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impair its beauty, the Spirit of God speaking in the recesses of the heart, he can utter what the love of Christ is, and he alone can do it. And if there be those who having heard of the Gospel, have never heard the Gospel, who surrounded by all which should awaken emotion, have continued as the unconscious dead, and while the brightness of the Sun of Righteousness has fallen around them on their path, have never seen its light or felt its warmth upon their souls; let us here implore such to pray, that God would reveal this unto them. That he who alone can teach, would set before them, in its breadth, and depth, and height, that love of Christ which passeth knowledge; that the divine attraction of the cross, may swiftly draw them from the error of their ways, to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. To hear of God's love to sinners in the everlasting Gospel, and yet not to have embraced the offers of that love, and to have felt its power in the soul; what can be more melancholy? Surely this is the ingratitude which is as the sin of witchcraft; surely this is the iniquity which puts all lesser sins into the shade, and calls forth the astonishment of angels and the exultation of the adversary of mankind. What can such expect, but to hear at the last day, "Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire;" when now they close their ears and will not hear God expostulating with them, and inviting them, and intreating them, and saying unto them, "return unto me."

This is, indeed, a wondrous revelation of his love which God hath made to sinners, when declaring to them, how he can be at once just and merciful, he invites them to come, however weary and heavy laden with the burden of their iniquities, to come and partake his blood-bought pardon, and the peace of those who are washed, and sanctified, and justified through grace which is in Christ Jesus. But however admirable is this theme, there is one perhaps more admirable still, the readiness of forgiveness which God manifests to those of his children who, in forgetfulness of all his past mercies, have turned aside from following the holy commandment given to them. This disposition upon God's part, is beautifully and simply set forward in Jer. iv. 1. "If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the Lord, return unto me." The invitation, we perceive, is addressed to those who know the truth." Israel," is the title of those to whom God speaks here, and the Israel of God, is, we know, the blessed appellation of those spiritual children, who like Jacob, the original Israel, have had through divine grace, "power with God, and have prevailed." It is believers who are particularly spoken to in the Scripture above quoted: and we would therefore entreat the special attention of such among our readers, as belong to this best class among the children of men.

"If thou wilt return," saith the Lord, "return;" but does not that imply a previous departure? What, and have those whom Christ redeemed with his own blood-have they whose wandering feet were arrested by God's mercy, while yet they were pursuing the broad road to death-have they whose closed ears were unstopped to hear the song of heaven, "Glory to God in the highest, and

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on earth, peace, good-will toward men,"-have they gone aside? Alas, it is too true;-with downcast countenances,-with consciencesmitten bosoms, they feel some of them that they are in the case of the Psalmist of old, "Against God, and him only, they have sinned, and done evil in his sight." For sake of what the world, or the flesh, or the devil could provide, they have left the side of their heavenly Father, and have given up the light of his countenance, and have flung away the sweet peace which once they felt when they knew themselves the Lord's, and that all that he had was theirs! And now with aching hearts, ye unhappy ones,-hearts which nothing here could satisfy, with tearful eyes, and frequent sighs of grief, you meditate in silence on the vileness of your transgressions against the countless mercies of redemption. In the dark hours of your thoughts, the recollections of the multiplied blessings which once visited you, unworthy as you were, arise, like spectral images of departed friends, and pass in melancholy array before your souls. What were we,' you say to yourselves, that Jesus should have interfered for us?-that he should have agonized and bled, and died for the purchasing for us a pardon, and to buy back that heaven which we had forfeited by our iniquities? And had we no better return to make for Jesus' love than this,-to go out into that world which knows him not, and hates him, there to occupy ourselves about the things which please the prince of darkness, and to live in forgetfulness of holiness and heaven? Ours is a fearful case; for we have sinned against light and knowledge. Often did conscience warn. Often did the Holy Spirit strive. But we would follow the devices and desires of our own hearts.. And now that the very things we have followed have proved vain and unsubstantial, with nothing solid or permanent about them, but the remorse of having turned aside to such things, dissatisfied, disgusted, wretched, we feel that earth can do nothing for us; and, as to heaven, that must be against us. How can we look up to that Jesus whom we have betrayed and forsaken? Is not our prayer shut out from God's holy temple? Have we not exhausted the divine patience, and treasured up for ourselves wrath inconceivable ?" Poor sinners! Your case is indeed a melancholy one. To read your story is to read what is the heart of man. But to read the heart of Jesus, who can know all that is there? We could not tell of ourselves. It has within it depths of love-of everlasting graciousness, which it is not for a worm like man to fathom. But we can

