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about six months at Liverpool. On Monday morning Au. gust the 5th, he resolved to bathe in the river Mersey, thinking it might brace his nerves after the exertions of the preceding Sabbath, and prepare him for the duties to which he intended to devote the day. He had folded his paper and prepared his pen, in order to compose a sermon to be preached in the ensuing week on behalf of the Religious Tract Society, of whose Anniversary Meeting, held in May, 1811, he had received from his friend, Mr. John Haddon, a particular account, with copies of the addresses then delivered, which had determined him to advocate the cause of this Institution.* Mr. Spencer left his paper
and pen prepared for this purpose, and proceeded to the river, but soon after he had entered it, he was borne out by the current, sunk in the deep water, and was drowned. Thus suddenly was he called from his early labors on earth to an eternal reward in heaven.
As these Sermons will probably be read by many who are engaged in, or preparing for the Christian ministry, the following additional observation is especially deserv. ing of their attention : " It was invariably from communion with God in the closet, that Spencer passed to what he described as that awful place,-a pulpit. Those who heard him, will not easily forget the devotional simplicity and fervor of soul which he manifested when proclaiming the glories of the Redeemer, and the sparkling of his eye while pronouncing that adorable name to which 'every knee shall bow.'"
It is necessary to state, that Mr. Spencer, when preaching, did not confine himself to what he had written; but he made frequent enlargements, especially at the close, and in the application of his sermons.
* Mr. John Haddon presented these Sermons to the Religious Tract Society of London, and as a testimony of their high approbation, they were published by that Society in a neat volume.
ATONING EFFICACY IN THE DEATH OF CHRIST.
PR E A C AED JULY 5, 1807.*
“ The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
1 JOHN 1.7.
It has been the characteristic of really faithful ministers of the gospel, in every age, to speak of those blessed truths, the power of which they have felt in their own souls. This was the case with the apostles : they one and all declared the power of that Divine grace which had melted their frozen hearts, enlightened their dark understandings, and renewed their stubborn wills. We see this in the first verse of the chapter from which we have read a text; in which the apostle says,
" That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled
* « At the vacation in June he returned to his father's house at Hertford. During his stay there, he preached his first sermon in public. It was at the small village of Collier's End, six iniles from Hertford. His auditory consisted of abont thirty plain country people, and his text was 1 John, chap. I. ver. 7, 'The blood of Jesus Christ'his Son cleanseth us from all sin.' Simple and unlettered, however, as his audience might be, they had sufficient penetration to discover the uncommon talents of their youthtul preacher. These, together with the novelty and loveliness of his juvenile appearance, excited in that little village an astonishment and admiration, which have since circulated through all the districts of the great metropolis, and almost every town in Great Britain.”-- Extract from Dr. Raffles's Memoir of the Rev. T. Spencer.
of the word of life ;"_" that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you.” Thus he puts the saints in mind of the gospel he had written, in which he declared to them that “ Word of life" who had been with the Father, and was manifested to the world ; and whom he now declares again unto them, that they might have fellowship with him, and all the true apostles ; assuring them, for a motive, that their fellowship was with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. The fellowship of the saints is with the Father, as the source and spring of eternal life and happiness; and with the Son, as Mediator, who has opened the way, removed every obstacle, and given them an access by one Spirit unto the Father.
The design of the apostle in writing these things was, that their joy might be full. It was his earnest prayer, as well as the prayer of the apostle Paul, that the God of hope would fill them with all joy and peace in believing. He excites them to preserve fellowship and communion with God, by considering the transcendent excellence of the Divine nature ;
God," says he, “ is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” How clear is his knowledge, for He is omniscient; and how unstained is His nature, for God is holy.
Our conduct then is most evil, if while we pretend to holy communion with God, we walk in darkness. For there can be no communion between purity and impurity, heaven and hell, God and the devil. God hath fellowship with saints in affection and delight; they have fellowship with him in salvation and happiness. He gives hiniself and all he possesses to them, and they are enabled to give themselves to him. He bestows grace and pardon on us, and we resign our hearts and our all to
him. But in order to our doing this, some important change must take place in us; for by nature we are averse to God, prone to wander from him, and have the greatest enmity to him; yet there is a way by which inan can be brought nigh unto God, have his natural enmity subdued, and be reconciled unto the Father of spirits. Therefore, lest any should be excited to despair, by a view of the enormity of their crimes, let them hear the consoling language of our text: “ The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” When once our sins are pardoned by the blood of Jesus, we are admitted into communion with God, and with his Son. Oh that our meditations on this passage may be profitable !
You will observe, that these words speak of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, of the atonement of the Saviour ; and we may consider them, as pointing out its value-as declaring its continual efficacy-and, as asserting its universal influ
Let us view the text, I. As pointing out its value. It declares the way of pardon to be by the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. By the blood of Jesus, in our text, we are to understand the last sufferings and the death of the Saviour. This blood is the ransom of our souls, the price of our redemption, and the expiation of our sin. This was the highest and most excellent part of his obedience. Being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
His whole life was a scene of suffering, but his death completed his obedience; in that he mani. fested the greatest love to God his Father, and men, his people. The expiatory sacrifices under
the law were always bloody : death was to be endured for sin, and blood was the life of the creature; so the blood, the death of Christ, is the cause of our life, justification, sanctification, and glorification. The value of this sacrifice is infinite; and its value is plainly pointed out in the passage before us. It is the blood of Him whose name is Jesus; a name which is above every name; a name which is as ointment poured forth; and a name which causeth those who know it to be joyful in Him that bears it. It is a name at which every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that he is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. It is a wonderful, glorious, ineffable, and unspeakable name. The title by which the Saviour is distinguished, stamps the greatest dignity on his sacrifice, and confirms its value.
The blood mentioned in the text is the blood of a Saviour, as the name imports. It is the blood of one appointed and commissioned to save his people from the guilt, the power, the practice, and the love of sin. He rescues their souls from the power of Satan ; and, having delivered them from all their vain expectations and false refuges, he saves them from the curse of the law; to them there is now no condemnation, because they are in Christ, by a living faith and vital union.
Jesus is a Saviour, because he finally delivers all his people from sinking into the pit of hell, being himself their ransom ; and the blood of which we speak, is the blood of one who has almighty power to save, even to the very uttermost, all that come unto God by him ; and he has a full commission from God the Father to execute his eternal purposes of love to men, in saving them with an everlasting salvation : hence he is called Christ, having been