing the idea gained, of the love of God. We may confess, that "God is love," there is no properthat he who looks not at this attribute ty of the Creator concerning which it through the person and work of the is easier to fall into mistake. We have Mediator, may obtain ideas of it which no standard by which to estimate dishall, in certain respects, be correct. vine affections, unless one which we And yet, after all, it would be hard to fashion out of the results of the work. prove satisfactorily, by natural theolo- ings of human. And we know well

God is love." John, 4:8. enough, that, amongst ourselves, an inThere may be a kind of poetical, or tense and overweening attachment is Arcadian divinity, drawn from the almost sure to blind man to the faults brightness of sunshine, and the rich of its object, or to cause, at the least, enamel of flowers, and the deep dark that when the faults are discerned, due blue of a sleeping lake. And, taking blame is withheld. So that, whilst we the glowing landscape as their page of have not before us a distinct exhibition theology, men may sketch to them- of God's love, we may fall naturally selves God unlimited in his benevo- into the error of ascribing an effemi. lence. But when the sunshine is suc- nate tenderness to the Almighty, and ceeded by the darkness, and the flowers reckon, exactly in proportion as we are withered, and the waters wrought judge the love amazing, that it will into madness, can they find in the wrath never permit our being given over to and devastation that assurance of God's torment. Hence, admitting it to be love which they derived, unhesitating truth, yen, most glorious and blessed ly, from the calm and the beauty? The truth, that the creature is loved by matter of fact we hold to be, that Na- the Creator, this truth must be viewed tural Theology, at the best, is a system through a rectifying medium, which of uncertainties, a balancing of oppo- shall correct the distortions which a sites. I should draw different conclu- depraved nature produces.

gy, that

Now we maintain again that this would acquaint ourselves with the cha. rectifying medium must be the person racter of God. But we wave the furand work of the Savior. In other words, ther prosecution of our first head of we must make the truth of God's love, discourse, and ask attention to a few truth "as it is in Jesus,” and then, at remarks which have to do with the seone and the same time, we shall know cond. how ample is the love, and be guarded We divided truth into two great deagainst abusing it. When we observe partments; truth which relates to the that God loved us so well as to give his character of God, truth which relates Son to death for us, we perceive that to the condition of man. We proceed, the immenseness of this love leaves therefore, to affirm, in reference to the imagination far behind in her least-fet- condition of man, that truth, if rightly tered soarings. But when we also ob understood, or thoroughly influential, serve that love, so unheard of, could must be truth as it is in Jesus." We not advance straight to the rescue of find it admitted, for example, in most its objects, but must wait, ere it could quarters, that man is a fallen being, breathe words of forgiveness to the with faculties weakened, if not wholly fallen, the outworkings of a task of ig- incapacitated for moral achievement. nominy and blood; there must vanish, Yet ihis general admission is one of the at once, the idle expectancy of a ten- most heartless, and unmeaning things derness not proof against the cry of in the world. It consists with the hardespair, and we must learn (unless we boring pride and conceit. It tolerates wilfully close the mind against convic- many forms and actings of self-rightetion) that the love of a holy, and righ- ousness. And the matter-of-fact is, teous, and immutable Being is that that man's moral disability is not to be amazing principle, which can stir the described, and not understood theoreuniverse in our behalf during the sea- tically. We want some bold, definite, son of grace, and yet, as soon as that and tangible measurements. But we season have terminated, resign us un- shall find these only in the work of hesitatingly to the ministry of ven. Christ Jesus. I learn the depth to geance. Thus, take the truth of God's which I have sunk, from the length of love out of Jesus, and you will dress the chain let down to updraw me. I up a weak and womanish sympathy, ascertain the mightiness of the ruin by which cannot permit the punishment of examining the machinery of restorathe disobedient. But, on the other hand, tion. I gather that I must be, in the take this truth "as it is in Jesus,” and broadest sense, unable to effect deliyou have the love immeasurable in its verance for myself, from observing that stature, but uncompromising in its pe- none less than the Son of the Highest nalties; eager to deliver the meanest had strength enough to fight the batwho repents, yet nerved to abandon the tles of our race. Thus the truth of huthousands who die hardened; threat. man apostacy, of human corruption, of ening, therefore, the obdurate in the human helplessness-how shall this be very degree that it encourages the pe-understood truth and effective? We nitent: and when you thus contrast answer, simply through being truth truth" as it is in Jesus," with truth as "as it is in Jesus.” In the history of it is out of Jesus, you will more and the Incarnation and Crucifixion we more recognize the power and the read, in characters not to be misinterworth of the expression, that the Ephe- preted, the announcements, that man sians had been taught "as the truth is has destroyed himself, and that, what. in Jesus.”

