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producing in a sinner's mind. This is the witness in one's self, and is the true measure of a believer's enjoyment. In proportion as he feels it, will he gladly anticipate the scenes which are before him in the endless duration of the future world. All this blessedness, as he enters upon it, he will for ever ascribe to the grace of Jesus, as manifested in and through his word.

Let, then, proper views be entertained respecting the Christian Scriptures--those writings which are the medium of so much good, and fraught with the best hopes of time and eternity. Let proper views be entertained of the system of religion which they disclose and urge on the acceptance of mankind. In comparison with this system, as some one has remarked, the created universe is but a bauble. Let suitable efforts be made to spread abroad the knowledge of this religion among the perishing portions of mankind. O let the Bible, with its precious truths, and its glorious Savior, and its thrilling motives, and its heavenly spirit, be given to them, and soon given to them all! Why should they, for whom Christ died equally as for us, be left to perish? Dr. Philip, a missionary to South Africa, once disputing with an infidel, was told by the latter that he did not believe the doctrine which he himself preached : “ You professors of Christianity,” said the infidel, “ do not believe what you profess." “What do you mean?” said Dr. Philip. The sceptic replied, "if I believed that God had given his Son to die for a wretched world, and that, in order to our salvation, it was necessary that this truth should be known, I would go round the world to tell it.” By the way, what a rebuke is this to many professed Christians, who are so far from going, or being willing to go, round the world, to proclaim the story of redemption, that they will not even assist those who desire to do this deed of mercy. But the infidel might be told that this is what the missionaries of the cross are now attempting to do, and what they who liberally support them are attempting to do through their hands; since it is a correct maxim in morals, as in law, that the thing we do by another, we do ourselves. They are endeavoring to send the Bible and its religion to the ends of the earth. This is a work which is due from all who possess the Bible, and which will be felt to be important in proportion as that book is appreciated, and its spirit rules in the heart. In regard to the sceptic, above alluded to, it is not difficult to believe, that with such a temperament, in the event of conversion, he would have attempted to verify his own declaration ; although the majority of men feel, on this subject, more in the indolent spirit of another infidel, who remarked, that if Christianity were true, "it ought to be

written on the skies, so that every one might know it.” Written on the skies! It is far more clearly and certainly imprinted in the soul of the renewed sinner.

Although I have all along spoken of the truth of God as delivered in his word, and the heavenly mould in which it casts the heart, yet it will be conceded that his message in his providence is also important. It becomes us ever to regard it, for his providence always harmonizes with his word. We can learn from his actual dispensations much that is most valuable, and conducive to our spiritual benefit. It is well for us to observe the providence of God; for they who observe providences, as it is said, shall have providences to observe. And it is wonderful how events, in an unexpected manner, sometimes conspire to effect those purposes that are consentaneous to God's revealed truth. Good comes out of evil; and the time when men almost despair, is that which God takes to vindicate and advance most efficaciously his own cause.

But it is often through a series of trials and perplexities, that he puts his people on the highway of spiritual prosperity. Baffled and defc ted, and even hope failing, in regard to favorite plans, or astounded and subdued by afflictions, the church of God feels the necessity of referring her case simply to him; and distrusting her own foresight and relying on his, she is carried forward with a degree of union to the one grand result of all the divine designs, namely, the glory of God in the salvation of a dying world.

Welcome, then, in some sense, are those severe providencesthose messages of fearful note, which defeat our earthly hopes, and prostrate us as in the dust.

And we may well pray to be quickened or revived according to the judgments of God, taking that word in the acceptation of divine inflictions. Interpreted by the Bible, they enforce the same lesson. Who, then, among us, exposed as we are to evil, will not meekly learn it? And shall not Christians pray that the hearts of sinners may be penetrated by the same means? Since these are dead in trespasses and sins, let the Spirit of God be implored, that through the word, confirmed by his providences, they may be raised to newness of life. It is not without this same blessed instrumentality, that we may hope they will be made anxiously to inquire for the way of salvation, and experience the reality of that great change. O cannot something more effectual be done on our part to establish the dominion of truth and heaven over the precious immortal souls of such as are now strangers to the spirit of God's word! Shall not the prayers of Christians wing that quickening message to their hearts ?



I Peter, m. 15.Be ready always to give an answer to every one that

asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.

TRUE Christians have a hope of salvation, and they have a reason for that hope. Let us inquire, then,

1. What is the Christian's hope?
2. What is the reason for that hope ?
1st. What is the Christian's hope?

Hope is the desire of some attainment, attended with expectation, or a conviction that the object of desire is attainable. It is, therefore, an operation of the mind which involves the action of reason and judgment. It is a mental state in contrast with despair, where all expectation of success is extinguished. This is a general definition of hope, and thus far all hope is the same. But the Christian's hope is distinguished from all others by its object and end.

The object of the Christian's hope is heaven, as a state of holiness and cominunion with God. The Christian hopes that he shall dwell in heaven, that he shall be sinless, that he shall put off this flesh, with all temptations to sin, and shall live and reign with Christ in glory. The object of the Christian hope, then, is holiness, as a personal grace, and the glory of God, as the great object of all pious desire and effort.

The end or effect of this hope is the commencement, gradual progress, and vigorous growth of this personal holiness in the present life, and its perfection in heaven, to the glory of God in Jesus Christ, throngh whose work and intercession this end is accomplished.

This is the Christian hope, in its nature, object, and end. It is, in the heart, a desire for holiness, with an expectation of attaining it. This hope, then, belongs, in its nature, object and end, to every Christian. It must, therefore, be attended with a personal experience, which furnishes him with a reason for his hope. 2nd. What, then, is the reason of the Christian's hope?

