THESE are heavy words, Brethren. Of them, as well as of the doom of the wicked, we would gladly be silent, if we dared. We would gladly speak only of the Love wherewith God so loved the world, as to give His Son to be the Propitiation for our sins; the Love, wherewith God the Son so loved us, as to become one of us, one flesh with us, that we might be one Spirit with Him; the Love, wherewith God the Holy Ghost vouchsafes to hallow us, by dwelling in our clay, knitting us into one with God; the Love, wherewith the Co-Eternal Trinity vouchsafed, in Their Ever-Blessed Eternity, to love our nothingness.
But do we then, whose little love is but a spark from that Sun of Love Which kindleth all which loves in all Creation, do we then indeed love one another, better than He Who is Love? Can it be loving to hold back what He, Who is Love, revealed? Or safe for you, or without peril to our souls?
These Words of our Blessed Lord do give the intensest awe and pain of any in Holy Scripture; at leant, they render what Holy Scripture says of Eternal Punishment most fearful, and bring it most near ourselves. For they cut at the root of the very comfort, wherewith so many delude their souls, that God cannot mean to punish so great a multitude; that they are no worse than most besides; have done no more harm; not wasted their talents more; not been more irreligious, or impure, or careless than their neighbours. The poor, who speak most honestly, draw out this in words; they tell you, plainly, this is their ground of hope. But is it not that of all, who are not in deep earnest about their souls? Whence is it that, not so long ago, words of Holy Scripture were wrested aside from their real meaning, and that to be "righteous overmuch," was taken as a warning from God Himself, not to be too religious? Whence was it that "pious," or "saint," or (God have mercy) "godly," were used as terms of reproach? Whence is it that, even now, a person who will not content himself with easy ways, thinks it for his soul's good to use more devotion, be stricter with himself, "deny himself," "take up his cross daily" after his Lord, if this becomes known of him, by the mass of Christians, who renounce the world in words but not in deeds, he is made "a proverb of reproach." Whence is it that, whenever our ruder nature is not restrained by forms, and even among the young, not to be ashamed of Christ, amid coarse or finer ridicule, is often one of the sharpest tests by which their steadfast love of Him is tried? All this is not, simply that people think it all hypocrisy or formalism; it is, that it shakes the foundation on which they themselves are building. If these, who desire to keep the sayings of Christ and do them, are building on the Rock, then they themselves, with their easy ways, are building upon the sand. Would they dare to' speak plainly, it is the one common maxim of all, that Heaven is very easy to gain, that it is even difficult to perish. Would they be content to take the same degree of pains about the very slightest thing which really touches them, nay, about their estates, their very buying and selling, their every-day traffic, their everyday pleasures, that they do about their souls? Would they keep their worldly accounts, as they do the account of their soul? Would they risk the favour of any one, whose goodwill was of any importance to their earthly happiness, in the way they do that of Almighty God? What uncertainty will they not bear, what fickleness! how will they bring all things to bear to gain it; how long will they bear to toil for it, how will their souls hang upon it, how will they feed themselves with the very thought of it, however distant! Patience, endurance, toil, self-denial, all which, endured for God, would win Heavenly Crowns, His Favour and His Love, become easy graces, so soon as the object is one of earth. For Him Alone nothing is done, all is too hard, Who will be the Friend of the soul at once, Who first loved it, in order to win its love.
Would this be the court people would pay to one on whom any earthly good depended? to come to Him, perhaps, once in the week; trifle almost in His very Presence, scarce listen to Him when speaking to them, scarce think of Him when speaking to Him, think of ten thousand impertinences rather than of Him; almost turn their back upon Him, so bent are they on other things! Would this be human love? to give some half thought to the object of love, morning and evening, and then be glad to escape out of its presence, and not enter it again, but that one must, or (not, lose it, for too many, alas! would be very little concerned to lose God) one's self perish! How few would bear with a servant, and what servant would expect to be borne with, if he shewed just the same respect, thought, faithfulness, obedience, carefulness as to his master's will, which most have shewn, or do shew, to the Will of Almighty God, their Maker and their Judge, Who can cast both body and soul into Hell! "A son," God complaineth, "honoureth his father, and a servant his master. If, then, I be a Father, where is My honour? and if I be a Master, where is My fear?"
