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slaves, and the news shall fly like wildfire-sweep on like flames over the summer prairie. At such glad tidings how the bed-rid would leap from his couch ; the lamie throw away his crutches; the old grow young; the people, go mad with joy. Mothers with new feelings would kiss their babes, and press them to their bosoms; brothers, sisters, friends, would rush into each other's arms, to congratulate each the other that they were free; and, weeping the first tears of joy their eyes had ever shed, would they not make hut and hall, forest and mountain, ring with the glorious name of him who had fought their long hard battle, nor ceased, nor relaxed, his efforts till he had achieved their freedom? Jesus! with what jubilant songs, then, should we celebrate thy name, and enshrine thy memory in our best affections! What great glad tidings these, redemption through thy blood ! Oh that God would inspire us with such a love of it, and give us so great enjoyment in it, that with some foretaste of the joys, we might sing this song of heaven, Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
In directing your attention to this subject, I remark
I. That we all need redemption.
To a man nigh unto death, who is labouring under some deadly malady, and knows it, offer a medicine
Some of you
which has virtue to cure him, and he will buy it at any price. In his eyes that precious drug is worth all the gold on earth.
But offer that, which he grasps at, to one who believes himself to be in robust and perfect health, and he holds it cheap. Just so, and for a similar reason, the Saviour and his redemption are slighted, despised, and rejected of men. have no adequate conception of your lost state as sinners; nor do you feel, therefore, your great need of salvation. The first work, accordingly, of God's Holy Spirit in conversion is to rouse a man from the torpor which the poison of sin—like the venom of a snake infused into the veins, produces, to make him feel his illness, to convince him of his guilt, to make him sensible of his misery. And blessed the book, blessed the preacher, blessed the providence that sends that conviction into our hearts, and lodges it, like a barbed arrow, there. For, to an alarmed conscience, to a soul convinced of sin and misery, who so welcome as the Saviour ? Let a man, who fancied that he was in no danger, see himself to be in great danger, know that he is a poor, polluted, perishing sinner, lost by nature, lying under sentence of death, deserving the wrath of God, and, like one standing over a volcano, separated from hell only by a thin crust of earth, which, becoming thinner and thinner as the fire eats it away, is already bending, cracking beneath his feet, ah! he understands the import of the words, Unto you therefore which believe, he is precious. Now that Christ may be so to you, and that the grace of God which bringeth salvation
may not come to you in vain, let me show how all of us require to be redeemed from the slavery of sin and Satan. And I remark
1. That this slavery is the natural state of man.
We pity, how greatly do we pity, the mother, as one robbed of a mother's best joys, who knows that the little creature which hangs on her bosom is a slave; and only smiles because unconscious of its sad estate. But this calamity is ours. The progeny of slaves are slaves themselves. And we, having sprung from parents who, in the expressive language of Scripture, had sold themselves for nought, leave our mother's womb in bondage to sin. Accordingly, David says, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.' Let me recall to your recollection the testimony on this subject of one who, so far as civil liberty and Roman citizenship were concerned, was free born. You know how Paul stood on his rights as a Roman. He dared them to scourge him as they would a slave. Yet, speaking of himself, as before God, and in the eye of a holy law, he says, I am carnal, sold under sin. And—not to multiply examples-in what terms does he address his converts ? “ Ye were,” he says, “ the servants of sin,” or, as we would express it, ye were the slaves of sin. The slaves! for observe, I pray you, that the word which is there translated servant, means not a servant simply, but a servant who is a slave; not one hired for a period, whom the next term sets free to leave or stay, but one bound, branded with the mark of a perpetual bondage ; and so the apostle says, “ God be
thanked that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you," “ Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." David uses stronger terms. In one of his psalms, he uses this very strong expression, “I was as a beast before thee." And, though few of us have the deep sense of sin which that holy man had, there is no child of God who recalls the past to memory-what he was, and how he felt antecedent to his conversion, who looks back beyond that blessed day when the truth made him free, but will be ready to acknowledge that he was a man in bonds. Not master of himself, and free to follow the dictates of conscience and God's word, he slaved in the service of the devil, the world, and the flesh--three hard taskmasters. On that ever memorable day fetters stronger than iron were struck from his limbs.
I do not affirm that the most advanced saint is altogether free from the bondage of sin. No. The holiest believer carries that about with him which painfully reminds him of his old condition. I have seen a noble dog which had broken loose and restored itself to liberty, dragging the chain, or some links of it, along with him. I have read of brave stout captives who had escaped from prison, but who brought away with them, in swollen joints or festering wounds, the marks and injuries of the cruel fetters. And do not old sins thus continue to hang about a man even after grace has delivered him from their dominant power ?
Have you not felt that these called for constant watchfulness and earnest prayer? Who does
not need every day and hour to resort to the fountain of cleansing, and wash his heart in the blood of Christ oftener than he washes his hands in water? We need to be renewed day by day; converted, as it were, not once, or twice, but—every day. Surely the happiness of a child of God lies mainly in this, that sin, though it remains within his heart, has ceased to reign there, and that, made perfect at length in holiness, he shall enter by the dismal gate of death into the full and glorious liberty of the children of God.
2. This slavery is the universal state of man.
Both sacred and profane history show that slavery, as it is one of the worst, is one of the oldest human, not humane, institutions. At an early period of man's history, in Cain, he who should have been his brother's keeper became his murderer. And when afterwards man did become his brother's keeper, alas ! it was too often as an owner-selling, buying, oppressing him. It is long, very long since men and women, with broken hearts, turned a wishful eye on the grave as a welcome refuge—where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary be at rest. But while there might be lands that slavery never cursed, and while there were in every slave land a number who in a sense were free, the slavery of sin spared no land.
There are no “free-soilers,” so far as sin is concerned. It has exempted no class. The king on his throne, as much as the beggar on his dunghill, is a slave.
The loveliest woman as much as the vilest outcast, the proudest peer and poorest peasant, the man of letters and the man so ignorant as not to know the