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SERMON I.

THE WAY TO LIFE.

ISAIAH lv. 3.

Hear, and your soul shall live.

NOTHING is so near to us as the soul: nothing is of such immense value; for "what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" The Psalmist prays, "Leave not my soul destitute." He prays again, "Let my soul live." The prophet, in the text, instructs us how this life is attained; and the attainment must be unspeakably desirable.

Man will encoun

Life, in every respect, is sweet. ter the greatest difficulties-he will suffer the severest privations-he will make the most painful sacrifices, with a view to prolong only his temporal existence. «Skin for skin; all that a man hath will he give for his life." The life of the soul, therefore, the happy existence of the immortal spirit, must be a concern of infinite moment.

And how is this to be secured? "We bring unto you glad tidings." In the name of the Lord, we announce the words of this life." We preach unto you the Gospel of salvation;" and urge you, with

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affectionate earnestness, to believe and embrace it. "Hear, and your soul shall live."

Three things are proposed to our consideration: The MESSAGE implied-The REGARD demandedand The ADVANTAGE promised.

I. The MESSAGE implied.

When we are commanded to "hear," it is supposed that something is spoken: there is a voice which, in one way or other, addresses us. This is none else than the voice of Jehovah, the God of truth, the God of love, the God of all patience and consolation. He speaks to us in his good word, in the whole of his revealed will contained in the holy Scriptures. In this chapter he addresses us with peculiar energy and feeling. It is replete with evangelical truth, with affectionate entreaty, with "exceeding great and precious promises." Take the first verse as a specimen of the rest, and as an epitome of the whole Gospel: "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." This is the message implied in the text, the pleasing report to which it clearly refers. "Hear, and your soul shall live."

The Gospel is here represented under the emblem of waters." The language is figurative, but sufficiently plain. "Come ye to the waters." It denotes the rich plenitude of gospel blessings: they spring like a fountain; they flow like a river; they spread like the ocean. Here is the largest abundance, the greatest variety: come, and draw for yourselves !-But the property of water is to cleanse, to cool, and to refresh. Nothing is more exactly descriptive of the Gospel and its blessings. These refresh the weary, fainting spirit:

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