« السابقةمتابعة »
glory, but Christ in you. When on earth, he was in heaven: now he is in heaven, he is also on earth : at hand, to influence his people by his Holy Spirit; by the virtue of his blood, sprinkled on the conscience; and by his constraining love, shed abroad in the heart. Just ideas of Christ must be in us, or how can we hope for glory through him, if we know not who he is, and what he has done? He must be in our view, or what can we hope for from him, and from his mediation ? He must be in our affections, and must dwell in our hearts by faith. How preposterous would it be, to hope for the benefit of a covenant to which we never gave our consent; or for the advantage of an act of grace which we scorn to plead! We must be cordially one with him, and sincerely unite with him, in end and design, or our hope is absurd. But the carnal mind, which is enmity against God, cannot unite with Christ; nor can any thing but renewing grace induce us so to do. While our mind is blind to God's glory, our obligations to duty will not be realized; nor the evil of sin; nor the quantity of sin; nor our extreme danger; nor the need of a sacrifice : nor will grace appear wonderful, if it be said that a Saviour is provided : nor will it seem needful that he should be a great one, who sustains that character. They who have not a taste for divine beauty ; who see not the excellence of God's character, nor of his law; nor are anxious to escape his anger, and enjoy his favour, will undervalue Christ. This secret will not be very precious in their esteem ; they will not want to know it; they will not understand or believe it, though a man declare it unto them. Their minds are occupied with other subjects; they are full of prejudices against the truth. If they admitted this, they must think their sins to be enormous, their righteousness to be as filthy rags, death their wages, and the world worthless. These would be hard sayings : who could bear them? However, they who admit the whole truth, get more than they lose by the bargain : they are put in possession of the whole secret of living and dying happily.
THIRDLY: Why is Christ said to be in his people as the hope of glory?
There could be no hope of glory for a sinner, unless sin
had been fully atoned for, and glory were freely bestowed, in a way altogether worthy of God. But now the glory of God's avenging justice has been so fully displayed in the sufferings of Christ, that there is no necessity that the believer should suffer personally to that end; though, for his own good he may be corrected. Heb. xii. 10. The love of God, displayed in the gift of Christ, must be sufficient to induce him to bestow eternal glory. Heaven itself is not so great a gift as God's own Son. Christ's obedience was so perfect, so dignified, and so acceptable to God, that the greater blessedness God bestows upon sinners, for his sake, and as his reward, the more will God display his love to righteousness, and so the honor will redound to the law which he magnified. Christ himself, after having been delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification, has entered heaven as our forerunner, and taken possession of it for all his people. Meanwhile, the gift of his Spirit is a pledge and earnest of glory : and we may fairly infer that he who raised us up from spiritual death, will not leave us to eternal death. Rom. v. 10. He who now is in us, hath promised that we shall be for ever with him; and he is able to fulfil his promise. Oh that we may give evidence that Christ is in us! and may we act and suffer for God, as those who feel a lively and well founded hope of glory.
ON MISSIONS TO THE HEATHENS.
(Designation of the Rev. Wm. Yates, as a Missionary to India.]
1 Thes, ii. 16.
Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles, that they might be saved.
My dear brother! As you have requested me to address a few words to you on the present most interesting occasion, I knew not how to decline the service; though I sincerely wish it had fallen to one who could have done fuller justice to so important a subject, giving you more appropriate advice,
and exciting in the bosom of every one present, a more ardent concern for the universal diffusion of evangelical truth.
This passage, however, has occurred to my mind, as strongly indicating the great importance of the undertaking in which you are about to engage, and as not only suited to animate you to diligence in that important work, but also to excite all present to co-operate with you in so glorious and so arduous a service. For while the Apostle directly refers to the opposition made by the Jews to the first preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles, and intimates that God was greatly displeased with their conduct, and considered them as opposing the general happiness of men ; he plainly intimates that their conduct was pleasing to him, who labored to spread the gospel most extensively, and that he was pleased also with all who strengthened their hands, and wished them success in the name of the Lord.
First: The Apostle evidently implies, the need of the Gentiles being made acquainted with revealed truth, in order to their being saved.