ever his original powers, he is now void We might employ this kind of illus- of ability to turn unto God, and do tration in regard to other attributes of things well-pleasing in his sight. You God. We might show you that cor- do not, indeed, alter these truths, if rect and practical views of the truths you destroy all knowledge of the Inof God's faithfulness, God's holiness, carnation and Crucifixion. But you reGod's wisdom, are only to be derived move their massive and resistless ex. from the work of redemption ; and this hibition, and leave us to our own vague would be showing you that truth must and partial computations. We have nobe truth" as it is in Jesus,” if we thing practical to which to appeal, no

thing fixed by which always to estimate. which to read truth in the holy child Thus, in spite of a seeming recognition Jesus. Or, rather, we are ignorant of of truth, we shall be turned adrift on a the characters in which truth is graven wide sea of ignorance and self-sufficien- on the Savior: and therefore, though cy; and all because truth may be to us we may read it in books and manutruth as it is in moral philosophy, truth scripts, on the glorious scroll of the as it is in well-arranged ethics, truth heavens, and in the beautiful tracery as it is in lucid and incontrovertible of forest and mountain, we can never statements; and yet prove nothing but peruse it as written in the person and despised, and ill-understood, and pow. work of God's only and well-beloved erless truth, as not being to us truth Son. The mortification of the flesh"as it is in Jesus.”

the keeping under the body-the pluckWe add that the law of God, which ing out the offending right eye-the has been given for the regulation of our cutting off the offending right handconduct, is a wonderful compendium these, so to speak, are the processes of of truth. There is not a single working tuition by which men are taught "as of wickedness, though it be the light the truth is in Jesus.” Sanctification est and most secret, wbich escapes the conducts to knowledge, and then knowdenouncements of this law; so that ledge speeds the work of sanctification. the statute-book proves itself truth by We beseech you, therefore, that ye delineating, with an unvarying accura- strive, through God's grace, to give cy, the whole service of the father of yourselves to the business of putting lies. But who knows any thing of this off the old man. Will ye affirm that ye truth, unless acquainted with the law believe there is a heaven, and yet act as expounded and fulfilled by Christ ? as though persuaded that it is not worth Christ in his discourses expanded every striving for? Believe, only believe, precept, and in his obedience exhibited that a day of coronation is yet to break every demand. He, therefore, who on this long-darkened globe, and the would know the truth which there is sinews will be strung, like those of the in the law, must know this truth “as wrestlers of old, who saw the garlands it is in Jesus." He moreover, who in the judges hands, and locked themwould not be appalled by this truth, selves in an iron embrace. Strive-for must view it " as it is in Jesus.” Know the grasp of a destroyer is upon you, ledge of the law would crush a man, if and if ye be not wrenched away, it will unaccompanied by the consciousness palsy you, and crush you. Strive-for that Christ obeyed the law in his stead. the foe is on the right hand, on the left So that truth" as it is in Jesus,” this hand, before you, behind you; and ye is knowledge, and this is comfort. And must be trampled under foot, if ye finally-for we must hurry over ground struggle not, and strike not, as those where there is much which might tempt who feel themselves bound in a deathus to linger-look at the context of the grapple. Strive-there is a crown to words under review, and you will find be won-the mines of the earth have that truth “as it is in Jesus,” differs not furnished its metal, and the depths from that truth as it is out of Jesus, of the sea hide nothing so radiant as in being a sanctifying thing. The the jewels with which it is wreathed. Ephesians were “taught as the truth Strive--for if ye gain not this crown is in Jesus,” to “put off, concerning -Alas! alas ! ye must bave the scorthe former conversation, the old man, pions for ever round the forehead, and which is corrupt according to the de- the circles of that flame which is fanceitful lusts." Hence—and this after ned by the breath of the Almighty's all is the grand distinction--truth, "as displeasure. it is in Jesus," is a thing of the heart; Strive then, but strive in the strength whereas truth, as it is out of Jesus, is of: your risen Lord, and not in your own. a thing of the head. Dear Brethren, ye Ye know not how soon that Lord may cannot be too often told that without come. Whilst the sun walks his usual holiness “ no man shall see the Lord.” path on the firmament, and the grass Hebrews, 12, : 14. If no vigorous pro- is springing in our fields, and mer. cess of sanctification be going on with chants are crowding the exchange, and in, we are destitute of the organs by politicians jostling for place, and the

voluptuous killing time, and the avari- as truth which is soothing: terrible, for cious counting gold," the sign of the he shall be Judge as well as Savior; Son of Man," Matthew, 24 : 30, shall and ye cannot face Him, ye cannot be seen in the heavens, and the august stand before Him, unless ye now give throne of fire and of cloud be piled for ear to His invitation, “ Come unto me, judgment. Be ye then persuaded. If all ye that labor and are heavy laden, not persuaded, be ye alarmed. There is and I will give you rest.” Matthew, truth in Jesus which is terrible, as well | 11:28.

SERMON XII.

THE DIFFICULTIES OF SCRIPTURE.

“ In which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable

wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.”—2 Peter, 3 : 16.