deliver to you Jesus' message. We can tell you that he has sent a word to you to you who have gone from him, and here it is— "Return unto me, O Israel." Has he said that he will manifest his anger even for a time? No. Has he said that he will make mention of your transgressions to you? No. Has he declared that you have often done the like before, and that the time of forgiveness is exhausted? No. Has he announced a single thing as requisite on your part, but the one point of willing to be with him as before? Nothing whatever. If you are for coming back, he is well pleased to bless you. Without a look of anger, in all the

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fullness of his own gentleness and grace, he says, "If thou wilt return, O Israel, return unto me."

And now that we have announced to every poor, backsliding sinner what is the mind of Jesus to him, we would say to such also, consider the insufficiency of all which you lately rested on as so desirable, and consider the intrinsic blessedness of what you are invited to partake. Poor sinner, thou wouldst not believe thy Jesus when he said, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world." Thou thoughtest surely there was something good in it-something which might divide thy heart with God. And now it is gone from thee, and now thou hast found it to be a treacherous deceit ; and with wounded heart thou art dragging thy painful steps along the rugged paths of this scene of sin and sorrow. But what hast thou done? Some lawful thing has been unlawfully delighted in. Thou hadst a partner of thy bosom, or some sweet one of the offspring reared upon thy knees, and thou sufficedst it to fill thy whole heart, and it was every thing to thee, and it is gone. yes, it is gone; thou stoodst by and sawest it depart. That humbled forehead, over which hangs the loosened hair, damp with the touch of death; those eyes now closed in darkness; that mouth on which yet lingers the smile which bade thee an eternal farewell ;are these all that remain of what was once to thee instead of God? And as thou standest and lookest upon that wreck, and seest the utter hopelessness of thy visitation, dost thou exclaim in thy soul, Vain is the hope of man? Indeed thou sayest right. O it is that truth thou shouldst have known and lived upon before. But listen to thy God. Thou wouldst go to him now--now that thy loved one is gone, thou wouldst go back to thy Saviour. Well, go back

He calls thee. He calls thee to comfort thee. No mention shall be made of thy foolishness. He calls thee that he may pour oil and wine into thy wounds. He will bend over thee and bind up thy broken heart, and the only words which he shall say shall be, "Take care of him."

We might, if necessary, amplify abundantly upon this theme. For oh, in what melancholy variety do the backslidings of God's people present themselves; how prone are they to that mutability of purpose and fickle transfer of affection which would be their inevitable ruin, had they to deal with any other than Jehovah himself. But he is "the Lord;" he "changeth not;" and his fixedness is the stay and maintenance of poor, wavering, ungrateful man. Who can measure the wondrous depths of that unceasing love, which ever opens the arms of forgiveness to the returning prodigal, whatever motive leads him back? How wondrous is that waiting of our God upon his wayward creature, till the moment comes, when, to use the words of pious Herbert

"If goodness lead him not, yet weariness

May toss him to his breast?"

