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are spent in creating heat and commotion. Even after the question is decided, who is to be in authority, the passions do not always subside. How much unholy feeling ensues. Success has produced pride, insolence, ill-will, and contempt. Defeat has occasioned envy, chagrin, discontent, and hatred. Benevolence is lost—the precept, “ thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” is forgotten.
It is plainly the duty of every patriot, to strive to mitigate such evils. Every Christian, especially, should quiet each unholy feeling, and exert himself to set up the great law of love-—" Blessed are the peacemakers.” And what has a greater tendency to quell the tumult of passion, than the solemnity and interests of the throne of grace? How would society settle to a calm, and move peacefully and prosperously along, if, after it was determined who were the rulers, all the citizens would immediately and habitually associate in cordial prayer for them. Especially does it become those who lead the devotions of others, to give their souls to this duty “ first of all.”
2. “ Prayer for all in authority,” would produce on the public mind, an appropriate and favourable impression respecting Christianity. It was early objected to the followers of Christ, that they were destitute of loyalty and patriotism. This would be refuted, were Christians publicly and constantly to pour forth their prayers, to their covenant God, in behalf of the administration of their country. Did we calmly canvass the merit of the candidates for office, to ascertain their real virtue and capacity –did we as calmly and conscientiously vote—and then, receiving whomsoever God might give, retire and pray fervently for all in authority, without distinction of party, or name, or sect-we should exhibit our religion in its true political character--patriotic indeed, but "pure and peaceable,”-examining and electing in the spirit of piety and prayer, bu' meekly submitting to the vote of the majority, and benevolently imploring the benediction of God on the rulers they have chosen. Surely this is amiable, and this is duty.
3. By “ praying for all in authority,” we should contribute to extend and sustain the important doctrine of Scripture, that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, is Lord over all, and ruleth among the nations. Rulers and people would never have deemed political morality a thing of no concern, if they had not first imagined that the Most High “ did not regard it,'' or exercise any moral administration over the nations. But this kind of atheism is prevalent. Former politicians, in separating the state from the church, went to the extreme of separating the state from Heaven. The philosopher of Florence, said one who knew him well, “ was the first to introduce into modern and Christian Europe, the fashion of reasoning and deciding on politics, exactly as if Christianity had no existence, or there had been no such thing as a Deity, or moral justice in the world." The impious statesmanship of Machiavel became more and more fashionable. The sophistry of the Jesuits, contributed farther to destroy the difference
between right and wrong, and make expediency supreme. Voltaire wrote against Providence, and laboured to convince men that they owed no submission to any thing beyond themselves. The spirit and tendency of his school was directed to deliver man from all fear, of the Deity. The whole of modern politics has been, in a measure, affected with this same poison. Policy is reduced to a science, but a science too much without God. Where is the political author, who properly insists on moral causes—the dependence of nations on the favour of the Almighty-and the Scripture conditions of enjoying his blessing, “ from whom cometh down every good and perfect gift ?”
But though men may philosophize, and forget God, yet he will reign, dispensing the changes and destinies of nations. He will reign in the person of the Mediator. Christ hath been not only 6 set King in Zion," but “ Head over all things to the church.' “ He hath on his vesture and on his thigh, a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords." Ever since his exaltation as a Prince, he has been extending his kingdom among the nations. Compare the pledges he has made in his word, with the history of the Jews, and Romans, and every nation that has opposed his reign, and you will see terrific evidence of his supremacy. The royal title and prerogative of our blessed Lord, must be known and acknowledged throughout the world. All heaven has long since obeyed the high decree," Let all the angels of God worship him.” It is duty, it is loyalty in Christians on earth, to proclaim his rights and honours. When they pray to him as King of kings, for his illumination, pardon, sanctification, protection, and guidance, in behalf of “all in authority,” and through their agency, for a blessing on the nationthe worshippers contemplate these earthly powers as subordinate, and Christ as supreme-regarding and controlling rulers, and through them dispensing national good and evil. Such is the doctrine of eternal truth. And the Christian, while he “ prays for all in authority,” arrests the atheism and disloyalty of a revolted world, and vindicates the 'honour of Him, “who is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” and who “must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet.”
In a duty involving such principles and loyalty, is there a Christian who will withhold obedience? The spirit of the ransomed ones is not in him. Bending before the throne, with adoring angels, they cease not to cry, “ Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive Power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” O, let this spirit pervade the whole church on earth—let “prayer for all in authority” go up continually from her ten thousand altars—let the supremacy of Him, “ by whom kings reign and princes decree justice," be habitually and publicly acknowledged by all her members--then the church would be, indeed, “ the light of the world; the glory of the Lord be seen upon her; and the Gentiles come to her light, and kings to the brightness of her rising.” AMEN.
Go.... Teach all Nations....Matt. xxviii. 19.
NEW-YORK, DECEMBER, 1828.
Preached before the Clergy, at the Commencement of Williams College, Sepe 3, 1928
By RICHARD S. STORRS, A.M.
CHRISTIAN AND MINISTERIAL SELF-DENIAL AND FAITHFULNESS
URGED FROM THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST.
2 CORINTHIANS, viii. 9.-- For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
The example of Christ is often urged in Scripture, as a powerful motive to benevolence. It is with his eye fixed on the blessed Redeemer, that the apostle here urges the Corinthians to abound in liberality. He had, indeed, just drawn a powerful argument from the zeal of the poor and persecuted churches of Macedonia ; and another, from the faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and diligence of the Corinthians themselves. But the last and most weighty argument is stated in the words of the text : “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The context sufficiently determines the signification of the word " grace," as here used. It is “ the kindness and love of God our Saviour” toward a fallen world.
