« ForrigeFortsæt »
and to save that which is lostb." Under this humiliating description the whole race of Adain is included. “We had all gone astray, like lost sheep," “and turned everyone to his own way;" when Jesus, pitying our low estate, came to bring us back to God, and to himself, “ the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.”
All who submit to his easy and peaceful yoke are thereby rescued from the dominion of the prince of darkness, and brought into the marvellous light of the Gospel. Hence those, in whose hearts “ Christ is formed as the hope of glory,” become spirituaily wise, holy, and happy.
1. It is the professed object, then, of Christianity, to render us wise unto salvation. By nature we betray an entire ignorance of the spirituality of God, and of heavenly things. Men inanifest the truth of this assertion, by the manner in which they treat God, violate his cominands, and neglect his service; and by the wretched substitutes which they invent for genuine piety.
Some fearlessly transgress against him, just as if he were altogether unconcerned whether they do good or evil. Others act as if he would be satisfied with any kind of obedience, though it be ever so partial or defective".
The Gospel is designed to rectify these dangerous mistakes, by giving us a proper knowledge of God, and his salvation. It imparts to a believer a divine light, to guide his soul into the
way peace. 2. Men become holy through an acquaintance with the fundamental principles of Christ's religion. The knowledge of God has a purifyinginfluence. “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth dd." Lu.xix.10. Pet. i. 2,25. Mark vii.6—10. Jo. xvii. 24.
If we desire to have the depravity which is natural to our hearts checked, and the pollution which it occasions washed away, we must suffer Christianity to captivate us, and to govern our lives. Its beneficial tendency to restore the lost purity of our souls, is seen in its effects on true believers. In them, it leads to righteousness and peace. By the grace of Christ vouchsafed to them, they are strengthened to live to God in habits of faith and piety.
If we pant after conformity to God, let us seek it through the assistance of the Holy Spirit, who cleanses the heart from all unrighteousness, by the application of the word of truth, the Gospel of our salvation. By his operations, holy desires are awakened in the souls of believers, who are thus excited to love and serve the Lord of Heaven. In this
way, the Christians, to whom St. Peter especially addressed himself," had purified their souls in obeying the truth, through the Spirit, unto unfeigned love both of God and of the brethren
3. The ultimate design of the Gospel is, to make us happy. We are by nature and practice miserable sinners. This is a melancholy fact, which we do not hesitate to admit in our confessions ; though many are displeased with being told so by the Ministers of Christ. Yet we must become sensible of the affecting truth, if we would duly value the redemption of Christ, which is the great antidote for all the sorrows to which sin has subjected us. Jesus, by virtue of his high commission, came into the world "to bear our sins, and to take away our infirmities." “ The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto
e 1 Pet. i. 22.-24.
the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to comfort all that mourn, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified'."
Now, when a penitent sinner comes to Christ by faith, he does experience his readiness to save him from those sins which have excited the displeasure of God against him, and to give him “joy and peace in believing". The happiness which the knowledge of his salvation imparts, is great beyond description. The full pardon which he receives of all his transgressions, and the foretaste which he possesses of glory to be more fully realized hereafter, afford a source of satisfaction and delight which nothing can exceed.
4. How important, then, is the Gospel of Christ! which comes, as an angel of mercy, with healing under his wings, to remove our diseases, and restore our spiritual health. It raises us from the death of sin to the life of righteousness, in order that it may make us heirs of bliss, and associate us with glorified beings, in the service of God, and the enjoyment of his heavenly kingdom.
How wretched would the world be without Christianity! Involved in the most deplorable darkness, destitute of the knowledge of God, of Christ, and of the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it would inevitably perish in its sins.
But, now, the vilest transgressors may fiņd the way to heaven through the light of Gospel truth. Even the outcasts may hear the inviting sound of mercy and live, if they will forsake their evil doings, and serve God in sincerity and truth 58.
'Isa. lxi. 1-4. "Matt. xi. 28-30. Luke i. 79.
Is it not clear, then, that the Gospel is just such a scheme of salvation as is suited to the wants and condition of mankind ? How rich areits provisions! how free its benefits, extending to every contrite heart"!
5. Would you, Reader, partake of the feast which God has provided for perishing souls? Then you must be conscious of your lost, dark, dead, and condemned state. Without this conviction for sin, you can never receive the glad tidings of salvation with joy and exultation. But whether you are sensible or not of your spiritual necessities, still it remains “a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners bh."
6. Christianity ought, therefore, to be universally esteemed; because the sincere belief of its doctrines, and the practice of its sacred precepts, prepare men for mansions of bliss in heaven. - There is no other road to glory. Every plan which men can devise to save their souls from the guilt and dominion and punishment of sin, will certainly fail, and bring everlasting confusion on those who obstinately confide in them? Let none of us, then, fight against God, by opposing the progress of Divine truth; which " is a lamp unto our feet, and a light to our path."
Angels, who have no personal interest in the redemption of Christ, discover an ardent desire to pry into its sublime mysteries'. How does their ardour reprove our coldness, who can hear of the dying love of Christ, and yet be unmoved; and of the happiness which he offers us, and yet be unwilling to stretch forth our hands to accept it! 88 Isa. xxvii. 13.
h Rev. xxii. 17. 1 Tim. i. 15. ' Acts iv. 12. xiii. 38-42. * Ps. cxix. 105. 11 Pet. i. 12.
ception mee to E
tople, taste fc
ON THE SALUTARY EFFECTS OF CHRISTIANİTY.
is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;
to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. THE gracious intentions of the Founder of the Christian Religion have not been frustrated. Although
Although vsaften the general success of his Gospel has not been coextensive with its efficacy, yet it has, in every age since its publication, obtained very considerable triumphs over the idolatry, superstition, ignorance, prejudice, and wickedness of the world. And, in.
is efficac deed, in exact proportion as its dictates are obeyed, men will become holy, pious, honest, merciful, and benevolent. These remarks will be confirmed by thes. reviewing the effects which have actually been produced by the preaching of the cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
1. In the first and second centuries of the Christian era, a mighty influence attended the promulgation of Divine truth. The Heathen oracles were silenced. The folly of Paganism was fully exposed. Temples which had long been devoted to idol-worship were deserted; and those barbarous and absurd superstitions, by which Satan had so long enslaved mankind, were exploded in some countries, and in others were fast sinking into neglect and disuse. Not only was the kingdom of darkness shaken to its foundations; but the human mind was greatly enlightened by Divine truth, with a more correct knowledge of its various duties, whether civil, domestic, or religious : so that, in the course of a few hundred years after the ascension of our blessed Lord, there was
In the w