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Scriptures, what I am bold to say, I ject which ought to be close to the however your prejudices may rise heart of every Christian, which he against it, your judgment cannot gain- should bring before God as one of the say at present, whatever plausible ar- heaviest sins of our country, beseechgument you may derive by and by ing forgiveness for our rulers, praying from it: but the fair and honest expo- for amendment on the part of our lesition of these chapters, your judg- gislature, and imploring our merciful ment cannot now gainsay; and that God to withhold the blow which we fair and honest exposition is, that all deserve for our oppression of the poor these gifts and graces should have been African stranger, whom we have carcontinued in the Church, and should ried to our Colonies, and made to have been in the Church now.
drudge as a beast of the field ? O my This is a very important subject. If brethren, the evils which lie on us these things be so-if this be the true upon this account are innumerable. picture of what the Church should be, I believe that even this blessed subject look at what she is; and you find a of Christian feeling, with this earnest readiness for the judgments which we petitioning both of Godand man against pronounce to be coming on her-a slavery—this very subject will now be readiness to have all the outward pros- made, and is now made, an instrument perity with which the Lord has blessed in the hands of the devil, by causing her taken away from her. For she Christians to league with the infihas forgotten her inward strength ; | dels and the liberals, because those through unbelief she has grieved the infidels and liberals cry for liberty Holy Spirit : so that there is paralysis against oppression and slavery. The in her heart. And who shall keep her Christian who sighs against that ophands steady when her heart is para- pression joins them in the cry; and lysed? Who shall keep her outward be- Christians have been betrayed into an nefits when her inward support is gone? expression of approbation on the side Who shall keep houses over her head, of liberalism in writing their petitions and lands for her to feed upon, when against Colonial Slavery. the Spirit is gone, and faith and love Now, I would suggest this to you, are gone from her heart? She is in that it should be said by us, and that decrepitude, she is in old age : and in- it should be avowed and maintained stead of the beautiful description of by us, that the duty of a man upon the infancy of the Church being ap- Christian principles is, submission to plicable to her, the description of the the power that governs in every thing Prophets of the decrepitude of Jeru- short of sin against God, whether that salem, when she was ready to be cast power be the despotism of Nero, or off, are much more applicable—not in the cruelty of a slave-driver. On this country only, but throughout Christian principles submission is man's Christendom. Take this description duty ; but then we should earnestly of the prophet Ezekiel :—“In thee and respectfully exhibit the baseness, have they set light by father and mo as well as the sin and the danger, of ther : in the midst of thee they have any power who calls itself Christian, dealt by oppression with the stranger : ruling on the principles of Nero, and in thee have they vexed the fatherless expecting the people to submit on the and the widow.” How this has been principles of Paul. If Christianity be done, my brethren! Here I speak appealed to by governors as inculcating much more closely to what you must submission, it should, on the other feel to be the experience of the coun- hand, be acted upon by them, and good, try, than when I describe the love that here and hereafter, should be the parais to be found in the Church. There-mount object of the rulers. If Chrisfore I say the decrepitude of Jerusalem tian principles be discarded by the is more applicable to the Church now, rulers, what can we expect, but that than the beautiful description of the the people will act also on natural infant Church. Have they not set principles. We would regret even light by father and mother? Is not that: we would hope they would show insubordination in families proverbial ? a more excellent way. But what has Have they not dealt oppression to the the ruler reason to expect who disstranger : Need I instance that sub- cards Christianity from his principles
of action, but that they will also dis. God by ruling in defiance of Chris.. card it from their principles of action ? tianty, and insult man by expecting The slave will feel that he owes no al- that those ruled by them shall act as legiance to him who stole him from his Christians. home, or who bought him or his an To you that are ruled I would furcestors : and in the progress of in- ther say, Let it be our privilege, bestruction, which cannot be resisted, loved brethren, whatever may become the slave will hear of the acts of of us, having learned the more Hampden, and Russell, and William cellent way of submission, to imitate Tell, and Washington : he will hear the conduct of the Christians in the of them ; and it is in unison with all reign of Nero, and rather lay our past experience, that some swarthy heads on the block than conspire vindicator of his race will arise, and by against the ruler in any rebellion of some daring act dash for ever the fetters men. Be patient and quiet for the of thraldom from his African country- truth's sake; be steady for truth; and men. Let us entreat from our legislators if for truth you incur danger, bear the that they will avert that cup of suffer- penalty ; let your sufferings be pasing, that deluge of blood which will sive; endure, but act not. Endure probably flow if they take not the whatever persecutions may come for quiet and peaceable course for getting the truth. Keep in your places, and rid of this evil. That slavery must act not. Your safety lies in sitting end is certain : whether it shall end still; in enduring, not acting. Be peaceably, or whether it shall end tra- active in business, diligent in the gically, seems, under God, to be at sphere God has given you, waiting till this moment in the hands of the British the persecution comes for the sake of Parliament.
