Page images

penalty, consisting in the wrath and curse of God due to our sins, and hence he is the “ end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth in him.” I know it is said by some, that an essential ingredient in the penalty of the divine law, is remorse of conscience. But if remorse of conscience be an essential ingredient of the divine law, as enacted of God, and Christ had no inherent sin, he did not, and could not sustain the entire penalty; the law, therefore, is not fulfilled; its claims are not fully met, and never will be; sin is not finished, an “end is not made of transgression, and an everlasting righteousness" is not brought in, and no soul of Adam's race ever has been, or ever will be consistently and gloriously justified. And the above sentiment reflects most impiously on the manifold wisdom, love, mercy, and grace of God in the constitution of the divine and only Mediator between himself and his offending creature, man. But we reject, with abhorrence, all such dishonorable doctrine, and rely with triumphant confidence on the testimony of that God who cannot lie, when he saith that “ Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” that he is his “ Son in whom he is ever well pleased;" that he has done all things well, and declared him to be his Son by his resurrection from the dead. And thereby, most loudly evincing that he had effected a plan, every way just and honorable to God, and safe to man; so that here, and here only, God can be just and the justifier of the ungodly; here, and here only, truth and mercy meet together, “ righteousness and peace mutually embrace each other.”

Again: They are received into the number and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God. They have access to God and to the grace wherein they stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God, in the use of the various means and ordinances of divine appointment, both private and public. Especially in prayer, they cry Abba Father, and God owns the kindred in accents of comfort and consolation. Moreover, they are received to an increase of grace, whereby they “ die unto sin and live unto righteousness, put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness;” in which way they are enabled to persevere to the end of life, and attain complete meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light.

Finally: They are received to consummate glorification, consisting in complete eternal deliverance from all sin and sorrow, and the uninterrupted vision and full fruition of the great Three-One, forever. As yet, “ Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive the things that God hath prepared for them that love him."

In conclusion: I inser, that salvation, the salvation of man is of God. He devised the plan,--infinite wisdom found the ransom. The eternal Son trod the wine-press of the Father's wruth alone, and of the people there was none with him. And he needed none; for his own arm was competent to bring salvation. The Holy Spirit is the only efficient agent in the great and mighty work of application. The holy scriptures adopt the very terms which ascribe it to the most High, namely, creation and resurrection. Hence,“ if any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature.” 66 Created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Again, "you hath he quickened,"—that is, raised up to life. Now, no power, short of Omnipotence, can create, that is, produce a something out of nothing. No other power can raise the dead. This glorious fact is established by the very state and condi. tion of the sinner. He has destroyed himself, and in himself is no help, no strength, no might, no power; he is morally, as bones, dry, very dry, having a heart of stone, totally devoid of the least particle of moral life. But why all these strong and very expressive terms, but to teach man his true state as a sinner, and his own utter inability to extricate himself from the horrible pit and miry clay into which he has plunged himself, and to induce him under the conviction to cry to the hills from whence all his help must come, or with the publican, to say, “ God be merciful to me a sinner.” Where is boasting then? It is exeluded: by what law? of works? Nay; but by the law of faith.” The humble, empty sinner receives all, and gives nothing but a sinful soul and body, condemned and unworthy. Therefore, the following is the sweet labor of the heart and tongue of the saved, in all ages, and under every dispensation of God's grace, “ Not unto us, not unto us: but to thy name give the glory.” Paul said, “By the grace of God, I am what I am.” The whole family in heaven, re. joice only in Christ, and him crucified, “ saying, with a loud voice,

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and Wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.'” Amen.


[blocks in formation]


MATTH. 28:19. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations. The evangelizing of the world, is an object which has filled with wonder, those higher orders of intelligent creatures, a little below whom, man in his pristine innocence and glory was placed. It is a subject which occupies, and which is worthy the mind of the “only wise God.” It is the glorious result of “that eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The grand design originated in the everlasting love of God, and the greatest missionary was his own Son, his “elect,” in whom his “ soul delighteth.'

When this great Missionary, who came forth from God, had finished, by his obedience, even unto death, the work which his Father had given him to do, when he had not only been “ delivered for our offen. ces,” but “was raised again for our justification”—and just before he visibly ascended from Mount Oliver to that mediatorial throne, where, at the right hand of God, he now sits exalted “ a Prince and a Savior for to give repentance, and forgiveness of sins”-he came and spoke to the eleven disciples, saying, “all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” After such a preface, asserting a claim so extraordinary, and yet so well founded, it might naturally be expected that the triumphant Redeemer would utter something of unspeakable impor. tance. Accordingly, as “ Head over all things to the church,” and invested with all possible and rightful authority, he gave to his disciples, and through them to his ministers and their successors, in all succeeding ages, the honorable and important, but arduous and oftentimes dangerous commission, “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."


