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tho Scripture of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith : to God only wise be glory through Jesus Christ for ever, Amen.” Romans xxi. 25–27.
Thus the wisdom as well as the grace of God is manifested in appointing the Holy Scriptures, and a preached Gospel, as the two grand instruments in the hands of the eternal Spirit, for the bringing of all nations to the obedience of faith.
If such be the great authority, and such the sure foundation, on which Bible and Missionary societies are established; what must we think of those, who, professing to be Guardians of the truth, labour to paralyze the exertions, or suppress the endeavours of the zealous servants of Christ, whose only aim is to extend the knowledge of salvation among the perishing millions of mankind, by those very means, which infinite love has ordained for our present and future happiness ?
From want of due consideration, some persons confound the regeneration of the soul with the rite of baptism; and suppose that every person baptized, is invariably born again, during the celebration of that sacred ordinance.
A man cannot be born twice in a spiritual, any more than in a natural sense. If an infant be truly regenerated in baptism, (and who dare limit the Holy One of Israel ?) he will no doubt manifest the change by corresponding fruits, at least in childhood, before the influence of bad example has unhappily corrupted his renewed nature. But does not the painful experience of almost every family testify, that infants in general unfold the powers of their souls, without manifesting one genuine fruit of the Holy Spirit ? Lies, dissimulation, and perversenėss, in childhood-frivolity and licentiousness in youth ambition and love of the world, in manhood-covetousness and peevishness, in old age ; awfully prove the soul to be dead in sin, and an heir of hell. vation, that the apostle exhorted the Thessalonians to pray for himself and his fellow-labourers, “ that the word of the Lord might have free course and be glorified." There is something peculiarly impressive in the object of the petition—"have free course.” When the Gospel was first preached, it met with continual opposition. Yet, like some mighty river, checked in its progress by opposing rocks, it forced its way, and fertilized all the regions through which it bent its course. The Gospel still flows onwards, and shall continue to flow, till the earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
Should the Almighty transform a child after the holy image of its Saviour, when presented to Him in baptism, this would only evidence the sovereign mercy and grace of a compassionate God; but does not disprove the former statement of facts. Man, under the Christian, as under the Jewish economy, is not necessarily and invariably changed by the outward rite either of baptism or circumcision; for St. Paul expressly declares : “ He is not a Jew who is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God.” .
Thousands, however, are turned from darkness unto light, through the grace of God, accompanying the faithful preaching of the Gospel. Those who have been baptized and have grown up in the visible Church in the commission of every crime, have been converted from the error of their way, and made the humble, holy followers of Jesus, through the word of his grace. • The change produced by the Spirit, when thus bringing the truth to the heart, is radical and universal. They become in every sense new creatures. They are quite different from what they were before. Surely then all must confess, that the Word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, when wielded by the Almighty Spirit, through the instrumentality of men appointed to preach to a world of sinners the unsearchable riches of Christ.
So invaluable to fallen man is the Gospel of sal
This prayer is always needful, because the enmity of the human heart is in every age the same.
In the first family, we find a Cain opposing the work of faith and love. The same spirit continues to manifest itself, wherever the worship of the true God is established. The Israelites misused their prophets who spoke to them the word of the Lord, “stoning some and killing some.”
The pagan powers as well as the Jewish rulers set themselves against the Lord and against his anointed. The holy apostles of our Lord were called to perpetual sufferings, whilst they spread abroad, through a preached Gospel, a Saviour's dying love.
Papal Rome has long carried on the work of slaughter amongst the sheep of Christ, checking by fire, tortures, and anathemas the progress of genuine Christianity, lest the pure, upadulterated word of God should have free course and be glorified.
No wonder then, that the thunders of the Vatican are heard to roar against the most blessed of all human institutions, the British and Foreign Bible Society.
But the Gospel has other enemies who labour to check its progress.
Infidelity directs the shafts of ridicule against its holy mysteries. Socinianism, under the specious name of rational Christianity, seeks to rob the Gospel of its brightest jewel; “God manifest in the flesh.” Indifference, worldly-mindedness, for. mality, and hypocrisy, whilst they render the mere nominal professors of Christianity barren as the sand; tend more to check the spread of the truth, than all the united attacks of its most hostile foes.
There is however a goodly company of faithful Christians who delight in the Gospel of Christ, and whose lives are devoted to advance its progress throughout the earth. These are the happy servants of the Lord, who pray in secret, and are willing to spend and be spent, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. They meet with a double hindrance, the one outward from the enmity of the world ; the other inward from the sin which dwelleth in them. Yet they are enabled through grace to press forward, and to help forward the work of the Lord. O! that my station may ever be amongst this blessed flock. Lord, make me one of the humble labourers in thy vineyard. Give me a heart to receive the truth in the love of it, and to feel its power. Teach me to pray with holy fervour: “ Thy kingdom come ;" and to rejoice in every opening prospect of that blessed period, when the earth shall be filled with thy glory. Even now, the morning streaks begin to appear on the distant mountains : even now, the Sun of righteous. ness is arising with healing in his beams.
O! what glorious times are dawning
Hark! the jubilee horn is sounding,
As the light is still advancing,
Idols now-the spell discover'd-
Hasten, Lord, the joyful season ;
XXVIII. THE TWO SOURCES.
Whilst men of philosophic minds are busily employed in tracing effects to their causes ; and others, of a more adventurous spirit, in traversing unknown regions to trace some mighty river to its source: how few, considering the magnitude of the object, are employed in discovering the two most important of all sources: the source of misery and the source of mercy. .
This discovery, so essential to our happiness, and without an experimental knowledge of which, we must for ever remain in a state of spiritual death, is but little regarded by the great bulk of mankind.