Monday, October 12, 2009
RECONCILIATION BY DEATH, AND SALVATION BY LIFE
Preached at Providence Chapel, Eden Street, London, on Tuesday Evening, July 30, 1850, by J. C. Philpot
"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
The grand object of the Epistle to the Romans is to set forth and exalt salvation by grace. In order fully to do this, the Apostle shows, first, its necessity; and secondly, its nature.
1. He shows the NECESSITY of free grace, by drawing, in the first chapter, an appalling sketch of the practices of the Gentile world; by proving, in the second, that the Jew derived no benefit from his outward privileges, if he were a transgressor of the law on which he rested; and in the third, brings in all mankind guilty by the sentence of God's holy law, laying the whole human race under this solemn sentence of condemnation—"By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified, for by the law is the knowledge of sin." And again—"There is no difference; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." He thus shows the necessity of salvation by grace; and that if man is, as he proves him to be in this fallen condition, in this desperate state, nothing short of salvation by grace can either suit or save him.
2. But when the Apostle has thus established the necessity of salvation by grace, he goes on to show the NATURE of free grace—that God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, that grace might reign through righteousness unto eternal life.
In the chapter before us, he draws a striking contrast between the doings of man and the doings of God. He says, in the verses almost immediately preceding our text, that "Scarcely for a righteous man will one die;" taking here a character universally accounted righteous, that is, a man upright, just, and sincere in all his doings. Find, he would say, such an one—can you show me a man that would die for him? Will his justice, uprightness, and sincerity of conduct and character so influence any one individual man as to induce him to lay down his life to redeem him? And he adds, by way of parenthesis, "Peradventure for a good man," that is, not a gracious man in the gospel sense, but a benevolent man, a man of kindness and philanthropy, a man who had gained the affections of men generally by his amiable conduct—for such "a good man," he says, "some would even dare to die." But contrast, he would add, the love of God with these two instances. Those for whom Christ died were neither just nor good. Viewed in a gospel sense, man has no righteousness in him to make him righteous; and viewed in a spiritual light, he has no goodness to constitute him good. What, then, is his character? An enemy, ungodly, without strength—a wretch, and a rebel. And thus he heightens and magnifies the exceeding riches of God's grace, by showing, that whereas upon mere human grounds and natural principles, we could not find any individual who would lay down his life for a just man, and scarcely for a good man, "yet God," he says, "commends his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us."
Having shown the death of Christ for sinners, he passes on, by way of encouraging the children of God, to say, that the love of God in giving his Son did not terminate in Christ's death, but went on to Christ's resurrection, and still goes on saving to the uttermost all who come unto God by him. Therefore, he says, "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him," adding the words of the text—"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
We may observe two prominent features in our text–
First. The reconciliation of enemies.
Secondly. The salvation of friends.
And these two points I shall, as the Lord may enable, endeavor to unfold this evening; looking up to him who can make his strength perfect in weakness, and from whom alone comes the blessing.
I. The reconciliation of enemies. By the reconciliation of enemies, I understand two things. I understand their real reconciliation by the actual death of Christ; and their spiritual and experimental reconciliation by the application of the death of Christ to their consciences.
A. But before we can enter into the beauty and blessedness of reconciliation, we must see in what state the people of God are; for to them the Apostle is speaking. What word does he use to point out their state by nature? "ENEMIES." Enemies to whom? To that great, glorious, and ever-living God, "in whom they live, and move, and have their being;" the God of heaven and earth; who called them into existence, and upon whom they depend for every breath they draw. What a dreadful state must they be in to be "enemies" to such a God! Unless we know who God is; unless we have some spiritual apprehension of his dread Majesty; unless we have some experience of his greatness and power, tremble before him, we cannot duly enter into the meaning of this word "enemies." There could not be a more dreadful word written. The Bible itself scarcely contains a more awful term. "Enemies of God!" who could crush them with a frown into the dust; who by one look could hurl them into hell; who could trample upon them in his righteous wrath, as I might trample upon a helpless worm beneath my feet.
But how are they "enemies?" They are enemies in a threefold sense:
1. They are enemies by birth!
2. They are enemies by nature!
3. They are enemies by practice!
1. They are BORN enemies. As a toad is born a toad, and as a viper is born a viper, so man is born an enemy to God. Like can only beget like. An enemy to God can only beget an enemy to God; and therefore, we are enemies to God by birth. We are conceived in sin and shaped in iniquity; and therefore we come into the world, so far as we stand in the Adam fall, enemies to God.
