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sinners,”-that he is the only, the universal, the all-sufficient Saviour ;—that he tasted death for every man ;--and that whosoever cometh unto him, he will by no means cast out. We are assured that through the atonement, merit, and intercession of Christ, we may obtain the forgiveness of all our sins, may become the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty; and being, through the influences of the Holy Spirit, regenerated and sanctified here, may secure eternal bliss and glory hereafter. This is your wisdom; this is your happiness ; this is the only way to everlasting life. Apply, therefore, your heart and conscience to the plain undeniable declarations of revelation. There will be no excuse for any who live a careless, sinful, worldly life, and refuse to turn unto God by genuine repentance, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. There are, it is true, mysteries connected with revelation, but they are not of such a nature as to darken its evidence, or to render in the least degree doubtful, any thing that relates to the duties and prospects of accountable immortal creatures. What is revealed is of far more importance to you than what is unrevealed. God has withheld the less and given us the greater. There is no knowledge of any kind that will bear a comparison with the excellency of the knowledge of Christ. You are called upon, by believing on him, to lay hold of eternal life: have you done this? Have you “put off the former conversation which is corrupt, according to deceitful lusts ?” Have you put on Christ, and are you walking in the resplendent steps of him who is "the light of the world ?” Or, are you treasuring up materials of accumulated condemnation, by saying to God, “ depart from me, for I desire not the knowledge of thy ways?" If, with the advantages you enjoy, you are walking in the paths of sin, how will you answer to God when he shall sit in judgment upon you? « Walk in the light, while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you.”
ON VISITING THE AFFLICTED.
If ever sore affliction and distress
Have made thy heart with tears of sorrow flow;
If ever in the depths of want and woe
O, think of them, who by experience know,
REMEMBER THEM THAT ARE IN BONDS, AS BOUND WITH THEM; AND THEM WHICH SUFFER ADVERSITY, AS BEING YOURSELVES ALSO IN THE BODY."
HEB. XIII., III.
The sorrows of those whom God hath visited with affliction, have a just claim to our compassion. The common feelings of our nature, the consciousness of our liability to like calamities, unite with the spirit and the precepts of the gospel, in calling upon us to visit the distressed, to sympathize with them in their woes, and, as far as possible, to bear away from them the burden of calamity. The scriptures teach us that as the Almighty
“ hath made of one blood all nations of men that dwell upon the face of the whole earth,” so it is incumbent upon us to look upon all men as united to us by an intimate relationship as our brethren; consequently, we are called upon to endeavour to soothe and comfort the afflicted soul, and not to hide ourselves from our own flesh. It is specified as one of the marks which distinguish the true and genuine members of the body of Christ, “ that if one member suffer, all the members suffer with it.” Acts of kindness, and visits of mercy to the distressed, enter so essentially into the religion of the gospel,--a religion which is, in its origin, its effects, its principles, and precepts, a system of charity,-a religion which, originating in the love of God, proposes to restore to happiness and dignity those who are “poor, and miserable, and wretched, and blind, and naked,” that they are affirmed to be the amount and the criterion of a genuine profession. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widow in their affliction; and accordingly we find, that wherever the power of the gospel has been experienced, and its spirit imbibed, the heart has been inspired with tender compassion, and works of disinterested liberality have abounded. This was its novel and astonishing effect at the commencement of its promulga
"and the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul, neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed were his own, but they had all things in common.” And St. Paul, when writing to the Corinthians, says of the Macedonians, that “in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” A christian is called upon to shew mercy to others on the ground that he has received mercy of the Lord. In addition to innumerable other acts of his favour, God has bestowed upon him the infinitely richer blessings of pardon and grace. For him he bowed the heavens and came down ; for him the great sacrifice was offered on Calvary, in virtue of which he is alone entitled to lift up his head, and to rejoice in a sense of sins forgiven. And as he lives from day to day, his unworthiness and guilt render fresh acts of mercy necessary for his safety. Is it for him then, who participates so largely of the mercy of
beaven, to be unmindful of the wants and woes of his fellows? Where, then, is reason; where is gratitude; where the smallest sense of his infinite and eternal obligations? Can he be indifferent to the miseries of others, when his own have awakened attention in the world above, and on him heaven has poured the choicest stores of mercy ? Surely, it must be instantly seen, that “bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, and long suffering," ought to characterize the professor of the gospel. Living himself upon mercy, mercy ought to be the prominent attribute of his character, the guide of his thoughts, the director of his path, the steward of all his goods.. Among the several offices of christian duty, the performance or the neglect of which is represented by our Lord as influencing the sentence to be passed upon each of us at the last day, a prominent place is assigned to attention to the wants and sufferings of the afflicted. “I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink : I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” Further :-what noble examples are placed before us to engage our imitation. Paul could say, “who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?” Moses chose“ rather to suffer affliction wlth the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ;” and David could say, even of those who rewarded him evil for good, “ when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth ; I humbled myself with fasting : I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily as one that mourneth for his mother.” How beautiful was the sympathy which was expressed to Job at the close of his captivity. As he had experienced how much the harsh reflections of friends and neighbours could embitter his calamity, so he felt how much it could be alleviated by their kindness• " Then came to him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they who had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house; and they bemoaned him, and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him : every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an ear-ring of gold.” Think too of the example of him who bore our griefs and carried our sorrows; in whom every mourner saw the meltings of pity, and the kindness of friendship. Benevolence was the garb in which all his other virtues were arrayed—the soft lustre with which they were surrounded and adorned. His miracles were miracles of mercy and kindness. He went about doing good. Love to the bodies and souls of men glowed in the whole of his words, and thoughts, and conduct. He had compassion on the multitude, who, if he had dismissed them fasting, would have fainted by the way. He healed the body while he instructed the soul. He opened the eyes of the blind, and bade the lame rise up and walk. He pitied the destitution of Martha and Mary, and raised their brother from the tomb. He compassionated the widow in her affliction, and gave back her son to her embrace. Man in misery was a spectacle which he could never behold unmoved; and to behold it, and to relieve it, was the object of his embassy to earth, and of his residence among us. By example, therefore, as well as by precept, he hath taught us to visit and comfort the afflicted. By this we obtain a near resemblance to the Divine Being. Christians are enjoined to be merciful as their Father in heaven is merciful, to imitate that God who is a strength to the needy in their distress; a strength to the poor ; a refuge from the storm; a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the walls.” He is called “ the father of mercies;” an expression which strikingly intimates the mercifulness of his nature; and therefore an apostle, in calling upon christians to be followers, or imitators of God, as dear children, wisely intersperses his remarks with an exhortation to mutual