Submit yourselves therefore to God. James 4:7.
The subject of this lecture is, "What constitutes TrueSubmission?"
Before I enter on the discussion of this subject, I wish tomake two remarks, introductory to the main question.
1. The first remark is this: If any of you are deceived inregard to your hopes, and have built on a false foundation, thefundamental error in your case was your embracing what you thoughtwas the gospel plan of salvation from selfish motives. Your selfishhearts were unbroken This is the source of your delusion, if youare deceived. If your selfishness was subdued, you are not deceivedin your hope. If it was not, all your religion is vain, and yourhope is vain.
2. The other remark I wish to make is, that if any of you aredeceived, and have a false hope, you are in the utmost dangerof reviving your old hope, whenever you are awakened to consideryour condition. It is a very common thing for such professors,after a season of anxiety and self-examination, to settle downagain on the old foundation. The reason is, their habits of mindhave become fixed in that channel, and therefore, by the lawsof the mind it is difficult to break into a new course. It isindispensable, therefore, if you ever mean to get right, thatyou should see clearly that you have hitherto been wholly wrong,so that you need not multiply any more the kind of efforts thathave deceived you heretofore.
Who does not know that there is a great deal of this and ofdeception? How often will a great part of the church lie coldand dead, till a revival commences? Then you will see them bustlingabout, and they get engaged, as they call it, in religion, andrenew their efforts and multiply their prayers for a season; andthis is what they call getting revived. But it is only the samekind of religion that they had before. Such religion lasts nolonger than the public excitement. As soon as the body of thechurch begin to diminish their efforts for the conversion of Sinners,these individuals relapse into their former worldliness, and getas near to what they were before their supposed conversion, astheir pride and their fear of the censures of the church willlet them. When a revival comes again, they renew the same round;and so they live along by spasms over and over again, revivedand backslidden, revived and backslidden, alternately, as longas they live. The truth is, they were deluded at first, by a spuriousconversion, in which selfishness never was broken down; and themore they multiply such kind of efforts, the more sure they areto be lost.
I will now enter upon the direct discussion of the subject,and endeavor to show you what true gospel submission is, in thefollowing order, viz.;
I. I shall show what is not true submission. II. Show whattrue submission is.
I. I am to show what true submission is not.
1. True submission to God is not indifference. No two thingscan be more unlike than indifference and true submission.
2. It does not consist in being willing to be sinful for theglory of God.
Some have supposed that true submission included the idea ofbeing willing to be sinful for the glory of God. But this is amistake. To be willing to be sinful is itself a sinful state ofmind. And to be willing to do anything for the glory of God, isto choose not to be sinful. The idea of being sinful for the gloryof God is absurd.
3. It does not consist in a willingness to be punished.
If we were now in hell, true submission would require thatwe should be willing to be punished. Because then it would becertain that it was God's will we should be punished. So, if wewere in a world where no provision was made for the redemptionof sinners, and where our punishment was therefore inevitable,it would be our duty to be willing to be punished. If a man hascommitted murder, and there is no other way to secure the publicinterest but for him to be hung, it is his duty to be willingto be hung for the public good. But if there was any other wayin which the murderer could make the public interest whole, itwould not be his duty to be willing to be hung. So if he werein a world solely under law, where there was no plan of salvation,and no measure to secure the stability of government in the forgivenessof sinners, it would be the duty of every man to be willing tobe punished. But as it is in this world, genuine submission doesnot imply a willingness to be punished. Because we know it isnot the will of God that all shall be punished, but on the otherhand, we know it is his will that all who truly repent and submitto God shall be saved.
II. I am to show what genuine submission is.
1. It consists in perfect acquiescence in all the providentialdealings and dispensations of God; whether relating to ourselves,or to others, or to the universe. Some persons suppose they doacquiesce in the abstract, in the providential government of God.But yet, if you converse with them you see they will find faultwith God's arrangements in many things. They wonder why God sufferedAdam to sin? Or why he suffered sin to enter the universe at all?Or why he did this or that? Or why he made this or that, thusor so? In all these cases, supposing we could assign no reasonat all that would be satisfactory, true submission implies a perfectacquiescence in what ever he has suffered or done; and feelingthat, so far as his providence is concerned, it is all right.
