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man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He grieved and wept for the afflictions and sufferings of mankind; he felt the woes of human nature ; he bore tbeir sicknesses and carried their sorrows, but the angel of his presence upheld him; he was touched with the feelings of all our infirmities.
The superstition, the bigotry, and the traditions of the people wherewith they made void the law of God, and the hardness of their hearts were a peculiar cause of his grief. Such was their blindness that his miracles could not open their eyes ; and such was the hardness of their hearts that his love, pity and mercy did not soften them. What stubborn, unyielding and forbidding ground was this! There was but here and there a spot where the precious seed that he sowed could be received into good ground, and promise a future harvest.
We may now direct our attention to enquire what seed the Saviour sowed, and to ascertain its precious qualities.
In the 13th chapter of Matthew, Jesus represents himself as a sower, who went forth to sow; "And, when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way-side, and the fowls carne and devoured them up. Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth ; and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up they were scorched ; and, because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns ; and the thorns sprung up and choked them. But others fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundred-fold, some sixty-fold, some thirty-fold.” In the same chapter
“ He that soweth the good seed is the son of man.” Again, he signifies that by seed he means the “ word of the kingdom.” And furthermore he represents the kingdom of heaven by “a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took and sowed in his
field.” It is evident by these scriptures, that Jesus represented his doctrine by "good seed.” The doctrine of Christ is, therefore, our present subject.
Here it is worthy of notice, that the great teacher sent of God, though he taught a doctrine which was very different from that which was taught by the doctors of his day, was never the author of a set of articles of faith called a creod. And it is likewise of importance to notice, that in this, bis Apostles faithfully followed his example. The work of framing creeds is the invention of men.
Jesus founded his doctrine and all he came to do, on the divine character and will of his Father. He said; “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will ; but the will of him that sent me.-God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.--The Son of man came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.---The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.”
By these precious sayings of Jesus we are certified that God is merciful tv sinners, wills their salvation, and sent his Son for this very purpose.
In the 5th of Matthew, Jesus sets forth his precious doctrine in the plainest terms possible, as follows; “ I say unto you, love your enemies, bless thein that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitfully use you, and persecute you ; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so ? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
By this most precious testimony we are assured that our Father who is in heaven loves his enemies; and we are furthermore certified that we are required to do the same. How many articles of faith is it necessary to arrange in order, to comprehend this subject? How long is it necessary for a good scholar and a bright genius to spend at a theological school in order to understand this doctrine? It pains the speaker to the heart, that he is obliged to say, that theological schools are employed in teaching youth how to evade the plain testimony of Jesus, and how to keep the people from receiving it.
In the 15th of Luke, the Saviour sets forth his doctrine of salvation in three parables. He was induced to do this in reply to the Pharisees and Scribes, who murmured at him because he received sinners and ate with them. In the first parable he represents sinners and their salvation by a lost sheep, which the owner seeks, finds, and carries home; in the second, by a piece of money which a woman lost, sought and found. He furthermore represents the angels in heaven rejoicing more over one sinner that repenteth, than over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance ; and in the last he sets forth the return of sinners to God by the return of the prodigal son to his father. ·
This sower of the precious seed of the kingdom of God, was particular in planting the doctrine of the divine goodness; and in order to hand it to us in the most acceptable manner, he says; “ If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much inore shall your
Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him ?"
Nothing can be more evident, than that our heavenly Father is more kind to us, who are evil, than we are to our children, according to this precious testimony of our Saviour. This is precious
seed in very deed. It is precious beyond all comparison. This declaration of him, who went forth weeping, bearing precious seed, is of more value than all the bodies of divinity which have been written since the enemy sowed tares among the wheat.
Let us ask ourselves, notwithstanding we are evil, and too frequently err in our conduct towards our children, could we possibly consign our dependent offspring to endless torments for their childish faults? And yet such is the common doctrine taught by the creeds of men, that little children are instructed to repeat sentences which teach them to believe that their heavenly Father will torture millions of his creatures, in never ending misery ! How painful is the thought, that such a sentiment should be imprinted in the tender minds of our innocent children, concerning whom Jesus said ; “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” O how precious is this kind declaration of the Saviour, to parents! This is the testimony of him, who is now at the right hand of God. Compare these words of Jesus with the popular doctrine of the total depravity of infants, and of hell's containing millions of them, who never saw the light of the sun!
Such is the vast importance of the comparison here suggested, that the candid attention of the audience is invited to consider the following question; If the testimony of Jesus concerning little children be both true and precious, is not the opinion that little children are totally depraved, and are beirs of eternal misery, false and iinpure? This false doctrine belongs to the tares, which the enemy sowed among the wheat. Jesus never sowed such seed; he never uttered any thing so dishonourable to God, nor did he ever plant such a thorn to torture the sensibility of affectionate parents.
The doctrine of Jesus is the doctrine of love. The doctrines of men are the doctrines of hatred. The doctrine of Jesus teaches that God loves his enemies, wills their salvation, and sent his Son to save them. The doctrines of men teach that God hates his enemies and will punish them eternally. The doctrine of Jesus informs us that he came to : call sinners to repentance. The doctrines of inen assert that the finally impenitent will be made forever miserable, but Jesus never spake of the “ finally impenitent.” The doctrine of Jesus teaches the forgiveness of sin. The doctrines of men require a sacrifice to appease the divine wrath. The doctrine of Jesus informs us, that he will draw all men unto himself. The doctrines of men assert, that God has decreed but a part to be drawn to Christ. The doctrine of Jesus informs us that all things are given to him. The doctrines of men assert, that but a few are given to Christ. The doctrine of Jesus is precious wheat ; but the doctrines of men are tares which are to be consumed by the fire of truth and love.
There are several particulars respecting the preciousness of the doctrine of Jesus, which are worthy of special notice ; some of which we shall here mention.
First, This doctrine is from God. Jesus says ; “ My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.” The Creator, Ruler and Disposer of all things has sent us a communication of his divine will and fixed purpose concerning us. This doctrine being from the highest authority in the universe must be considered precious.
Secondly, In all respects, this doctrine is most farourable to mankind. There is no particular part that can be altered for the better. Let the most wise and prudent undertake to add any thing to this doctrine and they make it worse. Let them take any thing from it and they leave it not so good.