Isaiah 55:6
Seek the LORD while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.
Sermons
God's Especial NearnessW. Clarkson Isaiah 55:6
The Time for Seeking After GodR. Tuck Isaiah 55:6
A Free SalvationIsaiah 55:1-13
A Gracious InvitationJ. Parsons.Isaiah 55:1-13
Buy and EatJ. Trapp.Isaiah 55:1-13
Buyers Will Show that They PossessW. Cleaves, M. A.Isaiah 55:1-13
Buying of ChristO. Sedgwick, B. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
Buying Without MoneyIsaiah 55:1-13
Christ's Gracious TermsO. Sedgwick, B. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
ComeJ. Trapp.Isaiah 55:1-13
Come to the WatersJ. Trapp.Isaiah 55:1-13
Come! Come!T. De Flirt Talmage, D. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
Driving a Trade with ChristO. Sedgwick, B. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
Food a Supreme NeedSunday School ChronicleIsaiah 55:1-13
God Eager for SinnersIsaiah 55:1-13
Gospel Blessings to be BoughtW. Cleaves, M. A.Isaiah 55:1-13
Gospel Invitation Without RestrictionJ. R. Macduff, D. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
Invitation; Expostulation; EntreatyO. Sedgwick, B. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
Man's Misery and God's CallG.A. Chadwick, D.D.Isaiah 55:1-13
No Coinage Can Buy Spiritual GoodA. Maclaran, D. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
Soul ThirstHomilistIsaiah 55:1-13
Spiritual MerchandiseO. Sedgwick, B. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
Spiritual ThirstO. Sedgwick, B. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
The Benefit of Trading with ChristO. Sedgwick, B. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
The Best BargainMonthly Visitor.Isaiah 55:1-13
The Cries of the Water-CarriersF. Sessions.Isaiah 55:1-13
The Desire to Bring Something to ChristIsaiah 55:1-13
The Fulness of Christ Offered to the Needy SinnerO. Sedgwick, B. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
The Gospel First Addressed to Human NecessityJ. Parker, D. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
The Gracious InvitationT. D. Witherspoon, D. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
The Great ProclamationA. Mallard, D. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
The Jews in Exile Prosperous Yet ThirstingJ. H. Jowett, M. A.Isaiah 55:1-13
The Proclamation and Expostulation of MercyJ. S. Swan.Isaiah 55:1-13
The Spiritual Appetite and its GratificationLira of FaithIsaiah 55:1-13
The True ImperialismJ. H. Jowett, M. A.Isaiah 55:1-13
Too Valuable to be BoughtChristian Budget.Isaiah 55:1-13
True Satisfaction in ChristO. Sedgwick, B. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
Trying to Buy SalvationChristian Budget.Isaiah 55:1-13
Water for the ThirstyO. Sedgwick, B. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
Water, Wine and MilkF. Delitzsch, D. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
Willingness to Buy of ChristO. Sedgwick, B. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
Wine and MilkR. Jones, M. A.Isaiah 55:1-13
Without Money and Without PriceIsaiah 55:1-13
Without Money and Without PriceO. Sedgwick, B. D.Isaiah 55:1-13
Without Money and Without PriceChristian Budget.Isaiah 55:1-13
Christ a Witness to the PeopleA Barnes, D. D.Isaiah 55:4-6
Christ as a WitnessHomilistIsaiah 55:4-6
Christ Given as a LeaderJ. Allan.Isaiah 55:4-6
Christ Given, as a WitnessJ. Allan.Isaiah 55:4-6
Christ the Father's WitnessR. Jessop, M. A.Isaiah 55:4-6
Christ's Triple CharacterIsaiah 55:4-6
Our Glorified LeaderF. B. Meyer, B. A.Isaiah 55:4-6
The Grand ChieftainHomilistIsaiah 55:4-6
The Greatest Gift in Time or EternityIsaiah 55:4-6
The People's LeaderW. Birch.Isaiah 55:4-6
Witness; Leader; CommanderProf. J. Skinner, D. D.Isaiah 55:4-6
A Fatal DelusionAnon.Isaiah 55:6-9
Abundant PardonPrincipal Morison, D. D.Isaiah 55:6-9
Call Ye Upon Him While He is NearChristian AgeIsaiah 55:6-9
Delay Inseeking GodGregory.Isaiah 55:6-9
Duty and PrivilegePrincipal Morison, D. D.Isaiah 55:6-9
God Unknown, Yet KnownS. Cox, D. D.Isaiah 55:6-9
Importance of Seeking God At the Present MomentW. Jay.Isaiah 55:6-9
Missing the TideIsaiah 55:6-9
No DelayIsaiah 55:6-9
OpportunityW. Jay.Isaiah 55:6-9
OpportunityD. L. Moody.Isaiah 55:6-9
Scripture Blessings ConditionalJ. Parker, D. D.Isaiah 55:6-9
Seeking LordF. G. Davis.Isaiah 55:6-9
The Best Time to Seek the LordE. D. Solomon.Isaiah 55:6-9
The Delay of ConversionJ. Saurin.Isaiah 55:6-9
The God-Seeking Work, and God-Seeking SeasonW. Jones., A. Farindon, B. D.Isaiah 55:6-9
The Incredible Mercy of GodS. Cox, D. D.Isaiah 55:6-9
The Lord to be SoughtD. L. Moody.Isaiah 55:6-9
The Lost LordAlex. Warrack, M. A.Isaiah 55:6-9
The Lost LordW. Hoyt, D. D.Isaiah 55:6-9
The Merciful God Near, Yet UnrecognizedJ. R. Miller, D. D.Isaiah 55:6-9
The Peril of NeglectIsaiah 55:6-9
The Present All-ImportantSunday School ChronicleIsaiah 55:6-9
The Times and Places for Seeking GodJ. Cumming, D. D.Isaiah 55:6-9
Exhortations and AssuranceE. Johnson Isaiah 55:6-13

