This election sermon was preached by Rev. Moses Bradford in New Hampshire on June 4, 1812.
DELIVERED AT CONCORD,
HIS EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR,
THE HONORABLE COUNCIL,
BRANCHES OF THE LEGISLATURE
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE,
JUNE 4TH, A. D. 1812.
BY MOSES BRADFORD, A. M.
PASTOR OF THE CHURCH IN FRANCESTOWN.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
JUNE 4, 1812.
VOTED, That Messrs, Folsom, Pickering, and Johnson, with such as the Senate may appoint, be a Committee to wait on the Rev. Mr. BRADFORD, and present him with the thanks of the Legislature for his ingenious Discourse delivered before His Excellency the Governor, the Honorable Council, and both branches of the Legislature, and request a copy for the press.
Sent up for concurrence.
CLEMENT STORER, Speaker.
IN SENATE….the same day.
READ and concurred. Mr. Ham joined.
H. B. CHASE, Clerk.
1 TIMOTHY i, 15.
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ
Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
THE soul of man is immortal. It is a candidate for eternal happiness, or endless misery. The loss of final happiness must be the greatest evil man can sustain. The attainment of perpetual felicity must be the greatest good man can enjoy. Holiness leads to the latter, and sin to the former. The sinner may ruin, but cannot save himself. Human invention has devised various plans to avoid final evil, and to obtain final good. But these plans have not been more amusing, than delusive. Paganism early possessed a considerable portion of mankind, has had its devotees in all ages, and still holds its empire over the minds of the largest part of the inhabitants of our globe. The Jews, as a nation, have long since rejected Christ, and still persevere in their rejection of Christianity. The Mohammedan and papal delusions, (those horrid defections from pure Christianity) the one in the East, the other in the West, have attracted the attention and engaged the affections of an immense number of mankind, for a long series of ages; and their influence still continues to affect a large mass of the race of man. Ancient Deism and more modern Catholicism, and even Atheism, have, in their turn, suggested their several expedients, to quiet the consciences and to sooth the minds of men respecting their final state. But, of these things, we may say, (to use the language of Job,) “Miserable comforters are ye all.” The Pagan knows not Christ. The Jew denies that Jesus is the Christ. The Mohammedan prefers his prophet to Him. The papist mixes his religion with numberless superstitions of human origin. The Deist laughs at all Revelation, Old or New, and substitutes his reason in its place. The admirer of modern Catholicism proclaims his indifference to all theory in religion, and rests his hopes on a few scraps of fashionable morality. And the Atheist gravely tells you, “There is no GOD.” “So they wrap it up.”
In the midst of this diversity of opinion, which at once displays the folly and subtlety of human beings, our text speaks a sentiment highly pleasing to the humble penitent. The writer of this inspired passage, once felt as great inveteracy to the truth expressed in it, as any we have referred to in the preceding remarks. He esteemed Christ an imposter. He verily thought he ought to do many things against the name of Christ, which things he did. He breathed out threatnings. He hurled men and women to prison, and compelled them to blaspheme. He persecuted the Church of GOD. He thought he could not do too much to suppress the religion of Jesus. His zeal was great. He willingly became the agent and assistant of the high priest of the Jews, in attempting the extirpation of Christianity. Having obtained a commission, and being furnished with suitable aid for this purpose, he pursued his intentions in persecuting it even unto strange cities. And while approaching his object, and just ready to grasp his prey, he was arrested by an invisible and irresistible power. Listen to his words in his address to king Agrippa, on this subject…”At mid-day, O King, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me, and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me! It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said I am Jesus, whom thou persecutes. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness, both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto GOD, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
“Whereupon, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but shewed, first unto them of Damascus and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to GOD, and do works meet for repentance.—Witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things, than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come; that Christ should suffer and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people and to the Gentiles.”
Thus we have a brief account of Saul’s arrest, conviction, conversion, and appointment to the apostleship; also a short summary of his doctrine.
These things afford an irrefutable argument in favor of the truth of Christianity. This is the “glorious Gospel of the blessed GOD,” “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, even the chief.” “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation.” Thousands of Jews and millions of Gentiles have already felt its power, and submitted to its laws. And countless millions of both Jews and Gentiles will hereafter reap its golden harvests in the eternal state. Then let us spend a few moments in surveying its truths.
