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JEREMIAH, chap. ii. 5. Thus saith the Lord, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me?—As if God had said, What unkindness have I shown you, and in what have I ill-treated or dealt hardly with you, that you have left me, and gone far away? Do I deserve this treatment at your hands? How much tenderness, how much kindness, is there in this expostulation! The circumstances of Israel's passage from Egypt to Canaan are strictly applicable to the Christian's journey through the wilderness of this world to the heavenly country. He likewise has to pass through a land of drought and of the shadow of death, through a land of deserts and of pits; but, happily, the latter part of the seventh verse is not applicable; the good land upon which we shall then have entered is not liable to any defilement. The original source and cause of all sin consists in forsaking God;
the consequence of which is, ineffectually seeking satisfaction in the things of the world. Nothing short of God can satisfy the human soul. The broken cisterns, at which those who have forsaken God endeavour to quench their thirst, are many and various; riches, pleasures, literature, &c. The world, in some shape, it matters not what, still holds them back from the fountain of living waters, which alone can satisfy a living soul. The inspired penman calls upon the heavens to be astonished, horribly afraid, and very desolate; for what reason?-for the crimes of Israel, for their moral delinquencies ?-No, they are not here mentioned; but, for that sad and fruitful source of all other sins, the forsaking of God-They have forsaken ME. And here is the emphasis of sin, which every converted heart feels more bitterly than any other deficiency, or than any other guilt. David, although he sinned against his fellowcreatures so dreadfully, by the crimes of adultery and murder, yet, when brought to repentance, says, Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned. The feeling of having offended a holy and merciful God absorbed all his other feelings. The punishment inflicted upon those who forsake God, is only the original sin continued,-is only the leaving of them in that state of separation from Himself, which they at first chose: "This they have procured unto themselves!" verse 17.
S.MATTHEW, chap. xiii. ver. 24-30, and 36-43. Parable of the Wheat and Tares.-Wheat and tares
represent the members of the visible church. The wheat represents sincere Christians; the tares represent false professors, or hypocrites. These are so mingled together here, that it is often difficult to discern the one from the other; and indeed true Christians are so apt to live below their profession and privileges, and often appear so much like people of the world, that it is frequently almost impossible to discriminate between them. There are many sincere Christians, known to be such only by God himself. The eye of Omniscience alone can see the thoughts and intents of the heart: He alone knows in whom divine love is the ruling principle. Many times, perhaps, a retiring, humble Christian may be overlooked, and esteemed a person of no religion, by those who can see no more than the outside. And it is likewise possible that a hypocrite may impose upon his fellow-men by a fair exterior, while there is no principle of faith or love within him. But God is liable to none of these deceptions: He can look through the flimsy disguise which hides the hypocrite's false heart: He can see through the veil of the deepest humility, the weakest principle of faith and love, in the sincere Christian; and he will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. A day is coming, in which he will make a final separation between believers and unbelievers; and He alone can properly do it. Observe the reason, why the tares are not at the present time to be rooted up: God says not, lest by accident ye should now leave some of the tares; but, lest while ye gather up
the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Mercy is an attribute in which God peculiarly delights: He watches over, and tenderly regards, the weakest and the meanest Christian; no one is unobserved by his fatherly eye; and He would rather, for a time, bear with the wickedness of the wicked, than that one of his little ones should perish. Man could not make a judicious separation. May we be found among the wheat!
ST. LUKE, chap. xiv. ver. 16, 17. A certain man made a supper, and bade many; and sent his servants at supper time, to say to them that were bidden, Come, for all things are now ready. You would have perhaps imagined, that to such an invitation there would have been no refusal; but the case was far otherwise. They all with one consent began to make excuse; one said, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it, I pray thee have me excused. Another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them, I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So it is when God calls us to partake of the blessings of the Gospel. In short, the world, in one shape or other, too frequently leads us all to make some excuse for not hearkening to the divine call. All are invited to come, but, alas, how few accept the invitation! Various are the means which God uses to lead men to receive the offers of his grace. He leaves no method untried, as it were, to compel men to come in. Either by the gracious voice of
his loving mercy, by the terrible voice of his most just judgment, by the still small voice of conscience, or by the voice of his ministers, God says to all, Come; all things are ready; nothing can hinder you, but your own perverse will. If you are willing, God is ready to pardon you; Christ is ready to receive you; the Holy Spirit is ready to sanctify and comfort you; the ordinances of religion are prepared for you: Come, for all things are now ready. Do not all, with one consent, begin to make excuse: let not your lawful worldly callings close your ears to this most gracious invitation. Remember that lawful employment, and lawful pleasures, unlawfully used, and unlawfully loved, will as assuredly be your ruin, as those things which are in their own nature sinful; for this plain reason, that they will prevent your attending to the duties of religion, and the everlasting concerns of your immortal souls; and will make you turn a deaf ear to the voice of God, and to the gracious call of the Gospel.
EPHESIANS, chap. i. ver. 2. Grace be to you, and peace. All the blessings of the Gospel are entirely gratuitous, not purchased by any thing we can do to merit them. The apostolic salutation enumerates some of the chief evangelical blessings Grace, free, unmerited favour on the part of God. Sometimes mercy is added; Grace, mercy, and peace. Mercy implies some offence in the party to whom it is shown, and pity on the part of him that shows it. Peace; peace with