I. EXHORTATIONS. "Seek ye Jehovah." This is the beginning of a religious life - to seek for God, to inquire for his ways (Deuteronomy 4:29; Job 5:8; Job 8:5; Psalm 9:10; Psalm 14:2; Psalm 27:8). "While he may be found" (Psalm 32:6) - "in a time of finding." For a bitter "day" will come, when woe to his foes (Isaiah 65:6, 7)! It is hinted that a time will come when the offer will be withdrawn. "If a man will not do so simple a thing as seek for mercy, as ask for pardon, he ought to perish. The universe will approve the condemnation of such a man." "Who knows what a day may bring forth, and what may be the dangers of an hour's delay? This is most sure, that every particular repeated act of sin sets us one advance nearer to hell. Who can tell, while we go on our audacious course of sin, but God may swear in his wrath against us, and register our names in the black rolls of damnation? And then our condition is sealed and determined for ever." "Call upon him;" i.e. implore his mercy (Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13). How easy the terms of salvation! how just the condemnation of the sinner who calls not on God, first for pardon, then for a share in the promises (Jeremiah 29:12-14)! God (according to the manner of man's thoughts) seems to be nearer at some times than at others to men. Some special influences are brought to bear; some facilities of salvation. "He comes near to us in the preaching of his Word, when it is borne home with power to the conscience; in his providence, when he strikes down a friend, and comes into the very circle where we move, or the very dwelling where we abide; when he lays his hand upon us in sickness. And he is near to us by day and by night; in a revival of religion, or when a pious friend pleads with us, God is near to us then, and is calling us to his favour. These are favourable times for salvation - times which, if unimproved, return no more." "Let the ungodly forsake his way, and the man of iniquity his thoughts." To seek Jehovah must involve the renouncing of all other gods; the calling upon him, the cessation of prayer in heathen temples; and, with this, all the "thoughts," the habits and feelings, of impure heathen life. It is to renounce corruption and destruction for blessedness and peace, which are contained in the thoughts of Jehovah (Psalm 36:5, 6; Jeremiah 29:11). "He has plans for accomplishing his purposes which are different from ours, and he secures our welfare by schemes that cross our own. He disappoints our hopes, foils our expectations, crosses our designs, removes our property or our friends, and thwarts our purposes in life. He leads us in a path we had not intended, and secures our ultimate happiness in modes which we should not have thought of, and which are contrary to all our designs and desires."

II. ASSURANCE OF FUTURE FELICITY.

1. The certainty. God's purposes fulfil themselves. They are as certain as the law of gravitation, as the falling of rain and snow. In poetic religious thought these elements of nature are his angels (cf. Psalm 148:8; Psalm 102:4). They fulfil his purpose in inanimate nature; so shall his Word fulfil his purpose in the moral world - it shall not return empty, nor until it has done its work. (On truth compared to rain or dew, see Deuteronomy 32:2; Psalm 72:6; 2 Samuel 23:4; Isaiah 5:6.)

2. Its glory and joy. The exode from Babylon is not only meant, but the glorious condition of Israel after the return. It is compared to the transition from the wilderness (the misery of the exile), with its monotonous dwarf shrubs, to a park of beautiful trees (Isaiah 41:18, 19), in the midst of which Israel is to walk "in solemn troops and sweet societies" (so in Isaiah 35:9).

3. The sympathy of nature. (For similar views, see Isaiah 14:8; Isaiah 35:1, 2, 10; Isaiah 42:10, 11; Isaiah 44:23. So in Virgil, 'Ecl.,' 5:62; and in Oriental poetry generally.) When the god Rama was going to the desert, it was said to him, "The trees will watch for you; they will say, 'He is come! he is come!' and the white flowers will clap their hands. The leaves as they shake will say, 'Come! come!' and the thorny places will be changed into gardens of flowers." A change will be produced in the moral condition of the world, as great as if the useless thorn should be succeeded by beautiful and useful trees. It is of the very soul of poetry that it hints and presages spiritual events which cannot be made clear to the senses nor certain to the understanding. - J.







Seek ye the Lord while He may be found.
Notice how it reads: "Seek the Lord." It don't say seek happiness; it don't say seek peace; it don't say seek joy. A good many people seek after joy, after peace, after happiness. I cannot find any place in the Bible where we are told to seek for peace or joy. If you have the Spirit, you will have the fruit of the Spirit; and you won't have the fruit without the Spirit itself. You might as well look for an apple or an orange without a tree. You get a good tree and you have good fruit. Therefore, what we want is to seek the Lord Himself, and if I have Christ formed in me, the hope of glory, I will have peace, and joy, and rest.

(D. L. Moody.)

