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mercy that the sinner first receives | sired his favour, one who might unfrom the hand of a God of grace. It fold the standard of revolt in his own might seem the smallest of Jehovah's kingdom. It would never do either gifts, but it is the germ of every mercy. to place among those who love him It sets the door wide open of the great one who would have no communion fountain of God. It is the holder of all of interest, no community of feeling hap ess that the created heart can be with him, one who took no part in made to hold. It is the placing of the their employment, and no share in sinner where every good can be ob- their joys. Such a proceeding might be tained, and every bliss enjoyed. mercy, but it would be mercy triumph
And these two things are here men- ing over grace and wisdom and justice tioned together. They are so men- and every thing else. It would look like tioned, because they are inseparably connivance in God at sin, or at least, united. There is a connection be- indifference toward sin. God, therefore, tween them so close that they have humbles the soul before he saves it, never in any instance been severed. lays the rebel at his feet when he parRepent, and you have not forgiveness dons him, carries him up into heaven to wait for. It is not a blessing that submissive, obedient, and burning may come, that may be had; it is with grateful love to the Redeemer he yours, yours already, as assuredly shall see there, and ready in one moyours, as faithfulness and unchange- ment to begin an eternal song in his ableness and eternity are God's. Hence praise. springs also the necessity for repent- Such then, are the two great merance : there is no forgiveness without cies which the first preachers of the it. We might as well expect the light Gospel were to take for their subjects. of day without the sun ; or motion, The only mercies, observe, which are health, and enjoyment without life. But at all entioned; the whole effect and mark these things are not connected as substance of the Gospel is included in cause and effect. We are not to look them. Every sermon, therefore, a mi. upon repentance as deserving or pro- nister preaches, if he is a faithful curing forgiveness : we are not to sup- minister, must have reference to these pose that our sins will be forgiven be- things, he must habitually recognize cause we repent. This would be a death them. It follows too, that if we blow to the great design of the Gospel, preach them, both of them, we preach it would detract from that richness of the Gospel in its first elements, its Jehovah's grace which the Gospel is minor lesser mercies, but exactly that intended to display, it would tarnish, part of it, those mercies, which in it would almost destroy the Redeemer's Christ's estimation are of the highest glory, it would silence half of the importance. It follows again, bresongs of heaven. The only connec-thren, that you are to be addressed tion between repentance and remission and constantly addressed as sinners ; is a connection of propriety, a con- each of these mercies we are to speak nection that the great God has estab- of implies your sinfulness. We call lished from a regard to his own cha- you to repentance, we talk to you racter, or rather, I may say, from a about remission of sins, because every regard for moral fitness. Now it one of you without exception needs could never accord with the wisdom repentance, because you must all be of God to take up into heaven a rebel pardoned or perish, because there is in arms against him, one who has guilt on every head here, and sin in never asked for his mercy or even de- every heart. If these things are so I might ask you what becomes of those does not even command it. It says, who describe one minister as legal “Do this and live.” If this is not because he urges submission, another done, in the event of transgression, it as half taught because his own par- denounces its curse, it condemns the doned soul cannot lose sight of for- transgressor and then leaves him. It giveness and precious mercy, and a holds out to him no encouragement, third as harsh, dark, and discouraging, no motive to repentance. It allows because he forces his hearers to re- him neither liberty nor ability to member they have fallen. I would repent. But the Gospel gives him only say, pray with your ministers, all these, and it does this because brethren, that they may ever speak Christ hath purchased all these things to you of repentance and forgiveness for his lost children. “ It behoved of sins. Other subjects may amuse you, him to suffer," says the text. And may cheer you, they may instruct you why? because his suffering was the and benefit you, they must not be for- appointed means of obtaining the Holy gotten ; but as for these, the conver- Spirit, with his converting and resion of your hearts, the pardon of newing grace for lost men. • It beyour sins they are your light. Better hoved him to rise again,” says the for us if we had never been born than text. And why? That he might have to pretend to preach the Gospel, and this grace to bestow, that he might go yet to say nothing or even little about up to heaven to live, and bestow it. these things; better for you to be an. Had he not died, there would have nihilated this moment, than for you to been” no forgiveness, and consequently hear of them, and not take good heed no place for repentance. Man would to them.
have stood in the same situation as a But let us go on to our Second fallen angel stands, suffering and sufenquiry. How ARE
THESE GREAT fering on, with no prospect of relief.
