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Stern justice smiles content,
The trembling sinner now ,
Thy truth which never fails,
He lives, to intercede ;
What depth of sovereign love, What breadth before me lies ;
Its height is heaven above, . Its length exceeds the skies.
An ocean deep and wide, Where angel minds are lost; An ever swelling tide, Refreshing ev'ry coast. How rich the prospect glows, Beyond this vale of tears ; Where crystal water flows, And verdure crowns the years.
0! blessed Spirit, come; Conduct me by thy grace, To that eternal home Where I shall see thy face.
Ye happy saints, rejoice,
'Twill soon arrive with smiles,
XXX. ON THE TWO WAYS.
“ Unto this people thou shalt say, thus saith the Lord; behold I set before you the way of life and the way of death.” (Jer. xxi. 6.) These important words were spoken to the Jews, when the King of Babylon was drawing near to besiege the city of Jerusalem. Those who fell to the Chaldeans should find the way of life; whilst those who remained in the city, should be in the way of death.
But these expressive words may be addressed to all in every age, and more especially to those who live in Gospel times.
The commission given by our Lord to his apostles just before his ascension into heaven, speaks the same language: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature; he that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved ; and he that believeth not, shall be damned.”
Thus, faith in Jesus is the way of life. Rejection of him, is the way of death. The Gospel, therefore, sets before us life and death. Hence St. John says: “he that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
In conformity with which truth, John the Baptist declared, when bearing witness to the divinity and Messiahship of Jesus: 6 he that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
Our Lord declares also respecting himself, in terms too plain to be misunderstood : “ I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”
All then who receive the Lord Jesus Christ, by a true and living faith, are in the way of life. They draw nigh to God by that new and living way which he has consecrated for us; and persevering in this way, shall reach the heavenly Zion, and have right to enter by the gates into the city.
This way of life, our blessed Lord represents as difficult to fallen nature.
66 Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
This difficulty arises not from the road itself, but from the nature of those who walk in it.
The first entrance is truly difficult to the'awakened sinner, owing to the abounding evils of his heart, all rising up against the strait, self-denying, fleshcrucifying gate, by which he must enter.
Grace, however, enables him to overcome these workings of corruption, and to pass by deep repentance, and humble faith through the strait gate. This is a blessed step towards eternal felicity.
But when in the way of life, he finds it narrow ; for his desires, being sadly mixed with evil, too often wander after those gratifications which lie beyond the limits of the way in which he is to walk. This grieves the Holy Spirit; wounds his conscience, and occasions that warfare with his corrupt inclinations, which constitutes no small part of the fight of faith. He labours to keep his heart within the boundary of the narrow way, and to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. But still, when he would do good, evil is present with him. The law in his members wars against the law of his mind, and compels him to cry out,
“O! wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me.” Yet, this painful consciousness of evil is mercifully over-ruled for good, by driving him continually to the strong for strength,—to the Saviour for salvation. By experience he learns that his sufficiency is of God; that under all exigencies, the grace of Jesus is sufficient for him; that when he is weak, then he is strong.
The Christian has to journey to the heavenly Canaan, through the wilderness of this world; therefore, like the Israelites of old, his soul is sometimes discouraged because of the way. The world frowns-Satan assaults-providences darken-corruptions harrass. All these things produce for a season much discouragement. Like Peter, he looks at the raging waves, instead of the omnipotent Saviour; and then he begins to sink into despondency, and would be overwhelmed in the deeps of mental affliction, did not the compassionate Jesus stretch out the hand of mercy, and uphold him by his mighty power.
He now learns the evil of unbelief and mistrust of a Saviour's love. He is much in prayer for the guidance and help of the Holy Spirit, by whose sacred influence and direction, he is enabled to look unto Jesus under every trial, and to walk before him in love and childlike obedience.
Thus, to every humble pilgrim, strength is imparted; realizing views of the faithfulness of Emanuel are vouchsafed ; and he is made to rise superior to every discouragement, and to walk with increasing alacrity and joy, along the narrow way which leadeth unto life eternal.
How awful is the condition of those, who entering by the wide gate into the broad way, “enlarge their desires as hell;" till having filled up the measure of their iniquity, they come, as vessels fitted for destruction by their own wilful transgressions, into the place of everlasting torment.
What a painful consideration, that respecting the narrow way, “ few there be that find it ;" whilst of the wide gate, our Lord hath said, “ many there be which go in thereat."
I am a dying creature, walking on the verge of an awful eternity. Heaven and hell lie before me ; to one of these places, I am, at the close of every day, advanced a day's journey. This day may bring me to my eternal abode of happiness or misery. The sleep which I take this night, may be the sleep of death,
and should it be so-where would my spirit, dislodged from earth, find itself? O! my soul, ask thyself with all the solemnity which becomes so awful a question, whither am I going ? Soon I must be called into the presence of my Judge; but what reception shall I meet with there? What award does conscience now make? Have I believed with the heart unto righteousness? Is the life which 1 now live, a life of faith in the Son of God? I find from the word of God, that two roads lie through the wilderness of this world. The one, at its be ginning, is pleasant to carnal nature, being strewed with forbidden pleasures, sensual delights, and animal gratifications; but growing darker, and more crooked and thorny as it advances, it ends abruptly in eternal misery. The other, difficult at the entrance, requires many sacrifices, and much self-denial; but gradually increasing in light and beauty, it terminates in the blissful regions of immortal glory. In which of these roads am I now walking ?
0! my beloved Saviour! thou knowest my heart; thou art acquainted with every thought, affection, and desire that riseth within me. Thou knowest that I would follow thee along the narrow way. Lead me in the paths of righteousness-draw me