The writings of St. Paul, occupying, handled, that the apostle's writings as they do, a large portion of the New should present greater difficulties to Testament, treat much of the sublimer the Biblical student. With the excepand more difficult articles of Christiani- tion of the Book of Revelation, which, ty. It is undeniable that there is a great as dealing with the future, is necessadeal made known to us by the Epistles, rily hard to be interpreted, the Epistle which could only imperfectly, if at all, to the Romans is probably that part of be derived from the Gospels. We have the New Testament which most dethe testimony of Christ himself that he mands the labors of the commentator. had many things to say to his disciples, And though we select this epistle as which, whilst he yet ministered on pre-eminent in difficulties, we may say earth, they were not prepared to re- generally of the writings of St. Paul, ceive. Hence it was altogether to be that, whilst they present simple and expected that the New Testament would beautiful truths which all may underbe, what we find it, a progressive book ; stand, they contain statements of docthe communications of intelligence trine, which, even after long study and growing with the fuller opening out of prayer, will be but partially unfolded the dispensation. The deep things of by the most gifted inquirers. With this the sovereignty of God; the mode of admission of difficulty we must join the the justification of sinners, and its per- likelihood of misconception and misapsect consistence with all the attributes plication. Where there is confessedly of the Creator; the mysteries bound obscurity, we may naturally expect up in the rejection of the Jew and the that wrong theories will be formed, and calling of the Gentile ; these enter erroneous inferences deduced. If it be largely into the Epistles of St. Paul, hard to determine the true meaning of though only faintly intimated by wri- a passage, it can scarcely fail that some ters who precede him in the canon of false interpretation will be advanced, Scripture. And it is a natural and un- or espoused, by the partisans of theoavoidable consequence on the greater logical systems. If a man have error to abstruseness of the topics which are maintain, he will turn for support to passages of Scripture, of which, the the whole Bible the wresting of the un. real sense being doubtful, a plausible learned and unstable. So that, when may be advanced on the side of his there is wanting that chastened, and falsehood. If, again, an individual wish teachable, and prayerful disposition, to persuade himself to believe tenets which should always be brought to the which encourage him in presumption study of Scripture, the plainest pasand unholiness, he may easily fasten on sages and the most obscure may be separate verses, which, taken by them- equally abused. After all, it is not so selves, and without concern for the much the difficulty which makes the analogy of faith, seem to mark out danger, as the temper in which the Biprivileges superseding the necessity of ble is perused. And if St. Peter's statestriving against sin. So that we can ment prove anything, it proves that find no cause of surprise in the fact, selections from Holy Writ, such as the that St. Peter should speak of the Epis- papist will allow, are to the full as tles of St. Paul as wrested by the "un-fraught with peril as the unmutilated learned and unstable" to their own de- volume; and that, therefore, unless a struction. He admits that in these man is to read all, he ought not to read Epistles "are some thin hard to be a line. We cannot but admire the manunderstood.” And we consider it, as ner in which the apostle has expressed we have just explained, a necessary himself. If he had specified difficulties; consequence on the difficulties, that if he had stated that it was upon such there should be perversions, whether or such points that St. Paul's Epistles, wilful or unintentional, of the writings. or the Scriptures in general, were ob

But you will observe, that, whilst Št. scure; those who are disposed to give Peter confesses both the difficulty and part, and to keep back part, might have the attendant danger, he gives not the had a ground for their decision, and a slightest intimation that the Epistles rule for their selection. But since we of St. Paul were unsuited to general have nothing but a round assertion perusal. The Roman Catholic, when that all the Scriptures may be, and are, supporting that tenet of his church wrested by the unlearned and unstable, which shuts up the Bible from the lai- there is left us no right of determining ty, will appeal confidently to this state. what is fit for perusal and what is not ment of St. Peter, arguing that the al- fit; so that, in allowing a solitary verse lowed difficulty, and the declared dan- to be read, we run the same risk as in ger, give the Apostle's authority to the allowing every chapter from the first to measure of exclusion. But certainly it the last. Thus we hold it clear to evewere not easy to find a more strained ry candid inquirer, that our text simand far-fetched defence. Had St. Peter ply proves the necessity of a right temintended to infer, that, because obscu- per to the profitable perusal of the Birity and abuse existed, there ought to ble. It gives no such exclusive characbe prohibition, it is altogether unac- teristic to the writings of St. Paul, as countable that he did not lay down the would warrant our pronouncing them inference. A fairer opportunity could peculiarly unsuited to the weak and ilnever be presented for the announce- literate. If it sanction the withdrawment of such a rule as the Roman Ca- ment of any part of the Bible, it im. tholic advocates. And the mere find- peratively demands the withdrawment ing, that, when an inspired writer of the whole. And forasmuch as it thus speaks of the dangers of perusal, he gives not the shadow of authority to gives not even a hint which can be tor- the selection of one part and the omistured into sanction of its prohibition, sion of another; and forasmuch, moreis, in itself, so overpowering a witness over, as it contains not the remotest to the right of all men to read the Bi- hint that danger is a reason for shutble for themselves, that we wonder at ting up the Scriptures; we rather learn the infatuation of those who can ap- from the passage, that free as the air peal to the passage as supporting a should be the Bible to the whole hucounter-opinion. You will observe that man population, than that a priesthood, whilst St. Peter speaks only of the wri- sitting in assize on its contents, may dole tings of St. Paul as presenting " things out fragments of the word, or keep it, if hard to be understood,” he extends to they please, undividedly to themselves.

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