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and assurance for ever.” Here is no din of arms, no “confused noise," no" garments rolled in blood.”
“ Destructions are come to a perpetual wars are ceased from the earth. Neither are there any intestine jars remaining ; no brother rising up against brother; no country or city divided against itself, and tearing out its own bowels. Civil discord is at an end for evermore, and none is left either to destroy or hurt his neighbour. Here is no oppression to make even the wise man mad; no extortion to grind the face of the poor; no robbery or wrong; no rapine or injustice; for all are “content with such things as they pos
Thus“ righteousness and peace have kissed each other,” Psa. lxxxv, 10; they have "taken root and filled the land:” “righteousness flourishing out of the earth," and "peace looking down from heaven.”
4. And with righteousness or justice, mercy is also found. The earth is no longer full of cruel habitations. The Lord hath destroyed both the blood-thirsty and malicious, the envious and revengeful man. Were there any provocation, there is none that now knoweth to return evil for evil; but indeed there is none that doeth evil, no, not one; for all are harmless as doves. And being filled with peace and joy in believing, and united in one body, by one spirit, they ali love as brethren, they are all of one heart, and of one soul. “Neither saith any of them, that aught of the things which he possesseth is his own." There is none among them that lacketh; for every man loveth his neighbour as himself. And all walk by one rule,“ Whatever ye would that men should do unto you even so do unto them."
5. It follows, that no unkind word can ever be heard among them, no strife of tongues, no contention of any kind, no railing or evil speaking ; but every one opens his mouth with wisdom, and in his tongue there is the law of kindness.” Equally incapable are they of fraud or guile : their love is without dissimulation : their words are always the just expression of their thoughts, opening a window into their breast, that whosoever desires
may look into their hearts, and see that only love and God are there
6. Thus, where the Lord omnipotent taketh to himself his mighty power and reigneth, doth he“subdue all things to himself,” cause every heart to overflow with love, and fill every mouth with praise. Happy are the people that are in such a case : yea, blessed are the people who have the Lord for their God,” Psa. cxliv, 15. “ Arise, shine, (saith the Lord,) for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."
“ Thou hast known that I, the Lord, am thy Saviour, and thy Redeemer, the mighty God of Jacob. I have made thy officers peace, and thy exacters righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in the land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls, salvation, and thy gates, praise.” “Thy people are all righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever; the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.”
“ The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory,” Isa. lx, 1, 16–19.
IV. Having thus briefly considered Christianity, as beginning, as going on, and as covering the earth ; it remains only that I should close the whole with a plain, practical application.
1. And first, I would ask, Where does this Christianity now exist?
Where, I pray, do the Christians live? Which is the country, the inhabitants whereof are all thus filled with the Holy Ghost ? Are all of one heart anü of one soul ? Cannot suffer one among them to lack any thing, but continually give to every man as he hath need? Who, one and all, have the love of God filling their hearts, and constraining them to love their neighbour as themselves ? Who have all “put on bowels of mercy, humbleness of mind, gentleness, long suffering ?” Who offend not in any kind, either by word or deed, against justice, mercy, or truth; but in
every point do unto ail men, as they would these should do unto them. With what propriety can we term any a Christian country, which does not answer this description? Why then, let us confess we have never yet seen a Christian country upon earth.
2. I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, if ye do account me a madman or a fool, yet, as a fool bear with me. It is utterly needful that some one should use great plainness of speech towards you. It is more especially needful at this time ; for' who knoweth but it is the last? Who knoweth how soon the righteous Judge may say, “I will no more be intreated for this people." “ Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in this land, they should but deliver their own souls." And who will use this plainness, if I do not? Therefore I, even I, will speak. And I adjure you, by the living God, that ye steel not your breasts against receiving a blessing at my hands. Do not say in your hearts, Non persuadebis, etiamsi persuaseris: or in other words, Lord, thou shalt not send by whom thou wilt send; let me rather perish in my blood, than be saved by this man !
3. Brethren, “I am persuaded better things of you, though I thus speak." Let me ask you then, in tender love, and in the spirit of meekness, Is this city a Christian city? Is Christianity, scriptural Christianity, found here ? Are we, considered as a community of men, so“ filled with the Holy Ghost,” as to enjoy in our hearts, and show forth in our lives, the genuine fruits of that Spirit? Are all the magistrates, all heads and governors of colleges and halls, and their respective societies, (not to speak of the inhabitants of the town,)“ of one heart and one soul ?" Is "the love of God shed abroad in our hearts ?”! Are our tempers the same that were in him ? And are our lives agreeable thereto ? Are we “holy as He who hath called us is holy, in all manner of conversation?"
