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mankind. The gospel is founded in universal benevolence, and tends to diffuse the same spirit in the hearts of all who embrace it. Paul's heart was once confined to his own personal interest; but as soon as he embraced the gospel, his heart was enlarged in benevolence towards all the nations of the earth. His heart's desire and prayer to God was, that both Jews and Gentiles might know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he had sent. The gospel still has the same effect upon all who cordially embrace it. They feel interested in the temporal and eternal good of all mankind. Their benevolent hearts are continually expanding towards all nations, as their knowledge of their perishing condition increases. It is the gracious design of the gospel to spread holiness and happiness among all nations; and those who embrace it, cordially approve of this design; and their hearts extend as far as the design of the gospel extends, and dispose them to seek and promote the salvation of perishing sinners all over the world. They feel as angels feel in respect to the success of the gospel, who rejoice when one sinner repenteth, when one addition is made to the number of Christ's friends, and when one soul is saved from the wrath to

come.

5. The gospel enlarges the hearts of believers towards all created beings, whether holy or unholy, and towards every living creature. The righteous man regards the good of every creature capable of enjoying good, from the highest angel to the smallest insect. These all belong to God, and are a part of his interest. He regards with an equal and impartial eye

all his intelligent and unintelligent creatures. And as all these are employed to promote the design of the gospel, so those who embrace it feel interested in every created being in the universe. God has employed all the angels, good and bad, to carry into effect the gracious design of the gospel. And he has constantly employed the beasts of the field and the fowls of heaven, as well as every human creature, to promote the same important end. Hence every creature is really valuable, as connected with the gospel; and therefore all who embrace it, must feel their hearts enlarged, to encircle in the arms of their benevolence all the creatures of God.

6. The gospel enlarges the hearts of believers to take an interest in all the events that ever have been and ever will be brought to pass. They all stand inseparably connected with the great and extensive design of the gospel; which assures believers that all things are theirs, whether past, present or to come, and shall eventually work together for their good. They must feel interested in that great transaction in eternity, when the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost concerted the great scheme of redemption. They must feel interested in the creation, preservation and government of the world ; in all past and present events which come to their knowledge ; in all the events predicted in the scriptures of truth ; in the transactions of the last day; and in all the future scenes of eternity. Every true believer has an important interest in every thing that has existed, and that ever will exist. And so far as he understands and loves the gospel, his heart is growing more and more extensive, as his real interests appear to increase. And it is the direct tendency of the gospel to enlarge his heart until it extends to the utmost bounds of creation, and feels interested in every created and uncreated object.

IMPROVEMENT.

1. If the gospel tends to enlarge the views and hearts of those who embrace it, then unbelievers have no just ground to object against it as enfeebling the minds and contracting the hearts of

They have often and strenuously objected against the gospel, as having a tendency to belitile and enfeeble both the natural and moral powers of the mind, and to unfit mankind for great and noble actions; and for this reason they wish it might be disbelieved, rejected, and banished out of the world. Nor is this opinion confined to prosessed infidels, but is adopted by many who profess to believe the gospel. How many men of eminence both in public and private stations, who are in the sanguine pursuit of what they deem great and noble objects, are very averse from embracing the gospel, because they imagine it would contract their views, cool their zeal, and weaken their exertions to obtain the great things they have in hope and prospect! How many parents are afraid that their children should embrace the gospel and become serious and religious; which they imagine would restrain them from vanity and ambition, and prevent them from making their fortunes, and raising their reputation in the view of the world! And how many of the rising generation neglect and oppose religion for the sake of appearing more gay, more sprightly, more manly and more noble, in the eyes of those whose favor they wish to secure! But this objection made by so many against the gospel, is absolutely groundless, absurd and criminal. For it appears from what has been said, that the gospel has a direct tendency to enlarge the heart, and expand the views, the hopes and prospects, of all who embrace it. And this is confirmed by innumerable instances of its expanding and ennobling influence upon the understandings and hearts of men. Did it not enlarge the heart and invigorate the mind of young Moses, of young Joseph, of young Joshua, of young Samuel, of young David, of young Solomon, of young Josiah, of young Jabez, of

, young Daniel, and of young Paul ? Who ever had greater and nobler objects in view than these pious young men ? or who ever pursued their great and noble objects with more zeal, fortitude, resolution, wisdom and success? Who ever made a greater and better figure on the stage of life? or who ever went off the stage of life with more dignity, or brighter hopes and prospects? Do you ask how the gospel produced such great and good effects upon the minds of these pious men ? The answer is plain and intelligible. It caused them to renounce low, mean, vain, trifling objects, and raised their attention to divine and eternal objects, which expanded their views, and enlarged their hearts, and fired their zeal to promote the glory of God and the everlasting good of their fellow men. And it is the natural tendency of the gospel to produce such happy effects, in a greater or less degree, upon the hearts and lives of all who embrace it. How happy would it be for the young and the old, the high and the low, to embrace the gospel, which would make them wise and great and useful and happy in time and eternity!

2. If the gospel tends to enlarge the hearts of those who embrace it, then we see why the scripture represents believers as far more amiable and excellent than unbelievers. God, who perfectly knows the worth, the excellence and importance of all classes of men, represents saints as far more amiable, excellent and valuable than sinners.

