« PreviousContinue »
pressive correctness, that will subject a preacher to the reflection of Quintilian, "His greatest excellency is that he has no fault; and his greatest fault is-that he has no excellency."
It was the wish of those who by their candid importunity, have rendered themselves responsible to the public for this publication, that the discourse should retain the boldness and vivacity of popular and free address, and be presented as it was delivered. This the author has been enabled to do perfectly, as the sermon was secured in short hand.
The author hopes the sermon will appear to possess one claim-It bears much on the state of modern profession. And from letters he received after the delivery, the preacher had the satisfaction to find, that it had displeased a class of hearers, who, however evangelical a minister's doctrine may be, will be sure to condemn him as soon as ever he attempts to advance principles from the creed into the conscience, and to bring down religion from speculation to practice. A sermon must be wanting in fitness or application, that awakens no feelings in the auditor either against the preacher or against him. self. Happy are they who come to the house of God, and return from it in the spirit of Elihu and of David. That which I see not teach thou me: If I have done iniquity, I will do no more. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way of life everlasting. Amen.
As the following discourse may fall into the hands of some who may desire additional information concerning the Union, it may be eligible to insert a brief account, published on a former occasion, and furnished on its behalf by the Secretary to the Society, the Rev. Samuel Hillyard, of Bedford.
"This Religious Association was formed at Bedford Oct. 31, 1797, under the title of THE UNION OF CHRISTIANS.
"In common with various Religious Associations in this country, it has solely for its object the advancement of Christianity. It endeavours to attain this end, by the means of
preaching, and the circulation of plain practical tracts on religious subjects ; and by cherishing, among pious people of different denominations, that mutual affection which is powerfully inculcated by the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“ It differs, however, from most Religious Associations in This respect--that it excludes from co-operation in its mea. sures, no person, of what denomination soever, who professes to receive the Bible as the revealed will of God, and agrees with the members in his views of such doctrines as they believe to be essential to salvation, if his moral and religious conduct proves the sincerity of his profession.
“ The Ministers and private Christians who thus associate, neither renounce nor conceal those sentiments in which they differ one from another ; but they limit their united measures to the purpose of promoting the knowledge and the practical effect of those important doctrines in which they heartily agree.Such are--The proper Deity of the Son and of the Spirit of God ; with the necessity of atonement for sin by the sacrifice of Christ, and of holiness in heart and life thro' the operation of the Isoly Ghost for the Salvation of Man.
« Hence it is evident, that this Christian Union is neither designed to advance the interest of any sect or party of religious people in particular, nor to oppose any thing among those who agree in the belief of the doctrines that have been specified. They avoid accordingly, to interfere with congregations to whom these truths are statedly preached ; and they prefer those seasons for imparting religious instructions, when there would not, otherwise, be any public worship in the vicinity.
“ With the propagation, or the support of any system of politics, the Union of Christians has nothing to do. The injunctions of the sacred Scriptures, to “pray for Kings and for all who are in authority, that we may live quietly and peaceably, in all godliness and honesty,” is conscientiously fulfilled by its members. If any of them should be found to teach or practice the contrary, he would be excluded from further connexion with them.
« Consistently with such principles and conduct, they have hitherto been favoured with the approbation of pious and benevolent persons, of every denomination, in their own neigh
' borhood ; and even with the friendly assistance of others in more distant situations. It is also incumbent upon them to acknowledge, with gratitude and humility, that it has pleased God to prosper their endeavors to serve Him. Many profligate sinners have been reclaimed ; and, especially a.. mong the poor, an increasing attention to the knowledge and the practice of the Gospel has been excited.”
THE SAVIOUR GLORIFIED IN HIS PEOPLE.
I AM GLORIFIED IN THEM.-John, xvII. 10.
WHO in this congregation lives without prayer
This is a question which it is impossible for your preacher to determine. But, in so large an assembly, there are probably some, if not many of this unhappy description : and if he knew where you were sitting, he would look towards you not with anger, but with pity, and say—“ My dear hearers - You may be respectable in your character : you may be carressed by your connections ; you may be prosperous
your secular concerns—but you are living without God in the world ; you are strangers to your duty, your honor, your happiness; you are wholly unlike Him whom as Christians we profess to resemble, and who is perpetually calling upon us to follow his example."
you can live without prayer, He could not. " In the days of his Aesh he offered up prayers and
supplications, with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared."
In the sacred history we often read of his praying : but the Holy Ghost has more fully recorded and signalized the prayer contained in the chapter before us. It was delivered in the open air just as he was going to suffer. He had left the communion chamber: and was approaching the garden of Gethsemane. He paused near Cedron. The hum of the adjoining metropolis was diminished. It was towards midnight. The moon was walking in brightness; it was at full. He was now to take an affectionate farewell of his immediate disciples, who stood around him weeping. He considered them as the depositories of his truth, and the representatives of his church in all ages; and “ lifting up his eyes to heaven” he commends them to the blessing of his Father, and our Father, his God, and our God. And behold the principal argument on which his intercession rests. “ All mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them.” “ What ever is done for my people is done for me. It will advance my HONOR.” I AM GLORIFIED IN THEM.
Let us endeavour to exemplify the truth of this sentiment, and shew, in six ways, how Christ is
GLORIFIED IN CHRISTIANS.
I. He is glorified in them BY THE DERIVATION OF
ALL THEIR EXCELLENCIES FROM HIM.
What a change do we annually witness in nature. After a few months of wintery dreariness and deso. lation, the enlivening spring returns. The ground is decked in green. The flowers appear on the earth. The trees assume their foliage. The leaves guard the