I. The first truth in this doctrine, which we notice is, That man is a sinner. However humbling this doctrine may be to the natural pride of the human heart, its truth is confirmed by the universal history of man. The sacred and profane historian, each in his way, equally establishes this solemn truth. Every nation, in every age, has exhibited indubitable evidence of the depravity of man. “His sin is written as with the point of a diamond; it is engraved as with a pen of iron in a rock.” It is impressed in indelible characters on the tablets of the human heart; and like the laws of Draco, drawn in human blood, in the scenery of this world. Sin is the transgression of law. Law implies a legislator. The great law, violated by man, is the law of GOD. This law is the moral law, therefore of perpetual obligation. It is holy, just, and good. Its legislator is GOD:–A being of infinite perfection, of boundless attribute, of the most exalted dignity, and consummate glory. To violate his law must be the most aggravated crime. It is insulting the Majesty of heaven and earth. It is trampling on the highest authority. Hence the exceeding sinfulness of sin may be seen; and hence its infinite ill desert may be inferred. And as sin consists radically, in the moral temper of the human heart, and not in the mere external action of human life: and as all men of every description, in their natural state, have hearts similar, in their moral temper; and as the moral temper of the human heart constitutes the moral character of man in the sight of him, who looketh on the heart; we may see the reason, why GOD declares, that all men are sinners. “For the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” And if all men are sinners, then all men need a Savior. For no future obedience can make atonement for past sins. And as the amount of human guilt is infinite; and the law demands perfect obedience and its obligation is perpetual, so nothing short of infinite merit can atone for man’s sin. For nothing short of perfect righteousness can satisfy the demands of the perfect law of GOD; and the law must be satisfied, both in its penalty and requisition; and sinful man is incapable of performing either, and having opportunity to be happy; therefore he needs a Savior who is able to fulfill all the demands of the law.
II. These reflections naturally lead us, in the next place, to consider the character of Christ Jesus, who is represented in our text as having come into the world to save sinners. He is, undoubtedly, equal to the arduous undertaking; otherwise he would prove himself to be an imposter. But to effect the salvation of sinners, he must be able to magnify the law of Jehovah, and make it honorable. He must perfectly obey its precepts, and satisfy its penalty—He must have a righteousness, which may be the end of the law to everyone who believeth; and an atonement, which will satisfy for the sins which are past; so, that God may be just, and the justifier of the ungodly, who believeth in Jesus. But no finite being, man or angel, or super-angelic being, who is a mere creature, (and all are such but the Eternal) has such a righteousness and atonement as are necessary for the salvation of sinners; for such beings can perform nothing more than their duty, or they can only fulfill the law for themselves, consequently can do nothing for others. The Savior, then, must be more than man, more than angel, more than any super-angelic creature. He must be Divine. He must be real GOD, as well as perfect man. He must be God and man united. Two natures, but one person. He must be man, that he may obey and suffer. He must be GOD, that his obedience and suffering may have infinite worth and merit. He must be man, to exhibit a perfect example of all human virtues. He must be GOD, to hold the reins of universal government, and be able to subdue all things unto himself, to execute his will in heaven, and accomplish his pleasure on earth. And such is Christ Jesus, the anointed Savior. He was typified in his official character by the anointed prophet, by the anointed priest, and by the anointed king, in the ancient church. A prophet to teach, a priest to atone, and a king to rule, is he. Though he is the seed of the woman, the seed of Abraham, the Shiloh of Jacob, the prophet of Moses, the angel of the covenant, the captain of the Lord’s host, the child given, and son born to the church, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; yet he is the Creator of the world, the Governor of the universe, the Wonderful Counselor, the mighty GOD, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace, the Holy One of Israel, whose goings were of old even from everlasting. The names of GOD are his, the attributes of GOD are his, the works of GOD are his, and the worship of GOD is his. He is GOD over all blessed forever. Man adores him as GOD. Angels worship him as GOD. The cherubim and seraphim proclaim his holiness as GOD. The Holy Spirit beareth witness of him as GOD, and the Father addresses him as GOD. Hear his awful and impressive address—“For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, When he bringeth the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of GOD worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O GOD, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom: Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore, O GOD, thy GOD hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thy hands: They shall perish, but Thou remainest; and they shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed! But Thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. But to which of the angels said He at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”
Thus, we see, he is mighty to save, even to the uttermost, all who come unto him. “He hath all power in heaven, and on earth. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him. In him dwelleth all the fullness of the God-head bodily. He that hath seen me, said he, hath seen the Father; for I am in the Father, and the Father in me. I and my Father are One.”