2. True submission implies acquiescence in the precept of God'smoral law. The general precept of God's moral law is, "Thoushalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with allthy mind, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, andthou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Perhaps some willsay, "I do acquiesce in this precept, I feel that it is right,and I have no objection to this law." Here I want you tomake the distinction carefully between a constitutional approbationof God's law, and actual submission to it. There is no mind butwhat naturally, and by its own common sense of what is right,approves of this law. There is not a devil in hell that does notapprove of it. God has so constituted mind that it is impossibleto be a moral agent, and not approve of his law. But this is notthe acquiescence I am speaking of. A person may feel this approbationto so great a degree as to be even delighted without having truesubmission to it. There are two ideas included in genuine submission,to which I wish your particular attention.
(1.)The first idea is, that true acquiescence in God's morallaw includes actual obedience. It is vain for a child to pretenda real acquiescence in his father's commands, unless he actuallyobeys them. It is in vain for a citizen to pretend an acquiescencein the laws of the land, unless he obeys the laws.
(2.)The main idea of submission is the yielding up of thatwhich constitutes the great point in controversy. And that isthis; that men have taken off their supreme affection from Godand his kingdom, and set up self-interest as the paramount objectof regard. Instead of laying themselves out in doing good, asGod requires, they have adopted the maxim that "Charity beginsat home." This is the very point in debate, between God andthe sinner. The sinner aims at promoting his own interest, ashis supreme object. Now, the first ideal implied in submissionis the yielding up of this point. We must cease placing our owninterest as supreme, and let the interests of God and his kingdomrise in our affections just as much above our own interests astheir real value is greater. The man who does not do this is arebel against God.
Suppose a civil ruler were to set himself to promote the generalhappiness of his nation; and should enact laws wisely adaptedto this end, and should embark all his own resources in this object;and that he should then require every subject to do the same.Then suppose an individual should go and set up his own privateinterest in opposition to the general interest. He is a rebelagainst the government, and against all the interest which thegovernment is set to promote. Then the first idea of submission,on the part of the rebel, is giving up that point, and fallingin with the ruler and the obedient subjects in promoting the publicgood. Now the law of God absolutely requires that you should makeyour own happiness subordinate to the glory of God and the goodof the universe. And until you do this, you are the enemy of Godand the universe, and a child of hell.
And the gospel requires the same as the law. It is astonishingthat many, within a few years, have maintained that it is rightfor a man to aim directly at his own salvation, and make his ownhappiness the great object of pursuit. But it is plain that God'slaw is different from this, and requires every one to prize God'sinterest supremely. And the gospel requires the same with thelaw. Otherwise, Jesus Christ is the minister of sin, and carneinto the world to take up arms against God's government.
It is easy to show, from the Bible, that the gospel requiresdisinterested benevolence, or love to God and love to man, thesame as the law. The first passage I shall quote is this, "Seekfirst the kingdom of God and his righteousness." What doesthat mean? Strange as it may seem, a writer has lately quotedthis very text to prove that it is right to seek first our ownsalvation, or our own happiness, and to make that the leadingobject of pursuit. But; that is not the meaning. It requires everyone to make the promotion of the kingdom of God his great object.I suppose it to enjoin the duty of aiming at being Holy, and notat our own happiness. Happiness is connected with holiness, butit is not the same thing, but to seek holiness or obedience toGod, and to honor and glorify him, is a very different thing fromseeking supremely our own happiness.
Another passage is, "Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoeverye do, do all to the glory of God." Indeed! What! may wenot eat and drink to please ourselves? No. We may not even gratifyour natural appetite for food, but as subordinate to the gloryof God. This is what the gospel requires, for the apostle wrotethis to the Christian church.
Another passage is, "Look not on your own things, butevery man on the things of another." But it is vain to attemptto quote all the passages that teach this. You may find, on almostevery page of the Bible, some passage that; means the same thing,requiring us not to seek our own good, but the benefit of others.
Our Savior says, "Whosoever will save his life shall loseit: and whosoever will lose his life shall save it." Thatis, If a man aim at his own interest, he shall lose his own interest;if he aim at saving his soul, as his supreme object, be will losehis own soul; he must go out of himself and make the good of othershis supreme object, or he will be lost.
And again he says, "There is no man that hath left house,or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife or children,or lands, for my sake and the gospels, but he shall receive ahundred-fold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters,and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and inthe world to come, eternal life." Here some people may stumble,and say, There is a reward held out as a motive. But, mark! Whatare you to do? Forsake self for the sake of a reward to self?No; but to forsake self for the sake of Christ and his gospel;and the consequence will be as stated. Here is the important distinction.