What does lie at the root of all this intense serving of self, and this forgetfulness of God, but a deep, fixed persuasion that God cannot mean to be what they think so severe; that He cannot really intend to destroy so many: that although God Himself has said "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil," it must be safe to be with the multitude? And they will bear themselves out by a bold praise of God, as though God would "accept flattering words;" and men who know not what real love is, who never thought of God so as to love Him, and could scarcely pretend that they know what it is to love Him, or that they ever felt it, will say that so heavy dealings are contrary to the Love of God. It is but a few steps further, to deny that Hell will last for ever, or to deny Hell altogether. The principle is the same. It is just as hard to conceive of one soul, or Satan himself, lost for ever, as to believe that any number will, however miserably large.
It is one of those deep Mysteries, which will never be understood, save in Heaven, in the Light and Love of Almighty God. For it may be, that, in Hell, it will be part of the misery of the damned, still to rebel against the Justice of God, as here against His Love and Righteous Will. One only difficulty there is, of which all the rest are but offshoots, "Whence is evil amid the Works of an All-Good, All-Wise, God?" And if man, living in this corner of the Creation, bounded in his understanding, looking but a little way along a little space, be not humble enough to say, "I cannot know, God has not revealed it," there is nothing before him, but to say with the fool, "There is no God." If we shrink back from this, as we must, and believe, and know, and confess, and glory, and think in our inmost souls, that, be this how it may, (we know not, need not to know, cannot know now, wish not to know,) since we know this which alone concerns us, that God is very good to us, then we shall go on, and with the Psalmist "Praise God in His Holiness," for "His Mercy is over all His Works,8" although we understand not His Dealing with any of them.
There are but two resting-places in the whole range of thought about God; the one a loving, implicit, child-like faith, which, although it understands not, believes every Word of God, because it loves Him, and "bends not the Thoughts of God to be as its thoughts, but yields and casts down its every thought to be obedient to the Thoughts of God; the other, entire unbelief, which ends in dethroning God, making God a part of the world, and itself a part of God. All else is only moving in the one way or the other.
It does then concern our whole Belief, not to form our own thoughts of God, or think what is fitting for Him, in the least thing. For if we do, God, as HE is, is not our God. They who make out, that God is any other than He has revealed, are, though they know it not, Atheists, i. e. without God; for their God is, indeed, the work of their own minds, an idol, not God. It is on this very subject, the escape of the wicked from punishment, that God Himself says, "Unto the wicked saith God, thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself, but I will reprove thee, and set before thee the things that thou hast done." And herein too was the humble faith of Abraham shewn, when for Lot's sake pleading so earnestly, yet reverently, for Sodom, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" He knew not how, but folded up all in the thought, that the Judgment of God must needs be right.
And so will ye, too, Brethren, and putting from you all thoughts, "how it can be thus?" think only, reverently though sadly, "hath not He Who is Love, God Who, for Love of us men, became Man, said, it shall be thus?"