Three specifications will develop a personal experience, not only amply sufficient to justify this hope, but, by a very natural and almost necessary process, originating and sustaining it.

1. He has felt himself to be a lost sinner. Christ came to seek and save them that were lost. Not against their will, but by their own consent, in full view of their actual situation. Therefore, in this plan, we see that provision is made for correcting and enlightening the mind, so that it may be led to an intelligent choice. By a divine agency, the mind is enlightened to apprehend sin in its true nature and consequences, and to see clearly the most important and solemn relations of the sinner to God, as a lawgiver. Here the soul comes to the knowledge and conviction that it is lostnot as a matter of speculation, but of reality.

There are many orthodox sinners, who will readily admit the principles of the Christian religion, and will speculate themselves into hell with as little emotion as they will demonstrate a principle in geometry. I do not now refer to that class of persons, nor to another very numerous class, who are very much afraid they shall be lost, and under the influence of this selfish fear, have made a great many selfish efforts to save themselves, but who have, in all this, had no care for any body, nor any thing, except themselves. The law of God, its purity, strictness, and justice, they have never considered, nor are they at all concerned that it should be preserved untarnished, and therefore the peculiar plan of redemption, as revealed in the gospel

, furnishes to their minds no distinct reason for a hope that sinners may be saved. Of course it furnishes no personal hope for them. But I refer to that class of persons who have felt that they are lost, absolutely lost, gone, ruined, damned, under the broken law of God.

Did you ever feel that you were lost ? Do you know the gloominess, anxiety, perplexity, terror, consternation, amazement, of being lost in a trackless wood ? Have you, in that state of agitation, seen the night shut in, the stars expire, the heavens blackened with clouds, as if hung for your funeral ? Have you felt the chill of the night air come over you, and heard no answer to your anxious call for help? Have you heard the yell of the wild beast, snuffing the scent of your track, and the tread of his rapid step hastening to his prey ? Have you ever felt, under any circumstances, the conviction in full possession of your souls that you were lost? Then, in that conviction, you have had an illustration of the experience of the sinner brought to a knowledge of his true condition under the law. Whatever may have been your precise condition, the operations of the mind in this part of its experience are the same, the effects on the feelings and efforts are the saine, all is the same, except the intelligent conviction of the different consequences which follow in the one case and in the other. It is a sense of personal danger, awakening fear, urging to effort, and sometimes ending in despair. You have often heard the story of the child in the woods, who had strayed from his path, and was found in the depth of the forest, bereft of his reason, treading, with a rapid step and vacant eye, a little circle, wringing his hands, and crying, lost, lost, LOST! This idea had taken entire possession of his mind, and, without making any efforts to escape, he dwells in despair on one single idea, expressed in one doleful monosyllable, lost, lost, LOST.

If I could open to your view the dark caverns of hell, and show you the spirits of sinners there, brought to the solemn reality of their

moral ruin, this one idea would stand out on its walls, and speak in every form and feature of its miserable tenants--Lost, lost, lost.

This is the first real conviction of the sinner under the law. And until he is brought to this reality, he never will make an effort to any effect. We may brandish the sword of the spirit, naked and polished He will wink away the force of its brightness, and say--surely it is the hand of a man.


may sound in his ear that terrible idea in that terrible word lost, lost, lost, until he trembles. But he will soon recover his equanimity again, and say--surely it is the voice of a man. Never will he do any thing in earnest until he is convinced by the demonstration of the Spirit and of power that he is lost. This, therefore, is a necessary part of the experience of a true Christian, and it is the first step in his experience.

2. He feels that he has fled to Christ for salvation. Suppose yourself, if you can, in the place of the lost traveller in a trackless desert, where your calls for help should be answered only by the tiger's yell. Suppose, when you were expecting to feel that tiger's leap, an accent of mercy should revive your hope of salvation, and the warm hand of a fellow-man should embrace you and invite you to flee the impending dangers. You would return that embrace; you would commit yourself to that man with confidence that under such circumstances he was sincere and true. Your lieart would flow with gratitude, and you would hail and love him as your benefactor. Such is Christ to the lost sinner. He is a Savior, and is embraced, and loved, and honored as such.

When the sinner comes to a knowledge of his hopeless ruin under the law, then the salvation of the gospel is approved as precisely adapted to his case. He can then believe, he trusts, and in the exercise of that trust, ripened by a divine influence to a sanctifying faith, Christ becomes to him the end of the law for righteousness. He is saved by Christ. Here his experience has been so impressive, so deep-wrought, so thorough, that it is abiding, and works by love, purifies the heart, overcomes the world, and brings forth good fruits. He cannot forget it. Can the man who has been lost and saved, forget his benefactor while he lives? No. Every thing reminds him of that benefactor. His hopes, his fears, his enjoyments, his dangers and sufferings, all awaken grateful recollections. Here is a force of experience adequate to the formation of principles, that shall influence and regulate the conduct through life. And it does so.

3. The true Christian finds a third reason to encourage a hope that he is personally interested in the gospel plan of salvation in the effects of this faith on his life. By a divine constitution, true faith in Christ is made to work by love, to purity the heart, and to bring forth good fruits. This is not a mere contingent circumstance of faith; it is a part of gospel faith, of the faith of the true Christian, and is the characteristic which distinguishes him from the devils and from wicked men. It is operative to produce infallibly in the soul certain affections, which are the abiding principles of its action.

Here, then, the duty of self-examination will find its principal materials for thought. Without a reformed lise, proceeding from the love


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