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See to it, then, that such obedience ye be careful to render. Ye require not to be reminded of your need of salvation. Neither do ye require to be reminded of the utter insufficiency of all within your own resources to effect salvation for you. That to provide that salvation was the great purpose of the coming and the humiliation of the Son of God, has just been evinced in harmony with the pervading testimony of Holy Scripture. And the same fact of the Godhead of the Saviour on which our argument is based, will serve to assure you of these three things farther :—that there is none other name given under heaven among men, whereby ye can be saved but his
—that he is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto him—and that a salvation to effect which the Son of God travailed in mortal suffering, is not to be slighted or rejected with impunity, yea, without incurring a “ sorer punishment.”
Oh then, see to it, that ye be of those who obey him. Let there be no negligence or indifference with you about a matter of such unspeakable importance. Behold, now is the accepted time—now is the day of salvation. Soon and unexpectedly may that day closemay that accepted time come to an end. And even should it not terminate with you by a premature or sudden call to an eternal world—oh! remember, there is such a thing as the withdrawal of grace neglected, the ceasing of the vexed and slighted Spirit of God to strive with men. Fear ye this. And while yet that Spirit waiteth to help, give all diligence that ye indeed obey him, who was “made perfect, that he might become to them who obey him the author of eternal salvation.” Amen.
THE WORD OF GOD LIKENED TO
REV. CHARLES ADIE, D.D.,
ONE OF THE MINISTERS OF THE OLD AND SOUTH
Isaiah lv. 10, 11. “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven,
and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater : so shall my word be that goeth forth 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 whereto I sent it.”
The spirit of prophecy appears to have been given to Esaias in a larger measure than to most of the other prophets; at least, his perception of the glory of the latter days is much clearer, and his language more explicit, than what is to be found in the greater part of the writings of the Old Testament. Having, in a preceding chapter, foretold most distinctly the sufferings of Messiah, and the glory that was to follow, the prophet presses on mankind their acceptance of the blessings of salvation, in all their fulness, and in all their freeness. Religion is represented as most necessary to the life of a rational being, and as most conducive to his highest eujoyments. To enhance in their estimation its value, none are excluded from its benefits but those who exclude themselves; nay, ““ where sin had abounded, grace is shewn much more to abound.” There is in us a strong reluctance to forgive those who have offended us, and we are disposed to regard our Maker in the way of pardoning such an one as ourselves. But “his thoughts are not as our thoughts, neither are his ways as ours ; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his ways higher than our ways, and his thoughts than ours." While the majesty of God might well cause us to tremble before him as transgressors of his holy law, his promises contain whatever can encourage the most timid—and the ordinary course of providence proclaims his goodness and his power over all nature. Did not experience place the matter beyond doubt, we would never have expected in the kingdom of nature such mighty results from means so simple, and, as we may think, so unlikely to accomplish the end; but there is no reasoning against facts. With regard to religion, as the Saviour appeared to a misjudging
world as "a root out of a dry ground, having no form or comeliness, wherefore men should desire him," and, as accordingly, “ he was rejected and despised of men," in a similar light may that instrument be regarded, which God has appointed for causing men to partake of the blessings of salvation. But what experience teaches us to expect in the ordinary course of nature, so must faith teach us with regard to those channels in which salvation is to flow into our souls. The rain that descends from the clouds, and by means of which the earth is refreshed and rendered fruitful; considered in itself, is utterly ineffectual for the purpose, deriving all its virtue from him who saith to it, “be thou upon the earth.” Yet, as his agent, how mighty are the results that are thus bestowed upon animated nature. The Word of God, spoken from the mouth of a fellowcreature, considered as the word of him by whom it is uttered, could never break the hard and stony heart, and make the tears of godly sorrow to flow, and the fruits of a holy life to abound, and the hope of immortality to revive the drooping spirit: but this Word, in the hand of the Spirit, effects all this and more than this, and becomes that food that nourishes the soul unto eternal life: “for as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater : so shall my word be that goeth forth 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 whereto I sent it."
The Word of God, at the time when this prophet wrote, contained only what is found in the Old Testament; imperfect indeed was the canon of Scripture, compared with that with which we are favoured in these latter days. Of these Old Testament Scriptures, the Psalmist speaks very highly, as does the prophet Esaias in this chapter ; and in illustration of the text, if we extend our view to the writings of the New Testament, which we cannot avoid, it will appear, we hope, still more obvious, in what respects the similitude of the Word to the rain and to the snow, holds good. In what respect may the Word of God be compared to rain.
1. In regard to its origin.
It would be quite out of place, though one was qualified, to enter upon any philosophical disquisition with regard to the process of vegetation. The procedure is well-known to the humblest husbandman. He sees the means that are employed, and he knows the effects that are thus produced ; and these premises are quite sufficient for arriving at the conclusion which we have in view. The snow, which, when it descends from the higher regions of the air, becomes rain, is a wonderful provision of Providence for “ causing grass to grow for cattle, and herb for the use of man.” Like our daily mercies, when freely and seasonably bestowed, its nature is not appreciated; we are apt to regard it as a common occurrence, without thinking of him who “causeth the clouds to drop down rain;" but when this blessing has been long withheld — when the clouds have become as brass and iron, and the face