truth : then bear it in the strength of Let me add on this subject, that the Lord, and the peace of God shall should Christian principles be acted be with you. upon by the slave-should he return I have thus been led to speak freely good for evil, and continue to submit to you, as in the presence of God, on Christian grounds, though he be without reserve--freely, in the spirit ruled in defiance of Christian grounds; of love, without weighing my words ; then only consider, my beloved bre- but speaking from my heart. I fear thren, the fearful aggravation of guilt | not, but I know some of my brethren incurred in the sight of Him who is fear, the misrepresentations of wicked the protector of the desolate and the men as to what may drop from my oppressed. Consider that he, who is lips. I know that in the mercy and the father of the fatherless, and the goodness of God I desire your salvahusband of the widow, is also the tion—that I desire your edification in God of nations; and that he wields, love ; and I do not fear the represenas his ready instruments of righteous tations of wicked men, who make a retribution, civil war, and sudden man an offender for a word. Theredeath, plague, pestilence, and famine, fore speak I freely from an honest battle, and murder. Oh, fearful is the heart, desiring your good. May the guilt hanging over those who insult' Lord do good to you in his mercy.
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AT ST. BRIDES' CHURCH, SEPT. 26, 1830.
Psalm, cxix. 108.-“ Accept, I beseech thee, the free-will offerings of my mouth,
O Lord, and teach me thy judgments,"
When Christians in the present day, our Heavenly Father—that at once and among our own congregations, causes us to draw nigh to him, and are most urgently, and most constantly, prevails with him to draw nigh to usinvited to honour their Redeemer by that encourages and invites, and enaobeying his departing precept, “ This bles us in all things to make our redo in remembrance of me"-when they quests known unto God: are we worare from time to time reminded, that thy of such a privilege ? are we dethe symbols of his precious body and serving of such a distinction? Are we blood are not only openly exhibited, fit to enter into communion with our but freely proffered to all who are Maker ? Have we any claim that our willing to partake them—when, too, prayers should be heard, and accepted, it is impressed upon them, that the and answered by him, excepting what whole of their previous education in we derive from his own free promise the knowledge of the Gospel has been, and voluntary engagement? Or take or should have been, a kind of prepa- the volume of the Scriptures—that ration for the holy ordinance of the | treasury of heavenly wisdom—that deSacrament;—they too often continue to pository of the revealed will of Godhold back, sheltering themselves under that unerring guide through things the hackneyed, and sometimes insin temporal to things eternal—that which, cere excuse, that they are not worthy. when duly and regularly consulted, But it altogether escapes these persons, becomes a light to the feet, and a that the same excuse might be alleged lantern to the paths of those who for the omission of every religious ob would otherwise walk in darkness ;servance whatever. Take prayer for are we worthy to be put in trust with example, the precious privilege of the pure word of God-to study it drawing nigh to God as a reconciled under the teaching of the Divine Spirit Father in Christ Jesus-of urging at -to find in it the gem of great price, his throne