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with the crack of the whip? Health ! what value would a man set on a life itself, were his children to be torn from his arms, set up to auction, and knocked down to the highest bidder; sold before his eyes to slavery ; if he must stand by and hear their mother's piercing shrieks, as with bended knees and outstretched hands she implores, in vain implores, for pity; stand by and hear his own mother cry for mercy, as the breast that nursed him bleeds under the cutting lash ; who would value life a straw, if he must stand by, nor speak a word, nor shed a tear, nor from his bursting bosom heave a groan, nor lift a hand in their defense? How sad it is to think that there are lands, governed by Christian men, and in the prostituted name of liberty, where such scenes are witnessed, and crimes so foul are done ! It almost tempts one to pray that an avenging Heaven would blight, and wither, and blast the fields that are watered with human tears: “Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain upon you, nor fields of offerings.” May God give a noble country grace and power to wife from its shield so black a stain In these sentiments I have no doubt you all sympathise; but I have to tell. you of a worse and more degrading, a more cruel and dreadful slavery. There are among us many greater and more to be pitied slaves. I refer to those who, as the servants of Satan, are sold unto sin. Would to God that we set the same high price on spiritual as we do on earthly liberty Ah, then whatefforts would be put forth, what struggles would be made, what long, earnest, unwearying prayers be offered for salvation | And, when saved ourselves, how anxious should we be for the salvation of others? In the touching narrative of a fugitive slave I have read how, when he himself had escaped, the thought of his mother, a mother dear, and sisters, still in bondage, haunted him night and day, embittering the sweetness of his own cup. He found no rest. Liberty to him was little more than a name, until they also were free. And surely one may wonder how Christians can give God any rest, or take it themselves, while those near and dear to them are in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity ? And why is it, moreover, that when his servants appear, proclaiming, through Christ, liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, so few hearts leap for joy, and so many hear it—as if they needed it not, heard it not, heeded it not—with calm, cold, frigid indifference 2 Go, proclaim emancipation in a land of 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 lame 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 2 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 madeus 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 laboring under some deadly malady, and knows it, offer a medicine 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. Some of you 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 2 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, becom. ing thinner and thinner, as the fire eats it away, is already bending, cracking beneath his feet, ahl 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 2 “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 his 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 2 Have you