III. We now proceed to consider what he hath done to save sinners, even the chief. And
1. He has contracted with the Father to make an atonement for the sin of mankind. This stipulation was among the transactions of eternity. Foreseeing, in the counsels of GOD, the apostacy of man, he saw an opening for a gracious interposition. He readily offers himself, and his offer is as readily accepted. Hear what he says on this subject: “Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure: Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O GOD.”
2. In the fullness of time he came into the world, by becoming incarnate. He took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham. He assumes the office of a Mediator between the Father and sinners. In this character he fulfills the office of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king.
3. As a prophet, he gives men a Revelation of his will, to cure him of his errors, and teach him the knowledge of his duty. “The spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.” “All scripture is given by inspiration of GOD, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of GOD may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Again, the Apostle saith, “The grace of GOD, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should lie soberly, righteously, and godlily in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great GOD and our Savior Jesus Christ: Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
4. Christ Jesus has set his followers a perfect example of all moral and humane virtues. He was pious and devout towards his heavenly Father; he was benevolent to mankind. He was tender and compassionate to his friends; though his righteous indignation was moved at the hardness of his enemies’ hearts, yet he prayed that their sins might be forgiven. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He lamented the obstinacy of the wicked, and sympathized with the afflicted mourners. He rejoiced at the accomplishments of his Father’s good pleasure, and wept at the tomb of Lazarus.
5. Christ Jesus, in his mediatorial character, has exhibited a perfect righteousness, perfect in thought, feeling, word, and action. He was a Lamb without spot or blemish. On his character there was no blot nor stain. He was humble, meek, and lowly in heart. He was just, holy, and good; longsuffering, patient, and kind. His character was complete and perfect. He was the “end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believeth.”
6. Christ Jesus has made a complete atonement for the sin of man. This was his chief work, for which all others were preparatory. He hath magnified the law and made it honorable; he has vindicated the character of his Father, and supported the divine government; so that “GOD can be just and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus.” “Whom GOD hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins, that are past, through the forbearance of GOD.” “By him,” saith the Apostle, “we have received the atonement; in due time Christ died for the ungodly; while we were sinners Christ died for us; when we were enemies, we were reconciled to GOD by the death of his Son.” Who by the grace of GOD hath tasted death for every man; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. “If one died for all, then were all dead, and he died for all.” “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” These passages, and many others of the same import, plainly and fully declare the complete atonement of Christ for man’s sin. “Behold the Lamb of GOD, who taketh away the sin of the world!” “Is not this the Christ, the Savior, who should come into the world?”
7. Christ has made intercession for all, whom his Father hath given him in the covenant of redemption. He still intercedes. For these he prays, that they may be kept from the evil of the world, through the name of the Father; that they might be sanctified through the truth; and that they may be with him, where he is, and behold his glory, which the Father had given him. For the Father loved the Son before the foundation of the world.
IV. We may now proceed to consider from what Christ Jesus saves sinners.
1. He saves sinners from their errors, delusions, superstitions, follies, and irreligion. These things he effects by a declaration of divine truth, by the exhibition of correct examples, by the institution of true religion, by the display of real wisdom, and by the force of the most powerful motives.
2. He saves sinners from the dominion of sin. This he accomplishes by the powerful agency of the Holy Spirit, in his gracious operations, by restraining, awakening, and convincing sinners; by regenerating, sanctifying, and justifying those, who are subjects of his gracious influence. “Quench not the Spirit, resist not the Holy Ghost, and grieve not the Spirit of GOD,” lest he leave thee to “hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, to treasure up wrath against the day of wrath and the revelation of the righteous judgment of GOD.”
3. He saves sinners from future and eternal punishment. This he does by delivering them from the sentence of the divine law. “There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus;” by pardoning their sins, through the redemption which is in Jesus; by completing the work of grace in them; by openly acknowledging them in the day of Judgment, and by giving them eternal life. “He,” saith Paul, “will render to every man according to his deeds. To them who, by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory, and honor, and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doth evil: of the Jew First, and also of the Gentile: but glory, honor, and peace to every man that worketh good; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with GOD. In the day when GOD shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my Gospel.”
4. He saves sinners by confirming them in perpetual holiness in the future state. They shall sin no more. They shall be pure, perfect, and complete in holiness. They shall be entirely conformed to the moral image of Christ. Who is the image of the invisible GOD. No temptation shall ever draw them aside from duty. The fire of love will never be extinguished; but kindle and glow and burn forever.
5. He saves sinners by establishing them in a state of perfect and continual happiness. The people of GOD, in this life, suffer many evils, as other men; but in the future life, all tears shall be wiped from their eyes. There shall be no more crying, nor pain, nor death. All these shall have passed from the people of GOD. And joy, and peace, and honor, and glory, and immortality, and endless felicity, shall be their happy portion from the hand of their glorious Redeemer.
V. Having expounded at some length the leading doctrine of our text, we shall now shew on what conditions, on the part of sinners, Christ Jesus saves them.
1. He saves sinners from final ruin on the condition of genuine and evangelical repentance. The prophets preached repentance; Christ Jesus preached repentance; and he sent his apostles and ministers “to preach, that men should repent and turn to GOD, and do works meet for repentance, that they might receive the forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ.” GOD commands all men everywhere to repent, wherever the Gospel is preached. Christ says, notwithstanding all which he has done to save sinners, “Except ye repent, ye shall all perish.”So that without repentance no adult can be saved.
2. He requires of sinners, that they should heartily believe, or cordially accept the Gospel. “He that believeth shall be saved,” says Christ Jesus. Paul preached faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. When the trembling and convinced jailor said to the imprisoned Apostles, “What shall I do to be saved?” their answer was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be saved and thy house.” “For without faith, it is impossible to please God.” For He requires all who come unto Him to believe, that “He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” On the contrary, the unbeliever is “condemned already, and the wrath of GOD abideth of him.” And continuing in this condition, “he shall not see life; but hall be damned.”
VI. We not proceed to consider the Apostle’s declaration concerning the Gospel, that “It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation.”
1. We are not required to believe that which is not true, nor to believe the truth without evidence. We may therefore presume, that the Gospel rests on the most convincing and satisfactory evidence of its truth and credibility.
No writer of note, ancient or modern, has pretended to deny the authenticity and genuineness of the books of the sacred Scriptures; or that the books of the Old and New Testament were, in general, written by the persons whose names they bear. Admitting those facts, and that they were honest men, we see not but they were as competent to write the history of their own times, and to testify to the transactions of which they were eye witnesses, as other historians, either ancient or modern. That there were such writings as the Old Testament, the Hebrew nation will testify, who still possess it in its original purity and language. Christians of all ages and nations, since the era of Christ, as well as those of the present period, have had possession of the New Testament.
2. Numerous miraculous interpositions of Divine Providence, in attestation of the truths and doctrines of the sacred Scriptures, and especially of the Gospel, are recorded by these holy penmen. These were of a salutary or stupendous nature, indicative of divine goodness, as well as declarative of omnipotence. And, in the whole, they constitute an impressive and awful confirmation of divine truth. They are the broad seal of Heaven set to revelation, obvious to the senses and consciences of all men, who saw or experienced their effects, whether beneficial or destructive. These miracles were not beyond the power of the Deity to perform. They were appropriate to the exigencies in which they were accomplished, and were more forcible than a thousand arguments, to evince the truth, and enforce conviction on the consciences of men. Even the most bitter enemies of Moses and Christ did not pretend to deny the reality of their miracles, which are attributed to them in the Scriptures, but only attempted to invalidate their force, and prevent their effects on the minds of men. Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses for awhile, but at length they yielded to superior and irresistible power, and acknowledged the finger of GOD. So the Jews, at first, imputed the miracles of Christ to Belzebub; but when they saw Lazarus alive, whom, after being four days in the grave, Jesus raised from the dead, they said, “What do we, for this man doeth many miracles,” and felt the importance of exerting themselves to prevent all men going after him. So neither Celsus nor Julian dared to deny the reality of Christ’s miracles, but attempted to evade their influence, and to account for them on other principles, besides the omnipotence of the Deity. But what honest mind does not perceive the fallacy of the reasoning of these ancient and modern deists and infidels. Admitting their mode of argument to be correct; to be consistent, they must refuse their assent to all history, and deny the testimony of their own senses. But granting that miracles were wrought by the Divine power, then GOD has spoken, and the Gospel is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation.
3. Again, the Scriptures contain a vast series of prophecies, some of which have already been fulfilled, others are now accomplishing, and all will be accomplished in due time. As miracles afforded a convincing and satisfactory evidence of the truth of the Gospel to the candid, in ancient days, so the fulfillment of prophecy presents an irrefragable proof of the divinity of the sacred Scriptures to every honest inquirer after truth. And would every men of science exercise the same candor and dispassion in his investigation of evangelical truth, as he does in his inquiries after scientific truth and historic fact, he would find the history of Christ better attested than that of Socrates, the history of Moses better supported than that of Solon or Lycurgus, which none pretend to doubt. He would find, in the sacred Scriptures, independent of its divine origin, says a late celebrated writer, “more sublimity and beauty, more pure morality, more important history, and finer strains of poetry, and eloquence, than can be collected from all other books, in whatever age or language they may have been composed.”
4. But what further recommends the Gospel peculiarly to mankind is, its adaptation to human necessity. It is just such a method of salvation as man wants. It amply provides for all his necessities. Is he poor? The Gospel enriches him. Is he thirsty? It gives him to drink the water of life. Is he hungry? It offers him the bread of eternal life. Is he naked? It clothes him with the garment of righteousness and salvation. Is he wounded? It heals him with the balm of Gilead. Is he sick? It restores him to health. Is he dead? It raises him to eternal felicity. “Christ Jesus is made” unto all, who believe in him, “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.”
Omitting the complimental addresses, usual on similar occasions, not from any disrespect to our rulers, but from a disapprobation of the practice, we advance to make a few inferences from the preceding discourse; and these must be short.
1. Our subject teaches us the immense value of the souls of men. Among all the objects of this lower creation nothing has the impress of immortality, but the soul of man. “Man,” says an elegant divine, “a creature of yesterday, frail as the tender grass, is made for immortality. The lamp which the Lord hath lighted up in his breast, will burn forever. The mind will be ever vigorous and active. No labor can exhaust it. No length of ages can waste its energy. No accumulation of guilt, or pressure of suffering, can destroy its activity. Such a mind, destined to exist and act forever, destined to the bliss of heaven or the pains of hell, lives in every human being; in the savage as in the citizen; in the Heathen as in the Christian; in the Hindoo, the Chinese and the Hottentot as in the polished European or independent American.” Its salvation has been the subject of divine contemplation from eternity. The plan was settled before the creation of the Universe. To accomplish it, the worlds were made. For the same important end, they are upheld and governed. All things are subordinated to this grand purpose. For this end, Christ Jesus came into the world, taught, labored and suffered, died on the cross, and rose again from the dead. For this the scriptures were given, and the Spirit sent.
2. We infer, that it is the duty of all men to seek their own salvation and that of others. “What shall it profit a man, to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Christ has set an immense price on the souls of men, and has displayed infinite benevolence in providing for their salvation. “Can any Christian be a stranger to the enlarged views, the benevolent desires and pleasing designs of the glorious Redeemer?” “Does not every pious man resemble Christian love to the souls of men? And can he be satisfied with anything short of all that infinite love designs? The Christian feels for his fellow men. He considers their temporal interests, and promotes them; their temporal wants and sufferings, and relieves them. “But when their spiritual interest is before him; (declares an eloquent and pious writer)—when the value of their souls, and the prospect, which the gospel opens, of immortal happiness in the world to come; his bowels of compassion are moved; his tenderest affections are kindled; pure and heavenly love warms his soul. He longs for the eternal felicity of kindred and friends, of his country and the world. His heart’s desire and prayer to God is, that all men,” in the reach of mercy, “may be saved; that all human beings may forsake their evil ways and turn to the Lord; that his kingdom may come, and his will be done on the earth as it is done in heaven, “that his way may be known on the earth and his saving health among all nations.” With this holy affection reigning in his heart, the fervent devoted Christian presents himself a living sacrifice unto God; and counts it a privilege to do and suffer anything for the advancement of His cause. He is ready to endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” “In this state of mind no difficulty discourages; no danger alarms. He is steady to his purpose, as resolute, active and patient in pursuit as the restless miser or ambitious conqueror. And as their desire of wealth and of conquest is insatiable and unbounded; so is his desire for the diffusion of Christian knowledge and happiness. Every degree of success attending the dispensation of the Gospel, even a single instance of conversion among the weakest and meanest of mankind, yields him the purest pleasure. But this pleasure only increases desire. His enjoyment of the good already attained urges him on to the pursuit of more. The progressive enlargement of the kingdom of Christ will constantly enlarge the benevolence of his heart. While there is a nation or tribe under heaven not subdued to Christ, the enlightened, fervent Christian cannot rest. His unalterable object is, that the knowledge of the Lord may fill the earth. His heart beats high for the conversion of the world. This, my dear brethren, is the true spirit of our holy religion. This is the affection which glows in every new-born soul. This is the principle which governs and animates the Church of Christ.” “In the name of him,” therefore, “who died on Calvary, we call upon you, O Christian, to labor for the salvation of beings who will never die. Of what consideration is their nation, climate, color, language, government, education and manners? Here all distinctions vanish. Learned and ignorant, refined and rude, honorable and base, are all on a level in point of accountableness to God, and immortality of soul. Rise, then, above all the distinctions which misguide our judgments and our hearts, and seek the salvation of this great family of immortals.”
