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CONSISTENCY OF THE SAVIOUR'S TEARS.
interpreted as denoting the infinite repugnance and opposition of God to their sins ;-the threatening attitude of His holy government to the persevering—determined offender-as being every day ready to destroy him; while, in the midst of this suspended judicial wrath, or anger-and in perfect consistency with it -the voice of the Father's compassionate love bursts forth, exclaiming, “Why will ye die ? As I live, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked."
But, though God, in revealing his holy character to the world, has condescended to adopt the language of man—and frequently to describe His thoughts by the expressions of the excited feelings of even intellectual imperfections of man-as, for example—where it is said—that, “He repented that he had made man"—that, “It grieved him to the heart”yet, we are not by such illustrative language to confound the unchangeable serene Majesty of the omniscient Creator, with the agitating mental fluctuations of the creature, when some new and exciting events have occurred.
Though he is pleased, in compassion to our weakness, to draw illustrations from human
FURY IS NOT IN ME.”
passions,-to describe, or impress on the minds of men, his hatred of sin—and the awful retributive justice of his holy government,must not literally interpret the Lord by his creatures. This were to fall into the error charged upon
wicked man- L" Thou thoughtest I was such an one as thyself.” The Lord has no literal feeling corresponding to the “fury" of man,—though his judgment on sin may picture him out as if it were so.
He is revealed as the 66 GOD OF PEACE.” From eternity-he enjoyed in and of himself an ocean of blessedness,-alike incapable of increase or diminution. He never, for a moment, had his peace beclouded. How could it be? Such darkness or agitation could not rise from himself;--for he is essentially-Light and Love. He rests in his love. Neither could it come from any part of the universe. For there is nothing above him ;-nothing in existence but what he can and does control,—or assign exact limits to its permitted liberty. How then could he be agitated by it?
Thus, when we read such expressions in Scripture as the "wrath," "anger," "fury," “indignation," of the Lord—we are ever to remember, as already stated, that these words
FURY IS NOT IN ME."
on no account are to be understood as expressing any intrinsic agitations of His heart; but as chiefly describing the alarming aspects of His holy government to every sinner who has not fled to the Redeemer for eternal life. They will, moreover, be as dreadfully fulfilled to the finally impenitent as if they were the exact description of literal “fury" in the heart of God to them. How fearful, therefore, is the condition of that man, who is thus truly likened to one-every moment exposed to the fury of a justly provoked—absolute monarch ! When such wrath overtakes him, -How can he escape ?
But, on the other hand, to give these awakened words a literal interpretation, as descriptive of God's inward feelings, would lead to all kinds of absurdity, and exceedingly dishonour the Lord. Let it be repeated-God is necessarily exempt from all agitating human passions, and every single judgment he has ever brought on sinners has been the calm dictate of his righteous government.
He "sits on the flood !" He “walks (the expression of perfect calmness) on the wings of the wind-the impetuous hurricane!" Nothing can agitate his mind;-for to Him nothing
THE SUBLIME SCENE.
is new — sudden-or unexpected !-- nothing stronger than himself;—nothing beyond his perfect control. And, when the last convulsion of the material frame shall be effected and worlds, it may be-hurled to ruin—when the great day of his manifested wrath has come---the infinite tranquillity of his mind will be unbroken in the least degree.
These observations may find an illustration from the sublime scenes witnessed by a celebrated modern traveller. Having ascended to the summit of one of the highest continental mountains-he suddenly saw-on looking down— the clouds gathering rapidly around its magnificent centre. Presently he heard the thunder rolling far beneath his feetthe lightning flash, and the fury of the storm raging in the valley. But, standing as he did on a lofty peak—he looked up-and lo! a bright-clear blue sky_far above the storm below-all calm and serene !
So with regard to God; His holy soul is full of love and peace-even while the just sentences of his righteous government are being dreadfully executed on a rebellious world. He is the God of consolation ; and judgment is His “strange work” — unutterably foreign to His heart's desire.
40 PATERNAL LOVE AND JUDICIAL WRATH.
How infinitely opposed, therefore, to truth, are the views of those who regard him as “ hard and austere"-as possessed of vindictive feelings--or, as if he had any delight in inflicting suffering! It will then, be manifest, that judicial wrath may be "on" the sinneror suspended over him,—even while the compassionate love of God is intensely seeking to deliver - and save him. No one can deny that these aspects of God's mind are especially and successively discovered by every believer -in regard to himself-during the interval from his first awakening to his happy reconciliation to God. And, if this combination of paternal love and judicial wrath actually existed in reference to those who are saved, previous to their conversion—then we perceive how it may exist for ali.
Look, for example, at Saul of Tarsusmon his way to Damascus. Was he not then a child of wrath? Was not the judicial wrath of God abiding on him ? Was God not angry with him every day! Who can deny it? And yet, behold the same Lord waiting to disclose to this very man,
-over whom the sword of his government was being continuously held- the treasures of his love ;-love which