Puslapio vaizdai

And remember, when you see the sun shine, and when joy and animation are around you, that as truly as the sun shines, God loves us. And when you see the rain descend, and when with rapturous emotions you behold its refreshing influences, remember that as truly as the rain descends, God loves us. Until you can find partiality in the sunshine and rain, never allow yourselves to believe that there is partiality in the love of God.

This particular topic is more than sufficient to furnish matter for this discourse; but what I have already offered on this subject may serve as an index to point to the great matter before us; and I hope you will pursue these considerations in your private reflections.

The whole that Jesus spoke and performed in the world, his death, and his resurrection to life and immortality, was but to make known that which was true before. The Scriptures declare, that "life and immortality were brought to light through the Gospel." Mark the expression-"brought to light," not created. All this was as true before the coming of Jesus, as it has been since. But "when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men." And as the Apostle testifies, "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." Most fervently may we exclaim, "Glory to God in the highest; on earth peace, good will to men!"

The second character of Christ, mentioned in the text, is that of a LEADER.-Human society exists by certain laws; and men, as members of community, need some one to lead and go before them, in order

that they make suitable advances. It is necessary that it should be so. And Jesus acts in this capacity. We are directed, by the Christian religion, to look to him. "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

You will clearly perceive, that it is our duty, as professors of Christianity, to keep an eye upon our leader who has gone before us. Are there sufferings to be endured in promoting the cause of truth ? Look unto Jesus, and be stimulated to your duty. He was reviled, and set at nought-he was "despised and rejected of men." It is the Christian's duty to walk in the steps of the leader. How do your orators appeal to your feelings on occasions of public celebrations? How do they enlist your sympathies and feelings for the institutions of the country? They desire you to look at the toils, the conflicts, the labors, that the blessings of liberty cost your forefathers! They urge upon your attention, the fact, that it is your duty to look to the example of the great apostles of political liberty. And shall we shrink from following our religious leader, even Jesus, because there are some inconveniences to be encountered? When you think of those who watered the tree of liberty with their own blood, you feel a strong enthusiasm kindling in your bosoms; and suffering would rather be courted than shunned in such a cause! Ought Christian enthusiasm to be less ardent in the Christian's breast?

My friendly hearers, we must keep our eyes steadily fixed on the great leader. Wherever he

went, it is safe for us to go. "He went about doing good." Do you desire to know how to think and act as Jesus thought and acted? Look at his example, and follow in his steps. Do you meet with opposition and persecution in your religious devotions? Jesus met with the same-and he treated it with kindness and affection. And how did he treat his enemies, even in the last moments of his life? He prayed for them! "Father, forgive them; they know not what they do." Surely, this was the Son of God! Surely in him we have a leader whom we can safely follow. Let his spirit always be ours; and let the light of his example continually direct our steps-for the Lord gave him as "a leader to the people."

There is another character which Jesus sustains, to which due attention should be given. He is not only a witness and a leader-he is also a COMMANDER. In this character he has authority. "He spake as one having authority, and not as the Scribes." In the character of a commander, he is vested with power. God "gave him power over all flesh, that he might give eternal life to as many as the father had given him." He not only has authority to command, but he has power to compel obedience. "Be careful," says the hearer; "you are in danger of going too far. In making out Universal Salvation, you may have to dispense with moral agency. You must do this, in order to prove that Christ, as a commander, will save any against their will."

My hearers, I would tenderly regard the feelings of a brother, who is so unhappy as to believe that

human agency can finally frustrate the designs of the everlasting mercy of God; and I would not intentionally utter a word to wound his feelings. I entertain no other than friendly emotions toward such brethren. But as all false doctrines are calculated to injure those who are deluded by them, I feel impelled, as a friend to my fellow creatures, to dissuade them from such views, if in my power-just as I remarked a few moments since in relation to the sun. If I can save any one from the torment of false doctrine, it would be a work of charity and love.

"But," says the hearer, "would you have us to understand that, regardless of human agency, God has determined to effect man's everlasting salvation? and do you mean, that Christ, by his authority and power, will bring man to happiness, whether he is willing or not?" You have the difficulty plainly before you-and I now wish to inquire, whether there would be any difficulty in the case, if you knew that this commander has a means of working a will in the transgressor? All the difficulty is in this, man has a will opposed to the will of the Saviour. Now suppose this heavenly commander has authority and power to work a will conformable to his own-would there be any difficulty then? "No, certainly not," says the hearer. Listen, then, to this testimony: "For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to do of his own good pleasure." So says the Apostle Paul. And David says, in speaking of the commander mentioned in the text, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauty of holiness from the womb of the

morning." In the light of these testimonies, it is plain, that as the Divine will is, so the will of man must eventually be.

"No." Is not

"But that will make machines of us," says the objector. Well, if you please, let it be so. It will make just such machines of us as God intended we should be. Let us reason together a moment. You will allow that God made man as he pleased. "Yes." Do we possess any agency, -no matter of what kind, that God did not give us? God the author of it, and did he not bestow upon us all the agency we possess? "Certainly." Now, if he made this agency, was it not for a definite purpose? Our eyes were made to see with-we see with them. Our ears were made to hear with-we hear with them. Just so do all the parts of the human system answer the purpose designed by the Creator. The question then comes up, Does man's agency answer the purpose for which it was intended? "Certainly it must," says the hearer. And this conclusion destroys the objection. We can raise no greater objection concerning human agency, than we can concerning any other thing which God has made.

Suppose a mechanic makes a clock, intending that it shall keep correct time, but before he finishes it, he puts into it a little wheel which shall defeat the object intended to be accomplished in making the clock. What is the conclusion in your mind about this mechanic? "Why," says the hearer, "he could not have intended the clock to keep correct time, if he put that little wheel into it in order to defeat his own purpose, or knowing at the time that purpose would thus be defeated."


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