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ing object of the Scripture is to turn the attention of sinners to the Lord Jesus Christ. And from the commencement of the sacred volume to its close, Christ is upon every page the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. The word of God is that silent, yet impressive preacher, whose voice is “quick and powerful, sharper than any. two-edged sword, piercing to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The word of God is doubtless much neglected, but still it is probable that there are few who do not give some portion of it an occasional, though perhaps slight perusal; for in these days of most wonderful endeavour-endeavour did I sayin these days of most wonderful achievement, the Bible is placed as a rich boon in every hand; and this very fact not only gives evidence that the time draws near, when the kingdoms of this world are to become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever; but it adds its confirmation strong to the position I have assumed. Yet never is that sacred book opened—I care not with what motive-never is that book opened, but Christ is then and there at the sinner's heart. The voice of Christ is in every exhortation to repentance which is found on the sacred page; in every threat; in every promise; in every expostulation; in every portion of the history which exhibits the awful indignation of God against the guilty; in every portion which depicts the blessings and the happiness of the righteous. It is to thy heart, sinner, that Christ speaks; and it is at thy heart he knocks, when he says—“As I live I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way

your evil

ways, for

not Christ say,

and live ; turn ye, turn ye from why will ye die ?” Does thine eye ever wander over the pages of Isaiah ? Christ is at thine heart when thou readest, “Come, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” “Who hath believed our report ?” “He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.” Christ is at thine heart when thine eye fastens on the tender invitation, “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.” Can you doubt it? Does

“Incline your ear, and come unto me, hear, and your soul shall live ?" Christ is at thine heart when thine eye fixes its gaze on the declaration, Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets; she crieth in the chief place of concourse. To you, O men, do I cry; my voice is to the sons of men. How long, ye simple, will ye love simplicity, and ye fools, hate knowledge? Turn ye at my reproof.” Need I tell you how emphatically this remark is true, when applied to the New Testament? There are Christ's

very corded. There he stands at your hearts, and knocks in a manner the most impressive; and when you read, “Except ye repent, ye shall perish;" and when you

read the record of his conversation with Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God;" and when you read, “Come unto me all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will

words re

give you rest;" and when you read, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved; he that believeth shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned;" and when you read the awakening interrogatory, “What is a man profited if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul ?” and when you read, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” and when you read, “the Spirit and the bride say come, and whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely”-in each and in every one of these, and in ten thousand more which time will not permit me to mention, Christ is near your hearts by his word: he then knocks for admission, and if the evidence of the word of God is rejected; if when your eye pores over the sacred volume, and its truths have no awakening influence on your hearts; and if you read the book without a wish and without a prayer for spiritual illumination; and if you close it without a benefit received or a benefit desired, it is because you refuse to open the door to him who stands without and knocks. No individual who has ever read a page or a sentence of the sacred volume, and no individual who has ever heard it read, and yet remains in impenitence and carelessness and sin, can be clear from the charge of refusing to hear the voice of the Redeemer, who thus stands at the door and knocks.

Again: Christ stands at the door and knocks through the medium of the preached Gospel. This, brethren, is but an extended view of the subject just now considered, for after all that can be said, a preached Gospel is substantially but the word of Christ, delivered through the mouth of living instruments. The Gospel ministry would be useless and worse than useless; it would be positively deleterious, if those to whom it is entrusted should go beyond the word of the Lord, to say less or more. The ministry, however, is Christ's special appointment for the purpose of declaring his will to men“Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature; and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the world." And whenever that Gospel is preached, it is the word of Christ, and he will own it as such in the conversion and sanctification of sinners. “For this cause, thank we God without ceasing,” says the Apostle, “because when ye heard the word which ye received of us, ye heard it not as the word of man, but as it is in truth the word of God, which effectually worketh in you which believe.” This also is the tenor of that hymn for ministers, the first part of which is in these words,

Father of mercies, bow thine ear,
Attentive to our earnest prayer ;
We plead for those who plead for thee,
Successful pleaders may they be.
How great the work, how vast the charge,
Do thou their anxious souls enlarge ;
Their best acquirements are our gain,
We share the blessings they obtain.
Clothe, then, with energy divine
Their words, and let those words be thine.

As a special appointment of Christ, then, he knocks at your hearts through the medium of the ministry; and it is delightful to consider how, in this institution of the ministry, he has consulted the sympathies of our nature, and not only the sympathies, but also the obstinacies of our nature. Many an individual whose heart could never be approached through the medium of his written word, is yet



brought to listen to that word as it is read from the sacred desk, or made the subject of discourse from the pulpit. There is something wonderfully attractive, and there is something inconceivably affecting in the gathered congregation of the people, and in the authorized exposition of the word of God. I attempt not to account for this but on the supposition that God has seen fit to adapt his method to some principles in the natural constitution, or to train up some set of principles to the purpose he intends to accomplish by the adaptation. Be this as it may, it has pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. From the earliest ages of the world to the present day, has he seen fit to knock at the hearts of men by this most truly interesting method. Noah was a preacher of righteousness to the Antediluvian world. I need not tell you of the Prophets who were raised up by God to declare his will, and whose commission runs—"Thus saith the Lord.” Since the days of our Saviour he has used the Gospel ministry as the great moral method of his communication with the world. Now, then, says St. Paul, “are we ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be

be ye reconciled to God." And the Saviour himself declared to his Apostles—“He that heareth you,

and he that despiseth you, despiseth me.” It is the purpose of the Gospel ministry to enlarge upon the topics which are presented in the word of God, and from the heights of Zion to call sinners to repentance; to beseech them to hear the voice of Christ, and to lay down the arms of their rebellious warfare ; to present to the view of sinners the amazing love of God in their re

heareth me,

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