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before you, you have known enough to condemn you. « This is the condemnation that light has come into the world, and men have loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” You will find in the other world charges against you not only for resisting light, but for violating your own convictions. “ Ye knew your duty, but ye did it not."

“ These are the words to which the harps of grief
Are strung; and to the chorus of the damned
The rocks of hell repeat them evermore ;
Loud echoed thro' the caverns of despair,
And poured in thunder on the ear of wo."

SERMON CXXXIV.

By SILAS MÖKEEN,

BRADFORD, VERMONT.

SINNERS ENTREATED TO SEEK THE SAVIOR.

Isaiah lv. 6.-Seek ye the Lord while he may be found ; call ye upon him

while he is near.

May that Spirit, who inspired this urgent exhortation, now enlighten the mind and warm the heart, and give holy energy to the speaker; and attend the declaration of truth with renovating power. In him be my confidence, while, under an affecting sense of the worth of souls, I attempt to show,

I. How we should seek the Lord ;
II. What is here meant by finding the Lord;
III. And at what time the Lord may be found.

I. In what manner we are required to seek the Lord.

The Lord reveals himself to us, in the context, in the endearing character of a gracious Savior from sin and wo; and it is in that respect, especially, that he is to be sought. Nor may we suppose that every kind of seeking will be successful. We must seek him in a proper manner, in the exercise of right views and affections, or we shall experience the disappointment of those to whom it was said, “ Ye shall seek me and shall not find me.”

“ Ye ask and receive not; because ye ask amiss."

To seek the Lord aright we must believe that he is such a Savior as he is declared to be in the Holy Scriptures. He that cometh unto God must believe that he is; and that he is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” If we believe that he is the Savior of sinners at all, we ought to believe that he is entirely such as he is revealed to be in the scriptures ; for they are the only source of information on this subject. The works of creation, indeed, declare there is a God, eternal, and every where present; almighty, infinitely wise

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and good; but they do not reveal him to us as the Savior of lost and perishing men. Were it not for the holy scriptures, we must, in regard to this, be altogether in darkness; and if we admit their truth as far as to believe that Christ is a Savior at all, we are bound to believe that he is altogether such as these lively oracles declare him to be; and as such we must seek him. In particular, we must believe that Jesus Christ is the only Savior of men ; that he has made an atonement, altogether sufficient for all who shall ever come to him; that while salvation is wholly of grace, it is to be obtained only in the way of obedience to the gospel ; that Christ is sincere in all his invitations, and will certainly save all who comply with the terms on which salvation is offered ; and that he is in all respects worthy of the highest love and firmest confidence of every heart; for surely he is thus represented in the divine word. Now are these your views of Christ, and of the way of salvation which he has revealed ?

But, to seek the Lord in a right manner, it is not enough to have an orthodox belief concerning his character. We must realize our personal need of his salvation. A general belief, that Christ is the Savior of men, can never induce us to seek him until we are deeply conscious of our personal need. Suppose the chief magistrate of our country should issue a proclamation that, on a given day, he would freely pardon all who were guilty of treason, in case they would appear before him, confess their crime, and implore his forgiveness ; it is manifest that before any would comply with the terms, they must not only believe in his authority and faithfulness, but also feel that they were guilty of the crime specified; and consider a pardon of high importance. But to feel our need of an interest in Christ, we must be convinced that we have transgressed the divine law, and are justly condemned by it; that we can make no satisfaction to divine justice for our sins ; and that except we are saved by the Lord Jesus, wholly in a way of grace, we must for ever lie down in sorrow. And, my hearers, are you now impressed with a conviction of these truths ? Are you conscious of your personal need of salvation from sin and condemnation, and that if Christ does not help you speedily, you must perish in your guilt?. These convictions must sink deep into your hearts, before you will be induced to come to Jesus.

But all this is not enough. We must be willing, nay, anxiously desire, to embrace Christ as our Savior, in his entire character and on his own terms.