2. We are enemies, also, by NATURE. "The carnal mind," we read (and what are we but carnal minds, as fallen children of a fallen parent?) "is enmity against God." That is a stronger word still. An enemy may be reconciled, but enmity cannot. Thus, our very nature is intrinsic, abstract, irreconcilable, enmity against God; hating him, hating his ways, hating all that is God and Godlike. And O, what a fearful condition! Not only to be born enemies, but to grow up enemies; to be woven throughout in enmity to God; as full of enmity, as a sponge dipped in water is full of the element in which it is dipped; every nerve, every fiber, every power, principle, faculty and passion at enmity with God, warring against the Most High.
3. But, besides this, there is the enmity of works—enmity by PRACTICE. We are "alienated from the life of God"—"enemies in our mind by wicked works." (Col. 1:21.) We go astray, speaking lies from the womb. All our acts in babyhood, in childhood, in youth and manhood, (though they may not at the time be known as such), are all acts of daring enmity against God; they all show forth the enmity of the human heart against the blessed Jehovah. O, how deeply dyed in enmity must man be when he has this three-fold enmity, and is by birth, nature, and practice utterly alienated from the life of God!
And why does not the anger of God burst forth against such wretches? Why are they not all dealt with like Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, whom the earthquake swallowed up? Why are they not all like those slain by the Levites in the wilderness? Because the Lord is a God of grace, of infinite mercy, compassion, and love; because he is determined to have a people in whom he will be eternally glorified; because, in other words, salvation by grace was fore-determined in his eternal mind; and therefore a reconciliation was to be brought about.
B. You observe, it is man who is to be "RECONCILED." I do not object to the expression of God's being "reconciled;" but the Scriptures seem certainly to speak more of reconciliation on the part of man; "Who has reconciled us to himself." So here—"When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God."
Now we could only be "reconciled" to God by this enmity being put away. It is in grace as in nature. Here are two friends who have been long walking together as brothers. A division takes place; enmity breeds in the heart of one or of the other; they are sundered, and perhaps become enemies. They may be reconciled; but only effectually by the enmity being taken out of the heart. All other reconciliation is to patch up the breach; it is hollow and insincere; there is no reality, no depth in it. The enmity must be taken away before there can be any real reconciliation.
So with man and God. Unless the enmity be taken away, there can be no reconciliation. Thus we see the futility and fallacy of a few works of righteousness doing away with our fallen state by nature. They cannot take away the enmity; they are like the blood of bulls and goats—they never can atone for sin; like the ashes of the red heifer—they may sanctify to the purifying of the flesh; but here they fail. Something more was needed, something which God himself provided, and that was the death of his own Son—"When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son." His dear Son coming into our place and stead; taking our nature; bearing our sins in his own body on the tree—obeying the law that we had broken; fulfilling a righteousness which we were altogether deficient in; enduring the curse, and suffering the penalty. In this way, by death, he reconciled the enemies unto God; he obeyed the law which stood in the way; he satisfied God's justice; he removed the transgression, and thus took away the enmity.
But I hinted that the reconciliation was of a two-fold nature. The actual reconciliation took place when Christ died upon the cross—the spiritual reconciliation takes place when this is applied to the conscience.
I think I may thus illustrate it. Here are two friends who are sundered, enmity being in the heart of one or the other. One of them comes to a death-bed; his friend is not reconciled; but on the death-bed his heart is softened; the enmity is removed; he sends by some friends or acquaintance a message of love to his former friend, and dies in happiness, blessing and praising God. The friend at a distance has still, perhaps, enmity working in his heart against the friend whose death he yet knows not. The dying friend is reconciled; the living friend is where he was before. But the message comes; the letter is received; the tidings are brought; and when this is received into the heart, it takes away all former enmity, and immediately a sweet reconciliation takes place. His friend has passed into eternity, but all the enmity is gone; and he feels, as before, love and union reigning in his heart. I have experienced this; and therefore I know it. It is not a fancied illustration, but a fact; the case having occurred to myself—at least, something like it. I merely throw it out, to show you, there may be an actual reconciliation on a certain day, and yet the felt reconciliation may not take place until days or weeks pass over. My friend indeed was reconciled to me, and wrote to express it a few days before he was taken for death, but received my friendly answer on his death-bed, and sent me his dying love. Thus, the actual reconciliation was wrought out by the death of Christ; the felt reconciliation must be wrought out in the soul by the application of the death of Christ to the conscience.
