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GOD'S LOVE TO MAN-SELF-ORIGINATED. 11
ample, as “ Zaccheus,” the "young ruler,”
Saul of Tarsus ;"—and then perceive how Jesus Christ dealt with such ! In this way, he may discover infallibly—how he is now regarded by God; and what reception he may surely expect, when he applies, like them, for eternal life.
Now, on this principle--from the beauteous narratives of the New Testament conversions, especially those of the dying “malefactor," “the woman of Samaria,"—the “Philippian Jailor,” and many Jerusalem sinners—we are joyfully instructed, that God is waiting to pardon through the blood of Christ-every truly returning sinner,—the moment that he submissively accepts the Redeemer as Lord and Master-as his only true source of happiness, -in other words, the moment that the Gospel is understood by him-welcomed-trustedobeyed.
Thus, all things being ready on the part of God, for the immediate reconciliation to Himself, of any or every man,—we are divinely warranted to maintain-FIRST-THAT SINNERS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO SEEK TO ENKINDLE COMPASSIONATE LOVE IN THE HEART OF GOD TO THEMSELVES, (even were that otherwise
12 GOD'S LOVE TO MAN--SELF-ORIGINATED.
possible.) FOR THAT INFINITE LOVE TO MAN EVER BURNS THERE- HAVING EXISTED BEFORE ALL WORLDS- AND HAVING CAUSED HIM FREELY TO BESTOW—(ERE HE SAW THE SLIGHTEST GOOD IN ANY CREATURE), THE GIFT OF HIS BELOVED SON, TO BE THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD.
SECOND.—THAT SINNERS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO SEEK TO ORIGINATE IN THE MIND OF GOD A WILLINGNESS FOR THEIR SALVATION; FOR THAT WILLINGNESS TO BLESS THEM IN THE APPOINTED WAY, ALREADY EXISTS ; CANNOT BE
INCREASED ; AND HAS ABUNDANTLY PROVED ITS EXISTENCE, BY MAKING A COMPLETE PROVISION FOR THE SALVATION
OF EVERY MAN-BY OPENING UP A NEW AND
LIVING WAY-FREE TO ALL-FOR ITS IMMEDI
Simple as are these positions—supported, too, by the entire word of God,—yet how many, who appear desirous of Salvation, act, as if they were not true,-as if the very contrary were the case. For, though such persons, may not at once deny these glorious foundation truths in direct terms; yet, when their anxious prayers and spiritual efforts come to be strictly analyzed—they appear
MAN'S VITAL IGNORANCE OF GOD.
manifestly based upon an opposite principle. They will not even hesitate to admit their inward conviction,—that they are shut up to the necessity of seeking to awaken compassionate feelings in the mind of God to themselves ;-or, by some means, to dispose him to be merciful to them.
This vital error is the natural consequence of their souls being awakened, in some degree, to the knowledge of their awful exposure to the curse of the violated law of God,—while yet essentially ignorant of the provision He has already—undesired — unsolicited — made for their deliverance from it. Hence,-judging of God's present aspect to them, by the false index of their alarmed feelings — they are ready to conclude, that, if they saw him personally, He would have to them—in some degree, the dread appearance of a sternalmost inexorable Judge—exclaiming, “Pay me that thou owest”! Thus, being ignorant of God—they are necessarily ignorant of what can please Him; or, of the true nature of their responsibility under a reign of grace.
They do not understand that there is only one way in which God can, consistently with His character, receive sinners,-even, submis
DARK CONCEPTIONS OF GOD.
sive confidence in His love and grace-inspired by the knowledge of the blood of Jesus being freely shed for them ;-and by the gracious promise, that whosoever cometh to Jesus—he 6 will in no wise cast out.” They do not see, that, however earnestly—laboriously—and impassionately—they seek Salvation in any other way,—than the one laid down through CALVARY, --they cannot possibly obtain from Heaven one ray of peace. For God “cannot deny Himself."
Is it any wonder, therefore, that their selfrighteous,—Christ-dishonouring endeavours to obtain pardon,-should be as unsuccessful, as those of the Jews of old, who “sought it not by faith, [in the blood of the atonement]-but as it were by the works of the law”? Or, that the lack of success in their blindfold prayers and efforts
should increase their original unbelief in the love of God-if not produce in them a deeper conviction, that He is “hard and austere” — almost altogether unwilling to effect their deliverance ?
But who can be surprised, where there exists such dark conceptions of God, that when men perceive themselves exposed to everlasting destruction, on account of their
DARK CONCEPTIONS OF GOD.
sins—they should strive, like the heathen, to propitiate or render favourable to them, the god of their own disordered imagination ;-a god infinitely removed in heart and character, from the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ ?
How can it be otherwise, so long as they know not the true God revealed in the gospel of his Son,-and inwardly regard Him as being armed with an avenging omnipotence -which, for ought they certainly know to the contrary, may be ready to crush them for ever! There is something inconceivably dreadful in the very thought of being shut up to the absolute will of an irresponsible being, (even were he a man like ourselves)—whose wrath we have provoked! What then are the feelings of those who powerfully realize themselves shut up to the God of their existence, whose awful condemnation and righteous vengeance they have incurred ;-till they are fully convinced, by strongest evidence-of His favourable disposition towards them? Who can endure it? To realize it—is appallingoverwhelming! It is like the bitterness of death-the very pains of Hell ! Thus, the sinner alarmed by the discovery