Alas! Brethren, it is an Aweful, painful Mystery of the Justice of Almighty God, corresponding with the Mystery of His Love in our Redemption by the Infinite Merits and the Death of the Only-Begotten Son. Both were foreshadowed from Paradise; both were revealed, in their depth of light and darkness together, by Him, and in Him. It would seem as though they were inseparable. Without the one, we should presume; as, without the other, despair. The loss of an Infinite Good, must be an infinite evil. An Infinite Remedy implies an ill all-but infinite. We can see that it is very fearful to put aside Love so Boundless. It may be a contradiction, that such Love, such light terms of acceptance should be offered, and not entail misery proportioned on those who put them aside. But what I would point out, is the fact, that our knowledge of the Greatness of our Redemption, the misery of those who would not receive it, and their multitude, became known to us, by degrees, together. Scarcely were the Gates of Paradise closed, with the Promise of Him Who should crush the serpent's head, than the first-born of our fallen race was a murderer! His seed became the mighty of the earth, the discoverers of all earthly wisdom, the corrupters of what remained good in the race of Seth, until "all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth." Noah, just and perfect in his generation, and the preacher of righteousness for a hundred and twenty years, won none to take refuge in the ark out of his own family; and the first period of the earth's history, the image of the last, closed with the flood which swept them all away; of the eight souls, for the time, "saved by water," one was a reprobate. Still less was the righteous line seen, in the times after the flood; the first deed we hear of is a deed of sin, entailing a curse on a whole race; the next, the building of Babel, seems a rebellion or faithlessness of the whole world; for we are told, "the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth." Then all mankind seem cast out of the Sight of God, and all visible traces of the Blessing for Shem and Japhet seem, before Abraham's Call, to have vanished; for his very father "served other gods." Abraham was chosen to be the father of countless multitudes; but what is the immediate history? Race after race is severed off, and the nearest enemies of God's chosen people, Moab, and Ammon, and Edom, and Midian, and the Ishmaelites, who "mightily oppressed the children of Israel," were the offspring of "faithful Abraham." How lonely is Abraham in Canaan, and Lot in Sodom! Lot gained none, though he "vexed his righteous soul from day to day,'" but his own wife perished, and himself became an outcast from the city which God gave, for the time, to his prayers, "for he feared to dwell in Zoar." How of the children of Jacob, did all almost conspire against the one righteous! how were all delivered out of the bondage of Egypt, and "all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;" but each rebellion swept away its thousands, until, at last, all, save two, left their bones in the wilderness. And yet the Flood of Noah is the very image of the final destruction of the world. What happened to Israel, "was written as ensamples of us," types of us Christians, "upon whom the ends of the world are come." The history of the Judges is one history of varied rebellions and punishments. When the kingdom was divided, the more part, even the Ten Tribes, fell away into idolatry, from which they never returned; all their kings "did evil in the Sight of the Lord; "in the reign of Ahab seven thousand only had not fallen into the worse idolatry of Baal; on Mount Carmel the Prophet of God stood alone. What do Psalms and Prophets alike say of God's people, whether Judah or Israel, and with them of the whole race of man? "They are all gone out of the way, they are altogether become abominable: there is also none that doeth good, no not one." What saith God of the chosen city "the city where David dwelt," where was the Temple and the continual Service, which He had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, "to place His Name there?" "Run ye to and fro through Jerusalem, and see now, and know and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it." God here seeketh not Holiness, such as He had only, Who Alone was Holy among the unholy; He asketh only just and upright dealing and love of the truth, in one of His whole people, that, for his sake, he might pardon it, and findeth it not. What, again, is the complaint of holy men to God? "Help, Lord, for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail among the children of men. They speak vanity every one with his neighbour; with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak." What is the constant prophecy of Judgment to come? "A remnant only shall be saved." It is foretold in the name of Isaiah's son; and yet he again, St. Paul says, is the image of us Christians, "the children which God" the Father "hath given" to His Christ. St. Paul again gives this as the sum of the prophecies as to Israel. "Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved; " and again, "Except the Lord of Hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah," the cities whom God utterly overthrew, "suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." Again, when amid a great forsaking in the midst of the land, a tenth only should remain, even this should again be consumed, and a "holy seed" alone be the hope for the time to come. "A holy seed," "gleaning grapes as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof;" such are the emblems of those who shall be left. And when that former people were restored from that first desolation, the captivity of Babylon, (again an image of our restoration in Christ), how few, in comparison, even of that one tribe returned, from which our Lord was to be born; and when He came, these were divided in divers heresies; and they who believed in Him, although a great multitude, even "many tens of thousands" in Jerusalem alone, were still but "a remnant according to the election of Grace," while "the rest were blinded." What is the very name of Christians in St. Paul, but "the elect," i. e. those "chosen out of" the greater mass who remained; and of those thus chosen, there is yet a smaller body, which, when the larger part are cast away, shall be "the chosen;" "Many are called, but few chosen." Again, the name by which our Lord calls His disciples, is "a little flock. d" He prays for them who are chosen out of the world. They are but as a heap of corn, small, compared to the chaff from which it is sifted. e Such is the history before Christ came and at His Coming; before, few were even called, still fewer chosen; at His Coming "His own received Him not." So many would "not have this Man to reign over them," that St. Paul had to prove that God had not altogether cast away His people, that, in the mass of Israel, there was a hidden number who alone were the true Israel. And what shall be at the end? Our Lord answereth, "When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find Faith on the earth?" and that, "if it were possible, the very elect" should fail.
