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good shall enter into life everlasting. an offering and a sacrifice to God of a And all this is quite consistent with the sweet smelling savour." God accepts this doctrine of justification by faith: for it is imitation of Christ on the part of his peo certain that no gifts, however splendid, ple, not from any virtue there is in them, can be pleasing to God, if they be pre- but from the virtue there is in Christ, to sented by a man who is not justified. whom they are united, and through whom They are the gifts of a rebel, of a rebel they ever will be blessed. And the rewho is under sentence of death :-if awards which God will bestow upon such man were condemned to die as a rebel, it are of a kind which could not possibly is certain that no acts of obedience, no be connected with merit in them. They gifts of kindness to those around him, no include peace and consolation of soul in promises of future allegiance, would the present life, and the future vision of avail ;—they could not change his charac- God, and the full enjoyment of holiness ter from that of a rebel to that of a faith- and perfect bliss. He will say to all ful servant; his private virtues, however those who have aimed to be useful upon numerous, could not be taken into the earth, “ Well done, good and faithful account. All men are rebels against servant !-Enter ye into the joy of your God; and “by the deeds of the law can Lord.” O, the unspeakable blessedness no flesh living be justified.” No acts of giving in that great day, when He will which we may perform can atone for sin, bestow upon all according to their works ! or render us acceptable to God. But, if ~When the righteous shall find that all the Most High has graciously promised their virtues have vegetated and brought to bestow pardon—if he has assured us forth abundant fruit, what joy and blessthat all who will lay down the arms of edness shall take possession of their their rebellion shall be pardoned and re- souls ! But they have performed these stored to his favour, then those who are actions with regard to the glory of God, thus pardoned and reconciled may ap- and with a desire to please him. “Eye proach to him without fear; they may ob- hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have lain from him the assurances of his favour, entered into the heart of man, the things and may confidently hope for the testi- which God hath prepared for them that monials of his approbation. Then the love him." majesty of heaven may receive their ser I would apply this doctrine of the vices; services from those who are recon- blessedness of giving above that of reciled to him, but not from those who are ceiving, very briefly, by simply exhorting still in a state of rebellion. We must first those who hear me lo act on this principle. receive the forgiveness of sins ;-we must Be assured that He who said this will come to him by the blood of the cross ; make it plainly out in the experience of we must approach him through Jesus all. Determine to give rather than to Christ alone, and alone by faith obtain receive. Learn to consider yourselves pardon and renewal. We must begin as “not your own, but bought with a here: we must be justified by faith; and price;" and aim to “glorify God in your then, being justified by faith, you may bodies and in your spirits, which are hope for acceptance.— Through Jesus God's.” Christ and his precious blood, God will The great means of having it in our accept the free-will offerings of such. power to act on this principle is to pracThe doctrines of justification by faith, tice economy. Those who give their and the free grace of God, are never for minds to it will find their means multiply a moment lost sight of by enforcing the far beyond what they could themselves performance of acts of charity ;-and let expect.-Frugality opens a variety of me remind you, that God loves the dis- sources, furnishes a number of means of position to do good—the wish to act for well doing. There is scarcely an indi. the benefit of others. He loved it in his vidual who has it not in his power to do own Son; and He who offered himself good : all may so act as to have to give up for us and our salvation, presented to him that needeth.” None are ex.
cluded : the duty, the blessedness, is not and some, evangelists; and some, pas confined to either rich or poor. The tors and teachers; for the perfecting of apostle says, “ Let him that stole, steal the saints, for the work of the ministry, no more ; but rather let him labour, work for the edifying of the body of Christ; ing with his hands the thing that is good;" till we all come in the unity of the faith, not merely that he may supply his own and of the knowledge of the Son of God, necessities, but “that he may have to unto a perfect man, unto the measure of give to him that needeth.” The apostle the stature of the fulness of Christ.” No taught also that the poor should act so man can possibly ascertain the effects of frugally, as not only industriously to sup- this gift: Christ is by this means making ply their own wants, but to be able to millions to rejoice in his truth—millions give to others. If, indeed, we consult of wanderers have been reclaimed-mcil vanity—if we are guided by fashion—if lions have been converted from the error we give way to covetousness—if we in- of their ways; and long as they exist will dulge in vain show-if we follow the they bless his name. And what is to be course of this world, we shall never have the means of perpetuating this good ? to give to others. A mean and avaricious Most of those who are called by God, are disposition will ever keep pace with the called by a holy ministry. The gospel love of splendour and of show ;—but if we is still • the power of God to salvation to endeavour not to seek the things of the every one that believeth.” And, in the world; if we remember not to “ seek present very advanced state of society, great things for ourselves ;" if we con- none can be fully qualified for this work sider that all that is in the world is not without much preparation. Time was of the Father, but of the world;" if, as when God raised up men who shone most Christians, we aim to rise above it,-we brightly, without the aids of human learnshall always find ample means of doing ing: there have been some who have good; and he who anxiously wishes it, risen high, and been eminently useful. will always find himself able to advance In our own denomination we have known the interests of his neighbour. But there a Bunyan and a Fuller, who rose to a must be frugality, or it will not be possi- gigantic height. But these were by no ble that our aims to do good will be car- means common cases; they were excepried to any extent.