« The righteous is more excellent than his neighbor.” He says, “ The saints are the excellent of the earth.” He calls them his jewels, his treasure, bis inheritance, his glory. He measures the greatness, the goodness, and the worth of men by their hearts; and according to this standard, sinners are lighter than vanity in comparison with the righteous, whose understandings are expanded, and whose hearts are enlarged by the great truths and great objects exhibited in the gospel. How superior was Moses to Pharaoh,

, Mordecai to Haman, and Paul to the philosophers of Athens. God weighs men in an equal balance; and when the greatest, the wisest, the richest and the best of sinners are weighed in his balance, they are all found wanting; and are as chaff to the wheat, in comparison with saints. When Belshazzar was thrown into the balance with Daniel, he was lighter than a feather in comparison with that great and good man. The heart of the greatest and best sinner in the world is small, mean and contracted, in comparison with the benevolent, enlarged heart of the least saint on earth. The largest heart that any sióner ever possessed and carried about with him, was never VOL. VI.

51

He says,

larger than a part, or the whole of this small, changeable and perishing world; but the heart of the least christian is as large and boundless as eternity. His love is eternal love; his hope is an eternal hope; his inheritance is an eternal inheritance; and his joy is an eternal joy. But the love, the hope, the inheritance and joy of the sinner is temporary, and but a preface to everlasting sorrow and despair. How different will the righteous and wicked appear when their hearts shall be disclosed in another world! Then the righteous will shine forth in all the beauties of benevolence in the kingdom of their Father, while the wicked will appear in all the meanness and turpitude of selfishness. It will then be made manifest that God did not represent saints in too good, nor sinners in too bad a light, in his word. He knew the essential difference between them before, as well as he did after they left the world; and he drew their characters according to that essential distinction. And though sinners denied the distinction in time, they will be constrained to acknowledge it to all eternity.

3. If the gospel enlarges the hearts of those who embrace it, then they sincerely desire that the gospel may be universally known and embraced. Before the gospel had enlarged the heart of the apostle Paul, he was perfectly opposed to the spread of the gospel, and to its happy influence upon the hearts

His heart was so selfish and contracted that he had no concern for the salvation of his own, or any other nation, but did all in his power to prevent the spread of the gospel and its happy influence upon the hearts of men. But as soon as the gospel had illuminated his understanding and enlarged his own heart, it was his heart's desire and prayer to God, not only that his brethren, his kinsmen according to the flesh, might be saved, but that the gospel might be carried all round the world and produce its saving influence upon all the nations of the earth. His benevolent heart esteemed it a privilege to be employed in preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ to Jews and Gentiles. His heart was so large that he could wish to sacrifice both his temporal and eternal interests, if that might be the means of spreading the knowledge and the saving benefits of the gospel among his own and other nations. The gospel expanded the views and enlarged the hearts of all the other apostles and primitive christians, and fired their zeal to labor, suffer and die, for the sake of the gospel and the salvation of a world lying in wickedness. And the same gospel has produced the same benevolent and enlarged views, desires and exertions of those who have ever since clearly understood and cordially embraced it. Who have done so much to gain the low, mean, momentary objects of this world, as christians have done to spread the gospel, to promote religion, and to save the souls of men ? The believers of the gospel have sacrificed their property, their reputation, and in ten thousand instances their lives, in seeking to enlighten the minds, extend the views and enlarge the hearts of the high and low triflers on the stage of action. They are grieved to see the narrow views and feelings and conduct of the men of the world, who never spend a thought upon the greatest and best objects in the universe, and never felt, nor expressed, nor enjoyed the ennobling and benerolent spirit of the gospel. You remember the noble and happy effect which the gospel had upon Zaccheus, the very day he embraced it. He promptly and cheerfully gave away one half of his goods; and it is not very improbable that it disposed him to give away another half before he died. Primitive christians took the spoiling of their goods cheerfully, knowing that they had a more enduring substance laid up for them in heaven. Those who understand and love the gospel, place their happiness in the happiness of others, and desire above all things that others should enjoy the same spirit and blessings of the gospel which they possess and enjoy. Having entered into the gospel kingdom, they most sincerely and ardently desire to bring as many others into it as they can.

of men.

4. If the gospel enlarges the hearts of those who embrace it, then they know by experience, that they cannot serve God and mammon. As soon as their hearts are enlarged towards God, towards Christ, towards his great and glorious kingdom, and towards all the human race, these great objects crowd out of their views and affections all inferior objects, or dispose them to give them only their low and subordinate place. They no longer occupy the supreme place in their hearts, and are regarded only as means of promoting objects infinitely greater and more valuable. Believers are conscious that two supreme objects cannot exist in their minds at one and the same time. They are conscious that whenever they love the world and the things of the world, the love of the Father is not in them. They feel bound in duty to watch their hearts and keep them with all diligence, lest the low and trivial objects of the world should engross their attention and affections supremely, becloud their minds, and hide from their view and contemplation the glorious scenes and objects of the heavenly world. Herein sincere believers differ from insincere believers. Insincere believers desire and endeavor to serve both God and mammon. They mean to serve God as much as they imagine it will help them to gain and enjoy the world, and no more. When the service of God comes in competition with the service of mammon, they mean to neglect the service of God. But sincere

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