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upon us."- Hence, also, in great measure sprang the temper of deep melancholy which pervades the writings of the most thoughtful and serious of the ancient heathens. "Led," as it has been said of another class of men, "by a way that they knew not, the obscurity by which they were surrounded must have often dismayed them; while the perturbations of conscience, on every recurrence of guilt, would clothe the last enemy in new terrors, and deepen the shades which invest the sepulchre....... Exposed to danger, from which they knew no definite mode of escape, and placed on the confines of an eternity, feebly and faintly (if at all) illuminated, they had no resource, except that of implicit confidence in the mysterious mercy of a Being" wholly unknown to them.
In such a state of things,
how incalculable is the importance of the few simple words "Thus saith the Lord!" and how immeasurable the value of a teacher who "speaks as one having authority!" What devout servant of the Lord has not felt the happiness of escaping from the tossing sea and shifting banks of human authority, to the solid anchorage of the Gospel; and, contrasting his own state with that of the most favoured of the ancients, has not been disposed to exclaim, "Their rock is not as our Rock, our enemies themselves being judges?
It is true, that the Son of God no longer, in a literal sense, interferes to cast out devils by the word of his power. The age of miracles is over: and these unclean spirits are no longer permitted to possess themselves of the bodies of men. Nevertheless, the word
of the Lord is still equally powerful in its influence upon the soul. The servant of God has, perhaps, for years struggled in his own strength against the dominion of passion or temper; but the struggle has been in vain. Encouraged, at length, by the invitations of the Gospel, he seeks deliverance from God. It is then that the Lord "commandeth: and the unclean spirits obey him." The lusts and passions at once do homage to his authority. They shrink under his influence, like the sinew of the patriarch under the touch of the Angel. Let the heart, then, of the lowly believer take courage. The Author of our pardon is the Author of our sanctification. He who "forgives our iniquities," can "heal our diseases." He who "washes us from our sins," can also "make us kings and priests unto our God;" can clothe us in the
"white garment" of the heavenly sanctuary; and "put a crown of pure gold upon our heads."
But if such be the authority which properly belongs to the word of God, whence is it that so few appear to feel its influence? Because, however powerful, the appointment of the Most High is that even this should not act compulsorily on his creatures. It is possible to shut out the light of the sun it is possible to turn aside the tide of the mighty river: and so it is possible to repel the voice which speaks even with overwhelming “authority" to a lowly and teachable heart. "Quench not the Spirit:" therefore the Spirit may be quenched. The Jews "resisted the Holy Ghost:" therefore the Holy Ghost may be resisted. "He came to his own, and his own received him not:" therefore
it is possible to refuse Him an access to the rebellious heart.-O Lord and Saviour of the guilty! speak with an authority so commanding to our souls, as, first, to awaken-then, to convert, to "settle," to "stablish," to satisfy the heart; so that we may be thine for ever and ever.
VAINLY many a straining eye
Gentile sages, in the dust
Bowed before an "Unknown" Power:
Them, the Merciful, the Just,
Cheered not, in the dying hour