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inexhaustible fulness of the sacrifice of Christ, results from the dignity of his nature, and the principles on which he proceeded in offering himself as a propitiation for sin. The satisfaction which he rendered to Divine justice did not proceed on any pecuniary calculation, but was designed for the exhibition and enforcement of moral principle. It was not his purpose to render to the Deity an equivalent for the punishment to be remitted to men, but to vindicate the justice, and to maintain the equity, of the law of God. No representation can be more injurious to the Divine character, or be more adapted to obscure the glory of the christian economy, than that which represents the sufferings of Christ as a compensation in kind to Divine justice, for the exemption from misery of such as are interested in the election of God. This is to exhibit the Father in a light the most repulsive; to represent him as more concerned for the infliction of suffering, than for the vindication of his holy law. It is impossible that suffering can supply any gratification to the Divine mind. It may be employed as a means, but it is never regarded as an end. It may be requisite for the exhibition and enforcement of principles, but, in itself, it must be an object of aversion from which the benevolence of the Deity recoils. Hence it may be easily perceived that the sacrifice of such a victim, as fully vindicates the Divine integrity, is capable of becoming the medium of forgiveness to every member of the human race. It remains the same in every age, and is destined to convey to remotest times an invitation as free, and an offer as large, as the benignity of God can dictate, or the wants of man require. Only one distinction is recognised in the gospel, and that pertains to the race at large. The pride and the prejudices of nations are unregarded; "for whosoever believeth shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Already has Christianity achieved many triumphs amongst nations the most distant and dissimilar. The civilized and the barbarous, the martial and the effeminate, the free and the enslaved, have yielded to its control, and shared in its blessings. It is a plant of universal growth, which, watered by the dews of heaven, will spring up and bear fruit to the glory of God, in every clime, and amongst people of every tongue. None are too exalted by intelligence, nor too debased by barbarism to become its subjects. To the invigorated faculties of the former class, it presents topics for thought, on which the powers of an angel might appropriately be employed; while to the degraded and scarce reflecting minds of the latter it supplies, in its simplest truths, the element which quickens intellect and recalls them to the society of man. Witness its influence on the outcast and deeply injured sons of Africa, the members of a race which the nations of Europe have conspired to wrong. Religion has moved on the face of this stagnant waste like a new and quickening spirit, and it is now covered with the marks of spiritual vegetation, and filled with the beauty and the fragrance of the garden of the Lord. But the triumphs of Christianity are not yet complete. She is to continue her course till the close of time, and in every succeeding age will appear stretching the sceptre of her wise and benignant authority over a wider and more highly cultivated domain. Her place is to be supplanted by no other, till the consummation of all things, when these heavens and earth having passed away, there will be a new and imperishable creation substituted in their place. Well may the apostle say, “ If that which was done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious."
Let us then, Christian brethren, glory in our faith. It is a bright and beautiful emanation from the Divine mind, which, piercing through the darkness of our dwelling, presents to us the type of heavenly things. Let us prize it as all our salvation and our joy. Unmindful of the sneers of the ungodly, let us repose on it our best hopes, and daily sit down to the study of its character and the cultivation of its spirit. The more intimate our acquaintance with it, the deeper will be our admiration, and the more impassioned our regard. We shall feel that it is worthy of our devoutest service, and is invested with an attraction which we cannot resist. Oh, brethren, we do injury to our faith by the negligence with which we treat it. We rarely make its truths the topics of meditation, and yet wonder that they have so slight a hold on our hearts.
Let us repent of our ways, and be wise. In deep humility let us daily recur to the doctrine of the cross, and we shall then see more clearly that it is indeed the wisdom and the power of God. What is there in the whole circle of human knowledge so worthy of our diligent study? It is, indeed, pleasing to look on the brightness of the heavens, and to mark the fertility and beauty of the earth : the speculations of philosophy, and the researches of science, are grateful to the human mind. We love to explore the mysteries of nature, to ascertain the mode of her secret combinations, and the principles on which her course is ordinarily regulated. But how incomparably superior to all these, is the faith of our fathers, on which we profess to trust! Meditating upon it, we are imperceptibly introduced into associations of the most hallowed order. We feel the inspiration of heaven, become one with the spirits of just men made perfect, and long for the arrival of that period when the things which we know not now will be fully understood. Let us seek to attain a deeper insight into its character, to know more of its principles, to feel more of its power. Resort to it perpetually as your guide and comforter. Regard it as the voice of your Father in heaven, and yield to its directions the obedience you would pay to him.
