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other, in the cause of the Saviour. It is one of the most favourable “signs of the times," and one of the most happy circumstances for the interests of religion, that there is now so much combination of effort to spread the gospel throughout every part of the world. What sat the various institutions of our country have been to the dying sons of men in almost every quarter of the globe! You can with difficulty now find any nation of moderate extent, but has been visited by a missionary from some one or other of these benevolent societies. Savages and barbarians, men of every climate and every colour, have been rescued from the darkness of paganism and idolatry, and have risen to health and happiness by virtue of these heavenly blessings. I cannot think of the missions from the British churches to the South Seas-to India-to Sierra Leonne to Ceylon-and to numerous other kingdoms of the earth, without seeing in my mind's eye an happy illustration of my text. The significant encomium which an ancient historian, like a true patriot, passed on his country-" Greece is the salt of nations,"-may be much more appositely said of the christian part of mankind, in reference to all the world-they are the salt thereof. Assuming this truth, you see how you are to harmonize with the description of your character before
No man is strong alone, nor can he accomplish much by himself. This maxim is often exemplified as it regards the efforts of individual churches. There may be a sufficient number of the true friends of Christ in a town, or even a village, to effect much in the career of benevolence, education of the poor, and the promotion of the gospel, but for want of being "knit together in love," they effect but very little. Ah! how much this fact is to be lamented. I can conceive of prejudices which arise from birth, from local customs, and from some painful events, which, owing to the infirmity of human nature, will sometimes transpire;
but I can form no idea of any personal and scriptural piety, where there is a total and determined avoidance of every action which would tend to assist christian brethren, in their respective societies, to promote the cause of the Lord Jesus. Whatever others may be, such professors cannot be "the salt of the earth."
Secondly, By individual and personal exertion. You are to attempt to sustain your character in the text by your warnings, reproofs, and counsels. You are not all called to become stated pastors of churches, and ministers of the gospel to distinct congregations; but every one who loves the Lord is required to seek the extension of his kingdom, and labour to promote the knowledge of his name. The Bible gives us many instances of affectionate and commendable effort, apart from the seal of official authority. All are not appointed to the same work, but all have something to do. "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation; he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness." Thus it appears every one has his appropriate sphere, and his own proper work. The Old Testament believers were wholly alive to this fact. Noah preached righteousness to the antediluvians; Lot warned the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah; and the prophets "stretched out their hands all the day long to a stiff-necked and gainsaying people."+ Indeed, the very spirit of the gospel is tenderness to the afflicted-relief to the needy-recovery of sight to the blind- and health to the wounded and dying. On a master it is incumbent that he should teach his servants;
on a parent that he admonish his children; and on one neighbour that he should say to another, "Know the Lord," till "all shall know him from the least of them unto the greatest.”*
Thirdly, You are to be "the salt of the earth" by your prayers. We can hope for little success in any thing we undertake, if these be withheld. "Thus saith the Lord God, I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them."+ Prayer and exertion should always go hand in hand. We have a most encouraging instance to seek the prosperity and salvation of our country and the world, in the case of Abraham, when he interceded so earnestly for the preservation of the cities of the plain. Had it been consistent with the character of God, the intercession, we are assured, would have availed. And how earnestly David prayed for his country's welfare: "God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us. That thy way may be known upon the earth, thy saving health among all nations." Calumniated, and "every where spoken against," as Christians commonly are, they are nevertheless the best patriots of their country. Who were the constant and fervent intercessors for the success of our arms, and the safety of our fleets, when this happy land was threatened with invasion, and assailed by war? Who held monthly prayer-meetings for the protection of the nation, and the preservation of our rights during these critical times? Who were the men that united, by voluntary agreement, to implore the God of heaven to cover the heads of our soldiers and sailors in the day of battle? They were not the deist, the infidel, or the free-thinkers of the age-they were the saints, "the salt of the earth.” Finally. I only add, that there must be the lustre of an
Jer. xxxi. 34.
+ Ezek. xxxvi. 37.
Psalm lxvii. 1, 2.
holy life. This is the "one thing needful" in all our attempts for the benefit of man. In vain shall we pour forth instructions upon the ignorant, and expostulations on the guilty, if we are not ourselves living in the fear of God. An holy conversation, such as becometh the gospel of Christ," will always have a salutary effect whenever it is exhibited. Happy the man, who, when bidding a long and last farewell, can call the observers of his walk and conduct to his dying couch, and say, as he departs, "Those things which ye have both learned and received, and heard and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."
"Thus shall we best proclaim abroad,
The honour of our Saviour God;
When the salvation reigns within,
And grace subdues the power of sin."
The text shews,
III. THE UTTER WORTHLESSNESS AND MISERABLE DOOM OF SUCH PROFESSORS WHO ARE MORALLY DISQUALIFIED FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF THIS
I say morally disqualified, for I wish not to distress those pious Christians who have neither physical or mental ability to sustain a prominent character in the church of God. It is a pleasing consideration, that we shall never have to reckon with Him who "knows our frame," for the want of corporeal and intellectual vigour. There is no sin in not possessing the strength of the fabulous giants of antiquity, or the capacity of an archangel; but there is sin in losing the life and strength of religion in our heart, by the remissness and unwatchfulness of our spirit over its own
* Phil. iv. 9.
safety and interests. "If the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." Let us remark,
First. That such professors are in a most fearful condition as it regards themselves. "Wherewith shall they be salted?" The question conveys an awful intimation as to the strong improbability of their recovery. We should speak "with fear and trembling" on this subject: but if the enquiry refers to their own restoration to the life and power of religion, it is a most alarming interrogation indeed. We say not that the return of such persons to God is impossible-for "He is able to save to the uttermost," and it falls not within human knowledge to determine how far his " uttermost" extends. But there is a most terrible suspicion in the case, which should rouse every slumbering faculty of the soul, and put us on a course of daily vigilance and prayer, lest we lose our savour. It is said, that those portions of salt which lie uppermost in the mines, and are exposed to the influence of the sun and rain, while they retain their appearance, lose all their savour. Ah, what a lesson! and how often do we see its moral exemplification! Many a man, who has made the most decided professions of faith in Christ, by an unnecessary exposure of himself to the influence of worldly men, now retains nothing but a few sparklings of piety—his savour is gone. The Lord, therefore, keep us from every degree of evil communication with the world.
Secondly. Such miserable professors are utterly worthless as it regards others. The text says, they are "thenceforth good for nothing." In keeping with this clause, some have taken the former as referring to the earth. "Wherewith shall it be salted?"-that is, by what means shall the earth be recovered, and preserved, and saved, if you, who profess my religion, do not live under its