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Lord, and the hope and the comfort that abide in it, stand for ever.' Let your loins be girded about and your lights burning ; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the Lord, when he cometh, shall find watching : and if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not. 'Blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing.' Let us be concerned for our bereaved churches and congregations, deprived of such able and influential ministers, and, by this last stroke, deprived of its highest living ornament. Now is the time to exclaim, Where is the Lord God of Elijah?' Let us encourage ourselves by this—both the gifts and the graces of ministers come from him, and with him is the residue of the Spirit. He can find or make fit instruments for his own work; and can save by many or by few—by men of gigantic stature or by men of far inferior intellectual grade, but especially made wise by his wisdom and filled with his Spirit. We have much encouragement to hope in his mercy amidst all these desolations. This has been a year, hitherto,' of unprecedented visitation by death, as it respects the preachers and pastors of our Connexion. But there has been also an unprecedented visitation in the way of mercy, in the various revivals of religion in various parts of our body. The Lord's arm is not shortened, nor his ear heavy, nor his Spirit restrained among us. And now that our ranks are thinned, let us draw more and more closely towards each other—be more united in brotherly affection, in pious zeal, in benevolent effort; frowning with just indignation on every attempt to weaken our strength; our devotion, by our compactness and concentration, endeavoring to make up whatever we have lost in point of numbers, and looking to the Author of all good for such an increase of our graces and energies and resources, as shall more than compensate, eventually, for any diminution of external splendor and magnificence. Take courage, my brethren ; and the best of all is, God is with us,' and will be with us while we shall be with him, by a faithful, united, and fearless exhibition of those pure doctrines and that holy discipline, which our fathers and predecessors defended and set up in
Sacred and dear are their memories that are dead; but the Lord liveth, and blessed be our rock, and let the God of our salvation be exalted.'
May he bestow his blessing on what has been said, calculated to advance his glory, for the Redeemer's sake! Amen.
EXTRACT FROM A SERMON
Preached in Liverpool, by Dr. Adam Clarke, a few weeks previous to his
Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.' Acts, iii. 19.
There is a reference here to a custom very frequent in ancient times, before you and your fathers were born. When paper was scarcely known, and parchment was the only thing used to make books of, and to make entries upon, there was a method of discharging the ink from the parchment, or vellum, on which something not of the most important kind had been written, but important for the time, and of writing down in the place which other writing had occupied, a different kind of writing. I have myself books of this description, where perhaps, seven or eight hundred years ago, a piece of writing had been discharged in all its letters; but in places of the margin which were not needed to write the new thing on, you see the remains of the old letter.
When religion became a subject of national concern, many of the ancient books had their writings erased by art, for the purpose of writing others in their place. I myself have seen the Gospel of St. Matthew, written in the twelfth or thirteenth century, over a writing of a much more ancient date. That interesting Codex is in Trinity College, Dublin, and even the ancient writing was wonderfully made out by the Rev. Dr. Barrett, who discovered it, and died Vice-Provost of that University. Here, then, we have the thing referred to. Here is the writing—it is in God's possession—he only can discharge it—he can write a new name upon it—he can take away
the charges that are written in the book, and registered also in your conscience, for conscience receives impressions of them from that
book-he can discharge them so that the keenest eye shall not be able to find out the sins that you have committed, and which, if published before assembled worlds, would sink you to annihilation. In that case, the man is in no apprehension ; he was so; but the hand-writing of ordinances that was against him is taken out of the way—the charges have been erased—they have been washed
away ; so that, not only God's book—God's justice—that wondrous Remembrancer registers nothing against the transgressor, because he has beeen forgiven all; but when the man comes to look into his own soul, to see the old charges, he finds them all gone! Would
let an old man, that will not trouble you very long, just tell you how he felt when God shone upon his soul ? Whereever I looked I had God's holiness and my own heart brought, as it were, parallel-there was not a charge that God had against me registered in his book, but I felt, as it were, here, in my conscience and heart; when in crying to him for mercy, after a deep night of repentance, which I shall explain in a little in reference to yourselves, I found all my load of anxiety and fear and dismay removed from my mind : I looked up to heaven, and saw nothing but glory there-I looked up to God, and saw nothing but my Father there I looked up to Jesus, and saw nothing but my Saviour there—I looked up to the Holy Ghost, and saw him smilingly registering my salvation there, I looked within, I saw nota character to charge me there. I felt as if I had never sinned against my Maker, and yet conscious that I had done so; with the fullest consciousness, at the same time, that all was blotted out from God's book and my own too.
· Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out !' Repent, because you know you have sinned! Repent, therefore, because God has made a way for your escape ! Repent, therefore, for the judgment has not seized your soul, and carried it away into the eternal world! Repent, because you have so many means of grace and so many hopes of glory promised to you! But what is repentance ? Why, it is sorrow for sin. But is it not more than this ? Repentance implies regret, but it implies also a knowledge that the thing has been done; and hence, our word, signifying repentance, has been interpreted after-thought, after-wisdom. For instance : a man has done some sin : he thought upon this ; he thought upon it, in reference to the individual that suffered the injury-he thought upon it in reference to himself, for he should not have done it—and he thought upon it in reference to the great God against whom it was committed, and in thus thinking about it, his eye affected his heart. This is the reason why the word signifies after-thought, after-wisdom, and so on. So that it appears, a man must be at home in order to begin the work of repentance; and he must endeavor to continue at home, to see the nature of the work, and see how it goes on.
I mean that he should look into his own heart, and see the black characters there in such a way, that he sees the finger of God has written them as truly as he knows that that finger wrote the Decalogue on the two tables of stone that Moses brought down from the mountain.
But repentance implies, also, that we forsake sin. The man that sees he has thus sinned, that his sin is thus registered (as his conscience does not tell him a lie, and he does not believe that this book would tell him a falsity), this man, I say, begins to think,—I must cease from this way : if I go on I shall perish.
go on I shall perish. And, perhaps, he will take a common way of reasoning-Ten to one I may perish after all ; but if there be one chance, humanly speaking, to a thousand or to ten millions, why then, surely I should strive to get this chance fulfilled ; for there is a hell of fire that burns for ever and ever--there is a justly offended God that will not forgive iniquity, unless the man repent of it, and unless he accept the ransom that God has provided for him. My friends, I beseech you to look into your souls, and see if you have repentance. As sure as God made you, you have sinned not less than the Jews to whom Peter addressed the words of the text ; nay perhaps, you have had crimes of a new fashion, and tenfold ungodliness, all of which must be repented of, abandoned, and Aed from. Repent then-begin to sorrow! Can you think of having ever lifted up your hand against the God of eternal mercy-against the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ-against him that shed his blood for you—against the Holy Spirit that has been divinely affecting you, breathing into you his influence, and causing his light to shine through you, and giving you every now and then, a glimpse of God's glory, and shedding a hope through your minds that maketh not ashamed ?-can you think of having sinned in all these ways, and offended such a God, such a Saviour, such a Spirit of sanctification and holiness, against the Eternal Trinity, the God that never did you any hurt, that has fed you all your life long-while not one thousandth part of a second of time you have a right to, your life itself being forfeitedcan you think of having sinned against a God that has given you the Bible and faithful preachers, and opportunities of hearing his word preached, and all the other mercies that you enjoy, without sorrow and contrition and humiliation of mind?
Through the infinite mercy of God, we have seen the commencement, and now about the middle hour, of the seventh Sunday in Trinity. Well, my friends, we may never see another hour; but I would not alarm you about these things. I think it is possible most of you will live hours and months and years. I would
not alarm you as though your salvation were so much in hazard, as that though you began now, it could not probably be accomplished. I will pledge myself, that if you will begin now, seriously and in earnest, to consider your ways and repent and be converted, God will neither let Cholera nor devil take you away, or let one of you fall into the grave till he has accomplished so good a work in you. Take courage, then.
But, if repentance signifies forsaking sin, what is to be understood by being converted? It is necessary to define this word; and then I shall show you some nonsense that has been attached
Conversion, in this place, absolutely signifies a turning to God, and receiving him in the manner in which he offers himself, and receiving that which he has appointed for our salvation. A sinner is represented with heaven behind him and hell before him, while every step he takes—and he often runs—is a step nearer to hell and farther from that heaven of glory: he has got into the counterpart of the way, and while he goes in that way, he cannot be saved-he must turn again-he must come back. The first thing, then, you are to do, is, that you be converted to look towards God-to turn yourselves towards God and heaven—that you cease from running in that way that leads to perdition, and take the road that leads to heaven. converted !" But we take this word in all its meaning, in general; and I think in some portions of God's word it is so taken in all its meaning; and the particular meaning is, not only a turning in purpose and intention, and in the position of the body, so that the man ceases to go in the bad way, but it denotes the whole heart being turned to God, embracing his will, receiving his mercy, pouring out itself in prayer before him, and taking in that wondrous act of God, the blotting out of the man's sin, and his receiving the witness of the Spirit, that he is a son of God. The man is said to be converted, that is, turned to God with all his soul—that is, turned to holiness with all his heart—that is, turned from sin with all his might—and turned from the workers of iniquity, to find association and companionship with those who work righteousness and are going to glory.
But, we have a variety of words that we join with conversion, and that perplex and spoil rather than explain its meaning. Thus, we say that such a man was soundly converted to God. What does that mean? Then, is there a possibility of being unsoundly converted ? What is unsound conversion ? It is no conversion at all. Then we have another word,—we say, such an one has been savingly converted to God,—while being converted means the one proper thing. There can be no conversion but one ; and when you say that the man is converted to God, it says all—that he has been