If we are not disposed to embrace the Savior on his own terms, just as he is offered to us in the gospel, we certainly deceive ourselves if we think we are in the way to find him. He has revealed the only way in which it is consistent with his glory to save us ; and as he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, he surely will never propose any other terms. If we so much as ask or expect him to save us in any other way, we directly insult him. And if we properly seek him to save us in his own way, it must be with the heart; for without that faith which worketh by love, it is impossible to please him. “ With the heart man believeth unto righteousness;" " ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all

heurt." To search for the Lord with all our heart, implies not only the greatest earnestness in seeking, but a disposition to receive him cordially when we shall find him. If we have no such complacency in the Lord Jesus, if we feel no such disposition to yield heartily to his authority, but apply to him merely from selfish considerations, surely fhe must look on us and on all our pretensions to seek him with abhorrence. He searches the heart, and cannot be deceived with false appearances. And whenever we are heartily willing to embrace him, we shall, of course, be truly penitent for our sins, and sincerely wish to be saved from them all; we shall be sensible of the imperfection of our best services, and realize our need of Christ to be our mediator; we shall have a supreme regard for the commandments of Christ, and desire to live in obedience to them all; we shall have a relish for communion with Christ, and wish to dwell eternally in his presence, and shall say with David, “ My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Thus contemplating the Savior's character, realizing our need of him, and feeling willing and earnestly desirous to embrace him, just as he offers to be our Savior; we shall ardently seek him in the reading of the holy scriptures, which testify of him ; in conversation with those who have found him to be precious ; in fervent prayer, where no eye, saving that which seeth in secret, beholds us; and in the solemn assembly where the glorious gospel is preached, and the prayers and the praises of the people of God go up like incense before the throne. Nor can we ever, under the influence of such views and feelings, cease from seeking this blessed Redeemer, until we have found him, and are assured of his saving kindness.

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II. What is meant in the text by finding the Lord ?

To find the Lord Jesus, in the sense of the text, is to obtain such a spiritual view of his character as is peculiar to those who embrace him; it is to find by experience that he is such a glorious and blessed Savior as he is declared to be in the scriptures. One blind from his birth may be taught to describe, correctly, the appearance of the spangled canopy above him, and the variegated beauty and sublimity of the scenes of earth; but a true impression of this visible grandeur and beauty he can never feel, can never be made to know, until his own eyes are opened to behold them. In like manner to hear the blessed character of the Savior and the benefits to be derived from him declared, and to find the declaration true by happy experience, are very different things.

If you ever find the Lord Jesus as your Savior, you will find that he is, and ever has been, acquainted with your heart and all your ways. The Samaritan woman who conversed with him at the well, said to her friends, “Come see a man who told me all things that ever I did; is not this the Christ ?" And every believer will exclaim with David, “ O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. 'Thou knowest my down-sitting and mine uprising ; thou understandest my thoughts afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways; for there is not a word in my tongue, but lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.”

You will find, too, that he is perfectly holy, and looks on sin with infinite displeasure. And this view of his holiness and glory will humble you in the dust before him. When Isaiah had a view of the Savior's glory, and heard the seraphim crying one to another, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of hosts :" he exclaimed, “ Wo is me! for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” In like manner Job, when he had been communing with the Almighty, said, “ I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."

You will, nevertheless, find the Savior to be most benevolent and merciful. While others talk of divine mercy, none but the contrite sinner can rightly understand its nature or estimate its worth. The true penitent is impressed with a sense of the holiness and glory against which he has sinned; he is penetrated with a conviction of his deep criminality; and, therefore, cannot think of that mercy which has hitherto saved him from hell, but with deep emotions of gratitude. And when he considers that he has not merely been spared, but that pardon and life eternal have been continually offered him; that the gate of glory is yet open before him, and God his Savior ready to receive him; then he begins to comprehend with all saints what is the s breadth and length, and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, and to be filled with all the fulness of God.” To whom much is forgiven, the same will love much.