But before we can experience this reconciliation, we must be brought to feel the enmity. Reconciliation is only of enemies; and we must therefore know ourselves to be enemies before we can feel reconciled.
But what a fearful spot it is to be in—to feel and fear oneself an enemy to God! I think it is one of the most painful feelings that ever passed through my bosom, to fear I was an enemy to God. For what must be the consequence if a man lives and dies having God for his enemy? In that warfare he must perish. If God be his enemy, who can be his friend? Such sensations in the bosom are well-near akin to despair. Let a man fully feel that he is God's enemy, where can he hide his head? Hell itself seems to afford him no refuge.
But he must be exercised with something of this before he can prize reconciliation. He must see himself to be an enemy to God by birth—that he was born in what our Reformers called "birth sin;" and that his carnal mind is enmity against God. O the painful sensations of the carnal mind being enmity against God! It is bad enough to be God's enemy; but that every fiber of our nature should be steeped in enmity against God, that holy and blessed Being to whom we owe so much, and to whom we desire to owe everything; that our carnal heart in all its constitution, in its very blood, should be one unmitigated mass of enmity to God, O it is a dreadful thought! If you are made to experience that enmity in your bosom, and to feel more or less of its upheavings and raisings—that will cut to pieces all the sinews of creature righteousness; that will mar all your loveliness, and turn it into corruption.
Thus all our evil works are all marks of enmity to God. Every sin that you commit (and you sin with every breath you draw) is steeping you more deeply in enmity to God, and manifesting more that you are in this condition.
Now, when a man is thus exercised, it will make him look out, if he has any root of spiritual feeling, for a remedy. God has provided such in the sacrifice of his dear Son, in the blood of the blessed Jesus.
Now when this is opened up in our soul by the Spirit of God; when faith is given to receive it; when the Holy Spirit applies it; when it is received into the heart (for the Apostle says, "we have received the atonement") then a felt reconciliation takes place; we are then reconciled to God; love takes the place of enmity, praise of sighing, and blessing his name instead of writing bitter things against ourselves.
This reconciles the heart, which nothing else can. The law cannot; that engenders bondage, works wrath, stirs up enmity. It is the very nature of the law to do so; the law never did anything else. You never felt the law, if it wrought anything else but that in you—you did not know it spiritually; it never came into your conscience if it wrought anything but bondage, death, and enmity towards God, and bitter thoughts against him. When men set the law before their eyes as a way of salvation, they are only setting up that which when felt in the heart, stirs up enmity and disobedience. This is man's nature. God says, "Do this." 'I will not!'—answers the carnal mind. 'But I charge you to do it; hell will be your portion, if you do not.' 'Well, I will brave it out; I will sin in spite of hell; I will do this if I am damned for it.'
That is human nature; that is the heart of man; and these are the workings of the carnal mind under the law. The more you try to keep the law, and the more it comes into your conscience, the more you will find such workings until you are fairly horrified. Such poor souls are ground as between the upper and lower millstone; the law above, and the carnal mind beneath, and they ground between the two; desiring to be holy, wishing to obey the precept, and yet finding that eternal devilism in their heart which kicks against all, will not submit, will not obey.
The heart has to be conquered by kindness; enmity has to be killed by love. It is the gospel that is to do the deed. And when Christ is viewed by the eye of faith; when his death is felt in the soul, and his blood applied to the heart, then reconciliation is effected. The soul, then, does not find it hard work to serve God; does not drag a mill-horse round of tiresome duties; is not making ropes of sand, nor drawing water up with a bucket of which the bottom is knocked out; but it finds the service of God perfect freedom, and the gospel of Christ a sweet constraining to obedience. This is being reconciled to God; loving God, and feeling a desire to serve him and to obey him from a principle of affection; being upheld by a free spirit, and not a legal one.