3. Our subject teaches the abundant fullness, which God has provided for the salvation of immortal and precious souls. What could infinite wisdom devise, infinite goodness prompt, or infinite power do more, than they have done, or will do, to effectuate the salvation of man? The treasure of heaven is given; the bowels of divine mercy are displayed; the foundation is strong and broad, such as infinite wisdom and goodness would have it. There are the best means of instruction, a perfect righteousness, a complete atonement; all things are ready. The conditions are moderate and reasonable; the offer is generous and free; the motives are powerful and animating. This great salvation is sufficient for all men; for Asiatics and Africans; for Europeans and Americans; for men of every grade and rank; for Magistrates, Legislators and People. It is sufficient for the poor and the rich, bond and free; and for teachers and those who are taught. And all stand in need, perishing need, of it. Millions unnumbered have accepted, and yet there is no room.
4. Our subject teaches that there is safety in no other but Christ Jesus. Has he come into the world to save sinners? Then no other can save them; all others are thieves and robbers, who have been before or since Christ, who have pretended to be saviors; and those, who have trusted in them, have perished. Is there any other name given under heaven, or among men, by which men can be saved? Is it not time for us to look out for safety; and cursed is he, that trusts in an arm of flesh. Where shall we go but to God, to the Savior? He fainteth not, nor doth he grow weary; he has everlasting strength. He is able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him. “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst; I the Lord will hear them; I, the GOD of Israel, will not forsake them.”
5. If there is safety in no other but Christ, how important is it, that the Gospel be published to all the world. This was the command of Christ, to “preach the Gospel to every creature,” to “disciple all nations.” This command expresses the benevolence of Jesus, and displays the infinitude of his love. It is not confined to the apostles and primitive ministers; it is limited to no age nor nation. Its obligation binds Christians “always, even to the end of the world.” The motives, which excited the Apostles to preach the Gospel to all nations, have not lost their energy; they remain in full force. Their salvation is as necessary, as important, and as easily effected.” It is the duty of ministers to preach; of others to help. The Messiah is given to be a light to the Gentiles. They must hear the glad tidings. “But how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach except they be sent?” Ministers must preach, and other Christians must encourage, send and support them in this great and benevolent work.
6. Finally, if there is salvation in no other but Christ Jesus; how important is it, that all of every rank, high and low, should comply with the terms of the Gospel, while they have the offer? Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation, for the present generation; but the opportunity may soon be past. We live in an age of revolutions and wonders. Sudden changes are passing on the nations and kingdoms of the world. Nation has risen against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. Every crown, almost, has been overturned; every scepter broken; every throne shaken or demolished; every government revolutionized. God has arisen to punish the nations, and to pour out the cup of his indignation on the inhabitants of the earth. What wars, and rumors of wars! What desolations and devastations by land and sea! What unusual tempests and seasons! What earthquakes and pestilential diseases in divers places! What fearful apprehensions and forebodings of evil! What jeopardy of life, liberty and property! Is it not important, then, that we secure the best interests of our immortal souls? But this can be done only by our becoming Christians. Let our hearts, then, be Christian; let our lives be Christian; let our sentiments be Christian: let our rulers of every grade be Christians; let our teachers be Christians; let all the people be Christians. Let our laws promote Christianity, and our influence encourage it, and our interest support it. And may the Almighty and Eternal GOD Christianize the whole world.