of grace a plea which he the treasure of inestimable value, has pledged himself never to reject the wisdom unto salvation? Or are of confiding to him all our necessities, we worthy to enter into the house of trials, wants, and distresses, under the God on the Sabbath-day, to join in guidance of that Spirit who will not the common offering of prayer, the only teach us what to pray for as we general ascription of praise-to assoought, but will himself make inter- ciate ourselves with the most eminent cession for us with groanings that and experienced saints in the same cannot be uttered : take prayer that supplication for God's mercy, the same brings us daily within the notice of expression of reliance on his promises,
the same assurance of eternal life undeserving of acceptance with Jeho. through the atoning blood of Christ? vah, even while he presumed to ask it. Surely we can have no answer to these The man after God's own heart would questions, but that of the Patriarch Ja- not even prefer his prayers to his God cobą“ I am not worthy of the least of | without accompanying them with a all the mercies and of all the truth which petition that they might find favour in thou hast shown unto thy servant.” If his sight :-“ Accept the free-will oftherefore Christians were, in every in- ferings of my mouth, I beseech thee, stance, to act consistently with the O Lord; and teach me thy statutes." principle on which they pretend to act Here then, Christians, is an example with reference to the Holy Sacrament, for us all ; an example more especially they would desist from prayer, be- for those who design to unite this day cause they are not worthy to be heard; in the most solemn ordinance of our and cease from reading the Scriptures, common faith. But how shall all be because they are not worthy of the enabled to examine and to profit by it? exceeding great and precious promises Only by Thy help, most gracious Spirit, which are here revealed ; and absent without whose present light and inthemselves from the house of God al- fluence the fervour of a Paul, the elotogether, because they are not worthy quence of an Apollos, would be alto-. to mingle their petitions with those of gether in vain. Prepare our hearts, the great congregation, which com- then, for the reception of thy truth : prehends the true and spiritual mem let us experience this day, that the bers of the body of Christ. But they entrance of thy word giveth lightdo not act thus, because they feel, and that it giveth understanding to the feel justly, that in so doing they would simple : and may we have grace hencevirtually abjure all hope, and all pros- forward to say with the Psalmist, from pect of obtaining the inheritance of our own blessed experience, " Thy testhe Saints in light. Why, therefore, timonies are wonderful; therefore doth I may ask, are they to carry their my soul keep them: thy word is very groundless, if not insincere scruples, to pure ; therefore thy servant loveth it.” that ordinance which appeals to their First, What are we to present to observance with all the force of a po- God? “ The free-will offerings of sitive, unlimited command ? If they the mouth.” SECONDLY, The means are worthy to pray—to read the Scrip- by which we are to seek for their tures-to attend the house of God- acceptance — by “beseeching God.” why are they not worthy to assemble THIRDLY, What is to be the object of around the table of the Lord, to re our further petitions, when we have ceive the lively symbols of the body thus prayed for the acceptance of our and blood of Christ?