tions—they are not to be regarded as And while we aim to do good, gene- precedents: we are not to expect such rally, to supply the bodily wants of our men to be raised up every day. While fellow-creatures, let us remember that education is going on generally throughthere are other objects still nobler. He that out society, we must keep pace. There provides instruction for those around him is scarcely a congregation now to be does more than he who supplies food; found in the remotest part of the kingdom, and he that supplies them with spiritual in which there are not some men who are knowledge does still more; and he who | able to comprehend, and who do not conprovides and prepares agents to impart sider and examine what is said. this spiritual knowledge, does the high I need not say one word to induce you est act of benevolence of which we can to acknowledge the importance of this : conceive. And this is the very object you know well the necessity of academiwe have in view in this service: it is to cal institutions. That for which I have support an institution, by which young the honour to plead is one of the most men are fitted for the work of the ministry. ancient; and, without wishing to depreThis must be considered as benevolence ciate any similar institution, I would say, of the highest order. Surely we never that it is at least equal to any in existso imitate Christ as when we are aiming ence. The students have all the assistto send out the great gift which he has ance of a library which is not excelled by ever given to mer.. " When he ascended any in the kingdom, and are aided in their up on high, he gave gifts unto men. He pursuits by learned and pious men. In gave some, apostles ; and some, prophets; consequence of building, a debt has beer
RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION FROM HOUSE TO
contracted, which has placed the trustees | earth. Let us listen to him who says in great difficulty, and prevented them “ It is more blessed to give than to receive ;." from receiving as many young men as and he who has said it will make it good, might otherwise be accommodated. They in an abundant recompense to all who make a strong appeal to you, while thus thus have studied “to adorn the gospel struggling with great difficulties, and of God our Saviour.” while aiming to raise up a number of men who shall speak to the people the words of eternal life. You have lately had many demands made upon you, and much has been said to excite you to benevo The Bishop of Chester, in his charge lence. But “be not weary in well to the clergy of his diocese, on “indidoing:" we expect no large proportion of vidual instruction,” observes that “ withyour property ;-a scanty portion of your out this, little permanent effect will be abundance, without much exercise of self- produced by any ministry; and, wi it, denial, is all that is needed to attend this a minister who is comparatively feeble application.—You will do nobly on this in the pulpit, will be more useful than occasion, if you only part with a small the most eloquent, who confines himself portion of your superfluity; and you will, to the pulpit alone.” After dwelling at no doubt, be willing to do this, anxious some length upon the value, and, indeed, to experience the blessedness of those the absolute necessity, of thus teaching who give : you will delight to lay up for “from house to house," the bishop conyourselves those rewards which he has siders the important inquiry, “Who is graciously promised to bestow. Remem- sufficient, physically' sufficient for these ber God has put the “ treasure" of his things?" and candidly acknowledges, gospel into “ earthen vessels," " that the what every unprejudiced mind must at excellency of the power may be of him.” once confess, that, “ in our larger parishes, - How shall they hear without a it is not possible for the strength or aepreacher? And how shall they preach tivity of the clergy alone to provide for except they be sent ?" And how can such individual instruction.” He then they be duly prepared, unless you furnish proceeds to show that this difficulty can the means ? If Christians withhold the only be sufficiently combated by the aid means, the church of God must cease; of the laity; “ Let the minister of a popuplaces of worship must be shut up; im- lous district, using careful discrimination mortal souls must be neglected. But you of character, seleet such as are worthy' will not allow this : you will come to the and of .good report,' and assign them help of the Lord against the mighty ;" their several employments, under his you will not look at the weakness of the directions; they may lessen their own instruments, but remember that 'tis the labour, by visiting and examining the cause of God. They may be feeble ; but schools; by reading and praying with they are such men as Christ employs in the infirm and aged; by consoling the going forth “conquering and to conquer.” fatherless and widows in their afflietions; They form that army which He is leading and pursuing the many nameless ways forth, who hath “ on his vesture and on by which it is in the power of one Chrishis thigh a name written, KinG OF KINGS, tian to benefit and relieve another :" AND LORD OF LORDS.”—They are the in the appendix, the Bishop gives an called, and chosen, and faithful," whom outline of the plan of two or three he will employ to accomplish his designs; district societies, where this system of and he who despises these ministers as lay instruction has been tried, in densely mean and contemptible, would despise populous parishes, with very considerand contemn their Master, if he were upon able effect,
THE GLORIFICATION OF THE WORD OF GOD.
BY THE REV. JOSEPH FLETCHER, D.D.
" Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified,
even as it is with you.”—2 Thess. iii. 1.