I. THE ABSOLUTE NECESSITY FOR SEEKING THE LORD. Man by nature is estranged from God; knows not his Creator; is c, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel;" cut off from God, who is "not in all his thoughts." As such, he is —

1. Helpless. "He hath nothing in himself whereby he may help himself." "Dead in trespasses and sins.

2. Hopeless. "Without God and without hope in the world." Cannot look forward into the future with cheering expectations.

3. Unhappy. "Poor and miserable, and blind and naked." "No peace, saith my God, to the wicked."

II. THE CERTAINTY OF FINDING HIM.

1. He does not ask of us impossibilities. He is a reasonable God, and never gives a command without giving also the power to perform

2. His promises are sure. "If ye seek Me, I will be found of you." "Seek and ye shall find." He never saith, "Seek ye My face in vain.'

III. THE FITTEST TIME TO SEEK HIM.

1. NOW. "New is the accepted time; now the day of salvation." "To-day if ye will hear His voice." No promise is made of to-morrow.

IV. THE CONSEQUENT BLESSINGS.

1. Pardon of Sin. "I will pardon all their iniquities."

2. A new heart. "A new heart will I give you."

3. Adoption into His family. "Heirs of God."

4. Restoration to His favour. "knew creature." "Made nigh by blood of Christ."

5. Love to God and man. "Love of God shed abroad in the heart."

6. Life everlasting. "He that believeth hath everlasting life."

(F. G. Davis.)

1. To "seek the Lord while He may be found" implies, among other things, this, that the Lord is lost by and to those thus called to seek Him. We speak of a lost sinner; we may with equal truth speak of a lost Lord. The lost sinner and the lost Lord are correlative. The sinner is lost, because he has lost the Lord. The Lord's finding the sinner, is the sinner's finding the Lord. It is not that the Lord has ceased to be, to govern the world, to support His creatures. His providence indeed is exercised (Acts 17:27, 28) that men should seek the Lord if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him. Nor is He far from every one of us, for in Him we live and move and have our being. But the Lord is lost in this sense, that He is practically lost as Father, Friend and Portion, God and Guide, not recognized and accepted as Lord, by sinful men.

2. Apart from redeeming grace, the sinner is hopelessly lost to God, because God is hopelessly lost to the sinner. The evidences of this loss are many and various. The providential rule of God over men is carried on that they "might seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him." The whole scheme of grace rests upon, as it was rendered necessary by, men's loss of God. It is not merely God's plan for seeking lost men, but God's plan for coming near to men and being found of them.

3. If we look at men themselves, it is evident that, to all that have not found Him in His appointed way of grace, the Lord is lost. Witness the conscious or unconscious expression of this loss, in manifold ways and forms; in men's corrupt, miserable condition, their restlessness and aimlessness, their hunt for substitutes of the lost Lord, their self-righteousness, their strange discontents, until they seek and find the Lord. Is not the Lord lost out of men's hearts, creating by His absence a void there which only Himself can fill; out of men's consciences, so that the fear of man has more authority and power with them than the fear of God; out of men's minds, so that God is rarely, if ever, in all their thoughts, or is misunderstood and misinterpreted, and spiritual things cannot be discerned or welcomed; and finally, out of their lives, so that men can live and love without Him, can live to themselves, can live as though there were no God?

4. This is the greatest loss of all. What more has a man, if he has lost the Lord, and has not again found Him, in a world where the Lord is needed so much, where nothing else can make good the loss, and where yet the lost Lord may be found? How welcome to men should be the voice from heaven that tells them that the lost Lord has come near, and may be found, and how and where and when.

(Alex. Warrack, M. A.)

If Adam and Eve were somewhat ignorant, as we suppose them to have been, of God's omniscience, no wonder that they attempted to escape HIS notice. Their interest appeared to lie, not in seeking the Lord, but in fleeing from Him. Why so? Ignorant as yet of a mercy which was about for the first time to be revealed, they knew Him only as a God of justice and of truth. But what makes it your plain as well as highest interest to seek the Lord, is that you know that He is very pitiful and of great mercy.

I. CONSIDER WHAT WE ARE TO UNDERSTAND BY SEEKING THE LORD. The sense in which this is to be taken is explained by the succeeding verses, "Let," etc. It is as a God, who will have mercy on the worst, and abundantly pardon the wickedest, that we are to seek the Lord — seeking Him without an hour's delay. We may, as man has often done, stand at a human bar" conscious of our innocence. We may refuse to put in a plea for mercy; boldly declaring that we want nothing more, and will accept of nothing less, than impartial justice. At God's tribunal, however, it is very different. There, simple justice were sure damnation. It is as just and the justifier of them that believe in Jesus, that we are to seek the Lord; and all the blessings which in that gracious character He has, and He promises, to bestow.

II. INQUIRE WHEN THESE THINGS ARE TO BE OBTAINED.

1. The Lord, as bestowing the pardon of sin and salvation of the soul, is to be found in this world, not in another.

2. The Lord is not to be found on a deathbed.

3. The Lord is more likely to be found now than at any future time. We can foretell neither what, nor where we shall be to-morrow. Sin is like the descent of a hill, where every step we take increases the difficulty of our return. Sin is like a river in its course; the longer it runs, it wears a deeper channel, and the farther from the fountain, it swells in volume and acquires a greater strength. Sin is like a tree in its progress; the longer it grows, it spreads its roots the wider; grows taller; grows thicker; till the sapling which once an infant's arm could bend, raises its head aloft, defiant of the storm. Sin in its habits becomes stronger every day — the heart grows harder; the conscience grows duller; the distance between God and the soul grows greater; and, like a rock hurled from the mountain's top, the farther we descend, we go down, and down, and down, with greater and greater rapidity. How easy, for example, is it to touch the conscience of childhood; but how difficult to break in on the torpor of a hoary head!

III. THE SHORTNESS AND UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE ARE STRONG REASONS FORESEEKING PARDON AND SALVATION NOW.

( T. Guthrie, D. D.)

How much depends upon timing things, as to advantage, and usefulness, and necessity l In this view, how important is opportunity.

(W. Jay.)

Let us consider these words —

I. AS AN INJUNCTION TO DUTY. This seeking of God is to be considered, not only as initial, but as repeated and constant.

II. AS AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO HOPE. "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found." We have the very same thought in the thirty-second Psalm, where it is said, "For this shall every one that in godly pray unto Thee in a tune when Thou mayest be found." "We are saved by hope." And what a foundation is laid for this confidence! What a foundation is laid in the Word of the Gospel. What a foundation is laid in His invitations. How encouraging is all this! If possibility will sometimes move people, and if probability will commonly move them, how much more will actual certainty influence them; especially when the prize is nothing less than the possession of God — the God of an grace and of glory!

III. AS A SECURITY FROM PRESUMPTION. Though God is to be found, He is not always to be found.

(W. Jay.)

I. WHERE?

1. The mercy-seat, the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. In the Gospel. What is the Gospel? Just the tones of the voice of Jesus Christ, prolonged and perpetuated in the language of man.

3. In the preaching of His word.

4. At the communion-table.

II. WHEN?

1. In time as opposed to eternity.

2. On the Sabbath.

3. In the season of affliction.

4. in an emphatic sense, seek God. now, for "now is the. accepted time," etc.

(J. Cumming, D. D.)

Implied in the text is the appalling fact that man has lost the Lord, the true sovereign and God of his being. But there is another fact which is yet more appalling, that man is unconscious of the terrible catastrophe which has befallen him. But God does not abandon the lost one to his fate. He reminds him of his forfeited state and place; He urges him to return to the home which he has left, and regain the royalty which he has lost, and become one with the God from whom he has alienated himself.

I. THE GOD-SEEKING WORK. "Seek the Lord." But the Scriptures represent God as seeking man: this being the case, is it not strange to urge man to seek God? The fact that He seeks us is the ground and reason why we should seek Him. The call of God to us, and His search for us, is our greatest encouragement in seeking Him; for it is a pledge that our calling and seeking will not be fruitless. The text, in the words "seek' and "cell," indicates the method by which we should "seek-the Lord." We must return to Him b humble, penitential prayer Seek — Him by the guidance of His word: under the inspiration of His Spirit: through the mediation of His Son. Prove the sincerity of your search by endeavouring to comply with His will. "Let the wicked forsake," etc. This is the most urgent duty of sinful man. We can be truly blessed only union with God.

II. THE GOD-SEEKING SEASON.

1. There is a season when the Lord may be found — a time when He is near. He may be found when we feel Him near to us. There are times of spiritual awakening and revival, when we feel the presence and power of God; then may He be found. Them are occasions when we hear His voice,: and feel His influence in the events of life; then may He be found. There are seasons when by the preaching of His word He awakens earnest thought, carries conviction to the conscience, and inspires the heart with noble desires; then may He be found. Now may He be found.

2. There will come a season when the Lord may not be found — a time when He will not be near. Locally, He will be near to all beings everywhere and for ever; but, if any one persist in neglecting merciful calls and gracious offers, there will come a time when such an one will hear no kindly voice from Him, will feel no saving influence from Him. There came such a time in the life of King Saul; and the lost man cried in agony, — "God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams." By your own interest, I urge you to seek Him at once. By the solicitude of God for your well-being.

(W. Jones.)

I. THE OBJECT, whom we must seek.

1. God hath made Himself an Object to be sought.

2. He is the sole and adequate Object of our desires.

II. THE ACT; what it is to seek Him.

III. THE TIME; when we must seek the Lord. "While He may be found." There is no time to seek Him but now. For —

1. It is the greatest folly in the world thus to play with danger, to seek death first in the errors of our life, and then, when we have run our course, and death is ready to devour us, to look faintly back upon life. The later we seek, the less able we shall be to seek; the further we stray, the less willing to return.

2. It is dangerous in respect of God Himself, whose call we regard not, whose counsels we reject, whose patience we daily with, whose judgments we slight, and so tread that mercy under our feet which should save us, and will not seek Him yet, because we presume that, though we grieve His Spirit, though we resist His Spirit, though we blaspheme His Spirit, yet, after all these scorns and contempts, He will yet sue unto us, and offer Himself, and be found at any time in which we shall think convenient to seek Him.

(A. Farindon, B. D.)

I. WE SHALL ENDEAVOUR TO PROVE FROM OUR OWN CONSTITUTION, THAT IT IS DIFFICULT, NOT TO SAY IMPOSSIBLE, TO BE CONVERTED AFTER HAVING WASTED LIFE IN VICE. It is clear that we carry in our own breasts principles which render conversion difficult, and I may add, impossible, if deferred to a certain period. To comprehend this, form in your mind an adequate idea of conversion, and fully admit, that the soul, in order to possess this state of grace, must acquire two essential dispositions; it must be illuminated; it must be sanctified.

