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explain the scriptures, and preach the doctrines, and enforce the commandments, of Jesus CHRIST; we must allow that no means are left untried to bring in guests to the marriage supper. There is no actual force, indeed, employed, or recommended, by the gospel, to make men believe and practise religion; because this would destroy the free-will of men, who are left by God to choose as they please, between the evil and the good; but there is what may be called a moral compulsion, that is, so many motives to faith and practice offered to the mind, that a man of any seriousness, thought, and goodness of heart, can hardly help believing the Bible, and obeying its precepts. Our Saviour, indeed, has said as much to us in the sentence that finishes the parable ;
none of those that were bidden shall taste “of my supper.” If men will obstinately resist all those means of conversion and improvement, which God has vouchsafed unto them; if they will disbelieve and despise the Bible ; think lightly of salvation through Christ; fly from the church, and its or. dinances; stop their ears to the ministers of religion; and listen to the call of their passions, the world, the flesh, and the devil, instead of the invitation of their Saviour ; it cannot be supposed, that they will be suffered to partake of the blessings of his covenant. God is a being of infinite mercy, but He is also a Gon of infinite justice ; and when the offer of mercy has been refused, the claims of justice must then be satisfied. He calls us to penitence and sorrow for past offences; to faith in that Saviour, who made an atonement for our sins; and to earnest resolutions, and steady endeavours, to lead a holy, an upright, and an useful life; promising us, at the same time, the assistance of his grace, to enable us to do all this. If we hear this call, and give him our hearts, our affections, and our service, He will reward us with peace here, and happiness hereafter ; but if we refuse to accept his invitation, then nothing remains for us, but the fiery indignation of the Most High, and the fearful looking forward to the judgment to come.
[For the Third Sunday after Trinity.]
LUKE XV. 10.
There is guy in the presence of the angels of
God, over one sinner that repenteth
HE Evangelist tells us, in the gospel
for the day, that, while our blessed LORD was teaching the multitude, the publicans, (or tax-gatherers,) and sinners, (or people of evil character and reputation,) gathered around him, to hear his doctrine. In seeing this, the scribes and pharisees, who were also listening to' what he said, but not with an inclination to be benefited by it, took exceptions to his holding converse with men of such bad fame, and immediately declared, that he could not be the good man he pretended to be, as he was so careless about the characters of those, with whom he was thus familiar. Our Saviour, who “ knew what was in man," and saw, that the hearts of these publicans and sinners were awakened to a sense of their guilt, and touched with a desire to repent and amend; replied to the objections of the scribes and pharisees, not in the way of rebuke, nor by any arguments against their foolish prejudices; but, by several beautiful parables, which, taken from common circumstances in human life, would be more interesting, instructive, and convincing, than any dry reasoning could have been on the point in question. In the first of these parables, he compares himself with a man who had lost a sheep out of his flock.; and, under the similitude of that anxiety with which such an one would seek for the strayed animal, and of that pleasure which he would express when he found it, he represents his own yearning to save a sinful soul, and the joy which its conversion produces to himself, and all the holy inhabitants, of heaven. In the second parable, under the representation of a woman who had lost a part of her little property, the same desire of the Saviour to seek and to save a sinner is pointed out ; and the delight which such an event would occasion to the blessed spirits above, is described in the words of the text, “there is joy in the presence of the angels " of God over one sinner that repenteth.”
The passage, thus explained, will lead me to consider these three points: first, the necessity of repentance ; second, the nature of true repentance; and third, the blessed consequences of it.
That all mankind are guilty before God, is not only one of the clearest truths of revelation ; but it is also a truth, on which the whole christian dispensation hinges.
It is the great fact which made a Saviour necessary for mankind; tor, most assuredly, were any man without sin, the sacrifice of CHRIST would not have been needful for
and the blood of the atonement, as far as regarded such an one, would have been shed in vain. Scripture, I say, reveals the humbling truth of the universality of human guilt in numberless places : “ How “ should man be just before God?" saith Job, “ if he will contend with him, he
cannot answer him one of a thou“ sand.” “ For all have sinned, and come “ short of the glory of God;" says the apostle Paul.
Solomon declares the saine thing : “ Who can say, I have my heart “ clean ; I am pure from my sin ?” And David, still more particular, shews us that sin makes a part of our nature; and that we actually bring it into the world with us, as naturally as any faculties of our bodies