Page images
PDF
EPUB

light." He shall never be at a loss, as to what is duty. And says Paul, “Be ye followers of me, as I am of Christ.Suppose your minister does not sympathize with Christ in his love, labor, sufferings, and death for the salvation of a lost world; does not hold up the tremendous alternative of giving or withholding the gospel from perishing men; does not lay the claim of personal obligation upon your conscience; does not tell you to do what you can for dying millions, and "do it with your might.” Have you not the Bible? and does not that plainly tell you, “If any man have not the spirit, (not of his minister,) but of Christ, he is none of his ?" It was enough for the brethren of the rich man in hell, that they had Moses and the prophets, let them hear them;" but you have not only these, but Christ and the apostles. Wo, wo, wo, then be to you, if you hear not, follow not, obey not them. Instead of waiting for others, let each Christian resolve in God's strength to be the humble instrument of bringing, at least, one sinner to repentance annually, and how soon might the world be converted to Christ!

Sixth ERROR. That professors of religion may, and ought to make bold and advantageous contracts for themselves, but not for the glory of God, and the good of souls. This they often do, even beyond their present means, and never think of charging themselves, or being charged, as imprudent or blameable. Where is the professor who has not, in the enterprise of business, adventured his property ? True, he expects to succeed, and generally does succeed. But should a Christian merchant adventure on God's providence, in a Bible, or Tract, or Missionary, or Education enterprise, one half the amount he has again and again ventured in some mercantile prospect, or worldly speculation, how many would at once brand him with rashness or imprudence! Should a Christian farmer promise to the Lord's treasury the amount of the last field for which he has bound himself, would not some economical Judas be ready to say, “Why?” Should a Christian politician engage his personal efforts to supply with a Bible the destitnte, or with a monthly Tract each family, or to secure the Sabbath School children, or the Temperance pledge, of only the same township or district he has often pledged to the ballot box, how many of his brethren would cry out, “he is over-acting-he is beside himself!” Thousands may be bold, fearless, enterprising, generous, and magnanimous, for themselves and this vain world, but not for God and eternity! No; here, though God is insulted, and souls are dying by untold millions, we must be all calculation, ::ll crutiin, all penuriousness, all distrust! A

soldier may drain his life's blood for his country or a name, and who withholds his eulogy? But a blood-bought soldier of the cross may not drain his purse for the glory of his Redeemer and the salvation of a world, without being branded as an enthusiast; and that too by professed Christians! No marvel, that the world has not been, nor is soon likely to be converted, while such principles pass for orthodox, in the church of that Savior who has declared, “ Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake and the gospel's; but he shall receive a hundred fold now in this time, and in the world to come, eternal life.” Shall we enterprise for our little selves, because we may succeed; but not for our glorious Master, who has thus pledged his veracity that we shall succeed, a hundred fold now, and an eternal fold hereafter ? What would such faithless calculators have thought and said, had they been at Ephesus, when a few Christians of that city, for conscience' sake and the gospel's, at once sacrificed books to the value of "fifty thousand pieces of silver ?" O, what was this to the loss of one soul, those corrupting books might have occasioned, had they not been burnt ? Could those master spirits in speculation, Judas and Balaam, return to earth, they would tell with an emphasis, the profit or loss, the wisdom or madness, of the wordly enterprises in which they embarked. But how different the testimony of the poor widow" justified by Christ, who fearlessly embarked her all to serve the temple of God! What too would be the testimony of that noble arnıy of martyrs, who ventured all for Christ? Little do indolent, covetous, unbelieving or heartless professors imagine, that, however long their connexion with the school of Christ, or orthodox their creed, they may be less than babes in the true knowledge of God. For, says Jehovah," the people that do know their God, shall be strong and do exploits.” God loves the man-and Christ loves him, and will honor him before 'assembled worlds, who, in every good enterprise takes prompt hold, and holds on, however many, one or a million, refuse to co-operate. “ Them that honor me, I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed," saith the Lord.

