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awakened sinner acts.
Mere pharisees and formalists do not know anything about earnestness in religion; and those who are in earnest to obtain salvation are considered by them as fanatics. They are only earnest prayers that are acceptable to God. The pharisee and lifeless professor know nothing about being in earnest when they petition the throne of grace. The publican's prayer is recorded as one of the acceptable and successful prayers. The Syrophenician woman was in earnest to gain her suit; and so were the dying thief, and Saul of Tarsus. that are now inhabiting the realms of glory, men, women, and children, apostles, martyrs, and confessors; the prophets, seers, and fathers of the Church were all accustomed to earnest prayer while on earth. And why not? Was not the Great Teacher Himself in earnest when He prayed? Witness Gethsemane, the Cross, &c. The compilers of our incomparable liturgy must have been men of earnest, believing prayer. Happy would it be for Christendom and the world at large if all who use the excellent service of the Church were as much in earnest as they were!
To see Christ occupied the entire range of thought, desire, and feeling of Zacchæus ;-and it is now, as then, the all-absorbing concern of those who sincerely seek after Christ, and an experimental knowledge of his Salvation. Zacchæus laid aside his business; however pressing it might be, he manfully faced the difficulties by which he was beset, which, in his case, were of a humiliating nature. God, by his Spirit was preparing
him for something more than a mere glance at the Friend of Sinners. He was being disposed fully to receive Christ, he was shortly to be received and acknowledged as one of the sons of Abraham. To this end he had been led to the determination of running before and climbing up into the Sycamore tree :-it was not because of pride, blindness, or hardness of heart that he did so ;-no, the proud are not accustomed to encounter difficulties and overcome obstacles to gain a sight of Christ.-This was as much as he could do,and, for the present, as much as was required of him. At length the dense crowd gets near,-a stop is made, they halt,--and the Healer of the sick, the Feeder of the hungry, the Cleanser of lepers, the Calmer of the stormy wind and tempest, the Raiser of the dead to life, the Preacher of deliverance to the captives, and the Friend of publicans and sinners stops,-He calls,and bids Zacchæus come down ;-yes,-he was to "make haste and come down quickly."-Christ was in haste to see him. Pharisee -vaunt not thyself.Scoffer! cease, and for ever lay aside thy mocking; Contrite one!-be encouraged;-the Saviour speaks to the chief among the publicans, and says, "to-day I must abide at thy house," and He speaks to thee.-The language of the God of Jacob is, "Come now, and let us reason together; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Isa. i. 18." Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my
To my Young Friends who live in the
beautiful Vale of Œdedicated themselves to God.
I feel deeply interested in your welfare-both temporal and spiritual-but especially the latter. Angels are also interested in you in your individual and collective capacity. They are your ministering spirits. True, they are busied in matters adapted to their nature, of the loftiest and most sublime character; for, we may conceive that they have distinct offices assigned them in the government of this world; and feel an interest, peculiar to their nature and office, which we cannot enter into, in all those things which God permits or appoints, for the purposes of justice or mercy, and the full development of His character, and immutable perfections. True it is, that they are pure beings, possessing most capacious intellects for they are always in the immediate presence of God, and so become irradiated more and more with the divine glory. God beholds in them a reflection of Himself, and these beings have from the first dawn of their existence, maintained this holiness.
Yea, and for aught we know, angels assist in the government of worlds infinitely purer than this, such now, as this was, when the great I AM pronounced everything which he had made "very good." Yet gloriously holy and exalted as are angels, they have a singular and deep interest in whatever concerns you for good. Consider their intense anxiety to fathom the mysterious scheme of
man's redemption. We are informed that "
to look into it."
They are looking yet, but, "In vain the first-born seraph tries
To sound the depth of love divine."
for love, REDEEMING LOVE is " a fathomless abyss," it cannot be sounded; it is a
height which cannot be scaled. Every penitent at the foot of the cross is the occasion of increased wonder and adoration in heaven, and on earth. You remember the time when you were counting the cost of eternal life, when the words "If any man will come after me let him deny himself," &c., came with peculiar force to your mind; when you were conflicting with the powers of darkness, when the fumes. of God's wrath were gathering about Sinai, when the trumpet sounded, as if to summon earth, heaven, hell, and all the elements; men, devils, and angels to bind you hand and foot, and cast you into outer darkness; when justice rose sternly from the midst of those clouds like "a consuming fire" enlightening you to see the condemnatory character of the Law; the insulted Spirit, means of grace, offers of mercy, terms of reconciliation never improved. You cried out
Guilty I stand before Thy face,
On me I feel Thy wrath abide;
'Tis just the sentence should take place,
'Tis just-but Oh! Thy Son hath died."
At length you fully abandoned the service of the devil. You plucked out right-eye-sins; and cut off right-hand sins," and cried "God be merciful to me a sinner."-It came from your heart, and it went to the very heart of
Jesus. Now observe the change of the scene, stern Justice is dissolved into mercy ;-and where the flaming fire, and the sword were,-the cross is. You heard the Saviour speak. "Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." With your heart you obeyed, cast your all at the foot of the cross,and you received pardon, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. Angels were hovering about you all the way through, and they winged their flight to glory,-with the news "Behold he prayeth."-And then what joy was felt by that heavenly throng, when the intelligence reached them that you were made an heir of glory and a citizen of heaven! Having got your religion under these circumstances there is no reason to question the genuineness of your faith. This is the unmistakable doctrine of the Bible. Repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Genuine repentance is godly sorrow; and is inseparably connected with saving faith. I feel bold to say that, no sooner does a man really and truly repent of his sins, and entirely abominate and abandon them, with a full determination, by the grace of God never again to touch, taste, nor handle the unclean thing, than he will get pardon. A person cannot exercise saving faith before he has truly repented. This is the Strait Gate, through which all pass who set out properly for heaven.
Well, now, when you received pardon, you were restored to the favor and peace of God, and became the possessor of indescribable joy in the Holy Ghost. You