very prayers ? “ Teach me thy staThe fact is, that this excuse, in a tutes.” great majority of instances, is nothing First, WE ARE TO FOLLOW better than a mere subterfuge. Men say EXAMPLE OF THE PSALMIST, IN PREthey are not worthy, because they have SENTING TO God the FREE-WILL OFno desire to become so; because they FERINGS
-that is, fear, that, by this act, they will be voluntarily, and without constraint of constrained to take upon themselves a others, to draw nigh to his throne of more strict and severe profession of grace, in the act, and in the attitude, religion ; because after partaking of and with the words of prayer. But it the Holy Sacrament they will not dare may be asked, Did the Psalmist do no to live as they have lived, and to sin more than this ? Did he only present as they have sinned; but they must the offerings of his mouth? Was not henceforth be more moderate in their his heart also engaged in the duty of indulgences, more guarded in their devotion ! Did he not present that of conversation, more circumspect in all which himself said, “The sacrifices their conduct. If the plea of unwor- of God are a broken spirit; a broken thiness were really felt, they would be and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt encouraged by the example of the not despise ?" On most occasions, unSacred Writer in our text, who vir- questionably, he did : but this passage tually acknowledges, by, the very appears to have been recorded by the wording of his prayer, that he was Divine Spirit expressly for the com
fort and satisfaction of those less pri an offering of still inferior value from vileged believers, who have been striv- the man whose means were inadequate ing perhaps for years, and perhaps even to the purchase of a turtle dove cannot even yet, as they would, give so he that cannot offer the heart, may their hearts to God. It is no uncom at least bring with him words; he mon thing to hear a sincere and simple- may recognise the duty, appreciate the minded Christain complain, that he importance, devote himself to the exhas tried over and over again to com ercise of prayer, and supplicate inply with the requisition of God by the stantly and perseveringly for that grace mouth of Solomon—“My son, give me which shall cause it to become an thine heart;" but that some potent exercise of the heart. And as the sathough secret spell has always prevailed crifice, whatever might be its value, to charm it back again within the magic was to be repeated as often as the sin circle of the world. He has never for which it was a trespass offering ; omitted the duty itself of prayer, to so may the act of adoration be rewhich he has clung as the mariner to peated, however comparatively little the last fragment of the wreck by the heart be interested, as often as the which alone he hopes to reach the man feels, from whatever cause, that shore : but he has gone to it without | he has need to pray. And continuing hope, persevered in it without interest, in this practice, it is not possible that and left it, as he apprehends, without he should fail to attain his object in improvement. He has not yet found the end. “Heaviness may endure for the way of wisdom to be a way of a night; but joy cometh in the mornpleasantness: he would fain have ad- | ing :” and “ unto the upright there vanced in it; but something has ever ariseth light, even in the darkness.” held him back : his heart is not with Wait on the Lord—be of good couthe world—yet it is not with his God: rage, and he shall strengthen thine he cannot rest satisfied with the poor heart : wait, I say, on the Lord.” perishable treasures and enjoyment of And 0, if he require additional enearth-yet he wants vigour of faith, couragement to continued and unand firmness of purpose, and ardour of | remitting exertions beyond those love to fix and fasten his affections on promises which the Old Testament the eternal realities beyond.
believers enjoyed, let him only consider What then, he will anxiously ask of the words of the Apostle just quoted : the minister of Christ—what is my “By Him let us offer the sacrifice of duty? I cannot bring my heart; I praise." By Him? By whom? By have hitherto striven to bring it, but One whom David the King and Hosea in vain : what then shall I bring? We the Prophet desired to see, but saw reply in the words of the text, “ Bring not—by One who is himself at once the freewill offerings of thy mouth :” the Teacher, the Example, the Advoand if this be not sufficiently explicit, cate and the Object of prayer; who is the prophet Hosea may admonish such equally able and willing to bestow a Christian as he did backsliding Israel upon us all that we ask, and who has
" Take with you words, and return pledged his immutable faith, that whatunto the Lord” and if the example ever we ask in his name, believing, we of the Psalmist, and the precept of the shall receive. With such a plea as Prophet, be not enough, even when this with the blood of Christ that united, to assure the dejected and cleanseth from all sin—with the dispirited believer, we will add to them righteousness of Christ, that challenges the exhortation of the Apostle—“By and endures the piercing scrutiny of him therefore let us offer the sacrifice God himself—with the certainty that of praise to God continually—that is, | He sits at the right hand of the Father the fruit of our lips-giving thanks to make intercession for us, shall the to his name.” Surely it must be evi- believer who ardently desires to pray dent from these concurring passages, hesitate to approach the throne of grace that he who cannot bring what he with hope and confidence, though as would, must bring what he can. As yet he can approach it only with words? under the Levitical dispensation, a Not if he will learn his duty and his turtle dove was accepted from him who encouragement from the Scriptures. could not afford a lamb; and again, | Only let him find out his deficiency: