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Lord's last discourses, and the matter of his intercessory prayer.
In the first ages of Christianity, prayers and tears were the only arms of the Church, whereby they long defended it from ruin, and at last advanced it to the most glorious prosperity. Happy would it be, were this primitive spirit universal. It is fervent prayer and faithful preaching, that must evangelize both our country and the world.
May all who bear the name of Christ, bear also his holy image. As subjects of the Prince of peace, let us study to promote the blessings of peace. While thus diffusing around us a spirit of Christian charity, we shall hasten on that blissful period, when the din of war shall be exchanged for the harmony of praise ; when men shall love as brethren ; and when Jesus shall reign in every heart-the UNIVERSAL KING.
THE OUTLINE OF THE APOSTLE'S PREACHING.
HIS DESCRIPTION OF THE HEATHEN, AND OF THE NOMINALLY CHRISTIAN WORLD.
THOUGH virtue be exhibited in all her loveliness, and vice in its deformity : though every thing attractive be brought before the sinner, to win him over to the charms of moral excellence : yet, eloquence, with all its powers; can never change the heart. The moral essay, by its musical cadence and well-selected words, may please the ear and gratify the taste; but Satan despises such a feeble effort to overthrow his kingdom. It is weak as chaff before the wind. With undisturbed repose he keeps his goods in peace, and still remains secure within the citadel of the heart.
What power, then, can dislodge this mighty foe? What voice can bid the dying sinner live? Important question! The preaching of CHRIST CRUCIFIED, through whom grace abounds to the chief of sinners, is the weapon wherewith the Almighty Spirit destroys the powers of darkness, the instrument which he employs to new-create the soul. No human eloquence can effect so great a
work. The glory belongs to Him, who said: “ Let there be light, and there was light.” The power is from Him, who is pleased through “ the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe.”— How all-commanding are the words of Jesus :“Verily, verily I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”
Ruin,-REDEMPTION,— REGENERATION,-are three comprehensive words, which form the great outline of Gospel Truth. The amplification of the truths which are contained under these terms, with all their various bearings on the present and future destiny of man, composed the substance of the great Apostle's preaching.
How humbling are his views of man's apostacy from God.
“ We are by nature the children of wrath. All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Death has passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
How consoling are his views of man's recovery through Christ. « Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. He gave
himself a ransom for all. We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. We are justified freely by his grace.
He hath made peace, through the blood of his cross. He is made unto us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. He is all, and in all."
How purifying are his views of man's renewal unto holiness. “If any man be in Christ, he is a
new creature. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. They that are Christ's, have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.”
This minister of righteousness, receiving his commission immediately from Christ, proclaimed, through divine inspiration, these glorious doctrines of grace; preaching every where, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit accompanied the Word by his sovereign power, and multitudes became obedient to the faith.
The doctrine of a Redeemer, obeying the Law, and dying on the cross for man, is the very hinge of all evangelical revelations; the very life of all evangelical blessings. The doctrine of the atonement, is the grand peculiarity of the Gospel. It is the central point in which all the lines of duty unite, and from which all the rays of consolation proceed.
Faith draws all its hope, strength, and assurance, from the Word, the fulness, and the promises of Christ. It receives from him, pardon with the one hand, and holiness with the other; both, being equally the design of his mediatorial work, and equally the desire of every new-born soul.
St. Paul had no greater joy than to set forth the glories of his Redeemer. Knowing where lay the blessed spring of all his privileges and comforts, his heart glowed with delight, when engaged in making known to others, the unsearchable riches of Christ. By blessed experience, he had learned,
that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound ; that as sin hath reigned unto death, so now grace reigns through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore he could tell every weeping penitent, these glad tidings of great joy, that, Jesus is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
How powerful in their operations are the doctrines of grace. They strip man of his boasted excellence, lay him in self-abasement at the foot of the cross, transform him into the image of God, and make him sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Man is naturally proud,- the Gospel makes him humble.
He is naturally carnal,- the Gospel makes him spiritual.
He is naturally worldly,--the Gospel makes him heavenly
He is naturally dead in sin, and blind to his condition,--the Gospel quickens him to a life of holiness, and enlightens his mind to know himself, and Christ his only Saviour.
The Gospel is good news to poor sinners ; the proclamation of a full and free forgiveness of all sin, through faith in a crucified Redeemer. The Gospel is the most glorious Revelation of God to man; the brightest display of his Justice, Holiness, and Love, ever vouchsafed to intelligent beings. Here, we behold the love of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, planning, executing, and applying the gracious work of human redemption.