In the 13th chapter of Corinthians Paul gives a full descriptionof this disinterested love, or charity, without which a personis nothing in religion. It is remarkable how much he says a personmay do, and yet be nothing. "Though I speak with the tonguesof men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as soundingbrass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecyand understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though Ihave all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have notcharity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feedthe poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have notcharity, it profiteth me nothing "But true gospel benevolenceis of this character: "Charity suffereth long and is kind;charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffedup, doth not be have itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, isnot easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity,but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth allthings, hope that things, endureth all things." "Seekethnot her own." Mark that. It has no selfish end, but seeksthe happiness of others as its great end. Without this kind ofbenevolence, we know there is not a particle of religion. Yousee, I might stand here all night quoting and explaining passagesto the same point, showing that all pure religion consists indisinterested benevolence.
Before I go farther, I wish to mention several objections tothis view, which may arise in your minds. I do this more particularlybecause some of you may stumble right here, and after all getthe idea that it is right to have our religion consist in aimingat our own salvation as our great object.
Objection l. "Why are the threatenings of the word ofGod given, if it is selfishness to be influenced by a fear ofthe wrath to come?"
Many answers may be given to this objection.
Answer. Man is so constituted that by the laws of his beinghe dreads pain. The Scripture threatenings, therefore, answermanypurposes. One is, to arrest the attention of the selfish mind,and lead it to examine the reason there are for loving and obeyingGod. When the Holy Spirit thus gets the attention, then he rousesthe sinner's conscience, and engages that to consider and decideon the reasonableness and duty of submitting to God.
Objection 2. "Since God has given us these susceptibilitiesto pleasure and pain, is it wrong to be influence by them?"
Answer. It is neither right nor wrong. These susceptibilitieshave no moral character. If I had time tonight, I might make allplainto you. In morals, there is a class of actions that comeunder the denomination of prudential considerations.
For instance: Suppose you stand on a precipice, where, if youthrow yourself down, you will infallibly break your neck. Youare warned against it. Now, if you do not regard the warning,but throw yourself down, and destroy your life, that will be sin.But regarding it is no virtue. It is simply a prudential act.There is no virtue in avoiding danger, although it may often besinful not to avoid it. It is sinful for men to brave the wrathof God. But to be afraid of hell is not holy, no more than thefear of breaking your neck down a precipice is holy. It is simplya dictate of the constitution.
Objection 3. "Does not the Bible make it our immediateduty to seek our own happiness?"
Answer. It is not sinful to seek our own happiness, accordingto its real value. On the contrary, it is a real duty to do so.And he that neglects to do this, commits sin. Another answer is,that although it is right to seek our own happiness, and the constitutionallaws of the mind require us to regard our own happiness, stillour constitution does not indicate that to pursue our own happinessas the chief good, is right. Suppose any one should argue, thatbecause our constitution requires food, therefore it is rightto seek food as the supreme good would that be sound? Certainlynot; for the Bible expressly forbids any such thing, and says"Whether ye eat or drink, do all to the glory of God."
Objection 4. "Each one's happiness is put particularlyin his own power; and if every one should seek his own happiness,the happiness of the whole will be secured, to the greatest amountthat is possible."
This objection is specious, but not sound. I deny the conclusionaltogether. For,
(1.) The laws of the mind are such, that it is impossible forone to be happy while he makes his own happiness the supreme object.Happiness consists in the gratification of virtuous desires. Butto be gratified, the thing must be obtained "that is desired."To be happy, therefore, the desires that are gratified must beright, and therefore they must be disinterested desires. If yourdesires terminate on yourself; for instance if you desire theconversion of sinners for the sake of promoting your own happiness,when sinners are converted it does not make you happy, becauseit is not the thing on which your desire terminated. The law ofthe mind therefore, renders it impossible, if each individualpursues his own happiness, that he should ever obtain it. To bemore definite. Two things are indispensable to true happiness.First, there must be virtuous desire. If the desire be not virtuous,conscience will remonstrate against it, and therefore a gratificationwould be attended with pain. Secondly, this desire must be gratifiedin the attainment of its object. The object must be desired forits own sake, or the gratification would not be complete, evenshould the object be obtained. If the object is desired as a meansto an end, the gratification would depend on obtaining the endby this means. But if the thing was desired as an end, or forits own sake, obtaining it would produce unmingled gratification.The mind must, therefore, desire not its own happiness, for inthis way it can never be attained, but the desire must terminateon some other object which is desired for its own sake, the attainmentof which would be a gratification, and thus result in happiness.