1. You cannot become regenerate unless you know the truths of religion. Now, every period of life is not alike proper for disposing the body to this happy temperature, which leaves the soul at liberty for reflection and thought. If we defer the acquisition of religious knowledge till age has chilled the blood, obscured the understanding, enfeebled the memory, and confirmed prejudice and obstinacy, it is almost impossible to be in a situation to acquire that information without which our religion can neither be agreeable to God, afford us solid consolation in affliction, nor motive sufficient against temptation.

2. The soul not only loses with time the facility of discerning error from truth, but after having for a considerable time habituated itself to converse solely with sensible objects, it is almost impossible to attach it to any other. In order to conversion, we must have a radical and habitual love to God. This principle being allowed, all that we have to say against the delay of conversion becomes self-established. The whole question is reduced to this; if at the extremity of life, if in a short and fleeting moment, you can acquire this habit of Divine love, then we will preach no more against delay. But if time, labour, and will, are required to form this genuine source of love to God, you should frankly acknowledge the folly of postponing so important a work for a single moment. This being allowed, we shall establish, on two principles, all that we have to advance upon this subject.(1) We cannot acquire any habit without performing the correspondent actions.(2) When a habit is once rooted, it becomes difficult or impossible to correct it, in proportion as it is confirmed. Habits of the mind are formed as habits of the body; the former become as incorrigible as the latter. As, then, in the acquisition of a corporeal habit, we must perform the correspondent actions, so in forming the habits of religion, of love, humility, patience, charity, we must habituate ourselves to the duties of patience, humility and love. Further, we must not only engage in the offices of piety to form the habit, but they must be frequent; just as we repeat acts of vice to form a vicious habit. We make a rapid progress in the career of vice. But the habits of holiness are directly opposed to our constitution. When we wish to become converts, we assume a double task; we must demolish, we must build. Such is the only way by which we can expect the establishment of grace in the heart; it is by unremitting labour, by perseverance in duty, and by perpetual vigilance. Now, who does not perceive the folly of those who procrastinate their conversion? who imagine that a word from a minister, a prospect of death, a sudden resolution, can instantaneously produce perfection of virtue?

II. WE SHALL DEMONSTRATE THAT REVELATION PERFECTLY .ACCORDS WITH NATURE ON THIS HEAD; and that whatever the Bible has taught concerning the efficiency of grace, the supernatural aids of the Spirit, and the extent of mercy, favours, in no respect, the delay of conversion.

1. The first proofs of which people avail themselves, to excuse their negligence and delay, and the first arguments of defence, which they draw from the Scriptures, in order to oppose us, are taken from the aids of the Spirit, promised in the new covenant. To this objection we must reply. We shall manifest its absurdity —(1) By the ministry God has established in the Church.(2) By the efforts He requires us to make, previously to our presuming that we have received the Holy Spirit —(3) By the manner in which He requires us to co-operate with the Spirit, when we have received Him.(4) By the punishments He has denounced against those who resist His work.(5) By the conclusions which the Scripture itself deduces from our natural weakness, and from the necessity of grace.

2. The notion of the mercy of God is a second source of illusion. "God is merciful," say they, "the covenant He has established with man is a covenant of grace. A general amnesty is granted to every sinner. Hence, though our conversion be defective, God will receive our dying breath, and yield to our tears. What, then, should deter us from giving free scope to our passions, and deferring the rigorous duties of conversion, till we are nothing worth for the world?" Detestable sophism l Here is the highest stage of corruption, the supreme degree of ingratitude.

III. WE SHALL ENDEAVOUR TO CONFIRM THE DOCTRINES OF REASON AND REVELATION BY DAILY OBSERVATIONS ON THOSE WHO DEFER THE CHANGE.

1. You may oppose to us two classes of examples. In the first class, you may arrange those instantaneous conversions which grace has effectuated in a moment by a single stroke; and which apparently destroy what we have advanced on the force of habits, and on the economy of the Holy Spirit. In the second class, you will put those other sinners who, after the perpetration of enormous crimes, have obtained remission by a sigh, by a wish, by a few tears; and afford presumptive hopes, that to whatever excess we may carry our crimes, we shall never exceed the terms of mercy, or obstruct reception at the throne of grace. Consider that many of these conversions are not only out of the common course of religion, but also that they could not have been effectuated by lees than miraculous powers. Consider that, among all those sinners, there was not one in the situation of a Christian who delays conversion to the close of life. Consider that you are enlightened with meridian lustre, which they had scarcely seen. Consider that you are pressed with a thousand motives unknown to them. Consider that they continued, for the most part, but a short time in sin; but you have wasted life in folly. Consider that they possessed distinguished virtues, which rendered them dear to God; but you have nothing to offer Him but dissipation or indolence. Consider that they were distinguished by repentance, which afforded constant proof of their sincerity . whereas it is still doubtful whether you shall ever be converted, and you go the way to make it impossible. See, then, whether your arguments are just, and whether your hopes are properly founded.

