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ways has employed his thoughts, and always will em-. ploy them, until it is finally accomplished. In reference to this design he said, “He, that is not with me, is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad.” We may, therefore, justly conclude, ,
That no man can be indifferent towards the design which Christ is carrying on. ! I shall,
I. Show what design Christ is carrying on; and
I. I am to show what design Christ is carrying on. He never had, and never will have but one design; and this design was concerted in the council of heaven, from the early days of eternity. Though all the persons in the sacred Trinity are united and engaged in this design : yet the most conspicuous and important part of it belongs to the office of Christ to fulfil. He has engaged in the work, and done much to accom
it. He has come from heaven to earth, assumed human nature, suffered and died, risen from the dead, ascended up to heaven, taken the government of the world into his hands, and continues to act the part of a prince and saviour. But still the question recurs, What has he done, and is still doing all these things for? or what end or design is he carrying on? I answer, the great design of saving sinners. The work of redemption comprises all the works of creation and providence. Christ engaged from eternity, to accomplish the work of man's redemption. This is the scriptural representation of Christ's design. As soon as the great deceiver had brought about the apostacy of our first parents, God graciously promised them, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, destroy the works of the devil, and save all who were predestinated to eternal life. Accordingly, when he appeared on earth, he declared that he was the son of God and saviour of the world ; that he came to give his life a ransom for many; and that whosoever believed in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. After his resurrection from the dead, he said to his, disciples, “ All power is given unto me in heaven and
earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, bapti
. sing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And, lo, I am with you alway even unto the end of the world." And the apostle declares, “God hath raised Christ from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the Church.” Thus it appears, that the supreme and ultimate design, which Christ has undertaken, which he is carrying on, and which he will finally accomplish, is the promotion of the glory of God and the holiness and blessedness of his eternal kingdom, in the salvation of all penitent and believing sinners. And this must be allowed to be the greatest and best design, and the most interesting to all intelligent beings, that ever could be formed and executed. Therefore I go on to show,
ll. That no man can be indifferent towards it. Christ expressly declares, “ He that is not with me, is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad ;" which plainly implies, that every man either approves, or disapproves his design, and inwardly desires to promote, or obstruct it. And that no man can be indifferent towards it, will appear, if we consider the following things.
1. The design, which Christ is pursuing, is the greatest of all possible designs in every point of view. It is great in its origin. It was concerted in the early days of eternity, by the Father, Sori
, and Holy Ghost; and is as great a design as their united and infinite wisdom could form. It is great in extent. It reaches to and comprises all beings and objects in the universe. It is great in its duration. It began to operate from the beginning of the world, and it will continue to operate to the end of the world, and from that period to all eternity, and produce effects the most interesting to
every intelligent being, who will always be a spectator of them. Now, it is not conceivable, that any man should be indifferent towards this great and comprehensive design, which Christ is carrying on, and which will deeply and eternally affect the minds of the whole intelligent universe.
2. The great design, which Christ is pursuing, is totally opposed to all the selfish designs of mankind. Every man is naturally disposed to seek his own things and pursue his own interests, independently of, and in opposition to, the interests of others. This selfish spirit reigns more or less in the hearts of all the children of men, and leads them to form ten thousand selfish and sinful designs, which they regard as very important to themselves. But the perfectly wise and benevolent design, which Christ is pursuing, opposes and counteracts all the selfish designs of mankind. Their selfish designs respect their own good; but his design respects the glory of God. Their selfish designs respect temporal things; but his benevolent design respects eternal things. Their selfish designs respect nothing but happiness; but his benevolent design respects holiness as well as happiness, through all the periods of time and all the ages of eternity. So long as Christ lived in obscurity and concealed his great and benevolent design in coming into the world, he grew
in favour with God and man. But as soon as he made known his design, and pursued it in open opposition to the views, the purposes, and selfish interests of the Jews, they hated him, reviled him, and opposed him, with the utmost virulence, till they finally imbrued their hands in his blood. And wherever the gospel has made known his design, it has never failed of exciting the enmity and opposition of the wise and unwise, of the learned and unlearned, of kings and of kingdoms. It was foretold, that Christ in pursuing his great design, should raise the general resentment and oppo-, sition of mankind. “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together
against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. Mankind never feel indifferent towards any person, or object, that counteracts and defeats their desires, designs, or pursuits. No man, therefore, who is not indifferent to his own temporal, or eternal interests, can be indifferent towards the design, which Christ is pursuing, and which will deeply affect his interests both for time and eternity. Every individual of the human race will be just such as Christ's design requires, either rich or poor, either bond or free, either great or small, either high or low, either good or bad, either happy or miserable, through every pe. riod of his existence. 6 Think not,” said Christ, 6 that I am come to send peace on the earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.” And Jesus said again, “ For judgment I am come into this world, that they who see not, might see; and that they who see, might be made blind." Christ in pursuing his great and benevolent design, bends the characters, the conduct, the conditions, and the interests of the whole world, in subserviency to the interests of his own kingdom, and in opposition to the selfish characters, conduct, conditions, and interests of all who are against him. And will any
selfish heart be indifferent to such a person, pursuing such a design? Will not every holy heart be for him, and every unholy heart be against him?
3. Christ, in carrying on his great, comprehensive, and benevolent design, employs all mankind as instruments in promoting it
. Christ has all power in heaven and earth, and is able to subdue all things to himself, and to cause every creature and object in this world, to be instrumental, some way or other, in affecting the great design he has constantly in view. He employed the winds and waves in his service. He made a fish furnish him with property. He claimed the right to take
from its owner a colt, to ride in triumph into Jerusalem. He employed twelve men at first, and seventy more afterwards, to preach the gospel, before his death. And after his resurrection, he commanded and commissioned the apostles and all their regular successors, to preach the gospel to all nations, to the end of the world. And he still employs the hearts and hands and influence of all other men in his service. He governs supremely and absolutely in the moral, as well as in the natural world, and makes his enemies, as well as his friends the active and voluntary agents in doing whatever he sees necessary for them to do, to advance his cause and interest in the world. This was predicted of Christ under the type of Solomon, in the 72d psalm. “He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him, and his enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall bow down before him; and all nations shall serve him." Men are naturally very unwilling to serve any cause, or promote any interest, which appears hostile to their own. But the cause which Christ is pursuing is totally opposed to all the sinister views and selfish interests of mankind. They cannot, therefore, feel indifferent whether Christ shall succeed or not, in his great design, or whether he shall employ them, in acting
for him against themselves. Had the builders of the ark known the design of building it was to prepare the way for their own destruction, they would never have struck a stroke to prepare it for the safety of some and the ruin of themselves. No sinner, who understands the design of Christ in the government of the world, can feel indifferent whether the design shall succeed, or whether he shall be an agent in effecting it. Accordingly, we find, that whenever and wherever Christ visibly succeeds in building up and enlarging his kingdom, none appear indifferent; but all that are not with him are against him; and generally not only feel, but speak