And what, since His first Coming, has been the history of the Church, which He purchased with His Own Blood? Times of trial bring out what people were before; they draw off the veil. Yet how, in each searching fire of persecution, were those who stood the few; those who fell, a countless multitude. How did each deadly heresy carry off multitudes, and one disputed with the Church for its very being, and long persecuted it! [The Arian.] What must have been the inward hollowness, when that impostor, who has stamped his name upon a body, (too many torn from the Church itself, and even now ninety-six millions of our race, the lord and oppressor of the Church far and wide, and almost its successor), seemed for a time to threaten the existence of the Christian name, and hem it in on all sides; which no one plea except the hatred of idolatry! Christians to have become the followers of one, blood-stained and a sensualist! Christians in name to have aided a type of Anti-Christ, because they hated their fellow Christians more. [The Monophysites in Egypt].
Of another age, a writer of the Church has spoken, that it seemed as if our Lord were asleep in the boat, and there were none, by their cries, to wake Him. [Baronius.]
And what is the picture of the world now, after the Gospel has been in the world above one thousand eight hundred years? Those to whom Christ is yet known, hardly more than three-tenths of the whole human race!' in each generation six hundred millions are born and die, never, in this life, to know Him through Whom we must be saved; and whom we must leave, in reverent silence, to the Overflowing Mercies of God. The Christian Church rent asunder, and its several portions unloving to one another, powerless against the world, because the fire of its "first love" has waxed cold; decay visible every where, and only amid decay reviving life!
And what is the state of things among us? By the Tender Mercy of our God we may hope that He Who hath given the beginning, will carry on His Work. But, at the very best, we are awakening out of a dreary, heavy sleep. What deadly sin is not well-nigh rife among us? Where are most human souls, there is God least. Where are most souls to be saved, there is every form of death. Where all tempts to Hell, there are fewest to call men to escape it. And this is repeated in every crowded city in our land! Our wealth, as a nation, is, as far as depends on us, "the price of blood." Every plan for increasing it exposes men the more to sin, severs them from the Church and all means of Grace and the very knowledge of Christ, to be taught, schooled, tended, possessed by Satan!
Or turn we to the history of single souls. How fearfully common is open degrading sin, which profanes the very Temple of Christ, and still more, what is more deadly, because more secret and less repented! But where is the repentance meet for such sin, or the fruits meet for that repentance? It was said by a holy Bishop of old, "More readily have I found such as have preserved innocency, than such as have performed penitence fitting for their sins." [S. Ambrose de pnit. ii. 10] And how is it now, when Christians account it enough repentance to an offended God, if men forsake sin when the temptation to sin forsakes them? Name which we will of those grievous sins of which the Apostle says "they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God," "the lusts of the flesh," or "variance, emulations, wrath, strife, heresies, envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like,"" which holds not its tens of thousands captive? "Liars" God has numbered with those who "shall have their part in the lake of fire;" and yet how do whole ranks never scruple at it, for any momentary end it may serve, or to save some slight shame or blame! Or the covetous? Yet love of gain is men's very idol, the end of all enterprise, the mainspring of action, and their god; so that, even before it was so rife, one said of us, "nothing so slight, but with it men sell their own souls." Or if Dives be the image of self-indulgent luxury, itself at ease, and careless of others' miseries, is not our whole land full of them? How few at this moment think it any call to abate their self-indulgence, or give up any, the most needless, luxury, that tens of thousands, with them, members of Christ, are starving. Not to speak of that every-day frightful contrast of unbounded luxury, and misery which has no bound but death. And where, amid this, is mercy? or where, without it, is the love of God? or how shall we hope for mercy, if we show none? or where, again, are the "fruits of the Spirit, love, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance?" Go where we will, to the streets or lanes of our cities, our places of concourse, our marts, harbours, ships, manufactories, mines, society, high or low; look at mankind, as you will, labouring, or at rest, or in their amusements, on workdays or on what we own as the Lord's Day, in our literature, daily, periodical, popular, scientific, listen to their words, might not the very heathen say "where is their God?" have not the heathen said, Mammon is their god! And have they not said truly, if he is man's god, whom in their acts, not in their words, they choose, serve, toil for, love?