(2.) If each one pursues his own happiness as his supreme end,the interests of different individuals will clash, and destroythe happiness of all. This is the very thing we see in the world.This is the reason of all the fraud, and violence, and oppression,and wickedness in earth and hell. It is because each one is pursuinghis own interest, and their interests clash. The true way to secureour own happiness is, not to pursue that as an end but to pursuesanother object, which, when obtained, will afford complete gratificationthe glory of God and the good of the universe. The question isnot, whether it is right to desire and pursue our own happinessat all, but whether it is right to make our own happiness oursupreme end.
Objection 5. "Happiness consists in gratifying virtuousdesire. Then the thing I aim at, is gratifying virtue desire.Is not that aiming at my own happiness?"
Answer. The mind does not aim at gratifying the desire, butat accomplishing the thing desired. Suppose you see a beggar,as mentioned last week, and you give him a loaf of bread. Youaim at relieving the beggar. That is the object desired, and whenthat is done, your desire is gratified, and you are happy. Butif, in relieving the beggar, the object you aimed at was yourown happiness, then relieving the beggar will not gratify thedesire, and you render it impossible to gratify it.
Thus you see, that both the law and the gospel require disinterestedbenevolence, as the only condition on which man can be happy.
3. True submission implies acquiescence in the penalty of God'slaw.
I again advert to the distinction, which I have made before.We are not, in this world, simply under a government of nakedlaw. This world is a province of Jehovah empire, that stands ina peculiar relation to God's government. It has rebelled, anda new and special provision has been made, by which God offersus mercy. The conditions are, that we obey the precepts of thelaw, and submit to the justice of the penalty. It is a governmentof law, with the gospel appended to it. The gospel requires thesame obedience with the law. It maintains the ill desert of sin,and requires the sinner's acquiescence in the justice of the penalty.If the sinner were under mere law, it would require that he shouldsubmit to the infliction of the penalty. But man is not, and neverhas been since the fall, under the government of mere law, buthas always known, more or less clearly, that mercy is offered.It has, therefore, never been required, that men should be willingto be punished. In this respect it is that gospel submission differsfrom legal submission. Under naked law, submission would consistin willingness to be punished. In this world, submission consistsin acquiescence in the justice of the penalty, and regarding himselfas deserving the eternal wrath of God.
4. True submission implies acquiescence in the sovereigntyof God.
It is the duty of every sovereign to see that all his subjectssubmit to his government. And it is his duty to enact such laws,that every individual, if he obeys perfectly, will promote thepublic good, in the highest possible degree. And then, if anyone refuses to obey, it is his duty to take that individual byforce, and make him subserve the public interest in the best waythat is possible with a rebellious subject, If he will not subservethe public good voluntarily he should be made to do it involuntarily.The government must either hang him, or shut him up, or in someway make him an example of suffering; or if the public good admitsof mercy, it may show mercy in such a way as will best subservethe general interest. Now God is a sovereign ruler, and the submissionwitch he requires is just what he is bound to require. He wouldbe neglecting his duty as a ruler, if he did not require it. Andsince you have refused to obey this requirement, you are now boundto throw yourself into his hands, for him to dispose of you, fortime and eternity, in the way that will most promote the interestsof the universe. You have forfeited all claim to any portion inthe happiness of the universe or the favor of God. And the thingwhich is now required of you is, that since you cannot renderobedience for the past, you should acknowledge the justice ofhis law, and leave your future destiny entirely and unconditionallyat his disposal, for time and for eternity. You must submit allyou have and all you are to him. You have justly forfeited all,and are bound to give up all at his bidding, in any way that hecalls for them, to promote the interests of his kingdom.
5. Finally, it requires submission to the terms of the gospel.The terms of the gospel are
(1.) Repentance, hearty sorrow for sin, justifying God andtaking his part against yourself.
(2.) Faith, perfect trust and confidence towards God, suchas leads you without hesitation to throw yourself, body and soul,and all you have and are, into his hand, to do with you as hethinks good.
