Графични страници
PDF файл

is sin. What is there then, that we can du, or say, or think, in which the power of this principle is not felt in a greater or less degree? and if it maintain that ascendency in the heart, which it has by nature, what can proceed from it but that which is sinful? In that state, our motives and purposes, our imaginations and desires, our words and deeds, in short every thing we do, and every thing we say, is all wrong, all sinful, wicked, and displeasing to God.

To view the reign of sin in its true nature and fullest extent, we must notice two other words of the text: unto death-sin hath reigned unto death. We need not stay to notice all the other miseries brought on us by this tyrant the havoc and ruin the devastation, and desolation which mark its way-the terror and dismay-the grief and pain which it occasions to individuals the curse, and vexation, and rebuke-the sword, the blasting, and the mildew, which it brings upon nations; and the rest of human evils: for there is not one which sin has not caused. Let us think of death: sin has caused the death of the whole man—body and soul! Think of all the circumstances attending death; with what an agonizing struggle often the soul and body part! and how loathsome the body instantly 'becomes, and frightful in appearance! what sorrow and disorder it introduces into families! breaking the heart of the widow, or sending forth helpless children into the world! and you may see

what Sin has done for us, for the body is dead because of sin only. It dies through the operation of natural causes: but its being liable to decay and death at all, is the punishment of sin. But if the death of the body were all the mischief sin did us, it were small in the eyes of some, to whom death is preferable to life. But the soul is also naturally dead: for if when we see a human form having eyes and seeing not, ears and hearing not, feet and walking not, understanding nothing, feeling nothing, - we pronounce it a corpse; we must surely say of that man, who, endued with every faculty, reason, memory, affection, neither knows God, nor fears him, nor loves him, that he is dead as it respects God: and this is the Scripture representation, we are all by nature dead in tres passes and sins. The evil of this state is, that he who is spiritually dead, not only lives a life little superior to the brutes in rationality and enjoyment, but after death, is fit only to be cast into hell. To heaven he cannot go, for there there is only life and immortality; and death of every description is excluded: besides, the wages of sin is death. Having therefore performed the work of sin, he receives the wages, and dies the second death. But now man need not go all this length in misery. Great as the power of sin really is, and irresistible as it may appear, man is not left without an alternative: for God has set up another kingdom in the world, in opposition to sin. It

is now therefore the reign of Grace, of whieb we were in the second place to speak.

II. For the establishment of this kingdom in the world, measures were taken from the beginning: indeed the plan was laid before all time, ere sin began its usurpations; ere there existed a being to be the subject of its power. Four thousand years it remained almost unknown, but at last the day of its glory came; the Son of God appeared upon earth; and a new Era commenced; satan like lightening fell from heaven, Christ by his cross spoiled principalities, and powers, and triumphed over them. By his resurrection he rose far above all power, and might, and doininion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but that which is to come. From this time the empire of grace began to be known: no longer confined to the narrow limits by which it was formerly bounded, it spread to the right and left; and nation after nation fell within its domain. Now as this kingdom is to stand for eyer, for. so hath God decreed, and all adverse states and authorities shall be finally subdued, or annihilated, it is clear that if we can become subjects of this kingdom we shall be secured from the general ruin, but not else. To induce you therefore to emigrate from your native land, to throw off I mean your allegiance to sin, we must endeavor to give some account of this kingdom, in which we wish you to become naturalized. It is enough to say that grace

is upon the throne of it. Grace reigns, as you will soon perceive if you consider how things are conducted in this kingdom.

1. The temper and disposition of a king is chiefly to be discovered by the measures of his reign—the objects kept in view—the style of his proclamations--the instruments and ministers employed—the state of those under his government-the wars engaged in: these things, and others of the like nature, constitute the most certain criteria. Now the object uniformly kept in view in the Gospel Kingdom is the happiness of its subjects in the way of holiness. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.* All the measures taken with us are calculated to promote this end.

Whether affliction, or prosperity be appointed us, all things work together for good, and bring forth the peaceable fruits of righteousness. These are gracious proceedings.

2. Next, let us read some of the proclamations: Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Heærken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let · your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline

your ear and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live.t Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto

[blocks in formation]

your souls:
for my yoke is easy


burden is light.* If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink.t Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast outof Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto hin that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.ll. It is grace that reigns. Hear also how offenders are addressed: Come now and let us reason together saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.I I, even I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. **

3. The instruments employed for enlarging the Gospel Kingdom, and keeping it in order, next deserve notice. They are such as overcome the heart, by convincing the judgment. No force is to be used, but the force of persuasion. Expostulations, invitations, offers of a free pardon, promises of everlasting love, displays of the Glory of God, and the excellence of his ways; but above all, calling men's attention to the cross, are the means to be resorted to. Christ, as lifted

Christ, as lifted up on the cross, will draw all men to him. It must be grace that dictates these methods; they are not had

* Matt. xi, 28, 30.
| Rev. xxi, 13, 17.

+ John vii, 37.
s Is. i, 18.

1 John vi, 37.
** Is. xlii, 25.

Rep. , 20.

« ПредишнаНапред »