Or if we think of the direct Worship of God, what a handful they who come to these Houses of God at all! and of these, how sadly many come without any earnest purpose, steadfastly to serve God! fewer yet to that Heavenly Food without which, Christ saith, "Ye have no life in you." And yet charity cannot hope that even all these do it with prepared hearts, and that there are not who make the Bread of Life, to them even an occasion of death. Among those to whom our Blessed Lord, in the Great Day, shall say "I know you not whence ye are," shall be, He tells us, some who shall "begin to say, we have eaten and drunk in Thy Presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets;" yea, "many" who shall say, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy Name? and in Thy Name have cast out devils? and in Thy Name done many wonderful works?'"
And of deeds which seem well done, how much is the work of nature, not of Grace! how much is spoiled by bye-ends; by the love of the praise of men; by other sins, which destroy the Grace of God! And of those who begin well, how many are turned aside!
And we ourselves, if God have kept us or anew called us, what is our past, at its best mostly, but calls half-heard or half-obeyed, endless short-comings, "standing idle in the market-place," if not wasting His Vineyard? If, through His undeserved Mercy, we be saved in the end, are we not, mostly, but the wrecks of what we might have been, gaining the shore after shipwreck, on some "broken pieces of the ship," the plank of repentance, so that even of the saved it will be true, "Many be called, but few chosen" to those higher degrees of glory and bliss, to which, had they faithfully obeyed His "Call," He would have "chosen" them. Amid all these countless forms of death, where is life? Must we not say with the Prophet, "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint?" So that men have taken comfort that half the human race dies before it can well know actual sin, and that so many are taken from the evil to come, before they can destroy themselves.
But what, Brethren? are we then to despond for ourselves or others, because the way is narrow, and few find it? This were the very device of Satan, to slay us through despair, if he cannot lay us to sleep in presumption. This we know, God willeth all men to be saved, willeth that we be saved. His Love is wanting to no one, but we to It. God willeth thee to be saved; will thou it also; will it with a steadfast will; will it with a whole heart; will it at whatever cost; and pray Him to uphold thy will, and thou wilt be saved. Wherever or whatsoever we are, we are encompassed with tokens of His Love. However any of us may have fallen, it is of His Love, yea, and the more any have fallen, a token of His deeper Love, that we are not now in Hell. He is Love. He loved us ere yet we were born; He loved us when He called us from our mother's womb and the waters of Baptism, to be His; He loveth us all still, in that He giveth us life and time of repentance; He will love us to the end, if whatever we have been, however fallen, however forgetful of Him, yea, if it be with any of us the eleventh hour, and we have been "standing all the day idle," yet now that He calleth thee, thou, at last, turn to Him. Obey now His Voice; or ask now for Grace to obey it; purpose, wow, in utter mistrust of self, yet trembling trust in Him, to break off some besetting sin, to cherish some neglected Grace; ask Him now, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" give thyself without reserve into His Hands, to deal with thee, for time and Eternity, as He wills, and do the next thing which, in thine inmost soul, He bids thee, and what thou committest unto Him, He will keep for thee; yea, He will keep thee for Himself!
These aweful warnings are but a token the more of His Love towards us, if we will be warned. He terrifieth us, only that we may take refuge in His Love. He meeteth us in terror if we fly from Him, only that we may turn to Him in love. He affrighteth us, even as a tender parent doth, that we may cling the closer unto Him. All without are terrors and forms of death, that in His Love we may be hushed, and find life and peace. He telleth us, and the Words of Holy Scripture seem full of gladness while they tell us, of the "great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues," which "stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and with palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God Which sitteth upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb." He biddeth us, "fear" and "fear not;" "fear Him" and we shall fear nothing out of Him; "fear the Lord and depart from evil." He Himself saith, "Ye that fear the Lord, put your trust in the Lord, He is their Helper and Defender.'" He Himself biddeth them who fear Him, to say "His Mercy endureth for ever."