2. Hitherto we have examined the cases of those sinners who apparently contradict our principles; let us briefly review those by which they are confirmed. Let us 1)rove that the long-suffering of God has its limits; and that in order to find Him propitious, we must "seek Him while He may be found, and call upon Him while He is near." Three distinguished classes of examples confirm these illustrious truths.

(1)Public catastrophes.

(2)Obdurate sinners.

(3)Dying men. Happy are they who are cautioned by the calamities of others!

(J. Saurin.)

The blessings promised in the Scriptures are always, more or less, conditional.

1. Here is a condition of time. "While He may be found." "While He is near."

2. Then, there are conditions on the part of men. The wicked is to forsake his .way, etc.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

These verses (6, 7) are vitally connected. We must not overlook the fact that while salvation is offered to all, there is a time when it can be best sought; and, because of the moral barriers which maturity in sin makes, can be more easily obtained. The text teaches us —

I. THAT THE LORD IS SPECIALLY NEAR TO SOME.

1. To the young. It is not mere poetry, but a literal fact, that "Heaven lies about us in our infancy." The soul then is —

(1)Purer.

(2)More tender.

(3)Less rebellious.

2. To those who are convinced of sin and are conscious of their need of Him The distance between the soul and God is not a physical, but a moral one. God cannot come near to the soul that clings to its guilt with a culpable pertinacity. But when that pertinacity gives way to penitence He draws near and presents a pardon, and then the hand of faith has only to be stretched out to receive it.

II. THAT THOSE TO WHOM THE LORD IS THUS NEAR MAY EASILY FIND HIM NOW, BUT MAY FIND HIM ONLY WITH DIFFICULTY IN AFTER YEARS, OR MAY NOT FIND HIM AT ALL. Childhood and youthhood, how soon they are succeeded by manhood, and, unless there be early and immediate reformation, by maturity in selfishness and sin 1 Convictions, deep, fervent, strong, how soon they are consumed by contact with the world, unless they are immediately turned to good account! Delay will bring —

1. More difficulty.

2. More danger.

3. Damnation!

III. THAT THERE IS HOPE FOR THE OLDEST AND MOST HARDENED SINNERS WHO HAVE ALLOWED THEIR BEST TIME FOR SEEKING THE LORD TO PASS. Salvation is offered them; but there are conditions which "they will. find it difficult to comply with."

1. The casting off of evil habits. Let the wicked forsake his way."

2. The abandonment of impious iniquitous, thoughts. "And the unrighteous man his thoughts."

3. The sub'-mission and surrender of the soul to God. "And let him return unto the Lord.'" Are you prepared to comply with these conditions, hard, rigorous, only because your sins have made them so? If so, you are offered —

(1)Mercy sufficient, comprehensive, to cover your sins.

(2)Multiplied pardon to cancel, your multiplied transgressions and crimes.Conclusion: Do not defer your soul's safety until —

(1)To-morrow. Christ may not be "near" then; may not be found though you "call."

(2)Your dying hour. You may be delirious, or so surprised or so stultified by your affliction as to be "disinclined to seek."

(E. D. Solomon.)

In these words there is both exhortation and promise: There is exhibited —

I. SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE DONE.

II. SOMETHING THAT MAY BE ENJOYED.

(Principal Morison, D. D.)

I. DUTY is inculcated on the one hand.

II. BLESSING is held out to view on the other.

(Principal Morison, D. D.)

God is near us in His works. But, in startling contrast to this evident nearness of God in His works, comes the injunction of our Scriptures — Seek ye the Lord. Why? Because ye have lost Him.

I. CONSIDER TWO OR THREE EVIDENCES OF THIS STARTLING FACT.

1. Here is a company of persons. It is the time for pleasant talk and the happy methods by which men give the hours wing. What wide circle the conversation sweeps. And yet through all the company there is a severe proscription of one subject. There is a certain rule of breeding or taste or custom to which all defer. Suppose, for a moment, that one should break the rule and begin to talk of God in a reverent way, would not all feel that a dissonant chord was struck? Would not talk about God be very apt to be voted out, even in such a rightfully glad company? Is it not a quick, true test of the way they feel about Him? They have no sense of a blessed intimacy with Him.

2. Behold, also, the fact of a lost Lord in the universal feeling that, while it is natural for a man to love certain earthly objects — his children, for example — it is somehow not natural for a man to love God as he feels all the time he ought.

3. See, too, a further evidence of the fact in the attitude of the conscience toward Him. Man cannot get out of himself the conviction that the condition of soul which God intended for him is that of a sweet intimacy with Himself. And yet, like the cherubim at the gates of Eden with the flaming swords flashing every way, conscience stands preventing entrance into such condition. Man is consciously a criminal at the bar of the inviolable law; and standing there speechless and helpless, God is the most fearful being in the universe to the man. And yet, never with his Lord thus lost can man be at peace.

II. A METHOD OF SEARCH FOR THE LOST LORD.

1. "Let the wicked forsake," etc.

2. "Let him return," etc. Repentance is double-sided. Not only must the man forsake, he must return.

III. THE SURE RESULT OF SUCH RIGID SEARCH — the Lord will have mercy and will abundantly pardon.

IV. THE TIME FOR SUCH RIGID SEARCH FOR THE LOST LORD — "While He may be found." That time is now, because refusal to seek God forces one into the firmer habit of hostility to Him.

(W. Hoyt, D. D.)