LAST ERROR. That personal and present duty may be transferred or delayed. If a parent command his son to do some reasonable and immcdiate duty, will the obedience of his sister release the son? Hero we see that duty involves a personal obligation, and cannot be transferred by the son to the sister, without the guilt of rebellion. And suppose the son acknowledges his personal obligation to obey his father, but says, “ I will not do it now, but when it suits me—when it is convenient-when I choose." What idea has that son of filial duty, or parental authority ? Has he not made his own will paramount to his father's ? But he has only disowned present obligation ; i. e. has positively rebelled. Apply this to the practical theology of tens of thousands. God speaks in the Bible, and speaks to them; “Do as ye would be done by"_" do good to all men as you have opportunity;" tell every creature, there is a Savior from éternal ruin. And have they obeyed ? Obeyed! One promptly replies, “ It is not convenient;" another,

61 have not the qualifications ;" another, “There are heathen at home;" another, “It will cost too much ;” another, “ It will do no good;" another, “I have my own business to attend to;" another, “I have my family to provide for;" another, “The heathen are given to Christ, and God will bring them in;" another, “ I will not, but others may;" and another --but we forbear. Thus thousands and tens of thousands, in the church, openly disobey Christ; while only here and there one says, "Here am I, Lord, send me;" and only a few more, out of fifty millions or professing Christians, are willing to add, “Go, Brother, and we will aid, to the extent of our ability.Yes, it is literally true, only here and there one is thus despatched to the world of heathen ; whilst, in every twenty-five or thirty years, six hundred millions of those immortals are sacrificed to our indolence, our luxury, our pride, our covetousness, our hypocrisy, our ingratitude to that Savior, who poured out his blood, that all who believe might have life through his name. Yes, and this cruel sacrifice of millions is yearly made, simply for want of our feeling that personal and present obligation to deny ourselves for Christ, which we can no more evade, than we can the witness of our own conscience, or the awards of the judgment day. Well, that day is hastening on; and each of us shall give account of himself to God; and by this plain rule be judged, “If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his.And," he that knew his Lord's will, but did it not, shall be beaten with many stripes.” Dare we, then, amid the light now blazing upon us, still put off present duty, and let another generation go down to the second death? Oh, Zion, did your Master so ? Were he now in your place, would he do so? Or can he longer bear this neglect of duty ? Will you not then at length obey his reiter. ated call, louder than the thunders and sweeter than the harmonies of the heavens-- Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the

high mountain; Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength ?

But not merely the commands of a dying Savior and the calls of distant nations now summon to special effort. The insidious progress of infidelity—the spreading contempt of all religion—the maddening strife for mere worldly gains—the deep and general slumber of Israel's hosts-and above all, the insidious wiles of the Adversary, setting one against another, and thus wasting those energies which might pour light on the kingdom of darkness—these, these are the affecting “signs of the times;" and these, superadded to the cries of waking millions in heathen lands, admonish all the truly faithful to unite their humble efforts, and to pour forth the unceasing prayer, “ O Lord, revive thy work. O Lord, send salvation."

Let them do this, and soon, very soon, the melting heavens will rain down righteousness; Zion be universally refreshed, her peace become like a river, and her prosperity like the waves of the sea. Who then, that knows these things, and realizes the flight of time and the infinite worth of souls, will not now say, with all earnestness and sincerity, From this hour, from this moment, Christ shall be my only Lord, and his example and precepts my only rule of life? AMEN.

[blocks in formation]

BY GARDINER SPRING, D.D., New-YORK.

THE ALARMING POWER OF SIN.

TIE

JEREMIAH, 13, 23. Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the

leopard his spots ? Then may ye also do good, who are accustomed to do evil.

This passage, like some others in the sacred writings, is not to be interpreted in the strictest sense. Of the same description is the declaration of Christ ; " It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." And yet rich men are saved; though the difficulties in the way of their salvation are many and great. So, in some instances, are men long accustomed to do evil, diverted from their courses of iniquity. But this is not usual. It is a truth which should affect the minds of every class of my audience, that,

THE LONG CONTINUED IMPENITENCE OF MEN AUGMENTS DIFFICULTIES IN THE WAY OF THEIR SALVATION.

This is the truth which I propose to illustrate in this discourse. Aud,

1. A most obvious thought which illustrates this general observation is, that the habits of men are strengthened and confirmed by indulgence.

It is a common remark, that the influence of habit is one of the most powerful in our mental constitution. We cannot explain this phenomenon ; the fact we know; and it is of vast importance that we should know it. A repetition of the saine thoughts and actions is so apt to ensure their continuance, that it is one of the most difficult things in the world to check this habitual operation of the mind, and give it a different direction from that in which it has been wont to flow. Even habits which relate to matters of indifference, become inveterate, and are with great difficulty inoditied and overcome. Especially are they obstinate, when they are under the control of some prevailing disposition, and fall in with the natural inclination of the mind.

VOL. XI. No. 10.

« PreviousContinue »