Puslapio vaizdai

Now, my Christian friends, God never put any agency into us that shall finally frustrate his purpose in creating us. "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive blessing, and glory, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."

Let us instance a case. Look at Saul of Tarsus. He preached against the church of Christ; he persecuted the Christians even unto strange cities; and he went toward Damascus, having received authority to take men and women, and put them to death.Now, if there ever was a hardened, self-willed transgressor, it was Saul. He was stopped on his journey. He fell prostrate to the earth. He heard a voice, saying in the Hebrew tongue, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" A very simple question, truly! No violence was done to his agency,-no force was employed in the case,-only a plain, simple question was asked. And what was the reply? "Who art thou, Lord ?" "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest." Now listen to Saul's rejoinder: "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Was there any violaThere was not. Jesus "Rise and stand upon

tion of moral agency here? then commanded him thus: thy feet; for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make of thee a minister and a witness, both of the things which thou hast seen, and of the things in which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people and from the Gentiles, to whom now I send thee, to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness unto light, and from the power of satan unto God."

In this language, Christ tells Saul, that he had appeared unto him to make of him a minister and a

witness. This infuriated persecutor, who a few moments before, was breathing out slaughter and vengeance against the Christian disciples, was converted at once into a minister and a witness of the Gospel of heaven! And yet there was no violence offered to the moral agency of Saul. The commander, who had authority and power, worked in that persecutor a will conformable to his own. The change effected was ample and complete-and Paul was willing to do whatsoever he was commanded. He was now more willing to suffer persecution in the cause of Christ, than he had previously been to make others suffer for it; and he seemed to glory and delight in the stripes and imprisonments, and the scorn and persecution, with which he met while engaged in the service of his Lord.

In viewing this most interesting and instructive case of conversion, we distinctly perceive, that divine love has an influence, a power, an authority over the human will, not to violate it, but to give it a proper impulse and direction. And we also perceive, that he who effected such an instantaneous and mighty change in Saul of Tarsus, has authority and power to mould the heart of every sinner into the same divine likeness.

I deem the subjects on which we have treated this morning, to be highly important, and I hope you will take them into serious consideration. Weigh the arguments in your own minds; and I desire that you may be able to bring still stronger arguments in support of Divine truth, than you have heard from your humble servant. Keep in view, that Jesus is a Witness, a Leader, and a Commander to

the people. Duly reflect on the important truths to which he testified: You cannot disbelieve his testimony without mourning-you cannot believe it without rejoicing. If you refuse to walk in his footsteps, you will tread the thorny road of iniquity— but if you follow him as your leader, he will lead you to the pastures of his love. If you disobey his commandments, you will find wretchedness and wo --but if you obey him from the heart, you will discover that "the work of righteousness is peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever."

I conclude with the exhortation of the Apostle: "The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."


Delivered in the Lombard Street Church, Sunday Evening,
November 2, 1834.


"Prove all things: hold fast that which is good."-1 THESS. v. 21. There are many peculiar characteristics which evidently distinguish the gospel and religion of Jesus Christ, from all the creeds and religions which have been invented by the wisdom of men; and it seems a matter of no small moment, that we should be well acquainted with such important marks of distinction; for by such assistance we can, with the utmost ease, detect false doctrine, and readily receive the true. One of these distinguishing peculiarities, we have most evidently set forth in the text, which has been chosen as the foundation of the present discourse.

When learned doctors have, by their profound researches and laborious studies, framed a creed, they are far from supposing that it belongs to them to prove it true in all its parts, but proceed to demand of the people an unhesitating consent to the faith which owes its origin to their profound study and wisdom. The promulgators of such creeds and such doctrines, may be justly represented, as standing before the people with their creed in one hand,

and the truly awful sanctions of their creed in the other. In this solemn attitude, they demand of the people to believe their doctrine implicitly, as a condition of obtaining the divine favour, and of inheriting a state of perfect bliss in the eternal world; while, in case they withhold their entire consent, they are threatened with the severity of the divine displeasure, which they are sure to endure in a state. of never-ending sufferings. These are the arguments, and this is the logic, which the wisdom of man employs, to enforce its doctrines on mankind. If you hesitate, if you venture to start objections, if you ask for proof of points which appear unreasonable, unscriptural, and even contradictory, you are immediately accused of impiety, and of a want of respect and reverence for religious truth; and if you finally refuse your full consent without further proof, you are sure to be denounced as a hardened infidel, and told that you must await your awful


Very differently does the gospel and religion of Jesus Christ treat us. As it is a reasonable religion, it addresses itself to our reason and understanding. It calls on us to receive it on its being first proved, and cautions us against believing without evidence. "Prove all things." This our text demands. In this requisition we are assured, that whatever is contained in the religion or faith of Jesus Christ, is capable of being proved, and that it lays no claim to our credence any farther than the proof accompanies its several propositions. We are here even admonished to proceed with caution, to examine minutely, to hold every thing in suspense until reasonable evidence brings the truth to our understandings. In

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