1. If you mentally retire a few steps from it, and look at it reflectively and from a general point of view, you will find in the passage this notable paradox; that it invites you to seek a God who yet cannot be found, to know a God who yet cannot be known. For where should we seek God if not in His "ways;" or how shall we know Him, except by coming to know His thoughts! And yet, while we are urgently invited to seek Him, we are expressly told that them is the widest disparity between His thoughts and our thoughts, between His ways and our ways. Now this strange paradox opens up to us what is, and is likely to remain, the great religious question of the time. Whether there is a religion at all, whether there is any revelation of the will of God, nay, whether there is any God to speak to us and to reveal His will; and, if there is, whether we know or can know anything about Him. In its higher modern form, atheism does not so much deny the existence of God as declare that, if there be a God it is impossible to demonstrate His existence, impossible to have any true knowledge of Him and of His will; impossible, therefore, to have any real fellowship with Him. If the atheism of to-day erect any altar at all — and some of its representatives are men of a profoundly religious temperament, and must have some form of worship — the only altar they will consent to erect is one which, like that at Athens, bears the inscription, "To an unknown God." If He does exist, they are sure that He cannot be what men have for the most part taken Him to be, nor like what even the best men are; sure that, being infinite and eternal, all virtues, all moral qualities and graces, must take a very different form in Him to that which they take in us. Their assumption, together with their calm and reasoned assertion that Science yields no proof of His existence, have bred some doubt even in the bosom of the Church itself. What we think of the sun does not much matter to the sun and cannot possibly alter its nature or put an end to its existence. And what men think of God does not and cannot change Him. Science says, or some of her disciples say for her: "In the whole range of visible and observed phenomena we find no proof of God." What then? If men will go to the visible for the invisible, to phenomena for realities, how can they hope to find what they seek? They might as well go to the sand of the desert for water, or to the troubled sea for a solid foundation. The Bible claims to be the very Word of God. And yet does it not everywhere affirm, what Science and Philosophy are proclaiming as a discovery of their own, that God is past finding out; that He is unsearchable, neither to be discovered nor comprehended by man's feeble powers? The Scriptures, then, do proclaim God to be unknowable, above our reach, in a great variety of forms; they declare that as the heavens are high above the earth, so high are His ways above our ways, and His thoughts above our thoughts. So that modern scepticism, original as it takes itself to be, is simply announcing, as its last discovery, what the apostles and prophets found out centuries on centuries ago.

2. But you will naturally ask: "Does not the Bible teach us something more than this? something more than that God cannot be found out by dint of intellectual research?" Yes! Admitting God to be unknowable, it yet affirms that He may be known. We cannot find Him out to perfection, but He sufficiently, and most truly, reveals Himself to us in His works, in His Word, in His Son. God's thoughts and ways, we are told, are as high above ours as the heavens above the earth. But the heavens, high as they are, are yet known to us; and, though known, are yet unknown. We none of us know all that the heavens contain and reveal, nor all the laws which are at work upon and within them. But though "heaven" be so imperfectly known to us, does any sane man doubt that there is a heaven, or that it holds within it the sun, moon, and stars? Does any sane man doubt that we know something of the mechanical and chemical structure of the heavenly bodies, of the laws by which their movements are governed and controlled, of the mode in which they affect us, and the world in which we live, and the other worlds related to them? Unknown to us, and even unknowable, not to be found out to perfection, we nevertheless know them — know at least enough of the heavens to be sure that they exist, and to guide us in all the practical purposes of life. And it is precisely in the same sense that God is both known to us, and unknown. We have not learned, we cannot learn, all that He is, all that He does, or all the reasons which determine the several aspects and movements of His providence: but we may know, we do know and are sure, that He is, and that He rules over all. No doubt we know Him, in part, by our reason. It is not to reason alone, nor to reason mainly, that the Bible appeals. The Bible nowhere deals with God as a problem to be demonstrated, nor professes to give a complete or a philosophical view of His Being and the qualities of His Being. It shows us a more excellent way of finding Him. It affirms that as we ourselves grow in righteousness we shall come to know Him who is righteous; that as we grow in purity we shall see Him who is pure; that as we grow in love we shall become one with Him who is love. "Blessed are he pure in heart, for they shall see God." And is that not the way in which we come to know all persons, and especially good persons? The child does not know his father perfectly: but need he doubt that he has a father? The child can never know the goodness of a good father until he becomes good himself and a father: but need we, therefore, doubt whether his father be a good man? And may not we in like manner know that God is; do we not know that He is, although we are but children in understanding? If you have once come to know God for yourselves in this most natural yet Divine way, you will cleave to Him, and to your faith in Him, though the heavens should fall and time should be no more. Your feet are on the rock, and the everlasting arms are about you for evermore.

(S. Cox, D. D.)

