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him, of whom they have not heard, nor hear without a Preacher. In other words, he declares the Preaching of the Gospel to be, in the ordinary course of Providence, indispensably necessary to the faith of mankind in Christ, just as that faith is indispensable to the invocation of his name in prayer. That the Apostle understood these questions in this manner is unanswerably evident from his own conclusion, subjoined in the 17th verse: So then, faith cometh by hearing; and hearing by the Word of God. These passages, it is believed, are sufficient, if any passages can be sufficient, to decide the question. It would be easy to multiply quotations, of the same import, to a great extent: for this is the common language of the Scriptures. But as a long course of quoting, and commenting, necessarily becomes tedious, I shall conclude this part of the discussion by repeating, in a very summary manner, a few other passages, and phrases, which directly indicate, in other forms, the same truth. The Scriptures are called the Word of Salvation; the Word of Life; the Word of Faith; the Word of Wisdom; the Word of Knowledge; the Word of Reconciliation; and the Sword of the Spirit. None of these appellations, it is apprehended, could be given to them with propriety, unless they were in truth Means of Salvation to men. They are called the Word of God, which inwrought effectually in the Thessalonians, when they first received it. 1 Thess. ii. 13. They are said by God himself, speaking to the Prophet Jeremiah, to be as a fire, and as a hammer, that breaketh the rock in pieces. Jer. xxiii. 29. They are asserted by St. Paul to be quick, or living, and powerful; sharper than any two-edged sword; piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit; and to be a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb. iv. 12. Our Saviour says to the Jews, It is the Spirit that quickeneth; and, to explain his meaning, subjoins, The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life. It is said, that, when the world by wisdom knew not God, a pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them who believe. 1 Cor. i. 21. St. Paul declares the Gospel to be the power of God unto sal. vation to every one that believeth. Rom. i. 10.
From these passages it is evident, that the Scriptures, in their
customary language, declare themselves, particularly as preached to mankind, to be means of salvation. 2. I argue the same doctrine from the Commission, given by Christ to his Apostles. This Commission is recorded, Matth. xxviii. 19, in these words: Go ye, disciple, that is, make disciples of, all nations; baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The word, padorsugars, rendered teach in the common translation, is literally rendered disciple. Alóadzø is the proper term to denote teaching. Maðntsvo denotes to make a person a disciple, in the same sense, in which the Apostles, and their contemporary Christians, were disciples, of Christ. A disciple, as the term is used in the New Testament, is a person, who receives, approves, and voluntarily conforms to, the doctrines and precepts of his Instructor. Such were the disciples of the Pharisees : such were those of John the Baptist; and such were those of Christ. Christ, it will be admitted, commissioned the Apostles to make real disciples of those, to whom they preached, and not disciples in pretence and profession merely. But every real disciple is regenerated. The nations, to whom the Apostles were sent, were Jews and Heathen; and of course, were unbelievers and sinners. Christ, therefore, commissioned the Apostles to make disciples of unbelievers and sinners. It will not be denied, that he commissioned them to do that, which, in the ordinary progress of things, could be done; and which they, so far as they faithfully obeyed his commands, did actually accomplish. The Apostles, therefore, did really in the proper sense make disciples, of these sinIncts. Accordingly, St. Paul says, that he desired to have fruit among the Romans, as he had had among the other Gentiles. Rom. i. 13. He speaks of Himself, and Apollos, as Ministers, by whom, that is, by means of whom, the Corinthians believed. 1 Cor. iii. 5. He says, that he, and his companions, received grace and apostleship, for the obedience of faith among all nations. Rom. i. 5. St. Peter, Acts xv. 7, says, that God had chosen, that the Gentiles by his mouth should hear the Gospel, and believe. Every where, also, in the book of Acts, both Jews and Gentiles are exhibited as having believed, and turned to God, by means of the Preaching of the Apostles and their coadjutors. Thus the Commission was fulfilled, exactly, according to its tenour; and the Gospel actually became the Means of faith and salvation to those, to whom it was preached. But this Commission was given to all succeeding Ministers, as well as to the Apostles; and is the very authority, under which they now preach, and perform all the other duties of the ministerial office. All, that was here said to the Apostles, is, in the very same sense, said to them. It is equally their business, and duty, to make disciples of mankind, wherever Providence presents them an opportunity; and to baptize them, when made. Of course, they as really make disciples of unbelievers and sinners; and are as really Means of faith and salvation to mankind. The very fact of giving this Commission is, in itself, decisive proof of this truth. It was undoubtedly given with sincerity, and benevolence, on the part of Christ. Of course, it was intended by him, that the design, expressed in it, was really formed in his mind, and will be faithfully accomplished. This design is completely expressed in the Commission itself. As the Apostles were directed to disciple all nations, or to make disciples every where; so it was the design of Christ, that disciples should every where be made by them. In this business they were to have a real agency. It therefore follows irresistibly, that they had a real agency in it: such an agency, as that, without their exertions, these men would, in the established course of things, never have become disciples. 