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of Jesus. His sins are blotted out. His soul is beautified with salvation. He has no double aims. All his intentions are simple and single. His one desire is to promote the glory of his God and Saviour. His heart is the abode of peace. His house the dwelling-place of joy and gladness. He has his conflicts, and he has his comforts. He has his sorrow, and he has his support. God is his Father. Angels minister to him, and all things work together for his good. He may be hated of men, but he is beloved of God. He may have to pass through deep waters, but underneath are the everlasting arms. He may often groan being burdened, but in heaven all his tears shall be wiped away. He shall there follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. He shall there experience the eternal blessedness of that glorious promise : “ He that overcometh, shall inherit all things : I will be his God, and he shall be my son."
O! blest Redeemer, fill my soul
With love and grace divine ; Subdue the pow'r of ev'ry sin,
And make me wholly thine.
In thee, O! Christ, may I be found
From ev'ry blemîsh free ; Though vile and worthless in myself,
Yet all complete in thee.
0! send thy Holy Spirit, Lord,
In larger portions down,
And seal me for thine own.
May holiness my life adorn,
May all my soul be love ;
And plac'd on things above.
Thus will a holy evidence,
Confirm that I am thine:
Shall prove the work divine.
XXVII. ON THE TWO GREAT INSTRUMENTS IN THE
CONVERSION OF SINNERS.
The written word of God is one of the sacred instruments in the hands of the eternal Spirit for the regeneration of sinners.
“ The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul."
The preaching of the Gospel is another instituted mean for awakening dead souls, and leading them to Jesus Christ, through the accompanying power of the Holy Ghost; for "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
All men, without exception, are by nature dead in trespasses and sins. Multitudes however are quickened to a life of faith and holiness.
But how are they quickened ? how are they born again? As God is pleased to work by means, what instruments does he employ in this great work of bringing dead souls to spiritual life and vigour? Our blessed Lord himself hath told us, when he said : “ The hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live." This voice is heard, when the Gospel is preached. And wonderful is the effect produced by it. That our Lord meant dead souls is evident from his mentioning another hour, when all that are in the graves shall hear his voice and come forth to judgment. Those preachers of the Gospel must therefore be very defective
in their views, who will not exhort sinners, under the idea of its being useless to speak to the dead ; making no difference between those who are naturally and those who are spiritually dead. The hour is indeed coming, when the former shall be aroused from their slumber by the voice of the archangel and the trump of God: but the hour now is, when the latter are awakened, through grace, by the sweet sound of the trumpet of the Gospel of peace,
When Ezekiel was commanded to prophesy in the valley of dry bones, and was asked : 5 Son of man, can these bones live ?” He modestly replied : 60! Lord God, thou knowest.” Without reasoning upon the subject, or objecting to the work of prophesying to dry bones, he implicitly obeyed the divine command; and immediately there was a shaking, and the bones came together, and the sinews and flesh came upon them. Then he was again commanded to prophesy unto the wind, and the breath came into them and they lived.
So when the apostles went forth at the command of Jesus to preach the Word of life to thousands “dead in trespasses and sins;" an agitation was felt wherever they came; and multitudes were turned unto the Lord through the power of the Holy Ghost.
St. Paul writes thus to the Ephesian Church : “In whom ye also trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation.” Also to the Thessalonians : “Our Gospel came not unto you in word only,” (like Ezekiel's first prophesying,) - but also in power and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance." A quickening influence accompanied the word; and souls, before dead in sins, were quickened and saved by almighty grace. “For this cause, saith the apostle, thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the word of God, which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word
of man, but as it is in truth the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” St. James in like manner plainly declares : “ of his own will begat he us, with the word of truth.” St. Peter again, fully confirms this doctrine: “ Being born not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth for ever.” “ The word of the Lord endureth for ever ; and this is the word, which by the Gospel is preached unto you.” Surely then may the Messenger of peace say to a ruined world: Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” His duty is to preach the word. The promise of God is: “it shall not return unto me void.”
Our blessed Lord in his beautiful parable of the sower, compares the word of God to seed sown on various grounds.
There is the hard beaten pathway which cannot receive the seed. It lies on the surface, and is devoured by the fowls of the air. There is the rocky ground, lightly covered with earth, which admits indeed the sced; but affording from its shallowness no moisture, in seasons of heat and drought ,the plant withers away. There is the thorny ground, so covered with weeds and brambles that the seed, if it spring up at all, can bring no fruit to perfection. There is the good ground, which being ploughed and broken up, is brought into a proper state to admit the scattered grain from the sower's hand, and plentifully rewards his toil.
Wherever the Gospel is faithfully preached, there the good seed of the word is sown. The soil is the human heart.
Careless hearers receive no good whatever from the most faithful preaching of the Gospel. Mere animal excitements are of short duration, whilst the
stony heart remains unchanged. Worldly riches, cares, and pleasures check the growth of the Gospel in the soul.
One soil and only one is good; that is a heart prepared by divine grace; a heart deeply impressed with the command of God; “ break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns, lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it;" a heart groaning under the burden of conscious guilt, and crying out: "what must I do to be saved ?"
Such a heart, like soil that has been ploughed and broken up, is prepared to receive the precious seed of Gospel grace ; those glad tidings of great joy which proclaim pardon and peace through a crucified Redeemer.
According to the strength of faith is the produce which this blessed soil yieldeth, in some thirty, in some sixty, in some a hundred fold.
Fruit is invariably produced by such a soil in a greater or less degree; it is “the ground which the Lord hath blessed.” Happy is he who aboundeth in the fruits of righteousness, for Jesus hath declared : “herein is my father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall
be my disciples." Now if the word of God, or the great truths drawn from that word, be the instrument of our regeneration ; if a moral change be thus effected by moral means; how invaluable are the two great blessings, which a God of mercy has bestowed upon mankind, viz. “ the Scriptures of the prophets,” and “the preaching of Jesus Christ." St. Paul knew their value when he wrote, “ Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my Gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by