Do you think you can trace three things in your soul? Enmity by nature; the work of the law in stirring up the enmity; reconciliation by the blessed gospel revealing the love and blood of Christ to your heart? And all this sensibly known, felt, experienced, realized, and enjoyed? Here is the cream of religion; here is the marrow of vital godliness; here is the sum and substance of divine teaching. Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! He is only really taught of God, who knows and feels that there is nothing else worth having or enjoying.
II. But we pass on to our second point, which is, the salvation of friends. "Being reconciled, we are saved by his life." Before we are reconciled, we are enemies. When reconciliation is brought about, we become friends. "Henceforth I call you not servants," says the Lord, "but I have called you friends." "You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you." "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." Thus we become friends when we are reconciled. It is then, as Deer says,
"When thus we're reconciled,
He sets no rigorous tasks;
His yoke is soft and mild,
For love is all he asks."
But does all end here? The apostle says, "Being reconciled, we are saved by his life." Then there is the salvation of friends by life, as well as the reconciliation of enemies by death. Christ died; Christ rose again; Christ now lives at God's right hand. And does he live there for nothing? Has his work ceased? Is his love gone? Has he no regard for his suffering children here below? The apostle sets before our eyes that we have the same, or almost the same necessity for Christ's life, and the benefits of Christ's life, as we have for Christ's death, and the benefits of Christ's death.
Let me open this a little. Perhaps, when the Lord was pleased to bless your soul with some sense of reconciliation, you thought you would walk happily from earth to heaven. Like the children of Israel, you saw your enemies dead upon the sea-shore, little thinking, little dreaming of the wilderness before you. But after a time you began to lose your sweet and blessed feelings. Sin, which seemed dead, like the host of Pharaoh, began to revive, to lust, to crave, to work, to seek its objects. The carnal mind lies still and dead when Christ is present; sin has little power when he is there; these beasts of the forest then retire into their dens. But let the Lord withdraw himself; let him leave us to prove a little (as he left the Apostle Paul) what our strength really is; let him give us a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet us, and we shall then soon find what we are.
There is one thing which has often harassed and puzzled many—that all they have experienced and enjoyed has made no change in their carnal mind. This is a deep mystery—the mystery of ungodliness, I may well call it, that the carnal mind, the old man, undergoes no change. He may be subdued, and withdraw himself into some dark recess; for the human heart is full of caves and grottos; and in these dens, "hideous monsters sit." But these hideous monsters withdraw themselves in the light of day. The human heart is very deep; and these grottos and caves lie so out of sight, that we know not what these monsters are about; but there they are, and creep forth when night comes on!
Why is this? To teach us our dependence upon a living Christ. A dying Christ is not enough; we need a living Christ. You will observe how through all the Epistle to the Hebrews the Apostle dwells upon this point chiefly, that Christ sits at God's right hand as the great High Priest over the house of God; he tells us, that "He is able to save to the uttermost, all that come unto God by him;" he sets him forth as sitting on a throne of grace, knowing that we need him as such, that we need him as much as a living Jesus as a dying Jesus, because when sin works (as sin will work) we need a present deliverance, a present, real, actual salvation.
Look at the words—"We shall be saved by his life." It might be said, 'Are we not saved by his death?' But here we are said to be saved by his life. And why? It is in an experimental, in a living, in a daily way. Here is the great mystery—to be receiving a living Christ into our soul; to have union and communion with a risen Jesus. "The life," says the apostle, "that I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God."
Now, in being "saved," we must be saved from certain things—things that would otherwise destroy us—that is evident. Sin, then, in its workings in our nature is that from which we are saved by Christ's life. Let me open up this. As regards sin in its workings, I think we may say there are five things from which we need a living Christ to save us. There is, 1, the guilt of sin; 2, the filth of sin; 3, the love of sin; 4, the power of sin; and 5, the practice of sin. Sin, in these five devilisms, we need the living Savior to save us from.
1. The GUILT of sin. Now when we are entangled, as we often are, in sin, (and who dare say he is not? none but a pharisee) what is the first thing felt? The guilt of sin upon the conscience. What a heavy burden is guilt upon a living conscience—a sense of having sinned against God, how painful, how piercing it is!
