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rally commence a familiarity with them, from the conformity of your dispositions. The Father of all will also own the dear image of his Son, and the blessed Jesus will acknowledge his own image, and confess the relation. Blessed moment! when wilt thou arrive, when all the followers of the Lamb shall appear upon Mount Zion, in his full likeness, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing? When no stranger of another countenance and another spirit shall mingle among them, but be all cast in the same mould, and all be clothed in uniform, with the beauties of holiness and the robes of salvation? Oh! my brethren, must not your eager hearts spring forward to meet that day?

But amid all the joy which that transporting prospect affords, it must humble you to think, that though Christ be really formed in your hearts, it is but very imperfectly, as an unfinished embryo. His image as yet is but very faint; you still carry the traces of some infernal features about you. Let this consideration constrain you to put yourselves daily under the operation of the blessed Spirit, till he finish the heavenly picture by repeated touches, and diligently attend upon all the means which he is pleased to use as his pencil. Guard against every thing that may deform the divine draught, or delay its perfection. Go on in this way, and the glorious picture will daily catch more and more the likeness of the divine original, and soon come to complete perfection.

But I must speak a concluding word to such of you in whom Christ has never yet been formed. Pray turn your eyes upon yourselves, and survey your own deformity. Do

you not see the image of the devil upon you? Have you not forgotten God, and refused to love him, like a devil? Have you not loved and practised sin like a devil? Or have you not wallowed in sensual pleasures, and

confined all your concern to the present life, like a beast, and thus made yourselves the most horrid monsters, half beast, half devil ? And can you love yourselves while this is your character ? Can you flatter yourselves such can be admitted into heaven?

Since it is possible your deformed spirits may yet receive the image of Christ, will you not use all possible means for that purpose, while there is hope? This day begin the attempt, resolve and labour to become new men

in this new year.

But alas! exhortation is but feeble breath, that vanishes into air between my lips and your ears; something is wanting to give it force and efficacy. We have the gospel, we have preaching, we have all the means of salvation; but something is wanting to give them life, to make them efficacious, and bear them home upon the hearts of sinners with that almighty energy which they have sometimes had. Something, alas! is wanting for this purpose: and what is it? It is Thou, eternal Spirit. Thou, the Author of all good in the hearts of the children of men: thou, the only former of Christ within: thou art absent, and without thee neither he that planteth is anything, nor he that watereth; they are all nothing together. Come, thou life of souls, thou spirit of the gospel, thou quickener of ordinances, thou assistant of poor ministers, thou opener of their hearers' hearts, Come visit this congregation. Come today: oh! come this moment! and Christ shall be formed in us, the hope and the earnest of glory.




Matt. xxII. 37.-0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that

killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not !

THERE is not, perhaps, a chapter in the whole Bible so full of such repeated denunciations of the most tremendous woes as this. Certainly there is none like it, among all the discourses of Christ, left upon record. Here the gentle Jesus, the inoffensive Lamb of God, treats the unbelieving Scribes and Pharisees with the most pungent severity. Wo, wo, wo, breaks from his lips like repeated claps of thunder. He exposes them with an asperity and indignation not usual in his mild addresses. He repeatedly calls them hypocrites, fools, and blind, blind guides, whited sepulchres, children of hell, serpents, a generation of vipers, who could not escape the damnation of hell. But in my text he melts into tenderness, even in this vein of terror, and appears the same compassionate, gentle Saviour we are wont to find him. His most terrible denunciations were friendly warnings, calculated to reform, and not to destroy. And while denouncing the most terrible woes against Jerusalem, in an abrupt flow of passion he breaks out in the most moving lamentation over her: “O Jerusa

lem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"

This is one of those tender cases which requires a familiar and moving, rather than a grand illustration; and that which Jesus has here chosen is one of the most tender, familiar, and moving that could be devised. “How often would I have gathered thee, O Jerusalem, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings.” As much as to say, “As the parent-bird, when she sees some bird of prey hovering over her helpless young, gives them the signal, which nature teaches them to understand, and spreads her wings to protect them, resolved to become a prey herself rather than her tender brood; or, as she shelters them from the rain and cold, and cherishes them under her friendly feathers, so, says the compassionate Redeemer; so, O Jerusalem! I see thy children, like heedless chickens, in the most imminent danger; I see the judgments of God hovering over them; I see the Roman eagle ready to seize them as its prey; I see storms of vengeance ready to fall upon them; and how often have I invited them to fly to me for shelter, and gave them the signal of their danger! how often have I spread the wings of my protection to cover them, and keep them warm and safe as in my bosom! But, oh, lamentable ! oh, astonishing! ye would not! I was willing, but ye would not! The silly chickens, taught by nature, understand the signal of approaching danger, and immediately fly for shelter; but ye, more silly and presumptuous, would not regard my warnings; would not believe your danger, nor fly to me for protection, though often, oh how often, warned and invited!”

His compassion will appear the more surprising, if we consider the object of it. “ Jerusalem! Jerusalem ! thou

that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent to thee, though upon the kind design of reforming and saving thee, and who wilt, in a few days, crucify that Saviour who now laments thy doom, how often would he have gathered even thy ungrateful children and received them under his protection, with an affection and tenderness, like the instinctive fondness and solicitude of the mother-hen for her brood! Here is divine compassion, indeed, that extends itself even to his enemies, to his murderers ! Strange! that such generous benevolence should meet with an ungrateful repulse! that the provoked Sovereign should be willing to receive his rebellious subjects into protection, but that they should be unwilling to fly to him for it !

The important truths which my text suggests are such as these :—That sinners, while from under the protection of Jesus Christ, are in a very dangerous situation—that they may obtain safety by putting themselves under his protection—that he is willing to receive the greatest sinners under his protection—that he has often used means to prevail upon them to fly to him, that they may be safe

-that notwithstanding all this, multitudes are unwilling to fly to him, and put themselves under his protection—that this unwillingness of theirs is the real cause of their destruction—that this unwillingness is an instance of the most irrational and brutal stupidity—and that it is very affecting and lamentable.

1. The text implies, that sinners, while from under the protection of Jesus Christ, are in a very dangerous situation. As the hen does not give the signal of danger, nor spread her wings to shelter her young, except when she sees danger approaching, so the Lord Jesus would not call sinners to fly to him for protection, were they not in real danger. Sinners, you are in danger from the curse

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