If there be some who find it hard to believe that there is a God, there are others who find it equally hard to believe that He is good, so good that He can forgive all sins, even theirs. Look at these verses again, then, and mark their ruling intention. The prophet had been commissioned to carry a message to the captive Jews who sat by the waters of Babylon and wept when they remembered Zion. The message was that, heinous as their iniquity had been, their iniquity was pardoned. But sinful men, especially when they are suffering the bitter punishment of their sins, are apt to be hopeless men. As nothing is possible to doubt and despair, as above all the energy of active moral exertion is impossible, God sets Himself to remove the natural incredulity and hopelessness of the men He was about to save. That His mercy is incredible, He admits; but He affirms that it is only incredible in the sense of being incredibly larger and better than they imagine it to be. They might have found it impossible to forgive those who had sinned against them as they had sinned against Him. "But," pleads God, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways." It is a mercy which does not condone men's sins, but a mercy which saves them from their sins, which calls upon them and compels them to abandon their "wicked ways" and their "unrighteous thoughts." No mercy short of this would be true mercy. To make men happy in their sins is impossible, as impossible as to make them good in their sins. For sin is misery; sin is a bondage to an alien and malignant power which every free spirit must resent and abhor. And even if this ignoble miracle were possible, if a man could be made happy while violating the very law of his being, who that is capable of reflection, of virtue, of goodness, would care to have such a miracle wrought upon him? To be happy in sin he must cease to be himself, cease to be a man. The mercy of God, viewed as saving men from evil thoughts and ways — which is the only true mercy — is simply incredible: so the prophet affirms, so we profess to think and believe. But do we really believe it Do we act as if we did? Many hardly believe that they have sins which need a great act of Divine forgiveness. Many more do not know that, in order to forgive, God must punish their sins. When the punishment comes, they take it as proving that He has not forgiven them, as proving the severity, the anger of God, not His mercy. In our turn, indeed, we all doubt the mercy of God when we most need to believe in it, distrust it when we most need to cast ourselves upon it. Any profound consciousness of sin is apt to make that mercy incredible to us. In our cooler moments it may help us to remember that the very punishments that wait on sin, since they wait on it by a constant and. invariable law, are designed for our good. All natural and universal laws must subserve our welfare, if the world and human life be ruled by God; and, among others, the law which metes out to every man the due reward of his iniquities. In part we can even see how this law contributes to our welfare. It makes us terribly aware that we have sinned — a fact we are very slow to realize. We must expect to be convinced of the compassion of God, not so much by having the kindness of His laws demonstrated to us, as by listening to the men whom we believe to have had the largest experience of His ways and to enjoy the profoundest sympathy with HIS thoughts. Just as we come to know the righteous God by becoming righteous, so we may hope to learn more of Him from the men whose righteousness is far more eminent and conspicuous than our own. Just as we come to know the mercy of God by becoming merciful, so we may hope to acquaint ourselves more fully with Him by listening to men far more merciful and gracious than ourselves. Such a man, a teacher such as this, now stands before us in the prophet who penned these words.

(S. Cox, D. D.)

If Satan ever smiles, it is surely when he sees the transgressor lay the flattering unction to his soul that he may take the devil's opiates, and take his own time for waking.

(Anon.)

God hath promised pardon to the penitent, but He hath not promised to-morrow to the negligent.

( Ambrose.)

Ian Maclaren writes of being at the seaside and of watching the fishing-boats as they returned in the evening. "They used to wait outside till the tide rose high enough for them to enter the harbour. One night a boat missed the entrance. The men were careless, or they did not tack properly. The others were all inside. A feeling of pity for that boat came over me just as if it had been a living creature. I rose at night to look out of the window. There it was — it had missed the tide. Men and women, the greatest tide that runs is the tide that carries us into the kingdom of God. The most splendid effort of wisdom within a man's power is to seize the tide when it is at its flow."

I remember one day as I went through the woods near Mount Hermon School, I heard bees, and asked what it meant. "Oh," said one of the men, "they are after the honey-dew." "What is that?" I asked. He gave me a chestnut leaf, and told me to put my tongue to it. I did so, and the taste was as sweet as honey. Upon inquiry I found that all up and down the Connecticut valley what they call "honey-dew" had fallen, so that there must have been altogether hundreds of tons of honey-dew in this region. Where it came from I don't know. It sometimes seems as if the honey-dew of Heaven has fallen for us, and if any one has not tasted its sweetness it is his own fault.

(D. L. Moody.)

Christian Age.
" — In one sense God is always near us, but there is another kind of nearness. We may live in the same house with persons, and yet in sympathy, in mutual understanding and helpfulness, we may be as far away as if a Chinese wall was built between us. We cannot help them because we cannot get near them. So at times God is nearer to us than at others; we feel His presence; the heart is receptive. Then, of all times, we should seek the Lord.

(Christian Age.)

Seek God whilst thou canst not see Him; for when thou seest Him, thou canst not find Him. Seek Him by hope, and thou shalt find Him by faith. In the day of grace He is invisible, but near; in the Day of Judgment He is visible, but far off.

(Gregory.)

Sunday School Chronicle.
Under each clock in a certain paint factory is hung a neat glass sign, reading, "Do It Now." It is the motto of the company, and serves to remind the employes that the present is the all-important time.

(Sunday School Chronicle.)

There is a story of a prodigal who came back from the far country and could not find his father's house. He wandered on and on, and at last, in the gathering night, sank down, heart-sick and faint, on the steps of a little cottage. Without knowing it, he was on his own father's door-step. Inside sat the aged father and mother, their hearts hungering for their long-lost boy. Outside, bowed and crushed and longing for love and for home, lay the weary, homesick son-on the very threshold of home, but not knowing it. So near to the gates of Heaven is every human soul that is penitent, weary of sin, longing for Divine mercy and love.

(J. R. Miller, D. D.)

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