2. The FILTH of sin. But there is not only the guilt of sin upon the conscience, there is the filth of sin defiling the imagination; because sin defiles, as well as brings guilt upon the conscience. You who live in the country (and I dare say in town as well) see sometimes oozing out of a dung-heap what the farmer calls 'liquid manure;' and you see, wherever this filthy stream takes its course, it defiles all it touches. Such is sin; it defiles the imagination, by oozing forth out of our dung-heap heart, as the liquid manure oozes forth out of the natural dung-heap. Do not your sins sometimes come into your mind, and pollute your imagination, by being acted over again, and defilement thereby produced; so that you fall down before God in self-loathing and self-abhorrence, as the vilest monster that he allows to live—sin so defiling throughout, and rendering you an object of abhorrence to yourself?
This is what Job expresses—and I wish our pharisees had Job's experience written upon their souls—"If I wash myself with snow water," (said that tried saint) "and make myself ever so clean, yet shall you plunge me into the ditch (of liquid manure), and my own clothes shall abhor me," as they would if you fell into a cesspool, or got a roll into the Thames' mud. How glad would you then be to get every rag off you, and to be washed from head to foot, your own clothes abhorring you, and you abhorring them! Such are the feelings when sin defiles and pollutes the heart, rendering us objects of self-abhorrence.
3. The LOVE of sin. But there is besides this, the abominable love of sin. I am not fond of using strong language; but if a person were to tell me he did not love sin in his carnal mind, I would be strongly tempted to apply a strong word in our language to him—at any rate, if I did not use the word, I could say with all mildness, "You do not speak the truth." If your carnal mind does not love sin, why do you think of it? why do you in imagination secretly indulge in it? why do you play with it? why do you seek to extract a devilish sweetness out of it? O, what a mercy it would be, if there were not this dreadful love of sin in our heart! This is the struggle—that there should be this traitor in the camp; that our carnal mind should be so devilish as to love that which made the blessed Jesus die; as to love that which crucified the Lord of glory, and to love it with a vehement love! Do we not need saving from that? If there was nothing else, we should need to be saved from the hideous love of evil.
4. The POWER of sin. "Sin shall not have dominion." But over whom? Those who "are not under the law, but under grace." Set the law before you; try to keep it; and you will find sin will have dominion—and the more you try to keep the law, the more power you put into sin. Now, wherever there is the love of sin in the carnal mind, there will be the power of sin; for the power of sin is ingrafted as it were into, and springs out of the love of sin. Let me illustrate this. I will take, first, the case of a drunkard. Why has strong drink such power over him? Because he loves it. Take away the love of strong drink, and you destroy its power. Take again the man who loves smoking, (though I do not condemn both practices alike); why does he say, 'My pipe has such power over me?' Because he loves it. Take away the love of the pipe, and you destroy the power of the pipe. (Though I class smoking and drinking together here, I am not pronouncing a judgment upon them in a similar way. The one is to be utterly condemned; the other I leave.)
So, if there were no love of sin, there would be no power in sin. Sin does not come with a strong hand, seize us by the throat, and say 'Obey me;' but sin insensibly creeps into our heart, catches hold of our carnal mind, insinuates itself into our vile affections, and thus entraps us in the things we desire to abhor. Thus, the power of sin is engrafted upon love of sin. May God keep us from the love, the power, and the practice of sin; and, above all, from the last, the doing of anything which is dishonoring to, and inconsistent with the profession of the gospel we make.
5. The PRACTICE of sin. For we shall find as we journey onward, that we need the life of Christ to save us from the actual practice of sin. We need the life of Christ, and the application of his precious blood to our conscience, to take away the guilt; we need the Spirit of Christ to sanctify, and to wash the soul in the fountain from its defilement. We need the love of Christ shed abroad in our hearts to take away the love of sin. We need the power of Christ to rescue us from the dominion. We need the grace of Christ to preserve us from the practice of sin.
All this we have in Christ; nor is there salvation from sin in any other way, by any other means, or through any other channel. It is in vain to look to any one but to him whom God has set up. All other seeking will prove vain. You cannot wash the Ethiopian white, nor make the leopard change his spots; God never has appointed Moses to bless or save. Christ is the God-Man, the Savior of his own appointments, who only does, and who only can do these things. What a mercy that he has reconciled us to God by his death, and is thus able to save us by his life! It is feeling sin in its various workings (and chiefly in these five points), that makes us value a living Christ. Strange mysterious way! A man that sets up his own righteousness can do without Christ's righteousness. A man not plagued, not exercised, not tried with sin, can do without a living Jesus; his strength is his own; he derives it not out of the fullness of a living Head. O, strange path! that to be exercised with sin is the path to a living Savior! that by the miserable feelings which the soul suffers, the sinner is made to value, not only reconciliation by death, but salvation by life. It is thus we come to know a living Christ. We do not go to the sepulcher to find him there. "He is risen!" and when we know he is risen for us, our affections rise with him, and are set upon heavenly things with him at God's right hand. This is being saved by Christ's life.