But we will not at present enlarge on this: we shall only observe how powerfully this attribute of God tends to the preservation of

the Saints. Well might the Psalmist exclaim, "There is mercy with thee that thou mayest be feared." The very conviction which is on the mind of the child that his father will not chide, even when he is displeased, will prove a powerful bar to the committing of continuous evil. Occasional transgression there will ever be while man continues in this imperfect state below, but there will be always a returning, with profound humiliation and deep penitence, to him? "who FORGIVETH INIQUITY." And the heart will go forth still in the earnest language of its supplication

Lord, mend, or rather make us; one creation

Will not suffice our turn:

Except thou make us daily, we shall spurn
Our own salvation."

ON THE MISAPPLICATION OF SCRIPTURE.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER.

SIR-Few passages seem to have been more improperly applied than the following one," Nevertheless being crafty, I caught you with guile." It seems to have been taken for granted, that the Apostle was justifying his own cleverness in having accomplished by indirect methods, what he could not affect in an open and honest way; and, that, the end proposed being a good one, the means became thereby sanctified.

In a very interesting little work lately published, Emma de Lissau, I find this passage employed as giving a sanction to what, in plain English, was a manifest equivocation: and that without any apparent suspicion, that the end proposed by Mrs. Russel, namely, the conversion of Emma, was not a sufficient apology for the indirect violation of a solemn compact entered into, with the grandfather of Emma, as the condition of committing her to the care of that lady.

Any misapplication of a Scriptural text is to be deprecated as an evil: but its perversion, for the purpose of giving a Christian character to a transaction essentially wrong, must be considered as an aggravation of the evil. The meaning of the text is so plain, that one wonders how it could be misunderstood by any one, who reads with attention, and with a reference to the context.

"You," says the Apostle, "will not deny, that I took nothing from you myself; but perhaps my enemies may insinuate, that I took an indirect method of accomplishing my sinister designs, and that I employed the ministry of others to enrich myself at your expense." "Being crafty, I caught you with guile.' On this subject I appeal to yourselves. "Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you?" &c. The passage can have no other meaning than this, and it is evident how improperly the Apostle's words have been employed; they have been called upon

to sanction a principle, or something very like it, which the Apostle so solemnly, in another place, disclaims, "Let us not do evil that good may come."

I am, Sir, very truly your's,

T. K.

ERSKINE ON JUSTIFICATION.

TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER.

SIR-I had intended to send you my second letter on Mr. Erskine's book for your November Examiner, but a providential dispensation prevented the accomplishment of my intention. I now proceed with my undertaking, beseeching the Lord to preserve me from being led astray, or being the cause of leading others astray.

I could easily produce extracts from Mr. Erskine's book, of singular beauty and interest; but this is not my present business. I beg leave, however, to quote the following passage, both on account of the justness of the sentiment which it contains, and the humility of mind of which it is the expression : I am well aware," he says, "that there are many Christians, who do not perceive these difficulties at all, and who of course are not disquieted by them. The object of their contemplation is not a theological system, but the great Being whose nature and relation to us form the theme of theology, and their delight is not in the logical coherence of their theory, but in their spiritual communion with him. Such persons are indeed blessed, and instead of presuming to teach them, Ì desire to learn from them."-page, 7. This passage shows what manner of spirit our author is of. It tells us what we have to expect in the succeeding pages; and no one, I believe, will say, that he is disappointed in the perusal of the book. Even the error,

which in my humble opinion, Mr. Erskine has fallen into, is that of a person, anxious both for the comfort, and the edification of the believer; and those who may think him most mistaken, will yet admire the spirit of his work, and the ability with which the subject is handled.

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The process practically considered, by which a sinner becomes a partaker of the salvation of Christ, is very simple. The Gospel finds him "ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish his own righteousness.' By a blessing on his own word, the Holy Spirit convinces him of his error, and his danger, and teaches him to submit himself to "the righteousness of God," also denominated "the righteousness of faith." Rom. x. 6. By a process variously modified, but substantially the same, and uniformly bringing about the same result, the sinner is driven from every false ground of hope, and brought to find rest to his soul, in the revelation of mercy contained in the Gospel. It is not in this view of the subject, that a difference of opinion will arise among real Christians. This is a matter of experience and consci

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