(3.) Holiness, or disinterested benevolence.
(4.) To receive salvation as a mere matter of pure grace, towhich you have no claim on the score of justice.
(5.) To receive Christ as your mediator and advocate, youratoning sacrifice, your ruler and teacher, and in all the officesin which he is presented to you in God's word. In short, you areto be wholly acquiescent in God's appointed way of salvation.
I. You see why there are so many false hopes in the church.
The reason is, that so many persons embrace what they considerthe gospel, without yielding obedience to the law. They look atthe law with dread, and regard the gospel as a scheme to get awayfrom the law. These tendencies have always been manifested amongmen. There is a certain class that hold to the gospel and rejectthe law; and another class that take the law and neglect the gospel.The Antinomians think to get rid of the law altogether. They supposethe gospel rule of life is different from the law; whereas, thetruth is, that the rule of life is the same in both, and bothrequire disinterested benevolence. Now, if a person thinks that,under the gospel, he may give up the glory of God as his supremeobject, and instead of loving God with all his heart, and soul,and strength, may make his own salvation his supreme object, hishopes are false. He has embraced another gospel which is no gospelat all.
II. The subject shows how we are to meet the common objection,that faith in Christ implies making our own salvation our objector motive.
Answer. What is faith? It is not believing that you shall besaved, but believing God's word concerning his Son. It is no whererevealed that you shall be saved. He has revealed the fact thatJesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. What you callfaith, is more properly hope. The confident expectation that youshall be saved is an inference from the act of faith; and an inferencewhich you have a right to draw when you are conscious of obeyingthe law and believing the gospel. That is, when you exercise thefeelings required in the law and gospel, you have a right to trustin Christ for your own salvation.
III. It is an error to suppose that despair of mercy is essentialto true submission.
This is plain from the fact that, under the gospel, every bodyknows it is the will of God that every soul should be saved thatwill exercise disinterested benevolence. Suppose a man shouldcome to me and ask, "What shall I do to be saved?" andI should tell him, "If you expect to be saved you must despairof being saved," what would he think? What inspired writerever gave any such direction as this? No, the inspired answeris, "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart," "Repent,""Believe the Gospel," and so on. Is there any thinghere that implies despair?
It is true that sinners sometimes do despair, before they obtaintrue peace. But what is the reason? It is not because despairis essential to true peace; but because of their ignorance, orof wrong instructions given to them, or misapprehension of thetruth. Many anxious sinners despair because they get a false impressionthat they have sinned away their day of grace, or that they havecommitted the unpardonable sin, or that their sins are peculiarlyaggravated, and the gospel provision does not reach them. Sometimesthey despair for this reason they know that there is mercy provided,and ready to be bestowed as soon as they will comply with theterms, but they find all their efforts at true submission vain.They find they are so proud and obstinate, that they cannot gettheir own consent to the terms of salvation. Perhaps most individualswho do submit, do in fact come to a point where they give up allas lost. But is that necessary? That is the question. Now, yousee, it is nothing but their own wickedness drives them to despair.They are so unwilling to take hold of the mercy that is offered.Their despair, then, instead of being essential to true submissionunder the gospel, is inconsistent with it, and no man ever embracedthe gospel while in that state. It is horrid unbelief then, itis sin to despair; and to say it is essential to true submission,is saying that sin is essential to true submission.
IV. True submission is acquiescing in the whole governmentof God.
It is acquiescing in his providential government, in his moralgovernment, in the precept of his law, and in the penalty of hislaw, so that he is himself deserving of an exceeding great andeternal weight of damnation; and submission to the terms of salvationin the gospel. Under the gospel, it is no man's duty to be willingto be damned. It is wholly inconsistent with his duty to be willingto be damned. The man who submits to the naked law, and consentsto be damned, is as much in rebellion as ever; for it is one ofGod's express requirements that he should obey the gospel.
V. To call on a sinner to be willing to be punished is a grandmistake, for several reasons.
It is to set aside the gospel, and place him under anothergovernment than that which exists. It sets before him a partialview of the character of God, to which he is required to submit.It keeps back the true motives to submission. It presents notthe real and true God, but a different being. It is practicinga deception on him, by holding out the idea that God desires hisdamnation, and he must submit to it; for God has taken his solemnoath that he desires not the death of the wicked, but that heturn from his wickedness and live. It is a slander upon God, andcharging God with perjury. Every man under the gospel, knows thatGod desires sinners to be saved, and it is impossible to hidethe fact. The true ground on which salvation should be placedis, that he is not to seek his own salvation, but to seek theglory of God; not to told out the idea that God desires or meanshe should go to hell.