Christ Had Christ not risen, there might have says in his name" It behoved that been forgiveness, but man would never repentance and remission of sins have sought it; there would have been should be preached in his name.” This no repentance, no genuine, true, spiexpression means that they should be ritual repentance, no repentance that blessings of his procuring and his could detach a man from the world and bestowing, that they should be re- lead him back to his God. ferred to him as their author and their Some sorrow for sin there might giver. Now, as far as forgiveness is have been, such as groans in hell, or concerned, we all allow this, we say at such as that of Judas which sent him once, there is no pardon out of Jesus thither, or sorrow which springs from Christ, we have redemption through fear, from remorse, and leads to dehis blood, even the forgiveness of sins;" spair and death ; but it would have but not so with some of us as to re- been far from that repentance which pentance. There are those who re- humbles the heart, and which subdues present this as a legal thing, as as well as breaks. It must come down having little or no connection with our out of heaven, brethren, into your Lord Jesus Christ, as something de- breasts, I mean from the throne of structive of Christian liberty and God, ere you know it, or you shall never Christian enjoyment. There never was confess sin. That broken heart, that a greater mistake. Repentance is un contrite spirit, which God will not de. known to the law. The law has spise, God only can bestow. We nothing to do with these things and cannot be persuaded into it. Moral
suasion cannot impart it; neither can | Gospel, you find these graces especially affliction drive it into us. Preaching characterize him. John, the forerunner can do no more to produce it than the of Christ, cried in the wilderness and howling tempest. It cometh down came announcing the coming Saviour. from above, and is as much the work And what was his message? “Repent of God, and is as much the gift of ye,” says he, “ for the kingdom of heaheaven as the light of day, and as ne
ven is at hand.” And when Christ himcessary to the present and eternal self came out of his obscurity, he came well-being of the immortal soul, as repeating the self same words, taking the material light of heaven is to illu- up the very message of John and reminate and cheer and bless the body. peating it word for word. Turn to the “ Him,” says Peter, speaking to the Gospelof Matthew : in the beginning of Jews of Christ, “ Him hath God ex- the third chapter you will find John alted to his own right hand to be a says, “ Repent ye: for the kingdom of Prince and a Saviour, to give repent- God is at hand.” And in the fourth ance unto Israel, and forgiveness of chapter you will find at the seventh sins.”
verse these words, “From that time But these mercies flow from an ex- Jesus began to preach, and to say, alted Saviour—they have both their “Repent; for the kingdom of God is origin in his mediatorial work—they at hand.” And when our Saviour had both arose with him out of the same gone up to the skies, and had sent grave—they both characterize his Gos- down his Holy Spirit on his Apostles, pel. If we possess them we must give and they began to preach his Gospel Him the praise—if we possess them in the streets of Jerusalem, they echoed not and want them we must seek them the very same words. They said to at His hand-none other in earth or the Jews, and said it again and again, heaven has them to bestow. Hence, if Repent and be converted, that your you look at the dispensation of the sins may be blotted out.”
(To be continued.)
London : Published for the Proprietors, by T. GRIFFITHS, Wellington Street, Strand;
and Sold by all Booksellers in Town and Country.
Printed by Lowndes and White, Crane Court, Fleet Street.
SERMON BY THE REV. C. BRADLEY.
THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 1831.
(The Rev. C. Bradley's Sermon concluded.)
CIES WERE TO BE PREACHED.