The Apostles, notwithstanding all opposition, were desirous of speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved. They justly considered them, therefore, as needing salvation. And we have reason to form the same opinion of all the tribes of mankind. All have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God; Jews and Gentiles are all included under the charge of sin ; the whole world is guilty before God. All uninstructed nations, who have not the word of God, are ignorant of the way of salvation, and cannot find the way of acceptance with God. The light of nature may suffice to render them without excuse, both in their neglect of God, and in their injurious conduct toward each other. But it can never teach them how sin may be pardoned, and sinners be prepared for endless happiness. Vast difficulties lie in the way of the salvation of any sinners; but the difficulties in the way of heathen nations are most dreadfully accumulated.
We are not authorized to consider those who have been first favored with revelation, as better disposed and more worthy than those who are not yet partakers of that blessing : but cer
tainly we have no room to imagine that heathens are less depraved than the Jews were, or than nominal Christians are. Therefore, when I have been asked, What will be the lot of those heathens who do their best, and act up to their light? I wish to have some persons pointed out to me in Christian countries, who do their best, and without any special influence from God, embrace the gospel as soon as they hear it, or can understand the language of scripture; and if none can be found here, who discover this native disposition to seek after God, it seems to me very improbable that such well disposed persons will be found among the heathen. It is rather to be expected that what might be known of God from his works, will be generally neglected and overlooked; while, if a near approach was made to any idea of the standard of duty, and the evil of sin, the most distressing anxiety must be excited in the minds of those who never heard of the only Saviour. Accordingly, we find the bulk of the heathen are just suited with false gods and false worship :-gods, whose moral character is the reverse of the Holy One of Israel, who are patterns and patrons of vice, and whose worship is a compound of cruelty and obscenity. When nothing lies heavy on their conscience, they trust to idle ceremonies, amuse themselves with riotous festivals ; and when any anxiety about a future state is excited, will sooner torture their own bodies, and violate the innocent feelings of nature, than submit to the general and constant mortification of their sinful appetites and passions : -while interested priests make an immense gain of the superstitious imaginations of the common people, and buoy them up with the most ridiculous hopes, or plunge them into the most slavish fears. Often has a wretched Hindoo been heard to vent his grief and fears, in the midst of his relations, as he lay by the banks of the Ganges, in such language as this: “I! what meritorious deeds have I performed, I have done nothing but sin. Ah ! where shall I go? Into what hell shall I be plunged ? What shall I do? How long shall I continue in hell? What hope can I have of going to heaven? Here I have been suffering for sin; now I must go and renew my sufferings. How many births must I endure? Where shall my sorrows
terminate ?" As a forlorn and miserable hope, he calls upon his friends to give him their blessing, that Gunga may receive him; and he takes leave of them in the utmost perturbation of mind, knowing nothing of " that hope, which is as an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast.”
How great a blessing, then, must the gospel be, to those who thus sat in darkness and in the shadow of death! to be made acquainted with the one only living and true God, and with the perfection of his moral character! Never did any nation or sect attain to just ideas of these subjects without a divine revelation. Individuals, among ancient and among modern pagans, have allowed that there is but one God; but never did we hear of one, who got such firm hold of the truth as steadfastly to maintain it in opposition to polytheism and idolatry, or to interest himself in the reformation and eternal happiness of the vulgar. If the sacred books of the Hindoos were a thousand times nearer the truth than they are, it would be of little avail to the generality of the people, who must not dare to read them, or hear them read. A Brahman is forbidden to give spiritual counsel to a Shoodru, or to inform him of the legal expiation of his sin. " If a Shoodru dared to hear the salvation-giving Vadu read, he was to be dreadfully punished. At present if any one happen to be repeating any part of the Vadu, a Shoodru stops his ears and runs away.”
But it is the glory of the gospel, that the poor have it preached to them, and that all classes of mankind are equally welcome to enjoy its invaluable blessings: it promotes universal purity and universal love. All are one in Christ Jesus. The love of Christ unites all. All are bound to a life of holiness, all raised to the hope of eternal happiness.
Above all, the glory of the gospel consists in these two things.
First: That the way of salvation revealed therein, is every way worthy of God, tending to support his authority, and illustrate the riches of his grace, securing all the honor to himself. No sinner, however guilty and distressed, has any room to doubt the adequacy of the means to answer the end, or the sufficiency of the atonement made by the sacrifice of