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Thirdly, It is most precious on account of its simplicity and conspicuity. It is rendered so visible in the divine testimony, that any attempt to explain it tends to render it obscure. If one should attempt to show us the sun in a clear day by holding a candle before our eyes, it would obscure our vision, and tend to hide from our sight what is already as visible as it can be. Such are the effects of the wisdom of this world when employed to show us that light which shines in the “ face of Jesus.” .
Fourthly, This doctrine of the New-Testament is life. It is the bread of God which giveth life to the world. St. Paul says; “God hath made us able ministers of the New-Testament, vot of the letter, but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” There is no death in the doctrine of Jesus. Peter said ; “ thou hast the the words of eternal life.”
Fifthly, It is universal. It is the same to all men. Jesus has but one doctrine for every creature under heaven; and this doctrine is calculated to gather together all things in one, even in Christ. There is no particulår view of the doctrine of Jesus, in which it appears more precious, than in its universality. Though the sun be most precious in its light and heat even to an individual, bow glorious is the thought that this light and this heat are universal. And though these life-giving qualities are dispensed through every degree of latitude and longitude round the globe, every one has enough. So it is with that “ true ligbt that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” If a few astronomers, who should study the laws of the heavenly bodies, should frame a creed embracing the most essential particulars in the phenomena of the sun, and then require every one, learned and unlearn.ed to believe in their creed as a condition by which they might obtain its light, they would dis
cover as much true philosophy as those, who stile themselves divines do of divinity, in framing their creeds, and requiring our assent to them, that we may obtain the favour of God.
Sixthly, This doctrine is most precious, because it is always the same. It is now what it was in the beginning, it is now what it will be when thousands of ages shall have passed away. The same love, the same mercy, the same good will of our heavenly Father, in which the most enlightened now rejoice, have, in all ages of the world, been in full exercise towards mankind; nor can they ever relax, but will forever continue.
And Seventhly, This precious doctrine of the love of God is calculated to transform every rational being into its own nature and to render every man precious like itself. “Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know, that when he appeareth we shall be like himn, for we shall see him as he is.” In this way the fruits of the precious doctrine of the Saviour will finally produce the joyful harvest contemplated in our text, and will load, with ripe sheaves, the blessed Redeemer of the world, who in sorrow went forth and sowed his precious seed.
When the fulness of the different times, which intervene between seed time and harvest, have passed away, and the hand of labour is abundantly rewarded with a plenteous harvest, then the husbandman realizes the end of his toils, and comes from his field, rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. So, when the fulness of times shall have passed away, for the perfecting of the work of the gospel ministry, he that sowed in tears shall reap in joy. All shall know the Lord from the least to the greatest; and the knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.
As the husbandman, who commits the precious wheat to the bosoın of the earth, and waits for the early and the latter rains, receives to his full satisfaction the plenteous harvest, so we are certified that Jesus shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied. O the blessed assurance ! Shall Jesus, who sowed in tears reap as large a harvest as will fill his vast desires ? Yes, “for by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities.” Jesus “ gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time.” He will nerer be satisfied until his “ ransomed shall all return and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
Every convert to God, every ransomed soul that returns and comes to Zion, brings a ripe sheaf of the precious grain of love to God and love to man, which Jesus sowed in tears. It should be distinctly understood, that the design of the Saviour in sowing the good seed in the world, was that it might bring forth the fruit of righteousness.
Here then let us examine the argument which the doctrine of limited salvation urges against the final happiness of all men. The argument is this; It is not right in the sight of God, to bestow the same felicity on the wicked, as he does on the righteous. This is our opposer's argument, but we say it does not, in the least, affect the merits of the subject. This objection only shows that the opposer is totally ignorant of what he endeavours to disprove. The question is, is it just and right in the sight of God to bring sinners to repentance, and convert the ungodly to holiness ? This is the question, and our opposer ought to understand it; for if he could see that, in order to disprore the doctrine for which we contend, he must show that it is not right to convert the sinner to God, he would cease to oppose.
Jesus said, as has been before noticed, that he “ came to call sinners to repentance." St. Paul says, “ This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” But let us keep in mind, that Jesus saves his people from their sins; not in their sins, as our opposers seem to insinuate that we believe.
There are two particulars respecting the harvest under consideration, which may be distinctly noticed.
First, The quality of the grain to be gathered in. This is righteousness. «Such as a man sows, such shall he also reap.” Jesus sowed the doctrine of love, of faith, of repentance, of hope, of charity, of forgiveness, of doing to others as we would that they should do to us; such will he reap. Had he sown the doctrine of eternal hatred, final impenitance, endless enmity, death and condemnation, he would expect to reap a harvest of the same
pect to see such a harvest, and they very often speak of the tremendous day, when the ripe sheaves will be gathered in. But who will come rejoicing bringing in such a harvest?
Secondly, The extent of the barvest is a subject that claims our notice. Jesus represented the future extent of his doctrine, by the parable of the mustard-seed, “hich a man took and sowed in his field ; which indeed is the least of all seeds; but when it is grown it is the greatest among herbs, and becomes a tree; so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” Also by the parable of the leaven, “which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” There is a beautiful indication of the same in the 72d Psalm, as follows; s. There shall be an handfull of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon; and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth.” Isaiah says, “ Thy people shall be all righteous.” And speak. ing of the Prince of peace, he says; “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” David says, “All kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve him-All the ends of the world shall remember, and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord's; and he is the governor among the nations.” This extensive harvest was seen by St. John, on the isle of Patmos, as he thus discribes; “I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lainb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the lamb.” This is the rejoicing of the extensive harvest. And though this vast multitude of all nations, &c. were seen together, there were a white robes” enough for them all.
My hearers-You were all seen in this vision ; the robe of righteousness is ready for you. The time will come when every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Though the mustard-seed was despised when the Saviour planted it, and though it lie a long time in the earth, its glory will unfold and its increase shall satisfy the capacious desires of him who came to call sinners to repentance. Dr. Watts says;
56 Though seed lie buried long in dust,