4. I intreat you to observe, that here are no peculiar notions now under consideration : that the question moved is not concerning doubtful opinions, of one kind or another, but concerning the undoubted, fundamental branches (if there be any such) of our common Christianity. And for the decision thereof, I appeal to your own consciences, guided by the word of God. He therefore that is not condemned by his own heart let him go free.
5. In the fear, then, and in the presence of the great God before whom both you and I shall shortly appear, I pray you that are in authority over us, whom I reverence for your office sake, to consider, (and not after the manner of dissemblers with God,) are you with the Holy Ghost ?” Are you lively portraitures of Him whom ye are appointed to represent among men ? '“ I have said ye are gods,” ye magistrates and rulers; ye are by office so nearly allied to the God of heaven! In your several stations and degrees, ye are to show forth unto
the Lord our governor.” Are all the thoughts of your hearts, all
your tempers and desires suitable to your high calling? Are all your words like unto those which come out of the mouth of God? Is there in all your actions, dignity and love? A greatness which words cannot express, which can flow only from a heart full of God; and yet consistent with the character of “man that is a worm, and the son of man that is a worm !”
6. Ye venerable men, who are more especially called to form the tender minds of youth, to dispel thence the shades of ignorance and error, and train them up to be wise unto salvation, are you “ filled with the Holy Ghost ?” With all those “ fruits of the Spirit,” which your important office so indispensably requires? Is your heart whole with God? Full of love and zeal to set up his kingdom on earth? Do you continually remind those under your care, that the one rational end of all our studies, is to know, love, and serve “ the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent ?” Do you inculcate upon them day by day, that love alone never faileth; (whereas, whether there be tongues, they shall fail, or philosophical knowledge, it shall vanish away ;) and that without love, all learning is but splendid ignorance, pompous folly, vexation of spirit? Has all you teach an actual tendency to the love of God, and of all mankind for his sake? Have you an eye to this end in whatever you prescribe, touching the kind, the manner, and the measure of their studies; desiring and labouring that, wherever the lot of these young soldiers of Christ is cast, they may be so many burning and shining lights, adorning the gospel of Christ in all things ? And permit me to ask, Do you put forth all your strength in the vast work you have undertaken? Do you labour herein with all your might? Exerting every faculty of your soul ? Using every talent which God hath lent you, and that to the uttermost of your power ?
7. Let it not be said, that I speak here, as if all under your care were intended to be clergymen. Not so: I only speak as if they were all intended to be Christians. But what example is set them by us who enjoy the beneficence of our forefathers ? by fellows, students, scholars; more especially those who are of some rank and eminence? Do ye, brethren, abound in the fruits of the Spirit, in lowliness of mind, in self denial and mortification, in seriousness and composure of spirit, in patience, meekness, sobriety, temperance; and in unwearied, restless endeavours to do good in every kind unto all men, to relieve their outward wants, and to bring their souls to the true knowledge and love of God ? Is this the general character of fellows of colleges ? I fear it is not. Rather, have not pride and haughtiness of spirit, impatience and peevishness, sloth and indolence, gluttony and sensuality, and even proverbial uselessness, been objected to us, perhaps not always by our enemies, nor wholly without ground ? Oh that God would roll away this reproach from us, that the very memory of it might perish for !
8. Many of us are more immediately consecrated to God, called to minister in holy things. Are we then patterns to the rest,“ in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faitri, in purity ?" 2 Cor. iv, 2. Is there written on our forehead and on our heart, "Holiness to the Lord ?" From what motives did we enter upon this office? Was it indeed with a single eye to serve God, trusting that we were inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost, to take upon us this ministration, for the promoting of his glory, and the cdifying of his people?" And have
we "clearly determined, by God's grace, to give ourselves wholly to this office ?” Do we forsake and set aside, as much as in us lies, all worldly cares and studies? Do we apply ourselves wholly to this one thing, and draw all our cares and studies this way? Are we apt to teach?_Are we taught of God, that we may be able to teach others also ? Do we know God? Do we know Jesus Christ? Hath “ God revealed his Son in us?" And hath he made us able ministers of the new covenant ?” Where then are the “seals of our apostleship ?" Who, that were dead in trespasses and sins, have been quickened by our word ? Have we a burning zeal to save souls from death, so that for their sake we often forget even to eat our bread ? Do we speak plain, “ by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God ?” 2 Cor. iv, 2. Are we dead to the world and the things of the world, " laying up all our treasure in heaven ?" Do we lord over God's heritage ? Or are we the least, the servants of all ? When we bear the reproach of Christ, does it sit heavy upon us? Or do we rejoice therein ? When we are smitten on the one cheek, do we resent it? Are we impatient of affronts ? Or do we turn the other also ; not resisting the evil, but overcoming evil with good ? Have we a bitter zeal, inciting us to strive sharply and passionately with them that are out of the way? Or is our zeal the flame of love, so as to direct all our words with sweetness, lowliness, and meekness of wisdom ?
