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lect to seek eternal happiness, do not believe the message of the Gospel. There is not a sane man in existence, who, if he believed that an eternal existence of happiness or misery awaited him, as he made his peace with God or not in this world, that would lose one moment in turning his face heavenward. They do not believe in Christ who do not seek his favour, It is a vain waste of words to distinguish between the tenets of him who openly denies the message of God to men, and of him who constantly refuses submission to his will. The one but denies by words what the other denies as fully by his acts, whatever may be his words. The people of Christendom are, therefore, properly classified into believers and unbelievers.
But why this appalling disproportion under the full light of the truth? The fault cannot be with Him who offers this grand alternative. No doubt every individual must answer for himself to God, and each must bear the penalty of his own impenitence and unbelief;
yet it is certain that, in the order of Providence, human means are employed in the propagation of Christianity. Why then are the means so ineffective? How much of this reproach belongs to the professed followers of Christ, to whom the duty of proclaiming the truth is committed ? Do they suppose they have discharged their whole duty in this respect? Are their skirts clear of the blood of those who are perishing by millions ? No inquiry can be so important to Christians as that, whether, next to their own salvation, they have done what they could for the salvation of others. It is the work of Christians all the means are committed to them.
It is true that men are, by nature, blind to their .eternal interests, and unwilling to obey, or even hear, the truth : but the power of the truth is sufficient to subdue the most obdurate; and God is always ready to bless every proper effort. Where, then, lies the difficulty—the obstacle—the barrier to the progress of Christianity? There can be only
one reply—that, aside from the accountability of each individual for himself, the responsibility for the slow progress of Christianity. lies at the door of those who profess to be the friends of Christ.
It may not be easy to say, in what precise manner they are liable to this heavy charge; but it is clear that it lies nowhere else, and that they are bound to examine themselves and see what it is they have done, or what they have left undone, which subjects them to the accusation of obstructing the progress of their Master's cause.
We propose to enter a little upon this examination, not with the hardihood of expecting to offer any solution of the difficulty, but merely to make a few suggestions to mark out a line of thought, which, followed up by others more capable, may lead to profitable results.
What, then, is the mission upon which Christ came into this world, and which, upon leaving it, he committed to his followers ?
To state this it is not necessary to enter into a history of the Jews, nor even to notice the prophecies which heralded his approach. The mission of Christ is explicit and intelligible. He came to redeem the perishing; to offer terms of reconciliation to rebels ; to accomplish a sacrifice, being himself the victim, and thus to become a Saviour through whom all that believe should inherit eternal life. He came to fulfil and satisfy the law which men had not kept, that no jot or tittle might pass unfulfilled; he came in the fulness of time with a new dispensation of mercy, and a new commandment, comprehending all the moral obligations of the old law, and embracing, in a few words, every duty of man to God, and to his fellow man—“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself."* This is the sum of human duty; this is the
* Luke x. 27.
law which Christ has given us; this law, received from him, is- Christianity. Its comprehensiveness and purity proclaim its divine origin. No such law, nor such doctrine, nor such philosophy ever fell from mere human lips or human pen. No other religion embraces such requirements. The expositions of this law, given by Christ in the course of his ministry, leave no doubt of its comprehensiveness and the nature of its applicationof its stringency, and its searching obligation. “A new commandment I give unto you,
That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that you love one another.” He frequently employs the terms “my commandment,” showing that there is something special and peculiar in the precepts thus announced.
For the sake of distinctness and convenient reference, we here place in conjunction some of the more special teachings of Christ on the subject to which we desire more especially to draw the attention of the reader.