Let us pass on now to our Third soul may be, the Gospel can recover point, namely, Where THESE MER- them; no matter how guilty, the Gos
The pel can save them. Repentance and text says first “in all nations.” It forgiveness are not preached in hell : is the peculiarity of the Gospel that it they are needed there, greatly needed, makes no distinction of persons : every but not a soul there can obtain them. other revelation of God to man may Prayers are not offered there. This in this view be considered as local. sentence stands over the entrance of The blessings of the Mosaic dispen- that fearful place, “He that is unjust, sation were confined to one nation, let him be unjust still : and he that is the house of Israel. There were, doubt- / filthy, let him be filthy still.” Reless, wise and good reasons in the pentance and remission are preached Divine mind for thus limiting it; but here: they are the portion of you and the blessings of the Gospel are like of me, therefore
you and I may obtain the air that surrounds and circulates them, may repent, may be pardoned, through the earth, free for all, effectual and live eternally. for all, needful for all. The language But observe, though these blessings of our Lord proves this, It behoved," were preached to “ all nations,” there he says, “that repentance and re- one place specially mentioned mission of sins should be preached in where they were to be published first. his name among all nations.” Then And this is the very last place in which we gather that all nations need these we should have expected them to be mercies, else why tell them of mercies published at all, beginning,” says that are not required by them, mercies our Lord, “ at Jerusalem.” And is which in fact may be to them no mer- it not affecting, brethren, that the first cies at all ? Repentance and remis- offers of grace should be made to sion are not preached in heaven. those, who, of all people in the world,
Again,"all nations" may obtain these least deserved this honour, and least mercies. There is not a country on wished for it—that the heavenly gift the earth, there is not a human being should be tendered to those first, who in any country on the earth, that is most despised it. One would rather excluded from the Gospel mission. have expected from Jesus a totally “ Go ye," saith its Divine author, different charge.
“ Let repentance “ go into all the world, and preach and remission of sins be preached the Gospel to every creature.” ** The throughout this wretched world, let same Lord over all is rich in mercy every Gentile nation hear my Gospel, unto all that call upon him.” No and every sinful barbarian be told of matter how lost any nation or any my grace, my Spirit shall wait to be
gracious unto him, and my blood shall "Out of Zion shall go forth the law, cleanse him from all his sins. But and the word of the LORD from Jeru. hasten away from Jerusalem, carry no salem.” “ The Lord shall arise upon tidings of mercy to that wicked city, thee,” says Isaiah again, “ and his waste po labour or pains there, it has glory shall be seen upon thee." To been from the first the slaughterhouse begin at Jerusalem was one propheof my prophets--I sent them down to tical mark of the Jewish Gospel discall them to repentance, but they killed pensation. The church looked for the them-I came to them speaking mercy, bursting out of the Messiah’s glory love, and grace, and with wicked there; and there, accordingly, he orhands they crucified and slew me. dered his disciples to carry his Gospel 0, go not there, they will reject and first, there began Messiah's reign, and destroy you. O, there was a time there began his triumph. when all the love of my heart was This proceeding tended also to contheirs. I wept over them tears of firm the divinity of the Saviour's mis. anguish. Could tears of blood have sion : it was, and is so still, an inmoved them, they should have seen controvertible proof of the reality of tears of blood shed by me in their his pretensions. What was Jerusastreets; but now the vengeance of lem? It was the place where Christ heaven is upon them. Go into all had been scoffed at, despised, and rethe world, and preach the Gospel to jected. He had been regarded there every creature ; but as for Jerusalem as an impostor, he had been executed pass it by: sooner preach to the rocks there as a blasphemer. True, he had and the sands of the wilderness.” now vindicated his pretensions by rais. This we might have expected, but ing himself from the dead, but this ex. Christ's ways are not like our ways. traordinary circumstance was misreHe commands the first offers of sal- presented, and was attempted thus vation to be made to the very people to be explained away~"He never whom we should have excluded from arose, his disciples stole him out of salvation altogether; and all the world his tomb by night.” Now, if the disare to wait for the bread of life till ciples had left Jerusalem, and gone at this people have eaten of it, and been once to the heathen world, it would satisfied.
have appeared as though they could Now, there must have been some not have faced the light; they would reason in our Lord's mind for this ex- have abandoned the place, Jerusalem, traordinary proceeding. Perhaps it where their testimony could be sifted may have been this; it was so ordered and enquired into, perhaps, contrafirst, to fulfil the prophecies concern- dicted ; and the Gentiles would have ing him. You observe that through said of them, and said it with a reason. out this chapter he lays peculiar stress able pretext, “We will not believe on the prophecies : he no where else these men, let them not bring their dwells so much on them. Now, it was tidings of resurrection to us, till they foretold by several prophets, that the have carried it there, where the cir. preaching of the Gospel should begin cumstances of the resurrection can be at Jerusalem, that the foundation of enquired into." But in testifying of the Messiah's kingdom should be laid their Master in the very city where he in that place where the degradation of was crucified, to preach him as an asthe Messiah was witnessed, and that cended Saviour in the very streets the scene of his deepest humiliation along which he was led to execution, should be the first theatre of his glory. to declare him to be God over all