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rest. Hence all men are in quest of happiness, and every one expects to find it. Many fancy that they have obtained it, and wrap themselves up in this fond conceit, till death hurls them headlong down the precipice into the burning gulph below!
While we view the many millions of mankind in search of some imaginary good, and greatly thirsting after it; how gracious, how condescending is the invitation of mercy to the only fountain of true felicity : “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price."
A world thirsting after happiness, but mistaking its true nature and source, is here most lovingly, most freely invited to accept of the inestimable blessing “ Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not,” is the powerful appeal to the hearts and consciences of sinners.
Much labour and expense are bestowed towards obtaining some supposed good: but being altogether of an earthly nature, it cannot nourish the soul, or satisfy its enlarged desires. Hence follows this gracious declaration : “hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear and come unto me, hear and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” 0! what a rich display of grace is here.
Well may the Almighty say: “my thoughts are not your thoughts ; neither are your ways my ways. But it does not stop here. The voice of mercy still cries : “ seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near;“ evidently implying that a time is coming when he will not be
found; an hour is approaching, when he will not hear. He is now waiting to be gracious, and may be found in Christ upon a mercy-seat, to bless every returning penitent. But if the day of grace be once ended; if death find the sinner still impenitent and unbelieving, the Lord will be found indeed, but found seated on a throne of judgment; and the wretched criminal will be driven far from his presence, never more to hear the sweet call of slighted mercy.
In this beautiful invitation to a world of sinners, grace reigns through righteousness; for it is added:
let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
A sweet assurance of joy and peace is given to every sinner, who thus, through grace, turns unto the Lord with a true penitent heart and lively faith: “ he shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."
Here is nothing but joy and rejoicing !-0! what a precious salvation ! The ransomed soul shall be filled with joy and peace through believing. “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God, over one sinner that repenteth.” The ministers of Christ ardently long after and rejoice in the conversion of sinners. “My heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” “God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.” “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
Such were the feelings of Paul and John.
The whole church rejoices to behold the wandering sheep brought safe into the fold; and heartily
welcomes the chief of sinners, when he becomes the loving disciple of her beloved Lord. “They had heard only, that he which persecuted us in times past, now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed, and they GLORIFIED GOD IN ME.”
So wrote Paul to the church in Galatia, respecting his reception by the apostles at Jerusalem.
The Almighty himself thus addresses his beloved people, redeemed through the blood of Jesus: “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save; he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing." Thus the Lord will bless the righteous, and with favour will he compass him as with a shield.
The certainty of all this blessedness is declared : “My word that goeth out of my mouth, it shall not return unto me void; but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereunto I sent it.”
The glory of God is also secured : “Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree; and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
This glorious change from sin to holiness, which is figuratively expressed by the thorn and briar; the fir tree and the myrtle; shall be for a sign, an everlasting sign of the divine origin of the Gospel of Christ, and for a perpetual memorial of the converting grace of God.
0! my soul! after what object art thou thirsting? After what are thy desires tending? Look around thee, and see, if any created good can satisfy those desires ? Be assured that nothing can make thee truly happy, but an interest in the blood of Jesus ; nothing but an union to him by faith ; nothing but a sweet experience of his pardoning mercy and sanc
tifying grace; nothing but an entire and unreserved dedication of thyself to him, who gave himself for thee. 0! then cast thyself now at the feet of a loving Saviour. He will not spurn thee from him, though thou deservest to be cast into the nethermost hell!
0! may I daily thirst for these blessings. I would now draw nigh to the fountain of living water. May I freely take of thee, O! thou Spirit of consolation. By thy sacred influence may I feel my
soul refreshed and strengthened, whilst journeying to the land of which sovereign grace hath said: I will give it you.
Blessed Jesus ! I am not worthy to approach thee. But here is my encouragement; that those only are invited, who have “no money;" no merit of their own; and I have none. Thy righteousness is my only boast and plea. Thou camest not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. How gracious then is this Gospel call to a world of perishing sinners: “Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.” O! that all may hear and embrace the offered mercy.
Hasten the glorious period, when all shall come with singing unto thee; when the church shall lengthen her cords, and strengthen her stakes; yea, when the whole earth shall be filled with thy glory. Come, Lord Jesus : come quickly. Amen.
Thou fountain of eternal life,
Whose streams for ever flow,
And all thy bliss bestow.
Refresh my soul with living streams,
Till holy fruits abound;
On Zion's sacred ground.
Much valuable instruction and consolation may be derived, from the consideration of the vision with which Moses was favoured in the desert of Midian.
“ The angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. And he looked, and behold the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.” (Exod. iii. 2.)
Like Moses, I would now turn aside, and contemplate “this great sight,” at once so instructive and consoling.
This bush, which in the original signifies a thorny bush, is a fit emblem of the church of God. Considered in itself, it is weak and worthless; a bramble bush, the lowest among the shrubs. your calling, brethren," writes the apostle to the church at Corinth, “how, that not many wise men
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