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united ardour which it breathed, and the spiritual blessing which it brought down, are recorded for an example, and for encouragement to us. The Redeemer still lives, his power is unexhausted, his faithfulness has not failed, and his ear is as open to our prayers as it was to the believers at Jerusalem. Let the same confidence be reposed in him, and in his promises ; let the same identity be felt with him and his cause. Let the spirit here displayed, and which is so often recommended in the word of God, be exemplified ; let prayer be made on this behalf without ceasing ; let it be employed by every family apart, and their wives apart; “ let the people gather together; let the elders assemble; let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and say, spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them. Wherefore should they say among the people, where is their God? Then will the Lord be jealous for his land, and pity his people. Yea, the Lord will answer and say—I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen.»*_" Prove me now herewith saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”+
Having taken this extensive review of the agency and means whose existence and ope
* Joel ii. 16-19. + See Note [BB].
rations are necessary for the diffusion of the Gospel through the world, I should now have proceeded to state the grounds on which I maintain the certain concurrence of diyine influence with such instruments and means. But this part of the subject, I must reserve for another opportunity. In the mean time, as but one opinion can be entertained of the importance of the state of things which has been described, let me press upon my Christian brethren, the duty and necessity of each one considering, that he is called personally to take part in this good work. The cause of Christ is the cause of every individual who belongs to him; and next in point of importance to our own salvation is the duty of seeking the salvation of others. They are in fact so closely connected together, that it may be justly doubted, whether the man who is indifferent to the salvation of his fellow-creatures, is in earnest about his own. They are not only perfectly compatible with each other; they are calculated to grow with each other's growth, and strengthen with each other's strength. He who is working out his own salvation with fear and trembling, in the influence of the Gospel on his personal character, is recommending it to others. While the man who by his prayers, his self-denying labours, his patient sufferings, his indefatigable zeal, is seeking to glorify God in the Gospel of his Son, is, in the most effectual manner, fighting the good fight of faith, and laying hold on eternal life.
As a Christian society, enjoying the ministry and ordinances of the Gospel, you have a most important part to act, and on you devolves a very solemn responsibility. According to the measure which God has meted out to you, does he expect you to measure out to others. Every Christian church is a light placed upon a candlestick, and intended to illuminate the surrounding region. In as far as it answers this purpose, it accomplishes the design of God in its establishment; and in the degree in which it fails to do so, it endangers its comfort and its existence. The success of the Gospel which is preached among you, if there be any justice in the statements which have been made, depends in no small degree upon your Christian principles and conduct. What an honour is it to be fellow-workers in the service of Christ; to be actively and devotedly engaged in promoting his cause, and exemplifying all the holy tendencies of his doctrine! What a dishonour to receive the grace of God in vain—to be drawbacks on the influence of the Word of God-to mar and counteract the faithful exhibition of the truth of the Gospel! The one or the other of these things must belong to us. Let me intreat
then present yourselves as living sacrifices unto God, holy and acceptable, which is your reasonable service;" that while we pray “ Thy kingdom come,” “ the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified amongst us."
Let me also beseech you to reflect on the connexion between your characters and exertions as
Christians, and the general interests of the cause of Christ in the world. Every individual, every minister, and every congregation, contributes to make up the sum total of the beneficial or injurious impression made by the church of Christ upon the world lying in wickedness. We all either add to the light and to the acceleration of its progress, or we impair and impede it. We either increase the leaven of the kingdom of heaven, and add to its fermenting power, or we increase and strengthen the old leaven of malice and wickednesss and hypocrisy, with which the world is filled. The more weight we throw into the one scale, the more we take from the other; and as we multiply the friends of Jesus, and accumulate the resources of his cause, we thin the ranks of the enemy, and weaken his strength. Neutrality is impossible, indifference is criminal, hostility must be ruinous.
Would you then do justice to your profession, and to your Lord, and to the confidence which he has reposed in you? Would you increase the sum of your own spiritual enjoyment, and your meetness for the kingdom of heaven? Would you be better fitted for discharging all the social and relative duties of life, and prepared for enduring with long-suffering and joyfulness its manifold trials? Would you desire to be useful in your generation, and have some souls for your reward in the day of the Redeemer's coming? Would you be gratified by the extensive diffusion of his grace and blessedness in the world?
Would you see the triumphs of the cross in your own neighbourhood, and among yourselves, and to the ends of the earth? Would you rejoice in being the instrument of placing one of the many crowns upon the brow of your exalted and glorified Redeemer, to be greeted with his gracious approbation, and to have an abundant entrance ministered unto you into his everlasting kingdom? Let me call upon you, as you value these high and delightful objects, to consider that they can be realized only by a vigorous and persevering employment of the means which have been pointed out. Let us preach the Gospel by our words, and in our lives; in public and in private. Let every man put his hand to the work, and build up the part of the wall which is over against his own door. Let there be a common stock of the talents, and property, and influence, which belong to the people of Christ; and let there be a liberal distribution out of this stock to all men, of what is so much calculated to do all men good. Let us, while diligent in this business, be fervent in spirit, constant in supplication, giving glory to God. And thus “ prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open the windows of Heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”