Those who find the Savior will find him worthy of the highest love, the firmest confidence, and the most entire obedience. Christ has said, " he that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me ; and he that taketh not his cross and followeth after me is not worthy of me.” Nor will these sayings seem hard to those who attain to a spiritual knowledge of him : for they perceive that, he is “ God manifested in the flesh;” that in him " dwells all the fulness of the Godhead, bodily ;" that he is “God over all blessed for ever;" that he is the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace.” Therefore they cheerfully surrender to him their hearts, confide in his declarations, and bow to his authority ; they consecrate to him both soul and body; and while dwelling on earth, join with ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, in heaven, saying, “Worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing."

If you find the Savior, you will find that he is a portion sufficient to satisfy the most enlarged desires of the soul. You have sought happiness elsewhere; it has seemed within your reach ; but you have been continually disappointed. “ It has been as when a hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth ; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh ; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite.” But whenever you find the Savior, your wearied spirit will rest in him with entire satisfaction. Then you can say, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” “Thou art my portion.” Thou art to me “ wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption.” Thou art 6 my Savior and my God.” And in seasons of deep distress, when all the streams of earthly comfort are failing, you may say with Habakkuk, " Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vine, the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stall; yet will I rejoice in the Lord; yea, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Surely the man who trusteih in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is, is blessed indeed. The source of his happiness is as permanent as the being and immutability of God. It is far above the changes and calamities of this transitory world. Even when the cold chills of death shall paralyze his nerves, and the dread realities of eternity shall rise up in near prospect; his heart shall still be warm with the love of Christ; and his faith shall rest immovable on the promises; and his soul, shaking off dull mortality, shall look away into the untried scenes of futurity with strong desire to depart and be with Christ for ever. And through eternity, Christ will be the portion of his people; they will for ever rejoice in him with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Men may be told of all these things, they may assent to their truth, but they can have no experimental knowledge of them, until they humbly seek the Savior; and learn for themselves how precious he is to them that believe. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them; because they are spiritually discerned.”

III. At what time may the Savior be found?

“ Seek ye the Lord while he may be found.If you were earnestly invited to go in to a public entertainment while the doors were open, you would naturally receive the impression that they were soon to be closed ; and if you desired to go in at all, would think it important to embrace the favorable opportunity. If you were groaning with broken limbs, and should be urged by a friend to send for an eminent surgeon while he might be oblained, you would readily receive the idea that at a future hour he might not be obtained ; and would doubtless wish immediate application to be made. In like manner, when entreated to " seek the Lord while he may be found," we ought to believe that the time is coming when he can no more be found as a Savior ; and if we hope to find him in that capacity at all, should be excited to call upon him " while he is near."

But at what time may the Lord be found? The sinner, in the present life, is under a dispensation of mercy; and is assured that, if he repents and comes to Christ, he shall be saved. Let his sins be ever so aggravated; if he truly repent, and believe in the Lord Jesus, he shall find mercy. Saul the cruel persecutor; Manasseh, who drenched the streets of Jerusalem with innocent blood; and the thief on the cross, may all be adduced in confirmation of this. Stout-hearted and far from righteousness as they had been, they all became contrite; and humbly, earnestly, and successfully sought the divine forgiveness while it was attainable. To all men in the present life, the Savior's invitation is, “ Hu every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.” “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and beside me there is none else." “ He that believeth hath everlasting life.”

But when persons are removed from this to the eternal world, their season of probation is terminated. Those who have sought and found the Lord will there be made welcome to the joys of his kingdom, and those who neglected to seek him will have no Savior; but, under the weight of their guilt, and the wrath of God, will sink into an abyss of wo, where the voice of mercy will never be heard, nor the hope of mercy ever come. That the Lord Jesus will not be found in the character of a Savior by any impenitent man, after death, is most evident from his own warnings and solemn declarations. "Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in and shall not be able. When once the master of the house

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