One only way there is. He Himself telleth us; "strive," while ye are yet on the way. Strive, as those in earnest, as those who have a great prize at stake, even your own everlasting life or everlasting death; seek now, not then; now when the door is open, not when it shall be shut against those who have not yet entered in. He Who holdeth out the Prize willeth that we should win It; He doth riot look on only, but by His Look giveth courage, and strength, and life. The way looks rugged, only until thou enterest it; its ruggedness is not like the ruggednesses of the world, nor its sweetnesses like the world's sweetness. The way is narrow, but only if thou wouldest carry with thee things which Christ forbids; the Forms along it look austere at a distance only; place thyself at their side, and thou wilt see, they will smile upon thee with a Heavenly Sweetness. The world's broad way narrows in, perplexes, harasses, distresses, slays; Christ's narrow path widens as thou walkest along it; for He hath taught us how to say "Thy Commandment is exceeding broad."
At a distance self-denial seems hard, for thou seest its outer form, and canst not know how they who deny self, gain the Presence of God. It seems hard to part with things of time, yet only until thou knowest, how God replaces them with Foretastes of Heaven. To fast seems hard, yet only till thou know how God satisfieth the hungry soul. The way of life seems a lonely way, but only till thou know, how to, the lonely Christ places Himself by their side. Hard is it to part with this life's destructive sweetnesses, but only till thou know the sweetness of the Heavenly Manna, wherewith God feeds the inmost soul of those who choose Him. Hard is it to cross our own will, but only till we know the rest and peace of having no will, but only His. Trust thyself really and wholly, but the few first earnest steps along the narrow way, and, by God's Grace, thou wilt never leave it; trust thyself with Him Who first, (as at the holy Season whereon we are entering), trod it for thee, and He will smooth it to thee. Blessed will it be, there to tread, where are the Foot-Marks of thy Redeemer. Blessed there to tread, where the enemy shall have no power to hurt thee; but He will "give thee power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and all the power of the enemy." Blessed to be there, where thy footsteps shall not, as thou goest, gather the mire of this earth, but shall be washed with the Blood of Him Who tracked the way for thee; Blessed to be, where thou shall be borne on His Arms, rest thine aching head on His Bosom, hear within thee His Guiding Voice, and all thine own emotions be quelled and quieted by His Peace.
Never, perhaps, were there times, in which the Windows of Heaven were more opened, God's Calls louder, His Work and Care, in recovering us, as a Church, more visible, His Work and Care for human souls more manifest. He calls us, as a Church, by sorrow and by blessing, by spreading us without and strengthening us within, by giving us "the heathen for our inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for our possession,6" by enlarging our borders; and woe unto us, if we preach not the gospel.'" He is calling us individually, again and again; He is calling the very "dead in trespasses and sins/" to hear His Voice and live.
Oh stand we not all the day idle! trust we ourselves with Him, and He hath said, "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee." Aid we how we may, whom we can, by prayers, alms, self-denial, that His Call reach others also. Our love shall return into our own bosom. "Pray" we "the Lord of the Harvest" to "send forth labourers into His Harvest." And for ourselves and those we love, fear we not either repented sin or present infirmities, so as to lose courage, and faith, and hope in Him. The more pitfalls surround us, cleave we the closer to Him, our Only Guide. The more the waves assault us, cling we closer to Him, the Rock of our Salvation. Cast we ourselves, our fears, our past sins, into the Infinite Abyss of His Mercies, and as we lose ourselves in Him, we shall find ourselves in Him for ever. If we fear to faint by the way, keep we the nearer to Him Who is our Food for the way. If we fear to be parted from Him, part we with ought, at least offer we to Him, to part from us ought which may keep us from Him. Commit we our way unto Him, and He will bring it to pass. He Who forsook us not when we forsook Him, will not forsake us when we would turn to Him. "Faithful is He That calleth you, Who also will do it."
Now unto Him "Who hath saved us, and called us with an Holy Calling, not according to our works, but according to His Own Purpose and Grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, be blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, for ever and ever, Amen."