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unholy in the midst of the preached Gospel, while we ourselves have a house in which to worship, and the Gospel of God preached to us. We have indeed, in this respect, much need to ask for pardon from Him who has set such an example of bounty and forgiveness, as to give not merely what he had, but to give himself also, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works.
THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM.
THE TWO DEBTORS.
St. MATTHEW, xviii., v. 34 35.—" And his Lord was wroth and delivered him to the' tormentors, till he should
all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
It is part of the evidence of the truth of scripture revelation that it adapts itself to every part of our nature and that it meets all our circumstances. If it did not so it could not be from Him who professes to give that which is able to make us perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
On last Sunday, in considering this text, I took the view of God as our Creator and God as our Redeemer, and endeavoured to show how the dealings which flow from these two characters of God apparently contradict each other and cause many difficulties to those who read the bible. We have the same difficulties' meeting us here with regard to the adaptation of God's dealings towards our nature. As immortal beings, desirous of eternal happiness, we cannot but wish for security. As moral beings, capable of acting upon motives, we cannot but
be appealed to as beings that have a volition, capable of making a choice. Now to leave us to our ,volition, to give us the power of choice, and yet to keep us secure is a task which only God could perform, as only God could have devised. That he should leave moral and responsible beings to their own choice, and yet secure the final and eternal blessedness of those beings, is I say, just that great problem which only God could have devised, and only God could have accomplished. Just as we regard God's dealings towards us in either of these lights do we get at part of the truth. Without combining these together we do not get the whole truth with regard to God's dealings. It is the want of seeing each part separately, and then of comparing the two, which causes
many perplexities and difficulties, so many theological discords amongst the believers in revelation. The Calvinist will take and search the scriptures and find in them the unchangeable counsels, and unchangeable love of God; he will point out to us promise after promise in which the salvation of God's elect is secure. He is right if we look upon God's dealings only in that one aspect as keeping his people secure. Yet while he will be right in his statements in their positive aspect, he will be very wrong in their negative aspect. In denying God's moral dealings with his people, he misapplies scripture and will be tempted to pervert all those passages which speak of Christ's dying for the whole world, of God's not being willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance; and all those things which appeal to man in his moral feelings, and speak to him of danger, and warn him of enemies, and throw his salvation apparently upon himself. The Arminian, upon the opposite ide, regarding man in his moral relations, considering that if man be fated to do something he cannot help doing it, that if that doctrine be true, in his eyes, man's responsibility is taken away as he is compelled to do it, he turns his mind to look upon those parts of scripture that speak to us of our own will, that leave to us a freedom of choice, that cast upon us a great amount of personal responsibility, and that seem to make our salvation depend upon ourselves. He will ask, does not the prophet say? “Make you a new heart, for, why will ye die, O house of Israel ?” He will point out to us everlasting condemnation in scripture, where man is appealed to as a being called to do something if he will, and that makes his eternal loss his own awful choice, and he is right. The bible does speak to man in this way, and the providence of God speaks to each of us in this way, and we feel that we have a moral power to choose the good or choose the evil under the assistance of Divine Grace; but still we feel in ourselves a power of choice, in testimony of Scripture; indeed no reasoning of human sophistry can take out of our hearts the feeling we have that we do make a choice,—too often indeed a bad choice, choosing the evil instead of the good.
Now in order to get at the truth of scripture we must combine these two views together. We must see how God can reserve to himself his own sovereignty, his own power, his own unchangeable love, and act out his part concerning man, determined to accomplish his own pur poses; so that it is indeed the counsel of the Lord that shall stand, and the thoughts of his heart to all generations. And yet that same God can appeal to us, can ask us to turn our hearts to him ; can meet us in the necessities of our moral nature, in the moral freedom of