I can only glance at the several topics suggested by the apostle in illustration of that grace which so often warmed his heart, and inspired his tongue : and I would do this, with a view simply to the enforcement of some duties obviously devolving on Christians and Christian mipisters of this age.
I. We shall not duly estimate the grace of Christ, without keeping in riew the glory he had with the Father before the world was; or the riches he possessed in eternity. “ All things,” says he, “that the Father hath, are mine.” “By him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers-all things were created by him, and for him." The wealth of the universe, then, was his, by right of creation ; and to him it belongs to dispose of all things at his pleasure. Still,
II. “ For our sakes he became poor ;” and when a certain Scribe said to him, “ Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest,” he received for answer, “ The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” “ He made himself of no re
possessed. Be imitere
putation." His birth-place was a manger ; his parental home, a lowly cota tage ; his chosen associates, unlettered fishermen. The lame, the halt, and the blind followed him ; while the rich and the proud despised and rejected him. What insults did he not receive! What cruel mockings and scourgings did he not endure! What greater agonies could he have suffered! Go into the palace of the high priest, the judgment-hall of Pilate, or the sepulchre of Joseph, and behold the depth of his humiliation. And,
III. For whom did he humble himself ? Well may “God commend his love. toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." It was when man had “ corrupted all his way before the Lord;” nay, when he had fallen under the sword of divine justice; when he lay, polluted in his own blood, in the open field—that Jesus passed by, and said unto him, “ Live."
Moreover, in the offers of this grace, no respect is had to persons. The invitation is,“ Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come.” To the king, and to the slave-to the man clothed in purple and fine linen, and to the beggar laid at his gate, the same overtures of pardon and eternal life are made. But,
IV. What are the blessings proposed with such freeness ? Verily," he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with. him also freely give us all things ??! To them that believe in Jesus, the Spirit hath said, “ All things are yours-whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours.” The full extent of these riches can be estimated only in the light of eternity : but we may see something of their bearing on man's dignity and happiness, even in the present world.
1. By Christ we are enriched with the knowledge of the true God. How profoundly ignorant man is of his Maker, till he beholds his glory in the face of Jesus Christ, I need not tell. The history of the pagan world furnishes a most melancholy comment on the boasted strength of human reason; and on the value of that wisdom, which has not prerented men from changing the glory of the incorruptible God, into the image of corruptible man, and of birds, and of four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Indeed, many a sad lecture, on the vanity of human imaginations, comes to us from the infinite diversity of speculations on the Divine character, in Christian lands. Who that seeks at all, will not seek in vain, for a resemblance between the God of the Bible, and the god worshipped by thousands, who claim to be the followers of Jesus! Still, with the revelation of Christ before us, we worship not an unknown God, unless we shut our eyes on Him, who is “ the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person.”
2. By Christ we are tauglit the principles on which pardon and peace are so freely tendered to sinful men. What question is so big with interest—and yet so far beyond the utmost reach of philosophy, falsely so called, as that 66 How can man be just with God?” It is indeed sometimes thrown out of the account, as unworthy the paternal character of the Deity. But this is not annihilating the question, as it stands on the sacred page ; nor relieving the conscience burdened with guilt. There is a principle within, that impels the mind forward to a day of judgment—and at the same time directs the eye back on a series of offences against God; and wakes up the inquiry-" How shall I stand when He appeareth?
To Christ we are indebted for a knowledge of the fact, that “God can be just, and yet justify the ungodly :” that “ he himself has become the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth ;” that now, there is " no condemnation to them that walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Through him, we obtain “ peace of conscience, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” In the light of his glory we look on the past with penitent com posure, and on the future with triumphant hope. His promises encourage effort ; his threatenings warn us against indifference. From his example and precepts, we learn to cherish a meek loftiness of spirit-a holy superiority to the fascinations of the world ; and a quiet subinission to the inscrutable arrangements of Providence. The light he has thrown upon the Divine admin istration, enables us to hold on our way, exulting in the prospect of triumph ing over sin, and death, and hell, and reigning with Christ in heaven.
3. Christ hath enriched us with the privilege of entering into the pre sence of God, and pleading our cause before him with boldness and importunity. Once we were afar off—but now are we brought nigh. Once God's throne shot forth devouring flame ; but now a mild glory hovers over it, and a voice is heard—“ Look unto me, and be ye saved.” Once the seraphim and cherubim only could approach: but now, the humblest born of earth, on whose heart is impressed the image of Jesus, may draw near with full confidence and hope. Nothing can bar you from this privilege : for Jesus hath purchased and made it over to you, and sealed it by the promise, 6 Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” “ Let Israel then hope in the Lord ; for with the Lord there is mercy; and he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.”
4. The grace of Christ, and that alone, teaches men effectually “ to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, and righteously, and godly in this present world.” Nothing else gives victory over those corruptions of the heart, that constrain even the holiest sometimes to exclaim, “0, wretched man that I am!” Nothing else can dry up the fountains of that depravity; which carries misery and discord wherever it goes. But trace the operations of this grace, and you shall find it binding man to man-inspiring abhorrence of whatever tends to disunion, and delight in whatever promotes the knowledge, and love, and happiness of the world. You shall find it grasping the hand of the next-door neighbour, or perhaps of the infant prattler, and directing their eyes to Calvary. You shall find it prompting the intellectual, as well as the spiritual energies of men, to new and mightier efforts for the banishment of evil from the earth. You shall find it infusing wisdom into the preparation, and vigour into the execution of measures, for recovering nations from the region and shadow of death, and placing them among " the nations of them that are saved."