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made him, in the human nature glorified, governor, and judge of all.
Self-distrust, and examination ought to be excited in the minds of the majority of the teachers in the present age, on account of the striking difference which is manifest between the manner, and matter of their preaching, and instruction, and those of Christ, and his Apostles. The great object for which the disciples were sent into the world was to disciple it to christianity; and the very first object of all their concerns was to demonstrate the death, resurrection, and expiatory sufferings of Jesus Christ—to open the eyes, of the Gentiles, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God; that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and a glorious inheritance among them who are sanctified by faith that is in him. Acts 26. 18. Their manner of preaching may be seen by examining Peter's, and Paul's different sermons. How very different the preaching for many centuries back, and especially the sermons for the most part in the present day: they are, with but a very few exceptions, addressed only to those who are already religious. Nor is it possible, consistent with their theories, to preach to those who are called the unconverted; for their preaching can only be profit. able after the Spirit has regenerated them according to their doctrine--until that is the case, they can neither understand nor believe they had as well preach in an unknown language—in the Hebrew tongue, to an audience who only understands the English language, till this operation of the Spirit is performed. These horrid errors proceed from misconceived notions, in respect both to the design, and effects of the out pourings of the Spirit on the day of pentecost at Jerusalem, and upon Cornelius, and friends; as well as the real character of those upon whom he fell—they were all believers—and also of the grossly absurd opinions which have been formed of the expression of our Saviour to Nicodumus, the wind bloweth where it listeth, &c. In consistency with these errors it is thought that the Spirit falls upon the unbelieving audience while the preacher is speaking, on account of Christ's promise to his disciples, "lo! I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
No person can attach more importance to the ministry than I do. The mere forms of religion are of great importance-there is no form of the christian religion that has not its advantages, when uncoerced by civil authority. I would rather hear Christ preached of envy, strife, and contention, than to banish the ministers, and the forms of christianity from society; for, in that case, the salt of the earth would be entirely wanting, and nothing could preserve society from moral putrefaction. There is, however, as great a difference as can be conceived of between right, and wrong preaching, in their practical effects. I cannot better express my ideas upon this subject, than by quoting the words of Jeremiah relative to the true, and false prophets: “Behold a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: 0 IN THE LATTER DAYS YE
I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my council
, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their dvings. Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him? saith the Lord: do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord. I have heard what the prophets said that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? Yea they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams, which they tell every man his
neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. The prophet that hath a dream let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word let him speak my word
faithfully: What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that brcaketh the rock to pieces? Therefore, behold I am against
SHALL CONSIDER IT PERFECTLY.
the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. Behold I ain against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say,
He saiththey shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.” Jereni. 23. 1932.
It seems that, however sacred the office of the ministry, and however just the claim of those who rule well, and labour in the word, and doctrine, to double honor, that the mere office, and station do not sanctify error, nor render inexcusable those who do not speak God's word faithfully. He has not only said that the substitution of dreams, and men's devices for his word, shall not profit his people, but that he will feed such prophets on wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall. Jerem. 23. 15. 32.
The above quotation, and observations are made merely to suggest the necessity of realizing the suitableness of the means of the Gospel, if faithfully employed for the end proposed, in the order which divine truth, mercy, and faithfulness, has established. The great reformation looked for, and anxiously expected, in order to the prosperity of the Gospel, must begin with christians, and, in a particular mariner, with the teachers of christianity.
As the twelve hundred, and sixty years of declension, error, and darkness, spoken of by Daniel, and John, verge to a close, the opinions, and views of the christian worid will become more, and more enlarged, and practical upon the subject of the Gospel, its suitableness will become apparent for imparting to the understandings of men the knowl. edge of God, and of transforming them by the renewing of their mind. As yet, only the grey dawn of the millenial state appears. Each sect, and denomination have a very indistinct vision of each other, and their perceptions are of such a nature (owing to the state of mind by which, and the media through which they are made,) as greatly to magnify, and exaggerate their supposed, and real errors. The blush of the millenial morning will, in a short time, give way to the refulgence of the rising sun. The Gospel is spreading from one end of the world to the other. The Bible is multiplying to an incalculable degree. The Lion hath roared, who will not fear! the Lord hath spoken, who can but prophecy! Am. 3. 8. The day is not far distant when iniquity shall have an end; the diadem, and the crown shall be removed; him that is low shall be exalted, and him that is exalted shall be abased; for the Lord will overturn, overturn, overturn, until he come, whose right it is, shall reign. These things are accomplishing through the chastisements of heaven, and the prosperity of the Gospel. Behold all Europe drenched in blood, and with rapid strides advancing to the valley of Megiddo, where the battle of the Lord will be fought, and the beast, the false prophet, and anti-christ—the tri-headed monster will close the bloody tragedy of murdered millions, and fall themselves by their own violence. When the period shall arrive of Gospel triumph, and when the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, as the waters fill the sea, all distinctions, and party names in religion will be swept away by the swelling food of knowledge, and righteousness. Then will be felt, and realized the force of the prayer of the blessed Redeemer, the necessity for the observance of which will be acknowledged by all, and will be made a paramount matter of conscience, expressed in the following impressive words: “Neither pray I for these alone (the twelve disciples) but for them also which shall believe on me through their word, THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE THAT THOU HAST SENT ME." John 17. 20-21.
The views, and effects of Faith; and the means conducive to
its practical exercises.
The preceding Sections of this Chapter have been employed upon the means of faith, and their operation in producing it; as well as upon the objections which are usually made against the principles advocated. The present Sec. tion will conclude the chapter on faith.
What has been hitherto said, related to the principles of the christian faith; what follows, relates to the active operations of faith, or to christianity in exercise. A life of faith is a life derived from
spiritual things, which are discerned by the eye of the mind through the word of God; "the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me,” said Paul. Gal. 2. 20. We will first attend a little to the perceptions of faith. The word of God is the only light to the mind in discerning spiritual things. It may not be uninteresting, or foreign to the present subject, to exhibit, by contrast, the difference between a mind illuminated by the word of God, and which receives it as the exclusive light of spiritual vision, and one which rejects it. In the view of the former, all things are tributary to the praise of God. The heavens, and the earth declare his glory. The mountains, and the hills break forth in singing, and the trees, and the floods clap their hands with joy together. The various seasons of the year, seed time, and harvest--the different orders of creation--all the blessings of an individual, social, and religious nature, unite in one great concert in the view of the christian mind, of praise to God through Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace. The christian is not an unaffected spec. tator, but ravished by the glory, mercy, and goodness of the great Creator, and Father of mercies, his heart glows with seraphic love, and he calls upon all that is within him to be stirred up in praise to God.
Even the grave yields the palm of triumph to King Jesus, who snatched the iron sceptre from death, and inflicted a deadly wound upon the king of terrors-All hell is made vocal by the word of God to the mind of the christian-at the death of Immanuel, all nature felt the the pow. er of a dying Saviour; the prince of darkness, with his infernal attendant spirits, rejoiced with a malignant joy, having spent their greatest rage upon the Son of God: but at his resurrection, hell howled through all its horrid mansions; he ascended amidst the hosannahs of the heavenly hosts, assumed his deserved throne, honoured by the Father, and adored by the general assembly of the church of the first born on high: but in the midst of the triumph, the eye of faith beholds him lowering the heavens, and coming down, and inviting, and intreating sinners to be reconciled to God through his mediation. While the word of God presents to