The apostle Paul, in this solemn and direction of those powers and of those impressive injunction, asserts the dignity passions, he was fitted to be either an of the gospel—he describes it to be the angel of mercy or a destroying demon to word of the Lord ; and he who recorded the rest of his race. the injunction well knew its claims to He was approaching the spot destined this high and sacred designation. He to be the scene of unrelenting hostility had first heard the word of the Lord in against the disciples of the cross; but in circumstances of strange and mysterious the midst of all his anticipations a mar-. interest. On the way to Damascus its vellous effect is produced, on which he power first reached his heart, and it had never calculated, which was, thereproved to be indeed the power of God to fore, strictly a miracle of mercy-a deviahis salvation. He was then engaged in tion from the ordinary and established an enterprise of fearful resentment against course of the Divine procedure in the adthe disciples of the despised Nazarene. ministration of his mercy. A voice from His interests at that time were all on the heaven reached his ear—a more powerside of his prejudices and his passionsful voice reached his heart. His convera mistaken conviction of duty giving sion to the faith of Jesus was instantaforce to the one and authority to the neous. The power of prejudice instantly other.
withered. He felt, as by the stroke of All the ardour of youthful feeling, all lightning, the force of evidence and the the energy of powerful talents, all the power of truth. It was not merely an influence of the high and distinguished effect produced on his understanding in connections that surrounded him, and all the way of rational conviction ; it was an the effect which he was able to produce effect produced on his heart by the power on the minds of others, were devoted at of sanctifying mercy. It was then he that period to one object, and that object received the word of the Lord it was was the utter extermination of the Chris- then that all the sentiments of astonishtian cause. He was a man characterized ment, and conviction, and penitence, and by that ardour of temperament, by that deep humiliation, and instant resolution, hardihood of nerve, by that passion of and undaunted decision, were combined character, that he could do nothing by and involved in one prayer, “ Lord, what halves. No one could have looked at wouldst thou have me to do?"--and his him without at once receiving the im- whole life, from that memorable moment, pression, that in whatever cause he en was a practical commentary on that first gaged, to whatever object he was devot. prayer. He could say, emphatically, ed, it would concentrate and absorb the “ One thing I do." strength of all his powers, and the force And while the fact of his conversion of all his passions, and that, according proved the truth of the gospel, the chato the object which he regarded, and the racter founded on that change, and reVOL. 1.-24
sulting from it, was the best possible connected with the aggrandizement and illustration of the tendency and the influ- the objects of the present passing state, ence of the gospel. His conversion ex. could it be said that he was influenced hibited a decisive and invincible proof by personal considerations. All the orof its divinity; his character exhibited dinary motives which we connect with an equally decisive and invincible proof the usual acceptation of the phrase, as of its holy, its spiritual, and its heavenly derived from the connection and the obtendency.
jects, the possessions and the interests, of Read, then, my brethren, the history the present state, had no power over the of this astonishing man-observe the va- heart of this holy man. It was to him, rying circumstances in which he was therefore, a matter of perfect indifference placed, the extended scene of his labours, whether he was a slave or a free manthe privations to which he submitted, the whether he was sick or in health-wheunparalleled energy pervading all his ac- ther he was rich or poor. He possessed tions, and exhibited amid all his suffer- an independence of the highest order, of ings—and you will find one principle the sublimest philosophy, in relation to lying at the foundation of all this struc- all the accidents and all the external cirture of moral excellency-one mighty cumstances of his present history, and spring giving its powerful and uniform looking forward to eternity, he felt a reimpulse to all the actions of his life. alizing sense of the value of the soul, and Whether you find him at liberty or in was conscious of the claim of that imbonds-amid the court of Areopagus, or perishable truth which God had commitamongst the barbarians at Melita—whe- ted to him as a sacred deposit; and to ther you find him proclaiming the truth propagate that truth, and to promote its to the barbarian and the savage, or the high and holy objects, was the very end Athenian and the Roman, you find one for which he lived, and moved, and had great object before him, giving animation his being. to his motives, consistency to his charac There was nothing political in the obter, concentration to his efforts, and, un-ject he regarded, and yet, in a certain der the mighty power which wrought in point of view, it was morally impossible him, success to all his enterprises. That that the object could succeed—morally one object was, that the word of the Lord impossible that the principle on which might have free course and be glorified. the apostle laboured, and by which he
That object, in one respect, was not was governed, with a view to the promo. personal. True, indeed, personal inte- tion of the object, should have free course, rests were deeply involved in the views and operate on the minds, and passions, and the anticipations by which he was and characters of others, without ultiinfluenced. He could not possibly for- mately producing even political results. get, in this respect, his personal interest. He knew that superstition and idolatry, He had received a commission to pro- in all their varied forms and monstrous claim the word of the Lord and the faith combinations, were as ill adapted to proof the Saviour. Strange events connected mote the present interests of the human with his conversion, and always associ- race as they were in direct opposition to ated with every recollection of it, would their spiritual welfare and their eternal deeply fix upon his memory, and his con- felicity; and no doubt, therefore, the science, and his heart, the responsibility comprehensive, the prophetic mind of the involved in his commission; and he could apostle looked forward to the period when, say, therefore, “Wo be to me if I preach by the mighty power of the gospel, the not the gospel." True, he felt a personal altars of idolatry should be overturned, interest in the gospel, because all his own the whole fabric of society should be hopes, all his own consolations, were de- newly formed, and the systems of idolarived from it. But in no sense which try should be annihilated, and every prinwould convey the idea of any thing that ciple opposed to the true interests and was selfish, or interested, or secular, or general felicity of the human race should