How aggravated must be the guilt of those who reject such a method of reconciliation with God! “He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God ?” Take heed that this guilt does not lie upon your souls. Contract not an obligation which eternity will never see discharged. You are placed in circumstances of the greatest privilege, but your responsibilities, remember, are proportioned. On you the ends of the earth are come, and God has been graciously pleased to surround you with those means of good, which are peculiarly expressive of his merciful concern for your welfare. You live and you walk amidst the light of perfect day. The character of the divine administration, the depravity and helplessness of your own state, the mercy of your God, and the method of salvation by Jesus Christ, are all distinctly made known to you. You cannot plead the excuse of ignorance, nor claim exemption from punishment on the ground of reasonable doubt. You know the truth, and you admit its importance; and yet, in too many cases, you are living "alienated from God, and enemies in your mind by wicked works." Your guilt is more aggravated than that of the Jews who resisted the personal ministry of Christ. And by what is your pride and stubbornness to be subdued, if an incarnate Redeemer fails to move you? Knowledge more explicit than you possess, is not to be anticipated in this world; nor are motives more touching, than such as are derived from a Saviour's cross, capable of being applied to the human heart. Repent, then, and believe the gospel. Escape for your life,---look not behind you. Hasten to the refuge which God has provided ; there you will be sheltered from every storm, will
escape the inflictions of that wrath whose lightest touch is death. Nothing hinders your instantaneous acceptance of Christ, but what is found within you. It is your own unwillingness to be saved; your own depraved rejection of the truth, and preference of error and sin, which form the great impediment. “Ye will not come to me,” said Christ, “ that ye may have life.” Oh! do not delay any longer. Go, sinful as you are ; make confession of your iniquities, and pray with the publican, “ God be merciful to me a sinner.”
SERMON XXI. .
THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY.
BY W. B. COLLYER, D. D.
1 Thess. ii. 4.—But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust
with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
Words could not be found more fitted to explain the reciprocal duties of pastor and people, expressed as they are also by apostolic examples, than those which I have now read to you; and that pastor, and that people, must be indeed insensible to all that is sublime in principle, and touching in appeal, who could remain unmoved by the simple grandeur of this passage, and the affectionate pleadings of the context. The salutation with which the epistle opens, conducts those whom the apostle addressed to the fountain of all grace
and mercy, pours out on their behalf, from an overflowing heart, prayers and thanksgivings; and fastens, with all the cagerness of christian affection, upon such graces of character, as encouraged the fondest hopes of their spiritual welfare, and certified their “election of God.” While all this is traced with devout gratitude to the agency of the Holy Ghost, it was effected by the instrumentality of the gospel preached among them, which approved itself to their consciences, as it “came not unto them in word only, but also in power.” Bad is it in the nineteenth century, after so many and such glorious triumphs, that we are called upon to vindicate such means, and to prove the divinity of their institution ! Is it yet doubtful, that while “the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness, to them that are saved, it is the wisdom and power of God?” All that can be required of us, then, is to show the analogy of the doctrines recognised, and the present character of the christian ministry with the relation subsisting between the apostle and those whom he addressed, and the principles affirmed in the text, in order to give us the full benefit of its instructions. His preaching was faithful, pure, affectionate; and his life such as became the gospel : the reception of it, on the part of the Thessalonians was prompt, sincere, and influential. “We were bold in our God, to speak unto you the gospel of God.”- “Our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile.”—“In every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.”—“For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain.”—“But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts." What is there in all this, which ought not, which will not, characterize the preaching of the gospel here, and the reception of it by those who sit under this ministry? Let us see what the text contains ;
I. The privilege of the ministry.
IV. Its awful scrutiny. “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts."
I. THE PRIVILEGE OF THE MINISTRY ;—" allowed."
The term is emphatic and intelligible, we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel.” Far be it from the christian minister to magnify himself, or to forget to magnify his office. This is the position in which the text places us. We would think less of ourselves than those who think least of us. But oh! the ministry itself; what majesty, what moral grandeur, what surpassing and unutterable dignity, distinguish it! Upon what errands were angels employed, when they were sent as heralds from God to man? Encircling the throne, with eyes dazzled by uncreated light, yet intent to catch the first signal of the will of Deity ; with outstretched wing, ever ready for the flight, and plumed for the most prompt obedience, what commissions were at last consigned to their hands? They were the messengers of judgment, or of mercy, to a nation, or to individuals. To them it was committed to cut off an Assyrian army, or to impart a dark and prophetic revelation to a Daniel which even yet has the undrawn veil concealing its closing intimations. To them it was consigned to expel the poor fallen creature from Paradise, and to plant a flaming sword to guard the tree of life from his unhallowed and forbidden