In the discussion of this subject, it will be my object to refute some opinions which oppose the teaching of the gospel to all nations; and to show the duty of christians, heartily to engage in the missionary


I. By showing that all nations stand in perishing need of the gospel.

[1. By exhibiting its benign influence on nations; and espe cially, its blessed effects on many individuals of which nations are composed.

That all nations stand in perishing need of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is a position, which is either directly or virtually denied by too many in our country, who assume the christian name. Nor are there wanting, even in the councils of our nation, those who have lifted up their voice and exerted their influence in direct opposition to the missionary cause, and the command of the Lord Jesus Christ.

1. By such it has been alleged, that man is so constituted that he is as infallibly guided by a law of his nature, in seeking after happiness and God, as are the brutes by a natural instinct, in the pursuit of that which is necessary for the support of animal life. Opinions such as this are usually held and inculcated by men as profligate in their conduct as they are infidel in their sentiments. And, however palpably absurd they may appear to the discerning and reflecting part of mankind, they are, nevertheless, too likely to exert a pernicious influe ence upon the minds of many, to permit them to pass without animadversion. That all such opinions virtually deny the fall of man and the consequent depravity of human nature, and are in direct opposition to the whole tenor of God's word, and especially, his express declaration, that " none” (by nature) “ understand” or “ seek after God”is too plain to need any illustration. We are, however, aware, that the moral perceptions of men of sceptical minds, are so obtuse as to render them insensible to the majesty of divine truth, and incapable of feeling the force of an argument drawn from this sacred source. It is, nevertheless, calculated to excite at least some surprise, that in conspicuous places, there should be found men either so grossly ignorant of the state of the heathen world, or so hardened in bold infi. delity, as to maintain their absurd opinions in opposition to the most stubborn facts.

What! Is man so infallibly guided in his researches after God and the

way in which he may find acceptance, with him? What, then, mean the unnatural austerities which are practised, the voluntary tortures which are endured, the many suicides which are committed, and the multitudes of human sacrifices which are offered by the heathen, with the avowed purpose of gaining the favor of their God, or a happy state of futurity? Why does the deluded ascetic lie upon a bed of spikes? Why the order of men who have the right arm stiff, withered, and raised above the head until it becomes incapable of being removed from that unnatural position? Why do others surround theniselves with large wood fires, so near as almost to scorch, while the vertical sun beats upon their bare heads? and when he has sunk beneath the Western wave, why do these same deluded creatures remain the greater part of the night plunged to the neck in water; thus through a succession of many days and nights, alternately, experiencing the greatest extremes of heat and cold which human nature can endure? Why do none of the Hindoos die with the hope even of temporary happiness, except such as commit suicide by drowning or burning themselves? Why is the languishing Hindoo, who is deterred from seeking a death so horrible, brought to die by the side of the Ganges? and while there, if man is guided as by instinct in his return to God, why is he heard to express his fearful apprehensions not only that he is just about to assume some reptile form, but that he must experience many millions of such like transmigrations before his spirit can again be united to a human body? and in the midst of this distressing perplexity, why is he heard to pray to the Ganges to receive him, and to his idols to have mercy upon

him? Inquiries such as this might be multiplied until the face of the infidel opposer of christian missions would, if it were possible, be mantled with shame. But of this we are almost ready to despair. We cannot, however, here forbear the reflection, how multifarious are the works as well as the devices of the “ god of this world,” whereby he supports his usurped but tottering dominion.

2. But there are many others, who would by no means be ranked among the enemies of the cross, who, nevertheless, seem to think the situation of the heathen nations of the world, if not so favorable as that of those who enjoy the gospel and its privileges, yet that it is far from being so deplorable as the enthusiastic advocates and supporters of missions would represent—that every circumstance considered, they have an equal chance for salvation with those who have their dwelling in Zion!

This sentiment seems to savor so much of liberality--of charityof expansion of mind—that many are ensnared and captivated by its meretricious charms; while those who hold the opposite opinion are often branded with bigotry, with illiberality, with a want of christian charity, and even with malevolence. This, however, is no matter of surprise. They who maintain the truth as it is in Jesus, must expect to bear his reproach. We, therefore, do not hesitate to assert, that this unscriptural sentiment is working a more extensive injury to the missionary cause, than all the direct and avowed opposition of the open enemies of our God and his Christ.

It is not our intention to examine the question, particularly, whether a heathen can possibly be saved without a knowledge of the gospel obtained in the ordinary manner.

Let the affirmative of this question, if it is desired, be conceded. But still I contend the heathen are in a perishing condition by reason of their lack of knowledge. The word of God expressly declares, that " where there is no vision the people perish.” . And ail the information which we have reccived of the actual state of the heathen, confirms this awful truth. It establishes the fact, not only that they are wretched in the extreme, but wicked, cruel, impure, abominable: and surely, it need not be shown, that none of all their religious principles, or unclean rites, or murderous sacrifices, can purge their guilty consciences or purify their polluted

« PreviousContinue »