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Oh! what a delightful thought it is, when your humble servant, travelling as he now is, beholds the face of an audience he never before saw, to look on them and reflect that they are all the children of one Father, all the children of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ! Most delightfulmost moralizing, most humanizing thought! And how perfectly calculated to make us one and all improve in the understanding of divine things, to the honor of our Father, God, and to the comfort of ourselves.
HEBREWS IV. 3.
FOR WE WHICH HAVE BELIEVED, DO ENTER INTO REST.
If we take the word rest in its proper latitude, it will comprehend all the comforts and consolations of the gospel of Christ. And with this exposition of that word, we shall say that our text proves, that the Christian Faith embraces nothing but what is consistent with man's happiness. This you will perceive on the reading of the text: "For we which have believed, do enter into rest.” Thus faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ introduces the believer to the enjoyment of rest, peace, delight, and consolation. If this, then, be the fact, you will perceive my first proposition is proved most clearly by the text, viz: the gospel faith embraces nothing inconsistent with the happiness of the believer.
Secondly. Our text suggests this important fact, that the blessings of faith are the consequences of believing, and are enjoyed in the same time in which the believer is exercising faith in the gospel. Observe the tense, my hearers, in which the verb is found: "We which have believed, Do enter rest;" that is, in the present time. This is in support of the fact suggested before, that the blessings which we receive in consequence of believing the truth, are received and enjoyed in the present time, while we are believers.
The first position may now pass under examination. The Christian Faith embraces nothing that is inconsistent with the happiness, the rest, and the enjoyment of the believer. The Christian believes in God. He is a believer in God his Maker; but he does not believe that God possesses any attribute which is hostile to his happiness. If this thought should enter his heart-if he should believe that God possesses an attribute that is hostile to the best good and happiness of his creatures, could he enjoy rest, comfort, or consolation, in that belief? No. My friends, when you combine the attributes of Jehovah, and contemplate that he is a being unlimited in knowledge, and unquestionably possessed of supreme power over his creatures, and then believe that he possesses any disposition inimical to the happiness and peace of the works of his hand, every feeling soul is harrowed up to all the exercise of horror; and if there be a desire in the heart, it is to be delivered from such a God. But the whole character of the Divine Being is elucidated to the understanding through the glorious mediation of Jesus Christ, "who is the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person. To God we can look and say, "There is my father! my unchangeable friend! The origin of my being, who is all love, all mercy, all compassion." If any perturbation possessed the soul-if any fearful apprehension was entertained, it is now vanished and gone, "for he that believeth entereth into rest."
Can we indulge (without being thought invidious) in some observations with regard to certain errors that have been introduced into the Christian Church? It shall be by way of querying, whether snch sentiments can be believed, and when believed, have the effect of introducing the believer to
the enjoyment of rest. My friends, it has been taught in the christian church, that the Creator, from all eternity, proposed in his irrevocable decrees, that but part of the human family should be everlastingly blest in the enjoyment of peace; and in consequence, it has been believed that millions of rational men were decreed from unborn ages of eternity to suffer inconceivable-indescribable misery, as long as the throne of God shall exist. I will by no means wound the feelings of my hearers, by exposing such a sentiment with regard to its parts and ligaments; but I would humbly call on. you to decide this question, which is by no means a difficult one. If you believe such a senti ment as this, does it give you rest? Does it introduce peace and enjoyment to the soul? My friends, I will allow you to believe that you are among the elected. And you will find, that every one who believes in this sentiment, believes that he is elected. Allow this to be your condition, yet, does it give you rest? Why not? says the hearer. If I believe that I am elected, why should I not have peace and rest? Oh! dear man! dear woman! have you no connexions in the world? Are you insulated from human nature? Do you thus stand alone? I ask you to look at the companion of your bosom-look on the child of your love, and say if you can believe in this doctrine, and believe it probable that these connexions were originally doomed by the decree of heaven, to everlasting wretchedness, and derive consolation from that belief? My friends, we will do what it is perfectly right to do in this case, and what the circumstances of the case compel us to do. We will appeal to the consciences of those who not only believe this creed, but propagate it in the world. Ask them if their
faith gives them rest? They do not pretend it. The more they rely on that faith, they say themselves, the more anxious they are, and the more concerned they are, for the welfare of their immortal souls. Very well; this is an honest confession, and exactly what we should expect from a good man. Do you see them in agony? Yes. Do you sometimes see them in tears? Yes. Do you sometimes see them looking gloomy? Yes. Do you hear them groan with grief? Yes. They be lieve: yes, they are real believers.-Of what? Why of that which administers to them this torment. They believe what no man can believe will be realized, without being tormented. Do they not tell us from the pulpit how anxious they feel by day, and how tormented they are by night? This is the true testimony, and we read in the scriptures, that "they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast, and his image." Whoever worships a Deity or a God that is not as they wish him to be, never can have any comfort or consolation in worshipping him. The last recited passage of scripture actually belongs to this subject. It is only necessary to remark, that the reading of the text justifies this entirely. "They HAVE no rest," in the present tense.
"They have no rest day nor night who worship the beast and his image." What worship is that? Worship of a deity full of wrath, full of vengeance; full of displeasure against his creatures. are the characteristics of a beast of prey. when a deity is possessed of these qualities, and man falls down before him, it is on account of the agonies of soul, and torments of mind that he endures. Some, indeed, are honest enough to tell you, that if they did not believe God were such a