3. The same doctrine is proved by the whole course of Facts relating to the existence, and progress, of Christianity in the world. Wherever the Gospel has been preached, and read, mankind have actually been made disciples of Christ. In every age, and in every country, to which the Gospel has come, there have been many such disciples. In those countries, on the contrary, where the Gospel has not existed, such disciples have not been made; or, at least, evidence of their discipleship has not been furnishcd to their fellow-men. I speak here, it will be remembered, of the ordinary course of God's Spiritual providence. That exceptions to this assertion may have existed, I am not disposed to deny. That they must have been comparatively few is, I think, clearly evident from the fact, that no satisfactory reasons have appeared, even to the mind of charity itself, to believe them numerous. If God has pursued, in countries unenlightened by the Gospel, a different system of dispensations from that, which we have been contemplating; it must be admitted, that we have ne evidence of this fact; or at least none, which can be pronounced satisfactory. The Scriptures certainly give us very little information, of this nature; and the history of mankind furnishes still less. Without limiting the mercy of God, or attempting to investigate his Spiritual providence, with respect to nations who have not the Gospel, it may safely be concluded, that the instances, which they furnish, of apparent renovation, are very few. A benevolent man, who casts his eye over the Western wilderness, and surveys with attention the moral conduct of its inhabitants, will find very little, of this nature, to satisfy his wishes, or his hopes. Independently of the moral effects, produced upon these nations by the labours of Missionaries, he will find sin prevailing, and ravaging, in all the forms of turpitude, compatible with their circumstances, and in every degree, not forbidden by their poverty, ignorance, and imbecility. Our Saviour has taught us, that we are to discern the character of men by their fruits. This equitable and decisive rule of judging is no less applicable to these nations, than to ourselves. But what are the fruits, produced by these men Certainly they are not such, as are meet for repentance ; such, as spring from confidence in God; such, as indicate, even remotely, the influence, or even the existence, of real virtue. After the most charitable and indulgent allowance for their ignorance; after all the palliations, which the most benevolent mind can elicit from their moral disadvantages; their fraud, treachery, cruelty, pride, implacability, and revenge, present a picture of depravity, which it is impossible not to understand, and acknowledge. No penitents, in the mean time, are visible among them. No symptoms of reformation are found. On the contrary, one unvarying, sluggish, gloomy stream of corruption appears to have flowed heavily onward from remote generations to the present hour; and to wind its Lethean course through all these nations, wherever, and however, situated. On the ground, once inhabited by these people, the New-England Colonists have dwelt almost two centuries. Among them Religion has generally prevailed. The proof is that, which has been already mentioned. They have brought forth the fruits, specified in the Gospel as evidences of a virtuous character, in instances, whose number it would be difficult to limit. Whence this mighty difference in nations, planted on the same soil, and living under the same climate 2 The only satisfactory answer is, that the people of New-England have possessed the Gospel and its Ordinances; have built Churches; settled Ministers; attended the Public Worship of God; read the Scriptures; and educated their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. None of these things were possessed, or done, by their savage predecessors. In a word, the people of New-England have had the Gospel: the Savages have not. In those countries, also, where the Gospel has been enjoyed, and disciples have actually been made, all, or almost all, persons of this character have become disciples by means of the Gospel itself. Such persons, with scarcely an exception, probably without an exception, when conversing on their regeneration, declare that every thing in their own minds, which yields them consolation, or hope, is, in their view, fairly referable to the truths of the Gospel, presented to them in some form or other. A vast multitude date all their hopes from the Preaching of the Gospel; and feel completely assured, that faith, if it has come to them at all, has come by hearing; as hearing has by the Word of God. Others attribute this blessing to the indirect influence of Preaching, operating upon their minds through a succession of events. Others ascribe it to an early Religious Education, making deep impressions on their minds in the happy period of childhood. Others, still, attribute it to the Reading of the Scriptures; to the Reading of Religious Books; to the Religious Conversation of Good Men; or to the Life and Conduct of such men. In these several ways, the truths of the Gospel are often