Try this by your own experience, you that have any. When your soul is not plagued nor exercised with sin, cannot you do without a living Jesus? What sighs, what cries, what groans, what prayers, what longings for his manifested presence, love, and power to be felt in your soul! When not exercised, the world is uppermost, self is all alive—not Christ. But when you are brought to a spot where you are exercised and tried with a body of sin and death, with sin working and no power to restrain it—'Blessed Jesus,' you cry, 'look upon me—visit my soul—come into my heart—leave me not—let not Satan thus tempt—let me not fall—hold me up—keep me as the apple of your eye!'
Here is heart work—here are living dealings with a living Jesus! Here is no notional, formal religion wrapped up in a mass of duties; but a living Christ in a living soul; a living breathing after a living Savior. This brings Christ and the soul near—this gives us a daily experience—this puts us into a place where Christ is our all in all. Very painful, very mysterious, very inexplicable—that the more you feel yourself a wretched, miserable sinner, the more you long after Jesus; and the lower you sink in the depths of the fall, the higher your soul rises up to that Savior, who is able to save unto the uttermost.
Thus, we shall find, if the Lord be our Teacher, that we need all that Christ is. He is no little Savior; for we are no little sinners. He is a Savior, and a great one; and we (I speak for myself) are great sinners. I do not know a greater sinner than he who now speaks to you this evening—the "chief of sinners," and "less than the least of all saints"—and that makes him need such a Savior as Jesus is—and to be reconciled not only by his death, but to be saved, and that well-near every day, by his life.
O what a mercy that he who was dead lives at God's right hand! that he lives as a risen head; that he is not a dead Savior; but a Savior who lives forevermore—that can and does bless—that can and does comfort—that can and does bring the soul safely through all. He is not a Savior that stands as it were upon the brink of a river, and pulls us out when we have swum half way out by ourselves—he is not a Savior that will take us half way to heaven, and then, as Rutherford says, let us 'fend' or shift for ourselves. He must take us to heaven throughout. We are nothing, we have nothing without him. He must be, as he is, our, "all in all." We value him in his death; nothing but his death could reconcile—we value him in his life; nothing but his life can save. We need salvation now; salvation in the heart—a spiritual salvation revealed in and unto the soul—a salvation worthy of the name—wholly, fully, completely, finally, and everlastingly to the praise of superabounding grace—a salvation indefeasible, never to be lost—worthy of God, worthy of the God-Man—adapted to every need of the soul, coming into every trial of the heart, and able to save the vilest and the worst—"without money and without price."
May this religion be mine. I want no other—I trample all other under my feet as filthy rags. Any other is no more fit to be taken up than a worn-out shoe in the street. It is, as the Apostle says, but "dung;" off-scouring trash—unworthy of the name of religion. There is no religion but what is wrought in the soul by the power of God—and that religion alone, is worthy of the name. It comes from God; it leads to God. It is given us in Christ; yes, it is Christ in the heart, "the hope of glory." Such a religion will do to die by, as well as to live by. Thousands have found it so; it has never left them upon a dying bed—it has soothed the aching heart—sweetened the bitter draught of death—and received their souls into a happy eternity. Would to God that every heart who desires to fear his name, could beat responsively, 'May this religion be mine!' And may we, with God's blessing, desire to know nothing save Jesus Christ and him crucified. No other will do in a dying hour—and why should any other do in a living hour?
I cannot conclude without just leaving this testimony behind. My desire is, for you and myself to be led into the very experience of these things, in the sweet enjoyment of them—for I am well convinced, that nothing but the sweet experience and blessed enjoyment of these things, can ever be for our present profit, or ever contribute to our future peace.
May the Lord, in his infinite mercy, give us to experience and enjoy much of this; and to him will we cheerfully give all the praise!