9. Once more, What shall we say concerning the youth of this place! Have you either the form or the power of Christian godliness ? Are you humble, teachable, advisable; or stubborn, self willed, heady, and high minded? Are you obedient to your superiors as to parents? Or do you despise those to whom you owe the tenderest reverence? Are you diligent in your easy business, pursuing your studies with all your strength ? Do you redeem the time, crowding as much work into every day as it can contain? Rather, are ye not conscious to yourselves, that you waste away day after day, either in reading what has no tendency to Christianity, or in gaming, or in-you know not what? Are you better managers of your fortune than of your
time? Do you, out of principle, take care to owe no man any thing? Do you“remember the sabbath day to keep it holy;" to spend it in the more immediate worship of God? When you are in his house, do you consider that God is there ? Do you behave, as seeing him that is invisible ?” Do you know how to" possess your bodies in sanctification and honour ? Are not drunkenness and uncleanness found among you? Yea, are there not of you who “glory in their shame?” Do not many of you the name of God in vain,” perhaps habitually, without either remorse or fear? Yea, are there not a multitude of you that are forsworn ? I fear, a swiftly increasing multitude. Be not surprised, brethren. Before God and this congregation, I own myself to have been of the number, solemnly swearing to observe all those customs, which I then knew nothing of; and those statutes, which I did not so much as read over, either then, or for some years after. What is perjury, if this is not? But if it be, oh what a weight of sin, yea, sin of no common dye, lieth upon us ! And doth not the Most High regard it?
10. May it not be one of the consequences of this, that so many of you are a generation of triflers; triflers with God, with one another
and with your own souls ? For, how few of you spend, from one week to another, a single hour in private prayer! How few have any thought of God in the general tenor of your conversation! Who of you is, in any degree, acquainted with the work of his Spirit, his supernatural work in the souls of men ? Can you bear, unless now and then, in a church, any talk of the Holy Ghost ? Would not you take it for granted, if one began such a conversation, that it was either hypocrisy or enthusiasm ? In the name of the Lord God Almighty, I ask, What religion are you of? Even the talk of Christianity, ye cannot, will not bear. Oh, my brethren! what a Christian city is this !
“ It is time for thee, Lord, to lay to thine hand !"
11. For, indeed, what probability, what possibility rather, (speaking after the manner of men,) is there that Christianity, scriptural Christianity, should be again the religion of this place? That all orders of men among us should speak and live as men filled with the Holy Ghost ?" By whom should this Christianity be restored ? By those of you that are in authority? Are you convinced then that this is scriptural Christianity? Are you desirous it should be restored? And do ye not count your fortune, liberty, life, dear unto yourselves, so ye may be instrumental in the restoring of it? But, suppose ye have this desire, who hath any power proportioned to the effect ? Perhaps some of you have made a few faint attempts, but with how small success! Shali Christianity then be restored by young, unknown, inconsiderable men ? I know not whether ye yourselves could suffer it. Would not some of you cry out, “ Young man, in so doing thou reproachest us?” But there is no danger of your being put to the proof; so hath iniquity overspread us like a flood. Whom then shall God send? The famine, the pestilence, (the last messengers of God to a guilty land,) or the sword ? The armies of the Romish aliens to reform us into our first love ? Nay," rather let us fall into thy hand, oh Lord, and let us not fall into the hand of man.
Lord, save, or we perish! Take us out of the mire that we sink not! Oh help us against these enemies ! for vain is the help of man. Unto thee all things are possible. According to the greatness of thy power, preserve thou those that are appointed to die; and preserve us in the manner that seemeth to thee good ; not as we will, but as thou wilt!
SERMON V.—Justification by Faith.
" To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted to him for righteousness," Rom. iv, 5.
1. How a sinner may be justified before God, the Lord and Judge of all, is a question of no common importance to every child of man. It contains the foundation of all our hope, inasmuch as while we are at enrity with God, there can be no true peace, no solid joy, either in time or in eternity. What peace can there be, while our own heart condemns us; and much more, He that is “ greater than our heart and knoweth all things ?” What solid joy, either in this world or that to come, while " the wrath of God abideth on us ?"