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and we withdraw our affections from the things eternal. We are invited to come to the marriage supper, but we excuse ourselves from a feast, for which our degenerate taste has no relish or inclination. This, perhaps, may be considered as a dark view of human nature, but I would desire him who thinks it such, only to look honestly into his own heart, its thoughts, wishes, and desires; and to mark strictly the actions of his own life, and the lives of ihose around him
; and then to compare both with the pure, boly, and righteous laws of the gospel; and sure I am, that he will no longer deny the truth and reality of the picture.
The parable then goes on to relate, “So " that servant came, and shewed his lord " these things. Then the master of the “ house, being angry, said to his servant, *" Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of as the city, and bring in hither the poor, and “the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.” The gospel, my friends, commendeth itself to us chiefly on this account, that it is expressly revealed to succour the needy, and comfort the miserable. Not that it was intended to give riches to the poor, health to the sick, or power to the humble; because these things have nothing to do with the soul, with heaven, or with eternity. They belong entirely to this world ; they cease and are forgotten, as soon as a man dies, and they cannot give him happiness even while he lives. ' No! the blessings of the gospel are of far greater value than these things; its gifts are infinitely more precious than any thing the world can bestow; and the succour that it affords us is much beyond the cure of bodily disease, or the re. lief of worldly poverty. “God commendeth « his love towards us, in that while we “ were yet sinners, Christ died for us ;" and his gospel is precious to us, because it heals the sickness of the soul, and furnishes us with treasures, which the moth cannot consume, and the thief steal away. To those who feel the spiritual sickness under which they labour—the sickness of sin; who know that they are “poor, and maimed, and 6 halı, and blind,” in a spiritual sense; who are conscious of their poverty and ailments, and earnestly long for assistance and relief; to such as these, I say, and to them alone, the gospel is “a pearl beyond price,” because it holds out to them all that they want and wish for. “ Come unto me,” says the Redeemer, “ all'ye wiio are weary and heavy “ laden, and I will give you resc. Take “ my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for “I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall
“ find rest unto your souls.” If a man be but smitten with a sense of his sin and danger, and is sincerely desirous to be cured of the one, and to escape the other ; if he come to Christ with penitence and faith; with meekness and humility in his heart, with earnest resolutions of amendment in his mind, and with an actual endeavour to fulfil the duties of his religion in his conduct ; he will then find, that the gospel provides him richly with all that his soul can desire. He will find a balm in Gilead” to apply to the wounds of his conscience; a medicine to heal the sickness of his spirit; a treasure to relieve his spiritual wants; and a restoration of his “ inner man" to strength and soundness. Nay, he will feel comfort even under his worldly difficulties and bodily infirmities; for, while the gospel assures us of everlasting felicity, it also brings us temporal peace. “ Godliness is profitable to all things, having “ the promise of the life that now is, as 6 well as that which is to come.” If he be poor and needy, and scarcely able, by all the exertions of honest industry, to provide for the support of a numerous family; the gospel will distil into his soul the precious drop of contentment, by shewing him the everlasting rest which will follow his toilsome labours here below,—the treasures of heaven, which
will recompense his honest poverty upon earth. If he be smitten with disease and infirmity of body; the same gospel will administer patience and resignation to his soul, by telling him of that inheritance among " the spirits of just men made perfect,” which awaits the christian sufferer in a future and a better world, where “ tears are wiped "away from every eye,” and joy and glad.
heart. If he be in a state of servitude, made, perhaps, more painful by the unkind treatment, or unreasonable desires, of those who are his " masters in the flesh, the gospel will again afford its succour, by assuring him, that if he behave in the station wherein he is placed as a christian ought to do; if he be true to his trust, faithful in his service, and diligent in his business; the great Lord and master of all 'will, at the latter day, have respect unto his labours, and reward them with this sentence of his approbation, “ Well done, good and faithful “servant, enter thou into the joy of thy 6 lord.”
The concluding part of the parable is as follows: " And the servant said, Lord, it
is done as thou hast commanded, and yet 66 there is room.
And the Lord said unto “ the servant, .Go out into the highways " and hedges, and compel them to come in, “ that my house may be filled. For I say “ unto you, that none of those men which
were bidden shall taste of my supper.' The covenant of CHRIST, my brethren, embraces (as I have before said) the whole race of mankind. There is "room' enough for us all; and it is the wish of the Saviour that all should come in. For this gracious purpose he has given us every means of conviction and conversion, that the heart can desire. They are so powerful, indeed, that mankind seem almost to be " compelled" to become christians; in other words, the truth of our religion is established by so many “ infallible proofs;” by the miracles which were performed ; by the prophecies which have been fulfilled ; by the good that it has done, and is doing, among mankind; and by the comfort and peace which it gives to every good man ; that it is impossible any one should stand excused before God, who has bad the means of knowing christianity, and has not become a christian. When, in addition to all this, we recollect that in this country, in particular, there are churches open to receive the worshippers of God; a. beautiful Form of Prayer, to assist their devotions; the ordinance of the holy sacrament to comfort, and strengthen, and spiritualize their souls; a standing Ministry, to