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upon us to say whether Christ suffered as much as the whole human race could suffer, and if so, how it is that there are still conditions of life? When they ask for the sake of truth, we will reply. Others contend that it would be unjust in God to give his Son to die for man, and that the Son had no right to give himself as a sacrifice; but equally would such reasoning apply to the sacrifices-of human benevolence. And others still assert that the doctrine of the atonement disgraces God, and represents him as tyrannical and bloodthirsty. Indeed, human wisdom seems to have exhausted all its resources in efforts to make the doctrine of the atonement appear ridiculous. Hence the believers in this doctrine, from St. Paul down to the meanest slave, are, in the sight of earth's wise men, enthusiasts and fools. But in the sight of God they are the only really wise.
The text lays before you the work which you are to do in order to become wise. From what has been said, you see that it is a humiliating work. You must bow at the cross, and learn of Jesus. You must part with your pride,
and must bear the scorn and ridicule of the world. Can you hesitate for one moment to do it? Can it be that any of you are so foolish as to prize the praise of men more than that of God? Remember, your hesitancy to comply proves it! But you are not to live here always; the day is fast approaching when the approbation of your Judge will be to you of more value than that of all the world!
THESE THAT HAVE TURNED THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN, ARE COME HITHER ALSO.-Acts xvii, 6.
THE gospel has generally been unpopular. It has been branded as enthusiasm, and its ministers as fanatics, slanderers, innovators, and revolutionists. See, for instance, how Christ and his early followers were regarded. So with reformers in every age. And now let a man plainly and zealously preach, and let success attend his labours, and he is a fanatic! Wicked men plot his ruin, and even the respectable ridicule his doctrines, and make insinuations against his character or motives in order to destroy his influence. O yes, we may be excited to madness about the affairs of time, but if we are zealous for eternity we are fools! The reason is plain; men are in league with Satan, and they fear the effects of faithful preaching on his kingdom. Let us consider,
I. The kind of excitement which we wish to produce.
We avow excitement to be our object, and here we claim to follow the example of Christ, (Matt. x, 34,) and to obey the dictation of the Spirit, (John xvi, 8.) Will God bless any preaching not of this kind? By nature we are, to a great degree, insensible to our relations to God as our Creator, Sovereign, Redeemer; to the duties growing out of these relations, as gratitude, love, faith; and to the consequences of obedience or disobedience. Our inclinations and pursuits increase this insensibility. Hence hope and fear are dormant. Hence many nominal Christians are practical atheists. Religion is last thought of, least cared about. Thus are we borne thoughtlessly over the rapids of Time to the ocean of Eternity.
We wish to awaken men to a sense of these relations and duties, and then they will see that they are lost sin
ners in need of a Saviour-to a sense of the consequences of sin and holiness, and then they will see that religion is to them of infinite moment. Having thus enlightened their understanding, we would appeal to their reason, conscience, and passions, to induce them to become holy. We wish them, in fine, to hate sin, to love God with all their hearts, and to be wholly interested and unceasingly employed in doing his will. It is a holy excitement then which we would produce, such as exists in heaven. Can you doubt that such an excitement exists there? Can you doubt the happiness of heaven? Would not a similar state of society produce happiness here? I wish I could raise such an excitement. True, the thunder-storm might cause alarm; but it would purify the atmosphere.
II. The means which we may use.
The faithful exhibition of the gospel, accompanied by zeal, love, and prayer. These are purely moral means; can you object to them? Men must be taught, without reserve, their lost condition-the way of salvation, its freeness, fulness, and conditions-the shortness of their probation-the certainty of judgment-the realities of eternity. The motives which we are to urge are the love of Christ-the blessed effects of religion on individuals, and on society-and the unspeakable joys of heaven. These we cannot exaggerate. But what if these fail? Shall we fold our arms? Would this be innocent? Not so long as there is a Bible. We must declare the consequences of sin-the terrors of death, judgment, and hell. Away with false delicacy in declaring these consequences. We cannot paint them in colours too awful. Strange that you should be unwilling to hear of them, but willing to risk them! But, you say, this course will frighten the timid, and harden the bold. We are not responsible for such a result, but are responsible for the character of our preaching. It is a mistaken idea
that religion makes men insane. It is sin that does this. Thoughts of judgment are glorious to the saint, but awful to the sinner. Why awful? Because the sinner feels convicted and guilty. Sin then causes all this misery; it is the monster which we would destroy. This must be done with zeal; no matter how earnest and frequent our appeals and our meetings; he will not neglect his family who is imbued with religion. Sinners must see that we are in earnest, or they will not be. Love to God and man must show itself in all our efforts. Prayer unceasing must be made for the aid of the Spirit. We depend on this aid; we would have no revival which the Spirit does not cause and pervade. These means God prescribes and blesses.
III. The design which we have in view.
It is not to make ourselves famous in the church or in the world, not to create a party, but to save souls, and glorify God. We would excite Christians that they may be active, and sinners that they may escape hell. Were your houses on fire over your heads by night, you would not think us enthusiasts, were we never so earnest to alarm you; why think so now? Were the revolutionary fathers fanatics? What zeal did they manifest? What zeal should we show in our nobler cause !
Christians, God has brought us here to turn the world upside down. It needs it. Its principles, actions, and spirit, are all wrong. The gospel which has been placed in our hands is the great lever which will overturn the world. It has been applied for ages; apostles and saints of later times have laid hold on it, and our world has trembled; its idol altars and pagan temples have tottered and fallen. Lay hold with a firm grasp, nor relax nor tire, till "the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ."
I COULD WISH THAT MYSELF WERE ACCURSED FROM CHRIST, FOR MY BRETHREN, MY KINSMEN, ACCORDING TO THE FLESH.-Rom. ix, 3.
THE apostle had just appealed, in the most solemn manner, to his own "conscience, bearing him witness in the Holy Ghost," and to the great Searcher of hearts, that he spake the truth in Christ," when he assured them that "he had great heaviness, and continual sorrow in his heart." And well might he be both solemn and sorrowful, for he foresaw, and was about to state, the awful fact, that the Jews would reject the gospel. He knew the fatal consequences of that rejection. He saw the gathering storm of Jehovah's wrath, (so clearly predicted by Christ,) which, in its fury, would sweep away their temple, city, and nation, and scatter them in exile among Gentile realms-he foresaw their temporal and eternal destruction. Himself a Jew, his affectionate heart prompted him to wish "that himself were accursed from Christ," &c. Do not, however, misunderstand him, nor deduce from his words that revolting doctrine, that he was willing to suffer the loss of his own soul for the sake of the salvation of his brethren. He would be unhappy, not unholy, for their good, and suffer at Christ's hands any temporal evil to rescue them from their impending doom. So deeply should we feel, and so cheerfully should we be willing to suffer temporal evils for the salvation of sinners. This doctrine, however, may appear visionary to the coldhearted professor, and infidelity may rise up to question its consistency with reason. Let us, then, briefly vindicate it against all such charges.
I. All human actions which have been truly glorious in themselves and in their effects, have proceeded from this principle of self-sacrifice.