What did the apostles tell sinners, when they inquired whatthey must do to be saved? What did Peter tell them at the Pentecost?What did Paul tell the jailer? To repent and forsake their selfishness,and believe the gospel. This is what men must do to be saved.
There is another difficulty in attempting to convert mentionthis way. It is attempting to convert them by the law, and settingaside the gospel. It is attempting to make them holy, withoutthe appropriate influences to make them holy. Paul tried thisway, thoroughly, and found it never would answer. In the 7th ofRomans, he gives us the result in his own case. It drove him toconfess that the law was holy and good, and he ought to obey it;and there it left him in distress, and crying, "The goodthat I would, I do not, but the evil that I would not, that Ido."
The law was not able to convert him, and he cries out, "Owretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body ofthis death?" Just here the love of God in sending his SonJesus Christ, is presented to his mind, and that did the work.In the next chapter he explains it: "What the law could notdo in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his ownSon in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sinin the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilledin us, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit."The whole Bible testifies that it is only the influence of thegospel which can bring sinners to obey the law. The law will neverdo it. Shutting out from the soul that class of motives whichcluster around it from the gospel, will never convert a sinner.
I know there may be some persons who suppose they were convertedin this way, and that they have submitted to the law, absolutely,and without any influence from the gospel. But was it ever concealedfrom them for a moment, that Christ had died for sinners, andthat if they should repent and believe, they should be saved?These motives must have had their influence, for all the timethat they think they were looking at the naked law they expectedthat if they believed they should be saved.
I suppose the error of attempting to convert men by the law,without the gospel, lies here; in the old Hopkinsian notion thatmen, in order to be saved must be willing to be damned. It setsaside the fact, that this world is, and since the fall alwayshas been, under a dispensation of mercy. If we were under a governmentof mere law, true submission to God would require this. But menare not, in this sense, under the law, and never have been; forimmediately after the fall, God revealed to Adam the intimationsof mercy.
An objection arises here in the mind of some, which I willremove.
Objection. "Is not the offer of mercy, in the gospel calculatedto produce a selfish religion?"
Answer. The offer of mercy may be perverted, as every othergood thing may be, and then it may give rise to a selfish religion.And God knew it would be so, when he revealed the gospel. Butobserve: Nothing is calculated to subdue the rebellious heartof man, but this very exhibition of the benevolence of God, inthe offer of mercy.
There was a father who had a stubborn and rebellious son, andhe tried long to subdue him by chastisement. He loved his son,and lodged to have him virtuous and obedient. But the child seemedto harden his heart against his repeated efforts. At length thepoor father was quite discouraged, and burst out into a floodof convulsive weeping "My son! my son! what shall I do? CanI save you? I have done all that I could to save you; O what canI do more? "The son had looked at the rod with a brow ofbrass, but when he saw the tears rolling down his father's furrowedcheeks, and heard the convulsive sobs of anguish from his agedbosom, he too burst into tears, and cried out, "Whip me father!do whip me, as much as you please, but don't cry!" Now thefather had found out the way to subdue that stubborn heart. Insteadof holding over him nothing but the iron hand of law, he let outhis soul before him; and what was the effect? To crash him intohypocritical submission? No, the rod did that. The gushing tearsof his father's love broke him down at once to true submissionto his father's will.
So it is with sinners. The sinner braves the wrath of AlmightyGod, and hardens himself to receive the heaviest bolt of Jehovah'sthunder;but when he sees the love of his Heavenly Father's heart, if thereis anything that will make him abhor and execrate himself, thatwill do it, when he sees God manifested in the flesh, stoopingto take human nature, hanging on the cross, and pouring out hissoul in tears, and bloody sweat, and death. Is this calculatedto make hypocrites?
No, the sinner's heart melt, and he cries out, "O, doany thing else, and I can bear it; but the love of the blessedJesus overwhelms me." This is the very nature of the mind,to be thus influenced. Instead, therefore, of being afraid ofexhibiting the love of God to sinners, it is the only way to makethem truly submissive and truly benevolent. The law may make hypocrites;but nothing but the gospel can draw out the soul so true loveto God.
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